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.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said she recently filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Western Illinois University.  Crighton told the Shop Talk panel she filed the FOIA to obtain data her students might use for a story. She also filed the request so that she could talk about the FOIA process with her students.  She was surprised by what happened next.

An article on the RTDNA website said local news is not dying if you look to TV.  Kevin Mott, who is a Program Analyst at the Stanton Foundation, writes in the piece that local television news has demonstrated growing revenue, stable employment, and robust viewership. 

As NPR and other news outlets reported, Time has chosen a group of four journalists and the Capital Gazette as its "Person of the Year" for 2018.  The magazine praised them for their work in the so-called "war on truth."

The Student Press Law Center reported that an Arkansas school district censored a high school student newspaper and halted its publication after the paper's reporters raised questions about the transfer of six football players to a rival high school.  The district eventually bowed to public pressure and criticism from journalism organizations and allowed the story to be published.

The student newspaper advisor at the University of North Alabama (UNA) reportedly lost his job because school administrators didn't like a story the paper published.  Journalism organizations have criticized the university and the College Media Association even censured the school.

For Thanksgiving week, the Shop Talk panelists share some thoughts about the aspects of journalism for which they give thanks.  

The White House suspended the press credentials of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta after the reporter angered President Donald Trump during a news conference on November 7.  CNN is suing Trump over the matter.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said she got into it with a worker at the early voting place in the Western Illinois University Union.  The poll worker told Crighton's student reporters they could not video record there.

TSPR' s southeast Iowa reporter Jason Parrott filled in for Jasmine Crighton for this week's program. Parrott told us he was recently at the public library in Hannibal, Missouri, interviewing a candidate for public office when they got kicked out for talking politics.

The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is another example of the dangers journalists sometimes face when working on stories. Khashoggi was a critic of Saudi Arabia's crown prince. Khashoggi fled that country in 2017 and began writing for the Washington Post. He died at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018.  The Saudis said Khashoggi's death was an accident, but Turkey's president said he was brutally murdered.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said the number of men enrolled in the Broadcasting & Journalism program at Western Illinois University far exceeds the number of women. She feels the program's emphasis on sports broadcasting might attract more men than women because professional sports broadcasting continues to be a male-dominated field.

Santa Clara University's website has a piece that looks at the ways social media is changing journalism.  The broad categories are faster, clickier, and more personal.

Shop Talk panelists Jasmine Crighton and Will Buss said their student reporters ran into a dead end as they tried to get information from Western Illinois University and its Office of Public Safety (OPS). The journalists are seeking details regarding a report filed by a woman who said she was followed by a man hiding in some bushes on campus.

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.

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