Fox News Channel has mastered the art of cable news over the past decade. They turned the battle into a partisan centered grudge match with MSNBC and have run away with the ratings year after year. CNN can barely compete with its objective based approach. ESPN mastered the sports news market and has created a network that most sports loving Americans can’t live without. Has Fox News entered the realm of ESPN in which cable subscribers need the channel to be satisfied in their television service? According to the article by Alex Weprin for TVNewser, News Corp. COO Chase Carey thinks so.

Fox News is beginning a new round of carriage negotiations with several cable operators and is trying to increase the amount of money they are getting per subscriber by more than twice as much as they are currently getting. The article states they are receiving $0.58 per subcriber per month and they’re believed to be looking for $1.25 per subscriber per month. Carey said that FNC was “as important a channel as exists.” He also said that FNC was up to par with ESPN in importance of channels. “ESPN is currently the most valuable cable network in the U.S., pulling in over $4 per subscriber per month in fees,” according to the article.

Fox News saying they are on the level of ESPN is like saying they are to news what HBO is to cable movie channels or PBS to public broadcasting. ESPN dominates sports television to a degree that Fox News couldn’t compare to. FNC does have a large following of viewers, yet that following isn’t large enough to compare to the tens of millions of sports fans than rely on comprehensive sports coverage spanning all professional and collegiate teams. Without ESPN, television viewers would have to resort to local sports networks that offer limited coverage.

If FoxNews was taken off television, there would be a lot of angry viewers, but people would still have various ways to get their news intake. The channel doesn’t cover a wider array of news than other networks. People wouldn’t miss anything without the network. All FoxNews offers is a different approach to presenting the news. Nothing extra is gained other than a partisan angle that many conservative republicans want to watch.

For the purpose of transparency, I think that viewers would be better off without the largest propaganda pushing network in the United States. The most popular programs are biased talking heads that are forcing an agenda. The actual news shows aren’t much different from the other 24-hour news networks. Mr. Carey is simply trying to boost his company’s image with the hope of driving the price up for cable operators. FoxNews is big, but not that big.


Censorship in America is accepted in only two circumstances, obscenity and national security. The latter is as prevalent today as it was in 1787 when the ink dried on the U.S. Constitution. Does the public have a right to know what the government is doing? In this country the answer has been yes, more often than not. The problem lies with who is deciding what the public has a right to know and when. Does the image of a politician count as national security? That depends on the government.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein played an integral role in the Watergate scandal, by exposing the corruption of the Nixon administration. Sure, Nixon didn’t want this information to get out, but the public had a right to know. Daniel Ellsburg revealed vast amounts of information leading up to and following the War in Vietnam. The Supreme Court attempted to prevent this information from leaking by placing an injunction on the New York Times in the infamous Pentagon Papers case. Ultimately, the public won again when the files were released. The discussion today falls to the recent WikiLeaks cables that have shed light on America’s foreign affairs and dealings.

In the article from, Senator Joe Lieberman claimed the New York Times committed a crime, while chief Washington correspondent David Sanger defended his newspaper’s right to publish the information found in these cables. This is obviously not the first time the Times has come under this scrutiny and probably won’t be the last. In the end, the press should prevail. So, the question returns: Does the public have a right to know?

I respond with a resounding, YES. The public votes to put politicians in power, and they should always remember the power they possess is given to them by the public. The people need to know what their government is doing. Their tax money pays for the government’s spending and their wants and desires should direct the governing of the country. As a realist, this doesn’t always occur. Unfortunately, I think once most politicians are elected they’re going to do whatever they want. That is until the next election anyway. Regardless, like I said, the public definitely has a right to know what the government is doing.

The Times provided a service to the public by drudging through the thousands upon thousands of documents for the purpose of interpreting the meaning and significance of the WikiLeaks cables. Sure, they could have just pasted them in the paper, but nobody would take the time to read the lengthy documents, never mind being able to decipher what they meant. Not to mention, before the Times ever released the information they talked to the Obama administration about what should and would be redacted from the files. The Times followed the necessary steps to reduce the possibility of affecting national security.

Apparently, Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee doesn’t agree. This is a classic case of the government wanting to prevent the public from knowing the truth. Since the information was being released all over the world with or without the Times, there was nothing the courts could do to stop these documents from being released. The Times would’ve failed the American people if it did not release this information.

The Times provided a service to the people, Sen. Lieberman and they should not be punished for it. One of the best things about this country is the rights given for a free press. Don’t try and limit a necessary element of this country and don’t lash out at America’s most respectable news organization. Take your aggression out on trying to prosecute Julian Assange and leave editorial decisions to the professionals.

