Saturday, April 25, 2009

Charting "Adverse Events" at Newspapers From 2006 to 2009

Wall Street Journal
Click on image for interactive graphic.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I.F. Stone and the KGB

When new information about Americans who had cooperated with the Soviet KGB began to emerge in the 1990s, no individual case generated as much controversy as that of the journalist I.F. Stone, who had long been installed in the pantheon of left-wing heroes as a symbol of rectitude and a teller of truth to power before his death in 1989. Charges about Stone’s connections with the KGB have been swirling about for more than a decade, prompting cries of outrage among his passionate followers. Until now, the evidence was equivocal and subject to different interpretations. No longer. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

America's Newest Profession: Bloggers for Hire

In America today, there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers. Already more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions than Americans working as computer programmers, firefighters or even bartenders. [Click for MORE] Sphere: Related Content

Where in the World Is Matt Drudge?

A decade after he burst onto the national scene during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, [Matt] Drudge remains one of the most powerful figures in journalism. In the Web 2.0 era--with media outlets unveiling increasingly complex sites that feature multiple avenues for readers to contribute, from comments to Tweets--the Drudge Report doesn't look like much: just an old-fashioned layout consisting mostly of links to articles in other publications, alongside the occasional breaking news story of its own. And yet, because it draws up to 20 million hits per day--and, more importantly, because it is read religiously by Washington's reporters, political operatives, and cable news producers--the site retains a striking ability to dictate what appears in the mainstream press. Indeed, one of journalism's unofficial parlor games these days consists of mining Drudge's site for clues to his proclivities--so that one might figure out how to gain his favor and earn a valuable link.

Drudge owes both his stature and his accompanying fortune--sources believe he makes millions per year off his site--essentially to one thing: his appetite, during the Lewinsky era and afterward, for rummaging further into the lives of public figures than mainstream journalists were willing to go. And that's ironic when you consider the reason that his appearance at the Clinton concession speech created such a frenzy: For the past few years, Matt Drudge has gone almost completely underground. [Click for MORE]

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Knight Commission Invites Public Input
on Community Information Needs

What information do Americans need to accomplish the personal goals and to be effective citizens in our democracy? How are they getting their news and information? And what would they do to improve the quality of news and information available to them?

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy ( has been conducting the first major study in the digital age to identify the information needs of communities in a democracy, assess how and whether those needs are being met, and recommend steps to improve the fulfillment of those needs.

Now the Commission, in partnership with PBS Engage, is seeking public input from citizens across the nation from Tuesday April 21 – Friday May 8, 2009 at The site offers an interactive experience and includes a preliminary draft of the introduction to the Commission’s report, survey questions for the public to answer, highlight videos from some of the public forums and meetings held by the Commission, blogs about the Commission’s work, and a forum for citizens to express their thoughts and opinions.

During the public input period, Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, and Co-Chair of the Commission, will answer citizens’ questions about the Commission’s work via Google Moderator, which enables participants to both submit and vote on questions they think should be answered

The Commission’s upcoming final report will include recommendations for achieving the news and information environment that democratic communities need in order to thrive. The Commission launched in June 2008 with an aggressive agenda to assess the information needs of citizens from a variety of different types of communities in order to make concrete recommendations to public policy makers about improving local information flow. The free flow of news and information in communities is essential to effective democracy. With the digital age transforming media worldwide, reducing traditional journalism in a number of communities, the Commission is focused on how Americans will get the news and information they need to make informed decisions for themselves and for their communities.

Over the past year the Commission held seven public forums and meetings in communities across the nation and heard from more than 100 speakers, including community organizers, educators, journalists from old and new media, labor leaders, technology engineers and strategists, entrepreneurs, futurists, public officials, policy analysts, economic consultants and community foundation representatives. The Commission has also received significant input from an informal advisory network of journalists, academics, and people involved in policy and community work.

