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String Cheese Incident Covered ‘Spanish Moon’ With Half Of Little Feat, Fifteen Years Ago Today

first_imgThe String Cheese Incident has enjoyed a great many collaborative sets throughout their career. They’ve played with pretty much everyone, from Ms. Lauryn Hill to Skrillex to Peter Rowan and David Grisman. Back in 2001, when SCI was making a name for themselves, they managed to link up with three members of Little Feat for a memorable performance at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.Opening with “Black Clouds” is always a good start, and there was a fun moment when longtime fan Daev Brown came on stage to help sing “Resume Man” in the first set. However, when Bill Payne, Fred Tackett and Sam Clayton were introduced halfway through set one, for a live rendition of Little Feat classic “Spanish Moon,” all bets were off. The Little Feat members stuck around for a jam session and a rendition of the long-lost favorite, “San Jose.”The second set is also some great work, with a fun “Rivertrance > Rhythm of the Road > Rivertrance” opening things up, as well as a “Round the Wheel” that incorporated a number of classics. However, the encore of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” featuring Payne and Tackett, brings the show home in fine fashion.Tune in to full audio below, thanks to an uncredited source with soundboard audio (via kicks off a “March Madness” tour one week from today, Thursday, March 10th, in Reno, NV. The full schedule is available here.Setlist: String Cheese Incident at The Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA – 3/3/01Set 1: Black Clouds, Want > Inspiration, Resume Man¹, Shantytown, Spanish Moon² > Jam² > San Jose² > Drums² > San Jose² Set 2: Rivertrance > Rhythm of the Road > Rivertrance, Let it Go, Round the Wheel > The Hobo Song, Sand Dollar > Drums > Round the Wheel Encore: Superstition³¹ with final verse sung by Daev Brown (introduced as Rob Thomas) ² with Bill Payne (keyboards), Fred Tackett (guitar) and Sam Clayton (percussion) ³ with Bill Payne and Fred Tackett.last_img read more

Umphrey’s McGee’s Archival Rock Documentary ‘Reel To Real’ To Be Released Online

first_imgStarting at 10AM on June 1, Umphrey’s McGee will be streaming their archival documentary film Reel to Real through the services of Vimeo. The documentary made its debut on New Years Day at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO, and has made premieres in Chicago and New York City since. In one week from today, fans will be able to rent or purchase the short film, complete with bonus features, with pre-orders currently available here.The film, directed and produced by their own team member and Lighting Director Jefferson Waful, documents the eighteen years of history behind the band. The rock-doc traces the band’s roots from the beginning of their career up to the present moment, using emotional interviews, live performances, and unreleased footage from behind the curtains to show the “real” from the “reel.” About one the most popular bands in our scene today and true pioneers of their genre, the film is enjoyable for any level of Umphrey’s Mcgee fans. Watch the trailer below:last_img read more

John Popper’s Surgery Forces Blues Traveler To Postpone Tour & Cancel Festival Dates

first_imgLast night, John Popper alerted fans that an upcoming surgery procedure was going to force Blues Traveler to alter some of their summer plans. Popper says that the surgery is imminent, otherwise he could face permanent paralysis.You can read part of Popper’s statement below, as it was written:It took a while to find the right MRI which we did in cleaveland for the RNC…&by the time of the DNC,we had results indicating that 3vertabrae in my neck have long been collapsed&are now so deformed asto be drastically impinging on my spinal chord! Had I continued to let this go,in only a few months I could’ve been facing total&permanent paralysis!!…Its creepy to think about frankly… But immediate surgery is required&there is nothing else for it… I am so sorry to have to do this now,but we are forced to postpone about half of our tour w/the Wallflowers&G-Love&his most Special Sauce… The good news there being that at least we can reschedual all of the dates to the week following the initial end of what we were originally planning… And if I do my part&the doctors do theirs… I will be up&running&back on tour by8/24…Though the tour dates will be rescheduled, Popper says that the upcoming festival appearances — including those scheduled for this weekend — will unfortunately be cancelled. Popper also said he had been ignoring this problem for some time now, and is looking forward to getting on the road to recovery. A full statement with the specific dates to be rescheduled will be available in the near future.You can read Popper’s full statement below:last_img read more

