Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

 

 

Giuseppe D’Avanzo, a great Italian journalist has left us today.

I had the fortune of meeting D’Avanzo once in late 2006, shortly after the height of what is known in Italy as “Nigergate,” a scandal that put the country right in the middle of what the United States were going through at the time with the so-called “Plamegate.”

D’Avanzo, alongside Repubblica colleague Carlo Bonini, was able to dig through the thick and intricate web of lies and deceitful acts the Italian government of Berlusconi accomplished to help out George W. Bush gather information for his campaign to start a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

D’Avanzo simply did what all journalists should do: He followed the facts.

What he found out was that a robbery at the Niger embassy in Rome on New Year’s of 2001 led to the disappearance of official stamps and letterheads… and that led to many other suspicious details. Continue Reading »

There are reasons why people in and out of Italy believe Silvio Berlusconi is one of the main causes of the dumbing down of Italian people.

The main reasoning is that he has produced a new TV-dependent culture that increasingly has a more difficult time producing critical thoughts on a wide array of subjects. He has been able to set up, to put it in Marshall McLuhan’s words, the “continually beating tribal drum,” where the media is in a state of perpetual inflation of the news.

There are still some who read papers, though, and so to mitigate whatever critical thinking these readers might develop, Berlusconi has been careful to craft the newspaper version of his television credo.

Il Giornale, the daily newspaper that the current Italian prime minister bought in 1977 and sold to his brother Paolo in 1994, is his “drum-beat” machine in the newspaper industry, occasionally supported by the right-wing efforts of other pro-Berlusconi “drum-beaters” such as Libero.

The problem is much larger than a pro- or anti-Berlusconi stance of newspapers in Italy. It is the ultimate watered-down cultural environment they are producing that is most worrisome.

What’s worse, a newspaper like Il Giornale seems to have internalized and adopted a Mediaset (the media empire belonging to the Berlusconi family) approach to news. Instead of striving to be an instrument of truth and enlightenment, the paper has thrown all its aspirations of educating while informing out the window, chasing news stories with an approach that is so simplistic it is horrifying.

That is how you end up with veteran editor Vittorio Feltri writing one of the most outrageous editorials I have read in my life, titled “Those youngsters incapable of reacting.” Continue Reading »

This morning, before doing my usual round of Italian news websites, I was feeling a little sleepy, so I took my time sipping my coffee and checking out what was going on on Twitter.

A post by famous Italian journalist and former Sole 24 Ore editor in chief Gianni Riotta caught my attention immediately. Around 8:40 a.m. EST, Riotta posted the following tweet:

What that links to is the integral and unedited version of “2083. A European Declaration of Independence,” an over-1,000 page document allegedly written by Andrew Berwick, which sounds like the Anglicized name of Anders Breivik, the alleged mass-murderer who is suspected of placing a bomb in downtown Oslo and going off on a shooting spree on the island of Utoya, where a youth gathering of Norway’s ruling Labour Party was taking place.

At the moment, the number of victims is up to 93.

I was surprised and shocked at the same time to see this document in its entirety. Being a journalist myself, I quickly downloaded it and started going through its long index. Continue Reading »

For the second time this year, the Huffington Post was kind enough to publish one of my recent blog posts.

Enjoy!

As far as I know, the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano is a first of its kind in the journalism world.

It is the only newspaper that started thanks to a few popular blogs, that has been increasing its sales since its first edition went sold out in a few hours on September 23, 2009, and is now opening a website thanks to the newspaper’s success.

Somehow, this web-to-paper-to-web model is working. The paper-to-web model isn’t, or at least it isn’t raking in as much money as publishers would like.

So the paper based in Rome, Italy, launched their website during the wee hours of the Italian morning of June 23, and after two and a half hours had already crashed due to over 450,000 visits.

The site’s editor-in-chief, Peter Gomez, wrote in a morning post that they had predicted to reach such heights… by the next day!

The site was down for a few hours and then went live again in the early afternoon. To compensate the loss, a .pdf version of the June 23 paper edition was given away through a free download.

