Archive | September 2012

The Mysterious RTTNews

RTTNews is a “news” organization that doesn’t even list its physical address on its website.

On its contact us page, it just lists an email address (sales@rttnews.com) and a New York State phone number (716-632-3400).

There’s simply no savory explanation as to why that is, in my opinion.

Also, there’s no information on RTTNews’ history. What’s more, I didn’t find a single name listed about the people running it.

Poking around on LinkedIn, I found a person, one Ravi Mariathasan, who claims to have co-founded RTTNews in 2000.

From 1992 to 1997, Mariathasan says he received a BA in Electrical Engineering and MS in Biomedical Engineering. There’s nothing about what he did from 1998 to 1999.

So in January of 2000, he just starts a news organization? What does engineering have to do with journalism?!

More concerns about RTTNews.

NONE of the articles seem to have bylines. Even their columns have no bylines or are written by “RTT Staff Writer.”

And what’s up with RTTNews being denied accessed to the Department of Labor’s advance jobs report briefing, as reported by CNBC?

I don’t know who is behind RTTNews and what their goal is, but my gut tells me something is wrong.

If you know anything about this organization, please send me an email at a.salsburg@aol.com. For those who sent me tips last week, I’m going to need some time to do more research and fact-checking before I publish anything. But keep ’em coming!

References:

http://www.rttnews.com/ContentLicensing.aspx

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ravi-mariathasan/4/728/255

http://m.cnbc.com/us_news/47635738

Quartz Won’t Be The Future Of Journalism

Today, Atlantic Media launched Quartz, an online-only business publication, with much fanfare and excitement.

Quartz flashed buzzwords like “obsessions” and “openness.” Oh, and it’s specifically designed with fancy, newfangled devices like the iPad and smartphones in mind.

Too bad a focus on these buzzwords won’t work, in my opinion.

Journalism always was and always will be about delivering news with objectivity, accuracy and speed. It’s the same as it was 100 years ago. That’s the “secret” to the success of publications like the New York Times.

If Quartz doesn’t emphasis real journalism, no amount of “obsessions” and “openness” will help them.

References:

http://qz.com/qz.com/welcome-to-quartz/

Where’s The Real News, CNN?

So I go to CNN.com today, and I’m greeted with at least six unnewsworthy pieces on the front page.

They are: “Photos: Giraffe escapes circus,” “Mom boards bus, smacks down bully,” “Man wrestles gator attacking his dog,” “Cheetah, tourist go eye-to-eye,” “School brawl caught on cell phone” and “See cop push gal from car’s path.”

Compared to real news websites like BBC and France 24, CNN’s a joke.

I’m quite shocked this is the same organization that so brilliantly covered Persian Gulf War 20 years ago.

References:

http://www.cnn.com/, accessed on the date of this blog posting

Low Quality Journalism From CNN

In the past five years or so, CNN has steadily lost its way as a reputable news organization in my eyes.

Take a look at the following article, titled “Forget Apple, look at Google’s stock.”

The entire article was less than 300 words, of which 80 was taking user-generated comments from StockTwits.  What makes CNN think these people are qualified to pontificate on the stock market, let alone convince people to “forget Apple,” the most success company in America? And even if they are, CNN made no effort to share that information with readers.

These StocksTwits statement are the only “sources” for the article, besides the writer’s own analysis, which is weak.

The writer doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that one shouldn’t simply compare the prices of two stocks, because of dividends and stock splits. And the fact that both Google and Apple shares crossed the $700 mark is meaningless, because of differences in the number of shares outstanding.

Where does CNN find these awful people?

References:

Forget Apple, look at Google's stock

Weighing In On The Kate Middleton Topless Photos Tragedy

There’s no excuse. No justification. It’s simply naked greed and the wanton disregard of privacy and journalism ethics.

Was Kate Middleton in a public place? No. Did she do anything wrong or newsworthy? No. So should those photos have been published? The answer is a resounding “no.”

I have mixed feelings about intense media coverage of this misdeed. While I do think someone should point out that it’s wrong, I also think the media shouldn’t dignify it with too much attention.

People forget that journalism isn’t just about money. It’s a public service. It’s the foundation of a good democracy.

Look, I don’t expect entertainment magazines to serve the public like the Washington Post and the New York Times do. But they should at least adhere to some basic journalism and privacy ethics.

But all that the French magazine seems to care about is notoriety and making a quick buck. And frankly, I’m disappointed in the people who read that trashy stuff, and thereby implicitly supporting the publications that run them.

Where Are The Journalists?

So I went to Google News today and saw an atrocious article from a website called Gather.com. I’m not even going to link to it on my blog.

Gather.com says it’s run by “hundreds of freelance writers.” But the bylines of articles actually lead to profiles of “members.”  Businessweek even calls it a “social-networking site.”

So I’m assuming most of Gather.com’s writers aren’t journalists. If not, then what business do they have running a news publication? And if Gather.com is not a news publication, then why did Google News show it to me?

I was told I should be logging on to online news portals like Google News. But if that’s the stuff they show me, I think I’ll just stick to the New York Times, a real newspaper.

References:

http://www.gather.com/about.jsp

http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-10-26/gather-dot-com-social-networking-grows-upbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

Don’t Trust The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor was founded by Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, a controversial religious movement (some would call it a cult).

CSM’s creation was partly in response media criticisms against the church. So is it such a stretch to say that the publication is pro-Church of Christ? And why shouldn’t we question its bias in covering religious topics?

The Monitor is still owned by the Christian Science Publishing Society. As recently as 2008, its top editor was the late Richard Bergenheim, a Christian Science practitioner and the former president of the First Church of Christ.

Look, I get that CSM has more than 100 years of history, won seven Pulitzer Prizes and did some quality journalism. But that doesn’t mean we should give it a free pass.

I find it amazing that people who are suspicious of the Washington Times don’t put the CSM in the same category. But we all should.

If you have anything interesting to share about the publication, drop me an email at a.salsburg@aol.com.