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Media Briefing for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Media Briefing for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Cell phones are a convenience for children, but are also a hazard to learning, according to a Seattle Times editorial.

The social networking site Facebook is giving its members the choice of keeping their files private, reports Reuters.

Jerry Lewis dropped the anti-gay slur word “faggot” during the final hour of this past weekend’s Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, reports Associated Press. The comedian has apologized, says Reuters.

Four actors from Grey’s Anatomy, the ABC hit where actor Isaiah Washington was fired for publicly using the anti-gay slur “faggot,” are featured in a new ad campaign preaching tolerance for gays and lesbians. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has released 25 new public service ads that feature celebrities talking about either the power of anti-gay words or the importance of accepting a gay or lesbian family member, reports Associated Press.

The Southern Baptist Convention is selling its FamilyNet, which produces television and radio programming, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Televangelist D. James Kennedy of Florida’s Coral Ridge Ministries, who broadcast a nationally syndicated program offering his ultra conservative views, has died at age 76, reports the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale. His show Coral Ridge Hour is seen Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m. on TBN, including WTBY channel 54 Poughkeepsie in the New York area.

The FCC public hearing on consolidation of media ownership will be Thursday, September 20, 4 to 11 p.m., says the FCC.

In a survey of 500 American children ages 7 to 12 commissioned by ShopLocal.com, technology figures prominently on their wish lists. While apparel was predictably the most sought-after item (75 percent), it was followed closely by gaming systems (73 percent), computers (70 percent), cell phones (69 percent) and iPods (63 percent). MSNBC reports.

In the U.K. newspaper comics are making the jump from newspapers to mobile phones, reports the Times of London.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party is launching today a first-of-its-kind website that it says contains an unparalleled repository of information about Mitt Romney’s record that could be used against the former Massachusetts governor in his White House run. Romney Facts lays out a wealth of documents: personal financial disclosure statements he filed as governor; policy proposals he put forward in his 2002 campaign; several old campaign ads; and a unique searchable database of campaign contributions from his entire political career. The Boston Globe reports.

Mitt Romney, who has been advertising heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire, is now advertising in South Carolina, another state with an early presidential primary, reports Associated Press.

In covering George W. Bush’s drop-in visit to Iraq, the media fell for the spin about possible troop reductions, says the Washington Post.

New York One, the city’s cable all-news TV channel, is marking 15 years on the air this month, reports the New York Daily News. Viewers outside the city got a chance to watch it in the days after the World Trade Center attack when New York One was simulcast part of the day on WNYE-TV channel 25.

Dan Abrams, general manager of MSNBC and host of a 9 p.m. talk show on the network, is profiled by the New York Observer. Among other things, he dislikes Anderson Cooper, Larry King, Christiane Amanpour, and all things CNN, and calls CNN “the Paris Hilton network.”

Don Hewitt of 60 Minutes on CBS would like to create a shorter, online version to reach college students, says U.S. News and World Report.

NBC is selling new shows on the Amazon Unbox, reports Associated Press. NBC will get something Apple would not give it: flexibility in price and packaging, reports the New York Times.

A week before the Today show adds a fourth hour, rival Good Morning America has quietly expanded to three — although few television viewers will notice. ABC began producing the third hour of Good Morning America on Tuesday for its “ABC News Now” service, available primarily as a subscription-only service for broadband and mobile phone customers. Chris Cuomo and weatherman Sam Champion are hosts of the third hour, says Associated Press.

It’s odd for an agency that has the word “communications” as its middle name, but the Federal Communications Commission routinely leaves the public in the dark about how it makes critical policy decisions. That secrecy was on display during the recent debate over how the FCC should auction off the rights to billions of dollars worth of publicly owned airwaves, says the Associated Press.

A $1.3 billion reserve price for a piece of wireless spectrum to be auctioned by the Federal Communications Commission in January is too high, according to one company interested in the spectrum. PC World reports,

There is no chance of any cable viewers being offended if CBS uses visual aids in its defense of Janet Jackson’s breast shot. The Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Philadelphia will not allow C-SPAN to televise the oral arguments in CBS? challenge of the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency finding against the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake Super Bowl reveal back in 2004, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

The FCC has released the peer reviews of its 10 media ownership-related studies, plus two others, and the results are a mixed bag, but with at least one big present for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

The Los Angeles Times examines the history of HDTV over the past decade, and original promises that it would allow stations to offer multiple pipelines of information.

Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley are increasing punishments for students who pirate files, including illegal movies and videos, in their dormitory rooms, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

There are reports that Apple will introduce a wide screen, touch-controlled iPod, reports the London Times.

The iPhone can be bought in China, even though Apple isn’t selling it there, and the iPhone doesn’t function properly despite costing twice as much as in the United States. Enthusiasts willing to pay 8,800 yuan ($1,170) can buy the iPhone at electronics markets in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities, says the Associated Press.

Microsoft says it would not be unreasonable to think that it may introduce a Zune phone to compete with Apple’s iPhone, reports Reuters.

Microsoft has introduced its latest product: a cross browser known as Silverlight, reports the Seattle Times.

There are now four billion phone lines in the world, quadruple the number a decade ago, reports Associated Press

Yahoo is buying BlueLithium, an advertising network that specializes in targeting ads to users based on what Web sites they have visited. The New York Times reports. The price is $300 million, says the Los Angeles Times.

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software company, failed to win approval to make its Office Open XML file format an international standard, a setback to efforts to win customers in Europe, reports Bloomberg News.

Metro PCS Communications, the mobile telephone company that sells only prepaid service, has offered to buy Leap Wireless International to expand in a fast-growing part of the cellphone market. The transaction would almost double MetroPCS’s customer rolls and expand its regional networks in Texas, California and the eastern United States. The combined company would hold licenses in almost all the top 200 markets, taking on larger rivals like AT&T and Verizon, says the New York Times. The deal is worth more than $5 billion, says the Los Angeles Times.

Time magazine is closing Business 2.0, reports the New York Times.

PBS is using viral marketing in promoting its new children’s programming, says the Boston Globe.

The Anti-Americans, the PBS documentary examining feelings toward the U.S. in Poland, France and the U.K., which was televised last week on Thirteen/WNET, is reviewed by the Boston Globe.

Whoopi Goldberg has joined The View with Barbara Walters, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

An Iranian-American journalist held in her native country for months and accused of security-related offenses has been permitted to leave Iran, according to her employer. Prague-based Parnaz Azima, who works for a Persian service for the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, arrived in Tehran, Iran on January 25 to visit her sick mother. Authorities seized her Iranian passport, and in May she was charged with security-related offenses. Associated Press reports.

The NPR station in Baltimore, WYPR 88.1, has acquired an FM station in Ocean City, Maryland, which is now known as WYPO 106.9, and which simulcasts the Baltimore station. The existing NPR stations on the Maryland shore, Lower Shore National Public Radio WSCL-FM 89.5 Salisbury and WSDL-FM 90.7 Ocean City are upset, saying the new station will siphon off listeners and contributions. The Salisbury, Maryland Daily Times reports.

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Media Briefing for Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Media Briefing for Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bob Woodruff has quietly returned to ABC news after a recovery from his severe injuries in Iraq, reports Associated Press.

