Media Briefing for Monday, August 27, 2007
Armed with a soldering iron, a teenaged boy has developed a way to make the iPhone, arguably the gadget of the year, available to a much wider audience. George Hotz of Glen Rock, New Jersey, spent his last summer before college figuring out how to “unlock” the iPhone, freeing it from being restricted to a single carrier, AT&T. The procedure, which the 17-year-old posted on his blog Thursday, raises the possibility of a cottage industry springing up to buy iPhones, unlocking them and then selling them to people who don’t want AT&T service or can’t get it, particularly overseas. Associated Press reports. He has been taking apart computers since he was age 4 or 5, says the San Francisco Chronicle. He succeeded with the help of two online pals, says the San Jose Mercury News. With software and soldering, the teenaged boy has created a non-AT&T iPhone, says the New York Times. “Never say never,” says the Chicago Tribune. He made his revelation in a YouTube video, reports the Globe and Mail.
The 17-year-old New Jersey boy who broke the code on the iPhone so it can be used without AT&T has placed one of his two hacked phones up for sale on eBay, pricing it at $25,000, says the Bergen Record.
After hackers broke into the Monster.com jobs Internet site and stole data on 1.3 million employment seekers who had posted information about themselves, Monster says it will notify each of the customers affected by email, reports the Los Angeles Times.
A conservative Republican is demanding that the PBS Spanish language channel V-Me be yanked from the cable system serving the Baltimore area, just one week after it began, reports the Washington Post.
PBS is conflicted over the use of the “f” and “s” words in Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary series The War – and individual stations such as KQED channel 9 San Francisco are also concerned, says the San Francisco Chronicle.
After decades of being shunted to the sidelines, Spanish-language media outlets have now joined the big leagues of TV research. Ratings giant Nielsen Media Research today plans to pull the plug on a separate service that it created 15 years ago to measure the size of Latino TV audiences. Latinos are now so important to the overall TV ratings picture that it would be misleading to relegate them to a separate system. The Los Angeles Times reports.
In a seeming trend toward the Latinization of American food and lifestyles, magazines, TV and cable shows and other media outlets are serving up Hispanic-themed content, reports Ad Week.
Call it a guilt trip or a cultural awakening, but some Latino filmmakers feel that the controversy over Ken Burns’ upcoming World War II documentary The War has unexpectedly opened doors for their work at PBS. Associated Press reports.
PBS is getting ready for the debut of Ken Burns’ major documentary series The War one month from now, with a half hour preview special this Wednesday evening at 10:30 on Thirteen/WNET, reports Newsday.
In Saint Petersburg, Florida, Bill Keller, a fundamentalist Christian televangelist who has been harshly critical of Islam, has been dropped from CBS-owned WTOG channel 44, reports Associated Press. He says the decision came after complaints to CBS from the Council on Islamic American Relations. He was known for his vitriolic criticism of religious, political and pop culture figures, reports the Saint Petersburg Times.
A California Christian fundamentalist minister who used church stationery and an Internet radio program to endorse Republican conservative Mike Huckabee of Arkansas for president is asking his followers to pray for the deaths of those who filed a complaint against him with the IRS. Reverend Wiley Drake of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, California, is heard on the Internet radio station Crusade Radio.com weekdays 12 noon to 1 p.m. and Sunday nights 9 to 10 p.m. He has called for “imprecatory prayer” targeting officials of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, reports Associated Press. He is calling for a vengeance prayer, says the Los Angeles Times.
A lesson for CBS is “Be Careful What You Pitch,” says the New York Times, which notes that in promos for the reality show Kid Nation, CBS has said there were no adults around the 40 children featured, but when concerns were expressed about the children, CBS said there were many adults keeping a close eye on the children. In an editorial, the Boston Globe is sharply critical of the program.
The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA) says it is investigating CBS’ reality series Kid Nation, saying it is concerned about the accusations of abuse of children. Broadcasting & Cable reports.
CBS is not crying over the controversy surrounding the reality series Kid Nation, says Broadcasting & Cable.