At first, I was surprised by the layout: It is basically the blueprint-copy of the Huffington Post, with a three-column homepage that has a main one column picture and headline at the top.

Their approach (very critical of the current Italian political scene, especially towards Prime Minister Berlusconi) is the same, and you can easily tell by the titles on their navigation bar: “Politics & The Palace;” “Justice & Impunity;” “Media & Regime.”
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If you thought former President George W. Bush’s illegal wiretapping spree of a few years ago was bad, think again. Italy and Italians have it much worse.

“Everyone is being spied on,” said Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi today.

Speaking in front of the assembly of Confcommercio, the Italian General Confederation of Enterprises, Berlusconi calmly (for once) explained why the Italian Senate has recently approved a law that would prohibit journalists from publishing court documents containing recorded phone conversations and would make prosecutors’ jobs much harder by limiting the use of wiretapping possible suspects.

He said that 150,000 phones are currently being wiretapped in Italy. Making a rough estimate of the people involved in the phone conversations, Berlusconi said that 7 million people are being listened to every day.

That’s an awful high number of people to listen to. I’m wondering how many people are employed to do this? With just over 100.000 police officers in Italy, you’d think someone else is doing the job.
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One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Chicago two years ago was the very low attention gunshot killings received from the local news media.

As I flipped through the pages of the Chicago Tribune, I’d see a few dozen words accompany headlines depicting the murders of young people. Every day there would be a short clip on some violent death. Very rarely did these stories make the front page.

I am certain very few people outside Chicago – but probably even in the city itself – realize the neighborhood war that is undergoing in certain areas of the city.

The filmed death of high school student Derrion Albert was an eye-opener for most people. President Barack Obama was so shocked that he sent Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Chicago to let everyone know the government was going to lend a hand… but has it?
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There’s this veteran journalist in Italy, Emilio Fede, who is known for his pro-Berlusconi bias. That’s fine with me, he’s got his political views and I respect that.

I don’t like the fact that he has a highly visible and national TV news program to express his partisan views, but he’s on a private, Berlusconi-owned

Emilio Fede, picture from mentecritica.net

(and unconstitutional) TV channel, so I guess he’s free to say what he wants.

What he’s not free to say, at least not without me getting very angry for it, is that Roberto Saviano is “not a hero,” suggesting the author of Gomorrah should not try to be at the center of attention all the time. He’s said it before, but this time it was for a different reason.

Fede, who often is infuriated with fellow staff members if some news item regarding Berlusconi goes wrong, has touched a level of indignity that I, as an Italian, am ashamed of. The journalist’s attempt at defending a shameful announcement made by Berlusconi a few weeks ago is much worse than Berlusconi’s initial criticism of Gomorrah.
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Silvio Berlusconi loves to joke around.

He probably thought he was really funny today, too, when he criticized unspecified studies on press freedom that place Italy in a pretty low position. (I have reason to believe it’s Freedom House’s Map of Press Freedom, where Italy is the only western European country, alongside Northern Ireland, classified as “partly free.”)

“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that Italy has too much press freedom. That is an undisputable fact,” he said in between chuckles during an official press conference.

He loves press freedom and freedom of speech so much he’s making sure journalists stay free by suing them for enormous amounts of money.
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Poland is living one of its largest collective tragedies since the end of World War II.

Gazeta Wyborcza


Dziennik Polski


Rzeczpospolita


Zycie Warszawy


Niezalezna


Gosc Niedzielny


The presidential plane crashed earlier today as it attempted to land in North Smolensk, in Western Russia, where a celebration was to be held commemorating the thousands of Polish officers killed by Soviet secret police.

On board were President Lech Kaczynski, the army chief of staff, national bank president, deputy foreign minister, army chaplain, head of the National Security Office, deputy parliament speaker, civil rights commissioner and at least two presidential aides and three lawmakers, the Polish foreign ministry said. In all, 96 people lost their lives.

The most viewed news-websites in Poland all changed their banners and headers, turning them to black and white and adding a black ribbon in sign of grievance. Some changed their entire front page to black and white.