With the Comcast and NBC Universal merger coming close to being a done deal, there are many opinions in the media world that are being offered. The merger could allow Comcast to have a stranglehold on issues such as net neutrality, retransmission fees and TVEverywhere. There are many restrictions being talked about among the media that the Federal Communication Committee and the U.S. Justice Department should enforce. In Alex Weprin’s article for TVNewser, he presents two opposing arguments by the New York Times and Broadcasting and Cable.

B&C want the deal to get done so, they can start taking advantage of their merger and reveal to the public what the change will end up as in the future. The New York Times feel differently though. They would rather the FCC and DOJ take its time and ensure that the potentially overpowering deal has all the restrictions it needs to prevent Comcast and NBCU from having too much control.

There are so many issues on the table for this deal that can affect companies from several different markets in the media realm. The new company could control online innovation, eliminate new competition, monopolize other cable and internet rivals and raise broadband subscriptions. This merger could be the most detrimental move since the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Cross-ownership advocates or adversaries could have a lot more fire for the hotly contested topic.

I think this deal could cause more harm than good, since these two companies have so much power by themselves in their respective broadcaster and cable provider roles. Many of the changes that could occur from this merger don’t seem to favor the consumer. But, like the rest of the media world, bystanders will have to wait at see what the future holds for Comcast and NBCU’s competitors and subscribers.

Digital is the Way to Go

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

Back in the mid-90s, many newspaper companies laughed at the internet and considered it a phase that would pass, while others such as Dow Jones embraced the opportunities online offered and built one of the most profitable online news sites with the Wall Street Journal online. They have been using a pay wall since 1995 and the New York Times has decided to follow suit sixteen years later when their site begins to require payment in January. Newspaper revenue is at an all-time low and without a strong push towards providing strong digital content, they will most likely fail.

In Matthew Ingram’s article for, CEO of the Journal Register John Paton’s strong opinions on this issue are stressed. Paton said, “Newspapers need to be digital first in everything they do,” in his speech at the Transformation of News Summit in Cambridge, Mass. According to Paton, his company was virtually bankrupt last year and has turned it around to raise profit margins to 15% for this year.

Professional journalists have been trying to figure out the new business model since the internet became dominant and left print in its wake. Paton feels that digital is the only way to go. Everything in the world is becoming digital, so news providers need to pay attention to what its readers are interested in. There is also the issue of charging readers for online content. It is quite obvious that the average American would prefer to get their news for free, but that hasn’t been very profitable for many publications that have a full staff that gets paid. Huffington Post is one of the more successful online publications, yet it doesn’t pay the majority of its writers. Not to speak for all journalists, but I think that most would really like to get paid for their hard work.

The New York Times provides the most credible and reliable news available in print. This may be the reason their online site could prove to be successful. Millions of readers depend on the Times to tell them the most important stories and to tell the truth, more often than not. It will be difficult for other papers to gauge their own success based off the Times, but it may cause a chain reaction where most print publications install a pay wall for their online sites.

Paton’s advice could be the right model for print publications to follow for years to come due to the internet’s strong grasp on the public. People want their news faster and easier. The interactivity offered by digital content can’t be matched in a newspaper by far. The evidence against print is nearly insurmountable. More and more newspapers are going bankrupt while more and more successful news websites are being started.

With the success of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, hyperlocals, mashups and the blogosphere, the digital age is in full effect. There are so many creative ways to collect, create and provide news. Any publication that neglects the influence digital content has on the media will be left in the dust. In the highly competitive media world, it is essential to be a main stay as opposed to another piece of dust in the wind.

George Orwell’s famous expression, “Big Brother is always watching” is prevalent today in many aspects of our society, especially on the internet. Advertising companies have taken the role of big brother and are able to look into anyone’s web browser to see their history. This allows them to gear their ad displays toward the particular viewer. There are some ways to prevent this privacy infringement such as setting your browsing to private. People that aren’t very tech savvy probably aren’t aware of this or know how to privatize their internet viewing, if they were to choose to. The Federal Trade Commission is attempting to step in and change this advertising technique for good.

According to the New York Times article by Edward Wyatt and Tanzina Vega, the F.T.C. is trying to institute a “do not track” mechanism that compares to the national “do not call” registry that protects Americans from frustrating telemarketers. The mechanism will hopefully create an easy way for people to privately browse the internet. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with having ads directed at my personal preferences since I’d rather see advertisements about products I might want to purchase as opposed to items I have absolutely no interest in. The problem occurs when people begin to use the information collected from public browsing to steal identities and obtain private records.

