Beyond press release journalism and official stories

Police break up Colorado drug ring! Oops — no, they didn’t. What actually happened: police arrested 40 people on the basis of unreliable and vindictive informants, splashed their names and faces all over local front pages and TV news, and later dismissed all the charges. This story of policing — journalism — gone wrong demonstrates the perils of relying on the “official story.” Continue Reading

VIDEO: Journalists discuss #Pointergate

UPDATED Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 1:58 pm.The Society of Professional Journalists – Minnesota Pro Chapter, along with the Twin Cities chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association, as well as the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law and the Minnesota Journalism Center, hosted a panel discussion on the recent Pointergate issue in our local community.KSTP-TV sent a letter, but opted not to send a representative to the panel. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, the subject of the story, also declined to appear.The panel discussion happened at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs – Cowles Auditorium – 301 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455.See the MNSPJ, TCBJ and AAJA statement for background on the story.Read more TC Daily Planet coverage of #Pointergate. Continue Reading

OPINION | Less scrolling and scanning, more digesting

Tied to our electronic devices, most of us do a lot of scrolling these days: scanning our Facebook newsfeeds and tweets, skimming favorite blogs and online news sources. The result, says Nicholas Carr (“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains), is that we’re losing our capacity to concentrate, contemplate, reflect, even as what we’re reading is often purposely kept shorter in response to our shortened attention spans. All of this has consequences for the quality, depth, and tone of the discourse that we can engage in about important matters.

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Media forum: Finding voice beyond the dominant

The importance, and the difficulty, of gaining a voice to tell one’s own story was the underlying theme of the annual Twin Cities Media Alliance Fall Forum Nov. 8. The forum’s keynote speaker, Nekima Levy-Pounds, expressed concern that minorities, especially African-American men, are portrayed in only one dimension in the local media, and are seldom the authors of their own narratives.Levy-Pounds, Professor of law at St Thomas University, told the audience at the early November event that television, print and online news play a huge role in how people of color are seen, and that role is often not a benign one. She noted that most news stories about minority men describe either athletes or those in contact with the criminal justice system, and that “negative perceptions of young black men influence laws and policies.” She also stressed that “the African-American community in the Twin Cities is not monolithic, and we deserve to be heard in all our differences.”Watch video from the Daily Planet’s Fall Media Forum.Levy-Pounds referred to the recent KSTP story in which Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges was allegedly “flashing gang signs” during a videotaping of an encounter with a young man registering voters in North Minneapolis as an example of media-driven misconceptions. She called the story “appalling” and said it was “a false narrative about the Mayor and the young African American man standing beside her in the photo. Continue Reading

OPINION | KSTP and Pointergate: Not as surprising as we want to believe

KSTP’s outrageous Pointergate story has caused quite the stir on the Internet. Daily Kos called it the most racist piece of journalism in 2014. I think it fits right in with the stories that suggest that Black people are going to riot if there isn’t a grand jury indictment of Darren Wilson in the Mike Brown Jr. case.

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GLOBAL GROCERIES | A final word on #Grapegate

By now, you’ve heard of #Grapegate. But, if you’ve been living in a snow bank, here’s a quick update.On Nov. 18, the esteemed New York Times ran a piece called The United States of Thanksgiving; 50 States (and D.C. and Puerto Rico). Food writers at the Times apparently “scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states,” and published each one along with photos of the foods and complete recipes.Some were hits. For Alabama it was Oyster Dressing. Continue Reading

Crushed, humiliated Minnesota conservatives face their political doom

So they took the Minnesota House back by 5 seats, on the “strength” of about 51% turnout, the lowest since 1986. In an election where, nationwide, old people, and hardly anyone else, turned out as if it meant something. (Which it does, but, convincing our voters of that…well that’s our #1 problem. Has been, for a long time, now.) In Minnesota, we could well end up with supermajorities, or close to it, in both chambers, after 2016. In particular, Al Franken’s romp over Mike McFadden – who was supposed to be a strong candidate, you know, a Romney-esque “centrist uniter,” – makes clear just where the MN GOP is as far as legitimate, long-term competitiveness. That would be “nowhere.” Their only chance to come back from nowhere is for sane Republicans to take back the party from the Tea Partiers, theocrats, and Paulbots, and convince voters outside of their base that, having done that, it just might be safe to vote Republican again. Assuming, on the basis of absolutely no evidence, that that process has even started, how many election cycles will it take? Three? Five? Ten? And their base voters heading for the pearly gates, and not being replaced, all the while. Continue Reading

VIDEO: KSTP owner Stan Hubbard refuses to apologize during Augsburg #Pointergate protest

Outside of Sateren Auditorium on Augsburg College’s campus, dozens of protesters convened in the cold November air, demanding KSTP publicly apologize for their report last week, now dubbed #Pointergate.Inside, a packed auditorium listened to KSTP owner Stanley Hubbard present his points on the success of broadcast journalism. But the sold out event wasn’t because of Hubbard’s insights into broadcasting. About a third of the audience there, organized by Augsburg’s Minnesota Public Interest Group and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, were there to demand a public apology for KSTP’s report.Less than 30 minutes into Hubbard’s speech, protesters interrupted the event demanding he apologize on air. Watch the unedited video below to see what happened, or keep reading to find out more.Related article: #Pointergate protesters plan rally against KSTP owner Stan Hubbard(UNEDITED VIDEO: Stanley Hubbard refuses to apologize during Augsburg #Pointergate protest)“Speaking of integrity,” says a man wearing a large, red foam hand. “We demand an apology on air.”The foam hand, the kind seen at sports events, is pointing with one finger, and at this point dozens of protesters stand up in the auditorium, all wearing the same red finger.“No, of course not,” Hubbard replies to the man. Continue Reading