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 Will Buss, Director of Student Publications at WIU.

What is True?

Oct 8, 2019

The Guardian asked the question: Why can't we agree on what’s true anymore?  This week the Shop Talk panelists examine that question.

Politico recently reported that White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that she is not likely to conduct a White House press briefing anytime in the near future. Politico reported that Grisham criticized the once-regular sessions as an act of "theater" for reporters seeking "to get famous" during the televised news conferences.

Cokie Roberts died this month from complications of breast cancer. She is considered one of the founding mothers of NPR and she is also well known for her work on the ABC television network.

The starting point for this week's Shop Talk discussion is a plan proposed by Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic Party nomination for president. In an opinion piece for Columbia Journalism Review, Sanders wrote that journalism is under assault from Wall Street, billionaire businessmen, Silicon Valley, and Donald Trump. 

President Donald Trump complained on Twitter that Fox New "isn't working for us anymore."  He also tweeted, "We have to start looking for a new News Outlet."

The Poynter Institute reported that the Knight Foundation has announced it is donating $1.2 million to try to make America's newsrooms more diverse.

Americans' News Habits

Aug 21, 2019

An article on the RTDNA website reviews the latest global digital news study from Reuters. The piece is written by Vince Duffy, who is news director of Michigan Radio. 

Newspaper Chains to Merge

Aug 14, 2019

As reported by numerous outlets, the newspaper chains Gannett and Gatehouse will be merging.  Gannett prints 110 daily papers. GateHouse has 156 papers, including several in this region. The deal will formally close by the end of the year.

The Shop Talk panelists talk about the business of educating the next generation of journalists. The panelists said there is no longer a clear division between different skill sets -- today's reporters are often expected to know how to write for print and broadcasting plus have photojournalism skills.  And it can be a challenge for professors to learn all those skills and how to teach them.

The Columbia Journalism Review shared a story about Jon Kelvey.  He’s a 37-year old reporter who works at the Carroll County Times. It’s a small daily newspaper owned by Tribune Publishing Company. The paper is based in Westminster, Maryland.

The CJR reported that Kelvey has a wife and a young daughter, and is the family’s sole breadwinner. His annual salary is $36,500.

The Racist Tweet

Jul 23, 2019

Some news organizations – including NPR and Columbia Journalism Review -- labeled President Trump's tweet about four Democratic congresswomen as "racist." Other outlets were more cautious in their approach, using terms such as "racially charged" and "racist trope."

Financier and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is charged with sex trafficking.  And Politico quoted a federal prosecutor as saying "We were assisted by some excellent investigative journalism," specifically citing the Miami Herald series "Perversion of Justice" by reporter Julie K. Brown.  That’s the starting point for this week's discussion on Shop Talk.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a commentary that states President Donald Trump crossed a line when he accused the New York Times of treason.  The piece noted that the nation’s founders considered treason the gravest of crimes and that tossing around the charge is irresponsible and wrong.

A central Illinois TV weatherman lost his job after he criticized the station’s "Code Red" weather alerts for failing to align with the storm warning language used by the National Weather Service.  WICS meteorologist Joe Crain called "Code Red" a corporate initiative.

The Illinois News Broadcasters Association, the RTDNA, and other journalism groups are criticizing a new policy implemented by Marilyn Hite Ross, who is the new state's attorney in Winnebago County in northern Illinois. The policy dictates that journalists seeking to interview her must submit their questions ahead of time. She will immediately end any interview if a reporter deviates from the approved list of questions.

The Trump administration recently filed new charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.  The charges fall under the 1917 Espionage Act and are connected to the 2010 publication of secret documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Wikileaks also published secret documents related to diplomatic communications regarding dozens of nations. 

Journalists Rate Their Newsrooms

Jun 12, 2019

The Shop Talk panel discusses a recent article in Columbia Journalism Review.  It’s about a former reporter, 27-year old Valeria Sistrunk, who has created (as she puts it) “a tool to come and tell the truth.”

NPR reported that the U.S. Army issued a tweet ahead of Memorial Day weekend with a question for service members and veterans: "How has serving impacted you?"  Soon, thousands of responses began flooding in.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that police raided the home of freelance journalist and videographer Bryan Carmody in response to allegations that he leaked a police report into the death of the city's public defender. Carmody has declined to release the name of the source who gave him the report

The Illinois Times reported State Journal-Register Editor Angie Muhs was escorted out of the building by the paper's general manager after she submitted her resignation. The Times reported the paper's entire newsroom staff accompanied them to demonstrate support for Muhs, who resigned after five years in Springfield.

Law Day was observed on May 1. This year’s theme was "Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society." Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier addressed the theme in a piece shared with media outlets, and media attorney Don Craven talked about the topic during a presentation to a central Illinois bar association.

Poynter recently posted a list of 515 "unreliable" news websites.  Poynter said the list was built from pre-existing databases compiled by journalists, fact-checkers, and researchers.  But the organization withdrew the list after receiving complaints from those on the list and others who objected to the inclusion of certain sites.

Shop Talk panelist and TSPR News Director Rich Egger recently spoke at a conference about what it is like to report on your boss (i.e., Western Illinois University).  Another public radio news director at the conference said he does not report on his host institution even though it receives state money and property tax dollars.

NPR recently reported on a study by the group Reporters Without Borders, which found the United States has become a less safe place for journalists.  The group dropped the U.S. to No. 48 out of 180 on its annual World Press Freedom Index, which is three spots lower than its place last year.

Scientific American recently conducted a study that found newspaper closures are linked to partisanship. The publication used voting data from across the country over a four year period.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week that a group of House Republican lawmakers in Georgia filed legislation to create a state Journalism Ethics Board. The newspaper reported the board would create "canons of ethics," issue advisory opinions, develop voluntary accreditation, and set up a system for investigating complaints and sanctioning accredited violators of such canons.

The Guardian reported Facebook's effort to establish a service that provides users with local news and information is being hindered by the lack of outlets where the company's technicians can find original reporting.

Bradley University athletics recently denied a so-called "extra coverage opportunity" to Peoria Journal Star reporter Dave Reynolds.  Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Jason Veniskey and Men's Basketball Coach Brian Wardle reportedly told Reynolds that he failed to "promote the Bradley brand" and was not wanted around the team as it prepared for its first trip to the NCAA tournament in 13 years.

Let the Sun Shine In

Mar 19, 2019

Many journalism groups across the county observed Sunshine Week last week.  Sunshine Week serves as a reminder of the role journalists play as watchdogs in ensuring open and transparent government. 

Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) reported that Craig Forman, the President and CEO of the publishing company McClatchy, recently emailed employees to let them know 450 staffers will be offered early retirement.  CJR also reported that Forman's take-home pay from McClatchy in 2017 was $1.7 million, excluding restricted stock. And his newest contract with the company includes a base pay of $1 million, a bonus of $1 million, and an additional $35,000 monthly stipend.