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Odd men out

October 11, 2013 - 9:47am
Like most pre-game shows, ESPN's NBA Countdown was less an acquired taste than a settled-for taste, like the restaurant you eat at on a road trip because it's just off the highway. Most viewers barely have time to watch the actual games these days--who can absorb another hour for the set-up? Still, given the prominence of the league and ESPN's...
Categories: Media

T-Mobile shows upside of M&A skepticism

October 11, 2013 - 5:55am
Two years ago, AT&T announced it had agreed to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion. The deal would have effectively made the US a two-carrier country, with AT&T and Verizon controlling 73 percent of the wireless industry, with third-place Sprint at 16 percent, but losing billions of dollars a year. So confident was AT&T in the decades-long...
Categories: Media

In Europe, US shutdown gets airtime

October 11, 2013 - 5:50am
While the government shutdown may seem like a domestic problem, the stalemate between the Republican House and President Barack Obama is being watched across Europe. All major European press have been covering the failure of congress and the US president to come to an agreement daily. It was the lead story on Austria's evening news Thursday because, as one economist,...
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Too Big to Fail banks still extend, pretend

October 10, 2013 - 2:00pm
American Banker's Kate Berry has a very interesting piece on the pile of bad mortgages the big banks still have on their books—ones that they're almost certainly not accounting for correctly. The Banker reports that the biggest four banks—Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo—alone have $57 billion in "seriously delinquent" FHA mortgages that they're not writing down:...
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Coming to terms with 'digital footprints'

October 10, 2013 - 1:50pm
Almost everyone at The CATO Institute's conference--"NSA Surveillance: What We Know; What to Do About It"--on Wednesday agreed that government surveillance has an alarmingly wide scope, and that the latest revelations by Edward Snowden have had a big impact on public opinion surrounding privacy issues. Participants in a journalism panel there all said that they were pleasantly surprised by the...
Categories: Media

Local coverage tracks shutdown's impact

October 10, 2013 - 1:50pm
The government shutdown in Washington will be temporary--but the damage it creates in some lives is likely to be long-lasting as programs for the poor and social-services charities that depend on the largesse of federal workers are disrupted. While the political debate plays out and the broader economic outcome is weighed, there are plenty of resonant stories to be told...
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A New Mexico startup goes deep

October 10, 2013 - 10:05am
PROVO, UT -- In June, New Mexico's Human Services Department released some news most New Mexicans weren't prepared to hear. The state suspended Medicaid payments to fifteen of the state's behavioral health providers after an outside audit flagged them for suspected Medicaid fraud. The funding freeze threatened to disrupt services to about 40 percent of the state's behavioral health population--some...
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No paywalls, please: we're the Guardian

October 10, 2013 - 10:00am
Everyone loves the Guardian—well, everyone except Rupert Murdoch, the British intelligence apparatus, the American intelligence apparatus, and bullies, sneaks, and abusers of authority everywhere. But everyone else surely does, and no one more than us here at The Audit, where we judge Alan Rusbridger the premiere editor of his generation. Exactly how much everybody loves the Guardian is going to...
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The Gladwellian 'debate'

October 10, 2013 - 9:06am
In the 13-years since The Tipping Point shot Malcolm Gladwell onto the map and America's bookshelves, his brand of counter-intuitive wisdom has occupied a strange and relatively stable corner of pop culture. Even though his schtick is supposed to be drawing unseen connections in scientific literature and translating the academy for the masses, social scientists mostly loathe the writing wunderkind...
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Obama's broken promises on transparency

October 10, 2013 - 8:45am
Since 2009, the Obama administration has prosecuted more people as whistleblowers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all former presidents combined, a fact often rehashed in journalistic circles. In some of those cases, officials seized journalists' phone and email records to use in their investigation. James Goodale, who was The New York Times' chief counsel during Pentagon Papers coverage, has...
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The Celebrity Journal

October 10, 2013 - 5:50am
I noticed The Wall Street Journal's "The Experts" back in March when the advertiser-friendly special section ran a story on personal-finance advice from noted gurus Pat Sajak and Morgan Fairchild. But I've noticed that the once-and-still-somewhat-august Journal has become an awfully celebrity-friendly place lately. For a few days recently, WSJ.com plugged the "WSJ Startup of the Year" quasi-reality show with...
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Immersion journalists discuss their craft

October 9, 2013 - 1:50pm
The New Yorker Festival featured a four-panelist discussion called "Immersion Journalism" on Saturday, which was decidedly barren of one key element: a straightforward explanation of "immersion journalism." Editor David Remnick, who moderated the discussion, playfully characterized the term as "a phrase I think was made up yesterday" and "stories you spend more than 15 minutes on." But we all know...
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Ken Auletta questions Jill Abramson

October 9, 2013 - 10:00am
Two years ago, Ken Auletta took the subway with Jill Abramson on her first day of work as editor of The New York Times (at the time, he was writing a profile of Abramson for The New Yorker.) So the two already had a comfortable rapport when they sat down at Saturday's  New Yorker Festival event to talk about changes...
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The New York Times expands its international opinion section

October 9, 2013 - 9:10am
On the eve of relaunching the International Herald Tribune as The International New York Times next week, the Times is expanding its roster of international opinion writers, as well as adding two new writers to its editorial board. In a memo sent to New York Times staff on Tuesday, the paper's op-ed team announced that it would be hiring 29...
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Frontline's landmark 'League of Denial'

October 9, 2013 - 6:13am
We already know most of the information Frontline presents in its gripping "League of Denial" documentary on the NFL and concussions. Or let me be more precise: Those of us who have followed this story have heard most of it. Most people haven't followed it closely, and even those who have likely don't know the details of just how this...
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The Daily Mail inflames British debate over press regulation

October 8, 2013 - 2:24pm
On the eve of a crucial meeting of Members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss press regulation, The Daily Mail has become embroiled in a dispute with Labour Party leader Ed Miliband over allegations that his late father detested Britain. During the dispute, the tabloid has presented its actions as championing journalistic freedom in the face of government censorship. Ironically, the...
Categories: Media

Hot air housing stories?

October 8, 2013 - 2:20pm
The price of housing, whether buying or renting, is rising, or so say many recent news reports. Some skepticism is in order--and was, in some cases, provided (though it was the rising prices that largely led). Broader reporting on housing economics would help. July housing prices went up at their fastest rate in seven years, as The Washington Post reported...
Categories: Media

Stories I'd like to see

October 8, 2013 - 11:00am
In his "Stories I'd like to see" column, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill spotlights topics that, in his opinion, have received insufficient media attention. This article was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. How Obamacare burns smokers: Amid all the publicity around the glitch-filled launch of the Obamacare health insurance exchanges and the accompanying debate over whether the premiums being offered...
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New Yorker war reporters on what it's like

October 8, 2013 - 10:00am
One does not spend decades reporting from the most violence-wracked places on Earth and come out unscathed. Veteran war reporters Jon Lee Anderson and Dexter Filkins made that clear in a conversation Saturday moderated by New Yorker editor Nick Trautwein, part of the 2013 New Yorker Festival. Prompted by questions from Trautwein, Anderson and Filkins, both New Yorker staff writers,...
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Why journalists can still trust Tor

October 8, 2013 - 5:50am
I'm not going to bury the lede. Yes, Tor is still the recommended method for journalists and others who need to search the Web anonymously. The debate over potential vulnerabilities in the technology has persisted in comment threads and forums over the past few months, and then escalated over the past week, but it's clear now that Tor is as...
Categories: Media