#off-campus media
Media Looks for Strauss-Kahn in Morningside

Reporters on 112th

Yesterday, while walking down Broadway, Bwog noticed a big group of people with cameras and Public Safety officers near Book Culture. Turns out a bunch of newspaper and television reporters were staking out an apartment where IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was supposed to be staying. DSK, as he is affectionately known by the French media, was accused earlier this week of sexually assaulting a hotel maid and yanked back his flight back to Paris while the plane was heading out to the runway. He was rotting in Rikers until yesterday, when he was finally granted a $1 million bail. The reporters gathered on 112th street told Bwog they expected him to crash with his daughter, a Columbia grad student residing in an apartment across the street from Book Culture.

While waiting, the journalists debated the facts of the case, discussed whether they could get into Rikers to see Strauss-Kahn, and harshly criticized the American press. Papers in the US have a proud tradition of publishing perp walk photos (often on their front pages), but those in France and Austria practice more discretion, withholding suspects’ last names and refusing to publish pictures of them in handcuffs. Unfortunately for the diligent newshounds, Strauss-Kahn never turned up in Morningside Heights and probably never will. Once he posts bail, he will be confined to his wife’s newly purchased Manhattan apartment. Of course, while the latest Morningside media mob may be over, we’re sure we haven’t seen the last of Columbia’s media coverage!

Update, 9:30 pm: Maybe there’s hope yet. Once the Upper East Side building where Strauss-Kahn’s wife purchased an apartment realized who their potential tenant was (and that they would be required to post armed guards outside their entrance), they yanked his lease! He found another place downtown, but it’s probably not permanent.

LectureHop: Committee to Protect Journalists, Part Deux

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Bwog’s intrepid lecturehopper Peter Sterne presents to you the second installment from Friday’s event organized by the Committee to Protect Journalists, in which he considers the role of the internet and social media in revolutions around the world…

The second panel, moderated by Slate editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg, considered the nuanced role of the internet, both positive and negative, in the recent revolutions in the Middle East. Rebecca MacKinnon, the co-founder of Global Voices Online, argued that the debate over whether the internet is more useful for the “good guys” or “bad guys” misses the point; the internet’s effectiveness varies across countries and across time. Danny O’Brien, the coordinator of CPJ’s Internet Advocacy Center, agreed, explaining that journalists in Tunisia, where the government stole reporters’ and protesters’ Facebook passwords, need very different forms of support than those working in Egypt or Libya, where governments have tried to shut down all internet access. Shutting down the internet, though, does not mean shutting down the revolution. Nazila Fathi, a Nieman Fellow at Harvard who has covered Iran for the New York Times, recalled that a month after the Iranian government shut down texting services in an attempt to stop protesters from organizing demonstrations against the regime, they decided to turn it back on because they were losing so much money and thousands of protesters were still taking to the streets every day.

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LectureHop: Committee to Protect Journalists

Yesterday, dozens of journalists gathered in the Kellogg Center for Journalism on the 15th floor of IAB for two panels organized by the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that has defended journalists around the world for the last 30 years. Bwog’s intrepid lecturehopper Zach Kagan presents to you the first of a two-panel lecture. It examines how war reporting has changed over time. Stay tuned until tomorrow to read about the second panel, which considers the role of the internet and social media in revolutions around the world, now and in the future. The panels were also livetweeted and filmed; footage of them will eventually be posted on CPJ’s multimedia site.

The first panel, moderated by Dan Rather, consisted of four distinguished journalists: The Washington Post senior correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran, prominent Colombian journalist Maria Teresa Ronderos, award-winning photojournalist Michael Kramber, and Terry Anderson, an ex-marine and journalist who was kidnapped by Hezbollah militants in 1985 and held hostage for seven years. According to Josh Friedman, director of the CPJ, the Committee was formed partially in response to Anderson’s capture, with a goal to protect journalists from similar threats.

Rather opened discussion with a statement on the difficulties of war reporting: “There is nothing glorious about war. It may seem sophomoric to say that, but there’s a tendency for TV to flatten things out, and I know as someone who started in print, went to radio, and ended up on TV. The best thing it does is literally take you there on the proverbial magic carpet, but it loses its context. No one that has been on the battlefield considers themselves heroes, and I think while TV glorifies war, we shouldn’t forget that that is real mud and real blood.” By the end of this statement, Rather was overwhelmed with emotion. Terry Anderson shared Rather’s sentiments, arguing that the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t faithfully portray the battleground as well as we think. Ronderos has a unique perspective on this, having covered the guerilla wars within her own country and watched while people in the city commented on the War in Afghanistan they only saw on television, completely oblivious to the fighting that was going on within their own borders. (more…)

No Labels Launches Today

You may have noticed several news vans near campus this morning. They are here to cover an event taking place in Lerner today, whose speakers include Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Evan Bayh, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Joe Lieberman, columnist David Brooks, and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Over 1,000 people are expected to be in attendance.

