Mediatwits #80: Feds Spy on AP, Bloomberg Spies on Feds; Future for Broadcast TV, Radio?

    by Mark Glaser
    May 17, 2013
    KQED's Joshua Johnson discussed the future of AM/FM radio, in the face of a Stitcher survey that showed most Americans are dubious it has a future

    Who’s snooping on whom? First came the news that Bloomberg reporters were using the company’s terminals to find out when federal officials were logging into the system. Then came the news that the Department of Justice was secretly obtaining phone records of up to 20 journalists at the AP. While both cases were not connected, they point to a blurring of boundaries in the digital age, when digital spying and cyber-security grow ever more important. Special guest Declan McCullagh of CNET joins us to talk about our lack of privacy and what we can do about it. Plus, special guest Brian Stelter of The New York Times will talk about how broadcast TV networks are struggling against cable, streaming competition and even upstart Aereo. And our third special guest Joshua Johnson, a newscaster at San Francisco public radio station KQED, will rebut a survey from Stitcher showing that 57% of Americans believe AM/FM radio will fade away in five years. The roundtable will be hosted by Mark Glaser, with regulars Ana Marie Cox from The Guardian and Andrew Lih from USC.

    You can watch or listen to the podcast here:


    Subscribe to the MediaShift YouTube Channel here.

    Subscribe to the audio podcast here


    Listen to the Mediatwits and follow us on SoundCloud! Thanks to SoundCloud for providing audio support.

    Subscribe to the Mediatwits audio version via iTunes

    Follow @TheMediatwits on Twitter

    Mediatwits Bios

    i-9f9baaa09b73276ded5a1c9ee718fe60-ana marie cox.jpg

    Ana Marie Cox is a senior political columnist for The Guardian. She is the founding editor of the Wonkette blog and has covered politics and the culture of Washington, D.C. for outlets including the Washington Post, Playboy, GQ, Mother Jones and Elle. She is the author of the novel “Dog Days” and lives in St. Paul, Minn. Follow her on Twitter @anamariecox.

    i-7e648e8d6f268a0de06493c633c33ee8-monica guzman.jpg

    Mónica Guzmán is a columnist for the Seattle Times and Northwest tech news site GeekWire and a community strategist for startups and media. She emcees Ignite Seattle, a grab-bag community-fueled speaker series. Mónica was a reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and seattlepi.com, its online-only successor, where she ran the experimental and award-winning Big Blog and drew a community of readers with online conversation and weekly meetups. Follow her on Twitter @moniguzman


    Andrew Lih is a new media journalist, and associate professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism where he directs the new media program. He is the author of “The Wikipedia Revolution” (Hyperion 2009, Aurum UK 2009) and is a noted expert on online collaboration and journalism. He is a veteran of AT&T Bell Laboratories and in 1994 created the first online city guide for New York City (www.ny.com). Follow him on Twitter @fuzheado and buy his book here.

    Special Guests


    Brian Stelter is a staff reporter for The New York Times, covering TV and digital media. His first book, “Top of the Morning,” looks at the morning TV wars. In 2004 Stelter created TVNewser when he was a freshman at Towson University, a blog covering the television news industry, and later sold it to Mediabistro. Stelter appeared in the 2011 documentary “Page One: Inside The New York Times.” He lives in the West Village of Manhattan with his girlfriend Jamie Shupak, the morning traffic anchor on NY1. Follow him on Twitter @brianstelter.

    Joshua behind the mic pointing

    Joshua Johnson joined KQED Public Radio in July 2010 to be part of the newly merged on-air and online news team, KQED News. Each weekday morning he writes, reports, edits and presents Bay Area news during Morning Edition. He also serves as substitute host on KQED’s daily talk show, “Forum,” and on its weekly news-in-review show, “This Week In Northern California” on KQED Public Television. Johnson joined KQED after six years as an anchor/reporter in his native South Florida. There he helped to launch WLRN Miami Herald News, an innovative partnership between WLRN Public Radio and The Miami Herald. Before working in public radio Joshua was an assignment editor for WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach, his hometown, and for WTVJ-TV in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @jejohnson322.

