The Gates Foundation funds a lot of media – more than $25 million in media grants for 2012 (but still less than 1% of the budget).
I’m media but I wasn’t invited. I asked if I could come and report on it, but was told the meeting was off the record. Those attending included representatives from the New York Times, NPR, the Guardian, NBC, Seattle Times and a number of other news organizations, non-profit groups and foundations. Not all were grant recipients, or partners. Some just came to consult.
Spoiler alert: Nothing sinister happened. But there’s still a story here.
The public doesn’t see much coverage of the media’s collaboration with the Gates Foundation. Yet it’s substantial, influential and, despite the media’s distaste for reporting on itself, I feel compelled. So here’s my news analysis…. Continue reading →
Today is the anniversary of the day the Dr Ronald Ross’s discovery that malaria was spread by female mosquitoes. Various sites marked the day with blog posts and pictures, but this find from the NPR Shots Blog, who in turn was tipped by the Contagions blog, is much more fun.
Shots tells the story of the pamphlet:
Dr. Seuss was a captain in the U.S. Army. And during World War II, the author and illustrator, whose given name was Theodor Geisel, spent a few years creating training films and pamphlets for the troops.
One of Geisel’s Army cartoons was a booklet aimed at preventing malaria outbreaks among GIs by urging them to use nets and keep covered up.
In 1943, Germany blocked the Allies’ supply of the anti-malaria drug quinine. So Geisel created a booklet explaining to the troops how to avoid harmful encounters with “blood-thirsty Ann,” the character he created to represent Anopheles, the genus of the mosquitoes that transmit the disease
Notice that there were cases of malaria in the United States during World War II. A lot has changed since then in the US, but the map has not changed much for sub-Saharan Africa. The basic advice to use sleeping nets was pushed as hard 70 years ago as it is today. Continue reading →
Two reports by NPR’s Richard Knox provide a great overview of the cholera outbreak in Haiti, beginning with coverage of the launch of a (much delayed and fairly small) vaccination campaign aimed not so much at stopping the outbreak as demonstrating vaccines — if more widely used — can stem the epidemic.
Despite yet another tiresome headline riff off Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ book Love in the Time of Cholera, the accompanying report by Knox examines what really drives the cholera explosion — poverty and lack of access to clean water.
Condoms like this one were given out during the African National Congress party's centenary celebrations in early Now a South African health official says that 1.35 million of them are being recalled amid charges some broke during sex.
The party may be over, but the trouble may just be starting in South Africa.
The health department in Free State province is recalling 1.35 million condoms that may not be up to snuff.
The ANC, the ruling political party in the country for the past 17 years, is known for its pivotal role in the ending of apartheid and its longtime leader Nelson Mandela’s message of equality.
But quite a few of the “revolutionary rubbers,” as the City Press newspaper called the freebies, reportedly broke during sex. “People would claim that the condoms burst,” AIDS activist Sello Mokhalipi, of the Treatment Action Campaign, told the paper. “When we investigated the complaints it turned out the condoms are porous.”
Well, I guess Juan said what he was thinking. On Fox News. About guys who dress like Muslims and how it makes him nervous. And so NPR terminated his contract.
This is big news today — tops on Google News. It may even be good for Juan, since journalists are supposed to become a “brand” themselves these days. I’d say Juan’s been branded pretty well by this episode.
I am not going to ask what you think about NPR terminating Juan Williams, or what you think about people who wear Muslim clothing (I’m not sure what that means, actually ….).
What I want to know is if you think journalists should tell you what they think. Should they reveal their opinions, their biases, or keep these thoughts to themselves — and pretend to have no opinions? Continue reading →