Watch Bob Weir Perform With Tom Hamilton’s American Babies At Sweetwater Music Hall

first_imgLast night, Tom Hamilton’s American Babies took the stage at the famed Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, CA, performing a “Masquerade of Light + Dark” performance along their fall tour. Each Masquerade performance has seen Hamilton and co. pay tribute to previous artists, including David Bowie and The Beatles. The band outdid themselves for their Grateful Dead tribute last night, recruiting the band’s own Bob Weir for an extended sit in at the Bay Area establishment.Weir and Hamilton were recently photographed together in preparation for their upcoming Los Muertos Con Queso performance in January. Before any of that, however, the two got together for an extended set of music at Sweetwater, with Weir joining Hamilton and his American Babies for a number of Grateful Dead classics and originals from his new acoustic album, Blue Mountain.Fortunately, thanks to openers Moonalice, you can watch the full show video here. The setlist can be seen below.Setlist: Tom Hamilton’s American Babies with Bob Weir, Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley, CA – 11/18/16Set with Bob Weir: Only a River, Lay My Lily Down, Gonesville, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Loser, Truckin’  > Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountainlast_img read more

Watch Portugal. The Man Perform “Feel It Still” On Conan

first_imgPortugal. The Man are currently on an extensive U.S. tour in support of their recent Woodstock release. The Oregon-bred rock band performed an exhilarating version of their single “Feel It Still” on Conan last night with support from a four-piece string section in addition to their four-piece horn section. The full-bodied song took new shape in the late night television performance, gaining praise from Conan who called it “killer.”Watch “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man below:Don’t miss Portugal. The Man at Suwanee Hulaween, or in a city near you!Portugal. The Man Tour Dates:07/25 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre ~07/27 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues #07/28 – Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre: Berkeley *#07/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium #07/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium ^08/11 – Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre & Cafe08/17 – Toronto, CA @ The Danforth Music Hall08/18 – Toronto, CA @ The Danforth Music Hall08/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ 104.5 Summer Block Party08/21 – Charlottesville, VA @ Sprint Pavilion08/22 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel08/23 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel08/24 – Nashville, TN @ Live on the Green08/25 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Hi-Fi09/09 – Oceanside, CA @ Oceanside Pier09/12 – Villeurbanne, FR @ Le Transbordeur09/13 – Lausanne, CH @ Les Docks09/14 – Winterthur, CH @ Salzhaus09/15 – Aarau, CH @ Kiff09/16 – Linz, AT @ Posthof09/17 – Wien, AT @ Ottakringer Brauerei09/18 – Munich, DE @ Muffathalle09/20 – Ghent, BE @ Autumn Falls Festival09/21 – Amsterdam, NL @ Insidestad Presents Festival – Paradiso09/22 – Berlin, DE @ Astra09/23 – Hamburg, DE @ Reeperbahn Festival09/24 – Karlsruhe, DE @ Substage09/26 – Manchester, UK @ Gorilla09/27 – London, UK @ Heaven09/28 – Paris, FR @ Bataclan09/29 – Lille, FR @ Le Splendid09/30 – Dortmund, DE @ Way Back When Festival10/02 – Bloomington, IL @ The Castle Theatre &10/03 – Memphis, TN @ Minglewood Hall &10/05 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom %10/06 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall $10/08 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival10/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren10/13 – El Paso, TX @ Plaza Theatre10/14 – Dallas, TX @ The Bomb Factory10/15 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival10/17 – Birmingham, AL @ Iron City %10/18 – Knoxville, TN @ The Mill & Mine %10/20 – Guadalajara, MX @ C3 Stage10/21 – Monterrey, MX @ Parque Fundidora10/22 – Cuauhtémoc, MX @ Plaza Condesa10/24 – Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre +10/25 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom +10/26 – Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz10/27 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte &10/29 – Live Oak, FL @ Suwanee Hulaween 201703/02-06 – Punta Cana, DR @ My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday~ = w/ The Aces* = w/ Local Natives# = w/ Benjamin Booker^ = w/ Hanni El Khatib and Fatlip% = w/ Lido+ = w/ Maybird& = w/ Lido and Maybird$ = w/ Cut Copy and Lidolast_img read more

