By Elizabeth Cherneff, CNN
We’ve got a busy show coming up on Sunday. From the Justice Department seizing AP reporters’ phone records to the IRS targeting conservative groups, the Obama administration’s handling of several major controversies has been criticized across the spectrum. We’ll discuss the coverage of the latest Washington headlines in detail, but until then, here are some other reads that caught our attention this week:
Seth Meyers will return to ‘SNL’ this fall, leave for ‘Late Night’ in 2014: The late night television changes continued this week with NBC’s announcement that current SNL cast member Seth Meyers will replace Jimmy Fallon as host of ‘Late Night.’ In a ‘Today Show’ interview, Meyers confirmed to NBC’s Matt Lauer that he’ll stay with Saturday Night Live through the fall before starting his new gig next year. February 2014 marks Jimmy Fallon’s transition to ‘The Tonight Show’ slot, also coinciding with NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage. While many SNL fans will undoubtedly be sad to see Meyers go, this latest change reflects the networks’ push to attract younger viewers.
An inside look at Guantanamo Bay: Cuba’s most infamous detention center is the subject of author and Wall Street Journal correspondent Jess Bravin’s new book The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay. In his latest novel, Bravin highlights the lack of legal precedent that makes prosecuting inmates even more difficult amid hunger strikes and calls to close the prison. With rising costs to maintain Guantanamo Bay and accounts of worsening conditions inside the cells, the topic is sure to remain a source of controversy across the political spectrum.
Which journalists accepted free laptops from Google? When it comes to reviewing the newest smartphones and laptops, trying out the latest gadgets is part of the job- but does it create conflicts of interest for journalists tasked with objectively covering the technology beat? At this week’s Google keynote address, Gawker media blogger Sam Biddle highlighted a possibly ambiguous loan agreement that may have allowed several journalists to keep some gadgets free of charge. The story highlights the bigger issue of news organizations’ ethics policies against handouts and not accepting gifts- in an evolving media landscape, it’s an ongoing conversation to be had amongst journalists and news executives.
Howard Kurtz on NBC's cancellation of Rock Center, Bloomberg reporters' data snooping & the Fox News mole's day in court.
By Laura Koran, CNN
On this week’s show, we will be taking a look at the media’s hits and misses covering the attack on the Boston Marathon. Tune in for that on Sunday, and see what other stories caught our attention this week right here.
The wisdom of Mr. Rogers: In the aftermath of terrible tragedies, such as the Boston Marathon bombings, people tend to seek out examples of human kindness to dispel the notion that the world is a dark and hateful place. It is not surprising then, that a meme featuring the beloved children’s show host Mr. Rogers has gone viral since Monday’s terrorist attack. The image, circulating on social media sites, displays one of Mr. Rogers’ classic, heartfelt musings: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” As Reverend J.C. Austin points out, these simple words hold a deeper truth, and serve as a powerful reminder that the “helpers” are more powerful than the “haters.”
Is brevity the soul of good reporting? A chart recently released by Dean Starkman of Columbia Journalism Review shows that the number of long-form stories (in this case, stories with more than 2,500 words) published by The Wall Street Journal has declined significantly over the past decade. The paper responded to the chart saying in part, “The number of words in an article has never been the barometer by which the quality of a publication or its value to readers should be measured.” But many, including Alexis C. Madrigal of The Atlantic, are left wondering whether this new preference for shorter news stories can be attributed to the robust paywall on the paper’s website.
A fly on the wall: New York Times reporter Brian Stelter caught a truly lucky break when he was tipped off about a lunch between “Today” host Matt Lauer, and his former co-host Meredith Viera. That lunchtime chat, which Stelter surreptitiously eavesdropped on from the bar at New York restaurant Park Avenue Spring, provided the closing anecdote for Stelter’s new book, “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,” which releases next week. Stelter recounts how Viera reassured Lauer that the slew of negative media coverage of his involvement in Ann Curry’s removal from the show would soon pass, telling him, “It’ll be O.K.”
Learning from history: A new documentary short premiering at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival takes a look at The New York Times’ dismal coverage of the Holocaust during World War II. The film, “Reporting on the Times,” is the work of 22-year old filmmaker Emily Harrold, who hopes her movie can serve as a warning to news organizations covering (or not covering) human rights crises today. The Times has long been criticized for under-reporting on the Holocaust; criticism that the paper itself has called, “valid.”
Carole Simpson, Eric Deggans and Howard Kurtz dissect the latest rumors swirling around the NBC morning show.
Marisa Guthrie, Joe Concha and Gail Shister join Howard Kurtz to discuss NBC’s decision to drop the late night comedian.
By Becky Perlow, CNN
From Jon Stewart's upcoming Daily Show hiatus to the allegation that the White House is bullying reporters, Reliable Sources will have a great show for you this week. Until then, here's a few other stories that caught our attention:
"Count" the (YouTube) views: The Sesame Street family, hoping to become the first nonprofit media organization to hit 1 billion video views, issued a challenge to its world-wide followers: Help us reach one billion channel views and we'll reward you with a "top secret" video. And while no one knows if it was "Elmo's Song" or Cookie Monster's "Share it maybe" that pushed the YouTube channel over the 1 billion mark, Sesame Street fans delivered. PBS happily released the video on Wednesday, which already has more than 60,000 views. Can you guess which Sesame Street character they used?
Held hostage: In the April issue of Vanity Fair, NBC News's Richard Engel details what it was like to be held against his will in the midst of Syria's civil war. For five days, the foreign correspondent was mentally and physically tortured by the shabiha militia, an armed group who supports the Ba'ath Party, of which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a part of. In the diary-style excerpt, Engel writes of his initial capture, as well as his first few minutes in captivity: "Stay focused. You are here. You need to survive this. The first few hours are the most dangerous."
Free Lunches: As the saying goes, there's no such thing as free lunch, especially when you're an online freelance journalist trying to make a living. Case in point: After an Atlantic editor extended an invitation to Nate Thayer to publish a shorter version of one of his already-published pieces (but made it clear she would not be paying him for the piece), Thayer published the exchange of emails between himself and the editor, Olga Khazan. The Atlantic has since come out, calling the situation a "mistake."
Controlling the Cardinals: Following a tiff between White House press corp and the Obama administration over access to a presidential golf outing, international journalists are experiencing their own press battles after the Vatican cancelled an American press briefing with cardinals. "The American cardinals are just more used to being open and talking to the press and answering questions in public. Rome just doesn't like to operate this way," said Father Thomas Reese of the National Catholic Reporter.
Jane Hall, Paul Farhi, Frank Sesno and Howard Kurtz discuss the CNN host's interview with the Fox News anchor.
Greta van Susteren’s efforts to help Haitians recover from the 2010 earthquake, an ESPN pundit who questioned Robert Griffin III’s “blackness” does not get a new contract and Al Roker’s candid admission about an unfortunate side effect of his gastric bypass surgery.
Gail Shister, Adam Buckman and Howard Kurtz on the late-night comic’s time slot switch and what it means for ABC’s venerable news magazine, Nightline.
Erik Wemple, Lynn Sweet, Bob Cusack and Howard Kurtz weigh in on NBC's Meet The Press interview with President Obama and the media coverage of the looming fiscal cliff.