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Michael V Marcotte
Albuquerque, NM
Veteran public media news executive now teaching and consulting
Interests: Reading, networking and blogging. Discovering great journalism on all platforms. Enjoying music, theater and outdoor stuff like running, biking and hiking. A fan of yoga. I'm the proud owner of two Bajaj scooters and for some reason I'm certified in transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Recent Activity
Author’s Pretext: In Part One, I described the evolution of the New Mexico News Port as an innovation-collaboration-publication lab seated in the Communications & Journalism Department at the University of New Mexico. We explored how it started, how it now operates, its successes and challenges, and what the lab could become. In this part, I flip the telescope around and describe this teaching-hospital-model from the vantage point of the classroom instructor. This series is my contribution to the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism’s “Disruptive Educator” program, for which I was named a 2017 Fellow. I welcome your questions and comments. In the Classroom: Where the Heavy Lifting Happens Busy is the journalism instructor who succeeds in publishing every student in his reporting course. It’s not enough to impart best practices, set a deadline and then give a grade on a paper or test. Rather, you have to guide every story... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Mike Marcotte
I figure the big J-programs like Cronkite, Missou, Grady and the like are light years ahead in the Teaching-Hospital-Model of journalism They’ve grown the culture and have the resources to launch working newsrooms that produce real-world journalism from inside their schools. But what about the rest of us? Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2018 at Mike Marcotte
Imagine that public broadcasting never happened in the United States — that the educational stations and networks never formed; that the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 never passed; that NPR, PBS and all of their hundreds of member stations never existed. Now imagine that this year, in 2017, there was a sudden, national wave of interest in creating a new media system subsidized by taxpayer dollars. What would such a system look like? via Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 8, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
While the simplistic analysis of the value of public media based on the sole metric of abundant distribution and content options is wrong, it is vital to understand the technology and market changes – most importantly the confluent forces, discussed below, of big bandwidth, big data and big media – that are transforming the environment for media enterprises. These developments are already disrupting, restructuring, and in some cases, destroying parts of the media ecosystem. via Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 8, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
“In public radio, there's this person we consider, called ‘Mary,’” said Sarah Alvarez, a recent John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford. “Sometimes, when people are pitching stories, somebody will say, ‘Well, why would Mary care about that?’ And Mary is in her 50s, she's well-educated, she's white, she's affluent. And Mary is not Maria, you know?” via Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 8, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
This unhealthy nexus between taxpayer funding and journalism has been a feature, not a bug, of public broadcasting from the start. The CPB was created by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the broadcasting component of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. The Act had a noble pedigree. Its roots can be found in the missionary zeal of 19th century New England Yankee educational reformists, whose tastes and cultural proclivities left an indelible imprint on many of America’s leading intellectual institutions. The belief by these Boston Brahmins that much of America was a cultural Appalachia upon which the New England habits of self-improvement could be imposed found a niche in the revolutionary new media of the 20th century. But this history also contains the roots of something less palatable: a sometimes patronizing approach (perhaps also harking back to the sneering patricians), which rankles many Americans. Newt Gingrich quipped in 1996, “I... Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 8, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
“The biggest crisis in America is the crisis of local news,” New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet said on a panel in Silicon Valley in May 2017. The Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal will be fine, Baquet argued. “We have to figure out the Buffalos, the New Orleans, the Atlantas ... so if a school board does something important in a suburb of New Orleans or Atlanta, it's covered. … I would say to philanthropists and local leaders, you should think of a way to sustain local journalism," Baquet said, according to media journal Poynter. "I don’t know what that model is."[8] via Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 8, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
