March 16, 2002

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Saturday, March 16, 2002


This week on On the Media: state-run radio and newspaper employees from Rwanda stand trial for helping to incite genocide, and the financial troubles of a well-known Irish newspaper.

Rwandan Media Trial

International law hasn’t dealt much with media culpability for genocide - one has to go back to the Nuremberg Trial for the last case. But now, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, three employees of the state-run radio and newspaper stand accused of inciting and helping coordinate genocide through ...



Riots between Hindu and Muslim factions resulted in more than 700 deaths in India recently. A religious reference like that would be axed in an Indian paper, because rules meant to quell hostility ban reporting on which communities are involved in violence. And during riots in Gujarat, officials blocked TV ...


When Advice Columnists Attack

Two cases of vigilante advice columnists this week: Dear Abby called the cops on an advice-seeker who said he fantasized about pedophilia. Also, advice-giver Dan Savage intervened in the private life of a letter-writer. Brooke talks with Savage about crossing the line from adviser to activist.


Freedom of Information Act

Depending on whom you ask, Attorney General John Ashcroft’s new Freedom of Information Act policy is either a slight alteration for the sake of national security, or a major policy change in conflict with FOIA’s very purpose to let the public “know what the government is up to.” Brooke talks ...


The Irish Times

Ireland’s most prestigious paper is facing some serious financial woes of late. Some attribute The Irish Times’ problems to its unique business structure: it’s one of the few papers in the world run by a private trust. It could be time for a new funding approach at the Times, as ...


Robot Reporter

Robot classifieds list everything from a bucking bull in a bar to Conan O’Brien’s Pimpbot. Now they can add one more: journalist. The Computing Culture Group at MIT’s Media Lab has created a robotic war computing system. Brooke chats with Director Chris Csikszentmihalyi about his robot reporter.


Mike’s Pockets

In our ongoing series of media tidbits from OTM Producer-At-Large Mike Pesca, Mike brings up a new spin on the Letterman-Koppel/who’s-worth-more debate. Also: CNN’s newest catch.


David Brock

How does the media reward a journalist who admits to knowingly leaving in falsities in his investigative reports? They start by giving him a heap of publicity for his confession. So goes the story of David Brock, conservative crusader turned apologetic liberal who bemoans his earlier work as bogus rants ...


Manipulating the Bestsellers List

The New York Times relies on sales from a select and confidential group of 3,000 bookstores across the country to compile its fiction and non-fiction Bestsellers Lists each week. In actuality, though, these bookstores aren’t that confidential; more than a few authors have been known to bulk-buy from these vendors ...


The Book Lady

Somewhere in the blustery cold of Minnesota sits a woman trying to eke out a living by selling a few books. Well, she’s not that desperate to sell her books; truth is, she doesn’t like getting rid of them. She only opens up her bookshop twice a week, and is ...


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