Friday, March 03, 2006

CLASS NOTES: for Thurs., March 2, by Jen Thomas / Orwell Rolls and Borjesson talk

Here are Jen Thomas' class notes from Thurs., March 2.

-- bill densmore

Class Notes
March 2, 2006
Future of Journalism
English 481

Watched the documentary titled “Orwell Rolls in His Grave,” directed by Robert Kane Pappas.

Some major points of the film:

-- 1 in 4 people trust the government, which is (historically) a low percentage.

-- The media system seems like a subsidiary of the corporate system.

__ It addresses the controversy of the 2000 presidential election between Gore and Bush. Topics included the lack of the media’s role in urging people to take a closer look, the Supreme Court’s decision in a state matter, the role of Jeb Bush and George W.’s campaign advisor, the loss of black community votes, and the ballot rejection system.
Robert Murdoch and the monopolization of media Michael Powell and the FCC – regulation/deregulation, rules/policies, public interest, etc.

-- Iran hostage situation and President Reagan – The October Surprise

-- Self-censorship

-- Think Tanks

-- The ties between “1984”’s terms like “doublespeak” and “telescreen” and how it relates to our modern world
The Telecommunications Act of 1996

-- Liberal bias in the media

“Drive this Democracy Like You Stole It.”

Lecture by Kristina Borjesson, author of “Feet to the Fire.”

She started by relating her experience with CBS in investigating the crash of TWA Flight 800. After the FBI seized some of her evidence, she lost her job. This led to her first book, which documented first-hand experiences of journalists. “Feet to the Fire” is about our reactions to war. It includes 21 interviews, including big names like Ted Koppel and Helen Thomas, as well as a few journalists from Knight Ridder.

Some important points from her speech:

-- “Good reporting requires the analytical and the imaginative.”
-- There is a difference between truth and fact.
-- “Official sources always get coverage.”
-- “Feet to the Fire” is about understanding the truth, before and during the war in Iraq.
There is no consensus among the journalists in the book about why we went to war.
-- In order to be a good journalist, you must be able to “connect with everybody,” even if they’re weird.
-- “Know your weaknesses.”
-- “You get in trouble when you investigate the Arena of Power.”
-- “You have to be willing to take risks.”
-- “Journalists are notoriously competitive.”
-- “If you want to get to the bottom of a story, find out who’s really pissed off about it.”
-- “You don’t even know what you don’t know.”

-- “Never accept that there’s a limitation. There’s always a way around a wall.”

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