PELLEY GUARDS CBS NEWS' HARD-NEWS HERITAGE

One of Dunlop Media president (and former CBS correspondent) Steve Dunlop's fondest memories of Scott Pelley was shortly after he took over as anchor of the CBS Evening News in 2011.  The door to Studio 57, where the program originates, sported a sign that read "The CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley."  The new anchor ordered his name removed, and in its place, the words, "With All of Us."

It's been five years since Pelley's collegial, no-nonsense style began to put its stamp on what CBS veterans still call "the broadcast." In many ways, there is nothing new about his interpretation.   Media writer Roger Yu calls Pelley a "deliberate pivot back to the Edward R. Murrow-Walter Cronkite heritage" that viewers still associate with the CBS brand.  Courtesy USA Today.

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JAPAN CRACKS DOWN ON REPORTERS

As journalists observed World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the latest country in the doghouse for stifling the work of the fourth estate might surprise some observers: Japan.  Three top Japanese journalists resigned in March as fears mounted that the Japanese government was pressuring them to soft-pedal coverage of some hot-button topics, including the easing of long standing restraints on Japan’s armed forces. 

An independent liaison for the United Nations investigated the issue, speaking with journalists, educators and government officials.  His subsequent report was scathing.   "The independence of the [Japanese] press is facing serious threats,” he said.  Courtesy USA Today. 

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CANDIDATES BURNED BY NYC'S "HOT KITCHEN" TABLOID CULTURE

 New York Daily News front page, April 7, 2016.

New York Daily News front page, April 7, 2016.

In our increasingly digital world, it's no exaggeration to note that in the corpus of New York City still beats the heart of newspapers.   Some of the largest and most influential broadsheets and tabloids are headquartered here, and they are fundamentally different from their peers in other cities - as 2016's crop of presidential contenders is learning. 

“Candidates come here, and they are thinking, ‘I just said this one little thing as an aside to a reporter and now it is a blaring headline. I don’t know how this happened,’” said former journalist and longtime New York political adviser George Arzt. “They don’t understand this is a world unto itself. It’s nothing like the media in the rest of the country.”  Courtesy The Los Angeles Times.

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MEMO TO CEO's: GET WITH THE SOCIAL MEDIA PROGRAM

 It's time for CEO's to fully embrace social media, argues the author.  Photo from Flickr user  highwaysengland  via FastCompany. 

It's time for CEO's to fully embrace social media, argues the author.  Photo from Flickr user highwaysengland via FastCompany. 

What do you get for the corporate leader who has everything?  How about a Twitter account?  A new report from CEO.com finds that more than 60 percent of Fortune 500 chief executives have no social media presence whatsoever - while consumer trends are heading in the opposite direction.

"Each morning, I start my day by looking through a Twitter feed that I set up to monitor any mentions of my company," says Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes.  Hootsuite is, of course, a social media monitoring company, so it's in Holmes's interest to practice what he promotes.  Nevertheless, he argues that "the era of CEOs remaining aloof and in the shadows, never mixing with mere mortals, is over."  Courtesy FastCompany.

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CLICKBAIT LOSING TRUST WITH USERS

We've all encountered it, at one time or another, on so-called online news sites: the headline with the enticing hook, asking a sometimes provocative question - the answer for which the actual article doesn't really deliver.  It's known as clickbait - the idea being to lure the user into "clicking" to the next page, thereby generating more page views (and more ad dollars) for the site. 

Like all gimmicks, however, clickbait may be finally wearing thin.  The author argues that content proiders engaging in the practice may be losing trust with the eyeballs' owners - on whom their livelihoods increasingly depend.  Courtesy Content Standard.

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AL-JAZEERA AMERICA TO CLOSE SHOP IN APRIL

Ending a novel experiment that some saw as doomed from the start, Al-Jazeera America, the US television news arm of the Arab based network, announced it would be signing off in April following a disappointing rollout and inability to attract viewers.

Al-Jazeera America began its run two and a half years ago by hiring some top-notch journalists with long backgrounds at established US broadcast networks.   In recent months, however, there were some high-profile exits - publicity around which seemed only to exacerbate what industry observers saw as an intractable branding problem.  Courtesy Deadline Hollywood.

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HOW CHARLIE BROWN ESCAPED THE GRINCH

This year marks the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the animated special that represented the first foray into television for Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz.  But behind that well-known story is another:  one about how CBS (the network on which the program originally aired) almost allowed A Charlie Brown Christmas to die before it was born - because of nervousness over a Bible passage at the high point of the narrative.

