IRE to bring training workshop to town
Want to improve your investigative reporting? Want to know how
to use the federal Freedom of Information Act to uncover stories.
Want to know ways to dissect a business or learn methods to find
and cultivate sources?
The Hawaii Pro Chapter of SPJ and the University of Hawaii School of Journalism is sponsoring a Better Watchdog workshop at UH-Manoa on Nov. 8.
The program, organized by Investigative Reporters and Editors, costs $47 and $27 for students. The costs cover lunch. Parking will cost $3. To sign up go to www.ire.org/training/betterwatchdog.
What happened at the national convention
By Susan Kreifels
Chapter Vice President
TAMPA, Fla. -- The quality of U.S. media coverage of the war in Iraq sparked a lively debate at the opening session of the 2003 SPJ National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
The Sept. 11-13 convention, which attracted more than 600 journalists from across the nation, started with a program titled "War, Words and Images: U.S. Coverage of Conflict." Controversy focused on whether imbedded journalism had led to solid coverage of the war or reporters who became too cozy with the U.S. military.
The panel included Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist, The New Yorker; Kerry Sanders, an imbedded journalist for NBC; Juan Tamayo, an imbedded journalist with the Miami Herald; and Bryan Whitman, deputy assistant secretary of defense, media operations, U.S. Department of Defense.
Sanders said imbedding worked well for NBC. Being able to report live from the battlefield offered an "unfiltered aspect" of the war. The public, he said, could see for itself the fighting without interpretation by the reporters or
policymakers. Sanders added that he was never harassed by military "minders."
Tamayo, who was assigned to the command headquarters, said all reports from the headquarters had to be submitted for review. Although journalists were reluctant to follow this request, they had no choice. But he said they were never censored for political views or negative news, only for information that might have jeopardized the security of the troops. Both Sanders and Tamayo said they had open access to the military while being imbedded.
Tamayo said reporting by the imbedded journalists had been "closer to the truth" than information coming out of Washington D.C., noting that the initial Jessica Lynch stories came from Washington, not the field.
Both Sanders and Tamayo said they had remained in touch with many of the military members they covered.
Whitman said the concept of imbedded journalism was still being assessed but he had been confident from the beginning that reporters and military commanders could work together and that the experience had built trust and
respect on both sides. He added that now there were 600-700 journalists who knew how to report on the military compared to 40-50 defense reporters before the war.
Then came Hersh. "I hate to pee on the parade," he told the audience. Hersh launched into sharp criticism of "imbedding, which was very scary to me. It put reporters in a position of being advocates. It's not our job to be part
of a unit. Our job must be more adversarial."
Hersh, the reporter who broke the My Lai massacre story during the Vietnam War, said imbedded journalism "kept up from reality for awhile...We have lost so much in this war."
DOD's Whitman disagreed. "Anyone who thinks we are losers are dead wrong. We are safer now." He said the only journalists complaining about "advocacy" were from "the reporters who sat in Washington, not the ones in the battlefield." He also said the idea of imbedding journalists arose from the media themselves.
Related to war reporting was the post-traumatic stress disorder that journalists can experience after covering horrific news events. David Handschuh, a photographer for the New York Daily Times, was injured while covering the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Handschuh suffered PTSD and asked to be removed from covering any violent or traumatic stories in the future. He now shoots for the food section.
Continued on Page 3
Handschuh led a session called "Aftershock," discussing the need for newsrooms to offer help for journalists covering traumatic events. He has been working with the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, a global network of journalists, journalism educators and health professionals dedicated to improving media coverage of trauma, conflict and tragedy. For more information, see www.dartcenter.org.
Daniel Inouye weighs in on FCC rules governing concentration of media ownership
On Sept. 11, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye spoke on the Senate floor
about the measure to override Federal Communications Commission
rules governing media concentration of ownership:
Mr. President, I rise today in support of S.J. Res. 17, the bi-partisan resolution offered by Senators Dorgan, Lott, and others that would repeal rule changes recently adopted by the Federal Communications Com-mission that, if allowed to go into ef-fect, could dramatically alter the shape of the American media land-scape.
The foundation of our democracy is based on the free flow of information guaranteed by the first amendment. As the Supreme Court explained more than 50 years ago, the first amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the people." Unfortunately, the FCC's recent changes to its broadcast media ownership rules call into question. that agency's commitment to this fundamental principle.
On June 2 of this year, the FCC voted to significantly relax rules that protect the American people from the ill effects of concentrated media power. Al-ready, in- television and in print, large media conglomerates control an alarming amount of what Americans see, read, and hear. In fact, 75 percent of what Americans watch during prime time and 90 percent of the top 50 chan-nels on cable are controlled by just five media companies.
Against this backdrop, the FCC's de-cision to allow greater concentration of ownership is clearly a step in the wrong direction. If allowed to go into effect, these rules will result in- fewer creative outlets for independent tele-vision and contest producers; higher ad rates for large and small businesses; fewer antagonistic sources of news and opinion; and less air time for commu-nity groups. In addition, there may be growing reluctance by local station operators to take on network executives in rejecting nationally produced programming that violates community standards.
Some Members contend that "[t]here should be reasoned debate on each of the rules" rather than disapproving the entire package. I fully agree that there should be reasoned debate on each of the rules. That is exactly what I, along with 14 other senators. asked FCC Chairman Michael Powell to do - to give Americans the opportunity to re-view and comment on the specific rule changes before any final decision by the FCC. Our request was denied.
While recent action by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in staying the implementation of these new rules is an encouraging sign that these changes may not survive judicial scrutiny, we in Congress should not rely on court action. Instead, we must act decisively to protect the public interest and to rescind these recently adopted rules.
Dates of Interest
Get your Gridiron 2003 tickets now
Get your Gridiron 2003: Media Molesta tickets now.
Sorry. ticket sales are going at a brisk pace, and a sellout is expected. Please buy early and often. (OK, that was plagiarized. OK, not really but the intent was and this isn't Chicago)
Speaking of Chicago, a parody of All that Jazz will appear in the Gridiron.
As well as parodies to songs from Les Miserables, Rick James, Ricky Martin and Mame.
The Salvinia molesta theme will be parodied: "For you a lake of pond plants rare. For you a lake devoid of air"
And Linda Lingle will play a prominent role this year defending her administration.
The show will be Oct. 24-25 at Diamond Head Theatre, 520 Makapuu Ave Tickets are $55 for really good seats and $45 for good seats.
Call 216-2983 or go to the Web page at www.gridironhawaii.org
Nominations for the board of directors and officers of the
Hawaii chapter will be taken at noon Oct. 5 in the conference
room of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana, Room 210.
Nominees must be members of the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Those submitting nominees' names must have the nominees' consent.
The terms of office will run from Jan. 1, 2004, to Dec. 31, 2005.
Gridiron, internship program honored by national
"In a world of unpaid internships for struggling student chapters, the small but effective Hawaii Pro Chapter funneled proceeds from its successful annual gridiron show into 14 print, broadcast and public relations internships. The full- and part-time work comes with decent pay and offers an incredible variety of opportunities from wire services to trade publications. Full-time summer interns earn more than $3,200. The chapter seeks to find the best match for both the media outlet and the student. This was an innovative approach to encouraging collegiate journalism."
-- Robert Leger, national president