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IM Interviews

RENAMING PBS: WILL IT BE PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA?

Will the Public Broadcasting Service be changing its name to Public Service Media—along with changing the way it does business? Recently PBS released the 133-page Digital Future Initiative report by a panel co-chaired by James Barksdale and Reed Hundt in which Public Service Media was the theme. To find out what it might mean to PBS and quality journalism, Leonard Witt conducted this IM Interview with Jacoba "Coby" Atlas, PBS's Co-Chief Program Executive. It is part of the Journalism and the Public: Restoring the Trust series of IM Interviews underwritten in part by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

For the interview and more, click here


CARTOONIST: EDITORIAL CARTOONS GOOD FOR JOURNALISM

Last week editorial cartoonists let the Tribune Company have it with their Black Ink Monday protest against the slow demise of editorial cartoons in newspapers. In this Leonard Witt IM Interview Clay Bennett, the Christian Science Monitor's Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist and president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, offers his opinion on why editorial cartoons are vital to the long-term survival of newspapers. Of course, his work on this page is all the evidence one needs. This interview is part of Witt's Journalism and the Public: Restoring the Trust IM Interviews series, underwritten in part by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Key Quote: "Eventually newspapers are going to realize that their best weapon in the competitive journalistic war is the editorial cartoonist. It's going to make economic sense and journalistic sense."--Clay Bennett, president, Association of American Editorial Cartoonists

For the interview and more, click here


NPR REPORTER FRETS ABOUT MEDIA'S CHINA COVERAGE

In this Leonard Witt IM Interview, Rob Gifford, NPR's China correspondent from 1999-2005, talks about the US news media's coverage of China and tells what worries him most. The interview grew out of a lecture and a seminar he recently gave at Kennesaw State University's Year of China lecture series.

For the interview and more, click here


PUBLIC RADIO's RAMIREZ FACES PODCASTERS & CPB

In this Leonard Witt Restoring the Trust IM Interview, Raul Ramirez, News and Public Affairs Director of KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, takes on everything from politically motivated partisan attacks to podcasting. How will they affect public broadcasting? Well read on.

Key Quote: “The best antidote to political attacks is to demonstrate our commitment to journalism, to public broadcasting and to democratic values.”

For the interview and more, click here


WILLEY: JOURNALISTS, AUDIENCES MUST COMMUNICATE

This Restoring the Trust online interview is with Keven Ann Willey, vice president/editorial page editor for The Dallas Morning News, which started its Editorial Blog under her direction in 2003. Now she says because of it, “We are a much more agile, responsive, editorial board.” She adds that with declining audiences there is a sense of urgency that demands that journalists start rethinking how they do business. In addition to this Restoring the Trust Online Interview we have attached an article she wrote in June 2005 for Masthead, the publication of the National Conference of Editorial Writers.

For the interview and more, click here


JOURNALISTS LACK UNDERSTANDING OF MINORITY HISTORY

Part II of the Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte interview. A key quote:

Any contemporary journalist should emerge from college with a hefty understanding of minority history in this country. But the required courses are often as white as the newspapers.

For the interview and more, click here


DE URIARTE: NEWSROOMS' CENSORSHIP BY OMISSION

Dr. Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte, an associate professor at the University of Texas, Austin, makes the case in this IM Interview that “there’s not much intellectual diversity in the newsroom.” Indeed, her argument, backed by research, is that newsrooms are culturally anti-intellectual and that journalism classrooms have lots of room for improvement too.

Key Quote from this IM Interview with Dr. Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte:

Given the track record historically of censorship by omission …and the ongoing distortion of news about minority populations, leaders and issues, the mono-perspective content, the press has long failed its mission to inform.

For the interview and more, click here


SHOULD WOMEN RUN ALL NEWSPAPERS?

Should women be in charge of newspapers? If you agree with Cynthia Gorley Miller’s arguments, there is good reason to believe so. She is a former metro editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, with 22 years experience in news coverage and newsroom management. She now runs the Newsroom Leadership Group, a coaching and consulting team, with her husband Edward Miller. This Leonard Witt, IM Interview, is a part of the Journalism and the Public: Restoring the Trust project, funded in part by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Key Quotes:

In some cases, papers can go days without a female face on the front page. It's no wonder that women see newspapers as a product for someone else.

There isn't any story you can't write in a more interesting way once you start asking yourself, "How does this story relate to women?"

For the interview and more, click here


MAYOR SEX STORY: AWARD WINNER OR ETHICAL MESS?

Was the Spokane Spokesman-Review's investigative reporting, which revealed Spokane Mayor Jim West was trolling for male teenage sex on the Internet, ethically flawed or good journalism? In an IM Interview, Leonard Witt of PJNet, gets Spokesman-Review editor Steve Smith's side of the story.

Key Quote from Interview:
I think our credibility with journalists is hurt. But I think this may be a sign of how disconnected some editors are from the sensibilities of citizens who want their newspapers to watchdog government and do it aggressively.

For the interview and more, click here


MEYER TO NEWS ENTREPRENEURS: FILL THE TRUST VACUUM

Will newspapers vanish? Take a look at my Online Interview below with Philip Meyer, Knight Chair in Journalism at the University of North Carolina and author of The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age. Learn how entrepreneurs might be the saving grace.

For the interview and more, click here


BUZZ MERRITT: NEWS MEDIA MUST REGAIN VIGOR, COURAGE

This interview with Davis “Buzz” Merritt, a founder of the public journalism movement, is the first in a series of Leonard Witt IM Interviews I plan to do over the next year under the heading Journalism and the Public: Restoring the Trust. It is part of a bigger project I am in the midst of starting.

There’s the Dan Rather mess, but I am more concerned about the continuing decline in the public’s confidence in the news media as reflected in the “State of the News Media 2004” report saying,

Public attitudes about the press have been declining for nearly 20 years. Americans think journalists are sloppier, less professional, less moral, less caring, more biased, less honest about their mistakes and generally more harmful to democracy than they did in the 1980s.

And there is a new Gallup Poll, which says “the news media’s credibility has declined significantly, with just 44 percent of Americans expressing confidence in the media’s ability to report news stories accurately and fairly.” These findings demand that something be done.

I hope my little part will be in helping the press, academia and the public search together for ways to create positive change. The emphasis is on “positive change.” It’s too easy to beat up on the news media, it is much harder to find ways to improve the news media.

An IM interview with Buzz Merritt is the perfect starting point because for some 16 years he has been advocating for news media change and recently wrote a book with Maxwell McCombs entitled “The Two W’s of Journalism: The Why and What of Public Affairs Reporting.” So let’s find out what he was thinking back in 1988 when he helped start the public or civic journalism movement and what he is thinking today.

For the interview and more, click here