Every night, Rob Mignogna of Manchester, New Hampshire records every 6 p.m. newscast in Boston and studies how each station covers the day’s stories. Then he writes about them on his blog. He moderates spirited debates about Boston TV on his online forum, Boston TV News. His site has 600 registered members who dissect every detail about the local stations, from ratings figures to on-screen graphics to the shuffling of anchors. The Boston Globe reports.

The Chinese military hacked into a U.S. Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack ever on the U.S. defense department, according to American officials quoted by the Financial Times. The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of defense secretary Robert Gates, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack. Current and former officials have told the Financial Times that an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People’s Liberation Army. China is rejecting the claim that it hacked the Pentagon, says Reuters.

In Connecticut, the 106,000 state taxpayers whose names and Social Security numbers were listed on a state laptop computer stolen back on August 17 will be offered free identity-theft coverage by the state. The New Haven Register reports.

Gay blogger Mike Rogers, whose Blog Active.com was one of the first to report about Idaho senator Larry Craig, explains his philosophy of outing closeted gay politicians. In Rogers’s mind, if you’re against gay rights in your public life but privately live a secret homosexual life, all bets are off. In 2005, Rogers blogged about Florida congressman Mark Foley months before that scandal broke. The Washington Post reports.

Russia’s law prohibiting extremism in speech, originally passed as a hate crime law to protect minorities, is now casting a wide net, ensnaring journalists and others, reports Associated Press.

In the U.S., children’s TV ads are high in sweets, fat and salts, according to a survey quoted by Broadcasting & Cable.

In the U.K., Naked Chef Jamie Oliver’s push for healthier foods in schools is in a twist. His TV series Jamie’s School Dinners exposed how cafeteria menus relied on prepared foods like chicken nuggets or the turkey twizzler, a corkscrew of mainly reconstituted turkey scraps and preservatives. Healthier foods were introduced, but more than 424,000 students have now opted out of their school meal plans in the first two years of the program, reports Associated Press.

Despite the outcry, CBS is moving ahead with plans to show Kid Nation, reports the New York Times. The Chicago Tribune looks at how CBS went wrong with Kid Nation.

Docmentarian Ken Burns was profiled in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times. Burns discusses and defends his upcoming seven-part series The War, debuting on Thirteen/WNET and PBS stations across the nation September 23.

There are a number of new shows debuting this month on various channels aimed at children ranging in age from tots to teenagers. Four of them are on PBS, reports the Washington Post. Some may also be entertaining for adults, says the Philadelphia Inquirer, including Word World, Super Why!, WordGirl, and Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies. September is a time of new beginnings for children, both in the classroom and on TV, says the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

The FCC is holding a public hearing on the issues of consolidation of media ownership and localism in programming in Chicago on Thursday, September 20, according to the agency’s Web site. The Republican-dominated FCC is proposing allowing even more consolidation of ownership, but critics say it has led to a destruction of local programming.

Customers at a Sunoco station on Route 229 in Southington, Connecticut can now watch ESPN as they fill the tank. At ESPN’s request, Michigan-based Gas Station TV mounted 20-inch LCD television screens on gas pumps at the Sunoco station off Exit 31 of I-84, just a few miles from ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut campus. The Hartford Courant reports.

Apple has escalated a dispute with NBC Universal over the pricing of TV shows by saying yesterday it would not sell any of NBC’s programs for this fall season on iTunes. Earlier, NBC had told Apple it would no longer allow its programs to be sold via iTunes at year-end. NBC Universal-controlled TV programming accounts for an estimated 40 percent of the video downloads on iTunes. Rather than cut off NBC programs in midseason, Apple decided to stop before the new fall episodes start this month, reports Associated Press. The dispute between Apple and NBC is now more heated, says the New York Times. The move comes after an impasse in talks between the media company and Apple over price and piracy issues, according to sources quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

The era of the computer virus began 25 years ago as a prank, says Associated Press.

The cellphone is rapidly evolving into a handheld computer with music, video and an Internet browser, and to capitalize on the trend, RemoTV, a New Haven-based startup company, is launching a new free service this month that will make it easier to obtain media content on mobile phones, reports the Hartford Courant.

The word is that at some point Google will be introducing the Google phone. The Internet is buzzing about it, but only a privileged few know what it looks like, what it will do, or when it will hit the streets, reports the Boston Globe. A Google telephone is the talk of the blogosphere, says the Los Angeles Times.

Who founded the social networking site Facebook? A new claim emerges, says the New York Times.

In the college dorm of the future, giant computer screens would cover entire walls, beam video lectures into the room with one touch of the monitor, and fade to a clear floor-to-ceiling window with a second touch. Factory workers would fashion prefabricated rooms to students’ liking, then ship the structures to campus. With modular furniture and movable walls, the room could shift shape and style at a student’s whim. The Boston Globe reports.

It’s been more than two years since San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom championed the idea of blanketing the city with wireless Internet access, available to all for free. After fits and starts and protracted negotiations, the plan appears to have fizzled for now, derailed by a mix of city politics and business challenges. But the plan may not be dead entirely, says the New York Times.

Sony may be offering a movie download service soon, says Associated Press.

In 1995, Microsoft added a free Web browser to its operating system in an attempt to fend off new rivals, an effort ultimately blocked by the courts. This week, it plans to turn that strategy upside down, making available free software that connects its Windows operating system to software services delivered on the Internet, a practice increasingly referred to as “cloud” computing. The initiative is part of an effort to connect Windows more seamlessly to a growing array of Internet services. The strategy is a major departure for Microsoft, says the New York Times.

Amid intense lobbying, Microsoft is expected to squeak out a victory this week to have its open document format, Office Open XML, recognized as an international standard, according to people tracking the vote. The move would help Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, maintain its competitive advantage in the expanding field of open document formats, says the New York Times.

Is eliminating or “whiting out” the ads on the Web a good idea when it’s the ads that pay for the content? The New York Times reports.

Four news agencies, the Press Association of Britain, Canadian Press, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press, have now agreed to license news feeds to Google. Their articles are featured with the organizations? own brands on Google News. The five-year-old Google News service previously searched the Web to uncover links to news articles from thousands of sources, and clustered links on similar subjects together, reports Reuters.

White heroines are turning more to black best friends in TV and film, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Now that actor and U.S. senator Fred Thompson is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, broadcast stations can no longer run Law and Order episodes featuring him, but on cable TV, TNT will be running episodes with Thompson, reports Associated Press.

CBS is making changes to its morning show, which has been in third place for generations, and among other things is bringing in a producer from ABC’s Good Morning America, says Associated Press.

The Washington Post reports on Seeing In The Dark, a new HD film by Timothy Ferris that shows the gorgeous story of the heavens. Ferris assembled a team of world-class filmmakers to unveil the universe through amateur astronomy. Accompanying the film is a Web site for students from grade school to college that allows registrants to use the “Seeing in the Dark” Internet Telescope, controlled from their computer. The telescope is in the high-altitude Sacramento Mountains near Cloudcroft, New Mexico. The telescope-access portion of the Web site will be available tomorrow at SeeingInTheDark.org. The program debuts on Thirteen/WNET and PBS stations nationwide on Wednesday, September 19 at 8 p.m.

