Friday, September 29, 2006
The New York Times reports that Iraq's journalists are finding it increasingly difficult to report the news these days, not just because life is physically dangerous, but because Iraqi laws, some retrieved from before the coalition invasion and Saddam's fall, prevent overt criticism of the new government. Read an article by the Times' Paul von Zielbauer here.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Laura Albert is admitting that she is the real author of the JT LeRoy books, apparently ending months of speculation about who the purported 26-year-old former male prostitute might "really" be. For a time, someone occasionally posed as LeRoy in public--the New York Times identified that person as Savannah Knoop, sister of Albert's former partner. Read more here.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The FCC has revised the rules regarding broadcasters' obligations "to protect and serve children in their audiences." According to a news release dated September 26, ..."modifications and clarifications of the Commission's rules will serve the public interest by ensuring an adequate supply of children's educational and informational programming as we transition to digital television technology. Additionally today's order protects children from excessive and commercial messages in broadcast and cable programming, without unduly impairing the scheduling flexibility of broadcasters and cable operators."
The order makes the following changes:
"§ The website rule – The Order adopts two clarifications to the rule: 1) the rule applies only when Internet addresses are displayed during program material or during promotional material not counted as commercial time; and 2) if an Internet address for a website that does not meet the four-prong test is displayed during a promotion, in addition to counting against the commercial time limits, the promotion will be clearly separated from programming material.
§ The host-selling rule – The Order permits the sale of merchandise featuring a program-related character in parts of the website that are sufficiently separated from the program itself to mitigate the impact of host selling.
§ The promotions rule – The Order revises the definition of “commercial matter” adopted in 2004 to provide additional flexibility for broadcasters and cable operators.
§ The preemption rule – The Order eliminates the cap on the number of preemptions and returns to a case-by-case approach.
§ The multicasting rule – The Order clarifies the limit on the repeat of core programs under the digital processing guideline adopted in 2004.
§ The Order clarifies that certain public service announcements, which are not commercial matter, are not subject to the restriction regarding the display of website addresses. It also clarifies that station identifications and emergency announcements are not subject to the website rules. "
Read the entire press release here.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Citing security concerns, the Deutsche Oper Berlin has decided to cancel its production of Mozart's Idomeneo. As staged, the production includes a scene featuring the severed head of Mohammed, along with Poseidon, Jesus, and Buddha. When the opera house premiered the production in 2003, it drew fire. The director of the opera house said that she had received advice from state officials either to cut the scene, or to cancel the production, because the scene was likely to draw increased criticism and "pose an incalculable security risk to the public and employees." The production was created by the famed and sometimes controversial director Hans Neuenfels, who has also put on productions for the Berlin Comic Opera and the world famous Salzburg Festival. Read more here in an article from MSNBC.com. The director's decision has already elicited criticism. Read more in a Bloomberg News article here.
Conrad Black, who gave up his Canadian citizenship to accept a seat in the House of Lords and who is currently under indictment in the United States, is now seeking to have that citizenship restored. Read more here in a Globe and Mail story.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Students at a Virginia high school are claiming that a planned use of one of the country's most popular plagiarism programs, Turnitin, deprives them of their intellectual property rights. Soon their teachers will require them to submit drafts of their papers to the program in order to determine whether they have properly cited their sources. According to school rules, "only the final version will be graded. Students who refuse to use Turnitin will be given a zero on the assignment." Turnitin, a for-profit company, keeps copies of all papers submitted in its database. Read more in a Washington Post story here.
The Tribune Company, which has been trying to cut costs at its newspapers around the country, including the Baltimore Sun, Newsday and the Los Angeles Times, is still facing intense opposition from the editor and publisher at the Times, but is so far not taking that final step--removing the management at that paper. The Tribune' is responding to demands from shareholders unhappy with the company's performance, but the Times has already cut a number of positions in the past few years and the newspaper's management team fears that more cuts would damage the paper irreparably. Read more here and here.