Prying Doors Open at The Economist

"The Economist," bemoans Andy Rowlands, the director of corporate, issues and technology practice at the public relations giant Burson-Marsteller, "is one of the most influential, but also most difficult places to secure coverage." The former head of PR for the London-based magazine (now a PR consultant), Eileen Wise, suggests that persistence pays off.


An Army of One Viewpoint

U.S. Army officials have barred a reporter with the military newspaper Stars and Stripes "from embedding with a unit of the 1st Cavalry Division that is attempting to secure the violent city of Mosul" in Iraq. In the refusal letter to Stars and Stripes reporter Heath Druzin, an Army public affairs officer wrote that "Mr.


Speaking of Monsters...

Retired U.S. Col. Ralph Peters has written an essay calling for military attacks on journalists. Writing for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Peters calls the media "a hostile third party in the fight ... killers without guns," and writes, "future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. ... The point of all this is simple: Win. In warfare, nothing else matters.


Tobacco-Free Coverage for Australian Honoree

Should someone who worked for one the world's biggest tobacco companies be celebrated as a national role model?

Ms. Quentin Bryce, the Australian Governor-General who acts as the representative of the Queen of England, apparently thinks so. To coincide with the Queen's Birthday long weekend in early June, Bryce announced that Carla Zampatti had been made a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia for "service through leadership and management roles in the fashion and retail property sectors, to multicultural broadcasting, and to women as a role model and mentor." Two others were also made companions, the most prestigious honorary titles bestowed on individuals.The awards, announced twice a year, are extensively publicised in the mainstream media.

Pentagon Pundit Expose Gets the Pulitzer

It was a shocking revelation. Exactly one year ago today, the New York Times published an in-depth account of the Pentagon military analyst program, a covert effort to cultivate pundits who are retired military officers as the Bush administration's "message force multipliers." The elaborate -- and presumably costly -- program flourished at the nexus of government war propaganda; the private interests of the officer-pundits, many of whom also worked as lobbyists or consultants for military contractors; and major news organizations that didn't ask tough questions about U.S. military operations while failing to screen their paid commentators for even the most glaring conflicts of interest.

The story was huge, but it wasn't easy to break. It took two years for reporter David Barstow and others at the Times to pry the relevant documents from the Pentagon. Seven months later, Barstow helped us further understand how the U.S. "military-industrial-media complex" works, with another front-page exposé on one spectacularly conflicted Pentagon pundit, Barry McCaffrey.

On April 20, David Barstow received the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, for his work on the Pentagon pundit story.

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The Bleak State of the News Media

"Newspaper ad revenues have fallen 23% in the last two years. ... By our calculations, nearly one out of every five journalists working for newspapers in 2001 is now gone, and 2009 may be the worst year yet," reads the summary of the "State of the News Media 2009" report. In local television, "revenues fell by 7% in an election year -- something unheard of -- and ratings are now falling or are flat across the schedule." News "audience migration to the Internet is now accelerating," but "online ad revenue to news websites now appears to be flattening; in newspapers it is declining. ...



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