    Podcast Topics

    1. AP reporters snooped by DOJ + Bloomberg reporters snoop on Feds

    The Justice Department secretly seized two months’ worth of phone records for more than 20 phone lines used by The Associated Press. Officials justified the seizure as a necessary step in the investigation of a leak that led to a May 7, 2012 AP story revealing the details of an Al Qaeda terrorism plot foiled by the CIA. News organizations are usually notified in advance of a subpoena for phone records, but in this case, the Justice Department argued that prior notification would “pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.” Journalists have condemned the seizure as yet another Big Brother-esque affront to privacy and the freedom of the press, but as David Carr of The New York Times points out, snooping is “a two-way street.” This past week, Bloomberg terminal clients, such as the U.S. Treasury and FDIC, found out that Bloomberg reporters were using the terminals to monitor their login activity. In the information age, writes Carr, “The absence of friction has led to a culture of transgression…the most ubiquitous threats to our privacy do not originate in some secret government bunker. In the media, in the general public, in business realms, we are keeping an eye on ourselves.” In an age of rampant privacy breaches, what is the appropriate course of action for the government and journalists? Were the Justice Department’s actions justified? Were Bloomberg’s? When it becomes possible to know anything and everything, what should the boundaries be?

    The Two-Way Street That Is Snooping and the News Media (NYT)

    Some Question Whether AP Leak on Al Qaeda Plot Put Us at Risk (Washington Post)

    Feds Explain Why They Grabbed AP Records Without Negotiating First (Poynter)

    Government Obtains Wide AP Phone Records in Probe (AP)

    Bloomberg Used Private Data to Spy on Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner (Business Insider)

    No Warrant? No Problem. How the Government Can Still Get Your Digital Data (ProPublica)

    2. Broadcast TV networks losing relevance

    This week marks the beginning of the biggest ad-selling season for broadcast networks. Commonly known as “upfront” selling season, this period is when networks preview their upcoming shows for fall to persuade advertisers to buy commercial time. Upfront rates are projected to rise 6 percent this year, but this is a much lower increase than networks enjoyed in previous years. The problem is increased competition from cable TV as well as streaming rivals such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. The newest threat to broadcast networks is a startup called Aereo, which captures free over-the-air signals from stations and streams them to their own paying internet subscribers. Several broadcasters have attempted to obtain injunctions against Aereo on the grounds of copyright infringement, but so far without success. CBS, Fox and Univision have threatened to go off the air if Aereo continues to operate. In a changing media landscape, most broadcast networks have failed to adapt — how should they adapt if they want to stay relevant? CBS has fared better than many other networks — why is that, and what lessons can other networks learn from CBS? Do the failed Aereo lawsuits indicate a shifting institutional perspective on copyright and intellectual property?

    TV Networks Face Falling Ratings and New Rivals (NYT)

    Aereo Asks Judge to Dismiss TV Networks’ Copyright Suit (Bloomberg)

    Broadcast TV Is Having a Rough Time, but Don’t Count It Out (AdAge)

    Broadcast TV Ratings Slide, Pressuring Ad Rates at Upfronts (Reuters)

    3. Death of AM/FM radio?

    Market research firm Harris Interactive this week released the results of a survey where a majority of Americans, 57%, predicted the demise of AM/FM radio within five years. The survey was conducted on behalf of Stitcher, an on-demand internet radio streaming service. Among students, 71% predict the demise of over-air radio in five years. The survey also found that young adults are far more likely to consume media (music, movies, television) via on-demand rather than traditional sources. Respondents frequently cited the ability to avoid advertisements as a major appeal of on-demand services. However, market research firm Arbitron found that 90% of adults still listen to AM/FM radio weekly, and it remains a popular choice with drivers. Will online streaming, satellite and podcasts ever be able to completely replace AM/FM radio? Some traditional radio outlets have started offering their content for on-demand streaming as well. Will consumers choose to listen to this on-demand version of AM/FM content, or will they continue to choose other providers such as Pandora or TuneIn? To what extent should the survey results be taken seriously, given that they were conducted on behalf of an Internet streaming company?

    Is AM/FM Dead? Majority Say On Demand is The Future (Stitcher blog)

    Harris Survey: 6 in 10 Predict Demise of Terrestrial Radio Within 5 Years (Detroit News)

    Stitcher Survey: Consumers Believe Streaming Will Surpass AM/FM Listening by 2018 (Radio Mag Online)

    Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian and fiancee Renee. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+

    Tagged: am/fm ap brian stelter broadcast dept. of justice leaks music streaming networks privacy radio

    Comments are closed.

  • Who We Are

    MediaShift is the premier destination for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology. The MediaShift network includes MediaShift, EducationShift, MetricShift and Idea Lab, as well as workshops and weekend hackathons, email newsletters, a weekly podcast and a series of DigitalEd online trainings.

    About MediaShift »
    Contact us »
    Sponsor MediaShift »
    MediaShift Newsletters »

    Follow us on Social Media