Katie Couric of the CBS Evening News says she was hired to bring change to the CBS Evening News, reports the Los Angeles Times. Her first year in the anchor chair has been a difficult one for Couric, says Newsday. Couric will be anchoring her newscast from Damascus, Syria Thursday and Friday of this week, according to executive producer Rick Kaplan. TV Week reports.

This year’s lobbying effort by a new recording industry-sponsored group, MusicFirst, has breathed new life into the drive to make radio stations pay musical artists — and not just writers and publishers — for playing their songs. The issue is as old as Top 40. What’s different now is that the music industry, in deep trouble, is casting around for ways to make up for the steep decline in revenue that hit the business after digital downloading changed its basic structure. The Washington Post reports.

Washington NPR affiliate WAMU 88.5 is dropping all music this month and going to an all news and talk format. However, WAMU is offering bluegrass music on an HD channel that requires a special HD radio receiver, reports the Washington Post.

Some highly compensated executives are surfing for six-figure jobs and are willing to pay for access to job Web sites such as The Ladders.com, reports the McClatchy newspapers.

The general manager of Boston NBC affiliate WHDH Channel 7 is working hard to make sure its newscasts remain on top in the ratings, says the Boston Globe.

Showtime’s new slogan speaks the way it could only on cable TV and not broadcast networks or family friendly newspapers, says the New York Times.

The Bloomberg television network serves as the public face of the financial information powerhouse Bloomberg L.P., delivering no-nonsense business news and analysis to industry professionals and encouraging the sales of the company’s core product, the Bloomberg terminal. It is also carried on the E! channel weekdays 5 to 8 a.m. Now, Bloomberg TV is picking up the pace, reports the New York Times.

With the rise of many new technologies to deliver the correct time, AT&T is eliminating the telephone number callers may dial to find out the time in California, a service dating back to the 1940s. The service will continue for the time being in Nevada, while it has already been eliminated in all other states served by AT&T, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Big weekly newspapers are sputtering, but small weeklies are soaring, says Media Daily News.

Some parents say the movie ratings given to the current hit Superbad do not adequately cover the language and explicitness, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. But the Washington Post presents another view: Superbad is serving the greater good. Yes, it’s lewd, but one teenager sees real-life frailties at play.

What will happen to all of these house-flipping shows now that the real estate market seems to be tanking? “The television equivalent of ‘location, location, location’ is ‘timing, timing, timing,’” says TV historian Tim Brooks. “Now that the bust has come, now that the wave has passed, some of these shows might be in trouble.” The shows are being retooled, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Mega TV is planning to go national and become the nation’s third national Spanish language TV network, reports the Miami Herald.

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Media Briefing for Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Media Briefing for Friday, August 31, 2007

Fearing fines from the FCC, and concern expressed by PBS stations around the country, PBS will be offering a ?bleeped? version of Ken Burns? The War about World War II, minus profanities expressed by some veterans, when the documentary debuts in September, reports the Washington Post. Stations can run either the edited or the unedited version. In Palm Beach, Florida, WXEL channel 42 will show the ?clean? version, says the Palm Beach Post. In San Francisco, KQED channel 9 is afraid to run the unedited version, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Forbes magazine has issued its list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, and 15 are from the world of television and media. Number one is the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Others include:

#10. Patricia Russo, chief executive, Alcatel-Lucent;

# 21. Oprah Winfrey, chairman, Harpo;

#22. Margaret Whitman, chairman, eBay;

# 31. Judy McGrath, chief executive, MTV;

#35. Amy Pascal, co-chair, Sony Pictures Entertainment;

#45. Janet Robinson, chief executive, president, New York Times Co.;

#49. Nancy Tellen, president, CBS Paramount Television – Entertainment;

#55. Meredith Vieira, host, NBC’s Today show;

#57. Ann Moore, chief executive, Time;

#62. Diane Sawyer of ABC’s Good Morning America;

# 63. Katie Couric, anchor, CBS Evening News;

#74. Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent, CNN;

#77. Anne Sweeney, president ABC – Disney Television Group;

#85. Christie Hefner, chairman, chief executive, Playboy Enterprises;

#87. Stacey Snider, co-chairman, chief executive, Dreamworks.

Is Internet e-mail a public record? This issue is being grappled with in the state of Washington, reports the Seattle Times.

The theft of information posted by more than a million job seekers at the jobs site Monster.comis alarming the experts, with the scope of the scam revealing the new level of danger, reports the Boston Globe.

An educational video, That’s A Family, depicting various types of families, including those headed by same sex couples, has been yanked from the public schools in the Evesham, New Jersey school district after the school board voted 7-to-1 to stop showing it, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The vote came after a committee of scholars and educators, appointed by the board to review the issue, recommended keeping the video in the curriculum. The decision was made after an outcry from some parents.

NBC is ending its relationship with Apple’s iTunes. The decision by NBC Universal highlights the escalating tension between Apple and media companies, which are unhappy that Apple will not give them more control over the pricing of songs and videos that are sold on iTunes. NBC Universal is also seeking better piracy controls and wants Apple to allow it to bundle videos to increase revenue, the person familiar with the matter said. The New York Times reports.

Plans for citywide free Internet service in Chicago, Houston and now San Francisco are on the rocks. The collapse of the plan in San Francisco is a blow to Google, says the San Francisco Chronicle. A look at the national picture is provided by Associated Press

Web advertising spending will eclipse that of radio for the year 2007, reports Forbes magazine. The Internet has surpassed outdoor billboards, and one study predicts it will surpass television in the year 2011, reports Media Daily News.

Microsoft is still a monopoly, say attorneys general from a number of states. The Los Angeles Times reports.

Using dogs, police have found a shipment of counterfeit DVDs in New York City, says Associated Press.

Watching video online in small, fuzzy boxes is heading the way of rabbit ears. Some highly anticipated Web sites are being modeled on making the experience of watching video online more like watching television. These sites rely on software that enlarges the interface so that it fills your computer screen — from edge to edge. Associated Press reports.

Apple is expected to unveil a new iPod, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Facebook, the social-networking Web site being sued over allegations that it was built on stolen computer code, has asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit, which was filed by a smaller rival, ConnectU. Facebook argues that the so-called ‘shotgun? allegations in ConnectU’s suit failed to properly tie Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other managers to the alleged wrongdoing. Bloomberg News reports.

Libertarian Ron Paul of Texas, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, is using the Internet to reach out to both Republicans and Democrats, says the Wall Street Journal.

The Chinese government has become wary of TV talent shows similar to American Idol, says Associated Press.

Thailand’s government has lifted a four-month ban on YouTube after the popular video-sharing Web site’s operator agreed not to allow videos that violate the country’s laws or are deemed offensive to Thai people. The government blocked access to YouTube on April 4 after its owner, Google turned down Thailand’s request to remove clips seen as offensive to Thailand’s revered monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. One of the controversial clips that led to the ban depicted shoes with the soles pointed toward the king’s image – a major taboo in a culture where feet are considered extremely dirty and offensive. The video’s soundtrack was the Thai national anthem, reports Associated Press.

