PublicationsDecember 21, 2006

Iraq Gets Deadlier for Reporters, Too

The Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders may not agree on the exact numbers, but both organizations have come to the same conclusion. Reporting on the escalating conflict in Iraq has become an increasingly dangerous profession. And as is the case with most of the violence there, the primary victims are Iraqis.

PublicationsDecember 19, 2006

The Media’s Obama Mania

He hasn’t made a decision yet, but the possibility that freshman Senator Barack Obama might run for president in 2008 has triggered an avalanche of press coverage, particularly surrounding his recent visit to New Hampshire. If you look at the language the press is using in those stories, Obama is being treated more like a rock star than a politician.

PublicationsDecember 15, 2006

From Russia with Polonium-210?

A month ago, virtually no one had heard of Alexander Litvinenko But now, the tale of the former Russian spy killed by radiation poisoning has turned into a major media event with its own series of dramatic plot twists. That’s what happens when you mix in a global murder mystery with an icy touch of Cold War politics.

PublicationsDecember 15, 2006

News Magazines Stumbling to the Finish Line in 2006

After a rough 2005, 2006 has not been much better when it comes to advertising in the big news titles. Compared with the first 11 months of 2005, the New Yorker endured a 13% decline in ad pages in 2006 while Time and Newsweek saw negligible changes. One big winner? The Washington-based National Journal.

PublicationsDecember 11, 2006

MSNBC Celebrates Some Good November Numbers

Spurred by the growing popularity of opinionated prime time host Keith Olbermann, MSNBC showed strong ratings growth in November 2006. Pinning its hopes on programming that’s heavy on politics and corporate synergy with NBC, the last-place finisher in the cable net ratings wars is hoping that it’s beginning to find a niche.

PublicationsDecember 7, 2006

Couric’s Vanishing Viewers

No one expected new CBS anchor Katie Couric to maintain her huge initial audience, which included its share of curiosity seekers. And it’s too early to pass judgment on CBS’s gamble in choosing her. But in less than three months, her newscast has lost about 2.5 million viewers and is down from a year earlier.

PublicationsDecember 5, 2006

"Sectarian Violence" Makes a Comeback

While the political and semantic debate over what to call the violence in Iraq continues, many news outlets are still mulling over that decision and keeping their options open. A search of news stories on the Internet finds that the issue is far from settled. In the past few days, “sectarian violence” showed up in more Iraq stories than “civil war,” reversing the previous week’s trend.

PublicationsNovember 30, 2006

Are the Media Opting for “Civil War?”

There was a turn in the media’s approach to the war in Iraq this week. NBC announced that it would use the term “civil war” to describe it, a phrase the White House has thus far refrained from using. And a search of Google News suggests that that term is now beginning to surpass “sectarian violence” as a way of describing the carnage in Iraq.

PublicationsNovember 20, 2006

Making it a Family Affair

Ever since the replacement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates, the media have had a field day turning U.S. war policy into a contest between President George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. That makes for an irresistible story line and plays out like a soap opera. But this new media narrative also highlights what can be a journalistic problem—the self-fulfilling story line.

PublicationsNovember 20, 2006

How the Media Speak about Madame Speaker

As the first woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is big news, but what effect has her gender had on her coverage? A search of the Internet suggests the media may be looking at the new Speaker differently than other congressional leaders. Pelosi’s role as a grandmother, for instance, turns up in many stories about her. Few reporters, however, one seem to find it noteworthy that Trent Lott is a grandfather.