Café Journalism

Local journalism.

December 6, 2018

The Charlotte Observer’s reporting on election fraud is indicative of our need for local journalism, investigative reporting…specifically newspapers…and the role of the 4th Estate, a free press.

NC election scandal probe focuses on Charlotte-area political consultant

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article222690460.html

In response to “At center of voter fraud scandal, a convicted felon and ‘grassroots’ campaigner” :

It looks like the electoral fraud we’ve been searching for the past few years has been found in Bladen County. But as it turns out, it has nothing to do with non-citizens voting, someone hacking the voting machines or people impersonating other voters because NC doesn’t require ID.

Assuming the evidence holds up, the real problem is old-fashioned vote theft happening in razor-close elections and carried out by people getting paid out of a candidate’s campaign funds. It’s the real thing, and it has nothing to do with voter ID.

Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The McClatchy Company is a publicly traded American publishing company based in Sacramento, California, and incorporated in Delaware.[2] It operates 29 daily newspapers in fourteen states and has an average weekday circulation of 1.6 million and Sunday circulation of 2.4 million. [wikipedia]

https://www.mcclatchy.com


As ubiquitous as connectivity may seem for those who live in cities or suburbs with comfortable incomes, here’s the reality:

  • Less than one-fifth of Americans live in a neighborhood where at least 80% of the residents have broadband, according to a report last year from the Brookings Institution.
  • Nearly one-in-five teens are sometimes unable to complete homework because of lack of a reliable computer or internet connection, per Pew.
  • Local news and information is becoming scarce and hard to access: More than 500 newspapers have closed or merged in rural communities since 2004.

The big picture: There are two types of “digital divide” operating today:

  • The geographic divide: Rural and other areas are underserved because it doesn’t make financial sense for companies to invest in infrastructure.
  • The economic divide: Infrastructure is in place, but lower-income families lack affordable access and devices.

Why it matters: These divides are colliding and combining in troubling ways — and creating a whole spectrum of education, information and privacy inequality.


The media haves and have nots.

  • A record number of newspaper sales and closures/mergersvia the seven biggest newspaper investment owners have increased over the past five years.
  • Only 17% of local news stories in a community are actually local, meaning they’re about or having taken place within a municipality, per a study from Duke earlier this year.
  • While more people say they are willing to pay for news, those with higher levels of education are more likely to do so, per a study from the American Press Institute.

Between the lines: Benson says finding ways to create a plurality in types of news ownership will help to decrease the growing information gap in the U.S.

The bottom line: There’s a real news and information divide between rural and urban/suburban communities as well as between the poor and rich in the United States.

“Increasingly, journalism serves as a powerful force for exclusion, for keeping quality information away from those who need it most, for discouraging anyone but the richest, most educated citizens from participating in the public conversation.”
— Rodney Benson, chair of NYU’s Department of Media Culture, and Communication
[Axios]

Digital Divide.

As ubiquitous as connectivity may seem for those who live in cities or suburbs with comfortable incomes, here’s the reality:

  • Less than one-fifth of Americans live in a neighborhood where at least 80% of the residents have broadband, according to a report last year from the Brookings Institution.
  • Nearly one-in-five teens are sometimes unable to complete homework because of lack of a reliable computer or internet connection, per Pew.
  • Local news and information is becoming scarce and hard to access: More than 500 newspapers have closed or merged in rural communities since 2004.

The big picture: There are two types of “digital divide” operating today:

  • The geographic divide: Rural and other areas are underserved because it doesn’t make financial sense for companies to invest in infrastructure.
  • The economic divide: Infrastructure is in place, but lower-income families lack affordable access and devices.

Why it matters: These divides are colliding and combining in troubling ways — and creating a whole spectrum of education, information and privacy inequality.

[Axios]

Media pivots away from advertising

For decades the primary source of revenue for media companies was advertising. But competition from technology companies and more privacy scrutiny are pushing most media companies to explore alternative forms of revenue, Axios’ Sara Fischer reports.

  • Why it matters: Most media companies have to unwind years worth of sales and product infrastructure to make way for the transition. Not all will survive.

Most companies are looking for creative ways monetize their owned and operated channels and content, but the transition away from advertising and Facebook traffic has been difficult.

Be smart: Most companies are in the experimental phase, and haven’t yet figured out what their long-term strategy for growth will be — if there is one.

Panama Papers Fallout Continues

The first criminal charges relating to ICIJ’s 2016 investigation, the Panama Papers, have been filed in the United States. Four men were charged with money laundering and fraud.

“These defendants went to extraordinary lengths to circumvent U.S. tax laws in order to maintain their wealth and the wealth of their clients,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. There is plenty of detail for those who want it in the department’s indictment.

The Panama Papers investigation was based on a trove of 11.5 million files from inside Mossack Fonseca that were leaked to reporters Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier at German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared with ICIJ. The investigation, done in collaboration with more than 370 reporters working for 100 media outlets, exposed the offshore holdings of world political leaders, links to global scandals, and details of the hidden financial dealings of fraudsters, drug traffickers, billionaires, celebrities, sports stars and more.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/panama-papers/panama-papers-us-makes-first-criminal-charges-over-money-laundering-scheme/?utm_source=ICIJ&utm_campaign=e234edaf3a-1205_WeeklyEmail2&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_992ecfdbb2-e234edaf3a-82528485


The Guardian

Meryl Streep will take the lead in The Laundromat, a Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller about the Panama Papers.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar winner will potentially star alongside Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, who are both in early talks to join, in the fact-based tale. The Panama Papers was a set of leaked documents that shared financial information of offshore entities, revealing fraud, tax evasion and attempts to avoid international sanctions.

The film will be based on Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite, a book by journalist Jake Bernstein. It will be adapted by Scott Z Burns, a frequent Soderbergh collaborator whose credits include Contagion and Side Effects.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/may/14/meryl-streep-steven-soderbergh-panama-papers-thriller

“People can’t determine what’s real journalism anymore.”

December 4, 2018

Author Walter Isaacson:

The short, brilliant & scary documentary from Academy Award nominated director Leslie Iwerks goes deep inside the Macedonian fake news industry and shows the truth behind the lies — and the impact it had on America. Very important!”

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