Those are national NBC and CNN vans

The event is the official launch of No Labels, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nonpartisanship. In their own words, “to creating a new voice that encourages politicians to lay aside the ‘labels’ of party politics and address problems on practical common ground. The idea is to create a voice from citizens all over the country—Republicans, Democrats, and independents—who want to break through the extreme polarization of Washington and bring a less partisan, less ideological, more pragmatic approach to the table.” You can watch the launch live online, and read the full information about the event here.

DSpar Blames Economic Crash on Testosterone, Men In General

“Let me begin with the caveats: I like men,” writes Barnard’s president in today’s Washington Post, “But as the financial debacle unfolds, I can’t help noticing that all the perpetrators of the greatest economic mess in eight decades are, well, men.”

Oh yes, you may have heard many other explanations for the Wall Street crisis: irresponsible lending agencies, insane hedge fund managers, a housing prices bubble,  and so on. But according to Barnard’s president (who was a professor at Harvard Business School before coming to Morningside Heights), though, the problem lies in the nefarious XY chromosome pairing. Male-dominated Wall Street DSpar argues, could have been saved by some female leadership, because “women may be less inclined than men to place the kind of bets that can get them in real trouble.” Oh, and female whistleblowers (on Wall Street or elsewhere) are also never listened to. 

Don’t worry, though, guys: Spar assures you that “I have spent most of my career surrounded by men, and I have no major complaints.”

New Year News Roundup


A quick roundup of some of headlines that appeared in our inbox in the past few days:

For all those who have resolved to go to get fit in the new year, there may be no better example of the benefits than Barack Obama – he began his now-famous commitment to fitness as a senior at Columbia.

Cut out the sugar cubes: Medical Center researchers have linked blood sugar spikes to memory loss.

Women’s basketball star Judie Lomax was named to the Naismith Trophy Early Season watch list, the only player from the Ivy League on the list.

Finally, Bwog salutes former Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell, architect of the Pell Grant program, who died yesterday at the age of 90. Pell recieved a master’s in history from Columbia in 1946, and Columbia ranks 1st among private universities in percentage of students recieving Pell Grants.

Columbia Examined

Examiner.com (no relation to The National Examiner as far as Bwog can tell) recently got a “feel for the current state of undergraduate education in America’s largest city.”  The website has a column about their trip to Columbia, full of delightful vagueties.  Some highlights:

“[T]here’s never been a better time to live and learn in NYC.”  Perhaps they’re referring to Hartley-Wallach.  Bwog isn’t sure why this time is any better than any other time, especially since admission rates are down and food prices are up.

New York is “getting its last kicks” before winter’s bitter coldness, much like the “frenzied squirrel[s]” we see studying in front of Butler.

Columbia has a “left-wing” “air of self-importance,” with the political views of its students becoming “increasingly militant.”  Surely, they cannot be referring to that minor episode a few years back.

Those “hot button social and political issues” are one thing that keep people away; the other are the two — count them — two required SAT II exams.  Wow.

Columbia Assaults Make Local News; Campus Alert Nonexistent

News trucks for the local ABC and FOX affiliates were spotted outside of Ricky’s, to report on a series of assaults that took place on Sunday night. Seven students were assaulted between 12:00 and 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning, between 113th and 122nd Streets, along both Amsterdam and Broadway. Only one student was actually robbed, according to ABC7′s report, but all were physically assaulted.

Happily, the suspects were clearly captured on video camera, which led to a picture of them (seen at right, courtesy the Department of Public Safety) in a campus alert from Public Safety.  One suspect has been arrested.

Yet, despite posters being put up in a few locations on campus, and a short report carried in the Spectator, in almost two days since the incident, Columbia University Public Safety has made no other comments to any press at this time, nor has it sent out an email alert to the campus. Bwog repeatedly contacted Public Safety for comment, but was told to talk to Public Affairs. 

We will keep you updated as more news comes in.

Photo from Public Safety via Spectator

UPDATE 9:43 PM, TUESDAY: As several commenters have noted, Barnard students received a security alert late last night. This email is below, courtesy of Bwog informant Robyn Schneider.

UPDATE 10:56 PM, TUESDAY: Law students received a similar email late Sunday night as well. Hat tip to law schooler John Koerner.

UPDATE 9:33 AM, WEDNESDAY: Columbia Public Safety has circulated via e-mail a PDF message from James McShane. Contents after the jump.

UPDATE 12:45 pm, THURSDAY: NYPD Arrests 5 Suspects

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Alan Brinkley Reviews “W.”

You have probably seen an ad for Oliver Stone’s new biopic “W.” (starring Josh Brolin, on the right, as the sitting president) and have been unsure what to make of it. Will this be chock full of half-baked conspiracy theories? A depressing psychological portrait? Most of all, is it worth your hard-earned dollars (or download time)? 

Well, Newsweek enlisted popular Columbia history professor (and the outgoing Provost who seems to have a little bit more time on his hand these days to comment about politics and the economy) Alan Brinkley to review the film, especially on historical grounds. His verdict? “There are no conspiracy theories, no wild speculations, no paranoia. Stone’s film is not hagiography. It is not propaganda. It is, surprisingly, more or less fair.” That gets Bwog at least a little more interested.

 Make you own judgment when the film hits theaters this Friday, October 17th.

