This is a guest post from Mark Katches, the editorial director for California Watch. It is cross-posted from the California Watch blog.
I just spent an hour handing out fliers on a street corner about our latest California Watch story.
“Want to know what buildings on campus are seismically unsafe?” That was how I started my pitch to students walking to UC Berkeley, which has more seismically dangerous buildings than any other public university in the state.
The flier contained a list of buildings rated “poor” or “very poor” in the event of a big quake. It also included our Web address to learn more about the subject. Many of the students who got the fliers were headed to classes in those very buildings on the list. You can download the flier at the bottom of this blog post.
We desperately need more hard economic analysis of the current realities and future of journalism in America. We need 10 more Rick Edmonds at Poynter and a weekly update to the recent Pew State of the Media Report. Too many of our arguments about the future of news are based in economic assumptions or projections. That is why I was so glad that Alan Mutter took up the question of whether there are enough philanthropic dollars to fully fund the extent of journalism we need in America. However, I was disappointed to find that Mutter’s post is really only half an answer to what is at best a misguided question.
With the widespread closure of international bureaus, and serious underfunding of those that remain open, American coverage of world affairs nears an all-time low. Today, the mainstream U.S. media often seems precariously close to preaching an official reality and severely restricting the average media consumer’s view of the world.
Jonathan Lethem’s most recent novel, Chronic City, parodies a New York City so exhausted by Iraq reports that the leading newspaper (a thinly-veiled New York Times) is compelled to produce a “War-free edition.” Although Iraq- and Afghanistan-fatigue is perhaps inevitable by this point, one could argue that democracy elevates staying informed to a civic responsibility.
When I walked into my arts reporting class, statistics from the latest "State of the Media" report were written on the whiteboard like an epitaph on a tombstone.
“That’s depressing,” one classmate said in a defeated tone. My professor, Sasha Anawalt, director of the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program and former dance critic for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, turned around with a grin on her face. The statistics were, in fact, uplifting news. “Wanna know why?” Anawalt asked our confused class.
The FCC’s International Bureau recently announced its approval of a license transfer for spectrum currently held by a mobile satellite service operator. The company that will now hold the spectrum license, Harbinger, plans to use portions of it to build a new terrestrial 4G wireless network that would serve a substantial majority of people living in the United States.
Something is rotten in the world of mobile fundraising.
Earlier this year, thousands of Americans donated to Haiti relief efforts, simply by sending text messages from their phones and donating $10 on the spot. It was a cool and easy way to donate to a good cause.