Posts Tagged ‘media’

Bisogna complimentarsi con la regia del programma di Rai Tre “Chi l’ha visto?” per come è riuscita a trasmettere in diretta la tragedia del ritrovamento del corpo di Sarah Scazzi.

Innanzitutto, non si può negare la genialità di aver allestito le telecamere all’interno della casa degli zii di Sarah, che in quel momento venivano interrogati dagli inquirenti. Ottima, inoltre, la scelta di mettere la madre di Sarah, Concetta, al centro del tavolo, con altre due persone (cugini, cognati? Perdonatemi, il poco interesse del conduttore in loro ha, di riflesso, condizionato la mia scarsa curiosità nei loro confronti) ai lati e l’inviata di “Chi l’ha visto?” alle sue spalle. In questo modo si circonda il soggetto di maggior interesse, senza dargli la possibilità di svicolarsi. L’imperativo è tenere puntata fissa su di lei una delle telecamere. Se scappa il pianto, si va subito al primo piano.

Ma il volto della donna non subisce grandi varizioni espressive, né lei è particolarmente loquace. Peccato, avrebbe facilitato le operazioni e soprattutto il lavoro dell’inviata.
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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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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

(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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By now, you’d think Francesco Di Stefano would be well known among Italians. Unfortunately, he’s not.

After 11 years of legal battles and millions of euros spent, Di Stefano can finally see his dream come true: He will be able to open a national TV channel in the Berlusconi-dominated media landscape of Italy.

Di Stefano’s story, which has never made the headlines, explains all too well why Berlusconi can still today hold such a vast media empire and be prime minister, without anyone seriously challenging his blatant conflict of interests.

In mid-1999, Di Stefano won a public contract from the Italian Ministry of Communications to establish a national TV channel that would reach at least 80 percent of Italian households. But there was a problem: The frequency his TV, Europa 7, was supposed to get was already occupied by Rete 4, one of Silvio Berlusconi’s three private TV channels. (The other two being Canale 5 and Italia 1)

Francesco Di Stefano

Although Rete 4’s occupancy had been ruled unlawful based on a 1997 anti-concentration law, the Ministry of Communications did little more than shrug its shoulders, acknowledging that it was physically impossible for Europa 7 to get a frequency.

Di Stefano, who at the time spent little over $8 million to get the frequency, wasn’t going to give up that easily.
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Every day I grow more convinced that what we are fed by the media is what we end up being interested in…

Tiger Woods.

We want to read, see, hear about Tiger Woods because everyone is talking about him. That’s all TV is spitting out at us.

The media feeds unimportant news to us and we gobble it all up. And we’re happy. We’re happy because we get to fall asleep in front of the TV screen. Our brains aren’t forced to think constantly. There is no need to worry. Look, Woods has it much worse. Or does he?
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The next three years – that is, up to the 2013 elections – will be the toughest for Italy’s democracy, its Constitution and Italians in general.

In the meantime, the recent regional elections have given a strong boost to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s populist model of governing.

Berlusconi believes that by winning elections he is mandated to do whatever he wants, including changing Italy’s Constitution and radically modifying the balance of powers that has kept Italian democracy in check for the past six decades.
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A recent article by Newser founder and Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff tried to explain the similarities between Silvio Berlusconi and Sarah Palin.

Their success, he says, is easy to explain:

It’s pure shamelessness, a total absence of self-consciousness, combined with entrepreneurial zeal. These are extraordinary self-reliant salesmen, Berlusconi and Palin. Id people. Media creations, it goes without saying. He was a cruise-ship crooner; she a beauty contestant.

These are all good points, although I think Wolff glides over a fundamental difference: While Sarah Palin wittingly adapted all the cliches the media wanted her to fit in, Berlusconi modeled his image to his liking, having the power to do so with a big chunk of Italy’s television channels and quite a few influential daily and weekly publications.

Wolff then goes on to explaining why this Palin-Berlusconi model is so attractive to voters.
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In 2005, Al Gore launched Current TV, self-described as a “peer-to-peer news and information network.”

