News Cycle

A look at the news, politics and journalism in today’s 24-hour media.

Archive for August 2009

Sunday News Show Recap From POLITICO

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http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/1155201977

Here’s this week’s Sunday news show highlights from POLITICO.

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August 9, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Sunday News Shows

Newspaper Print Ad Sales Should Bottom Out in 2009, Study Predicts

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A new study shows that newspaper advertising sales are likely to bottom out after four straight years of decline in 2009, but they aren’t headed back to where they used to be, reports Alan Mutter on his blog, Reflections of a Newsosaur.

In what passes nowadays for an upbeat take on the newspaper industry from an independent observer, the Virginia-based market research firm [Borrell Associates] boldly predicts that print advertising sales for the nation’s 15,000 daily and weekly papers will bottom out at $35.9 billion in 2009 after peaking at $57.3 million as recently as 2005.

Borrell forecasts a 2.4% sales rebound in 2010 to $36.8 billion and modest annual gains to take sales to $39.0 billion by 2014. With the over-all size of the national advertising pie likely to shrink in the next five years, Borrell believes newspapers could regain a 15.9% share of the advertising market in 2014 vs. 14.4% in 2009.

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August 7, 2009 at 10:47 am

Cash for Clunkers Bill Hits a Pothole in the Senate

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ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports the cash for clunkers bill in the Senate may have problems getting onto the highway, as Democrats scramble for votes to keep the bill alive before their recess.

Republiicans are throwing their support behind an amendment offered by Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, that would limit clunker rebates to individuals with annual incomes of 50 K or less. With Republican support the amendment stands a good chance of passing unless the majority of Democrats, who mostly favor the amendment, vote against it.

Why is that a problem?

If any amendment passes it means the House has to take up the bill again and the House, of course, has already adjourned for its August recess.

The Democratic leadership is now scrambling to get rank- and -fille Democratic senators to vote against an amendment almost all of them favor. It would be a very tough vote.

“It does seem to be out of character for Democrats to support allowing millionaires access to borrowed money to buy cars,” said Don Stewart, spokesnan for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky

Written by newscycle

August 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Posted in Cash for Clunkers

If There’s No Tweet, Does Twitter Make a Sound? Service Suffers Massive DDoS Attack

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I’ve had all kinds of probelms with Twitter this morning, and I guess I’m not the only one.

On the site’s corporate blog, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said: “On this otherwise happy Thursday morning, Twitter is the target of a denial of service attack. Attacks such as this are malicious efforts orchestrated to disrupt and make unavailable services such as online banks, credit card payment gateways, and in this case, Twitter for intended customers or users.

“We are defending against this attack now and will continue to update our status blog as we continue to defend and later investigate.”

Jerry A. DiColo of Dow Jones Newswire describes this type of attack for non-geeks such as me:

Denial-of-service attacks are a common weapon employed by cyber criminals to disrupt the working of Web sites. Perpetrators enlist millions of computers to attempt to access a particular site. The site cannot handle the massive increase in traffic, and is rendered inaccessible.

While disruptive and hard to trace, this type of cyber attack is considered by experts to be a relatively unsophisticated technique. The attack itself doesn’t attempt to infiltrate the internal operations of a company’s computer infrastructure. It simply renders its Web site inactive.

Barret Lyons writes on bylon.com how it could be a DDoS attack:

At a presentation I gave at an International Terrorism and Intelligence conference, I discussed how Twitter is an obvious DDoS target. Well about 30 days later they’re in the thick of it.

Twitter is down and their network has clear signs of massive failure. In the several hundred (if not more) cases of DDoS I have had experience with, this looks like a very clear case of an attack.

Congestion is a very clear sign of a DDoS attack. In this case you will see on a traceroute clean hops up to the last few, where the network starts to get congested. Basically that means each step of the network is clean until things concentrate at the end.

The assumption is the congestion is caused by DDoS and not a system administrator creating a routing loop or something whacky like that.

They also only appear to have ONE network provider (NTT), which is rather insane these days. It also makes targeting Twitter a much less complicated task.

Using very basic tools it is possible to see that the congestion on their network is rather extreme. It’s possible to deduce that the congestion is probably due to a DDoS attack.

There have been reports that Facebook and Live Journal are having trouble as well. But my Facebook page is alive a well for the moment.

Written by newscycle

August 6, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Posted in DDoS, Twitter

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Did CNN’s Poll Succeed or Fail?

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I always hated poll stories. To me, they were a poor substitute used by news organizations for genuine investigative reporting, which is much harder to do than to hire a pollster to ask silly questions. But they populate our media every week, giving some political junkie on either side of the aisle to parade around for a few days to say “Look, most people think like me!”

Today brings another example of a poll that for this news cycle will bring joy to the right, but is so meaningless its embarrassing.

CNN Opinion Research Poll interviewed 1,136 adult Americans, including an oversample of African-Americans, by telephone by Opinion Research Corporation on July 31-Aug. 3, 2009. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is plus or
minus 3 percentage points.

On Question 3, pollsters asked, “Do you consider the first six months of the Obama administration to be a success or a failure?” Fifty-one percent said “success,” 37 percent said “failure,” 11 percent said “too soon to tell,” and 1 percent had no opinion.

Then it compares a similar poll conducted in August 2001 about then-President George Bush. Fifty-six percent said “success,” 32 percent said “failure,” 7 percent said “too early to tell,” and 5 percent said they had no opinion.

