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Don’t say I didn’t warn you. This is the end of this site. But it’s not the end of the blog, or of blogging for WFPL. Far from it.
Our political editor, Phillip M. Bailey has a new blog, Noise & Notes. Go read it.
I won’t be posting to The Edit anymore, but I will be writing news stories and web posts on WFPL.org. The posts from this blog have been feeding to WFPL.org for several weeks and appearing alongside our traditional news stories, so I’ll repeat my suggestion that you update your bookmarks, RSS reader, favorites or handwritten list of websites you visit. The rest of the WFPL news staff will be writing posts for WFPL.org, too.
Also, we’re a radio station. You can hear Phillip, Rick Howlett, me and the rest of the newsroom on 89.3 FM.
I’ve enjoyed writing The Edit for these two years. I came to WFPL from the web, and it’s an important part of where we’re headed. Thanks for reading…and don’t stop.
Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal arguing that NPR is not liberally biased, no matter what James O’Keefe’s and his copy of Final Cut say. Aside from pointing out questionable edits in O’Keefe’s video, Inskeep cites the diversity of the public radio audience as proof that the low end of the dial isn’t a bastion of liberal propaganda.
I’ve met an incredible variety of listeners in my travels. The audience includes students, peace activists, and American soldiers I met in Iraq. They’re among many people in the military who rely on NPR’s international coverage. When I was NPR’s Pentagon correspondent, I discovered that it’s a prize beat, because on every base you meet people who already know who you are. Many other Americans are listening in places like Indiana, my home state, or Kentucky, where I first worked in public radio. Not much of the media pays attention to the middle of the country, but NPR and its local stations do. Many NPR stations have added news staff as local newspapers have declined.
Members of Congress listen too: A few months ago I was interviewing a Republican lawmaker who quoted an NPR story he’d heard that morning. And there are people like the woman I met at a Sarah Palin debate party in 2008, in rural western Virginia. She said she listened during long drives required by her job with a railroad. The same programs she hears in Virginia have also reached an audience abroad. In Egypt last week, a young man told me he so admires the quirky reporting of my colleague Robert Krulwich that he plans to translate it into Arabic.
On a related note, On the Media has accepted Ira Glass’s challenge to prove whether public radio is, in fact, biased. Last week’s show was largely dedicated to this topic. It ended with co-host Bob Garfield interviewing O’Keefe for twelve contentious minutes.
Portions of the James O’Keefe-produced video that showed an NPR executive making disparaging remarks about conservatives were taken out of context. That’s the conclusion of at least two sources–NPR and the Glenn Beck-owned The Blaze.
Andrew Sullivan reported on the misquoting, and said this:
Despite the fact that O’Keefe is a known liar, and that his past video stings have been edited in misleading ways, much of the mainstream media ran with his latest. Will those outlets now inform their viewers and readers about the deceptions uncovered by The Blaze?
Mitch Albom raised similar questions in the Detroit Free Press, calling O’Keefe’s videos Punk’d-style journalism. He then says that anyone hoping to prove bias in NPR reporting should do a real study, not hide a camera.
Ira Glass of This American Life made a similar challenge over the weekend. He asked Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone of On the Media to find bias in NPR’s reporting. He says they won’t. Glass’s challenge came during a larger conversation on why no one has come forward with documented evidence of subjective news. A fundraising executive may share private opinions over lunch, but Glass insists that doesn’t affect the newsrooms at all.
Bailey is most recently a reporter for LEO Weekly, where he has established a reputation as an exceptional government, political and investigative journalist.
“We wanted someone with the tenacity to cover stories that often develop slowly, and the ability to interpret complicated and arcane issues in a way our audience can understand,” said Todd Mundt, Vice President and Chief Content Officer. “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Phillip to the team.”
Bailey joins WFPL News with editorial responsibility for the station’s political reporting, including local government as well as state and regional politics. He’ll soon launch a new politics blog at WFPL.org. Says Bailey, “I’m very excited about joining WFPL News and am thrilled at the opportunity to head up its political coverage. I want WFPL to be an indispensable news service.”
His hiring is part of LPM’s first phase of rebuilding its newsroom. “Our community needs more and better quality local news, and Louisville Public Media has made local news coverage the centerpiece of its strategic plan,” explains Donovan Reynolds, President of Louisville Public Media. “Bailey’s decision to join WFPL News represents the latest of several steps to deepen and strengthen local news coverage in Metro Louisville.”
You’ve probably noticed some changes here.
