Things that aren’t about Pastor Jones

It’s 9/11 in America. I feel like every year for the past nine years, we’ve been questioning our identity, our values in this country. I wanted to remind myself that this is not a country of people like Terry Jones. Rather, this is a country where people like Terry Jones might end up all over the news, but also where Lee Ielpi, Henry Rollins, Amman Ali and Bassam Tariq can carve out their say. So here are a collection of things I saw and heard that gave me a broader view.

Live Blogging about Health

This weekend, I’m live blogging the first seminar for California Broadcast Fellows at the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships program at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communications.

That’s a lot of names, isn’t it?

It’s actually fitting; one of the biggest challenges of broadcast journalism is to take complex topics and tell compelling and often very short stories about them. You can read my posts on The Fellowship Blog at Reporting on Health, and see my tweets at @ReportingHealth. Here’s the first post:

Examining the Craft: Seminar on Broadcast Health Reporting Begins Today

In a world of sound bites, 140-character reports and information overdose on the Internet, news about health often doesn’t get all the airtime it deserves. The first session of a seminar for broadcast journalists will look at ways television, radio and multimedia journalists can boost coverage and depth in their reports.

Tonight’s keynote speech by NBC’s Robert Bazell asks the question, “Is it Possible to Cover Complex Medical Topics in Two Minutes or Less?” Through the weekend, California Broadcast Fellows will examine social media and digital resources, health reform and the black market, and what it takes to get depth of coverage in a media marketplace that demands that writers be editors and producers all at once.

Michelle Levander, director of the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, says that the pressures of being in a newsroom and on deadline make it difficult for journalists to feel that they are doing their best work. Specialty topics like health often take a hit when time and resources are short. The broadcast track of the fellowship program began last year to address the particular issues of working with sound and images on tight deadlines. Broadcast journalists have to tell compelling stories and need simple ways to cover complex topics, explains Levander. It’s a tough job, especially now that the business of journalism is in such dire straits.

“In a time of cutbacks and uncertainties, one of the things that helps journalists not become demoralized is a sense of community,” Levander says. “You can’t underestimate the value of exchanges that happen in seminars like this.”

You can join the conversation online throughout the weekend by commenting on posts. I’ll be twittering at ReportingHealth; reply or tweet using the hashtag #cabroadcasthealth. You can also email your comments to me at angshah@gmail.com and I’ll include them in my live blog throughout the weekend.

Olympics+

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people lately about how the world is covering the Olympics. Along with the palpable excitement and pride on the part of Chinese people, and intrigue and appreciation on the part of folks from other parts of the world, there is a lot of frustration out there.

Is the world looking too closely at politics and human rights and freedom of speech in China? It’s nothing new that the Olympics are politicized by the media (and many other parties) — is there something different and worse about what is happening for China? Or maybe, the media is not paying enough attention to the China’s politics.

Perhaps there’s something more important here — what happens after the Olympics? Will the world still be watching China? Or will they suffer China-burnout and start running cursory stories about mining accidents or human rights and focus solely on financial news?

Here are a few links that might be of interest on these topics:

On Western bias:
China Daily’s reportage on Ban Ki-Moon’s comments

On the Beijing organizing committee and the IOC’s conflicts with the press and each other:
The New York Times’ detailed account of a daily press briefing

On China’s future post-Olympics:
Daniel Lynch in The Far Eastern Economic Review

And here’s a totally different way of looking at the Games (via history) by my former Cal classmate Anka Lee: San Francisco’s local NBC station is publishing his blog (also here). He’s also making short videos.

Would love more links — what have you been reading about China? Do you find the focus fair?