Summer Camp Friday Features UM, moe., Twiddle, Marco, Spafford, Aqueous, & More [Photos]

first_imgLoad remaining images Photo: Phierce Photo by Keith G. With plenty of people still filing into Three Sisters Park for Summer Camp Music Festival on Friday, the event’s first full day demonstrated how this has become one of the most popular festivals of the season. From great music to eclectic weather to friendly vibes, Friday at Summer Camp Music Festival delivered all the fans hoped for to get the weekend underway in earnest.One of the first sets of the day was Keller & the Keels. Featuring the husband/wife duo Larry and Jenny Keel and the shoeless guitarist Keller, the three went through a varied repertoire, covering Butthole Surfers’ “Pepper” and touching upon Williams’ staple “Freaker by the Speaker” before ending with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”.As the last notes of the Pink Floyd classic still hung in the air, moe.’s daytime set opened with the first hits of Dark Side of the Moon classic, “Breathe”. The resident Summer Camp host band’s day set was fun and included a slinky “Wormwood”. They have left plenty of music left on the table for the rest of the weekend.Kyle Hollingsworth had an amazing set in the VIP tent, including an energetic version of the Garcia/Hunter number “Deal” at the beginning of his set. After that point, Umphrey’s McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins took the stage alongside Hollingsworth, a collaboration that was supposed to happen in April but never came to fruition. Cummins pulled up a tiny stool on the small stage and sat next to Hollingsworth behind his keyboard. Mixing the String Cheese Incident with the Umphrey’s McGee, their first song together was a danceable mashup of Cheese’s “Pack It In” and UM’s “Soul Food”. The two also played a funky version of “Bright Lights Big City”.By this time, the sky was becoming darker and one could hear the crackle of thunder in the distance. Before long, the rain began to fall. Despite the fact that it was a gentle and soothing rain, all the stages were suspended, presumably as a safety measure against possible lightning. Wisconsin Americana-folk-bluegrass act Horseshoes & Hand Grenades were perhaps the only scheduled musicians still playing by 3 pm. The band was already a couple songs into their set and had a difficult time stopping—guitarist Adam Greuel was so entranced in his own music that it took a solid two minutes for him to open his eyes and see several production staffers signaling him to end the music and exit the stage. While the band acquiesced to both terms, after unplugging their instruments they simply descended the stage and played under a canopy tent conveniently located ten feet to the side of the stage. The audience followed suit and moved ten feet over, listening even more intently—and cheering more loudly—when the group continued the music without any amplification. The band’s “Ripple” and “Country Roads” covers were warmly welcomed by the crowd.The start of Twiddle’s set was delayed due to the weather. Perhaps because of the rain, they were moved back perhaps roughly 20 feet from the front of the stage when they finally did begin, creating a notice distance between band and crowd. Nonetheless, they were still able to tear off great renditions of “Jamflowman”, “Frankenfoote”, and “Lost in the Cold”, the latter featuring the particularly meaningful and appropriate lyric, “I’m gonna dance in the rain, and lay out in the sunshine.” Twiddle fans were allowed to do both during their set.Keyboardist John Medeski’s Mad Skillet was another interesting conglomeration of musical influences that culminated in a fun daytime set. By the time Umphrey’s McGee’s first set of the day approached, a sunshower was sprinkling the grounds, leaving a beautiful double rainbow directly over the eastern side of the festival site. Umphrey’s made sure to match mother nature’s beauty with a first set that contained a great, though unfinished “All In Time” and a “Triple Wide” that had the entire Sunshine Stage audience moving hard. The band brought up the horns from Lettuce—Eric “Benny” Bloom and Ryan Zoidis—for a silky “Booth Love” followed by a raucous cover of Sturgill Simpson‘s “Call To Arms”. Watch fan-shot footage below:Umphrey’s McGee w/ Lettuce Horns – “Call To Arms” (Sturgill Simpson cover)[Video:shinepigeon]Their second set opened with an improv-heavy“Ocean Billy”, and contained a great “Miss Tinkle’s Overture” segueing into “Wappy Sprayberry”, the latter receiving some raindrops that Jefferson Waful made sure to catch majestically in his piercing streaks of light. Instrumental “Den” was trance-y and featured an additional Lettuce sit-in—this time from Nigel Hall—before the set ended with the backend of the “All In Time” they began in their first set.The late night sets were plentiful on Friday night. After midnight, it got even weirder. Spafford laid down a set in the VIP tent that saw people spilling out the sides of the canopy. Packed to the brim, the band opened their set with a lengthy “It’s a Bunch” that just didn’t want to end. Across the way, Marco Benevento played a set at the Campfire Stage, his entire set serving as one big, exciting highlight. The JRAD keyboardist is a true showman, and his set may have been one of the best of the day.Even later, musical opportunities were still virtually limitless. Aqueous raged an exploratory 2 am set back at the campfire set, Pink Talking Fish paid their tributes to three of the most influential groups in the scene, and The Werks jammed out an amazing version of The Who’s “Eminence Front” which came to an ending at 4 am sharp, signaling the end of scheduled music for the night. Two more days to go and there is still plenty of good times ahead. Summer Camp still going strong.Of course, there it’s impossible to catch everyone at a festival of this size, but the lineup extended well beyond the bands listed above, including sets from Lettuce, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Yonder Mountain String Band, Con Brio, Organ Freeman, Tipper, Slightly Stoopid,Below, you can check out a gallery of photos from Summer Camp’s second day via Phierce Photo by Keith G.Summer Camp Music Festival | Friday, May 25th, 2018 | Photos: Keith Grinerlast_img read more