Sony is closing its digital music store and dropping its audio format. Acknowledging that its proprietary audio technology is a marketplace flop, Sony is shuttering its Connect digital music store and opening its portable media players to other formats. Associated Press reports.

The family of Reggae singer Bob Marley is challenging the Verizon Wireless deal to sell the Bob Marley ring tones, with the family announcing that it will file suit, reports the New York Times. Bob Marley died 26 years ago, in 1981.

The big tech companies believe the future lies in selling handheld devices to developing nations – as opposed to placing total emphasis on Europe, North America and Japan. The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

YouTube, the video-sharing site, has reached a licensing agreement with the MCPS-PRS Alliance, which collects royalties for British musical artists. The alliance, which serves 50,000 composers, songwriters and publishers, will license more than 10 million pieces of music for use on the British version of YouTube. Both the alliance and YouTube, owned by Google, declined to disclose monetary terms, but analysts suggest it could run into the tens of millions of dollars, reports the New York Times.

In Florida, students at a middle school have taken a student brawl offline, reports the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.

It will soon be possible to send emailed text messages to mobile phones, says EMarketer.

A holder of the Chicago Sun Times is seeking the sale of the newspaper. A group of shareholders led by investment manager K Capital Management has urged newspaper publisher Sun-Times Media Group to immediately put itself up for sale, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. Associated Press reports.

There are now DVRs in one in five households, reports Media Post.com.

The Fox television network is borrowing the tricks of TV news to promote a new comedy show on the network, Back To You, reports the New York Times.

In Los Angeles, the Tribune Co. has put the historic home of KTLA channel 5 up for sale, reports the Los Angeles Times. Built in 1919, the studio is where Al Jolson recorded the first talking movie, The Jazz Singer,, in 1927, reports Associated Press.

The bankruptcy of the parent company of ABC affiliate in Buffalo, WKBW channel 7, is putting the staff, including the general manager, on edge, says the Buffalo News.

The federal government might be forced to intervene in a long-running dispute between cable companies and the consumer electronics industry over how Americans will someday use their television sets to buy movies, shop and access other services. The two sides have been at an impasse for nearly four years, and the stalemate continues despite several rounds of negotiations between individual companies and the two industries? powerful Washington lobbyists, say the Dow Jones newswires.

Mexico’s Televisa network, known around the world for its soap operas, will celebrate 50 years of producing the melodramas with a series of special programs. The network will air a show of the most memorable scenes and produce a soap opera about the making of a telenovela as seen by the makeup artists, says Televisa President Emilio Azcarraga Jean.Associated Press reports. In the New York area must of Televisa’s programming is carried Univision, which is seen on WXTV channel 41 in the New York area.

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Media Briefing for Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Media Briefing for Thursday, August 30, 2007

Covering the Senator Larry Craig story has posed a moral dilemma for the Idaho Statesman. This kind of dilemma facing the Statesman has played out repeatedly in recent years as news organizations have grappled with secondhand accounts about political figures and questionable sexual conduct. The Washington Post reports.

MSNBC talk show host Tucker Carlson is denying he is a gay basher after telling a story on air about grabbing a man after Carlson says the man approached him in a rest room. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network has protested, saying it is “outraged,” reports the New York Daily News. The Denver Post provides the video.

An angry Stephen A. Smith, the outspoken Philadelphia Inquirer African-American sports columnist who parlayed his column into a radio and cable television presence, has told colleagues that the Inquirer has stripped him of his column and offered him a job as a general assignment reporter in the Inquirer’s sports department, reports the Baltimore Afro American.

Slate reports on how television killed the newspaper sports column.

A conservative watchdog group says the morning network news shows are giving more time to Democrats than Republicans, reports Associated Press.

After running unfavorable stories about the local school board, WCBC-AM 1270 Cumberland, Maryland has been banned from the press box at local high school sporting events, and WCBC is suing the school board.

In Boston, conservative talk show host Howie Carr is being offered $7 million by WTKK-FM 96.9 to join the talk FM station from WRKO-AM 680, which would make Carr one of the highest paid radio talk show hosts in the nation, according to the Boston Herald.

The U.S. Supreme Court has given the solicitor general an extra month to decide whether to ask for high-court review of the federal appeals court decision that the FCC has not sufficiently justified its crackdown on indecent language, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

The Federal Trade Commission will not oppose Rupert Murdoch’s $5 billion acquisition of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, says Media Daily News. Other agencies still must act on the acquisition, but Dow Jones and Murdoch believe the deal will close in the last 3 months of this year, says Associated Press.

A Web site is keeping a “Truth-O-Meter” ticking on assertions being made by the presidential hopefuls. The site, PolitFact, is being jointly operated by Congressional Quarterly and the Saint Petersburg Times, reports the Boston Globe.

Following months of delay, an ambitious plan to blanket Houston, Texas with wireless Internet signals is in serious jeopardy. The city’s partner in the project, EarthLink, will pay a $5 million penalty to the city for not meeting its deadlines, reports the Houston Chronicle. Earlier this week it was also reported that Chicago is backing away from its plan to introduce free Wi-Fi service citywide after failing to reach agreement with either of the two companies vying to perform the installation. The Chicago Tribune has the story.

Apparently, it is legal to hack the iPhone, but making a profit on it may not be legal, says Associated Press.

Google is working to launch a gPhone that would be launched sometime after Labor Day, according to the San Jose Mercury News which is quoting what it says are usually reliable bloggers.

A Web site known as Give Me Liberty.org that sells materials stating that individuals can legally stop paying taxes has been shut down on the order of a federal judge who wrote that the First Amendment does not protect the two organizations that operate the Web site, or their founder, because the site incites criminal conduct. The New York Times reports.

NBC Universal and Rupert Murdoch have named their new online video joint venture Hulu, taking a page from the Internet company tradition of creating meaningless corporate monikers. The two media companies say the site will be available for testing by a “limited” number of users by October – a month later than originally planned, says Associated Press.

Years in the making, Yahoo’s powerful new e-mail is worth the wait, says the Wall Street Journal.

The Nokia Music Store, which is scheduled to open later this year, will let users download songs from the Internet to their computers or directly to mobile phones, over wireless networks, reports the New York Times.

Starting next week, some Mercedes-Benz drivers will be able to plan trips to restaurants, stores and landmarks using Yahoo or Google, and then send directions directly to their vehicles. The program is called Search & Send. The San Jose Mercury News reports.

Apple and Volkswagen are teaming up to try to create an iCar, reports the Associated Press.

On Wall Street, shares of Apple rose nearly 6 percent on speculation the company will debut new versions of the iPod media player, and that its iTunes store may start selling music from The Beatles. Bloomberg News reports.

Even though many are cautious about linking up with dates online, a study finds one in three women who find dates on the Internet have sex on the first date, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Eighty five per cent of videos consumed by the public are pre-recorded, says Lost Remote.com.

A new channel devoted entirely to the Grateful Dead debuts Friday of next week, September 7, on Sirius Satellite Radio, beginning with the broadcast of a rare 1974 performance by the band at the Hollywood Bowl, reports the Associated Press.

