Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bill Moyers Answered My Questions During Live Chat

Lisa Bu

Bill Moyers, host of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, is one of my most respected people. He had a live chat on the PBS web site Tuesday. Many people have submitted questions, and I did too, expecting only a slim chance of being picked for answer. But amazingly, he picked both of my questions and gave the following answers. That made my day.

Lisa: Where do you get your news among gazillions of sources? Any strategy to overcome information overload?

Bill Moyers: Every morning I read the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and segments of the Washington Post -- to get a sense of how they are playing the same stories as well as their own original reporting. The Times has done superb coverage on the Great Collapse (my term for what's happening to us.) I spend a couple of hours on several Website--starting with (, going on to to see how the conservative base is responding to the news and and/or for the liberal perspectives. I graze all day as time allows across a mulitude of sites --news and opinion --and check in occasionally with the AP and Reuters. I also have several newspaper among my "favs" -- Los Angeles Times, Times of London -- that I will visit over the course of a day. I still prefer magazines stacked beside my bed, however -- and right now they include Harper's, Reason, National Review, The American Prospect, In These Times, Mother Jones, the Economist, the New York Review of Books, YES, and the quarterly of the East Texas State Historical Society. I don't have a strategy for managing the information overflow except to read what I want and then ask myself, with the computer off and the magazine closed, what do I thik about what I've just read? Well, actually, I find good movies a great antidote to overanalyzing the news.

[The class I refer to in the second question is the J201: Introduction to Mass Communication for which I'm a TA. Sorry I should have said "intro to mass communication" instead of "intro to Journalism" in my question.]

Lisa, Madison, WI:
Few of my students in a college intro to Journalism class watch PBS. How do we attract more young citizens to quality/public media?

Bill Moyers: That's our fault in public television . We have too few broadcasts grounded in reporting -- the best is NOW with David Brancaccio and Frontline, the best documentary series since CBS Reports -- so we don't have that farm club I spoke of earlier. Our local stations have too few resources to cultivate new talent. The BBC is a great newsgathering organization because it was established with a dedicated tax that produces revenues of about six billion dollars a year -- that's why listeners and viewers get a feast of news and information not to mention some great cultural programming. Public media in this country has never had the means to grow our own journalists, and we don't now. We need to reconstitute ourselves with at least a third of our programming devoted to news and public affairs and a trust fund to provide the training that produces generation after generation of independent journalists.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Congratulations Lisa!