Saturday, February 17, 2007
Stories are circulating everywhere about a new draft report from the FCC that suggests the agency might push to regulate violence on television. Three years ago a group of Congresspersons asked that such a report be prepared. Because the FCC's authority is currently limited to over-the-air broadcast media, the report apparently suggests that Congress could create legislation that would order "a la carte" programming that would allow consumers to pick and choose among cable channels, an idea that some legislators have floated in the last couple of years. Read more here in an AP article by John Dunbar and in a CNN report here. While numerous folks are buzzing about this draft report, however, I'm not entirely clear on who beyond the FCC commissioners has actually seen copies of it.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and Virginia Commonwealth University have settled a lawsuit with Emily Smith, a high school student, and her parents, over her admission to a summer journalism program sponsored by the Fund and held at VCU. Emily had originally been admitted to the program, admission which was withdrawn, the Smiths allege, because Emily was white. In the settlement just reached, in which anyone admits any fault, the Fund agrees to continue sponsoring the programs, which take place around the country at a number of universities. The Fund agrees that race will not be a factor. "The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund will not sponsor or promote Workshops that do not use race-neutral criteria for the selection of participants." (from the settlement). "The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund will not refer to the Workshops it sponsors as "Summer Minority Workshops" or "High School Journalism Workshops for Minorities". (from the settlement). Read more about the lawsuit and the settlement here in a Chicago Sun-Times article. Read the settlement agreement here.
Olufunmilayo Arewa, Northwestern University School of Law, has published "Open Access in a Closed University: Lexis, Westlaw, Law Schools, and the Legal Information Market," in volume 10 of the Lewis & Clark Law Review. Here is the abstract.
This article considers issues of open access from the context of the broader legal information industry as a whole. The structure and contours of the legal information industry have shaped the availability of legal scholarship and other legal information. The competitive duopoly of Lexis and Westlaw is a particularly important factor in considerations of open access. Also significant is the relationship between Lexis and Westlaw and law schools, which form an important market segment for both Lexis and Westlaw. This Article begins by considering the important role information plays in the law. It then notes the increasing industry concentration that has occurred over the last 10–15 years among legal and other publishers. This industry concentration is believed to have contributed to significant price increases for scholarly publications in scientific and other nonlegal fields. This industry concentration has potentially significant implications for questions of access, particularly in the current environment of increasing electronic dissemination of legal information. In addition to examining characteristics of the legal information industry, this Article also looks at the role of dominant players, such as Lexis and Westlaw, and the ways in which information dissemination has changed with the advent of electronic legal information services, including through new publication models such as SSRN and bepress. Consumers of legal information, including commercial users, law school users, and the general public are also considered, particularly with respect to the implications of legal information industry structure for questions of access to legal information in the digital era.
Download the entire article from SSRN here.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
PBS Frontline has begun broadcasting a new series on "the future of news". Lowell Bergman's NEWSWAR airs on PBS stations around the country and online at www.pbs.org. The website also has additional materials available such as additional interviews and transcripts of the broadcasts. The episodes are also available on DVD and VHS. Part I: Secrets, Sources and Spin aired last night and focused on "The Plame Affair." This first hour covers what will already be familiar to those who have followed the story--the clash between the Administration and the reporters who wrote--or didn't write--about Valerie Plame. Through a variety of interviews the hour puts into perspective the background of and run-up to the Lewis Libby trial and puts in perspective the very real issues at stake.
Here's the notice from a recent Chronicle issue.
The Chronicle of Higher Education seeks interns for the summer 2007 session, which will begin in June. The Chronicle is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The internships are full-time in our Washington, D.C., office and will last until September 2007. In addition to a stipend, academic credit can often be arranged.
The interns' primary responsibilities are reporting and writing brief features for our "Short Subjects" section and daily news articles for our Web site (which usually appear subsequently in print). Other opportunities include writing news articles for the various sections of the paper and doing research for special projects. There is very little grunt work. Interns who prove themselves as reporters and writers are often asked to write full-length features.
The Chronicle places a premium on reporting that is accurate and writing that shines. All writing, including that done by staff reporters, is carefully edited. Interns typically leave with a set of strong, varied clips.
Candidates should send a cover letter, résumé, and a maximum of five impressive clips to:
NO TELEPHONE CALLS
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Historian Ariel Toaff's new book Pasque di Sangue, the title variously translated as Bloody Passovers or Easters of Blood (the book is not available in English), is already causing an explosion in Italy and Israel. In the book Professor Toaff examines the centuries-old allegation that Jews killed Christian children and incorporated their blood into wine and bread prepared for Passover--charges referred to as "blood libel." Medieval and renaissance specialists have refuted claims of blood libel, finally calling them anti-Semitic and racist. Dr. Toaff's employer, Bar-Ilan University, plans to ask him why he chose to present his research in this way. Read more about the book and reactions to it in an AP article here and an article from IsraelNationalNews.com here.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Testifying on behalf of Lewis Libby today, a Washington Post reporter said that former Presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer, not the defendant, told him Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA employee. Walter Pincus was the lead-off witness for the defense in what continues to be a massive "we said, they said" parade of journalists at the Libby trial. Bob Woodward of the Post also testified that Richard Armitage, not Mr. Libby, told him about Mrs. Wilson. Read more here in a Los Angeles Times article.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a Brigham Young University employee has moved his website on polygamy and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to a new host, after university officials told him it wasn't welcome on the school's web server. Jim Engebretsen said the purpose of his website is to provide scholarly information about polygamy and the church.
Canada's broadcasting regulatory agency will investigate whether The Miracle Channel, a religious station, has tried to exert undue influence on its viewers with regard to fundraising.The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission will ask the owners, who have petitioned to set up more transmitters, about some controversial fundraising efforts, including telling viewers to redeem retirement accounts in order to donate to the station. Read more here in a Globe and Mail story.
Do you remember that defamation action filed in a French court by the Barclay brothers against the Times of London? The brothers objected to a Times article that characterized their way of doing business as "swoop[ing] on owners in distress". The French court eventually accepted jurisdiction. Last Friday, the Times printed a "clarification." The Barclays have now dropped the defamation action. Read more in a Guardian story.
Sunday, February 11, 2007