Now the Emmy Award-winning network is helping some Italian broadcast journalists find a voice after being virtually laid off by the Italian government for the next three weeks.
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As journalists we are continually looking for answers.

Saturday’s Chicago Media Future Conference tried to find some answers to some of the most fundamental questions that have been hovering over every journalist’s head as of lately: How do people consume the news and how can we – as journalists – make money selling the news? The two questions were addressed by two separate panels.

The first panel tried to focus on news consumption and innovative models of news distribution, especially on the local (ex. Gapers Block) and hyper-local (Everyblock) levels. Everyone seemed to pretty much agree that one of the reasons the traditional newspaper is in crisis is because it had significantly reduced its coverage of local news.

During the second panel discussion, Patrick Spain, CEO of Newser, said the New York Times would disappear in a year and a half and the Trib and Sun-Times wouldn’t be around anymore next year.

Medill professor Rich Gordon, however, said he didn’t believe newspapers were going to disappear so quickly.

“Print is not going to die until the digital platform substitutes everything the newspaper does today,” he said. We might get there one day, he added, as screen technology evolves.

Does that mean one day we’ll all be walking around with Kindles, Blackberrys or iPhones and getting our news exclusively from there? To me, this scenario appears to still be very distant. For two reasons:

1. Right now that technology comes with a high cost. The devices are getting cheaper every year, as demonstrated by the new iPhone for only $99, but you are then bound to pay relatively high monthly fees to actually use them.

2. A lot more people need to know how to use these wonderful devices. I think some journalists are so hyped up with new technology that they often think everyone else uses the internet just like they do.

Well, that’s not how it works. The reason why newspapers will survive for quite some time (most will change, some will fail, but they’ll still be around) is because they are still today the simplest way to get the news.

News distribution in newspapers is based on the “push” model: The news is packaged and handed to you.

Since most people are not information-junkies, they won’t waste their time on countless news websites that pretty much all offer a “pull” model: You get a homepage with as much information possible, and you’re just one click away from all you need. If you’re a journalist, you probably can look through tons of links and other pages. After all, that’s what we do for a living.

But if you’re just someone trying to get some information on what happened in your town, how are you supposed to know that there are dozens of websites out there that can give you in-depth coverage on almost any topic?

The answer, for now, is you can’t.

In my opinion, news-websites still today are trying to figure out how to create a single, compact and user-friendly “package” that will truly substitute the newspaper. That’s why hyper-local news websites can be successful: They are very specific “packages”.

How to get all these “packages” into one big “container” so that people don’t have to waste their days on their computers, now that’s something we should start talking about.

As I read about newspapers filing for bankruptcy (Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times), cutting down on home-delivery (Detroit Free Press and Detroit News), or even going online-only (Seattle Post-Intelligencer), I can’t stop thinking about what is at risk here: a plurality of voices that can guarantee a democratic society’s ability to thrive and – most importantly – to improve itself.

A strong and healthy newspaper industry allows people to be aware of and meditate about the changes the world is going through. More newspapers in a city or country means more articles and more opinions, which ultimately lead to a debate about what is viewed as wrong or right about a certain issue or topic.

Societies evolve through debate, and newspapers have represented the battlefield for many causes, from the Civil Rights movement to the on-going struggle to guarantee equal rights for women and same-sex couples.

The reason why newspapers are vital is because they allow readers to respond, to let the editors and reporters know what the public thinks. Letters are published and a discussion might soon start and lead to more articles, more opinions.

Don’t get me wrong, broadcast media are just as important for a democratic society’s success. The difference, though, is that radio and TV (especially) are more efficient at quickly spreading the news, not allowing in most cases people to think about what they just saw and heard.

Another problem shows up if the news they spread is pretty much all the same (that’s what is happening in the TV news market in Chicago). The efficiency of TV news – in this case – is limited.

On the other hand, the newspaper is something that can be kept, read over and over again, passed around.

The news on the internet? Its potential for debate is even greater than that of newspapers. Unfortunately, the enormous amount of information out there can scare away many people.

The newspaper instead concentrates everything inside its one daily issue, in which you can find all the news you need to know and many starting points for a healthy discussion at home, at the workplace or even on the bus with a total stranger.