Racial Justice Think Tank: ARC

The nondescriptly titled Applied Research Center (ARC) describes itself as a “30 year old racial justice think tank.” Devoted to raising awareness about racism and promoting social justice since 1981, ARC leverages its three-pronged approach through the Media and Journalism, Strategic Research and Policy Analysis, and the Racial Justice Leadership Action Network. This from their website further explains:

We use Media and Journalism to deliver stories that are not reported elsewhere, move people to action in support of racial equity, and push a society silenced by guilt and confusion toward concrete discussions of racial justice in the 21st century. Through Strategic Research and Policy Analysis, we expose structural inequities by conducting both quantitative and qualitative research; produce reliable, relevant and accessible reports and interactive tools that help researchers, activists and policymakers take next steps; and build the analytical foundation for racial justice campaigns across the nation. Finally, ARC’s Racial Justice Leadership Action Network trains a new cadre of journalists, community organizers and elected officials, through popular education, convenings, and mobilized action, to make these solutions real. ARC’s bi-annual Facing Race Conference has become the national convening of organizers, activists, and intellectuals on race and politics.

There are many free research reports available at the site.  Most recent reports include work on food justice, LGBT racial justice issues, and how the millennials fair on activism and race.

Who Owns the News Media

Embedded in The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s annual State of the News Media is an interactive database of companies than own news media properties in the US. This database is meant to be a tool for generating  reports on statistical and audience sector data related to media company ownership. 

Their methodology is as follows:

The goal…was to create a tool that aggregated comparative information on the companies that own news media properties. We wanted to do this within each media sector as well as more broadly across news media over all. To do this, we took several steps. First, we identified the various U.S.-based companies within each media sector. In some cases, the list is so long that we determined a cut-off point for which companies to include. The newspapers sector, for example, includes all companies with a total weekday circulation of 100,000 or more. Next, we looked for relevant statistical data that were available for most companies and could be compared from one company to the next. Some data are compared within the media sector and other data, like total revenues, can be compared across all companies.
Try it on for size.  Highlights from a recent report generated from this year’s data include:
  • In transactions other than the Buffett deal with Media General, The New York Times Company sold 14 daily newspapers to Halifax Media and Journal Register Company (with 20 dailies) was acquired by one of its investors, Alden Global Capital. The Times Company’s sale of its Regional Newspaper Group left it with only three remaining dailies, the flagship New York Times, The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
  • The Chicago Sun Times was sold to a new company called Wrapports LLC, an organization led by technology executive Michael Ferro Jr. and former Newsday publisher Timothy Knight.
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune was sold in November 2011 by the private equity firm Platinum Equity, which bought it in 2009, to a company owned by a local hotel developer.
  • Freedom Communications announced on June 11 the sale of its remaining dailies, including the Orange County Register (163,000 print circulation) to the investment group 2001 Trust LLC. That sale ended the company’s almost 80-year history as a newspaper publisher. And as was the case with Journal Register, Freedom had recently emerged from bankruptcy protection.
  • Once known as the crown jewel of the now defunct Knight Ridder chain, The Philadelphia Inquirer (along with its sister Philadelphia Daily News) was sold in April for the fourth time in six years. A group of local businessmen bought the company for a reported $55 million, roughly 10% of the $515 million the papers fetched in 2006 when they were purchased by another group of local investors led by advertising executive Brian Tierney.
  • Hedge Fund Company Alden Global Capital bought the Journal Register Company with twenty papers including the New Haven Register (CT), the Oakland Press (MI) and the Daily Times (PA). Alden Global has also invested in several other newspaper organizations.
  • Versa Capital Management, which purchased a number of small dailies in Ohio in 2011, acquired the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in March of 2012.

CNN Transcripts in More Than One Place

CNN has been good about archiving their transcripts over the past decade. You can find them, organized by program, at CNN.Com/transcripts.  But for the greater good of historical digital preservation these transcripts, 2000-2012, have been snatched up by the Internet Archive here, as announced by their by their Just In Time Grabs team.  Love this explanation of their initiative:

The hardest part about our transient, shallow world wide web is the terrifying swiftness in which data disappears. To this end, Archive Team members have often bravely strapped on miner’s helmets and flashlights, dove into the flaming wreckage of a dying site, and grabbed a copy for all of time. Some of these rescues, consisting of what we could grab, are being saved here.

