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State of the News Media

Harry Reid: Media’s Coverage is Too ‘Tit for Tat’

ReidSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid is taking on the media for political coverage he thinks tries to point blame at both sides, when only one is at fault.

“One of the problems the press has in modern-day journalism, is everything you do is a tit for tat,” Reid told Chuck Todd in an exclusive interview on ‘The Daily Rundown” this morning.

“You won’t call things the way they actually exist,” Reid added, claiming Republicans have blocked legislation at every turn. Reid’s criticism comes during the same week a new Indiana University media study found just seven percent of journalists identified themselves as Republicans.

Reid’s mouth has produced sound bite gold for the media over the last few years; during the 2012 presidential election campaign, the Nevada Senator created a political firestorm when he took to the Senate floor and claimed “the word’s out” that then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes in 10 years (without citing his sources). More recently, he called conservative businessmen, David and Charles Koch, ”about as un-American as anyone I can imagine.”

WATCH:

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‘A Disruptive Technology for Newsgathering’

Tribune Media President Larry Wert was watching the “60 Minutes” profile of Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos last year when he saw what the company was testing for package delivery: drones. Wert, and many other TV executives across the country, saw another potential for drones, as newsgathering devices. At the TVNewser Show last week Wert told us he sees a day when UAVs will complement news helicopters. We had a separate discussion about the safety and legality of using drones with Ian Hannah of the Professional Society of Drone Journalists. After the panel, he told us about the potential drones can deliver for news networks. WATCH:

You Answered: Should TV News Report the Names of Mass Killers?

FtHoodFoxAfter Fox News’ Megyn Kelly told “Kelly File” viewers Wednesday it would be the show’s policy not to report names of mass shooters during stories like Wednesday’s shooting at Ft. Hood, we asked you whether TV news hosts should report the names of the perpetrators.

Opinion was split down the middle: 34% said yes, it’s important for viewers to know the names, while 34% voted no, saying releasing names gives shooters the recognition they seek. The majority, 36% said it really depends on the situation.

Martha MacCallum, sitting in for Megyn Kelly last night, followed her lead. “This broadcast’s policy is to avoid using the names of these mass shooters,” MacCallum said before tossing to senior correspondent Rick Leventhal, who reported from Ft. Hood.

Hillary Clinton Sees Media Double Standard Toward Women

abc_hillary_clinton_nightline_interview_lpl_130129_mnAt a “Women in the World” event in New York City last night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her view of a double standard in how women are talked about in the media, Politico’s Maggie Haberman reports.

“There is a double standard,” Clinton said. “The double standard is alive and well, and I think in many respects the media is the principal propagator of its persistence,” she added.

She added advice for women, suggesting they not take criticism personally, but instead seriously. Clinton’s comments about the media’s gender double standard come a day after a new Women’s Media Center report showed a different issue when it comes to females and the media: a wide gap between the number of female media figures and their male counterparts.

We tallied the cable and brodcast news ratios for you (after the jump).

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Should TV News Report Names of Mass Shooters?

Megyn KellyAs Megyn Kelly opened “The Kelly File” last night, she led with news that the suspected Ft. Hood shooter and four others were dead. She then told her viewers they’d need to go elsewhere to find out the shooter’s name.

“If you are interested, you can get his name on other shows, like the one that preceded this one,” Kelly told her viewers.

Shepard Smith preceded her in the 8pmET hour in place of the “O’Reilly Factor,” which was pre-empted. Smith and other Fox hosts named the shooter.

“We have decided not to name these mass killers as a policy here on ‘The Kelly File,’” she continued, saying she won’t help them achieve the “infamy they seek.”

After the open, Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin referenced the perpetrator as “the shooter,” while Kelly’s first guest, Rep. Michael McCaul, also declined to name the shooter out of respect for Kelly.

Now we’re asking you.

Is Coverage of Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight Anti-Journalism?

Cuomo planeMichael Wolff writes about the ongoing coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight today in The Guardian, calling it “anti-journalism.”

Wolff notes what journalism is supposed to provide—information—and why the lack of it in this story is satisfying viewers and cable news networks.

Journalism exists to provide information. But what’s really compelling is a lack of information – or what is more particularly being called “an absence of empirical data”.

I am hardly the only stick-in-the-mud to observe that the impending takeover of Crimea, a precise piece of geopolitical logistics and confrontation with a full menu of international implications – journalistic red meat – has been blown away by a story with no evident meaning, other than the likely bleak fate of most onboard.

It is, of course, an ideal story for the current journalism era because it costs nothing. Nobody has to go anywhere. Nobody has to cover the wreckage and the recovery. Not only is the story pretty much all just theories – but theories are cheap.

