media and journalism | KUOW News and Information

media and journalism

Thirty years ago, a new face debuted on daytime television: Oprah Winfrey.

The new podcast, "Making Oprah," produced by member station WBEZ, chronicles Oprah's rise to stardom. Journalist Jenn White tells Oprah's story from her early days on her first talk show, AM Chicago, through to the biggest, most outrageous moments when 40 million people a week were watching her national show.

Newspaper box for the Seattle Times, 2012.
Flickr Photo/Mr.TinDC (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/2gKCGU9

“It’s not at all surprising.”

That was the reaction by David Boardman to the announcement by the Seattle Times that it will be reducing staff. The newspaper told staff in an email that it will be offering buyouts with the potential of layoffs after that.

Fake news played a bigger role in this past presidential election than ever seen before. And sometimes it has had serious repercussions for real people and businesses.

That's what happened to a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., recently, when an armed man claiming to be "self-investigating" a fake news story entered the restaurant and fired off several rounds.

The Weather Channel has a message for the website Breitbart:

"Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans"

Pope Francis is calling on those who use and control the media to avoid disinformation and "the sickness of coprophilia" — comparing a love of scandal to an abnormal interest in feces that can also include elements of sexual arousal.

An obsession with scandal can do great harm, Francis said Wednesday, in remarks that also cited people's tendency toward coprophagia (the eating of feces).

Fake news stories can have real-life consequences. On Sunday, police said a man with a rifle who claimed to be "self-investigating" a baseless online conspiracy theory entered a Washington, D.C., pizzeria and fired the weapon inside the restaurant.

So, yes, fake news is a big problem.

The federal ethics watchdog isn't the kind of agency that typically airs its positions on Twitter — let alone in a snarky tone, with exclamation points.

But it's been an all-around weird day at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide." The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.

Editor's Note: This story contains images and language that some readers may find disturbing.

Mark Zuckerberg — one of the most insightful, adept leaders in the business world — has a problem. It's a problem he has been slow to acknowledge, even though it's become more apparent by the day.

Twitter has suspended several accounts linked to the alt-right movement, which has been associated with white nationalism.

The move comes as Twitter is rolling out a series of actions to curb hate speech and abuse on its platform as criticism has mounted of the company's failure to rein in harassment, racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.

Facebook
Flickr Photo/Franco Bouly (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6rk2Qf

Bill Radke talks to Todd Bishop of Geekwire about the effect Facebook has on what sort of content users see. 

Since Donald Trump's election victory, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come out not once, but twice, to address the issue of fake news, inaccurate or simply false information that appears on the Web in the guise of journalism.

Gwen Ifill, one of the most prominent political journalists in the country, has died, according to PBS. She was 61.

Days after she was deported from Pakistan to her native Afghanistan, the woman whose piercing green-eyed stare landed a spot on the cover of National Geographic will next travel to India for medical care.

That's the news from Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan's ambassador to India, who said via Twitter that Sharbat Gula "will soon be in India for medical treatment free of cost."

It hasn't been easy for journalists covering the 2016 presidential race. While doing their jobs, they've had to confront unprecedented threats, abuse, bans and accusations of conspiracy and bias.

A federal jury has found that Rolling Stone, a reporter and the magazine's publisher are liable in a defamation lawsuit over a retracted article about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia.

The trial centered on a November 2014 piece by reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely that told the story of a student, identified as "Jackie," who said she was brutally gang raped at a fraternity party in 2012.

Monica Guzman / The Evergrey

Bill Radke speaks with local journalists Monica Guzman, co-founder of Seattle newsletter The Evergrey, and Reagan Jackson, writer at The Seattle Globalist and South Seattle Emerald, about #JournalismSoWhite.

Voice recognition surrounds tech-loving Americans, from Siri to Google Assistant to Amazon Echo. Its omnipresence can make it easy to forget that making this technology has been really, really hard.

Understanding human speech is one of the most difficult frontiers in machine learning, and the biggest names in technology have devoted much time and money to conquering it. But their products still work for only a handful of languages.

Less prominent languages are still indecipherable to computers — even for text translations, let alone voice recognition.

A short online post broke the story to viewers and readers that the regional all-news channel Northwest Cable News will air its last broadcast on January 6.

This presidential election year has tested the limits of free speech on Twitter. It's a prime political platform for Republican candidate Donald Trump, for the correspondents covering both presidential candidates, and for the purveyors of hate speech.

Emily Bell is the director for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School. NPR's Steve Inskeep talked with Bell about the challenges Twitter faces.


Interview Highlights

On the quality of debate on Twitter

It has become a familiar story in a world bristling with live mics. A public figure is caught out using a vulgarity, and the media have to decide how to report the remark. Web media tend to be explicit, but the traditional media are more circumspect.

Amy Goodman — the host of the left-leaning Democracy Now news program — will not face criminal charges for her coverage of an oil pipeline protest in North Dakota last month. At least not for now; prosecutors say they may still bring charges later.

On Sept. 3, Goodman and her crew captured images of security teams with dogs trying to keep protesters from entering a pipeline construction site. She wanted to know whether security members were "telling the dogs to bite the protesters?"

My mom's mental illness told through photos

Oct 14, 2016
From the ongoing photography project, You Have Nothing to Worry About. Title: Mom's new makeup, 2014.
Melissa Spitz

Since 2009, I have been making photographs of my mentally ill, substance-abusing mother. Her diagnoses change frequently – from alcoholism to dissociative identity disorder – and my relationship with her has been fraught with animosity for as long as I can remember.

The whirling dervish that is Donald J. Trump spun ever faster on Thursday, shredding almost everything in his range of vision — Hillary Clinton, his fellow Republicans who fail to support him unequivocally, the growing chorus of women accusing him of sexual misconduct, and especially the press.

Jesse Watters says his story was meant to be tongue-in-cheek — but his critics say he invoked a string of Asian stereotypes in a segment taped in New York City's Chinatown district. Instead of lampooning racist bigotry, his critics say, the segment embodied it.

R
Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

As the brutal civil war in Syria grinds on in its fifth year, it's clear that civilians have borne the brunt of the tragedy. 

Syrian and Russian armed forces are regularly criticized for bombing civilians in rebel-held areas.

That's well documented in media reports. 

But people like Michael Beshara, a Syrian American who lives in upstate New York, argue that the Western media's portrayal of the war in Syria glosses over the human tragedy in government-controlled areas.

Early last month, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet told a crowd at Harvard University that he would happily face time in jail to publish Donald Trump's long-withheld tax forms.

Theoretically, Baquet just might have his chance. But almost certainly, only theoretically.

Clearly, researchers love Facebook, even if some of the rest of us are ambivalent.

A 2012 survey of social science papers related to the social network turned up 412 separate studies, and there have been even more since. Among the most popular questions: What effect does Facebook have on emotional states?

The city of Seattle has hired a private investigator to find out who leaked a proposed police labor agreement to the press.


Hillary Clinton has not held a single press conference since the start of 2016, triggering charges that she's trying to duck questions from reporters on the campaign trail.

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