Future of Journalism Summit

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This weekend I was invited to Providence, Rhode Island for the Future of Journalism Summit, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Heritage is a well established national policy think-tank, while the Franklin Center is only about three years old, founded in response to a "falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government." Franklin supports state capitol news organizations in 39 states, often partnering with state policy think tanks. There are two Franklin-affiliated state capitol reporters in Oklahoma: Peter J. Rudy at Oklahoma Watchdog and Patrick McGuigan at CapitolBeatOK.

The event was designed to bring together New Media bloggers and Old Media journalists. I shared a cab from the airport with Andrew Malcolm, a veteran national and foreign reporter and now a columnist for Investors Business Daily. Last night, after the sessions were finished, I was in a group that wandered over to downtown Providence to watch their WaterFire event, a group that included Jim Geraghty, political reporter for National Review, Rob Port of Say Anything, North Dakota's authoritative state politics blog, David Guenthner of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and several Franklin Center staffers from around the country.

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The days were taken up with informative sessions. Here are just a few examples:

We heard about efforts to combat vote fraud (and efforts to thwart efforts to combat vote fraud) from National Review's John Fund, who has written a book on the subject, and Quin Hillyer of the American Spectator, who was a an aide to Louisiana Congressman Bob Livingston when Livingston successfully fought to add a voter roll cleanup provision to Bill Clinton's Moter Voter law.

Bill Beach, director of the Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis, gave us an overview of the wide range of federal data available online. He also told us about the early days of his career, when processing government data for analysis involved hours of data entry work and going to the lab in the wee hours of the morning to process stacks of punch cards.

It was encouraging to hear Mark Morano, a former Senate Energy and Commerce Committee aide under Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, explain how thoroughly and completely the anthropogenic global warming scare has been debunked, despite the institutional weight behind the discredited theory.

SD005189Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch told us the ins and outs of Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and how to pry loose information the government doesn't want to release. He also treated us to an example of unnecessarily redacted information: A field report on Ted Kennedy's 1961 visit to Latin America, a credentials-building trip for his run to take his big brother Jack's vacant U. S.Senate seat. The document was unredacted in bits and pieces in response to a series of requests, revealing Kennedy's desire to hobnob with Lauchlin Currie, a Soviet intelligence source during his time in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, and Kennedy's all-night rental of a brothel in Chile.

After Friday's session we attended the first-ever Breitbart Awards, honoring Duane Lester of All-American Blogger as blogger of the year (that's me with Duane in the photo below), Philip Klein, senior editorial writer of the Washington Examiner as professional journalist of the year, and Andrew Marcus, as citizen journalist of the year. Political journalist John Fund delivered a challenging keynote speech, and several friends and associates of the late Andrew Breitbart paid tribute to the many occasions when he encourage them to be bold in the face of adversities. I was especially moved by a speech by Brietbart.com writer Dana Loesch. Loesch spoke of intimidation attempts she endured after she wrote about a confrontation involving SEIU members and a Tea Party member -- people showed up on her doorstep, tailed her as she drove to and from the grocery store -- and she was ready to quit and retreat to normalcy, out of the spotlight. A phone call from Breitbart fired her up and kept her in the fight.

Many thanks to the Franklin Center and the Heritage Foundation for the opportunity to be a part of this conference.

Michael Bates with Duane Lester, All-American Blogger, at the Future of Journalism Summit, June 8, 2012, Providence, RI

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2 Comments

Roy said:

Already indications show blogs get sunlight into politics. Good sign.

But history also replete with examples of populations choosing idiocy despite clear warnings. And then, after the terrible results, claiming ignorance. (Egs, Ponzi Scheme of OASDI, current developing disaster of Obamacare)

Who knows? Maybe sunshine and clarity will prevail.

NancyJ said:

If you can do one thing for this country it will be to force the media to tell the truth.
Truth seems to be a rare commodity these days and it is time to bring it back. Honor would be a necessary part of that, too.
I wonder if anyone that has not been in the military even understands what honor is these days with the 10 Commandments out of school and the public domain.
For those who don't know, it is doing the right thing even if it is not convenient or safe. It just is.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 10, 2012 3:23 PM.

AfP Oklahoma's Jolly reflects on the 2012 legislative session was the previous entry in this blog.

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