The Knight Commission, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, operates out of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program in Washington, D.C. It includes seventeen respected representatives of journalism, communities and public policy with diverse perspectives, including Co-Chairs Mayer and Theodore B. Olson, Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and former U.S. Solicitor General, and ex-officio members Alberto Ibarg├╝en and Walter Isaacson, presidents respectively of Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute. The Commission’s executive director is Peter Shane, a law professor at The Ohio State University, who is advised by a committee of journalists, policymakers and academic experts from a variety of fields. For more information on the Knight Commission, visit

Peter M. Shane
Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law and
Director, Project on Law and Democratic Development
The Ohio State University
Moritz College of Law
55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210

Executive Director, Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy

Phone: 614-688-3014
FAX: 614-688-8422
E-Mail: or Sphere: Related Content

2009 Pulitzer Prizewinners and Nominated Finalists

2009 Pulitzer Prizewinners and Nominated Finalists

Announced at 3:00 p.m., Monday, April 20, 2009 at Columbia University

Click here for finalists, jurors, bios and photos of winners,
winning photos and cartoons, and links to winning stories


Public Service - Las Vegas Sun

Breaking News Reporting - The New York Times Staff

Investigative Reporting - David Barstow of The New York Times

Explanatory Reporting - Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart of the Los Angeles Times

Local Reporting -
Detroit Free Press Staff
Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune, Mesa, AZ

National Reporting - St. Petersburg Times Staff

International Reporting - The New York Times Staff

Feature Writing - Lane DeGregory of the St. Petersburg Times

Commentary - Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post

Criticism - Holland Cotter of The New York Times

Editorial Writing - Mark Mahoney of The Post-Star, Glens Falls, NY

Editorial Cartooning - Steve Breen of The San Diego Union-Tribune

Breaking News Photography - Patrick Farrell of The Miami Herald

Feature Photography - Damon Winter of The New York Times


Fiction - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)

Drama - Ruined by Lynn Nottage

History - The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton & Company)

Biography - American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham (Random House)

Poetry - The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press)

General Nonfiction - Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon (Doubleday)

Music - Double Sextet by Steve Reich, premiered March 26, 2008 in Richmond, VA (Boosey & Hawkes)

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Can Design Save the Newspaper?

Jacek Utko is an extraordinary Polish newspaper designer whose redesigns for papers in Eastern Europe not only win awards, but increase circulation by up to 100%. Can good design save the newspaper? It just might.

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Headline Art

By Stanley Fish
The New York Times

Ever since my first book, “John Skelton’s Poetry,” was misclassified by Books in Print as an edition, I have tried to come up with titles that announced (sometimes in words that were too clever by half) that the content between the covers was original and even outlandish. I think I got pretty good at it — “There’s No Such Thing As Free Speech and It’s a Good Thing Too,” “Self-Consuming Artifacts,” “Professional Correctness,” “Is There a Text in This Class?” — but I can’t hold a candle to the headline writers of the New York Post. I am not thinking only about the famously attention-grabbing headlines like “Headless Body in Topless Bar” (the title of a compilation put into book form by Post staffers), but of headlines that demand interpretive work of a kind usually associated with modern poetry.

In some cases it’s just the work of unpacking the surface of a pun, as when a story about the actor Robert Downey’s platform shoes was headlined “Downey is well heeled” (April 8), or when the catcalls that greeted Astor heir Anthony Marshall’s appearance in court were described as a “Jury of his jeers” (April 3). It is easy to understand after a moment of reflection that “well heeled” is usually a reference to wealth and that the word we are presumed to hear in the background of the second headline is “peers.” (The intention would seem to be to contrast the faux-aristocratic Marshall with his down-to-earth detractors.) [Click for MORE]

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Typeface Inspired by Comic Books
Has Become a Font of Ill Will

Vincent Connare designed the ubiquitous, bubbly Comic Sans typeface, but he sympathizes with the world-wide movement to ban it.

Mr. Connare has looked on, alternately amused and mortified, as Comic Sans has spread from a software project at Microsoft Corp. 15 years ago to grade-school fliers and holiday newsletters, Disney ads and Beanie Baby tags, business emails, street signs, Bibles, porn sites, gravestones and hospital posters about bowel cancer.

The font, a casual script designed to look like comic-book lettering, is the bane of graphic designers, other aesthetes and Internet geeks. It is a punch line: "Comic Sans walks into a bar, bartender says, 'We don't serve your type.'" On social-messaging site Twitter, complaints about the font pop up every minute or two. An online comic strip shows a gang kicking and swearing at Mr. Connare.

The jolly typeface has spawned the Ban Comic Sans movement, nearly a decade old but stronger now than ever, thanks to the Web. The mission: "to eradicate this font" and the "evil of typographical ignorance." [Click for MORE]

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