"Charles Schulz had some ideas that challenged the way of thinking of those executives," writes talk radio executive and producer Lee Habeeb.  It leads us to ask - to paraprhase Charlie Brown himself - "does anyone know what TV is all about?"  Courtesy National Review.

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DI BLASIO AND ROOM 9: A deteriorating relationship

 New York mayor Bill DiBlasio taking questions from reporters in the Blue Room at City Hall.  Photo by Yana Paskova for  The New York Times .

New York mayor Bill DiBlasio taking questions from reporters in the Blue Room at City Hall.  Photo by Yana Paskova for The New York Times.

They are known as the "Room 9" crowd:  credentialed reporters who cover the political beat at New York City Hall - where the press room (Room 9) is just down the hall from the Blue Room, where press conferences are usually held. 

The denizens of Room 9 have seen mayors come and go, but rarely have such high hopes for transparency been laid so low as with current New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio.  "While the mayor does hold news conferences, he frequently limits questions to a predetermined topic. The shift has not gone unnoticed," writes The New York Times.  "The New York Press Club has publicly objected to it, and reporters have started to ignore the restrictions."

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WHEN PRESENTING, LEAD FROM THE HEART

"Aristotle believed that the greatest speakers don't just persuade audiences to accept an argument," notes New York Times columnist David Brooks.  "They get people to trust their judgment...they use emotion and logic to establish their character." 

An interesting corollary to Aristotle's way of thinking is on display in this reflection on leadership communications from the President and CEO of the American Red Cross.  "Somewhere along the line, the process changed me," she writes.  "At the make-or-break meeting to put the final plan in front of the chapters, I found myself delivering a deeply emotional talk."  Courtesy the Harvard Business Review. 

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YOGI AND THE POTATOES

When baseball legend Yogi Berra passed away at the age of 90, he was remembered almost universally for his kindness, his wisdom, and his ubiquitous malapropisms.  Dunlop Media founder Steve Dunlop remembered him for the potatoes. 

On a visit to North Dakota, a leading potato producer, Berra famously said, "You don't have enough potatoes to fill my front lawn." Watch what happened below. Steve Dunlop reports. From WNYW-TV Channel 5, November 26, 1985.


EUROPEAN PUBLISHERS TAKE ON GOOGLE

While for much of the Western world, Google has become as ubiquitous - and indispensable - as water, a growing number of publishing entities in Europe are increasingly cautious.  They are looking for ways to reclaim revenue lost to the digital economy, and Google is one American company that appears to be in their collective sights.

"The goal is clear," writes The New York Times.  "Find ways to make more money, by strengthening copyright rules and limiting Google’s power as an advertising platform."

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MAKING THE DIFFERENCE IN A PR DISASTER

Subway, the iconic fast food brand, is weathering a serious blow to its image after law enforcement authorities raided the home of company spokesman Jared Fogle in connection with a child pornography investigation.  The company has been in damage control mode ever since word of the probe first surfaced. 

"When drama unfolds, it's easy to freeze up," notes FastCompany magazine.  "Who makes the decisions? Who puts out a statement? What media outlets do you respond or reach out to?"  Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks are painful, but provide some valuable insight - and practical answers to those questions.

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 The key, says  FastCompany , is to act before your reputation gets crumpled.   Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The key, says FastCompany, is to act before your reputation gets crumpled.   Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

WE LOVE THE FIRST AMENDMENT - Whatever that is

 "Congress shall make no law..." many Americans ignorant of First Amendment content.  Photo by Susan Walsh, AP, via USA Today.

"Congress shall make no law..." many Americans ignorant of First Amendment content.  Photo by Susan Walsh, AP, via USA Today.

A sobering study from the Newseum Institute finds that while Americans are broadly in favor of the First Amendment - many aren't familiar with just what is in it.  One-third of Americans can't name any of the rights it guarantees.

"Less than two-thirds of survey respondents – 57% vs. 68% a year ago -- were able to cite freedom of speech as one protected by the amendment," reports USA Today.  "Only 19% were able to cite the freedom of religion, down from 29%."  

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WILL "MINI MURDOCH" INHERIT HIS DAD'S GOLDEN GUT?

 Rupert and James Murdoch at an Anti-Defamation League conference.  Courtesy The Gateway Pundit.

Rupert and James Murdoch at an Anti-Defamation League conference.  Courtesy The Gateway Pundit.

