Journalism & Media

Alex Hanson/IPR

New technology has dramatically changed how we communicate and interact, and Michael Bugeja says that in doing so, it may slowly be eroding some of our core principles.  Professor Bugeja of Iowa State University's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication joins host Ben Kieffer during this hour of River to River

Rappaport Center / Flickr

Are fake news, alternative facts, and lies disguised as truths overwhelming our notions of reality?

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Brooke Gladstone, co-host and managing editor of the public radio program On The Media and author of the new book, The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time.

In it, Gladstone talks about the threats to democracy caused by people’s “filtered reality," especially in a constantly changing media landscape.

The History Press

On Dec. 12, 1934, police raided a canning factory in Cedar Rapids--what they found was an illegal bar and gambling set up.  That incident set off a year-long investigation into graft that reached into all levels of Iowa State government.  It was all driven by Verne Marshall, the editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.  Jerry Harrington, an Iowa City writer of Iowa history, tells the story in his new book, "Crusading Iowa Journalist Verne Marshall: Exposing Graft and the 1936 Pulitzer Prize." (History Press)

IPR's Emily Woodbury

Still printed on a 19-century letterpress printing machine in Anamosa, IA, publisher Tim Fay has just released his 23rd issue of "The Wapsipinicon Almanac."  It's a homegrown, homemade journal and features essays, stories and articles by Iowa writers.  The first issue was published in 1988 and you can't order it or read it online.  You'll have to find it in a bookstore or other shop.

Iowa Public Television

Dean Borg has hosted Iowa Public Television's public affairs program Iowa Press since 1972. Next week, he retires as the regular host of the program.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer asks Borg to reflect on more than four decades of Iowa news and political interviews, including his interview with President Jimmy Carter and the two Bushes who would eventually become presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Daniel R. Blume / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

The 1976 film, "All the President's Men," glamorized investigative journalism. The movie won four Academy Awards, was nominated for Best Picture and inspired a generation of investigative journalists. This year another film, "Spotlight," tells the story of an investigative team at The Boston Globe, who uncovered the Catholic Church's pattern of protecting priests accused of child sexual abuse. Will it spark the same inspiration in an industry facing financial struggles, that is growing increasingly fragmented and driven by a need to fill a 24-hour news hole?

Evan Vucci, AP

Republican candidate Donald Trump made a practice of criticizing the media at his campaign rallies, even calling out some journalists by name. That criticism was greeted by booing, jeering and worse from the crowds. NPR political reporter Sarah McCammon was there for all of it. She spoke with Trump supporters throughout the campaign and witnessed the Trump campaign’s relationship with the media.

Courtesy of Joe Palca

During the 25 years he has been with NPR, Joe Palca has covered everything from biomedical research to astronomy.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Palca about the process of science and how its findings get communicated to the public. They also discuss his latest series Joe’s Big Idea, which explores the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors.

Daniel R. Blume / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Objectivity, fairness and balance are values that have long guided journalism. But in our rapidly changing media environment, where affirmation is only a click away, do readers, listeners and viewers really want news that adheres to those values? The leaders of three Iowa journalism schools say they do.

Tony Webster, Portland, Oregon / Wikimedia Commons

A landmark piece of legislation that assures public access to government documents turns 50 on July 4th. President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation in 1966, without so much as a statement, just avoiding a pocket veto. That reluctance set the stage for a love/hate relationship between presidential administrations and the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

Flickr / Ken Lund

Friday morning, the Iowa Supreme Court is expected to release a decision that could dramatically weaken Iowa’s open meeting’s law.

Two years ago the Warren County Board of Supervisors decided to lay off 12 county employees.

The three-member panel did not deliberate in person or through email. Rather they reached their unanimous decision by having the county administrator relay messages among the three board members. 

By communicating this way, the board supervisors hoped to skirt the state’s open meeting’s law.

Flickr / mcfarlandmo

Today marks the beginning of “Sunshine Week", an observation of the public’s right to access information. The Iowa Freedom of Information Council is reminding officials that a higher level of transparency is part of the territory that comes with holding elected office.

Reese Erlich

There are interviews you spend hours sweating over, and then there are situations like the one faced by award-winning foreign correspondent Reese Erlich on a recent trip to Jordan. That's where he interviewed Abu Qatada, once described as Osama Bin Laden's right-hand-man in Europe before he was deported from the UK to Jordan in 2013.

Erlich says he had 20 minutes to prepare. The interview was hastily arranged by another of Al Qaeda's top leaders. Erlich says Qatada wanted to talk about human rights violations by the Assad regime in Syria, and by the U.S.

