TV station’s reputation takes hit in aftermath of school safety ‘test’ story

By TRIPP FROHLICHSTEIN / This is the story of a good idea gone bad. It is the story of a series of mistakes made by a television station. And it is the story of lessons learned by a school district. On Jan. 16, KSDK Channel 5 (the NBC affiliate in St. Louis) was investigating security at five different schools in the area. One of those schools was Kirkwood High School. The station’s undercover effort would result in a lockdown at the high school, angering students, staff and parents and ultimately forcing an apology from the station. The details of this story are pieced together from interviews and previous accounts; Channel 5 officials, when asked for an interview, said the station had no further comment.

Greenwald’s Pulitzer deserves second thoughts

The Pulitzer and Polk committees had little choice, as most commentators say. They felt that they had to give their 2013 prizes for public service to the publications and reporters who broke one of the biggest stories of the year, the broad surveillance operations of the National Security Agency. But their decisions deserve second thoughts. Consequences figure in the committees’ thinking, and the disclosures have brought beneficial consequences by most estimates. President Obama has reacted by ordering a restructuring of the surveillance systems to limit reported abuses. And the press and public have learned much about what the U.S. government has been doing in secret. But some other consequences have been clearly harmful. Among them is the outrage in Germany, a prime ally and trading partner of the United States, over the N.S.A.’s gathering of electronic data from its ordinary citizens and spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said angrily that “snooping among friends, that just doesn’t work.”

Much Ado or Too Much Ado About Jill Abramson

Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times since September 2011 and the first woman in that position, was fired by the paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. on May 14. It was ugly. Some journalists referred to it as a defenestration. Ms. Abramson, in a commencement speech at Wake Forest University on May 19 called it “getting dumped.” It has created a huge buzz in the media. Within the first 24 hours after the event, not attended by Ms. Abramson, The Washington Post ran ten stories about it. Almost immediately columns appeared, telling readers what it “really” meant. As they say in New York City, Ms. Abramson’s home town, “Oh yeah?” Ms. Abramson charged that she was dumped so suddenly and unceremoniously because she complained about getting paid less than the male predecessors in her job. Mr. Sulzberger claimed she was let go because of her management style in the newsroom, a style described by adjectives like brusque, arbitrary, harsh, non-collaborative and despotic.

Let us now praise our paper of record: The New York Times confronts America’s unpleasant facts

By now the effects of what those numbers don’t reveal are felt in the bones and marrow of those suffering from the effects. And in four articles between April 21 and May 10, all on page 1, the Times painted vivid portraits of hardship and hopelessness now rampant from the dirt poor in West Virginia to the once comfortable middle class in California. The first piece, “50 Years Later, Hardship Hits Back. Poorest Counties Are Still Losing in War on Want,” (April 21) describes life in McDowell County, West Virginia, the poorest county in the state, “emblematic of entrenched American poverty for more than half a century.” After President John F. Kennedy visited this county, he established the federal food stamp program with his first executive order. And it was the squalor in this county and in others in Appalachia that President Lyndon B. Johnson had in mind for the battleground of his “war on poverty.”

Social media firestorm surrounding Daily Egyptian decision catches administrators by surprise

The social media firestorm that surrounded the decision by Southern Illinois University’s board of trustees to put off voting on a media fee for the 98-year-old Daily Egyptian newspaper caught university administrators by surprise. DE alumni from as far away as Iraq leaped to the paper’s defense, flooding social media, including the hashtag #savethede on Twitter.

Students pay price for taking ethical stance

By TOM EVESLAGE / Imagine, a resident of your community complaining to the city council that her free-speech rights were violated when the local newspaper edited her letter to the editor. If that’s not preposterous enough, how likely is it that the council would pass an ordinance forbidding the newspaper from editing any further letters without first getting permission from the city council? These are just fairy tales, at least when the professional media are involved. But student journalists at Neshaminy High School in suburban Philadelphia are fighting just such an unprecedented battle. And unless “government” officials in that public school come to their senses soon, a judge will be asked to intercede.

First Amendment is no refuge for Clippers owner’s remarks

By WILLIAM H. FREIVOGEL / Whether viewed from a legal, moral or ethical vantage point, the lifetime ban that NBA commissioner Adam Silver imposed on racist Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was just and correct. After Silver announced the punishment, the Twittersphere exploded with claims that the NBA had violated Sterling’s First Amendment right to free speech. The problem with that argument is the first word of the First Amendment: Congress.