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 ‘swine flu’

Pigs now fly: journalism at two levels

Posted by James McPherson on April 28, 2009

You may die. Today. Or, if you’re exposed to swine flu today, maybe next week. Especially if you’re in Mexico City, the 20-million-person “epicenter” of the potential pandemic, where swine flu is “suspected” in 152 deaths, which means the virus may have wiped out almost eight-one-thousandths of one percent of one third-world city’s population.

Gee, I haven’t been this frightened since the last bird flu pandemic, which I suspect killed your entire family. Bad enough that Lou Dobbs told me all the Mexicans wanted to give me leprosy while the druglords kill all my friends in Arizona. Now this.

And yes, I know that influenza can be deadly. All in all, though, you’re still more likely to die by choking on your sandwich today at lunch. But CNN’s top three stories right now (unless you count the White House plane that buzzed New York) are about swine flu.

The main reason for today’s special post, however, if to call your attention to a more responsible form of journalism than much of what we’ve been seeing in the national media. The Whitworthian has just won a number of regional Society of Professional Journalists awards, claiming the top prizes for online journalism, feature writing, general column writing, sports column writing, feature photography and editorial cartooning (for which it also won third prize). It placed second for “best all-around non-daily newspaper.”

The Whitworth student newspaper (which I happen to advise, but it is a totally student-run operation so they deserve all the credit) also recently was named one of 20 finalists for an American Collegiate Press Online Pacemaker Award. The Pacemakers are as good as it gets in college journalism.

The Whitworthian of today offers a lead story about an apparent hate crime near campus and is in the middle of an excellent series about pornography, and this week launches the most ambition project I’ve ever seen conducted by a student journalist–a multi-part multimedia package about gender issues produced by online editor Jasmine Linabary.

So now I’ll duck away from posting for yet another unknown period. But I’m proud to have recognition of some of my top students at the top of my blog. And if you want to read more from them, besides reading the Whitworthian, check out the blogs of this year’s editor-in-chief Joy Bacon, online editor (and last year’s editor-in-chief) Jasmine Linabary, photo editor Derek Casanovas (who blogs about sports), sports editor Danika Heatherly (who doesn’t blog about sports), prize-winning columnist Tim Takechi, and next year’s editor-in-chief Morgan Feddes.

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