A group of listeners to Clear Channel Communications talk radio station KLSD-AM 1360 San Diego is rallying outside the station’s studios to protest the rumored format change of the station to sports from the present liberal talk format. The group, “Save KLSD,” hopes to replicate the success a listener group had in Madison, Wisconsin last December to prevent a similar flip at WXXM 92.1. The San Diego Union Tribune reports. The Web site Non Stop Radio.com lists other markets where progressive talk radio formats have been eliminated, including Sacramento, Dallas, Cincinnati, Boston, and New Haven, among others. In a statement on its own Web site, 1360 KLSD.com says “rumors are circulating” and listeners should “stay tuned.”
Despite real estate woes across most of the nation, mortgage company ads on the Internet, TV and radio continue their pitch, says the New York Times.
After killing off its Mickey Mouse-look-alike, Hamas has turned to another Disneyesque character — televising a cartoon with a Lion King wannabe to portray the Islamic group’s victory in the Gaza Strip over the Fatah movement. The cartoon depicts Fatah members as sneaky rats, brandishing guns and being showered with U.S. dollars, while Hamas is portrayed as a confident, calm lion that resembles Simba in the 1994 Walt Disney movie The Lion King. The five-minute video, titled “A message to the criminal gangs in the occupied West Bank,” is the second production of the Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV enlisting a famous Disney character, says Associated Press.
The Chinese government has banned TV programs on sex change operations and cosmetic surgery, reports Associated Press.
A Chinese technology company has expressed interest in buying a maker of computer disk drives in the United States, raising concerns among American government officials about the risks to national security in transferring high technology to China, says the New York Times.
As TV enters small rural towns and villages in India, the situation for and treatment of women improves, reports the Washington Post.
Gunmen shot and killed a Somali radio journalist in the south of the country Friday, a colleague said, in the third violent death of a journalist in the East African nation in two weeks. Abdulkadir Moallim Kaskey, who worked for a local station called Radio Benadir, died and a woman traveling with him was wounded in an attack on their minibus in southwestern Gedo province, said a colleague, Mohamed Sanweyn. “Abdulkadir Mahad Moallim Kaskey was a young talented journalist, and we are deeply concerned by his killing,” another colleague, Mohamed Mo’allin, told the Associated Press.
Ten are being held in the killing of a Russian journalist, but in making the announcement, Russia’s top prosecutor suggested that someone outside Russia masterminded the killing of the frequent Kremlin critic, reports Associated Press.
The NBC Dateline series To Catch A Predator has been criticized for its tactics, in articles in Rolling Stone magazine, Esquire, and the American Journalism Review. Now, the New York Times says advertisers are avoiding the show.
Some companies and services are paying bloggers to write reviews for the Internet, in an effort to increase fame, says the Wall Street Journal.
Black Entertainment Television’s new animation division seems to have stepped right into a pitfall of self-parody: a short cartoon video it introduced on July 20, “Read a Book,” seems to flaunt every negative stereotype in the African-American community. In a gloss on the hip-hop videos frequently shown on BET, an animated rapper named D?Mite comes on with what looks like a public service message about the benefits of reading, but devolves into a foul-mouthed song accompanied by images of black men shooting guns loaded with books and gyrating black women with the word “book” written on the back of their low-slung pants. The uncensored cut is making the rounds on YouTube, while a cleaner version was shown on BET. This report is from the New York Times. Long criticized for showing gangsta rap videos and those with scantily clad female dancers, BET is now taking those images – spiced with profanity and frequent use of the N-word – and remixing them into an audacious animated video promoting literacy and black pride that is drawing both praise and condemnation, says the Los Angeles Times.
The humorist and commentator Andy Rooney has made a career out of being a grumpy old man, most frequently at the end of “60 Minutes” on CBS. But his latest rant, in the syndicated column he writes for Tribune Media Services, drew fire last week for crossing the line from crotchety to racist. “I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today’s baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me,” Mr. Rooney wrote in the second paragraph of the column, which appeared in the Stamford Times of Stamford, Connecticut. The New York Times reports.
The Humane Society is suing Amazon.com because it is selling two cockfighting magazines, Gamecock and the Feathered Warrior, reports the New York Times.
Documentary films are bringing the Iraq war home, making it personal, says the Boston Globe.
A new documentary, The Anti-Americans, debuting tonight at 10 on Thirteen/WNET, examines the question of whether America is loved or hated in Europe and around the world. The common wisdom is that American culture is loved and its political policies are hated. The New York Times reports. It’s a delightful surprise, says the New York Daily News.
