BOSTON (CBS) — December often offers a time to look back on the year. On Sunday, Jon Keller brought in two local news experts to talk about media coverage of events in 2018.
Emily Rooney is the creator and host of the weekly Beat the Press show on WGBH and Dan Kennedy is a journalism professor at Northeastern University.
So what was the most significant development in Boston local news this year?
Rooney: “I’m going to say the clamp down on speech on talk radio. Really, it happened for probably the wrong reasons. It happened because of advertising boycotts, not because management at any of these stations had a change of heart, specifically Entercom and WEEI. There was a big change in personalities there. Over the years, the management has been very defensive of their teams but when the boycotts got going that was it, they clamped down and there’s been a big change.”
Kennedy: “Unfortunately predictions prove to be true, the Digital First [Media], the new owner of the Boston Herald has just decimated the Herald as well as its other properties: the Lowell Sun and the Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise. The newsroom has gotten so small that they really are barely able to offer much coverage although the people there are still doing very good work, I want to point that out. It’s gotten so bad that just recently we learned that Joe Sciacca has been put in charge of seven daily papers and a number of weeklies in Massachusetts and upstate New York. It’s good for Joe, he’s got his work cut out for him but it’s not possible.”
Keller said it was also notable that the Boston Globe editorial page put together a national campaign to push back against attacks from the White House.
What was the largest national news story of the year?
Kennedy: “Facebook has just had the lid ripped off of it. I think that it stands exposed as a company that is really just doing some very evil things out there. I’m going to give just one example out of dozens that I can pick. When we learned recently that Facebook was simultaneously claiming the criticism of it was anti-Semitic while at the same time going after George Soros, who had criticized Facebook, playing into some of the worst anti-Semitic attacks on Soros, talk about trying to have it both ways. And in a really evil way.”
Keller mentioned the complete willingness to call a lie, a lie, specifically when it targets the Trump administration.
Rooney: I agree but calling the president out as a liar has actually been going on since he got into office. It might have picked up some speed recently, especially with recent developments, with what we know now about his lawyer Michael Cohen. Now the president is calling his own lawyer a liar. ‘Oh, I didn’t know he was going to break the law’ when it’s clear he directed him to.”