Quickly, this was touted on Drudge as “CNN POLL: After 6 Months, More View Obama Presidency a ‘Failure’ Than Bush…” and on RealClearPolitics as “After 6 Months, More View Obama’s Presidency as a ‘Failure’ Than Bush’s.”

The problem is, only 11 percent got it right this year, as compared to 7 percent in 2001, and now the poll is being touted as proof of Obama’s failure as a president.

You can’t judge any president as a success or failure after six months. It’s ludicrous. We like stories that nurture this instant gratification world. It’s easy to put a number on a president’s success or failure and say “Here it is!” But in reality, Obama’s policies will only be judged for their effectiveness decades down the road.

Six months into Abraham Lincoln’s first term, all 11 states in the South had seceded; the battle of Bull Run had been a disastrous loss, and the country was in the first days of its ugliest war. If we had polls back then, I would imagine his numbers would be worse. But I would also doubt anyone now thinks of Lincoln as a failure — at any point in his life.

You simply cannot judge a president’s success on only six months of work. Sometimes a president’s impact can only be seen through the light of history. Heck, even Nixon is getting kudos for some of his accomplishments 40 years after the fact.

Instead of spending the money on a poll, CNN should do some of the hard work no one else seems to want to do. A start could be actually getting a few reporters to read through the thousands of pages in the various health-care bills, and get insurance and health experts together to analyze them. Then report on what each bill would really do to Americans. Heck, that’s more than our congressmen are doing. It’s harder work, but it’s better journalism.

Written by newscycle

August 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Posted in CNN, Polling

Tagged with ,

Newspapers Laid Off 2,478 in July; Bringing 2009’s Total Above 13,000

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News Cycle counts 2,478 employees being laid off from newspapers in the United States in the month of July. This figure pushes the annual total to about 13,000 newspapers employees having lost their jobs.

It was the second most difficult month this year (only March had a larger number), and was fueled by a large cut by the Gannett chain and an outsourcing of distribution operations by the Orange County Register in California.

Email me to report any job cuts in the newspaper industry.

July 31: The New Mexican of Santa Fe, N.M., 12 people.
July 29: Orange County Register, 919 people as the Santa Ana, Calif.,-based newspaper contracts its delivery operations out to the Los Angeles Times.
July 28: Milwaukee Journal, 37 people.
July 27: The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., 10 people.
July 22: The Loudoun Easterner, of Sterling, Va., ceases publication. The number of employees who lost their jobs was not released by its owners, Landmark Communications Inc.
July 21: The Portland (Ore.) Tribune, two people.
July 15: The Contra Costa Times of Walnut Creek, Calif., Oakland Tribune and Tri-Valley Herald of Pleasanton, Calif., 17 people.
July 10: Claremont (N.H.) Eagle Times, 120 people.
July 8: Albany (N.Y.) Times Union, 18 people.
July 8: Bay State Banner in Boston suspends publication, 12 people.
July 2: Gannett Co. Inc., 1,331 people, according to Gannettoid.com.

In June, 318 people were laid off from newspapers in the United States.
In May, 1,084 people were laid off.
In April, 1,350 people were laid off from newspapers in the United States.
In March, at least 3,943 people lost their jobs from newspapers.
In February, 1,492 people were let go from their newspaper jobs.
In January, newspapers reported 2,256 layoffs to start the year.

Email me to report any job cuts in the newspaper industry.

Written by newscycle

August 6, 2009 at 2:06 pm

DDoS Attack Strikes at Twitter

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I’ve had all kinds of probelms with Twitter this morning, and I guess I’m not the only one.

On the site’s corporate blog, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said: “On this otherwise happy Thursday morning, Twitter is the target of a denial of service attack. Attacks such as this are malicious efforts orchestrated to disrupt and make unavailable services such as online banks, credit card payment gateways, and in this case, Twitter for intended customers or users.

“We are defending against this attack now and will continue to update our status blog as we continue to defend and later investigate.”

Jerry A. DiColo of Dow Jones Newswire describes this type of attack for non-geeks such as me:

Denial-of-service attacks are a common weapon employed by cyber criminals to disrupt the working of Web sites. Perpetrators enlist millions of computers to attempt to access a particular site. The site cannot handle the massive increase in traffic, and is rendered inaccessible.

While disruptive and hard to trace, this type of cyber attack is considered by experts to be a relatively unsophisticated technique. The attack itself doesn’t attempt to infiltrate the internal operations of a company’s computer infrastructure. It simply renders its Web site inactive.

Barret Lyons writes on bylon.com how it could be a DDoS attack:

At a presentation I gave at an International Terrorism and Intelligence conference, I discussed how Twitter is an obvious DDoS target. Well about 30 days later they’re in the thick of it.

Twitter is down and their network has clear signs of massive failure. In the several hundred (if not more) cases of DDoS I have had experience with, this looks like a very clear case of an attack.

Congestion is a very clear sign of a DDoS attack. In this case you will see on a traceroute clean hops up to the last few, where the network starts to get congested. Basically that means each step of the network is clean until things concentrate at the end.

The assumption is the congestion is caused by DDoS and not a system administrator creating a routing loop or something whacky like that.

They also only appear to have ONE network provider (NTT), which is rather insane these days. It also makes targeting Twitter a much less complicated task.

Using very basic tools it is possible to see that the congestion on their network is rather extreme. It’s possible to deduce that the congestion is probably due to a DDoS attack.

There have been reports that Facebook and Live Journal are having trouble as well. But my Facebook page is alive a well for the moment.

Written by newscycle

August 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Posted in DDoS, Twitter

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