However, this isn’t a good sign for online advertisers. Since the internet was created to be shared freely by everyone it’s not built to make money. There is also the dollar-dime concept in which every ad in print that’s worth a dollar is worth a dime on the internet. These factors have made it difficult for advertisers to function efficiently. The ability to gear ads towards the individual has allowed them to gain an edge in a tough market. That edge may be taken away by the F.T.C. soon.

I choose not to utilize private browsing for the convenience of my browser remembering websites I visit and being able to automatically fill out identity information on particular forms. With HTML 5 looming in the near future, which could take the need for privacy restrictions to a different level, I may change my mind. Where does the rest of America stand? If the F.T.C. gets their way, that answer will reveal itself in the near future.

Over the past few weeks, one of the major stories in the news was the Transportation Security Administration pat-downs and x-ray scans in airports. After the one of the busiest travel days of the year, Thanksgiving Eve, the question arises: Did the T.S.A. pat-downs cause the story or did the media? What started out as a video link, turned into a Twitter and Google explosion of outrage and unrest. The story flooded headlines and reporters flocked to airports to see the results of the online protest, National Opt-Out Day. According to David Carr’s article in The New York Times, the hysteria was nothing but hype during a slow time for news.

In a perfect world, the media’s role is to report the news, not create it. But, as we all know, this is far from a perfect world. The number of media outlets is uncountable and newspapers, news broadcasts and the internet have to report about something. There can never be a day without news. Not to mention the millions of amateurs out there that have twitter and facebook accounts that can’t go a day without posting something on their mind. After all, it’s part of the human genome to want to share and receive information. But, is the media overplaying their role by reporting about something that hasn’t happened yet? Are they causing turmoil by making assumptions about how people will react? I hate to be indecisive, but I will anyway, yes and no.

The media needs to provide the public with information they want to hear, as well as the information they need to hear. Let’s say, John Doe reads on his facebook about a major issue concerning security measures at his local airport and he happens to have a flight planned in the near future. He would definitely want to know the facts that surround the story. If he were to only have facebook and twitter stories to build his knowledge on the issue, it’s quite possible he’ll receive little to no factual information. His local media outlets wouldn’t be doing its viewers and readers justice to ignore a potential situation.

Now to portray the Al Pacino aspect (Devil’s Advocate), the media should not be causing distress among the masses like many may have experienced leading up to the potential Y2K fiasco. Sure it could’ve been a world wide disaster, but when the day came and went, the stress and fear was all for naught. Is it possible that the media helped prepare the country for the worst…sure, but in the end it was a lot of hype for nothing. The media is supposed to present the facts in a well-researched fashion for all to determine their own decisions. When the media pounces on an issue before it even becomes an issue, it is only hurting its own image. Everyone has heard about the boy who cried wolf, in this instance, that boy happens to be the town crier. So, to all my future media colleagues, how about a little less speculation and a more concise presentation of the facts.

When I made the choice to go to school for journalism, my decision was based on following that path towards a career. Which would imply making money in this occupation. Unfortunately, many people feel that it is a dying field. The New York State Department of Labor even told me that this is not a field that will likely land me a job. Suffice to say, this is not very encouraging. Well, to all those doubters, I say, screw it. This is what I want to do and nobody can tell me different. I’ve never been unsuccessful at a job before and it sure is not going to happen in the future. The facts do point towards a decline in print journalism, so the logical thing to do is look towards the online element. A major issue with this is the lack of money online journalists are making these days. One of the most successful online publications, THe Huffington Post, is primarily filled with unpaid writers. It would be wonderful if everyone could publish their work without worrying about making money, but along with millions of other Americans, I need a damn paycheck.

In an interview on the aforementioned Huffington Post, award winning New York journalist, Pete Hamill says there is hope for online journalism yielding real editors and real pay. Hallelujah, perhaps there is an optimistic future after all. The future does depend on quality and integrity being sustained on internet publications. Other websites mentioned by Hamill were The Daily Beast and Global Post. Another that could’ve been mentioned is ProPublica. These credible news outlets portray a positive light on online journalism that could easily be bogged down by the blogosphere and other propaganda pushing .coms.

Therefore, prospective journalists, such as myself, should support respectable online publications that will make the likelihood of finding a job in the field stronger. Versatility and perseverance will be the qualities needed to survive in this incredibly competitive world. I’m eager to see how I match up and very satisfied with the ammo I’m currently being given by Stony Brook to better arm myself for the upcoming battle that will determine my place in the media world. Whether I end up writing about breaking news, sports, movies or even video games, I hope the professional journalism world is ready to pay me, because I’ll be ready to contribute.