WEDNESDAY’S LINKS: Ebert Recovering, Critic Says USA Needs ‘NYT’, China and Foreign Journos

By: E&P Staff

In today’s links, China says that its proposed media fines would extend to foreign journalists, Western news organizations are beginning to extend further into Arabic markets, and film critic Roger Ebert continues his recovery after emergency surgery.


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Beijing Official Says Curbs Apply to Foreign Journos
New York Times: A Chinese draft law that threatens to fine the news media for reporting on “sudden incidents” without permission applies to foreign as well as domestic news organizations, an official involved in preparing the legislation said Monday. The law, now under consideration by the legislature run by the Communist Party, calls for fines of up to $12,500 for unauthorized reports on outbreaks of disease, natural disasters, social disturbances or other so-called sudden incidents that officials determine to be false or harmful to China’s social order.


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Western News Operations Expand Into Arabic Market
New York Times: A crowd of Western news organizations prepares to deliver headlines — and geopolitical views — in the language of the Koran. Backed by government financing, Germany’s public international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, is poised to beam as much as 24 hours of daily news programming in Arabic this autumn. France’s yet-to-be-named CNN-style channel is in development for a year-end opening, along with a Web site in Arabic and later in 2007 an Arabic television version. And the state-owned Russia Today has similar plans for an Arabic Web site and television presence. From the United States, CNN is watching the development of its Arabic Web site, which attracts more than 300,000 unique visitors monthly, before it decides whether to pursue television plans.


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Ebert Recovering After Surgery
Chicago Sun-Times: Film critic Roger Ebert was showing signs of improvement Tuesday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after an emergency operation over the weekend to repair complications from an earlier cancer surgery. He remained in serious condition.


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Nattering Nabobs Redux
New Yorker: “The Bush Administration can?t really believe that these newspaper stories have undermined the battle against Al Qaeda,” writes David Remnick. “What?s more, it knows that over the decades papers like the Times have kept many stories and countless particulars secret when editors saw that it was in the interest of national security and military safety to do so. The Times banking story disclosed no leads, named no targets. To say that it risked lives is like saying that an article revealing that cops tap phones to monitor the activities of the Mafia is a gift to the Five Families of New York.”


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Not Surprising: Newspaper Sports Departments Largely White, Male
Washington Post: “In particular, the sports editors themselves are distinctly men of non-color,” writes Norman Chad. “In fact, there might not be a less diversified group of paunchy, balding, middle-aged white guys anywhere in America. Incidentally — this also just in — there aren’t too many women running sports departments, either. Frankly, you’ve got a better chance of becoming a sports editor if you are a pink carnation than if you are black and female.”


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USA Needs ‘NYT’
Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Right now, more than any other nongovernmental entity (and most governmental ones, where whistle-blowers are punished, scientists are muzzled and the public is regularly lied to), the NYT protects America’s freedom,” writes Adam Platt. “I’m embarrassed to admit that I let my Times subscription lapse because I had no time to read it. You may be in the same boat. So give it to a local library. Because whether you or I are informed or not, America needs the Times on the beat. It sets the table for our national discussion, puts second thoughts in the minds of public sector liars and abusers of power, and empowers the rest of the American media.”


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MediaNews Focuses on Synergy
The sale of the Contra Costa Times and several other newspapers to MediaNews Group should be completed within four weeks, a deal that will launch a profoundly different era in the Bay Area media wars, both in print and online. The Times will be a key element in a Bay Area media showcase intended to demonstrate how newspapers can marry their print and Internet operations, according to William Dean Singleton, chief executive officer of MediaNews. The Denver-based company struck a deal in April with McClatchy Newspapers to buy the Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the Monterey County Herald and the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press.

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