LexisNexis Academic also carries CNN transcripts but it’s tricky telling what years of coverage they provide. They do have transcripts for certain shows going back to the early 90s. You have to go into the Browse Publications section and under transcripts click on the information icon for individual genres–financial, entertainment, international–to see what programs they carry and years of coverage.

Pew’s News Media 2012 Annual Report

Don’t forget to check out The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism‘s News Media 2012 for lots of interesting findings and data.
From the press release:

A mounting body of evidence finds that the spread of mobile technology is adding to news consumption, strengthening the appeal of traditional news brands and even boosting reading of long-form journalism. But the evidence also shows that technology companies are strengthening their grip on who profits, according to the 2012 State of the News Media report by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
More than a quarter of Americans (27%) now get news on mobile devices, and for the vast majority, this is increasing news consumption, the report finds. More than 80% of smartphone and tablet news consumers still get news on laptop or desktop computers. On mobile devices, news consumers also are more likely to go directly to a news site or use an app, rather than to rely on search — strengthening the bond with traditional news brands.

The full report is freely available here.

Assignment: China — USCI series on American reporting on China

US-China Today, a non-profit student-driven magazine of the USC US-China Institute focusing on the multidimensional and evolving US-China relationship and on significant trends in contemporary China, features a special documentary project on American reporting in China called Assignment China.

Interviews with [the] journalists who covered China are the core of Assignment: China which is illustrated by archival news footage and other images… In addition to interviews with those whose work was featured on American front pages and broadcasts, the series includes interviews with Chinese and American officials who sought to manage coverage of China or of specific events, such as Nixon’s historic 1972 trip.

Mike Chinoy, the distinguished former CNN Asia correspondent and USC U.S.-China Institute Senior Fellow, is the writer and reporter for the series. He is assisted by  USCI staff and students.

Assignment: China has recently published two short documentaries – “The Week That Changed The World” and “Opening Up.”

The Week that Changed the World – President Richard Nixon’s 1972 trip ended more than two decades of Cold War hostility. American and Chinese forces had fought each other in Korea and the United States had refused to formally recognize Beijing’s government and did recognize Taipei’s. From the founding of the People’s Republic until the Nixon trip, American news organizations had virtually no access to the world’s largest and most rapidly changing country. America’s most famous journalists clamored to go with the president, though most had no idea what they might find, telling us “it was like going to the moon.”
USCI website | Chinese subtitled version 中文字幕版
USCI YouTube Channel | Chinese subtitled YouTube version 中文字幕版

Opening Up – With the restoration of U.S.-China diplomatic relations in 1979, American news organizations were finally able to base reporters in China, something that even the Nixon trip hadn’t made possible. By this time, of course, China was embarking on stunning economic and social reforms. Private enterprise was being permitted, foreign investment pursued, and controlling births was made a government priority. There were also stirrings of dissent, which the party-state moved to stifle. Though influential, the reporting corps was small. Delighted to be covering such sweeping changes, reporters sometimes chafed at the restrictions imposed on them by the Chinese government and their own editors and by the technological challenges of reporting from a developing country.
USCI website | Chinese subtitled version 中文字幕版
USCI YouTube Channel | Chinese subtitled YouTube version 中文字幕版

Understanding 9/11: A Television News Archive

The Internet Archive hosts a television archive of the events of September 11 called Understanding 9/11: A Television News Archive.

A resource for scholars, journalists, and the public, the Archive includes over 3000 hours of international news coverage from 20 channels over a seven day period, 9/11 through 9/17, 2001. The intentional coverage includes broadcasts from Mexico City, London, Beijing, Baghdad, Paris, Ottawa, Tokyo, and Moscow.

You can also watch the presentations of 10 speakers at the recent Learning From Recorded Memory: 9/11 TV News Archive Conference that was held in August 24, 2011.