Microsoft’s international bid is drawing fire, says the Wall Street Journal.

Former ABC television and radio reporter David Garcia, a pioneering Hispanic television journalist who became known as “Earthman” for his environmental reporting, has died. He was 63. Garcia lived in Palm Desert, California, says Associated Press.

In this age of the Internet, two new print weekly newspapers in the Seattle area are being launched, says the Seattle Times.

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Media Briefing for Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Media Briefing for Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Some children’s shows being introduced this fall may also be entertaining for adults, including four on PBS: Word World, Super Why!, WordGirl, and Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Cable television’s Cartoon Network has created a new position, vice president for social responsibility, to oversee its newly adopted food-and-beverage ad nutrition guidelines and healthy-lifestyle programming initiative. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

U.S. Senator Larry Craig of Idaho – who has a consistent anti-gay voting record – was arrested nearly three months ago for allegedly making sexual advances in a men’s room in Minnesota. The late revelation raises the issue of how such an action could occur without being reported. Even Roll Call reporter John McArdle, who broke the story late yesterday, admits he only received word of the arrest and subsequent guilty plea via a tip last week. Editor & Publisher examines this question.

Hollywood unions have stepped into the fray over Kid Nation, saying the CBS series exposes problems with reality television shows, which they claim networks exploit to keep costs down by avoiding paying writers and actors. Associated Press reports.

NBC is purchasing Sparrowhawk Media, offering cable TV channels to Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, doubling the number of foreign cable TV operations owned by NBC, reports Boston Globe. NBC president Jeff Zucker said “We want to transfer our portfolio into high-growth businesses and look to move away from businesses that are slower growth.” The New York Times reports. The acquisition is part of NBC’s international strategy, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Internet service provider EarthLink is eliminating 900 jobs, or half its work force, and closing offices in Orlando, Florida; Knoxville, Tennessee; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, and more cuts could be announced by the end of the year, says Associated Press.

My Space TV has made tracks in online television with Afterworld, a $3 million conspiracy story that begins when a Seattle ad executive in New York on business wakes up to find that all but 1 percent of the nation’s population has vaporized. Gone, too, is all AC-powered technology. No cellphones. No BlackBerrys. No Internet. The New York Times reports.

The cellphone world, dominated by giant telecommunication corporations, is colliding head-on with the Internet, where hackers abound and a good idea can grow into a Google – spawning a full-fledged mobile media industry. The intersection of the wireless world with the Internet’s openness has long been anticipated, but it’s edging closer to reality as new technologies, devices, and consumer behavior finally chip away at the telephone’s long legacy as a device used for talking. The Boston Globe reports.

In Europe there is a push for cellphone companies to expand into TV, reports the New York Times.

The travel site Farecast.com which offers advice about airline fares, is launching a similar system for hotels in 30 cities, reports the Boston Globe.

URL names for some Internet startups have non-traditional and even bizarre names, says the Los Angeles Times.

Sometimes hasty e-mail responses lead to regret, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Total communications spending rose 6.8 percent in 2006 to $885.20 billion, driven by the accelerating shift to alternative media platforms and strong gains in the marketing services and institutional sectors. Overall spending climbed at a compound annual growth rate of 5.9 percent from 2001 to 2006, exceeding GDP growth in all but one year, according to a new study. This report is from Media Post.com.

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric is traveling to Iraq and Syria for the first time, says the New York Times. This is a 10-day reporting mission, says the Hollywood Reporter. The trip comes in anticipation of a crucial report on progress of the Iraq War, says Associated Press. Katie Couric, who once expressed doubts about reporting from war zones, is heading to Iraq, says the Washington Post.

The ratings for the cable TV news channels for August are out, and among other things, show the since-departed Paula Zahn of CNN had high ratings for her last four shows, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

The Wall Street Journal will rechristen Pursuits, its Saturday leisure section, as Weekend Journal, the same name as the Friday section, according to several people familiar with the paper’s decision. The change would mean the newspaper will put out a Weekend Journal section on both Friday and Saturday . The New York Times reports.

Newspapers are looking to real estate, including their own buildings, to help their finances, reports the Wall Street Journal.

A television documentary on ballet great Rudolf Nureyev charts the dancer’s emergence in Russia. This is on Great Performances tonight at 9 on Thirteen/WNET and PBS stations across the nation. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reviews the telecast. Throughout a career of unprecedented supremacy and scope he personified glamour, gallantry and raw sex appeal, onstage and off. But according to a new documentary, when the future ballet star took his first dance steps in the remote Siberian village of his youth, he was so scrawny, weak-looking and wild-haired that the girls were appalled to dance with him. The Washington Post reports.

WCBS-AM 880 is marking its 40th anniversary as an all news station, and has a special Web site capturing the actual date of the anniversary, which was yesterday, at WCBS 880.com.

Forty nine years ago, current WBBR 1130 and former WCBS 880 anchor Mitch Lebe began his on-air career as a teenaged announcer on WINS 1010, reports the New York Daily News.

The 50,000 watt clear channel radio station at 1500 AM in Washington, D.C. will drop its WTWP call letters – standing for The Washington Post – next month when it ends its format featuring Washington Post reporters, and will become WWWT, featuring mostly national talk radio shows, reports Associated Press. It will be called Talk Radio 3WT, reports WTOP 103.5 News. The current format is being dropped after 18 months on the air, says the Washington Post. Bill O’Reilly, Neal Boortz, Glenn Beck and Stephanie Miller are among the national talk show hosts that will be featured, says the Washington Times.

Marvin Kitman, for 35 years the TV critic at Long Island’s Newsday, is now the TV critic for the online Huffington Post, reports Media Daily News.

CBS News.com and the Washington Post are teaming up for coverage of Campaign 2008, reports Online Media Daily.

The morning show on Fox-owned WFLD channel 32 Chicago will change its name from Fox News in the Morning back to the original name Good Day Chicago, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The addition of the fourth hour of NBC’s Today show will change the times for the local talk show Morning Blend and the midday newscast, on Milwaukee’s WTMJ-TV channel 4, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Anti-Americans, the documentary about feelings of hostility toward the U.S. in Europe, which was shown Monday night on Thirteen/WNET, was reviewed by the Miami Herald.

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Media Briefing for Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Media Briefing for Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The American Civil Liberties Union says some public TV stations’ reluctance to air Ken Burns’ World War II documentary, The War, over a handful of profanities “clearly settles any question about the chilling effect” of what it called the FCC’s “vague and contradictory indecency regime.” The FCC previously found a PBS documentary on the blues indecent for its profanities, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

Police in China’s capital city of Beijing say they will start patrolling the Web using animated beat officers that pop up on a user’s browser and walk, bike or drive across the screen warning them to stay away from illegal Internet content. Starting Saturday, the cartoon alerts will appear every half hour, reports Associated Press.

Yahoo is defending obeying Chinese law, says the Los Angeles Times.

Matt Drudge and his Drudge Report are profiled by New York magazine, which says he hides, but craves attention. He is prurient and prudish, powerful and paranoid, an icon of the right who seems obsessed with making Hillary Clinton the next president – and he has America caught in his grip.