Phish Shares Pro-Shot Video Of Blissed-Out “Carini” From Mexico Finale [Watch]

first_imgThis past weekend, Phish headed to Riviera Maya, Mexico for the third edition of their Mexican destination event. This year’s Mexico trip has been widely hailed by fans as the best of the band’s three Mexico runs, with rare bust-outs, long-lost covers, and plenty of improv popping up throughout the three-show engagement. Following their triumphant trip south of the border, the band has shared pro-shot video of their bubbly, feel-good “Carini” from the second set of their third and final show on Saturday, February 23rd.Phish showed no signs of slowing down as they opened their second set on 2/23/19 with a bouncy “First Tube”. Trey Anastasio threw down some sinister wails out of the gates before jumping around like a mad man all over the stage. As Chris Kuroda’s mind-bending rainbow light patterns reflected off of the water, Phish moved forward with “Mike’s Song”. For the first time since 1998, the band decided to forego the middle of their usual “Mikes Groove” sandwich, moving straight forward with a plinko-heavy “Weekapaug Groove”. With Trey dancing around on his pedals, some hints of “First Tube” reemerged, followed by a ripping finale that led back into the vocal closing segment of “Weekapaug”.Phish kept it rolling with “Fuego”, igniting a full-fledged dance party for those lucky enough to be boogying under the Spanish moon. A standard but smooth-sailing “Fuego” led way to “Tweezer”, as Trey dialed things in, leading his bandmates into an at first eerie and dark jam, which quickly took a hard-turn into blissful Type II jam territory. With Jon Fishman laying down the foundation, Page McConnell and Trey connected and found their sweet spot, progressively evolving into an earth-shattering peak. Slowing down the tempo coming out of “Tweezer”, a possible hint of a forthcoming slower tune was the biggest fake out of the evening, as Phish instead crashed into “Carini”.Saturday night’s “Carini” was as tender and silky-smooth as it gets, the kind of Phish that every fans travels thousands of miles to bask in. With Trey laying down some heavy-fan action on his Languedoc, he quickly spit out the “Tweezer” lick before taking the charge forward with the opening “Ghost” riff.You can watch pro-shot video of Phish’s Mexican “Carini” below:Phish – “Carini” [Pro-Shot][Video: Phish]Phish will now take the next few months off as the band members head out to perform with various side projects including a number of Trey Anastasio Band dates, the first-ever performances by Trey Anastasio and Jon Fishman‘s new Ghosts of the Forest project, and a number of March shows by Mike Gordon‘s solo outfit. All four members of Phish will reunite in June to commence their 2019 summer tour.For a full list of upcoming dates, head here.Setlist: Phish | Riviera Maya, Mexico | 2/23/19Set One: The Curtain With > Punch You In The Eye > Blaze On > Destiny Unbound > Most Events Aren’t Planned > Divided Sky, Steam, Chalk Dust TortureSet Two: First Tube, Mike’s Song > Weekapaug Groove, Fuego , Tweezer > Carini , Ghost > Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.Encore: Simple > Martian Monster > Kung > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Repriselast_img read more

