Today's Top Stories

Tony Burman, Al Jazeera and the future of news

When we get to the point where the American public knows more about Charlie Sheen and Casey Anthony than they do about the debt crisis or world affairs, then there’s a failure there. And to a great extent, that failure lies with the media -- not the public. In the U.S., the broadcast media in particular does a poor job of making crucial issues clear and relevant for Americans to understand. And I think that’s a real threat to a functioning democracy.

What is journalism worth?

What is journalism worth? That's the question journalism managers and entrepreneurs have been trying to figure out ever since it became clear, years ago, that the internet was disrupting local publishing monopolies. And so we've endured years of conference panels, email exchanges, and blog posts about paywalls and paid content strategies. Lost in this is the realization that people have been telling us -- for generations -- how much they're willing to pay for news.

‘Job-killing regulations’ do nothing of the sort

It's time to kill the phrase “job-killing regulations.” It’s a clever slogan invented by corporate lobbyists. But it happens to be a lie. In fact, the opposite is true. It was a lack of public oversight that allowed Wall Street to destroy millions of jobs as risky profiteering brought on the Great Recession. Both President Clinton and President Bush weakened safeguards designed to keep banks and other financial institutions from engaging in massive speculation schemes at our expense.

News Corp execs think James Murdoch may leave

News Corp's senior management is starting to think about what the company might do if James Murdoch stepped aside, sources inside and close to the global media empire said. With Rupert Murdoch's younger son under increasing pressure from the phone-hacking scandal enveloping the company, News Corp executives want to be prepared if he wants to "take a breather," one News Corp source said. "Everyone is thinking about what will happen if he has to step aside," said another.

Striking Verizon workers stage candlelight vigil outside CEO’s NJ home to protest benefit cuts

Hundreds of striking Verizon workers held a candlelight vigil outside their CEO’s mansion Thursday, hoping to draw a stark contrast between the contract demands of blue-collar workers and the quality of life enjoyed by the company’s executives. Wearing red shirts, singing union songs and chanting “What’s disgusting? Union busting,” union members lit candles outside Lowell McAdam’s home as the sun set on Mendham, New Jersey.

No layoffs; 21 Guild members take buyout

A total of 21 Newspaper Guild employees took the latest, pension-based voluntary separation offer presented by The Buffalo News. Management said it came close enough to, or exceeded, its goal of cutting Guild payroll and benefits by $1.8 million and, as a result, does not anticipate layoffs to cut costs. In addition, the company said eight managers took a buyout in a separate voluntary separation offer for management at The News, including two from Editorial.

Workers' comp systems getting stricter

State workers’ comp systems in America have little in common, with no federal standards and almost no federal involvement. And now they're putting on the squeeze, tightening eligibility in response to rising medical costs. This year, legislatures in Montana, Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas and Washington State made significant changes aimed at cutting costs and demonstrating a more business-friendly climate.

Customers Feel Some Ripples From the Verizon Strike

As a strike by 45,000 Verizon workers approaches the two-week mark, the company’s customers are beginning to feel the impact — and are complaining about it. In photo above, News Media Guild President Tony Winton and TNG-CWA Chairperson Martha Waggoner walk the picket line Friday outside a Verizon retail store in Washington, D.C.; close behind is Jay West, of the Guild's administrative staff.