Melanie Brooks's blog

Not Enough Info on Horse-Sex Scandal

When does the way a person dies become newsworthy?

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on December 6, 2005 - 12:34am.

NYDN Editorial on NYU Strike

The New York Daily News has published an editorial on the NYU GA strike that I found to be particularly succinct and to the point. I happen to agree with the editorial so I warn you I’m biased to it’s reasoning.

I agree that these GA’s are learning a hard lesson in life – you don’t always get what you want no matter how much noise you make. Higher education is a big business. NYU is going to do what’s best for NYU regardless of what student unions say. The very fact that NYU GA’s are allowed to have a union at all is pretty amazing.

The editorial is short and added below:

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on December 4, 2005 - 3:13pm.

Autopsy photos for public consumption

I read an AP article in Editor & Publisher from November 30th on restricting use of autopsy photos in Ohio. The story talks about how autopsy photos of a 16-year-old girl who died in a car accident ended up in a slide show about drunk driving. The girl’s mother, who hadn’t been asked for permission to use her daughters photos, was outraged (and rightly so if you ask me).

The article goes on to say which states are passing legislation to ban autopsy photos from the public and who aren’t. It was this paragraph, however, that threw me for a loop:

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on December 1, 2005 - 11:40pm.

Boston's "Holiday Tree"

"Oh Holiday Tree, oh Holiday Tree, how lovely are your branches!"

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 30, 2005 - 2:51pm.

Online Readers - Count us too!

I think this article published on Editor & Publisher hits the nail on the head when talking about newspaper readership. I’m perplexed why no one has really brought this up before, because it seems so simple.

I read the newspaper on line every day. I can click between The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and my small hometown newspaper with ease. Online I can see how different papers are covering the same story. Plus with my laptop the newspaper comes to me whenever I want it – I don’t have to go out of my way to pick up the paper or worry about people stealing my subscription on my doorstep. Plus it’s free. Free is good.

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 29, 2005 - 4:16pm.

Teen People vs Teen Aryan Singing Duo

You can't make this stuff up...

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 29, 2005 - 12:13am.

White Sex Sells

Did anyone catch a glimpse of the November 21st cover of New York Magazine? It pictures about 15 naked people strewn about on the floor in an orgy – a predominantly white orgy. There is one dark skinned guy in the bunch – he looks Hispanic but I very well could be wrong. No one else in the group has any distinguishing ethnic features.

Is this supposed to be a representation of New York City? - Because if so it completely missed the boat. The story “Mating: The State of our Unions” serves as the opening act on the topic. In it is written “if you put the word out on the street that you’re casting for an orgy, voila! The next day, twenty gorgeous young strangers will show up at a downtown photo studio…” yeah, I’m sure it was that easy.

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 24, 2005 - 10:06pm.

When Newspapers Choose a Side

I read an article by AP writer Jay Reeves on that blew my mind. The title says it all : In Shocker, Alabama's Largest Paper Comes Out Against Death Penalty

Here’s a little taste:

Even if all the flaws disappeared, the paper said, executions should be halted in the name of promoting a "culture of life" that includes opposition to abortion, embryonic stem-cell research and euthanasia.

"We believe all life is sacred. And in embracing a culture of life, we cannot make distinctions between those we deem `innocents' and those flawed humans who populate Death Row," said the newspaper, which reversed decades of support of capital punishment.

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 21, 2005 - 7:57pm.

Copycat Cover Pages

How could you miss this cover? For one, it’s written in size 136 font. Secondly both the New York Post and the New York Daily News used the same lame play on words. I thought clichés were out…

Anyway, as Gawker points out this is pure laziness on the part of both parties. Can’t anyone come up with an original headline these days and still make sense? Some of the headlines in the Post that I have read are stunted and unintelligible, almost like the hints on crossword puzzles.

Did the Post and Daily News really think their headline was going to be original? They probably thought it was so obvious that no one else would dare to use it. Guess they thought wrong.

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 19, 2005 - 7:13pm.

Hall of Fame Cartoonist Fired for Plagiarism

Journalists aren’t the only ones getting caught for plagiarism. The Tulsa World fired their longtime editorial cartoonist on Thursday. David Simpson, who was recently inductee into the Okaahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame, re-created a cartoon originally published in The Hartford Courant in 1981. The cartoon ran in The Tulsa World on June 7, 2005. Read the story here

In an AP story Robert E. Lorton III, the publisher for The Tulsa World, had this to say:

"Dave is a tremendous creative talent, and his cartoons have been enjoyed by our readers for years," he said. "However, plagiarism is the cardinal sin of a newsroom, and all those who are employed by us to gather, report or comment on the news are stewards of the public."

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 12, 2005 - 2:13pm.

The CSI Effect

Have you heard of such a thing as the CSI Effect? According to Wikipedia the

“CSI Effect is a phenomenon related to the popularity of television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Forensic Files and Law & Order. The effect has caused viewers, victims and jury members to have unrealistic expectations of forensic evidence, DNA testing and extensive investigations at crime scenes, similar to those seen on these programs. This has changed the way many investigations and trials are presented today.”

There are more television shows dealing with investigators and the law then I care to count. They seem to be everywhere these days! There are three starting with “CSI” alone. Has there been another genre with such a following as this? I don’t think so.

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 11, 2005 - 7:27pm.

I wouldn’t read her book if it landed open on my face

Judy Miller doesn’t really warrant a long post on my blog about her – for the past month I was just wishing she would go away…and she did, sort of. Miller finally “retired” from The Times. Is anyone really surprised?

Miller says she’s leaving her job in part because she has “become the news.” When she decided to go to jail for 85 days for really no good reason (since Scooter Libby had already been outed as a source from another journalist) what did she expect?

Upon her return to work she had an escort to bring her into The Times building. She obviously had an inkling into how her co-workers felt about her. With the Weapons of Mass Destruction fiasco and her nickname, “Miss Run-Amok,” written about in practically every story about her, did she really think she was going to go back to a warm reception at The Times and a semblance of anonymity?

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 11, 2005 - 12:02am.

Attack Cat is Big News

One of the most popular stories in The Boston Globe this week.

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 7, 2005 - 6:29pm.

FEMA vs. Florida Papers

Florida’s Gannett owned newspapers, News Press, Florida Today and the Pensacola News Journal will not be receiving the names of people FEMA gave money to after the 2004 hurricanes. Read the article here.

The papers had sued FEMA for a list of names and addresses of all the people who received government aid because they wanted to “examine alleged inequities and fraud in the distribution of more than $1.5 billion to assist in recovery after the hurricanes.” The papers lost out in federal court on Friday to FEMA who argued, “it needed to protect the privacy of these disaster victims.”

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 6, 2005 - 1:19pm.

Damn you Oprah Winfrey and your book club!

This blog installment is going to toe the line on media criticism, but I feel like I need to get something off my chest that has been weighing me down for quite some time.

Damn you Oprah Winfrey and your book club!

(Insert big sigh here.)

I am what one would call a ‘bookworm.’ I have always loved to read and I do so voraciously. When I found out I had to buy 14 books for my first semester at NYU the pain in my wallet was balanced by the joy in my heart.

I am ill at ease with Oprah’s Book Club. On one hand I think it’s great that she is getting people to read all these fantastic books. What she chooses to endorse is, in my mind, worth while reading. No Harry Potter here.

Submitted by Melanie Brooks on November 5, 2005 - 1:01am.
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