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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

Chemistry Rotation

first_imgA University of Georgia professor is advocating that farmers rotate the pesticides they apply to cotton crops in order to prevent another outbreak of the herbicide-resistant weed, Palmer amaranth.In 2004, glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth was discovered in Macon County, Georgia. Being resistant to this herbicide allowed Palmer amaranth, commonly known as “pigweed,” to grow into the $100 million-a-year problem it is today for Georgia cotton farmers. “One of the key things to know about herbicide resistance is that a weed is resistant to that herbicide before you ever spray it,” said William Vencill, a professor in the crop and soil sciences department of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, during the Southern Weed Science Society annual meeting held in Savannah, Jan. 26-28. “Once you start spraying that herbicide time and time again without applying other herbicides or other diverse weed management techniques, that one-in-a-billion trait can start to survive and multiply.”A herbicide-resistant weed can overtake a field in just two or three years, he said. “Then the pollen spreads and it overtakes the whole area,” Vencill said.In the span of four years — from 2004 to 2008 — Palmer amaranth spread so fast that it quickly became a problem for farmers statewide, not just those in central Georgia. One problem with Palmer amaranth is its ability to spread seed. Vencill said the weed can produce 1 million seed. One seed with a genetic trait of herbicide resistance is all that’s required to survive and become a problem, he said. That’s what happened with Palmer amaranth and glyphosate. The herbicide was applied over and over again, a resistant trait survived and glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth became the No. 1 weed problem and economic pest for Georgia cotton farmers.Vencill said many people call Roundup-resistant Palmer amaranth the South’s “‘driver weed’ — a weed that is economically devastating.” In Australia, the driver weed is ryegrass and in Europe it’s black grass, he said. “It’s not that Palmer amaranth is the most widespread resistant [weed], it’s just such an economically devastating weed,” he said.Vencill warns that a big concern Georgia farmers could face is sequential resistance, when a weed becomes resistant to other pesticides. Palmer amaranth was first resistant to imazapic (known as “Cadre”), which is frequently used in peanuts. This was discovered in 2001. Growers who rotated to cotton then grew Roundup-ready cotton for several years. Vencill said within a population of ALS-resistant (acetolactate synthase) Palmer amaranth, selection began for glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth.Vencill posed the question of what would happen if growers switch to LibertyLink cotton and use only the glufosinate herbicide for the next three years? Soon, a trait resistant to glufosinate would emerge, he said. As Palmer amaranth grows resistant to more and more herbicides, farmers’ treatment options could quickly become limited.Vencill stressed that by rotating chemistries, farmers are ensuring all genetic traits of a weed are accounted for and eliminated.last_img read more

UK institutions begin hearing against RBS over £12bn share issue

first_imgFive UK institutional investors challenging the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) over a £12bn (€15bn) share issue in 2008 have begun legal proceedings against the bank in a court in London.Pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), asset managers Aviva Investors and Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) and insurers Prudential and Standard Life will commence legal proceedings today in London’s Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ).Today’s case management hearing is a pre-argument meeting of the two parties, with legal cases to be put forward soon after, IPE understands.The legal challenge relates to the institutional investors allegedly being misled at the issue that RBS announced in order to shore up its books after a controversial takeover of Dutch bank ABN AMRO. RBS was bailed out by the UK government only months later.The institutions, represented by legal outfit Quinn Emmanuel, are set to argue that misleading information was provided as the bank asked shareholders to increase stakes in the April 2008 share issue.At the time of issue, RBS was trading at £34.60 per share, which then plummeted to £4.94 by the end of 2008.The bank faced near collapse around six months after the £12bn share issue, only to be bailed out by UK taxpayers, with the government still retaining an 81% stake.The lawsuit is expected to be the tune of £1bn in compensation from the bank.However, when the case was launched in April this year, the exact split among the five claimants was yet to be decided.The case follows on from a group of more than 100 institutional investors making a similar case in April 2013.RBS, USS, Prudential, LGIM and Aviva Investors all declined to comment further on the latest meeting regarding the case.last_img read more

GGG vs. Rolls: What TV channel is Gennadiy Golovkin’s fight on?

first_imgGennadiy Golovkin looks to bounce back against Steve Rolls on Saturday night after suffering his first-career defeat to Canelo Alvarez in September.Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) fell to Alvarez on Sept. 18, 2018, on a majority decision after 12 rounds at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. He’ll look to get win No. 39 this Saturday against the Canadian Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs), who as a heavy betting underdog will look to channel Andy Ruiz Jr. and pull off an unthinkable upset. Current subscribers already have the fight included as part of the plan. Join DAZN to watch GGG-Rolls plus classic archived fights What time does GGG vs. Rolls start?The fight’s undercard will begin at 7 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden in New York City. The main card is expected to start about 9 p.m. ET. GGG and Rolls are expected to take their ring walks about 11 p.m. ET, though it depends on the length of the earlier fights.GGG vs. Rolls fight cardMatchupClassBeltGennadiy Golovkin vs. Steve RollsSuper Middleweight…Ali Akhmedov vs. Marcus McDanielSuper Middleweight…Brian Ceballo vs. Bakhtiyar EyubovWelterweight…Charles Conwell vs. Courtney PenningtonJr. Middleweight…Israil Madimov vs. Norberto GonzalezJr. Middleweight…Nikita Ababiy vs. Juan Francisco BarajasMiddleweight…Johnathan Arroyo vs. Jordan MoralesWelterweight… Rolls last fought in December where he beat KeAndrae Leatherwood by unanimous decision to pick up his 19th victory. While Golovkin is hungry for a win, which likely will set up a third match against Alvarez, Rolls isn’t a pushover and should give him a formidable fight.Join DAZN to watch GGG-Rolls and 100+ fight nights a yearThe fight between GGG and Rolls is not available on traditional pay-per-view via cable or satellite. Instead, fight fans will need to subscribe to DAZN and download the app in order to live stream the fight online.Below is all the information you’ll need to watch the fight between GGG and Rolls on June 8. GGG VS. ROLLS: Read the latest news & features at SN’s fight HQHow to watch GGG vs. Rolls onlineThe fight can be streamed by signing up for a subscription on DAZN, a global multi-sport streaming service that came to the United States in September. It is not available on pay-per-view. Golovkin signed a three-year, multimillion dollardeal with DAZN in March that will see him fight twice a year for the next three years.The DAZN app can be downloaded on a plethora of internet-connected devices, including Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, iOS, Android, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Playstation 3. The fight can also be viewed on a computer desktop from Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari browsers via DAZN.com.How much does GGG vs. Rolls cost on DAZN?If you’re new to DAZN, you can sign up for a monthly subscription or annual pass to watch the fight. The annual pass — which includes access to all of DAZN’s live events, as well as highlights, replays, behind-the-scenes features, original shows and live reports — costs $99.99, which averages out to a little over $8 a month. For those who want a monthly plan instead of the longer-term value, fight fans can sign up for a monthly option for $19.99.last_img read more