Robert Randolph And The Family Band Share Spiritual Video For “Have Mercy” Off Forthcoming Album, ‘Brighter Days’ [Watch]

first_img“Sacred steel” master Robert Randolph and the Family Band have shared a new music video for “Have Mercy”, the second single off their forthcoming new LP, Brighter Days, due out on August 23rd.The video was shot in Nashville this past April by Juan Ibanez. As Randolph explains about the clip,I felt it was time I wrote an uplifting powerful song that embraced my roots of coming from the church that speaks to everyone going through some sort of pain, shame and some many going struggles of depression in life. So we wanted let each and everyone know that God is with all us and we can always look to the heavens for Grace and Mercy at all times. During the video we wanted to create an uplifting vibe with the choir that we used during the recording in Nashville. Shannon Sanders and his choir totally made the vibe work even better!! We hope everyone enjoys the video and also feels uplifted. We also hope it puts smiles on faces all around the world.You can watch Robert Randolph and the Family Band’s new video for “Have Mercy” below:Robert Randolph and the Family Band – “Have Mercy” [Official Video][Video: Robert Randolph and The Family Band]The release of the new video follows the band’s appearance at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival last weekend, where they filled in at the last minute when John Prine was forced to cancel. Randolph also lent his steel guitar prowess to Dave Matthews Band‘s headlining set at the Acura Stage.Robert Randolph grew up playing pedal steel-centric gospel music in the House of God church in Orange, New Jersey and began taking his joyous, gospel-infused music out to clubs backed by family members who shared not only backgrounds, but also blood—hence the band’s name.The new album, Brighter Days, was produced by decorated producer Dave Cobb, known for his work with high-profile artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and Marcus King. Cobb has a proven knack for bringing out the nuanced character of the artists he records, so it’s no surprise that he helped bring out some of Robert’s deepest, most passionate vocals on the nine album tracks on which he sings lead.“Dave Cobb is just a guy who likes to record good music and good songs,” says Randolph. “He wanted to do something that was fun, but it also gives you a gospel feeling. He knows the history of our band, coming from church and giving that fun church feeling to people.”Cobb’s magic touch helped bring Randolph’s unique musical character to the surface on Brighter Days. As Robert explains, “Over the years I’ve learned how to write these songs that make you feel kind of spiritual and have the gospel roots, just like the great music of people like the Four Tops, Temptations and Ray Charles. It all comes from the same place. We don’t want to sound like them – or like anybody – but that’s the feeling we want to evoke.”You can check out a full tracklisting for Brighter Days and a list of the band’s upcoming tour dates below. For more information, head to Randolph’s website.Robert Randolph and the Family Band – Brighter Days – Tracklisting1. Baptize Me2. Simple Man3. Cry Over Me4. Second Hand Man5. Have Mercy6. I Need You7. I’m Living Off The Love You Give8. Cut Em Loose9. Don’t Fight It10. Strange TrainView ‘Brighter Days’ TracklistingRobert Randolph and the Family Band Upcoming Tour DatesFri, JUN 7 Annie and Ellen Fife Theatre Blacksburg, VASat, JUN 8 Smyrna at Night Smyrna, DEFri, JUN 14 Levitt Shell at Overton Park Memphis, TNSat, JUN 15 River on the Fox Aurora, ILFri, JUN 21 Torrita Blues Festival Torrita Di Siena, ItalySat, JUN 22 Torrita Blues Festival Torrita Di Siena, ItalySat, JUN 29 Rendezvous Event Center Winter Park, COTue, JUL 2 The Wave Outdoor Wichita, KSWed, JUL 3 Atomic Cowboy Pavilion Saint Louis, MOThu, JUL 4 Milwaukee Summerfest Milwaukee, WITue, JUL 16 Rams Head On Stage Annapolis, MDWed, JUL 17 Sellersville Theater 1894 Sellersville, PAThu, JUL 18 Infinity Music Hall and Bistro Norfolk, CTFri, JUL 19 Jerry Jam Festival Bath, NHThu, JUL 25 City Winery Boston, MAFri, JUL 26 The Warehouse at FTC Fairfield, CTSat, JUL 27 Marty’s Driving Range Mason, NHFri, AUG 2 Kaslo Jazz Fest Kaslo, CanadaMon, AUG 5 Telluride Jazz Festival Telluride, COFri, AUG 9 Telluride Town Park Telluride, COSEP 12, 13 Erick Clapton’s Crossroads Fest Dallas, TXSat, NOV 9 Johnson County Community College: Bookstore Overland Park, KSView Upcoming Tour Dateslast_img read more

