The New England News Forum is seeking proposals from individuals to serve as blog moderators for each of the six New England states. This is a volunteer role. We're especially interested in proposals from secondary-school teachers, journalism educators, news-media professionals, active local-news bloggers/entrepreneurs or issue-oriented NGOs or entrepreneurs. For a sense of what is involved, view the blog moderator wiki page.
“Be the Media” a mini-conference, sponsored by the Progressive Communication Network in Boston and Third Sector New England, drew leaders from many community groups to the NonProfit Center in Boston Nov. 30, 2006. The conference was designed to help nonprofit leaders deliver their message by working with and around the mainstream media. Concerns expressed about changes in the mainstream media were familiar -- too much centralization, financial pressures leading to greater commercialization, and less and less space for local and/or minority issues.
Incoming Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has told a meeting of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association that he would support a state shield law for journalists. "I think the shield law is very important," the Herald quoted him saying. "I've been very concerned about the jailing of reporters." Patrick also criticized the state's media for cynicism during the gubernatorial campaign, the Herald reported.
The Associated Press reported that on Feb. 16 the house in Washington state appoved a bill that would protect journalists from facing prison for not revealing confidential sources. The vote was 96-0. The state senate was considering its own measure. The Washington state bill would grant reporters absolute privilege for protecting confidential sources - the same exemption from testifying in court that is granted to spouses, attorneys, clergy and police officers. Currently, Washington has no shield law, but its courts have ruled in favor of qualified privilege based on the First Amendment and on common law. (SPJ ROUNDUP ON SHIELD LAWS)
Writing in The Portland Phoenix, Sara Donnelly describes a traditional concept of "news councils" and suggests the New England News Forum is weighing whether to ever hold "hearings" as a media-accountability tool.
Here is a list of New England News Forum founding collaborators, as of Dec. 7, 2007. Affiliations are for identification purposes only. Names are in alphabetical order.
The Knight New Media Center Multimedia Training Program accepted applications through Nov. 3 for 20 fellowships for traditional mainstream journalists to attend a expenses-paid seminar that combines practical instruction in multimedia reporting with in-depth exploration of media convergence and other critical issues for online news operations. The week-long seminar takes place at the University of California at Berkeley. Three more such sessions are planned during 2007.
The New England News Forum is partnering with a California-based non-profit organization, Newstrust, to test a new way of studying reporting quality. Newstrust is a two-year-old effort to build a web-based resource which allows consumers and journalists alike to systematically rate the quality, content and trustworthiness of news sources and individual stories. To learn more go to the Newstrust BETA site created for the New England News Forum.