WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Shop Talk

Tri States Public Radio's weekly round table discussion of media related issues featuring News Director Rich Egger and fellow panelists Jasmine Crighton, News Coordinator for the Western Illinois University Department of Broadcasting, and Jonathan Ahl, General Manager for TSPR.

In a piece for The Atlantic, Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC's Meet the Press, wrote journalists must fight back against what he called "the campaign to destroy the legitimacy of the American news media." He said the campaign against the media has its roots in the Nixon administration and achieved great success through the likes of Roger Ailes and his cohorts at the Fox News Channel.

The Shop Talk panelists look back at the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners in the U.S. Two of the jets took down the World Trade Center towers in New York City.  One plane was flown into the Pentagon.  Passengers on the fourth flight fought the hijackers and that plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania.

A video shows Denver police officers telling Susan Greene, editor of The Colorado Independent, that HIPPA supersedes the First Amendment as she tried to photograph them responding to a call on a public sidewalk. They then told Greene to "act like a lady" as they handcuffed and detained her.

The Shop Talk panelists continue a discussion from a couple weeks ago regarding statehouse and investigative journalism.  The panelists also talk about a poll that found 43% of self-identified Republicans said that they believed "the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior." Only 36% disagreed with that statement.

Tri States Public Radio last week reported on Western Illinois University's decision to zero out TSPR's funding as of March 1, 2019.  At least one WIU administrator was shocked the radio station reported the story.

The major party candidates for Illinois governor –Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker -- are spending huge amounts of their own money on their campaigns as well as down ballot contests.  Meanwhile, fewer reporters are based at the Illinois State Capitol to keep tabs on them. 

KTVU-TV, which serves the San Francisco Bay Area, was criticized for its coverage of the stabbing death of 18-year old Nia Wilson. Wilson and her sister, Lahtifa, were attacked aboard a Bay Area Rapid Transit train by a man who slashed them with a knife. 

Tronc recently slashed in half the newsroom at the New York Daily News, and the Belleville News-Democrat also announced the layoffs of veteran journalists.  The Belleville story hit Shop Talk panelist Will Buss especially hard because he worked at the paper until just a couple years ago.

The Poynter Institute reports Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai questioned whether Sinclair Broadcast Group's deal to purchase Tribune Media involved a "possible sham transaction."

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton came across a photo on social media of a TV reporter posing with a politician she had just interviewed. The reporter's comments accompanying the photo gushed about the politician's success and nice personality.

Illinois Public Radio reported a college professor who performed his own audit of how local governments in Illinois handle Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests found the results were better than expected.   

The blog Spark News reported the marketing manager for the radio program module EarthDate appeared to willfully misrepresent the number of stations carrying the program.  Casey Walker told the blog he does mass-mailings of promotional CDs to stations and if a station does not respond to the mailing, he assumes the station is carrying the program.

Rob Rogers was fired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after the newspaper rejected a number of his cartoons that were critical of Donald Trump's presidential policies.  Snopes reported Rogers' firing wasn't based on one single cartoon and that several of his cartoons were spiked this year after a new editorial director joined the paper.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said she recently raised concerns on Macomb News Now's Facebook page when the station failed to identify the source of a story it shared.  Instead of addressing Crighton's concerns, the station deleted her comment and then contacted her, explaining it didn't want to cause a stir.  Crighton feels the station should have publicly responded to her query instead of trying to sweep her concerns under the rug.

The headline for an article in Columbia Journalism Review sums up a concern in journalism: "Digital journalism’s disappearing public record, and what to do about it."

The Shop Talk panelists take a break from discussing the challenges facing journalism to focus on the benefits of belonging to professional development groups that focus on news reporting.

A story on NPR's Morning Edition last week reported GateHouse Media is thriving in the beleaguered newspaper industry. Critics say GateHouse makes money by decimating news operations, but the company said it is saving newspapers with efficiencies of scale.

An opinion piece in the Boston Globe suggested the U.S. should reinstate the Fairness Doctrine if we want to stop the spread of fake news.  The piece is written by Steve Almond, who is author of the new book, "Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country."

Fox News show host Sean Hannity has regularly served as a cheerleader for President Donald Trump but never mentioned the two shared an attorney.  He also fawned over HUD Secretary Ben Carson during interviews without disclosing he bought some homes through HUD programs.

A few weeks ago the Shop Talk crew discussed a reported rise in the number of students enrolling in journalism schools.  This week the panelists debate whether students are as passionate about journalism as they were years ago.

The private equity firm that bought the Denver Post about five years ago has chipped away at the size of the newsroom staff in order to secure larger profits. The paper's editors and reporters recently wrote an editorial critical of what's happening and they used a photo to demonstrate the damage done.

Market Watch reported that the rise of so-called fake news is producing a record number of journalism majors.  The publication quoted one young person who said students are concerned they have not been paying attention and have not held politicians accountable for their actions.

America's News Deserts

Mar 27, 2018

Columbia Journalism Review is asking for help from the public.  CJR wants to create a complete and accurate map of America's news deserts – places with no daily local news outlet.

Kentucky State Police say when they are conducting an investigation they don't want reporters putting out any information about the story until the agency issues its own news release.  And reporters and news organizations that ignore this edict face the threat of being taken off the Kentucky State Police media distribution list. 

CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter reported that conservative broadcasting company Sinclair is requiring its stations to run "scripted" promos that "decry 'fake stories'" from national news outlets.

In an opinion piece on the political website The Hill, Dan Shelley, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), writes about the Journalist Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to assault journalists.  Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) introduced the legislation.

National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the media exploits mass shootings to improve ratings.  “Many in legacy media love mass shootings. I’m not saying you love the tragedy, but you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold," she said. 

The Chicago Sun Times bought a bar in downtown Chicago in 1977 – The Mirage Tavern – and used it to uncover city corruption.  Reporters worked as bartenders and wait staff at the tavern.  Microphones and cameras were hidden throughout the premises. Columbia Journalism Review called it "undercover journalism’s greatest coup" in a recent article that looks back at the investigation.

The movie The Post examines the role the Washington Post played in exposing a U.S. government cover-up that spanned several decades and presidencies.  The Post and the New York Times fought the government for the right to publish classified documents, known as The Pentagon Papers, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the newspapers. 

The Shop Talk panelists continue their discussion about enterprise and investigative journalism.   

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