I have a lot of sympathy for governments and regulators trying to navigate today's media and culture landscape. Nobody wants to be the Donald Trump of culture policy, bailing out of international agreements and promising to bring back the coal jobs. And nobody really wants to turn back the clock. via Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 8, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
MIAMI – Dec. 7, 2017 – What is the role of the public media system in a digitally-driven 21st century? How might the system change to inform community today? These are the principal questions addressed in six white papers released today, commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The body of work provides diverse and provocative perspectives on ways the public media system could or should reimagine itself for the 21st century. via Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 8, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
You got promoted! Great. Now what? Years of journalism training haven’t necessarily prepared you for the art of managing people. You might even find yourself supervising your peers. Before you know it, you stop getting those invitations to happy hour. You are the boss. via It was fun to chat with Current's "The Pub" podcast guest host Annie Russell along with my training partner Judith Smelser about my favorite topic: newsroom management. Annie is a natural in the host role. Judith, of course, is brilliant. Enjoy! Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 19, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
For the past year, the Center for Cooperative Media has studied the rise of collaborative journalism. Working cooperatively is nothing new, to be sure, but how frequently and impactfully news organizations have been collaborating over the last few years is certainly something new. Dramatically shifting business models, technological advances and seismic shifts in audience have lead to groundbreaking and award-winning collaborations around the world, including the Panama Papers and Electionland. Today the Center released its first full research paper on this topic, identifying six distinct models of collaborative journalism. The report, authored by Center research director Sarah Stonbely, explains the underpinnings of each model and also explores the history of collaborative journalism. “As we document, collaborative journalism is now being practiced on a scale that constitutes a revolution in journalism,” Stonbely writes. “The many trials and errors of the last decade have generated cooperative efforts that have stood the test... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 29, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
The crisis in journalism has become a crisis for our democracy. We need a new model that will strengthen journalism, enrich communities, empower citizens and restore trust in media by developing and sustaining a new wave of journalists to serve local news organizations in under-covered corners of America. Think ‘Teach for America’ for journalists — a public service program we call Report for America. The initiative, launching in early 2018, draws on successes of national and community service movements, as well as recent innovations in local news. An initiative of the nonprofit media organization The GroundTruth Project, it is structured to harness the skill and idealism of an emerging group of journalists plus the creative spirit of local news organizations. RFA will NOT be government funded. Rather, its unique structure and funding formula will dramatically expand the base of donors supporting local journalism. Early supporters include: Google News Lab, The... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 19, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
Hundreds of local and regional radio and television stations comprise the U.S. public media system. On the audio side, organizations such as NPR, American Public Media (APM) and Public Radio International (PRI) produce and distribute programming, reaching audiences through local stations as well as digital channels. Individual stations, such as New York’s WNYC and Chicago’s WBEZ, produce nationally syndicated original journalism as well. On the television side, PBS NewsHour produces an evening newscast that airs on local PBS stations around the country. The organization has a digital operation as well. On the whole, the news offerings of U.S. public broadcasters have been marked by relative financial stability and, in the past year, audience growth. Explore the patterns and longitudinal data about public broadcasting below. via Fresh data from the Pew State of the News Media researchers. This fact sheet on public broadcasting shows continued growth in audience, platform uses... Continue reading
Reblogged Aug 7, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
LOCAL NEWS IS IN DIRE STRAITS. In a quest for profit, publishers have gutted newsrooms and hollowed out coverage of local communities. As the industry struggles to build the business model of the future, it’s missing an opportunity to embrace a funding mechanism that can enshrine journalism as a public service: the special service district. The United States currently hosts more than 30,000 special service districts, which fund everything from local fire departments and water infrastructure projects to sanitation services and hospitals. Special service districts are paid for by taxes or annual fees assessed in a geographic area; and, in turn, they deliver services to the communities that fund them. They can be created by town councils or voted into existence via referendum. via This is a completely new idea to me. It's quite brilliant, really. Coming from public media, I see this as flipping federal funding of public... Continue reading