Rashid Khalidi Latest Target of McCain Campaign

Over the past few days, the presidential campaign has become even more negative.  Now, hot on the heels of the Senator Barack Obama campaign’s announcement that they would play up Senator John McCain’s part in the Keating Five, Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic reports that McCain’s campaign has a new target: Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi.

For several years, Khalidi has been a controversial figure both at Columbia and in New York City for his views on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Before coming to Columbia in 2004, Khalidi knew Obama during the latter’s years in local Chicago government, which overlapped with Khalidi’s time the University of Chicago. Khalidi and his wife held a fundraiser for Obama in 2000, and Obama spoke at a goodbye party for Khalidi in 2003.  The relationship has already drawn enough questions on the internet to merit several citations in Khalidi’s Wikipedia article, but this is the first time that the McCain campaign plans to mention it.

As for the substance of the attack, Ambinder writes that the McCain campaign will try to paint Khalidi as a former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesperson, a charge that has been made several times before, with little evidence to back it up. Khalidi denies ever having been a spokesperson, though he was an advisor at the Madrid Conference of 1991.

And So Begins the Onslaught of Media Portraiture

Hey look at that, a human being has emerged from the Fox News van, which stood silently in waiting all through the night. This fellow here is Major Garrett, but stay tuned for more Media Portraiture of all his friends.

Photo by Jon Hill

And So Begins the Annual Media Parade Down Broadway

Oh look, the fleet of roving news vans has already arrived on campus, a full half a day before the Obamacain Spectacular. That is CBS in the front, and our friends Fox News in the back. 

 

A Trickster’s Delight: April Fools’ Media Roundup

For many journalistic and Internet-based enterprises, April Fools’ Day provides that one day out of the year when uptight journalists and uber net geeks can leave behind the utter seriousness of their jobs for just a short while to participate in unscrupulous knavery. As such, today’s day of banter and fun has seen a spattering of tricks across the web, as jovial jesters worldwide let loose with their friendly deceits.  Here the Blog (ahem Bwog) offers a quick roundup of the days best fourberie.

Never turn in a paper late with Google’s new gmail addition.  Who ever thought you could learn to live with time stamps?  Best part, your CC professor is going to love you!

Retroactive time stamps not enough for you?  Well, Virgin Corporation and Google collaborate to form Virgle, to send you to Mars.

Mars isn’t cool enough for you?  Then join your NYU counterparts on the moon.

Jezebel decides it is now a credible journalistic source.

YouTube gets in the habit of Rickrolling.

Because we all love the IRS come tax time. 

Buy your favorite Bear Stearns gear on eBay for more than the price of a share of stock in the company.

And of course our favorite here at Bwog: Hawkmadinejad lives! (Or does he?)

Bwog tipsters, if any other Internet chicanery of the day may have caught your fancy please feel free to send in a tip to bwgossip@columbia.edu so that we can put it up for your enjoyment pleasure!

Blue Pencil Hop: Leonard Downie of the Washington Post

Bwog attended the annual Blue Pencil Dinner in Low Rotunda last night to see how the other half lives. Our impression follows.

At 8:30 on Saturday night, the staff, alums, and distinguished guests of the Columbia Daily Spectator traipsed into Low Library in their finery for an evening of hobnobbing and a speech by Leonard Downie, executive editor of the Washington Post. A dinner (if networking can be called dining) preceded the event.

Editor-in-chief emeritus John Davisson C’08 began the evening with a speech about Spec in the last year, during which he referred to the newspaper’s critics and fans who have both lauded the paper and called its reporters “pedestrian hacks” and “accomplices to the destruction of mankind.”

But things seem to be looking up for the campus rag. In Spring of 2007, the Spec had 1.7 million page views and in the Fall of ’07 it had 7.96 million, which could be attributed to the website redesign or the presence of an Iranian dictator on campus soil– it’s a toss up. The paper’s circulation holds steady at 10,000 a day, and Spec has recently agreed to host Wiki CU after Bwog declined the offer. (more…)

Speakergate ’07: The Sound and the Fury

With our recent posts on Matthew Fox’s impending Class Day speech ballooning to nearly 500 comments, collectively, a protest Facebook group attracting 150 members so far, and even a failed attempt to hawk “Matthew Fox Does Not Speak for Me” buttons (they’ve been removed…we assume ABC’s copyright lawyers struck quickly), this was a story the blogosphere couldn’t ignore. Some highlights:

Televisionista called Columbia seniors “whiny, pretentious and snobbish,” capturing similar sentiments across the board. MollyGood weighed in with “How precious! Yet another protest! They’ve always been so successful and righteous in the past!”

Seriously? OMG! WTF? writes “I mean Columbia is a good school, but please it is not the top Ivy League for a reason and don’t get me started on their crappy football team”…proving that unintentional irony is the best kind. Just Jared, meanwhile, had little more to add, but wasted way too much time on Photoshop concocting the graphic we’ve displayed above-right.

After the jump: what Glamour, US, Gothamist & TV Guide had to say…

UPDATE: Word has it l’affair Fox made E!’s “Daily Ten” this evening, with harsh words for Columbia students – who nonetheless, they asserted, “love the Daily 10!”

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