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Posts Tagged ‘Kelly McBride’

As Journalists Become the Story, Will the Rules Change?

Will news organizations’ boycott of the Attorney General’s ‘off-the-record’ background sessions last week change the rules of the game between government sources and media?

On the record: Doubtful, at best.

“It won’t change anything,” says Alex S. Jones, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. “In Washington, media will continue to deal with administration sources, brokering access and information for pledges of confidentiality.

“It’s a pernicious practice, and very widespread, but it’s how business is done.”

Embattled AG Eric Holder held meetings with top Washington journalists Thursday and Friday to discuss concerns about Department of Justice guidelines for dealing with journalists in investigations of possible security leaks.

The New York Times, CNN, CBS News, NBC News and the Associated Press, among others, passed on Thursday’s meeting because of its off-the-record requirement. At that gathering, however, the DOJ blinked, and news outlets were told they could report on ‘general’ topics of discussion.

Thursday attendees included The Washington Post, Politico, New Yorker, Daily News and The Wall Street Journal. ABC News, the lone network representative last week, met with Holder Friday, along with USA Today and Reuters, which had initially said no to Thursday.

David Westin, ABC News president from 1997 through 2010, agrees with his alma mater’s decision to attend and says it was “smart” of the DOJ to modify its rule.

“News organizations are in the business of reporting news, not keeping it secret,” says Westin. “This happens from time to time. It’s part of a larger issue with the White House itself. It’s part of the normal give-and-take, back-and-forth of the press covering the administration.”

In Westin’s view, Holder’s sessions presented a particular challenge in that the news outlets were also principals in the story. “They were asked not as reporters, but as people being affected by the Justice Department.”

Going further, Harvard’s Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the New York Times, says the meetings served as de facto press conferences, regardless of Holder’s intentions, and that Holder was “naïve” to think otherwise.

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Al Sharpton’s Role as Host/Activist ‘Confusing’ but ‘the Way We Are Moving in the Journalism Industry’

MSNBC president Phil Griffin, is responding to critics of his 6pm host Al Sharpton for being both a activist in the case for Trayvon Martin and a chronicler of the story on his nightly program. Griffin, (right with Sharpton receiving an award from Sharpton’s National Action Network last year) tells the AP’s David Bauder, “We didn’t hire Al to become a neutered kind of news presenter. That’s not what we do.”

Griffin, talking before Monday’s show, said he hadn’t seen any conflict with Sharpton’s role on and off the air in the Martin case. He said Sharpton had fulfilled his requirement to honest and upfront about his activities, and credited “PoliticsNation” with helping to make it a national story.

Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute chalks it up to a sign of the times. “I’m not saying this is without problems,” she tells Bauder. “I think it’s very confusing. But it’s certainly the way we are moving in the journalism industry.”

CNN ‘Manipulated’ by the Tea Party?

The day after Fox News partnered with Google for a GOP primary debate, there is still criticism of CNN partnering with the Tea Party Express for a debate last week.

In an article published today, the American Journalism Review questions whether CNN’s partnership with the Tea Party presents a conflict of interest.

“I think it runs the risk of harming their credibility,” says Kelly McBride, senior faculty for ethics reporting and writing at the Poynter Institute. “The audience could perceive the debate as a Tea Party event, meaning that CNN loses its independence.”

CNN’s DC bureau chief Sam Feist points out that CNN had editorial control of the debate, chose the moderator and paid all expenses.

Ed Fouhy, former executive vice president of CBS News and executive director of the presidential debates in 1988 and 1992, says he and other journalists were appalled by CNN’s decision, and would have argued strongly against entering any such relationship. Not only is it an ethical issue, he says, but it raises questions about CNN’s ability to evaluate such offers and the motives behind them.

“It seems to me the Tea Party, a very young and controversial institution, used CNN’s name and reputation to gain legitimacy and standing through this alliance,” Fouhy says. “CNN, in short, was manipulated.”

NBC Issues Apology For Omitting God From Pledge Of Allegiance Video

NBC apologized Sunday for removing the words “Under God” from a reading of the Pledge of Allegiance during an intro video prior to the U.S. Open Golf Championship Sunday.

The network skipped over the phase twice and issued the following apology on air:

“We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago. When we did, it was our intent to begin our coverage of this US Open championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship, held in our nation’s capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone, and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”

 

MLB.com's At Bat App Gets Opening Day Update

MLB.com’s At Bat application for mobile devices is getting an Opening Day update today.

There are a number of improvements to the iPad, iPhone and Android versions of the app, and include added functionality and new features.

Some of the biggest features are free MLB.tv access for the month of April, sponsored by Volvo, allowing users to watch any out-of-market MLB game on their device live.

Key plays and pivotal moments, as well as live look-ins to games, all blackout-free.

Archives games, letting users see any 2011 game on-demand.

In addition, the iPad app gets a redesigned Gameday pitch-by-pitch look, with images of every ballpark now used for the screen instead of a generic stadium. The images are from the video game MLB ’11 The Show

On the iPhone and Android apps, check-in functionality with venue information has been added to the app, giving users bonus features when they check-in at the ballpark.

More information in MLB.com’s press release, after the jump.

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