When this blog started in 2009, it was meant to supplement WFPL’s local news. I posted extra information on stories we reported and links to stories we didn’t. But there’s no reason for that to stay off the main WFPL page. If you click over now, you’ll see link after link to stories that you may or may not hear on the radio.
The Edit will stick around indefinitely. I’ll keep posting here, but everything will also go on WFPL.org. So please, update your RSS feed. Here is the link to WFPL’s RSS. You’ll get all the local news we cover, plus the same extra content you get here…all in one package.
There’s a letter in this week’s LEO about the newsweekly’s podcast recommendations. It argues that podcast versions of radio shows–particularly public radio shows–are not technically podcasts.
Public radio did the independent podcast movement a major disservice by releasing their radio shows as “podcasts.” I remember when you used to be able to look at the top 10 podcasts on iTunes, and it would list shows like “This Week in Tech,” “Keith and the Girl” and other original content being produced by podcast enthusiasts. Look at the top 10 now, and it’s dominated by NPR shows. The independent voice in podcasting barely has a chance anymore.
It is true that many of the top podcasts out there are radio shows. But does that mean these shows aren’t podcasts? I suppose it depends on whether you look at podcasts as a delivery mechanism or a medium. It’s technically both, and some radio shows have done extremely well online. For instance, in 2009, more than a quarter of the This American Life audience was listening to the podcast instead of the radio show. And the podcast audience was younger. If most of TAL’s listeners were getting the show via podcast, would it still be considered a radio show?
But outside of that question, the letter writer’s point is clear: radio shows have an advantage over podcast-only podcasts. This American Life has a staff, home station, healthy listener support and the instant credibility all those things bring (listeners know they’ll get a certain degree of quality). That makes it tough for independent podcasters to get their work heard. There are plenty of excellent and popular homegrown podcasts, too, and the medium is an excellent source of tech talk and comedy.
I just took a quick review of the podcasts I listen to and just over half of them are affiliated with another media outlet (newspapers, public broadcasters, etc). Who is producing your podcasts?
Did you see the flow chart of the “power elite” in the Courier-Journal this week? The chart maps who reasonably powerful people in Louisville think the most powerful person in Louisville is.
A Kentucky Newspaper apparently asked a single family who the most powerful person in Louisville happens to be. It’s no surprise that they all named their family members or super-close friends.
These fleecers of the entity once known as “Louisville’s Economy” have been been compiled into one convenient and eminently printable dartboard courtesy of the Louisville Courier-Journal, whose own Matt Frassica posed to them the question, “Who’s the most powerful person in the city?”
That prompted this response on Twitter from the chart’s author, Matt Frassica:
What? No vampire squid?
We’ve seen LEO Weekly and the Courier-Journal at odds before over issues of journalistic merit, quality and integrity.
One of the chief criticisms of the chart is that it doesn’t explain why the people pictured are powerful and what influence they have in the city. It presents fact as fact, but leaves out analysis. However, it’s one of the few reports to acknowledge the power select wealthy, non-elected Louisvillians have in the city.
Without wanting to stir the pot, I attempted to start a discussion between interested parties, but no debate ensued. As with the last LEO/CJ disagreement, it may be best to bring some transparency to the matter. Neither paper has a public editor to explain why stories were pursued and published, but it’s hard to think insight from both sides would do anything but benefit the audience. The journalistic process isn’t always complicated, but it can be muddy, and isn’t clarity one of our goals as reporters?
I will be out of town on Thursday and Friday. If there’s breaking news, I will post it here. Otherwise, I’ll be back Monday.
While I’m out, does anyone need anything from St. Louis?
I spend most of my time as a journalist finding things out. Sometimes, there are things I don’t entirely understand, and I have to do more research than I expected.
Sometimes, though, I am given more information than my schedule and brain can handle. That’s what happened when I asked how the new water filtration system in eastern Jefferson County works. I knew it involved water passing through the walls of a tunnel. I have been inside of the tunnel (which is now full of water). I like science, and I’ve written about science and engineering before. But when I asked Louisville Water Company program manager Kay Ball how the system works, I was hit with this intricate explanation (mp3).
Ball was very nice and she explained the system again (and again, and again) to me through her responses to follow-up questions. Here is the resulting story.
Pledge drive is over (thank you!), and here are two things you may have missed in all the excitement.
Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington spoke at the Kentucky Author Forum, and we have the audio.
The Nothing But Net podcast has returned. Get your college basketball fix delivered directly to your ears.