Reblogged Jul 19, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
Now that some guarded optimism has replaced all the hand-wringing triggered by the WSJ analysis, one of the dangers facing public radio is complacency. Larger stations aren’t as vulnerable to this. They are driving system growth, and their competitive challenges and opportunities for service expansion are too powerful. For example: Stations know they have to “be more local.” This requires a complex, expensive reorganization of staff, acquisition of new technology and new skills and creation of new, highly valued local services — everything from local journalism to greater involvement in cultivating local music. This is why I am partnering with Current in a search for new models of “Local that Works.” You can submit your ideas and projects to our search and potentially secure a $5,000 prize for the best example, which will be featured in a general session at Super Regional meeting in September. Our editorial network needs to... Continue reading
Reblogged Jul 6, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
It was a warm Wednesday night in early May and clusters of people, most of them under 30, were standing on a theater terrace overlooking Brussels, Belgium. Munching on appetizers and sipping drinks while also shooting photos for Snapchat and Instagram, they were there to hear a series of talks from documentary makers, a VR expert, and the owners of an alternative online magazine. The event, which attracted a hip crowd of around 100 attendees, was organized by one of Belgium’s largest legacy media organizations, the public broadcaster VRT. via I love this. Local public radio stations all around the U.S. should have a strategy similar to this -- open the doors to the media makers in the community. Encourage and empower them. It's about getting on your airwaves, necessarily. Continue reading
Reblogged Jul 6, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
For the second time in as many months, I find myself writing about the firing of a public media journalist over matters related to journalistic integrity. Last month, it was Marketplace reporter Lewis Wallace. This time it’s Jacqui Helbert, fired from WUTC in Chattanooga after state lawmakers complained to the station’s license holder, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, about one of her stories. The lawmakers said Helbert hadn’t properly identified herself as a journalist in meetings they’d held with high school students about a proposed transgender bathroom bill. They said they were unaware the meetings were being recorded for broadcast, although multiple accounts suggest Helbert was wearing press credentials and carrying conspicuous recording gear. One of the lawmakers complained to a state Senator who represents the station’s Chattanooga district. That lawmaker raised the issue with officials at the state-funded university. A few days later, Helbert was fired for what... Continue reading
Reblogged Mar 29, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
At a time when news organizations find themselves under attack, the Democracy Fund along with our partners at First Look Media are announcing today the largest grants either organization has made to date in support of journalism. For years, the media industry has struggled against major economic threats that have severely undermined our fourth estate. In response, the Democracy Fund’s Public Square program has worked with journalists across the country to experiment with new models that can reinvigorate local media and ensure that newsrooms are able to fulfill their core responsibilities to a healthy democracy. But the political attacks that journalists have faced over the past 18 months represent something wholly new and potentially toxic to a free and open society. At the Democracy Fund, we believe that a robust free press is essential. We must not take it for granted. In times like these, we all must do our... Continue reading
Reblogged Mar 27, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
Last September, NPR’s All Things Considered aired a story about how outside interests lurked behind a glut of ballot measures nationwide. To cover the story, NPR turned to reporters from member stations in Colorado and Maine to compare and contrast what was happening in each state, while also sharing lessons that could be applied nationally. “It gave the listeners a bigger sense of the issue, without doing the more common thing where you have a scene in one statehouse and the rest of the piece goes national and abstract,” said Megan Verlee, a reporter at Colorado Public Radio, who reported the Colorado half of the story. “By taking the pieces from two station reporters, both pieces stayed rooted to the ground. By putting them together, we were able to paint a clearer picture of what was happening nationally.” The story came together through a reporting partnership NPR launched last year... Continue reading
Reblogged Jan 20, 2017 at Mike Marcotte