While the Vanderbilt News Archive has coverage of the major US networks during this time, the non-proprietary nature of this collection is invaluable to folks outside University communities. The inclusion of international coverage, though limited, is also a plus.

I guess I should have posted this last month closer to the anniversary, but archives are about timelessness as much as timeliness!

Tracking Telecom Issues

The Telecommunications Industry Association, TIA, has a very useful, information-packed website. Though this is a member-site of over 600 telecommunications companies from around the world, it also serves up a fair amount of free content to the general public. Look for the annual Standards and Technology Annual Report (STAR) (which they’ve been posting since 2001).
You can also follow what’s going on at the FCC with the TIA Legislative Tracker and the TIA Regulatory Tracker. The June 2011 Regulatory Tracker, for instance, boasts 198 pages of up to date information on regulatory policy.
And while TIA’s 2011 ICT Market Review & Forecast may be prohibitively expensive, the previous year’s report is free for download, as are older white papers and the like. So even at the TIA Store most items are free.

News Cities/Informed Citizens; Navigating News Online


The Aspen Institute’s Communication and Society Program has issued it’s 2010 report, News Cities: The Next Generation of Healthy Informed Communities, available at their site for purchase or free download.

From the abstract:

The report includes a description of the continuing difficulties, yet encouraging advances in local journalism, and a series of recommendations to strengthen public media, increase government transparency, encourage public engagement, promote digital and media literacy, and provide universal broadband access.
And while we’re talking news, I probably don’t need to direct folks to Pew as much as I do but their reports are so useful and data-rich I can’t resist. Navigating News Online: Where People Go, How They Get there and What Lures Them Away, by Kenny Olmstead, Amy Mitchell and Tom Rosenstiel looks at online news consumption traffic of the top 25 news sites according to Nielsen data. Actually, they point out, their data set includes only 21 of the top 25 sites. The Wall Street Journal, BBC.com, Bing News, and Reuters are structured in a way that prevents Nielsen from capturing this data. The Report delivers graphs and pie charts of traffic to and from Facebook, influence of Drudge Report on top news sites, Twitter traffic to and from news sites, and news site preferences by gender, and much more.

JTA Jewish News Archive

JTA, The Global News Service of the Jewish People, (formerly the Jewish Telegraphic Agency) has just launched a digital archive containing 250,000 articles dating from 1923.

A video about the archive is available here.

From the JTA press release:

The JTA Jewish News Archive, which is searchable and free for the public to use, was launched officially Tuesday, May 3 with a celebration at the Center for Jewish History in New York.

Highlights of the archive include extensive reporting from Europe in the 1930s and 1940s — including perhaps the first article on what has become known as the Babi Yar massacre — JTA’s reportage on the founding of the State of Israel, close and sustained coverage of the Soviet Jewry movement, and decades of articles chronicling the changing roles and responsibilities of Jewish women.

“The JTA Jewish News Archive has the potential to spark an interest in the past that will transform the future,” said Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University.

Sarna, a member of JTA’s board of directors, spearheaded the effort to digitally preserve the news agency’s reporting.

JTA’s coverage of the Holocaust may be of particular interest to historians.

“There was and still is a lot of conventional wisdom that Americans didn’t know about the Holocaust while it was happening, and couldn’t have known about the Holocaust while it was happening,” said Northeastern University journalism professor Laurel Leff. “One of the values of this archive is that people can actually look at the bulletins that JTA sent out during this period and see what information was, in fact, available.”

Introducing NewspaperCat

Nice news from a colleague at the University of Florida, announcing a new resource called NewspaperCat.

NewspaperCat is an online database providing links to over 1000 full-text digital newspapers in the United States and Caribbean. The project’s current coverage, which began with the Southeastern United States, is growing rapidly and will soon cover all fifty states. The purpose of NewspaperCat is to improve access to historical newspapers digitized by libraries, archives, historical societies and other non-profit organizations that remain buried within search engine returns such as Google PageRank. These newspapers represent a rich source of primary research material for researchers, students, and the general public. The project to build NewspaperCat was funded by the George A. Smathers Libraries and developed with the cooperation of the Digital Library Center of the University of Florida.