MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- It seems almost an article of business faith that as revenues shrink you make the product smaller in an effort to save money. And for years it seems that newspapers have followed that model: as advertising revenue has gone down, newspapers have gotten smaller and smaller, with fewer stories, fewer reporters and, as a result, fewer reasons to buy the paper in the first place.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- Supporters of government intrusion into private lives often like to say, “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, what does it matter?” Usually this question comes up in regard to the government finding out about criminal activities. But what about our private lives? Recent events are forcing us to ask, what happens when the government publicizes the private facts it has discovered about us?
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- One of the great things about scandals is that we get to laugh at those in power and say, “How could they be so stupid? Even I know better than to try that.” So if the C-I-A director, and his biographer, and an F-B-I agent, and his girlfriend, plus another four-star general, can’t seem to keep their e-mail straight, what hope is there for the rest of us?
So let’s see if can figure out how all these high-powered people messed up so badly, and why, maybe, we aren’t so different after all.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- Life used to be so much easier when “freedom of the press” just meant newspapers. Then came movies, radio, advertising and television, and things got a little confusing. The Internet added some more mystification. But blogs and bloggers? Well, now we’re talking a whole new level of bewilderment.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- One of the hallmarks of the American system of media is called the “social responsibility theory,” which says you can publish what you want without government interference, but you have to face the consequences of your actions.
Put on perhaps more crass terms, we tell our student journalists, “You want to play with the big kids, then you have to be treated like a big kid,” which means taking responsibility for what you publish.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- Boy, am I ever dazed and confused. In just a few weeks we’ll be talking about how, in late October 1938, hundreds of thousands of people thought a radio dramatization about a Martian invasion of the earth was real. And a question has always been, how could these people be taken in like that? I mean, all they had to do was change the channel, and they would have had a pretty good clue that nothing serious was going on.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- Poverty, healthcare, education, housing, international affairs. All of these topics are being batted around in presidential campaign ads. And if the past is any indication, they will consume more and more radio and television time until the election in November.
But ask yourself this: what have you actually learned about what the candidates are going to do about these issues? The answer: precious little.
WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — A Middle Tennessee professor who specializes in free-speech issues says television stations will likely be minding their manners for a while as a result of a Supreme Court ruling on indecency.
The justices yesterday threw out fines and other penalties against Fox and ABC stations that violated the FCC's policy regulating curse words and nudity on TV.
The case revolved around obscenities uttered during an awards show on Fox, and brief nudity on ABC. The justices said the FCC is free to revise its indecency policy.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- This week, back in 1971, 41 years ago, the government and the news media were engaged in a struggle pitting secrecy against the public's right to know. It also involved what was perhaps the government's first successful attempt to force a newspaper to stop publishing.