As a candidate, Donald Trump demonized the press, used social media to bypass it, hired a media propagandist to run his campaign, and established a pattern of proffering false statements and then denying doing so when caught. Afterward, the Oxford English Dictionary named the adjective “Post-truth” the word of the year, citing both the Brexit and U.S. elections. This declaration clearly indicates that the world of facts in which journalists try to operate, if not lost, is losing ground.[1] Since November, journalists have wondered in public and private how to cover a Trump government—though the question should probably be turned around to “what do citizens need now from the press?” The answers offered have ranged from the suggestion that press now abandon all its traditional canons to the idea that it must cling even faster to them than ever.[2] I’ve spent many of the last few weeks in gatherings on... Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 21, 2016 at Mike Marcotte
Some big news on the fake news front. As you know, we beefed up our coverage of fake news to help readers better sort out fact from fiction on their social media feeds. Now, we’re teaming up with Facebook to continue and hopefully grow that mission. Facebook today announced a series of changes to combat the proliferation of fake news. As part of that effort, which you can read more about here, PolitiFact has agreed to help fact-check suspicious claims that are being shared on the social media platform. In short, Facebook is making it easier to report a hoax while also making it easier for independent fact-checkers such as PolitiFact to dispute the story. via This is a good start! Even the ACLU sees the rightness in it (Google it). Speaking of which, Jeff Jarvis says Google, too, is working on the issue: Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 16, 2016 at Mike Marcotte
If you are hungry for news you can trust, journalism that helps you make decisions about your community, reporting that holds power to account, then this is for you. This is my personal advice for people who want to support journalism that matters. It is just a starting point, it is not comprehensive, and it’ll become stronger and more useful if you add your ideas to it. Use the comments to add your list of newsrooms you subscribe to and support. Now more than ever, it is important to our democracy that we seek out and support good journalism. Every person is going to construct their media diet differently, so any list I create will be incomplete. My goal here is to provide a framework for you to find the news that will challenge, inspire, inform and engage you. A few key pieces of advice: Support local news: Subscribe to... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 29, 2016 at Mike Marcotte
Criminal justice reform is a hot topic these days. Here in New Mexico, the city of Albuquerque is under a federal consent decree to improve its police department, having been found overly reliant on excessive use of force. (In fact, we just completed a trial of two former Albuquerque cops accused of murdering a mentally-ill homeless man during a SWAT operation in 2014. The trial ended in a mistrial and we'll have to see if the newly elected District Attorney will re-prosecute the case.) All this is to say, we have "teaching moment" in local journalism. Thanks to a grant by the Kellogg Foundation, awarded to the Asian-American Journalists Association, who is contracted with Investigative Reporters & Editors, who approached my school (University of New Mexico, School of Communication and Journalism), we are able to offer a special course on criminal justice journalism next January! Let me note that this... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2016 at Mike Marcotte
Public Radio News Directors Inc. recognized Public Radio Exchange’s John Barth with its Leo C. Lee Award in June during its annual conference in St. Louis. Barth, now chief content officer at PRX, began his career as a public radio journalist at Philadelphia’s WHYY under Bill Siemering, another visionary public radio leader. Barth had a key role in developing many successful public radio programs, including Marketplace, The Moth Radio Hour and, most recently, Reveal; he also worked in senior roles at Audible and AOL. For this commentary, Barth adapted and expanded upon the speech he delivered during the PRNDI Awards ceremony. via All people in public media should take a few minutes to read John's speech. I was lucky enough to be at the PRNDI awards banquet in St Louis to hear John deliver the speech live -- to which he received a standing ovation. (And then proceeded to... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 29, 2016 at Mike Marcotte
Kudos to my colleague Kate Nash Cunningham for writing up this article, re-published below, for MediaShift, capturing the top takeaways from our year-long reporting project, Creative New Mexico -- the latest body of work produced through our 3-year old student-powered reporting lab, New Mexico News Port. It's been a blast exploring the nascent startup scene in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and we got a lot of cool followers along the way. Time to cover the fall elections now -- but we will keep one eye out for new developments in the creative economy! -- MM ******************* Remix: 5 Tips for Managing a Year-Long Student Journalism Project by Kate Nash Cunningham September 1, 2016 When most journalism students think of the topics they'd like to cover as reporters, the business beat is not high on their lists. For some, it's not even on their lists. And let's be honest: covering job... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2016 at Mike Marcotte