$25 tickets available for GJR First Amendment celebration featuring Amy Goodman

BY SAM ROBINSON / New $25 tickets are now available for the March 29 First Amendment celebration featuring Amy Goodman, award-winning journalist and host of “Democracy Now!” The annual event benefiting Gateway Journalism Review will take place at the Edward Jones Headquarters in Des Peres, Mo. Goodman will speak at 8 p.m. Those who would like to attend the program, but not the full event, can now purchase tickets for just $25.

Beef products legal team keeping busy

Beef Products Inc., makers of the infamous lean finely textured beef, a.k.a. “pink slime,” is keeping its legal team hard at work. The South Dakota-based ground beef processor made the news recently because of two separate settlements, as well as a ruling in a major defamation suit. A U.S. District Court judge ruled June 12 that BPI’s $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC News and others should be moved back to state court, where the suit initially was filed last September.

Media fail to cover discrimination in USDA programs

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $1.25 billion settlement in the discrimination lawsuit by African-American agriculture producers. The case, commonly known as Pigford I or II, represents the largest civil rights settlement in the history of the United States. Yet very few media outlets provided original or continued coverage of the case. The two media outlets that most frequently gave the settlement attention were National Public Radio and the Washington Post. Both are based in the D.C. area and are known for covering the national political scene. The Associated Press had a handful of articles and briefs related to the case. The NPR reports and AP articles then were recycled through media outlets across the United States. Granted, limited attention is better than no attention – but why, in a region in which agriculture is a leading industry, did we not see more original reporting by Midwest media?

Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting hones in on agribusiness

“Covering agribusiness in the heartland is like covering Apple in Washington or Google in Silicon Valley.” This was told to more than two dozen journalists who cover agriculture by Craig Gunderson of the University of Illinois. Gunderson was speaking to the group as part of a three-day workshop on agribusiness reporting conducted by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Aficionados agree: Great writing makes for good food journalism

Consumers are increasingly interested in learning about food preparation and production. Writing about food is an expanding area for journalists. Many “foodies” can satisfy their appetites to learn more through locally produced newspapers, magazines, online blogs and television segments. The Society of Professional Journalists, St. Louis chapter, recently brought together three area food writers to talk about trends in food news.

Multicultural media join forces to gain clout

Multicultural populations in the Midwest historically have been under-represented in political elections, community initiatives and in media. Business leaders in minority populations in Minnesota and Michigan have decided it is time for their communities to have a place at the political table. In these states, alliances have been formed between media outlets to enhance multicultural coverage and to bolster political clout. New Michigan Media (NMM) and Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC) each have unique projects and goals, but all came together to increase the opportunities for multicultural communities through media efforts.