Media ‘war’ in Buenos Aires

PAUL VAN SLAMBROUCK / The media specialist at the United States Embassy in Buenos Aires was engaged in a typical diplomatic exercise: Placing an opinion article from the newly arrived U.S. ambassador in the local media as a way to greet and thank the host country. The messages are usually the same. They go something like: “I am enthusiastic about this assignment, love the country and am impressed by its people.” In Argentina, though, nothing is typical. Amid what everyone calls a “guerra,” or war, between media and the current administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the location of such a benign article is fraught with danger.

TV station’s school ‘test’ story was worth doing, despite lockdown

By WALTER JAEHNIG / In late February, NBC’s “Today” show hired two teenage-looking actors (both aged 21 or older) and sent them to a liquor store in New Jersey. The actors loitered outside, asking customers entering the store to buy beer for them. All male customers refused, but several women took their money and purchased their six-packs. This was not a huge story and probably proved nothing. It did, however, stimulate discussion about the adult role in underaged drinking, especially when the “Today” staffers interviewed the president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving about the implication that women were more willing than men to provide teens with alcohol. Television newspeople love this kind of story – and, because of their visual dimension, can do it very well. But news stories that involve reporters as active participants in making the news also raise ethical questions, as can be seen by the controversy resulting from KSDK’s investigation of security at five St. Louis-area schools.

Power of one pen

Adam Nagourney of The New York Times demonstrated the power of one reporter and one video this week with his story about defiant rancher Cliven Bundy’s racist remarks suggesting blacks were better off as slaves picking cotton. The New York Times was late to the story of Bundy’s refusal to follow federal grazing laws and…

The factoring of race into Stand Your Ground legislation

BY EVETTE DIONNE / Several prominent Stand Your Ground cases in Florida are raising questions about how the American media are covering race and intimate-partner violence. Michael Giles, a former Air Force member, who is black, shot and wounded three patrons outside a nightclub on Feb 6, 2010. Marissa Alexander, 34, a black mother of three, fired a warning shot at her husband on Aug. 3, 2010. George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic volunteer neighborhood watchman, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 21, 2012. Michael Dunn, a white male, shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis on Nov. 23, 2012. These four cases serve as flashpoints for examining Stand Your Ground legislation, and, more specifically, how media are covering these cases.

Guild leader says Lee Enterprises’ workers deserved bonuses

The head of the union that represents reporters and other workers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says employees of Lee Enterprises – rather than its chief executives – deserved bonuses. In March, Lee Enterprises refinanced $800 million of its debt relating to its 2005 purchase of Pulitzer Inc., owner of the Post-Dispatch, extending the time in which its loans must be repaid. Employees at Lee’s 46 newspapers shouldered a major share of that loan repayment through layoffs, furloughs and buyouts, frozen wages, elimination of some benefits and higher costs for others.

Missouri film wins Chinese ‘Oscar’

A film that recounts the Joplin Globe’s coverage of the deadly tornado that devastated that southwestern Missouri city in May 2011 has won the China Academy Award for Documentary Film in the Foreign Language category. The Missouri film, “Deadline in Disaster,” beat competition that included a National Geographic project that focused on the decade of the 1980s and a BBC documentary on the history of the world.

Circuit attorney responds to Post-Dispatch’s letter to the editor of GJR

I am writing to offer my thoughts in response to the letter you recently received from the [St. Louis] Post-Dispatch regarding your publication’s analysis relating to the Post-Dispatch’s “Jailed by Mistake” articles. I believe Mr. Freivogel worked diligently to capture the perspectives of this complex situation in the Gateway Journalism Review (GJR). I am troubled by the response of the Post-Dispatch editors to this piece as it seems to be based on some substantial inaccuracies. My position regarding the items included in the March 7, 2014, letter sent to the GJR by Messrs. Gilbert Bailon and Adam Goodman of the Post-Dispatch have been well documented over the past several months with both the Post-Dispatch directly and with the GJR.