News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising – Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922

news1Countless statements make for “news” these days, but what is “news”?  So rarely is the definition of “news” invoked to actually identify relevant, important, challenging, credible information that it’s refreshing to see it still exists.


 [nooz, nyooz]  Show IPA

noun usually used with a singular verb )


a report of a recent event; intelligence; information: His family has had no news of his whereabouts formonths.

the presentation of a report on recent or new events in a newspaper or other periodical or on radio ortelevision.

such reports taken collectively; information reported: There’s good news tonight.

a person, thing, or event considered as a choice subject for journalistic treatment;newsworthy material. Compare copy  def 5 .

What do you find when you look for news though?  Corruption.  That’s what good news should uncover.  Check this out and journalism will have a more profound meaning to you:


The News Manual has definitions of what news is (see the lower links on the right), but here we share with you some other people’s opinions on the subject. Some of them are clear and reasonable while others are deeply cynical. Some are given as practical advice after years of professional experience while others are just witty. But all are worth thinking about.

One brief disclaimer: With many quotes there are ongoing disputes about the precise wording, translation or attribution. One of the oldest quotes here is Voltaire’s famous defenSe of freedom of speech, yet arguments continue about it to this day. While we have tried to give the most accurate version of each quote and its attribution, we always stand to be corrected through the Contact Us page. Enjoy.


What is news?

man bites dogWhen a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news.
Charles Anderson Dana, American journalist, 1819-1897

News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.
Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922

Well, news is anything that’s interesting, that relates to what’s happening in the world, what’s happening in areas of the culture that would be of interest to your audience.
Kurt Loder, American journalist, b. 1945

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.
Joseph Pulitzer, American publisher, 1847-1911

News is anything that makes a reader say, `Gee Whiz’!
Arthur MacEwen, American editor,

No one says “Gee Whiz!” very much these days, of course, not even in America — both because that expression has long since been supplanted by others more colourful and less printable, and because our capacity for surprise has long since been dulled by a surfeit of sources.
Shashi Tharoor, Indian writer and diplomat, b. 1956

What you see is news, what you know is background, what you feel is opinion.
Lester Markel, American journalist, 1894-1977

It is hard news that catches readers. Features hold them.
Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922

To a journalist, good news is often not news at all.
Phil Donahue, American entertainer, b. 1935

No news is good news.
Ludovic Halevy, French author, 1834-1908

[News is] a first rough draft of history.
Philip L. Graham, American publisher, 1915-1963

For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news.
Gloria Borger, American journalist, b. 1952

The real news is bad news.
Marshall Mcluhan, Canadian communications theorist, 1911-1980

News is what a chap who doesn’t care much about anything wants to read. And it’s only news until he’s read it. After that it’s dead.
Evelyn Waugh, British author, 1903-1966

Good stories flow like honey but bad stories stick in the craw [gullet]. What is a bad story? It’s a story that cannot be absorbed in the first time of reading. It’s a story that leaves questions unanswered.
Arthur Christiansen, British newspaper editor, 1904-1963

Hard news really is hard. It sticks not in the craw but in the mind. It has an almost physical effect, causing fear, interest, laughter or shock.
Andrew Marr, British journalist, b. 1959

Never awake me when you have good news to announce, because with good news nothing presses; but when you have bad news, arouse me immediately, for then there is not an instant to be lost.
Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor, 1769-1821

Journalism consists largely in saying Lord Jones died to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.
G.K. Chesterton, British writer, 1874-1936

News reports stand up as people, and people wither into editorials. Clichés walk around on two legs while men are having theirs shot off.
Karl Kraus, Austrian satirist, 1874-1936

A master passion is the love of news.
George Crabbe, British poet, 1754-1832

 News is what allows you can get the information to take action.

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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


Appeals court says blogs are not only media, they’re an important source of news and commentary

Appeals court says blogs are not only media, they’re an important source of news and commentary

Originally posted on Gigaom:

It would be nice if the debate over whether bloggers are journalists could be put to rest, more than a decade after it first began, and especially after bloggers like Glenn Greenwald have not only broken news stories but won Pulitzer Prizes for doing so. But it continues — especially when it comes to the protections that bloggers are entitled to and whether they should be the same as those given to professional journalists, as I have argued they should be .

A recent legal decision that helps support this idea was handed down in a Florida court case involving accusations of defamation. Under state law, anyone who wants to pursue a defamation case has to notify the media outlet in question five days before filing. But Christopher Comins argued he didn’t have to do so in the case of a blog post from university student Matthew VanVoorhis, because blogs…

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


Everyone On the Internet Needs to Read ‘The People’s Platform’: An Interview With Astra Taylor

Everyone On the Internet Needs to Read ‘The People’s Platform’: An Interview With Astra Taylor


This is a thought provoking piece on how the internet is actually not the free roaming western landscape that we commonly believe.

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

Do you use the Internet? Then you have to read Astra Taylor’s The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age , one of the most important books of the year. In it, Taylor (a writer, activist, and documentarian whose films include Zizek! and Examined Life ) argues that the promised utopia of online culture is built upon a lie; in reality, the amorphous mass that we call the Internet is actually a place of great inequality , where the people’s interests are in hock to corporations and billionaires who just go by different names these days, whether it’s Google, Apple, or other Silicon Valley monoliths. Taylor is a clear-eyed writer and a provocative thinker, covering the shifting grounds of how the Internet changes and affects today’s culture, from journalism to music. It makes you very wary about having a Facebook page. I had the chance to talk to…

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


Might downloading a 50-cent coupon for Cheerios cost you legal rights?