The devastation left by Hurricane Katrina marks its second anniversary, prompting a number of PBS and cable TV programs, reports the Washington Post.
Radio has survived television, 8-track tapes, compact discs, and other competition. Now it is confronted with MP3′s and with satellite radio. The Baltimore Sun reports.
The Fox TV network likes super-short 2-second ads on the radio, reports My San Antonio.com.
Joel Kramer, the former editor and publisher of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, is expected today to announce plans for an online, nonprofit daily newspaper for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, the country’s 14th largest media market. Like other newspaper markets, the Twin Cities have had repeated rounds of buyouts and staff cutbacks at the two major dailies, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. The New York Times reports.
Yahoo is introducing features today for its popular Web-based e-mail program, including software that allows computer users to type text messages on a keyboard and send them directly to someone’s cell phone. The enhancements make it easier to send e-mail, instant messages or text messages from a single Web site — no need to launch or toggle between separate applications or devices. The features will be available to users in the United States, Canada, India and the Philippines. Associated Press reports.
The social networking site MySpace may lift its ban on commerce and allow members to sell items to each other. Currently members can’t peddle their wares on the social networking site. But that could change if MySpace can profit from the sales, says the Los Angeles Times.
One technology manager’s job is to dig up digital dirt. Like a forensic investigator of technological crime scenes, Eduardo Castro sifts through computer hard drives looking for suspicious digital artifacts, says the Miami Herald.
The next battle for supremacy over the small screen will be waged from outer space. Taking advantage of enhanced capacity from new satellites, DirecTV is looking to promote an edge in HDTV programming over cable television providers, reports the Boston Globe.
The Washington Post reports on a man who faked his own death to get out of a cellular telephone contract.
Virtual worlds are luring children, with online social networking sites offering learning, toys and games and more. The Boston Globe reports.
Consumers are getting used to retrieving their digital information and collections — contacts, photographs, e-mail, documents — on practically any computer and a growing number of mobile devices. These Internet services are replacing much of what was done only a few years ago with software firmly rooted to an individual computer, reports the Seattle Times.
Social networking Web sites are inundating us with connections that become an unmanageable circle of friends, which in turn can be alienating, says the Washington Post.
A decade ago, Princess Diana became a powerful princess of sales as her death created a cottage industry of marketers cashing in with books, magazines, television shows and merchandise like figurines and coins. The New York Times reports.
For many advertisers, the promise of the Internet lies in its ability to track and measure users? responses, something that is generally impossible with television and print. But a new study concludes that advertisements can be effective even when they do not persuade users to click on them, reports the New York Times.
Search-engine optimization is the art of making an Internet site attractive to Internet search engines. It is as much about knowing your own industry’s buzzwords as it is about the latest technology, says the Wall Street Journal.
Sprint Nextel, which recently said it would spend up to $5 billion on a mobile high-speed wireless standard by the year 2010, says it has awarded the New York WiMax market to Samsung Electronics, reports Reuters.
If there is a high definition TV in your future, wait until after the holidays, advises the New York Times.
Internet radio is tailored for the individual, but the Washington Postasks whether it can survive.
Group TV station owner Hearst Argyle is going private, says TV Newsday. Stations include ABC Boston affiliate WCVB channel 5 Boston; WBAL-TV channel 11, NBC in Baltimore; and WPTZ channel 5 Plattsburgh in upstate New York, an NBC affiliate. This is a $600 million transaction, says Media Daily News.
The creators of South Park have won an ad-sharing agreement in a digital deal, says the New York Times.
CNBC business and financial reporter Erin Burnett is profiled by the Washington Post.
The Tribune Co. says print ad revenue dropped 10% in July, but Internet ad revenue increased, reports Media Daily News.
In Italy, there is a new record for a Wi-Fi connection: 180 miles, reports Media Daily News. This has major implications for Wi Fi service generally.
Nielsen has found a drop that the drop in TV usage is real, not methodological. The impact is greatest among heavy viewers, says Media Daily News.
Now that he has copped a plea, Atlanta Falcons football quarterback-turned-confessed dog fighting financier Michael Vick will discuss his plight with Tom Joyner in a live on-air interview tomorrow morning. The Tom Joyner show carried by WYBC-FM 94.3 New Haven can be heard in parts of Connecticut and eastern Long Island. Listeners may submit questions at Black America Web.com.