'Morning Miracle' Author Describes Threats To Papers

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director

Author Dave Kindred drew on his stellar career as a Washington Post reporter today to describe on my DC Update radio show his book Morning Miracle: A Great Newspaper Fights for Its Life. Drawing on 45 years of reporting, Kindred obtained unprecedented access to the Post newsroom and all its top executives.

His study provides what he and his publisher, Doubleday, call “an up-close-and-personal study of the ambition, enthusiasm and commitment to excellence that is at the heart of world-class daily journalism.” But he describes also “the cold truth that the industry’s glory days are over.” Listen to today’s show with my cohost Scott Draughon by clicking here. The show is heard live nationwide, and also by archive on the My Technology Lawyer radio network.

A Booklist review, one of many positive ones for Morning Miracle, said,

Despite its storied history—award-winning coverage of Watergate and of the abuses of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital—the Washington Post has been subject to the same challenges that are killing newspapers across the nation: plummeting circulation and loss of revenue to Internet advertising. What’s worse for the Post is that in the mid-1990s, at a pivotal point before the Internet became widely public, a brave few of its staff pushed management to consider a major investment in going digital. The moment passed as management pressed ahead with the old model of print journalism, still winning Pulitzers as it lost readers.

Kindred has reported and written for newspapers and magazines since he was 18. His work has won the Red Smith Award, sports journalism’s highest honor, as well as a National Headliner award for general-interest columns. He is the author of 10 books. As a listener advisory, Mac listeners need “Parallels.” The interview begins 17 minutes into the hour.

Listed below are selected articles on legal reform, with the most important political, security and media factors. See the full articles by visiting the Project home page's section on News Reports, and clicking the link.

Washington Post, Reading, Writing and Michelle Rhee, Diane Ravitch, April 10, 2011. The most chilling episode in Richard Whitmire’s biography of Michelle Rhee occurs near the end, when Rhee says to a PBS camera crew, “I’m going to fire somebody in a little while. Do you want to see that?” Of course they did, and they taped the chancellor of the District of Columbia public schools firing a principal. The victim’s face was not shown, but the episode revealed a woman who relishes humiliating those who have the misfortune to work for her.

Washington Post, The trials of Kaplan Higher Ed and the education of The Washington Post Co., Steven Mufson and Jia Lynn Yang, Saturday, April 9, 2011. Eleven years ago, one of Washington’s most tradition-bound companies placed a bet that would transform its fortunes. The wager, by The Washington Post Co. and its Kaplan division, took the form of a $165 million purchase of an Atlanta-based chain of for-profit vocational schools that catered to low-income students. The bet was big — the price equal to the profits earned that year by The Post Co.’s print-media pillars: this newspaper and Newsweek magazine. So was the payoff. The acquisition of the firm, called Quest Education, turbocharged the rise of Kaplan, a modest business that had until then mainly prepared students for standardized tests.Computer World, U.S. police increasingly view private email, instant messages, Jeremy Kirk, April 12, 2011. Law enforcement organizations are making tens of thousands of requests for private electronic information from companies such as Sprint, Facebook and AOL, but few detailed statistics are available, according to a privacy researcher. Police and other agencies have "enthusiastically embraced" asking for e-mail, instant messages and mobile-phone location data, but there's no U.S. federal law that requires the reporting of requests for stored communications data, wrote Christopher Soghoian, a doctoral candidate at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, in a newly published paper. "Unfortunately, there are no reporting requirements for the modern surveillance methods that make up the majority of law enforcement requests to service providers and telephone companies," Soghoian wrote. "As such, this surveillance largely occurs off the books, with no way for Congress or the general public to know the true scale of such activities." That's in contrast to traditional wiretaps and "pen registers," which record non-content data around a particular communication, such as the number dialed or e-mail address that a communication was sent to. The U.S. Congress mandates that it should receive reports on these requests, which are compiled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Soghoian wrote.

Salon Unclaimed Territory, Obama’s “bad negotiating" is actually shrewd negotiating, Glenn Greenwald / Salon, April 13, 2011. Last week, Obama agreed to billions of dollars in cuts that will impose the greatest burden on the poorest Americans. What evidence is there that Obama has some inner, intense desire for more progressive outcomes? These are the results they're getting because these are the results they want.

Legal Schnauzer, Blog Skewers A Conservative Newspaper And Then Gets Hacked, Roger Shuler, April 13, 2011. A blog that recently gained national attention for revealing the hypocrisy behind one of the South's most conservative newspapers has become the target of hackers.

April 10

Hudson Reporter, When a nod is as good as wink, Al Sullivan, April 10, 2011. Hoboken politics is better than any soap opera or reality show you can ever watch on TV because if you saw this stuff on TV, you wouldn’t believe it. With Hoboken’s “reformers” facing one of the toughest municipal elections in years – six of the nine City Council seats are up for election on May 10 – they suddenly get a gift from the gods in a 2009 videotape that shows Councilman Michael Russo allegedly agreeing to take a bribe from FBI informant Solomon Dwek.

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