WXXI AM News

journalists

When the iconic film Broadcast News was released in 1987, director James L. Brooks gave audiences a well-researched and honest look at how network news was changing. Some say it served as a warning of how an increasing emphasis on attractive anchors and entertainment-driven ideas were growing at the expense of quality journalism. Did the film predict the future of the news industry?

In a recent interview published in The Ringer, Brooks said he doesn't think his film created a lens for the future in the same way as did a film like Network. Instead, he said, with Broadcast News "the future was beginning to happen." Our guests discuss the film 30 years after its release, and if and how it rings true today. In studio:

  • Adam Chodak, anchor and managing editor for WROC-TV
  • Elissa Orlando, senior vice president of television and news for WXXI
  • Rebecca Leclair, owner of Leclair Communications, and former television news anchor and reporter

When reports surfaced that not even BuzzFeed was meeting its earnings targets, young journalists might have wondered: is there a future in this field for me? BuzzFeed has been among the hottest media properties. If the strongest players are struggling, what does that mean for students considering journalism as a career?

We discuss job prospects and the news media landscape. In studio:

Did BuzzFeed make a mistake by publishing the entire dossier of unverified links between Donald Trump and Russia? Editor-in-chief Ben Smith says no; he errs on the side of sunlight, and he views BuzzFeed as part of a new kind of media paradigm. But traditional journalists have said it was a reckless decision, a mistake.

Our panel debates the decision, and the future of disseminating information. In studio:

  • Tianna Manon, editor-in-chief of Open Mic Rochester
  • David Riley, former government reporter for the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Jack Rosenberry, journalism professor at St. John Fisher College
  • Jim Memmott, journalist with the Democrat & Chronicle and professor at the University of Rochester

Author Seth Godin points out the following: "The bestselling novel of 1961 was Allen Drury's Advise and Consent. Millions of people read this 690-page political novel. In 2016, the big sellers were coloring books." Godin writes that there has always been broccoli and candy when it comes to culture... but what happens if everything becomes candy?

What happens if all we read is click-bait? Heck, Godin notes that even Bravo and the History Channel have reality dating competitions. He urges us to "vote with our clicks," for starters, and we see if our panel agrees:

  • Erica Bryant, columnist for the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Tom Proietti, resident scholar in media at St. John Fisher College
  • Eric Grode, director of the Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse University and author of The Book of Broadway

Fifty-two years after Times v Sullivan, a President Donald Trump would seek to "loosen" libel laws to make it easier for politicians to sue journalists. In particular, Trump doesn't like the "actual malice" portion of the Supreme Court decision.

What would it mean for journalists if Trump gets his way? How could it impact a free press? How does our country's libel law standard compare to that of other countries? Our guests:

What does the Brian Williams mess tell us about trust? How will it impact the public trust in television journalists? Should Williams be fired? Panel includes some of the longest tenured local news anchors. In studio:

James Lawrence is retiring from his position as executive editor of the Democrat & Chronicle's editorial page. We sit down with Jim to talk about his career in the newspaper industry -- how it's changed, and what he thinks are the biggest issues facing Rochester now and in the future.