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Permanent link to MTA daily media news

Readers Respond to ‘Fundamental Truths’ About Our Business
My recent essay, “The Fundamental Truths of Our Business” — questioning the tech-driven counsel of media consultants and advocating not just interactivity but interaction with our audience — hit home with many E&P readers.

J-School Jobs Hit A Plateau
After a couple of year of bullish news, the new annual survey of 2006 journalism and communication graduates finds the job market leveling off. Still, despite sobering data on benefits and salaries as well, many of those choosing a career in an industry in turmoil seem pretty happy.

Visualized news
Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation wonders about extending the idea in the infrastructure project into her territory: tracking Congress… How about mapping a politician’s donors to see how much comes from local support vs. outside interests (i.e., how much comes from Washington itself)?.. How about mapping that against corporate headquarters in industries (e.g., someone on a health oversight committee gets lots of donations from New Jersey because there are so many pharma companies there)?… What else?

China jails writer for subversion, disbars lawyer
BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese court jailed a dissident Internet writer for four years on subversion charges on Thursday for posting anti-government articles online, his disbarred lawyer said, the latest case in a government crackdown on dissent.

McClatchy is contradicting Pentagon claims that bombings and civilian casualties are down: (by Juan Cole)
“U.S. officials say the number of civilian casualties in the capital is down 50 percent. But U.S. officials declined to provide specific numbers, and statistics gathered by McClatchy Newspapers don’t support the claim…” You will hear the Pentagon claim about less violence (!) repeated ad nauseam on all the cable television news channels and in the major print media. You won’t hear anyone say that McClatchy’s figures dispute the claim.

Mythbuster: Our newest war
[Newt] Gingrich is obviously trying, as have so many nativists before him, to blame immigrants for bringing crime to our shores. Nevermind that it’s clear that the crime rate among Latino immigrants is lower than that of the general population, and most other ethnic groups as well, including whites. What matters, for Gingrich, is exploiting sensational cases for political gain, as always at the expense of people who are essentially powerless.

Boortz said Muslims are “sort of like cockroaches,” continued to attack “Media Myrmidons”
On his radio show, Neal Boortz claimed that because “Muslims don’t eat during the day during Ramadan” and “fast during the day and eat at night,” they are “sort of like cockroaches.” Immediately following the remark, Boortz said, “I did that for Media Myrmidons” — his term for Media Matters for America.

On Hardball, Time‘s Duffy said Dems have alienated religious voters for the last 25 years
[G]iven that some 90 percent of Americans say that they believe in God (according to polling, which has been consistent over many years), and given that in the last 25 years, Americans have elected a Democrat to two presidential terms, and a second won the popular vote, a substantial number of religious voters must be voting for Democrats.

Stevens: Local Paper Out to “Assassinate Me”
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) finally stood up for himself. He called out the Anchorage Daily News for trying to destroy his credibility during an interview with its editorial board last week. Presumably Stevens is upset about coverage of events like the FBI raid of his Girdwood home, which marked the first time in history federal investigators searched a sitting U.S. senator’s residence.

Check, Please!
One suggestion (plea?): when reporting on a given day’s mudslinging, instead of ghettoizing the “fact-checking” into a handy list of bullet-points shoehorned into an article — a technique popular during the 2004 election — why not apply this sort of skepticism throughout the entire piece, to each and every claim and counter-claim?

Tribune Denies Report That Zell Deal May Be Fading
NEW YORK Bloomberg is reporting that despite analyst rumblings to the contrary, Tribune said its $8.2 billion sale to a group led by billionaire Sam Zell is still on. This disputes claims that the odds of the deal closing as scheduled are no better than 50-50.

Celebrity-focused magazines see circ gains in first half of ’07
Circulation of OK! Weekly jumped 54% from the first half of 2006 to the first six months of 2007, while US Weekly, In Touch Weekly and Life & Style Weekly all rose 5% to 10%. Another winner is the North American edition of The Economist; its circulation went from 601,000 to 694,000. Time’s circulation dropped sharply, to 3.4 million from 4.1 million, a 17% decline that resulted mostly from a planned retrenchment announced last year.

Economist publisher says Americans like his mag’s witty style
Paul Rossi, the North American publisher for the Economist, says Americans appreciate the British weekly’s “witty and irreverent style” and “they see our British perspective as refreshing. You only have to look at the success of other British media here — BBC, for example — to see that people are open to other views and styles.” RE BYLINES: Don’t expect to see them in the Economist any time soon.

My favorite story from The Economist: An election correction
(From Nov 15th 2001, just after the newspaper consortium announced the results of its “examination” of the Florida ballots from the 2000 election)
In the issues of December 16th 2000 to November 10th 2001, we may have given the impression that George Bush had been legally and duly elected president of the United States. We now understand that this may have been incorrect, and that the election result is still too close to call. The Economist apologises for any inconvenience.

New Owner to Combine Men’s Magazines
Alpha Media Group will turn Stuff magazine into a section of Maxim, while keeping as a stand-alone Web site.

Ziff Davis Won’t Make Interest Payment Due Today
Ziff Davis Media Inc. announced that it is exploring options to restructure its debt and will not make the scheduled interest payment due today on its senior subordinated compounding notes due in 2009… “This is the first step in the public, ugly dismantling of one of the most storied companies in our business,” says one source.

DirecTV Goes for the Triple Play
DirecTV has concluded a wholesale distribution agreement with Current Group that will enable the satellite broadcaster to begin offering high-speed Internet and VoIP services over Current’s Broadband over Powerline (BPL) networks, which are currently under construction in Dallas-Fort Worth and Cincinnati.

DirecTV tries new offense for NFL coverage
NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – When DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket premium package kicks off September 9, it will break new ground not just on TV but also online. For the first time, DirecTV will offer up to 11 game telecasts a week online to subscribers to its SuperFan package.

Sonos, Sirius bring Stern, Playboy to homes
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Sirius Satellite Radio — more popular in automobiles than in living rooms — is making it easier to get Howard Stern, along with dozens of commercial-free channels, on home-based radios. The company is set to announce Wednesday that it has struck a deal with Sonos for streaming most Sirius channels, by way of the Internet, through home stereo systems.

Chinese wizards work their magic with Potter
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese students have worked their magic on Harry Potter, translating the latest instalment within hours of release of the English version, state media said on Thursday.

Fox Caught Changing Competitors’ Wikipedia Entries
It’s been uncovered that Fox News has been making changes to the Wikipedia entries of their competitors and critics. Edits made to author Al Franken’s Wikipedia entry was tracked back to a Fox News IP address. One of the changes to Franken’s Wikipedia entry about the lawsuit against him, brought on by Fox, clearly reflects Fox News’ desire to avoid any bad press or misgivings about itself as a brand.

Mobile Social Networks Growing Worldwide
A report from M:Metrics indicates that mobile social networks are growing worldwide, with MySpace taking the biggest chunk of mobile users in the US and the UK.

Pharmacos Spend Big on Ads
Drugmakers’ spending on consumer advertising is growing fast, a new study finds. Can efforts to curb TV drug ads keep up?

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