Recently in Spring 2007 Category

Local Journalists Discuss Commitment to Objectivity

LIn a forum event titled “Without Fear or Favor: Objectivity Revisited,” journalists, scholars and members of the public met at Minnesota Public Radio’s (MPR) UBS Forum in downtown St. Paul on February 26 to discuss one of journalism’s most challenging topics: objectivity.

One year after Michael Gallucci was exposed as an anonymous and often-incendiary commentator on a Web site hosted by a New Jersey Internet service provider (“ISP”) with ties to 14 newspapers in the state, the former Teaneck, N.J., councilman filed a lawsuit in a Superior Court of New Jersey. The complaint, dated Feb. 5, 2007, claimed that the ISP’s release of his identifying information was unlawful under New Jersey law and in breach of the user agreement entered into by Gallucci when he first subscribed to the service provided by New Jersey-Online, LLC (“NJ.com”).

On March 26, 2007, a Lancaster County, Penn. coroner faced charges of unlawfully using a computer and conspiring with local reporters to gain access to confidential police information. Following an opportunity to hear testimony from some of the reporters who used County Coroner Dr. G. Gary Kirchner’s password to access a restricted county Web site, Manheim (Penn.) Magisterial District Judge John Winters ordered Kirchner to stand trial on felony charges brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office on Feb. 5, 2007.

Silha Forum Examines Media Coverage of Tragedies

Linda Walker, the mother of the late Dru Sjodin, a University of North Dakota college student murdered in 2003, joined members of the media and the executive director of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation at the Silha Spring Forum, “When Tragedy Strikes, What is the Media’s Role?” The forum, which was co-sponsored by the Minnesota Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the national SPJ, was held on April 24, 2007 at the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center. It was scheduled to coincide with Ethics Week 2007, a week-long event sponsored by the SPJ to raise awareness of the media’s responsibility to minimize harm while reporting the news.

The two largest newspapers in Minnesota are embroiled in litigation after the former publisher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press Paul Anthony “Par” Ridder left the Press to take the same job at the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune in March 2007. The Press filed its 13-count complaint in Ramsey County District Court on April 12, 2007, and prevailed on its first motion seeking access to computers used by Ridder and other Tribune employees on April 20.

Rexvelations that former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald gave the subject of one of his articles $2000 has caused controversy within the journalism community. Eichenwald’s award-winning December 2005 piece focused on the trials and tribulations of Justin Berry, a young man who had extensive involvement in the child pornography industry. The original piece garnered significant attention when it was first released because of Eichenwald’s involvement with Berry, as the reporter helped Berry complete drug rehab and to break away from his previous life. However, neither The Times nor Eichenwald disclosed the payment until March 2007, and the disclosure sparked renewed controversy about Eichenwald’s article, a possible defamation suit by Eichenwald, and prompted a note from The Times’ public editor responding to the criticism. It is against the policy of The Times and most other media organizations to pay sources or subjects of stories.

Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Andres Martinez resigned on March 22, 2007, saying the newspaper overreacted to a “perception of a conflict of interest.”

A week-long scandal that ended in the firing of radio personality Don Imus prompted a wide-ranging debate about whether journalists and reporters who frequented his show condoned outrageous behavior in order to be part of an elite media “in crowd.”

Jay Forman, author of an article about fishing for monkeys off Florida’s Lois Key that was published on Slate.com in June 2001, has changed his story for a third time, saying he made it all up.

In April 2007, The Toledo (Oh.) Blade announced that one of its former photographers had altered 79 of the 947 photos he had submitted, 58 of which the paper published before discovering the alterations. The Blade investigated all of the photos Allan Detrich had submitted since Jan. 1, 2007 after being tipped off that a front page photo of a team of baseball players had been changed when photos taken by other photographers all showed a pair of legs behind a sign which were absent from Detrich’s photo.

Boston Globe Suspends Reporter Accused of Plagiarism

Shortly after allegations surfaced on the Internet that veteran sportswriter Ron Borges had plagiarized passages of another reporter’s work in his weekly football column, The Boston Globe suspended Borges without pay for two months and barred the reporter from appearing on television and radio broadcasts during his suspension.

CBS News Producer Fired over “Omission”

A CBS News producer was fired after it was discovered that a segment she had written for the “Katie Couric’s Notebook” video blog was largely copied from a Wall Street Journal column.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Spring 2007 category.

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