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by Joe Tacopino

12 Apr 2007


The staggering amount of money raised so far for Hillary Clinton’s ’08 presidential campaign should be a cause for concern. Her first quarter windfall of $26 million was conveniently leaked to the Drudge Report on April 1st and was intended to convey a stark message to her Democratic rivals. The numbers were officially released later that day and the media frenzy over the primary finances began (John Edwards raised $14 million, while on the Republican side Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani raked in $21 million and $15 million respectively).

Clinton’s early receipts eclipsed all previous records for fundraising in a presidential primary and set a new precedent for aspiring presidential candidates. The $26 million, however, did not tell the whole story of Clinton’s elaborate fundraising mechanism – one that flouts campaign finance laws and attempts to bury her competition in a mountain of cash.

by Karen Heller / The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT)

12 Apr 2007


Let us, for a moment, table Don Imus’ contemptible language and address the issue of how he and so many other opinionated gabbers came to flourish in the first place.

There is precious little humility or civility left in our national discourse. We don’t have a culture war as much as a breakdown of dialogue. Actually, there’s precious little dialogue. It’s all monologue, on the radio, the television, flooding the Net, with shrill soliloquies of anger, snark-infested humor and uncensored logorrhea that, at the core of it, amounts to more from Me, me, me!

While millions of people tune in to talk radio, they don’t listen. They tune in to be entertained and appalled. They want an aural freak show, the ramblings of an unbridled id. They’re cruising the dial for bad behavior, the kind of talk never permitted at the dinner table or eliminating all chances of a second date.

The issue isn’t a call for censorship. It’s the abandonment of self-censorship. No thought, no matter how stupid, gets left behind.

by Wendy McCardle [McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)]

11 Apr 2007


In still images from the documentary, Editor-in-Chief Jimmy Young looks over the day's paper.(Courtesy Prince Spells/Centre Daily Times/MCT)

In still images from the documentary, Editor-in-Chief Jimmy Young looks over the day’s paper.(Courtesy Prince Spells/Centre Daily Times/MCT)

Like many Americans, Aaron Matthews said he was feeling let down by the media. He tested his lack of faith by putting a campus newspaper in the spotlight of his latest documentary, The Paper, which had its first airing April 7 at the Philadelphia Film Festival. The film is slated for a national airing on PBS as part of its Independent Lens series that begins in October.

Matthews’ film focuses on the staff of Penn State’s student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. It highlights the frustrations and difficulties the staff faces in simply getting the story.

Although the Collegian rivals many campus newspapers, it, like many media outlets, faces declining circulation and disappointment from readers. On a day-to-day basis, its up-and-coming rookie journalists test their morals and beliefs against what is newsworthy, all the while trying to beat the many obstacles that stand in the way of their information.

by Chris Justice

10 Apr 2007


According to its website, Sunshine Week is a “national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.” Public colleges and universities are an extension of state and county governments since the public’s tax dollars partially fund the institutions and since many elected officials often appoint college trustees and administrators. By default, the spirit fueling Sunshine Week’s promotion of open government should be nourishing college campuses. However, it’s becoming less clear why those rays are not shining brightly on campuses.

by Amy DePaul

9 Apr 2007


The Columbia Journalism Review recently published a solid piece that examines media coverage of working mother, relieving those of us who have had it with articles about women who ‘opt out’ and stay at home (as in this New York Times article). Most working mothers report to the office for the same reasons that working fathers do: we need to earn money to pay rent and feed our kids. See E.J. Graf’s refreshing article in the Columbia Journalism Review. And if you’re interested in more varied and authentic portrayals of motherhood than currently offered in Good Housekeeping, see girl-mom.com (teen mothers), mommytoo.com (African-American mothers), mamazine.com (feminist parenting), literarymama.com (self-explanatory), mothersmovementonline.com (political mothers) and others.


The Internet allows news organizations to publish minute by minute updates – often unsubstantiated rumors – on the most ludicrous topics (Anna Nicole Smith) and in this way, yes, it dumbs down journalism. But, the Internet also accommodates lengthier, richer and more thoughtful explorations of overlooked topics than you can find in most print vehicles. That’s why I’m sad that the website sixbillion.org seems to have been left in limbo, with no apparent updates from the third issue, 2005, that is currently available. Sixbillion offers narrative storytelling through text, photography, art, video and interviews, covering a range of stories from the Iraq War to hand-carved gravestones in Rhode Island.  Well, it did, anyway.

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