’60 Minutes’ Hovers Over Topic of Drone Use

WilsonImage

When New York local and national media descended on East Harlem Wednesday morning after two buildings exploded, Brian Wilson wasn’t far behind. And he brought along with his DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, a camera-equipped drone that hovered over the scene of the devastation.

“I mostly use it to shoot real estate or sports events,” Wilson told the Daily News. “This was the first time I used it for breaking news.” But Matthew Schroyer, the founder of the Professional Society of Drone Journalism, calls Wilson’s actions “irresponsible” and “reckless.” The image shown above was taken by Wilson’s drone.

As we’ve been reporting on TVNewser and TVSpy, Wilson is among the pioneers in the brave new world of UAV newsgathering. As news divisions discuss how, or even if, to use drones, the federal government is exploring how to regulate them.

Tonight on “60 Minutes” Morley Safer explores the new world of commercial drones (clip after the jump) and talks with Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein about her concerns.

And we’ll be debating the issue of drones in newsgathering at the TVNewser Show, April 29. Click here for more information.

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As Drones Take Off, Concerns Over Legality, Risk, Do Too

DroneGround

The increasing use of drones by media companies is one of the topics we’ll be discussing at the TVNewser Show April 29. This post’s author, attorney C. Andrew Keisner, will be among the guests discussing the issue.

From advertising of real estate and car dealerships to filming Hollywood blockbusters to media coverage of sporting events, examples of advertising & media companies using light-weight UAVs, or Drones, is all around. However, when it comes to using such light-weight UAVs in the United States, the legal risks are frequently misunderstood. And although a recent judge’s decision rejecting a $10,000 fine imposed by the FAA is a welcome outcome for UAV operators and the advertising & media companies that engage them, there are still several risks that advertising & media companies should address before engaging a UAV operator to capture aerial footage.

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Glenn Beck: ‘I Hate Politics. I Always Have’

GlennBeck.Glenn Beck talks to National Review about his transition from HLN to Fox News to TheBlaze. Beck — who recently said that he “made a lot of mistakes” during his time at Fox News — reveals that he never saw his time in television news as a long-term career prospect:

A former top-40 DJ, Beck tells me that his foray into TV news wasn’t meant to be permanent. “I hate politics, I always have,” he says. He was working on a TV drama along the lines of HBO’s Newsroom — about the news of the day and the people who put it together — when, in 2006, he got a call from Headline News, CNN’s sister network.

“We thought, well, might as well get in and figure out how television works and learn on somebody else’s dime,” Beck says. When Fox News came calling in 2008 — he was lured there by Joel Cheatwood, a former CNN executive who had jumped to Fox and who has since joined Beck in his new venture — Beck says he considered that gig a temporary one, too. “I walked in and I really thought, I’ll do this for a while because somebody has to ring the bell and then I’ll get out, and I’m still waiting to be able to pass the bell on to somebody else. Haven’t found him yet, but . . . ” He trails off.

Will NewsmaxTV Be the QVC of News?

NewsmaxTVChris Ruddy is taking a business built on magazine subscriptions, newsletters, self-help books, and vitamin supplements and adding a cable channel to the mix.

Ruddy, the conservative (but registered Independent) co-founder of Newsmax, talks with BusinessWeek about his latest venture, NewsmaxTV, which, starting in June, will broadcast 9 hours a day from new studios in Boca Raton, FL. “Our goal is to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing,” he says. As for the business, Ruddy says he’s prepared to pay cable systems to carry the channel, and can make money in other ways, including selling Newsmax’s consumer products on TV.

Every viewer is a potential customer for his newsletters and vitamins. He’s also exploring partnerships with other conservative media entrepreneurs, including Glenn Beck and David Smith, CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI), which in 2013 bought Washington, D.C.’s ABC affiliate WJLA-TV from Allbritton Communications. “Cable channels are getting between $2 and $8 per subscriber per month in advertising. My view is I need to make 60¢ per subscriber to break even … if I’m paying about 25¢ per subscriber in programming and 35¢ to the distributor. I already have the infrastructure to easily do this.”

The network will remain free on the Web and hopes to be in about 50 million homes through Dish Network, DirecTV and several cable systems. It will be years before NewsmaxTV will be truly competitive with other cable news networks, especially the one it will emulate most, Fox News which has been the most-watched cable news channel for 12 years.  But Ruddy will still try: “If we take 10 to 15 percent of the Fox audience and they are making $1 billion a year, then we are going to be hugely profitable.”

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