Today's Top Stories

HHS Puts It in Writing: Staff Members and Reporters Are Forbidden to Speak without Reporting to the Authorities

The Department of Health and Human Services last week released a media policy which makes it official that staff members and reporters are forbidden to speak to each other without reporting to public information officers and supervisors.
Although over the last 10-20 years HHS and many of its agencies have prohibited staff members not to speak to reporters without PIO oversight, this is apparently the first time in history the agency has put it in writing.

What Often Goes Unsaid

While editors demand that journalists of color justify their reasons for wanting to cover stories about ethnic minorities or the underclass, in some instances the motives of white journalists seeking to report on those same topics go unquestioned. At the core of this newsroom dynamic resides the usually unspoken question of whether non-minority journalists can accurately portray the full reality of what minorities experience without exploiting -- or being perceived as exploiting -- those they seek to cover.

'A Bridge Too Far': AOL Requires Patch Editors To Drum Up Ad Sales Leads

Yesterday, we reported that, as the year ends, AOL plans to use some clever accounting to make it look like 10 or so Patches are finally profitable. But that's not all AOL is doing to juice Patch revenue numbers! One self-described "riled" Patch editor from the East Coast tells us that in addition to his or her normal job responsibilities, this editor has also been asked to start drumming up ad sales leads.

Net Neutrality Rules to Take Effect Nov. 20

The FCC's network neutrality rules will go into effect Nov. 20, a top FCC attorney confirmed last week. That will be 11 months after they were approved Dec. 21, 2010. A Verizon spokesman said the company would refile its lawsuit after the rules are published. Republicans have vowed, and tried, to block the rules through various legislative maneuvers, including defunding their implementation and voiding the decision, but those efforts have so far failed to gain traction.

AOL Cuts Budgets At Patch, "Sniper" Layoffs Elsewhere, Too?

During a conference call on Friday, Arianna Huffington and the AOL management team announced that freelance budgets have basically been slashed to the point of extinction. During the call, lead editors expressed open disdain for the "smoke and mirrors" strategy AOL is using to make some Patches look profitable.
One freelancer says the pay for covering events "doesn't even pay for gas."

Tories demand CBC explain its lengthy access-to-information battle

The Conservatives are hauling the CBC onto the carpet this fall to explain why it is fighting the access-to-information law in the courts. One Tory MP has a website petition to defund the broadcaster, and the party's spokesman recently referred to “extravagant spending” by the CBC in an Ottawa newspaper. The opposition New Democrats say this is just the beginning of a full-scale attack the Conservatives are planning against the CBC.

Whatever Happened to the American Left?

The left must realize that when progressives achieved success in the past, whether at organizing unions or fighting for equal rights, they seldom bet their future on politicians. They fashioned their own institutions -- unions, women's groups, community and immigrant centers and a witty, anti-authoritarian press -- in which they spoke up for themselves and for the interests of wage-earning Americans. Today, such institutions are either absent or reeling.

UK website claims 1,000 'citizen journalists'

"Citizen journalism" website Blottr began the latest phase of its UK roll last week, as it claimed to have 60,000 registered users and at least 1,000 contributors. Blottr is the brainchild of web entrepreneur Adam Baker, who said he first had the idea of creating a citizen journalism website after the 11 September attacks in New York. Now, with most of the UK’s newspaper publishers cutting staff he is confident that Blottr’s brand of citizen journalism can fill the void.