Courtesy of the Justice Corps of Iowa / Facebook

With comic books, science fiction, and superheroes, geek culture is having a moment. Phil Hester, a comic book illustrator and author from North English, Ia, says that is due to its traction in mainstream movies.

“Now all this stuff that you couldn’t dream of looking real, sounding real, and moving in a real way, now can be done on screen. That has opened it up to a sea of people that wouldn’t be caught dead walking in a comic book store.”

Jad Abumrad on Unanswered Questions and Making Concepts Dance

Apr 2, 2015
PopTech / flickr

What does a shrimp sees when it looks at a rainbow? How well can we really know the minds of animals? Why do we blink?

These are some of the questions that Radiolab creator and co-host, Jad Abumrad, tackles with each episode of his show.

Sadle Hernandez / Flickr

In 2015, nearly everyone has a camera in their back pocket. Is there still a need to employ photographers? 

David Guttenfelder, an Iowa native who grew up in Waukee and was named Time’s 2013 Instagram photographer of the year for his coverage of everyday life in North Korea, says 'yes.' Good photographers just have to integrate cell phone camera into their professional work.

“I started just carrying my phone as my second camera to be creative,”  Guttenfelder said. 

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has been suspended without pay for six months. Jon Stewart says he’s leaving The Daily Show.

Luc De Leeuw / flickr

On this segment of River to River, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism.

Anita Sarkeesian

This month, the video game industry has found itself at the center of a dispute that's led to intense debate under the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.

Daniel Rehn

When University of Iowa associate professor Kembrew McLeod wrote in protest of the university's pink locker room, he expected some hate-mail, but he was not prepared for how much the comments would hurt.

Responses like "I speak for the state of Iowa in saying that we detest you at a molecular level" and "Honestly, I do hope this guy gets beat up" can really "wear on one’s psyche," he says.

Paul M. Walsh / Wikimedia Commons

Terry Anderson, a graduate of Iowa State University, was taken captive in 1985 on the streets of Beirut after a tennis match. 

Milosz Reterski / Navy NewsStand

Robin Williams's death has dominated news coverage in the past week. But how much of that coverage has been helpful and how much as been harmful?

Linh Ta/IowaWatch / IowaWatch.org

Accommodations are available for college students struggling with depression, but university counseling centers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Hear about an IowaWatch.org report on the difficulty these students experience including what is often a harsh stigma associated with being depressed.

Martin Cathrae/Creative Commons

When you ask people what is important to eat, they'll tell you vegetables.  When you quietly watch, they'll mostly eat candy.  It turns out the same is true of news.  The launching board for our conversation is a new study showing that while people consistently rank news coverage of international news, business and politics as being most important to their lives, an analysis of their online behavior tells a different story.  The study sparked this recent article in

Wikimedia Commons

After a 130 year run, Ladies Home Journal is drastically reducing its publication schedule and ending its subscription service, another in a long line of women’s magazines to try and reinvent itself or discontinue publication in the digital age.

leonardpittsjr.com

Nationally syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. says extremist Islam is afraid of little girls.  More specifically, he writes, they're afraid of the women they will become.  The 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary talks with Host Ben Kieffer about some of his recent writings, including his latest novel, Freeman and why opinion writing is still important.

Linh Ta/IowaWatch / IowaWatch.org

Accommodations are available for college students struggling with depression, but university counseling centers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Hear about an IowaWatch.org report on the difficulty these students experience including what is often a harsh stigma associated with being depressed.  Also in this program, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism. “Rupert Murdoch, the greatest media imperialist of our era, the guy who’s had patience of decades to take over China.

K.H. Sidey / Adair County Free Press

For 125 years, four generations of the Sidey family have delivered the news of Adair County.  While many small, independently owned papers perished or became parts of large conglomerates the Adair County Free Press persisted.

Bill Read

The internet has changed how we find information, get news, connect with friends, and for many people it also has changed the experience with faith and religion.  Guests include Elizabeth Drescher from Santa Clara University, L. Edward Philips from Emory University, and author, editor, and lecturer Phyllis Tickle.

Nathan Gibbs

On this River to River program, host Ben Kieffer talks with NPR host and special correspondent Michele Norris who will discuss her Race Card Project and how it has become much broader in scope since she launched it. Norris will be speaking Wednesday at Coe College.

Then, a conversation with award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien about race and identity as reflected in the media. Her parents had to leave Maryland in 1958 to get married due to that state’s laws against interracial marriage.

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