In advance of President Obama’s visit to Mexico, Slate.com has published a series on U.S. relations with its neighbor to the south. What makes this series so compelling is that each article was reported by experts on Mexico and international relations:
“Our Model Neighbor: Ignore the bad press; Mexico has undergone an economic and political transformation over the last decade,” by Barbara Kotschwar.
Since the early 1990s, Mexico has cut its external debt by more than half, has lowered inflation from triple to double to single digits, has adopted a flexible exchange rate that helps maintain price stability, and has nearly doubled its openness to trade. Mexico has accumulated sufficient foreign reserves and has kept the government fiscal position healthy enough to be able to provide a buffer during bad economic times and to stimulate its economy in the current downturn—at least for a time.
“Calderón’s War of Choice: How Mexico’s war on drug cartels is like the war in Iraq,” by Jorge Castañeda. Posted April 14, 2009.
Brian Palmer explains the factors that Navy SEALs snipers had to account for before killing three Somali pirates:
If the pirates’ heads were fully exposed, it would have been an easy shot. A sniper rifle is accurate to within a “minute of angle,” provided the shooter can keep his or her target in the crosshairs. That means that a good marksman can reliably hit a 1-inch target at 300 feet and reliably kill someone at 3,000 feet. The bobbing of the lifeboat would have been a factor, but snipers regularly shoot at moving targets from moving vehicles. (Advanced Navy SEAL training includes target practice from helicopters.)
Missing from Palmer’s account are visual illustrations to help readers “see” the concepts he is explaining, particularly for the adjustments the snipers had to make because of the relatively short distance between them and their human targets.
A veteran of radio news has little sympathy for the WAMU reporter whose sound card was confiscated by the VA Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Larry Scott, founder and editor of VA Watchdog dot Org, says Schultz should have known better:
This should have ended right here with Schultz and the veteran signing consent forms and doing the interview. It could have been that easy. There was another reporter and a photographer in attendance who had signed forms and were going about their business.
Shultz’s equipment wouldn’t have been seized if he had just signed in as a reporter and then signed the proper release forms to enable him to interview the veteran.
The Washington Post is reporting that the Department of Veterans Affairs has returned the sound card belonging to WAMU radio reporter David Schultz.
Schultz had his sound card confiscated on Tuesday while interviewing a patient at the VA hospital in Washington, D.C.
Today I called the number for the public information officer at the Bay Pines VA Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fl, to get her take on the incident and talk about the need to get written permission from patients or members of the health care team before recording or videotaping conversations. The office was closed, but I will be sure to follow-up after the weekend.
To my very pleasant surprise, I just discovered that CNN linked to my blog post “Freedom of the press denied in D.C.“
Below its story “Reporter, VA clash over patient interview,” CNN has a section called “From the Blogs.” And I’m the first of the three links spotlighted. I’m not sure how long it’ll be before my link is out of the rotation, so I’ve provided a screen capture to prove my celebrity:
Nieman Journalism Lab interviewed Poynter Institute’s Al Tompkins for his take on the St. Petersburg Times‘ Mug Shots website. Poynter, in case you didn’t know, owns the Times. Tompkins was critical of the site and brought up some pertinent ethical issues:
I think there’s some serious concerns this kind of coverage raises … How do you make it right for those who are found to be not guilty? … Maybe we don’t have an obligation, but I think we do.
Tompkins explained that he isn’t opposed to posting an individual’s mug shot. However:
I just want to make sure there’s a reason to post it, and not just do it because we can. That’s never a good reason to put something on the Web, just because we can.
Poynter also has archived Thursday’s chat on the ethics of posting mug shots online. Matt Waite, one of the developers of the Mug Shots site, explained to Poynter’s ethics faculty Kelly McBride its function as journalism:
The main journalistic purpose of this feature is that we’ve given transparency to the grinding wheels of the justice system. The jail population is no longer an abstraction. You can look at them, as they come in. These people are your neighbors. The jail, the deputies that run it, the courts that have to deal with these folks, you pay for it. So there is a purpose to showing that to people. I would also add that people have said they found great value in being able to look at people who said they lived in a specific ZIP code because they only know their neighbors by sight.
Posted in civic journalism, ethics, journalism ethics, media criticism, News, newspaper websites, public records
Tagged Al Tompkins, Kelly McBride, Mug Shots, Nieman Journalism Lab, Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg Times
In case you’ve missed some of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s choice quotes over the past few weeks, educate yourself with this brief recap.
On reeducation camps:
I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.
Showing an alarming degree of ignorance:
I just wondered that if our founders thought taxation without representation was bad, what would they think of representation WITH taxation?
Showing an alarming degree of cultural awkwardness:
That’s what Pirate Bay’s IPREDator promises, so you can stay one step ahead of The Man:
With IPREDator’s VPN, you can stay anonymous on the net. Your internet traffic will be encrypted and protected – even beyond what a typical VPN offers. This way, law enforcement can’t catch you when you download the latest episode of your favorite TV show…or when you get involved in other criminal activity, for that matter.
Which means some smarty-pants is going to invent the IPREDator PREDATOR and spoil all the fun. Don’t do it, man! I just want to watch this working print of Wolverine — sonofa…
Posted in ethics, headlines, New Media, News, The Internet
Tagged anonymous Web surfing, illegal downloading, IPREDator, Pirate Bay, ReadWriteWeb, virtual private networking, VPN
Police Officer: “Sir, I’m going to need to see some identification.”
Tool: (waves hands in front of officer’s face) “You don’t need to see my identification.”
Police Officer: “Do you realize you were going 35 in a school zone?”
Tool: “This isn’t the droid you’re looking for” /waves hand in front of officer’s face.
Police Officer: “What are you doi– … You’re driving a Segway, sir, not a droid.”
Tool: “I can move along now.” /again with the waving
Police Officer: “Have it your way, buddy.” /tosses PUMA Segway into back seat of cruiser. Driver vainly attempts Force Lightning to free himself.