Newport Folk Festival Announces 2019 Official Aftershows: Mavis Staples, Hiss Golden Messenger, More

first_imgOn Thursday, the Newport Folk Festival detailed their 2019 official aftershows schedule, with proceeds benefiting the Newport Festival Foundation. The long-running annual festival is set to return to Newport, RI’s Fort Adams State Park on July 26th-28th.On Thursday, July 25th, the late-night festivities will kick off with All Newport’s Eve Tas-Jam featuring Aaron Lee Tasjan & Friends at Newport Blues Cafe. The following evening, Friday, July 26th, will feature three aftershows, including Steal Your Folk hosted by The Cook Brothers at Jane Pickens Theater; The Milk Carton Kids at Newport Congregational; and Charley Crockett & Friends at the Parlor. The final night of aftershows, Saturday, July 26th, will feature Mavis Staples at Janes Pickens Theater; Let Us Go Into The House featuring Hiss Golden Messenger, Mountain Man, and Jonathan Wilson at Newport Congregational; and Robert Ellis at the Parlor.The three-day festivals boast an impressive genre-bending lineup including Warren Hayes, Phish’s Trey Anastasio, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Benmont Tench, Gregory Alan Isakov, Jeff Tweedy, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Maggie Rogers, Sheryl Crow, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and many more.Tickets for all Newport Folk Festival official aftershows go on sale next Thursday, May 30th at 10 a.m. (EST) here.Tickets are sold out, but fans can head to the Newport Folk Fest website for general info for this year’s event.last_img read more

