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Making Sense of the Media

One stunning image in the media recently was of members of Hilary Clinton’s campaign roping off and sequestering reporters in the middle of the street during a 4th of July stop in NH. We talk with The Poynter Institute’s Kelly McBride about how on earth the Clinton campaign thought that was a good idea.

Recently, talk show host Diane Rehm apologized to Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for incorrectly stating he has dual citizenship with Israel. Her misinformation came from a Facebook post. 

Making Sense of the FIFA Scandal

Jun 11, 2015

The past several weeks we’ve seen revelations of deep corruption inside FIFA,  the worldwide governing body for professional soccer. There’ve been allegations of extortion, racketeering and fraud that have been likened to the operations of organized crime. A story this big and complicated didn’t just happen overnight. We talk with The Pynter Institute's Kelly McBride about reporter Andrew Jennings’ book “Omertà: Sepp Blatter's FIFA Organised Crime Family” and how a dogged journalistic approach resulted in legal action.

Bruce Jenner dominated the mediascape this week for emerging as Caitlyn Jenner – in lingerie from a Beverly Hills boutique that evokes 1940s Hollywood - on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. We talk with The Poynter Institute’s Kelly McBride about Jenner’s skill as a media manipulator, and the evolution of how people talk about transgendered people.

Last month, This American Life did a story about canvassers who identified a way to go door to door and change people’s minds on issues such as same sex marriage and abortion rights. The story cited data that had been published in the journal Science. It proved that the canvassers could influence peoples’ views. In a big way. An author of the study asked Science to retract it because he believed some of the data gathered by his co-author was faked, so TAL had to issue a retraction.

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The next evolution of Facebook allows media organizations such as the New York Times, The Atlantic and the BBC to publish articles directly to its mobile users.

Facebook says it can deliver the content up to 10 times more quickly than the mobile web.

Kelly McBride from the Poynter Institute’s “Sense-Making Project” helps us understand the impact of access to more-faster media.

 

“We spent hours and hours talking about the ethics of this,” said reporter Ben Montgomery, who first encountered Hughes when the postal worker called him at work and told him his plans. “Ultimately, we felt comfortable that he was on the authorities’ radar and that he was not homicidal or suicidal. He had his plan down to a T. Is it our job to call attention to it?” Actually, yes, say media ethicists. “A news organization should be extremely knowledgeable of the potential harm” a stunt like this could cause, said Edward Wasserman, dean of the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. “I really question their judgment. There is no end of the ways this could have gone wrong.”

Making Sense of Brian Williams and Jon Stewart

Feb 14, 2015
npr.org

The world of TV news, and TV fake news, was shaken this week.  

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was suspended without pay for six months after his embellishment of his Iraq war coverage experience was exposed.

And then The Daily Show's Jon Stewart announced that he's leaving the fake news anchor desk by the end of the year.

Making Sense of Internet Trolls

Feb 7, 2015
npr.org

Trolls aren't just those mythical uglies who live underneath a bridge and tend toward harassing travelers with impossible riddles.

Internet trolls are mean-spirited -- no -- hateful people who incessantly harass others on Twitter -- especially women.

One of those women is Lindy West -- a writer and frequent target of Twitter harassment.

Making Sense of the Superbowl and Facebook

Jan 31, 2015
npr.org

Super Bowl XLIX doesn't just feature The Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots.

It also features lots and lots of commercials selling for four-and-a-half million dollars for 30 seconds.

And Facebook wants a piece of the Super Bowl advertising action.

If you post anything on Facebook about the Super Bowl, ads will show in in your feed tailored to your particular interests.

Making Sense of Digital Stress

Jan 25, 2015
npr.org

Cell phone calls, texting, Facebook, Twitter and email are really adding to our daily stress, right?

Not necessarily.

There's a new study that says we aren't as stressed out by our digital lives as we think we are.

Making Sense of Charlie Hebdo

Jan 23, 2015
npr.org

The terrorist attack on the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo led people around the world to proclaim "Je Suis Charlie -- I am Charlie."

Twelve people died in the attack that was allegedly in retaliation for the publishing of cartoons that disrespected the religion of Islam.

But American journalists have struggled with publishing some Charlie Hebdo cartoons because they really are offensive to a wide range of people and groups.

Making Sense Contest Entries

Dec 31, 2014

Making Sense of Facebook Movie 2-7-14

Making Sense of the Importance of Words 3-29-14

Making Sense of The Reemerging Bill Cosby Scandal 12-26-14

Making Sense of "The Interview" 12-19-14

Making Sense of the Bill Cosby Scandal

Dec 26, 2014
npr.org

Decades old allegations of sexual assault have come back to haunt Bill Cosby in a big way.

And, it all started with a viral comedy routine about Cosby's dark past by comedian Hannibal Buress -- and a clumsy internet response by Cosby's handlers.

That made it the internet story of the year, according to Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-Making Project.

Making Sense of Sony Pulling "The Interview"

Dec 21, 2014
npr.org

"The Interview" is a comedy from stoner bros Seth Rogen and James Franco about a TV entertainment reporter and his producer who get an interview with the leader of North Korea -- and then try to assassinate him at the request of the CIA.

Making Sense of Criticizing the President's Kids

Dec 15, 2014

It has become an odd Thanksgiving tradition at the White House -- the pardoning of a turkey.

But this year it turned serious after a communications director for a Republican congressman used the occasion to criticize the behavior of Barack Obama's two teenaged daughters.

Making Sense of Uber Reporter Threats

Nov 24, 2014
wbur.org

Uber -- the ride sharing app company -- is getting all kinds of attention.

And not just because of its innovative way to get you around town with unlicensed people you don't know.

It was recently revealed that an Uber executive was thinking about hiring investigators to dig up dirt on reporters who write negative articles about the company.

How can a high-tech driven company be so ham-handed when it comes to dealing with the media?

Making Sense of Taylor Swift

Nov 18, 2014
npr.org

Taylor Swift used to be just a considerable blip on the American media landscape -- country music star and tweener heroine.

Not anymore, though. With the release of her first all-pop music album "1989," Swift is changing the way music is being enjoyed, marketed and shared.

Swift's album is heading past two million in sales. That alone is bigger than any other release since 2002.

Making Sense of Election Coverage

Nov 10, 2014
fox news

One of the big winners in the 2014 midterm elections wasn't a politician, it was Fox News

With huge Republican wins in the Senate and the House came big ratings for the Fox News Channel.

Making Sense of Where We Get Our News

Oct 31, 2014
npr.org

Would you be surprised to learn that liberals and conservatives don't get their news from the same sources?

That's one of the findings in a big Pew Research study called Political Polarization and Media Habits.

Before you say, "Well, duh," Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-Making Project says there are some things to be learned from this study.

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