A CBS news translator has been killed in Iraq, making him the third CBS newsperson killed in this war, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

The ABC affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, WHAS-TV channel 11, showed on its newscast a video of a bank robber being gunned down by police while leaving the bank, and posted the video on the WHAS-TV Web site. The blog on the site describes the difficulty in making the decision to air it. WHAS-TV showed footage of the man, who was armed with an air rifle, coming out of the bank with a weapon pointed in the air. The station blurred his image just before viewers heard audio of police firing gunshots and saw the man fall to the ground, reports the Louisville Courier Journal. The paper says the 5-year-old son of the man’s best friend watched the incident on television as it happened.

The city of Chicago is backing away from its plan to introduce free Wi-Fi service citywide after failing to reach agreement with either of the two companies vying to perform the installation. The Chicago Tribune reports.

The teenaged New Jersey boy who hacked the new iPhone has gotten a car for his efforts, trading one of the two hacked iPhones for a new Nissan, reports San Jose Mercury News. He received the car in a deal with the mobile phone repair company CertiCell, reports Associated Press.

The ABC radio network, acquired by group station owner Citadel from Disney earlier this year, is courting Don Imus and may return him to the air, reports the New York Times. Imus was let go from CBS-owned WFAN 660 and the MSNBC cable TV network after making disparaging racial comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball players.

Washington, D.C. radio station WTWP-AM 1500, a 50,000 watt clear channel station heard up and down the East Coast during hours of darkness has brought the Washington Post’s journalists to the local Washington area airwaves. But WTWP will end the format next month after failing to attract enough listeners and losing money during its 17-month existence. Post Radio, which has been broadcast regionwide on 107.7 FM and 1500 AM, was not able to draw even 1 percent of listeners during its first year. There will be a formal announcement Friday that WTWP – whose call letters abbreviate the newspaper’s name – will cease by the end of September. The stations will continue to carry news and talk programming without an association with the Washington Post, reports the Washington Post. Washington Post radio reporter Marc Fisher examines what went wrong.

WCBS-AM 880 today marks 40 years as an all-news station, reports the New York Daily News.

Even with the voting in Iowa more than four months away, the radio and TV airwaves are inundated with ads for the Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls, reports Associated Press.

Tufts University officials have barred student-faculty groups from censoring campus publications, reversing a committee’s punishment of a conservative student magazine for publishing editorials that sparked cries of racism, reports the Boston Globe.

Allen Asch, the Sacramento, California man who goes by the YouTube sobriquet “LiberalViewer,” saw his work expunged from YouTube in February, after the site claimed his site violated copyright laws. Asch felt unfairly used in a legal tug of war between Viacom and Google, owner of YouTube. So what to do? He studied the “fair use” doctrine of the copyright laws and fought to get the videos reinstated. Fair use is an exception to the law that allows people to use copyrighted material for commentary, parody, news reporting and educational research. Now he has been joined by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Fair Use Project at the Stanford Law School in his efforts to have his site reinstated, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Webroots is offering a scrubber to protect online privacy, says the Denver Post.

A vast army of Hillary haters has its claws out on the Internet, says the Chicago Tribune.

In his illuminating new book The Argument, the journalist Matt Bai examines the health of the Democratic Party, focusing on the insurgent progressive movement that is taking on the Washington establishment — a largely Internet-driven movement that’s brought together wealthy venture capitalists determined to help build a re-energized party; angry bloggers, furious with George W. Bush and fed up with Democratic moderates; and isolated suburban liberals in red states, eager to use the Web to connect with like-minded citizens around the country. The New York Times reviews the book.

YouTube is being criticized in Germany for neo-Nazi clips on its site, reports Reuters.
Taiwan-based Acer is acquiring the American computer company Gateway for $710 million, reports Associated Press. The move reorders the competitive landscape both in the U.S. and abroad, says the New York Times. The deal could help the struggling Gateway, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The idea of micropayments — charging Web users tiny amounts of money for single pieces of online content — was essentially put to sleep toward the end of the dot-com boom. In December 2000, a manifesto declared that micropayments will never work, mainly because “users hate them.” But wait. Amid the disdain, and without many people noticing, micropayments have arrived — just not in the way they were originally envisioned. The New York Times reports.

For businesses that are late to Web retailing: there is still money there, says the New York Times.

In a new worldwide study, global findings show the decline of TV as the primary media device, reports Media Post.com.

Portable media players with video capability will outsell audio-only devices by the end of 2008, according to In-Stat, which foresees a big shift in consumer buying habits over the next two years, reports Media Daily News.

Hewlett-Packard today is launching a $300-million marketing campaign to get digital-age consumers to think more about print. HP, the world’s largest printer maker, plans to offer on its website a wide range of customized products from pop star Gwen Stefani and esteemed graphic designer Paula Scher. The Los Angeles Times reports.

What your cell phone knows about you is analyzed by Time magazine.

The Michael Jackson classic music video Thriller has risen from the dead, reports the Seattle Times.

In Los Angeles, the Morning Becomes Eclectic show on KCRW- FM 89.9 is celebrating 30 years, reports the Los Angeles Times. The station is heard beyond southern California on the Internet at KCRW.com.

Atlanta Falcons football player Michael Vick, who is to be sentenced in December in connection with dog fighting and dog deaths, bailed out of an appearance today on the national Tom Joyner show, which is heard on WYBC 94.3 in parts of Connecticut and eastern Long Island. All Access.com reports.

For the first time, the state of Florida plans to buy time on expensive network TV to advertise itself as a tourism destination, reports the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.

The Anti-Americans, a documentary shown last night on Thirteen/WNET and PBS stations across the nation, is reviewed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Verizon has launched a FiOS TV Guide in California, reports Multichannel News.

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Media Briefing for Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday, August 27th, 2007

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.

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Media Briefing for Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Media Briefing for Friday, August 24, 2007

Monster.com took five days to disclose the theft of data for 1.3 million job seekers, reports Reuters.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer is declining an FBI request to publish photos of two men said to have behaved suspiciously aboard several Washington state ferries, since the men are not suspects and have not been charged with a crime.

The blogoshpere is drawing attention to a case of six African-American boys facing lifetime jail sentences for an alleged assault on a white peer in Jena, Louisiana, even if the mainstream media isn’t, says the Baltimore Afro American.

Reports of the death of newspapers and the journalism they publish are greatly exaggerated, says the Washington Post.

Local newspaper Web sites and cable TV Web sites are losing audience to major online destinations according to a new study, reports Media Daily News.

Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani has a new team of media consultants with a strong record of electing GOP candidates, sometimes using controversial ads. The team is led by Heath Thompson and his Dallas-based firm, Scott Howell & Company. Last year, a commercial made by Thompson’s firm for Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race was criticized for what the NAACP and others said were racial overtones. Associated Press reports.

The Bush administration has confirmed that U.S. telecommunications companies played a crucial role in the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program, after asserting for more than a year that any role played by the companies was a state secret, reports the New York Times. Some legal experts say the admission could complicate the administration’s bid to halt numerous lawsuits challenging the program’s legality, says the Washington Post.

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer is one of the founders of Freedom’s Watch, which is waging a major ad campaign on TV and radio in support of the Bush administration’s Iraq war policies, reports Washington Post.