The future of news

first_imgThe future of news? There might not be one.Or if there is, newsgathering might require taking steps that go against the grain of newsroom ethics and tradition, with armies of untrained citizen journalists, for instance, or government funding that sets up a conflict of interest.The question of the future of American news — and by extension the fate of the First Amendment — was the overriding concern this week (Nov. 2) for a panel of experts at the Harvard Kennedy School. The co-sponsors were the Institute of Politics and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.It was an impressive gathering. Two of the five panelists have won Pulitzer Prizes; two others are or were Harvard fellows; and one oversees a Pulitzer-winning newsroom. Three represented the traditional print world, one television news, and the other dot-com journalism.The hour-long event at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum acknowledged both the despair and the hope that journalists feel over the present state of the American news business, rocked by economic turmoil and the rise of the Internet.Moderator Tom Fiedler, a onetime Shorenstein Fellow (2007) and Visiting Edward R. Murrow Lecturer at Harvard (2008), opened with a lament: “It is difficult not to feel like we’ve come here to sit in mourning for something that we’ve loved for many years.”In the last week alone, he said, came a wave of grim announcements: Forbes is cutting a quarter of its staff; The New York Times by year’s end will ax nearly a 10th of its newsroom staff; The Wall Street Journal is eliminating its story-rich Boston bureau; and Time Inc. announced 540 layoffs. In addition, Gourmet magazine folded.Meanwhile, Business Week was recently sold off “like some broken-down horse,” said Fiedler, now dean of the College of Communication at Boston University.But toward the end of session, panelist Alex Jones held his arms out to stop the freight train of bad news, declaring that online journalism “can be extraordinarily powerful,” and is capable of “breathtaking” news stories.Jones, like Fiedler, is a Pulitzer Prize winner. He is the Laurence M. Lombard Lecturer in the Press and Public Policy, director of the Shorenstein Center, the former host of “Media Matters” on PBS, and author of the recent “Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy” (Oxford, 2009).Earlier in the session, Jones added darker thoughts, fearing that in the face of economic uncertainty, “the resources for covering that news — the ability, the will — to cover that news is eroding.” Also at play in uneasy times, he said, are the core standards of American journalism, including objectivity, a code of ethics, and the will to support the First Amendment, the “public mission” of newspapers.It was not so long in the nation’s past that freedom of speech was wrested into the arena of the press, and now it is threatened again, said Jones. “You could go to jail for opposing World War I, and people did.”Meanwhile, newspapers create most of the “cumulative reporting” that underlies American journalism, said Jones, and if they disappear it will create “a terrible vacuum” of information that drives the national conversation.That vacuum is not widespread yet, but American news operations are shrinking. Fiedler quoted a recent calculation by the Poynter Institute saying that American news operations in the last two years have cut $1.6 billion in newsgathering they would have spent in better times.Panelist Marty Baron, editor of the distinguished but beleaguered Boston Globe, acknowledged that economic trouble has shrunk both his news staff and his budget by 30 percent. But at the same time, he said, “we retain our sense of mission.”Sacrifices were required, said Baron, including pulling back on foreign coverage and national news bureaus.Television news operations have undergone similar retrenchment, said panelist Robin Sproul, a former Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard who is now vice president and Washington bureau chief for ABC News. “We go through a process too of making choices.”ABC now has fewer operations overseas and pools resources with other networks to gather video, she said. In turn, ABC has invested more heavily in its Web site, and has focused its news operations “in areas we think we can make a difference,” said Sproul, including medicine, health, law, and justice.Traditional news operations are pulling back, but citizen journalists are making themselves increasingly heard and seen. That is a sign, perhaps, that the future of journalism will be a “hybrid world” that mixes professional and amateur news providers, said Jeff Howe, a panelist and authority on social media.A Nieman Fellow this year, Howe is a contributing editor at Wired magazine, where in 2006 he and an editor coined the term “crowdsourcing.” That is when formerly professional tasks — taking stock news photos, for instance — are outsourced to the public, the “crowd.” It’s a new problem-solving and production model that has found its way into the news business.Not long ago, said Howe, the only citizen journalists admitted into the news game were sports enthusiasts. Now reader-generated news is part of the formal structure of the Gannett Co. and other media operations.Will citizen journalists ever replace their traditional counterparts? “No,” said Howe, bluntly, since they lack “a deep network of sources,” editing staff, legal services, and the fine points of reporting know-how, such as filing information requests under the Freedom of Information Act.But “some successes” are possible, he said, and there are signs of “a great process of professionalization going on.”Sproul acknowledged that the future of the news “is an inclusive one,” with media organizations acting as final “curators” of reportage.Baron said citizen journalists will never replace in-depth newsgathering, but they can be useful in supplementing the act of reporting. They might supply “one photo, one fact, one opinion,” he said, but “journalism is more than that.”After Jones rounded off the panel with a note of hope, Baron added a note of defiance.Yes, newspapers in particular need a new business model to right themselves, to survive, and to prosper again, he said. But public financing of journalism, a staple of media punditry these days, is not a viable option.National Public Radio and similar outlets do good work, said Baron, but it is “highly derivative” and often dependent on deep-digging newspaper journalists.“True adventurous, original investigative reporting” that holds government accountable is “the rare exception” in publicly supported media operations, he said, with perhaps the PBS series “Frontline” the sole exception.One reason is that when public news operations challenge the legitimacy and the honesty of government with their reporting, “they put their own resources at risk every time,” Baron said, “and that’s the definition of a conflict of interest.”He declared himself “as concerned as anyone … over the future of journalism, but I hope the answer is not to turn to the government for help.”last_img read more