"Tabloid media moguls like (Rupert) Murdoch do not create public taste: they reflect it," wrote British journalist James Delingpole in 2013.  Whether that taste whets your appetite or makes you nauseous, the question arises: what's James Murdoch's reflector like?  

With reports surfacing that the 84-year old media titan will soon pass the baton at 21st Century Fox to his 42-year old son (with sibling Lachlan to take charge of the far smaller News Corporation subsidiary), it's a fair question: will James Murdoch share his father's famous instincts?   One early gambit: Murdoch The Younger apparently views TV as the "real killer app" in the digital world.  Courtesy The New York Times.

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FINANCIAL JOURNOS WANT EXPERTS, NOT PR "SPOKESPERSONS"

The landscape is brightening for companies looking to get heard in financial media - with a major caveat: don't expect your PR people to be credible as interview subjects.  That's the major takeaway from a survey of financial journalists commissioned by Gorkana Group and conducted by communications professors from Chicago's DePaul University.

CEO's, whose credibility tanked in the wake of the 2008 financial debacle, scored a credibility rating of 61 percent, up 10 percent since 2012.  Technical and subject matter experts came in at 58 percent.  But PR spokespersons remain stuck in the cellar, with a mere 13 percent credibility rating - trailing the CEO's by a nearly 5-1 margin, and providing more proof that reporters want to interview news makers, not people they see as gatekeepers.  Courtesy The Bulldog Reporter.

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INTERNAL REPORT SLAMS VATICAN MEDIA OPERATIONS

 Satellite trucks and television riser seen near The Vatican.  Courtesy  The Catholic Telegraph .

Satellite trucks and television riser seen near The Vatican.  Courtesy The Catholic Telegraph.

Pope Francis continues to break eggs to make omelets at the Vatican, and the latest yolk is on the Catholic Church's media operation.  

A top papal adviser asked Lord Christopher Patten, the former BBC chairman best known to Americans as the last British governor of Hong Kong before its handover to China in 1997, to study changes to the Vatican's sprawling media holdings.   The committee Lord Patten assembled has now responded with a scathing critique of the Vatican’s current media structures, saying they were unfit for the digital age.  Courtesy The Catholic Herald.

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OUR BRAINS "HARD WIRING" FOR PARTISANSHIP

 A scan of author Brian Resnick's brain as he researches the differences in response between liberals and conservatives.  Courtesy  The National Journal . 

A scan of author Brian Resnick's brain as he researches the differences in response between liberals and conservatives.  Courtesy The National Journal

Do liberals and conservatives see the world differently because of differences in how their brains work?  And if so, what does that portend for the increasingly rare art of political compromise?  Those are two provocative questions being asked by researchers at New York University's Brain Imaging Center, which is measuring subtle differences in the neurological responses of liberals and conservatives.

The findings suggest yes:  conservatives and liberals have brains that look and act differently.   "Using MRI, scientists can see what areas of the brain are using more blood than others.  The more blood in an area, the more activation," notes the author.  The findings of a study involving 90 liberal and conservative participants may surprise you.  Courtesy The National Journal.  

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"CULTURE OF FEAR" CITED AT AL-JAZEERA AMERICA

Hopes were high when the deep pocketed Arab news network Al-Jazeera opened an American news service in 2013.   Talking heads would be out - impartial, investigative journalism would be in - and a significant number of career journalists signed up, taking US chief executive Ehab al Shihabi at his word. 

But those heady days are far behind the network.  Its latest struggle is the departure of a number of the big names who joined on that promise.  One of them, former CBS news executive Marcy McGinnis, said she didn't want to be at Al-Jazeera America anymore because of a "culture of fear...people are afraid to lose their jobs if they cross Ehab."  Courtesy The New York Times.

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NEWS MEDIA STUDY EXAMINES "THE MOBILE MAJORITY"

The Pew Research Center's annual State of the News Media report contains a finding that seems sure to affect how news web sites engage with their growing audience of smartphone consumers.   "Call it the mobile majority," the study summary says. 

Not only do mobile visitors outnumber desktop users in 39 of the top 50 news sites in the study, but they appear to be spending less time on site.  In half the sites studied, "visitors from desktops stay longer than those coming through mobile," the report concludes.

Elsewhere, the study contains some surprisingly good news about growth in local TV and network news programs - but it is less sanguine about cable news.    The study courtesy the Pew Center.  The article courtesy The Neiman Journalism Lab. 

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