Archive for Future of journalism

Face it, globalization is here to stay. There are so many links between the rest of the world and local businesses.

And that goes for political rhetoric as well.

To hear some circles tell it, the United States is a lousy place to set up and run a business. Well, the World Bank disagrees. And they back up their conclusion with facts and figures.

Take a look at my take on this issue here: Global business rankings and why it matters locally

For student journalists, this report could be a good starting point for some stories that are informative and out of the ordinary. Such as:

  • Interviews with the university’s business department about the micro and macro impact of business laws and regulations.
  • A comparison of what the report says with LOCAL business regulations
  • A set of interviews with foreign companies with LOCAL offices near the university.
  • A discussion with business majors from other countries about their perspectives on the report, what they are learning in their classes and what they have learned about the American business climate.

The “take away” on this point is simple: Local issues often have an international connection and international events can easily reach right down to your street corner.

All it takes is for a reporter to think beyond the mantra of “Local! Local! Local!” to see the connection.


Sept. 12 – The Gallup group released a survey today about American attitudes about marriage between whites and blacks.

The survey results shows positive steps forward:

Americans are approaching unanimity in their views of marriages between blacks and whites, with 86% now approving of such unions. Americans’ views on interracial marriage have undergone a major transformation in the past five decades. When Gallup first asked about black-white marriages in 1958, 4% approved. More Americans disapproved than approved until 1983, and approval did not exceed the majority level until 1997.

Of course, I still wonder about that remaining 14 percent. Surely the KKK cannot have that much support among the American electorate.

Then I looked more closely at the numbers.

The real progress and hope for America comes from the under generations under the age of 65.

The 18-29 year old group approves — or does not disapprove — of interracial marriages by a whopping 97 percent. Meanwhile, the grandparents (and in some cases parents) of those young people approve by only 66 percent.

This trend is mirrored in other social issues.

A Pew Center report on attitudes toward same-sex marriages matched anecdotal information and the Gallup survey of inter-racial marriage:

A plurality of seniors worry that gays and lesbians cannot be as good parents as other couples (by a 47% to 37% margin). By comparison, people under age 30 believe gay couples can parent just as well by a 69% to 29% margin.

So there is hope.

But let’s return to the Gallup survey and learn a bit about putting this whole thing in perspective. Or as we journalism instructors like to say: “Context.”

According to the Gallup survey, in 1968 about 20 percent approved of inter-racial marriage. That number is significant because just a year earlier the U.S. Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court struck down the Virginia law that outlawed marriages between a white person and a black person. In his opinion handing down the court’s decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote:

There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.

These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival… To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.

Very clear and direct writing. (Another example for journalists to follow.)

Journalists in Virginia and the Washington, DC area should pay attention to the Gallup survey with the Loving case in mind. The lawyer who argued the case for the Lovings was Bernard S. Cohen, a lawyer and former state legislator from Alexandria.

In 2007 — the 40th anniversary of the Loving decision — Cohen put the Loving case in the context of the current debate over same -sex marriages. He questioned the argument of “let the states decide” in 2007 as he did in 1967:

When the U.S. Supreme Court got Loving right, the polls showed 70 percent still opposed to interracial marriage. Imagine the injury to our nation if the Court had flinched, or if the opposition had prevailed with arguments like “let the people vote” or attacks on “activist judges,” and had cemented discrimination into our Constitution, as in Hawaii.

There is a lot to learn from history and many ways for journalists to take those lessons and apply them to today’s issues.

But first you have to know the history.

Got just a short posting about a friend’s review of the world’s highest bar. (FYI, it’s in Hong Kong.)

The issue of who pays for the food and drink at a restaurant to be reviewed for most Americans is a no-brainer. But that is not necessarily so in the rest of the world. And my friend even has to refer to it in her blog.

Take a look and tell me what you think the ethics are in this situation.

Highest bar and journalism ethics

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Many thanks to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing for pointing out this great CNN story about “newspaper landlords” who rent the want-ads by the minute.

Is this the wave of the future of newspaper readers?

First posted at DC SPJ.

Storify is a great resource to assemble social media postings into a coherent story.

Andy Carvin of NPR has been in the forefront of working social media to tell the story of the Arab uprisings.

His latest example is a Storify posting that quickly debunked an assertion that Israeli arms were being used by the Libyan forces against the insurgency.

It is well worth a look for the story itself but also how Carvin was alerted to the story, how he fact-checked it and how he assembled it.

How to debunk a rumor.