WAVELENGTH: What's Original Reporting Worth? Plus AT&T & More
Editor's Note: New America Media (NAM) is pleased to bring you this summary of the second issue of "The Wavelength," a new biweekly blog of news from the front lines of media battles in the United States. It is published by The Media Consortium (TMC), of which NAM is a member. Here is the link to the full issue of "The Wavelength."
Last week, the New York Times debuted its long-awaited paywall, and blogger Nate Silver used the launch as an opportunity to explore the value of a news organization based on the amount of original reporting it produces. While Silver’s rankings could be a valuable tool for news organizations, Mother Jones‘ Nick Baumann finds Silver’s methodology wanting.
“The results, as you might expect, made the Times [paywall] look like a pretty good value,” Baumann writes. But the real problems are in how Silver ranks “original reporting”– namely that online citations don’t always identify the outlet, and that larger, established news organizations sometimes get credit for breaking stories when smaller orgs actually had the scoop first. Rankings are valuable, but they need deeper exploration, maybe via funding from the Knight Foundation, Google.org or others.
AT&T/T-Mobile Merger still a very bad idea
Free Press’s Tim Karr weighs in on the mega-merger with five reasons why it’s not so great for consumers. According to Karr, “Consolidation on the scale being proposed by AT&T resembles the old railroad and oil trusts of the 19th century.” Karr also notes that the merger would erode competition, result in higher prices and fewer choices for consumers, eliminate many jobs, stifle innovation in the tech sector, and threaten free speech. [And that’s only when the glass is half full. Gulp!]
The disappearance of T-Mobile could have a huge impact on communities of color, which rely on unrestricted text and Web plans, especially people who don’t own computers. At Colorlines.com, Jamilah King notes that blacks and Latinos are among the biggest users of mobile technology. If unlimited data plans end, and prices for wireless service rise for current T-Mobile users--if and when a merger is completed--the digital divide will almost certainly widen.
Buying Anti-Net Neutrality Votes
Crunchgear had an eye-opening article outlining how over the last four election cycles Internet service providers spread $868,024 to the 15 members of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology who opposed Net Neutrality—the idea of keeping the Internet from becoming costly gatekeepers of information and likely censors.
New Study Details Women in Media Globally
In “It’s Still a Man’s World, Especially at the Top,” Inter Press Service’s Andrea Lunt reports on a new study of media in 60 countries by the International Women’s Media Foundation showing that gender inequality in the media sphere has been institutionalized. There is good news, though: The gap appears to be closing, especially at the executive level, where women have more than doubled their presence in the past 15 years.