James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle Post-Intelligencer’

Newspaper sales, media credibility skyrocket

Posted by James McPherson on April 1, 2009

While other economic news continues to be bad, CNN reports today that a survey shows that newspaper sales–and news media credibility in general–have soared in recent weeks. Sadly, the news apparently came just a little too late for the Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and employees of my local newspaper, which today announced wage cuts of up to 10 percent for newsroom employees in its print edition (but apparently not online).

“Apparently the fine job the media did of covering issues instead of the horse race during the election had an impact,” said a media expert who, ironically, lost his job just last month. “The fact that cable news outlets such as Fox and MSNBC have focused so much on meaningful issues instead of on personalities apparently had a transference effect, making people hunger for more in-depth news in all formats.

By the way, it’s April Fools Day. One thing the CNN story did say that I agree with totally, however: “Geoffrey Davies, the head of the journalism department at London’s University of Westminster, said such pranks do not particularly affect the credibility of a news organization.”

The credibility of the media being what it is, how could those pranks have a negative effect?

Same-day addendum: Apparently lots of people are concerned about the Conficker worm.  I normally get between 100 and 150 hits on my blog in a day. So far today I’m over 1,460, putting me at #26 right now on the WordPress “growing blogs” list and at #70 on the WordPress “top posts” list. Gee, and it came on the same day I was interviewed by C-SPAN about my latest book. As if I didn’t have enough trouble keeping my ego in check.

Most of the blog traffic has come from a CNN link to my Conficker post of yesterday. It has already drawn more than 1,200 hits, making it the third-most-popular post of my 11 months of blogging. Maybe it’s because I mentioned my media criticism class in the post–that’s what I told them in class today, anyway. Each of the two posts ahead of yesterday’s entry has taken months to reach their current numbers of just over 2,200 and just under 2,000 hits.

Addendum #2: By the end of the “day” (which on the “stats” page ends at 5 p.m. my time), I’d had 1,612 hits for the day, and had reached at least as high as #29 on the WordPress “top posts” list (and #26 on “growing blogs“). Thanks to all who visited, and especially those who commented.

Posted in Education, History, Journalism, Personal, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Twits, tweets and Twittering: Anti-social networking

Posted by James McPherson on January 5, 2009

Apparently the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama, Bill O’Reilly, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and at least 30 other people were hacked into today. Also affected was the account of Britney Spears (and no, she probably was not the inspiration for the name of the social networking site).

“The attacks came after Twitter suffered a vicious phishing scam over the weekend, during which everyday Twitter users may have been tricked into logging on to a page masquerading as the Twitter front page, according to the site,” CNN reports. In other words, if you communicate via Twitter, you may want to change your password.

As I’ve said before, I don’t get the appeal of Twitter–though I am impressed with Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial page editor Mark Trahant’s use of his 140 characters to produce a four-line poem each weekday. His latest “NewsRime,” which is related to today’s news: “Oh, NO! SPAM on Twitter/suffice to say the taste is bitter/140 characters has been such fun/please don’t make this a medium to shun.”

Not great poetry, but then as I’ve also noted previously, few things worth saying or knowing can adequately be expressed in 140 characters, and most of those should be said more personally. If Fox News really wants to admit that O’Reilly is gay, for example, he probably would do it himself on his own show, not via Twitter. And the message would spell his name correctly.

Posted in Journalism, Media literacy, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Beauty, depravity, religion & politics

Posted by James McPherson on September 9, 2008

A short post today to note that I was excited to see that one of my favorite religious blogs, Eugene Cho’s “beauty and depravity,” today linked to and reprinted my Aug. 19 post titled, “Favoring a Christian president–or not.

Cho is the founder and lead pastor for Seattle’s multicultural Quest Church. He has been featured in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Outreach magazine. He operates a nonprofit neighborhood cafe and is active in the fight against poverty both locally and globally. He has also been called “one angry Asian” and writes that he blogs in part to “reveal that pastors or Christians aren’t stupid religious people that don’t have the ability to engage in humor, critical thought, or have ‘regular’ lives. I’m a Christian and a follower of Jesus but I ain’t perfect, saintly, or perfectly holy. I fart just like you and sometimes, they’re bad. Really bad.” [bold type in original]

In short, though we’ve never met and I’m a middle-aged white guy, Cho seems like my kind of Christian, and I’m pleased that he found my piece worth citing. Check out his site.

Note: Two days after I wrote my August post, Pew released results of a survey showing that most Americans seem to agree with me.

Posted in Journalism, Personal, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »