aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
NPR: fair and balanced for real
It’s expanding its news operation at a time when most others are cutting back. It’s in the midst of a $15 million, three-year plan to add 45 staffers and open new bureaus, including one in West Africa.
But more important, listen to an NPR program for 30 seconds and you know you’re listening to NPR. Unlike its TV cousin, PBS, whose specialties have been cloned by cable networks that siphon off the viewers underwriters want to reach, it’s tough to argue NPR is redundant.
“Public radio has focused on the few things that are unique in the marketplace. That’s why we flourish and they struggle,” said Ken Stern, NPR executive vice president.
NPR is where you routinely hear what’s going on in far corners of the world. Its stations run programs that tell even domestic stories with a texture absent elsewhere on radio. It’s where issues are debated with depth, not volume, and where, occasionally, you hear only silence or birds chirping. And it’s where people casually toss around words like “paradigm” when “model” or “world view” would do.
Being non-profit, they’re free to fill the gap:
“Covering the world is expensive and doesn’t have the same return on investment, the same profit margins, the same return on capital--all things that we don’t care about,” Stern said. “They retreated and that created an enormous vacuum for NPR, and it’s been a conscious strategy to fill that gaping need. And we can do that . . . precisely because we’re non-profit.”
No liberal bias; instead there’s real balance that shows:
Klose and Stern are dismissive of the idea that there is too much of a liberal slant to public broadcasting. That’s been fueled by Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the agency that funnels public money to public TV and radio.
“It’s an urban myth,” said Klose, who worked in Chicago as the Washington Post Midwest bureau chief for four years in the 1980s.
“The problem with Tomlinson isn’t that he disrupted funding or affected our journalism, because that will never happen, but he created smoke,” Stern said. “It’s smoke and people who don’t know us fanned the urban myth.”
According to Stern NPR listenership is “self-identified as one-third liberal, one-third conservative, one-third independent,” and he cited a study by CPB that “showed that we’re one of the most trusted media outlets in the country.”
I still wish they’d kiss off government funding.
Victory in MA
In a 157 to 39 vote defeat, even a co-sponsor voted against the constitutional amendment:
“Today, gay marriage is the law of the land,” Mr. Lees said, noting that same-sex marriage became legal in May 2004. Voting for the amendment, he said, would mean “taking action against our friends and neighbors who today are currently enjoying the benefits of marriage.”
Saying he had heard from over 7,000 constituents, most against the amendment, Mr. Lees added, “Gay marriage has begun and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry who could not before.”
No, he won’t
I like Michael Moore. And I like his films. But I don’t think he’ll do it (and don’t really trust MSNBC “gossip” as a source):
Will Michael Moore turn his cameras on Katrina?
The controversial filmmaker is “seriously considering” turning the devastating storm and its aftermath into a documentary, says a source. “It has all the elements that made ‘Fahrenheit 911’ such a powerful film,Ã¢â‚¬Â� says a source. “The political outrage, the human suffering, and the incredible footage.”
Joe Gandelman says it “seems like it’d fit the pattern.”
I don’t think so. This, I think, fits the pattern.
Google’s blog search
All the basic functions you’d expect from Google search results are present, including ranking results by date or by relevance. (Interestingly, the default is by relevance, like other Google searches, instead of by date, which is the default for most blog displays.) But more importantly, the advanced search offers powerful functionality such as searching by date ranges and limiting to individual blog authors, in addition to features like searching for words in a blog post title or by language, which have been deployed in the past on other services.
The new features in Google Blog Search are useful because of the (perhaps subtle) distinction in how it works, compared to the traditional searches powered by Google’s googlebot indexer. Google Blog Search works by crawling XML feeds, rather than simply crawling the HTML output of a blog. Because feeds are, at least ideally, better structured than the published HTML of most blogs, it’s possible to extract information like authorship of a post in a fairly consistent way.
Via Boing Boing.
“Don’t take it. Make it.”
That’s a Current TV promo phrase I like. But shaping this content into a coherent cable channel is a challenge:
Al Gore’s new cable network, Current TV, is a media smorgasbord of quick, slick and sometimes very interesting short-form video segments targeted at the iPod generation. But it often leaves you feeling cheated out of the main course after a tasty appetizer.
The segments, nauseatingly called pods, run between two and five minutes and comprise a mix-and-match of short films, MTV-type snippets and video blogs. Some of the pods are refreshingly authentic and make the youth-oriented programming on MTV and VH1 look vacuous. Others, however, are smug, unsubstantial and even boorish at times, and seem to finish just at the point where they get interesting.
The short format is partly to blame, but one also senses inexperience and lack of judgment on the part of the producers and editors.
The only elements that work consistently well on the network are the information tidbits provided by Google, such as the top 10 news items searched, or survey data like the value of the global cosmetics market.
That said, Current TV does an excellent job of defining what is emerging as a new network format: televised short-form video, backed up by the kind of web video presence pioneered by sites such as AtomFilms, Ifilm and ZeD TV, among others.