An aide to the California National Guard’s top general has been suspended pending an investigation into his connection to a Web site that appeared to advocate mass violence. The Guard placed Senior Airman Travis Gruber, 27, personal assistant to Major General William Wade II, on paid administrative leave Wednesday shortly after the Contra Costa, California Times raised questions about the Web site ?howtokillpeople.com.” Associated Press reports.

The New Mexico attorney general has reopened an investigation into whether the CBS reality show Kid Nation violated the state’s child-labor laws and other state regulations governing the welfare of children, according to a spokesman for the attorney general. The New York Times reports. A New Mexico official wants to know whether the producers lawfully avoided obtaining work permits for the children and shut out inspection, says the Los Angeles Times.

In the Washington area, a radio talk host sicced callers on a suburban Virginia county official over the issue of illegal immigration in the area, reports the Washington Post.

Releasing its annual TV market rankings, Nielsen estimates that the total number of TV households within the United States will be 112.8 million by January 1, 2008, an increase of 1.3 percent since last year. New market ranking shows continued population shift to Southern and Western markets. Dallas-Fort Worth surpasses San Francisco to become fifth largest market. Other markets moving up include Atlanta, Phoenix and Charlotte; those falling include Memphis, Dayton, Youngstown and Wheeling, reports TV Newsday.

Hip hop radio station Power 105 (WWPR 105.1 New York) has withdrawn its sponsorship of a Reggae festival tomorrow on Randall’s Island because the festival features two artists with malicious anti-gay lyrics, reports Newsday. The station made the decision after receiving a call from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

The program director of Fox News Radio station KCOL-AM 600 in Fort Collins, Colorado has apologized after its on-air host compared gay people to child molesters, says GLAAD. The apology came after the incident was reported by Colorado Media Matters.

The social networking site Facebook is planning to let marketers target users with ads based on the information people reveal about themselves on the site, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Students and parents are turning to social networking sites to get a ‘sneak peek? at their new dormitory roommates, says the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

A study says that banner ads on the Web are all but useless, says Lost Remote.

Some are disappointed with the revamped Web site of CBS affiliate WFMY channel 2 Greensboro, N.C., saying local news is hard to find, according to Lost Remote.

Hey! Nielsen is a new online social community where people can discuss — and influence — TV, music, movies, Internet sites and celebrities. Part opinion engine, part social network, and part buzz tracker, Hey! Nielsen is the place to share opinions on one’s favorite entertainment, says Media Daily News.

A German engineer kidnapped by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan more than a month ago has been shown pleading for help in a video broadcast on a local Afghani television station, the privately owned Tolo TV. The station did not say how it obtained the footage and there was no indication of when it was shot. Associated Press reports.

Despite reports to the contrary, Craig Newmark is still in charge of online classifieds giant CraigsList, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

The recording industry filed another round of lawsuits this week, targeting three San Francisco Bay Area residents it claims illegally downloaded songs. The latest suits are among the more than 21,000 legal cases that the Recording Industry Association of America has initiated since September 2003, part of an ongoing, aggressive effort to halt online music piracy. The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Attempts to find a compromise in the dispute over music royalty fees for Internet radio stations continue. Music industry group Sound Exchange has offered to cap fees for channels operated by Internet radio broadcasters, reports Associated Press.

Marketwatch profiles Fox News’s Shepard Smith.

August 1987 was a pivotal time in Chicago’s radio and TV history, says the Chicago Sun Times. Among other happenings, the demise of the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine gave rise to the partisan talk shows of Rush Limbaugh and others across the national landscape.

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Media Briefing for Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Media Briefing for Thursday, August 23, 2007

Federal regulators plan to study whether the relaxing, upbeat images featured in TV drug ads distract consumers from warnings about the drugs? risks. The announcement, which has been posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Web site, comes a week after a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested the agency’s drug-ad enforcement has steadily declined. Associated Press reports.

Lecterns are so 2004. In the latest chapter of new Web-empowered political debates and interaction with presidential candidates, social networking site MySpace and MTV will bring together 2008 presidential hopefuls and young voters for real-time online conversations. Associated Press reports. The interactive talks will feature Sam Brownback, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Rudolph Giuliani, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Barack Obama, Ron Paul, Bill Richardson, and Mitt Romney, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

A recently disclosed fraud involving hundreds of thousands of people on the Monster.com jobs Web site reveals the perils of leaving detailed personal information online, security analysts say. Before the scheme was uncovered last week by researchers, con artists had filched legitimate user names and passwords from recruiters who search for job candidates on Monster. Then with access into the Monster system, the hackers grabbed resumes and used information on those documents to craft personalized ?phishing? e-mails to job seekers. Associated Press reports. Online job hunters have become prey, says the Los Angeles Times.

The Internet and new media may be the rage these days, but ?older media? — TV, radio, newspapers and magazines — are still the most effective way to reach the public, according to Media Daily News.

The Freedom of Information laws do not apply to the Bush White House’s Office Of Administration according to the U.S. Justice Department, which is opposing a suit seeking the release of White House emails, reports Associated Press.

The nation’s top intelligence official has confirmed that a federal court did rule the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program is in violation of the law, prompting the mad rush in Congress this month to overhaul key espionage provisions. The Los Angeles Times reports.

Former White House aides are joining Republican fundraisers in bankrolling a $15 million, five-week advertising campaign aimed to put pressure on U.S. Senators and Congressmen whose backing of President Bush’s Iraq war strategy may be wavering. The group, Freedom’s Watch, launched the ads yesterday as Bush delivered a renewed call for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq. Critics note at least one of the ads features the burning World Trade Center towers. Associated Press reports.

The children who participated in CBS’s upcoming reality series Kid Nation, which has come under fire over questions of whether it violated child safety and labor laws, were required to do whatever they were told by the show’s producers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or risk expulsion from the show, according to a copy of the contract signed by the children and their parents. The New York Times reports.

A U.S. Senator and a filmmaker are condemning the Fox News Channel as a warmonger that’s agitating for a U.S. attack on Iran. Documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald and independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont have announced an ?online viral video campaign? calling on television news organizations ?not to follow Fox down the road to war again.” Associated Press reports.

Some Internet radio stations have rejected the latest music royalty fee offer by the music industry group Sound Exchange, reports Associated Press.

Conservative talk radio host Bob Grant, criticized in the past for racist and virulently anti-gay comments, has been hired back at WABC 770 New York a dozen years after he was fired, reports the New York Daily News. WABC was recently acquired from ABC Disney by group station owner Citadel.

After three months off, Bill Maher returns to HBO with his show Real Time With Bill Maher, reports the New York Daily News.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin is seeking support for an order that would require cable operators in early 2009 to carry so-called ?must-carry? TV stations in both analog and digital formats on cable systems that have not converted to digital-only transmission, reports MultiChannel News.

In other news, Martin is being slammed by civil rights organizations over his support for ?a la carte? menus for cable TV, which would allow consumers to subscribe to individual channels rather than bundles. Martin has suggested their opposition stems from financial relationships with TV programmers and distributors, while the civil rights groups maintain that a la carte would be ?deeply harmful to the cause of greater diversity in cable-television programming,” reports Broadcasting & Cable.