Forced arbitration is no way to go through life.  It can stop you from getting your rights and remedies.

The NY Times reported:

General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.

Instead, anyone who has received anything that could be construed as a benefit and who then has a dispute with the company over its products will have to use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief, according to the new terms posted on its site.

In language added on Tuesday after The New York Times contacted it about the changes, General Mills seemed to go even further, suggesting that buying its products would bind consumers to those terms.

“We’ve updated our Privacy Policy,” the company wrote in a thin, gray bar across the top of its home page. “Please note we also have new Legal Terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration.”

The change in legal terms, which occurred shortly after a judge refused to dismiss a case brought against the company by consumers in California, made General Mills one of the first, if not the first, major food companies to seek to impose what legal experts call “forced arbitration” on consumers.

“Although this is the first case I’ve seen of a food company moving in this direction, others will follow — why wouldn’t you?” said Julia Duncan, director of federal programs and an arbitration expert at the American Association for Justice, a trade group representing plaintiff trial lawyers. “It’s essentially trying to protect the company from all accountability, even when it lies, or say, an employee deliberately adds broken glass to a product.”

General Mills declined to make anyone available for an interview about thechanges. “While it rarely happens, arbitration is an efficient way to resolve disputes — and many companies take a similar approach,” the company said in a statement. “We even cover the cost of arbitration in most cases. So this is just a policy update, and we’ve tried to communicate it in a clear and visible way.”

growing number of companies have adopted similar policies over the years, especially after a 2011 Supreme Court decision, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, that paved the way for businesses to bar consumers claiming fraud from joining together in a single arbitration. The decision allowed companies to forbid class-action lawsuits with the use of a standard-form contract requiring that disputes be resolved through the informal mechanism of one-on-one arbitration.

Credit card and mobile phone companies have included such limitations on consumers in their contracts, and in 2008, the magazine Mother Jones published an article about a Whataburger fast-food restaurant that hung a sign on its door warning customers that simply by entering the premises, they agreed to settle disputes through arbitration.

Companies have continued to push for expanded protection against litigation, but legal experts said that a food company trying to limit its customers’ ability to litigate against it raised the stakes in a new way.

What if a child allergic to peanuts ate a product that contained trace amounts of nuts but mistakenly did not include that information on its packaging? Food recalls for mislabeling, including failures to identify nuts in products, are not uncommon.

“When you’re talking about food, you’re also talking about things that can kill people,” said Scott L. Nelson, a lawyer at Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group. “There is a huge difference in the stakes, between the benefit you’re getting from this supposed contract you’re entering into by, say, using the company’s website to download a coupon, and the rights they’re saying you’re giving up. That makes this agreement a lot broader than others out there.”

Big food companies are concerned about the growing number of consumers filing class-action lawsuits against them over labeling, ingredients and claims of health threats. Almost every major gathering of industry executives has at least one session on fighting litigation.

Last year, General Mills paid $8.5 million to settle lawsuits over positive health claims made on the packaging of its Yoplait Yoplus yogurt, saying it did not agree with the plaintiff’s accusations but wanted to end the litigation. In December 2012, it agreed to settle another suit by taking the word “strawberry” off the packaging label for Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups, which did not contain strawberries.

General Mills amended its legal terms after a judge in California on March 26 ruled against its motion to dismiss a case brought by two mothers who contended that the company deceptively marketed its Nature Valley products as “natural” when they contained processed and genetically engineered ingredients.

“The front of the Nature Valley products’ packaging prominently displays the term ‘100% Natural’ that could lead a reasonable consumer to believe the products contain only natural ingredients,” wrote the district judge, William H. Orrick.

He wrote that the packaging claim “appears to be false” because the products contain processed ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin.

Arbitration experts said courts would probably require General Mills to prove that a customer was aware of its new policy before issuing decisions denying legal action against the company.

The policy is so broadly written, lawyers say, that it is likely to raise interesting legal questions.

For instance, on Tuesday an order was placed through the company’s online store for a Cheerios bowl, before General Mills posted the notice about the change to its legal terms on its home page.

At no point did the order system suggest changes had been made to the legal terms governing the buyer. It offered a link to the company’s privacy policy, and two opt-out boxes for receiving promotional materials through email.

Whether a court would rule that, under the new policy, the buyer of the bowl could not sue General Mills was unclear, since the General Mills home page now included a message about the changes it had made to its legal terms.

“A transaction has taken place that, according to General Mills, includes an agreement to submit to informal negotiation or arbitration in the event of a dispute,” Mr. Nelson said.

He said he did not think a court would agree to enforce the policy if a consumer merely visited a General Mills website, “but we really don’t know.”

“You can bet,” he said, “there will be some subpoenas for computer hard drives in the future.”

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


New Posts at RMK Law

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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


We Have Moved to

The author of this blog now blogs at where he still blogs about labor, politics, injuries, safety, corporate accountability and social responsibility.

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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


Organize pt. 2

All of us, as working people, need to take charge of our destinies. Whether we are responsible for what went wrong is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that we’re able to do something now by getting together. 

I’m open to allowing the economy to take its course, but it’s not enough to wait for the economy to meet us. I’m hungry now, my bills are due now, my rent is due now and it’s not waiting around for law school enrollment to decline or for any magic to happen. 

I’m not saying we need to take action because we’re at fault. We need to take action because we can.

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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

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