The Report an Error Alliance MediaBugs You Don't Have To Like Edward Snowden Breaking news pragmatically: Some reflections on silence and timing in networked journalism Speak only if it improves upon the silence. —Mohandas Gandhi Last week’s coverage of the events in Boston showed how much the networked press needs to better understand two things: silence and timing. The Internet makes it possible for people other than traditional journalists to express themselves, quickly, to potentially large audiences. But the ideal press should be about more than this. It should be about demonstrating robust answers to two inseparable questions: Why do you need to know something now? The broadest definition of the networked press is a system that attends to, represents, circulates, and amplifies publicly meaningful perspectives. At best, the networked press told people important, time-sensitive information; it fostered empathy and thoughtful action; and it helped to create a sophisticated public ready to prosecute this tragedy and prevent future ones. To be sure, there were bright spots. Silence I mean silence as the thoughtful absence of speech. Timing
The Saudi Cables Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media On Monday, Saudi Arabia celebrated the beheading of its 100th prisoner this year. The story was nowhere to be seen on Arab media despite the story's circulation on wire services. Even international media was relatively mute about this milestone compared to what it might have been if it had concerned a different country. How does a story like this go unnoticed? Today's release of the WikiLeaks "Saudi Cables" from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs show how it's done. The oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its ruling family take a systematic approach to maintaining the country's positive image on the international stage. Documents reveal the extensive efforts to monitor and co-opt Arab media, making sure to correct any deviations in regional coverage of Saudi Arabia and Saudi-related matters. "Contain" and "Neutralise" The initial reaction to any negative coverage in the regional media is to "neutralise" it.
Confessions of a Paywall Journalist by John Heltman November/December 2015Confessions of a Paywall Journalist Thanks to a booming trade press, lobbyists and other insiders know what’s happening in government. The rest of the country, not so much. By John Heltman Back in 2009, I had a job with a Washington, D.C. One of my responsibilities at the newsletter was to check the Federal Register—the official portal that government agencies use to inform the public about regulatory actions. Curious about that finding, I called Richard Charter, an environmentalist, oil-drilling expert, and senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation to ask him what he thought. But the more important issue, Charter said, was the hopeless inadequacy of the government’s oversight of offshore oil drilling. The dangers were not hypothetical, Charter said. I thanked Charter for his time and wrote my story about the EPA permit, ignoring the broader issue of oil platforms or their environmental risks. But I couldn’t have followed that lead even if I had wanted to.