Jul 3, 2008

Getler: WW cover-up is worse than the crime

Washington Week made an apparently innocent slip-of-the-tongue much worse by erasing it from the program's transcript, writes PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler. On June 20, moderator Gwen Ifill clearly didn't mean to imply that Al Gore was gay when she said he "came out of the closet" to endorse presidential hopeful Barack Obama. But after a blogger named Tony Peyser asked about the slip-up, a producer changed the transcript. (The original transcript is available here.) Peyser, naturally, noted this in his blog, which points up the stupidity of the decision to change it in the first place, Getler writes. "Now, altering a transcript to remove a controversial or embarrassing statement is a very bad and fundamental journalistic sin, and also professionally stupid because someone will always catch it," he said. Washington Week has pledged not to change transcripts in the future.

University of Georgia buys TV station near Athens as journalism lab

At a time when educational institutions are more likely to be spinning off broadcast stations, the University of Georgia has bought a CBS-TV affiliate in Toccoa, 50 miles north of the Athens campus. The school agreed to pay owner Media General about $1.6 million plus DTV costs f0r WNEG-TV, says the asset purchase agreement and will use it as a teaching lab for communications students producing local programs for the northeast corner of the state, according to Dean E. Culpepper Clark’s remarks on the station’s own newscast and in the Independent-Mail of Anderson, S.C. The station will remain a commercial broadcaster, but Clark indicated it may drop its CBS affiliation. Clark came to the university two years ago from the University of Alabama, where he was involved in acquiring Tuscaloosa station (now WVUA) for teaching purposes.

Two local shows cancelled as Jones departs WBEZ

Chicago Public Radio programming v.p. Ron Jones exits for "a new adventure" as the station cuts two local programs, Hello Beautiful and Right Now, an afternoon talk show. The cuts, announced this week as the station's board met to approve the budget for the new fiscal year, prompts Chicago Reader venting about Vocalo, the experimental service for younger, web-savvy media consumers and creators. Robert Feder of the Sun-Times summarizes staff reassignments (scroll down).

Ira Glass on Limbaugh: "That is some chops"

Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Radio Networks' $400 million man, is profiled in the July 6 New York Times Magazine, published a few days early on the Times website. The piece quotes This American Life's Ira Glass on Limbaugh's unique talent: “Rush is just an amazing radio performer . . . . Years ago, I used to listen in the car on my way to reporting gigs, and I’d notice that I disagreed with everything he was saying, yet I not only wanted to keep listening, I actually liked him. That is some chops. You can count on two hands the number of public figures in America who can pull that trick off.”