The Web series Afterworld on MySpace is melding different types of media, says the Los Angeles Times.

Forbes magazine has gone online with MoneyShow.com, reports Media Daily News.

AT&T’s overstuffed iPhone bills are annoying the customers, says the New York Times.

The Sharp Corporation is showing off what it calls the thinnest, lightest and most power-efficient TV set ever. The 52-inch liquid-crystal display prototype is just over an inch thick, weighs 55 pounds and consumes less energy than today’s LCD or plasma sets, the Japanese consumer electronics company says. Associated Press reports.

Sony has released a new combined TV tuner and Play Station recorder, reports Associated Press.

A poll finds 52 percent of Canadians questioned oppose a ban on cigarette smoking in TV shows and the movies, reports the Globe and Mail of Toronto.

Spain has pulled live bullfighting from state television, reports Associated Press.

Elizabeth Callan, a producer for PBS’s NewsHour, has died at age 57. She was known for being fearless and passionate producer. At the height of the U.S.-backed Contra war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in the 1980s, she produced a series of reports from El Salvador, Honduras, Chile and Nicaragua. One of the most dangerous reporting missions involved a trip with the contras into Nicaragua that began from a secret U.S. base in Honduras. The Washington Post reports.

There are changes and upheaval at the NPR FM station in Seattle. Veteran KUOW-FM 94.9 broadcaster Ken Vincent, with the station 23 years, cites ?irreconcilable disagreements,” and has quit the station where he had been the midday announcer and news editor. Vincent explains his resignation on his Web site Ken Vincent.com, saying he disagrees with program director Jeff Hansen’s ?handling of editorial, air sound, technical and compensation concerns,” reports the Seattle Times.

In California, the architect of the Orange County Register’s rise is stepping down, says the Los Angeles Times.

When inmates receive visitors at their prisons in Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida, they will no longer see each other face-to-face, but will be yards apart, separated by concrete and steel, and will see and speak to each other via TV hookup, reports the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.

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Media Briefing for Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Media Briefing for Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thousands of names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses stored by the Internet job-search site <a href=http://www.monster.comMonster.com have been stolen as part of a complex online fraud scheme, reports the Boston Globe. The security company Symantec disclosed the breach over the weekend after one of its researchers found that a server computer in the Ukraine held 1.6 million records stolen from Monster.

New parents are giving their babies their very own Web domain names, says Associated Press.

Toys and other children’s products recalled because of safety concerns are often resold through online auction sites, putting children at risk, according to a study. Associated Press reports.

CBS was warned that its reality series Kid Nation, featuring 40 children and scheduled to debut next month, might be violating child labor laws, according to documents. The New York Times reports. The network is addressing the controversies around the new series, says the Los Angeles Times.

American Journalism Review could face a shutdown by year’s end, says the Washington Post.

A study shows that annoying TV ads mean fewer sales, reports Media Daily News.

There is a bidding war in New York City radio for Don Imus, who is expected to return to the airwaves, reports Newsmax.com.

The League of United Latin American Citizens says it’s done trying to negotiate with Clear Channel Communications? 50,000-watt WLW-AM 700 Cincinnati, Ohio, and is demanding that the station fix the problem of on-air anti-Hispanic racial discrimination, says the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Viewers are being given the chance to speak to the local news anchor on NBC’s KNTV channel 11 in the San Francisco Bay Area while the newscast is still on the air — sort of, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Maryland Public Television has added the PBS Spanish language channel V-me to its digital offerings, but the cable reach is limited, says the Washington Post.

TV is taking a back seat to the Internet and mobile devices, according to a new study reported in Hollywood Reporter.

After turning millions of Internet users into virtual explorers of the world with Google Earth, the Internet search giant is now hoping to turn many of them into virtual stargazers. Google is unveiling within Google Earth today a new service called Sky that will allow users to view the skies as seen from Earth. Like Google Earth, Sky will let users fly around and zoom in, exposing increasingly detailed imagery of some 100 million stars and 200 million galaxies, says the New York Times.

Video advertising is coming to YouTube, but it won’t be the type common at sites elsewhere. Starting today, the popular video-sharing site plans to feature semitransparent “overlay” ads at the bottom of selected video clips. The ad disappears after about 10 seconds if the viewer does nothing; the featured clip automatically pauses if the viewer clicks on the overlay to launch the full pitch. Associated Press reports. Google is seeking to make YouTube profitable, says the New York Times. Can the ads be displayed without turning off enthusiastic users, asks the San Jose Mercury News.

MTV Networks and digital media company RealNetworks have announced a digital music joint venture that will compete with Apple’s dominant trinity of the iTunes store, iPod player and iPhone. Associated Press reports. It’s a renewed challenge by MTV, says the New York Times. In the merger, MTV is folding its music service Urge, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

Wal-Mart is now selling digital music downloads on its website without the customary copy-protection technology that limits where consumers can play the songs, reports Reuters. The San Jose Mercury News explains how it works.

Already, Apple is selling refurbished iPhones, reports the New York Times.

As competitors challenge Apple in digital music, the biggest beneficiary may be Apple. The moves by Wal-Mart and RealNetworks may mean more iPod sales, explains the Los Angeles Times.

In recent years, state and local governments have been looking to monthly cellphone bills as a new source of tax revenue to make up for the growing number of consumers giving up their traditional telephones for wireless services. Now, a legal battle in Missouri could accelerate that trend, emboldening some state and local governments to increase cellphone taxes and therefore bills even more. The Wall Street Journal reports.

Telephone and cable TV companies are the ones acquiring most of the new broadband customers, says a new study. Media Post.com reports.

An underwriter has pulled out of the initial public offering for Accoona, a new Internet search engine that former President Bill Clinton helped introduce. The withdrawal, which was not explained, is spoiling Accoona’s plans, says the New York Times.

Social-networking site Bebo is launching a Microsoft-powered instant-messaging program this fall, reports Associated Press.

Tribune Co. shareholders have approved an $8.2 billion buyout led by billionaire Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell and must now wait to see if his purchase of the second-largest U.S. newspaper publisher can be completed as planned. Bloomberg News reports. FCC approval is needed because Tribune Co. owns same-market newspapers and TV stations in multiple markets including New York where it owns WPIX channel 11 and Long Island’s Newsday. The vote brings the Zell takeover one step closer, says the New York Times. Billions of dollars in financing also must be put in place, says Associated Press.

The Jacksonville, Florida Times Union is laying off 60 employees, reports Editor & Publisher.

Google is leaning toward bidding in upcoming U.S. mobile phone airwave auctions, despite a partial setback last month from Washington regulators, says the Washington Post.

A survey shows that viewers in 21% of homes in the Milwaukee area are receiving TV signals directly off the air with rabbit ears or outdoor antennas, and do not have cable or satellite, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

TV station sales have been slowed by the credit crunch, says TV Newsday.

Major work on TV station antennas and towers is required for the switchover to digital only broadcasting on February 17, 2009, and stations are being advised to get in line early to have the work done, reports TV Newsday (registration required).

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