Saturday, December 27, 2008

Milk and me

On Views, we often talk about journalists reporting news in an episodic way--without context. It's an easy comment to make--harder work to do. Over the holidays, I saw the film "Milk", about the first openly gay elected official in the country--Harvey Milk, San Francisco supervisor. He was shot and killed by another supervisor, who later committed suicide. All this is detailed in the film.

But, what I didn't realize is that I, as a reporter in Eugene, Oregon, was part of the larger context for the film.

In the late 1970s, I covered the Eugene city council when it adopted an anti-discimination ordinance that included the words "sexual orientation" and the subsequent election to overturn that ordinance. At the time, and as a fairly young reporter, I thought I had done a good job with the coverage--getting to several sides of the issue and mentioning in at least one story the recent history of the US gay rights movement. But, at no point in my journalistic efforts did I connect Eugene, Oregon, to what was going on in San Francisco. I think the closest I got to the larger national context was mentioning Anita Bryant's anti-gay campaign which began in Florida.

I had to wait until 2008 and the Ragtag cinema to see that connection made for me in a film.

By the way, the film itself is worth going to see. Among other things, it shows how Milk built a community and used the media to do it. The film also includes embedded news footage of actual events. What is more discouraging is that the rhetoric--and angst--surrounding this issue has changed very little since I first covered it about 30 years ago.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Views of the News, Dec. 17, 2008

Coverage of the Bush shoe-throwing incident in Iraq ... pay-per-view college football ... the Time person of the year ... and, NPR proves not to be recession-proof. Panelists: Mike McKean, Lee Wilkins, Charles Davis.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

A Few Things to Pass Along...

Hello to all of our (4) followers of this nascent blog....

I'd point your attention to a few cool media snacks, including:

A great Malcolm Gladwell piece on selectivity and education and of course, Mizzou's Chase Daniel...which will make sense when you read it.

A marvelous photo slideshow of the good 'ol days of newspapers...

And a fascinating look at the workaday life of the Fed chairman in a crisis, courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act.

Happy munching.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Views of the News, Dec. 10, 2008

The Chicago Tribune falls into the hands of creditors, and of Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... surprising "bailouts" for out-of-work journalists ... and, the New York Times begins outsourcing front-page reporting. Panelists: Mike McKean, Lee Wilkins, Charles Davis.

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What the Heck is a News Incubator?

If you listen to today's program you'll know we talked a bit about whether and how the Missouri School of Journalism and the Reynolds Journalism Institute should help out-of-work journalists, entrepreneurial journalists, concerned news organizations and non-profits that want to do journalism. RJI Fellow Jane Stevens will be on the show next Wednesday, December 17th, to talk about the "news incubator" concept in more detail. Here are some of her initial thoughts. Why not weigh in with your own so we can add them to the discussion next week?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Views of the News, Dec. 3, 2008

Citizen journalism documents terror in Mumbai ... the media find a narrative for the developing Obama cabinet ... and, a cable news analyst's wartime conflict of interest. Panelists: Mike McKean, Lee Wilkins, Charles Davis.

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