Watchdog Blog

Archive for December, 2008

Bob Giles: Curator’s Corner: Clear Direction in Tough Economic Times

As the Nieman Foundation’s Advisory Board met in early November on the eve of the convocation celebrating 70 years of Nieman Fellowships, two questions dominated the discussions: • Should the foundation reconsider its mission of midcareer education in response to the dramatic and disruptive technological and economic changes affecting journalism? • How can the foundation [...]

Mary C. Curtis: It’s just a name

What’s in a name? I know what’s in mine. My grandmother on my mother’s side died when my older sister was an infant. My parents promised that if they had another daughter, they would honor my late grandmother. So that’s how this fifth and final child of Thomas and Evelyn Curtis came to be named [...]

Herb Strentz: Bye-bye to a Tradition in Des Moines

In its most recent wave of Gannett-mandated cuts, the Des Moines Register ended a century-old tradition — one readers most identified with — and gave walking papers to Brian Duffy, one of the few editorial cartoonists in the paper’s 105 years. For more than 100 years the editorial cartoons of Jay (Ding) Darling, Frank Miller [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: The Press Should Beat the Drums for a National Unity Government

Everyone knows about “activist judges,” the ones who, we’re told, ignore the law as it is plainly written and substitute their political agendas for it. Less well known are activist senators, those who thumb their noses at majority rule and make it tough to get anything of substance approved by Congress. The United States could [...]

Carolyn Lewis: Chris Matthews and How to Interview Yourself

The once-gentle art of interviewing has been savagely mutilated on some of the cable news/entertainment programs, and nobody is more guilty of the offense than Chris Matthews at MSNBC. When The Washington Post reported on December 5 that Matthews is eyeing a run for the U.S. Senate, my first thought was I hope that augured [...]

Herb Strentz: Iowa in 2012, a Scary Thought

If you buy the argument that victory in the January 2008 Iowa caucuses was significant in getting Sen. Barack Obama elected president — and lots of people do — then it might be logical to argue that in 2012, the Republican caucuses in Iowa could be equally significant for their party’s candidates. Significant, but scary. [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: A Sunday Books Page Disappears

Reasonably alert readers of the Des Moines Register may have noticed something missing from their Sunday paper – book reviews. The six-page Opinion section shrank to four pages, and out went the full page devoted to books. So what else is new? Newspapers all across the country have been axing book reviews, either cutting space [...]