29 Past the Hour

vigorous writing in the real world

There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”

We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.

Gary Pruitt, President and CEO of the Associated Press, in a letter (PDF) to US Attorney General Eric Holder.

The News, via the AP:

The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for the Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

As Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET, points out, 28 CFR 50.10 (the Code of Federal Regulations) includes the following:

No subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media or for the telephone toll records of any member of the news media without the express authorization of the Attorney General… Failure to obtain the prior approval of the Attorney General may constitute grounds for an administrative reprimand or other appropriate disciplinary action.

So, evidently, Eric Holder gave his express authorization for monitoring of the Associated Press’ phone records. Besides the initial WTF, we wait to hear how this is spun to justify the intrusion.

(via futurejournalismproject)

One state, two state … 

Is the digital world’s maxim of “immediacy!” a threat to world peace? 

Does Nov. 29’s U.N. Twitter error underscore the need to slow down? Reporters across the globe have moved in fewer than 2 years from a system that bolstered checks and balances and provided edits and write-thrus, to having to tweet or post on the social channel of the moment. There is no oversight, no bank of editors. Social media has its place, but maybe it’s not breaking news.

One state, two state …

Is the digital world’s maxim of “immediacy!” a threat to world peace?

Does Nov. 29’s U.N. Twitter error underscore the need to slow down? Reporters across the globe have moved in fewer than 2 years from a system that bolstered checks and balances and provided edits and write-thrus, to having to tweet or post on the social channel of the moment. There is no oversight, no bank of editors. Social media has its place, but maybe it’s not breaking news.

"A language dies every 14 days."

Patricia Ryan

—What if Einstein had had to pass TOEFL? In this TED talk longtime English teacher Patrician Ryan makes the case for why we should rethink insisting on English and why doing so might inhibit, rather than nurture, thought.

fastcompany:

A political campaign website has a singular purpose: vacuum up personal information and donations. How they do it is a matter of priorities. Content-heavy sites are slow to load and expensive to operate; running one in a cost-conscious manner means eliminating unnecessary server requests, tracking user behavior, optimizing every interaction, and shaving kilobytes off pages. So who does it better, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? The answer could provide yet another clue into how effective each man would be leading the country’s economic recovery. A side-by-side comparison reveals that neither site is perfect—and that they are not very similar

fastcompany:

A political campaign website has a singular purpose: vacuum up personal information and donations. How they do it is a matter of priorities. Content-heavy sites are slow to load and expensive to operate; running one in a cost-conscious manner means eliminating unnecessary server requests, tracking user behavior, optimizing every interaction, and shaving kilobytes off pages. So who does it better, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? The answer could provide yet another clue into how effective each man would be leading the country’s economic recovery. A side-by-side comparison reveals that neither site is perfect—and that they are not very similar

Does the fracas over the now-iced CNN story on women voters say more about our discomfort with the new age of media than it does hormonal women casting ballots? 29 Past the Hour thinks it might. 

In a day when the chatter on Facebook and Twitter affect the news churn as much — more? — as  what’s coming out of Washington, we’re not sure the outrage isn’t a little misplaced. In the last decade, U.S. viewers and readers have supported media’s turn to the trite by gobbling up stories about Kim Kardashian’s three-second marriage, what diet secrets the real housewives have, and the latest from Honey Boo Boo. It’s a chicken or the egg question, really, but does an appetite for the hackneyed shape the news we get or does the social shape of news make us crave more junk? Either way, CNN, like other media institutions, is searching for ways to stay relevant with its content. 

This was the story of an Internet research study, and truthfully, should’ve fallen into the same bucket with the PEOPLE-like news CNN pumps out daily about everything from starlets in and out of love to congressmen’s indiscretions. Instead of owning its embrace of vapid stories that appeal to modern sensibilities, CNN’s real error was turning on its staff and removing the story while a writer and those who signed off twisted in the wind, left to scratch their heads about this slippery slope they navigate at America’s Most Trusted Name in News.

This story may not pass the sniff-test of legitimate journalism, but let’s at least have the intellectual integrity to admit the olfactory system is broken.

Does the fracas over the now-iced CNN story on women voters say more about our discomfort with the new age of media than it does hormonal women casting ballots? 29 Past the Hour thinks it might.

In a day when the chatter on Facebook and Twitter affect the news churn as much — more? — as what’s coming out of Washington, we’re not sure the outrage isn’t a little misplaced. In the last decade, U.S. viewers and readers have supported media’s turn to the trite by gobbling up stories about Kim Kardashian’s three-second marriage, what diet secrets the real housewives have, and the latest from Honey Boo Boo. It’s a chicken or the egg question, really, but does an appetite for the hackneyed shape the news we get or does the social shape of news make us crave more junk? Either way, CNN, like other media institutions, is searching for ways to stay relevant with its content.

This was the story of an Internet research study, and truthfully, should’ve fallen into the same bucket with the PEOPLE-like news CNN pumps out daily about everything from starlets in and out of love to congressmen’s indiscretions. Instead of owning its embrace of vapid stories that appeal to modern sensibilities, CNN’s real error was turning on its staff and removing the story while a writer and those who signed off twisted in the wind, left to scratch their heads about this slippery slope they navigate at America’s Most Trusted Name in News.

This story may not pass the sniff-test of legitimate journalism, but let’s at least have the intellectual integrity to admit the olfactory system is broken.

This 2,990-word story, titled “The New ‘No Comment’: F—- Off,” is the definitive investigation into why, when, how, and with what frequency everyone tells Politico reporters to “fuck off.” Of the many, many preexisting questions we had about this topic—Does “the rise of social media like Twitter and Facebook” enhance the ways people tell Politico reporters to “fuck off”? Is this new, fast-paced Washington culture to blame for the rise in people telling Politico reporters to “fuck off”? Is it essentially Obama’s fault that people are telling Politico reporters to “fuck off”?—this piece answered all of them.

In honor of Guy Fawkes Day, Fast Co. put together this list of gold-medal advertisements that showed up during the 2012 London Games.

In honor of Guy Fawkes Day, Fast Co. put together this list of gold-medal advertisements that showed up during the 2012 London Games.

In a nod to Guy Fawkes Day, we ask, “Are British ads better than American ads?” In 2010, the New York Times made the case by contrasting this now iconic Barclaycard television commercial against one from Bank of America it said showed “less inspiration.”

Why Are British English and American English Different?

The always on-point Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) provided this entertaining and educational look at our differences for 2009’s Independence Day. We’ll dust it off for 2012’s Guy Fawkes Day — because you can never review too often how to handle punctuation marks with quotations.

How Tone of Voice Can Make or Break a Brand

If a brand says it values customer service, its messaging must support that — all of its messaging. This blog post from ABC Copywriting’s Tom Albrighton shares a case study of how it can easily all fall apart. The takeaway for writers is this: listen to your clients and ensure the language you offer supports their aspirations and their brand promises. Even the small print matters.