All in Media

By Sofía Baliño, editor-in-chief The midterm elections earlier this month, which have been both hailed and vilified as a “seismic shift” in the nature of American politics, might not have the major ramifications that so many policy wonks and talking heads predict. That was the message that the panelists at this year’s Zeidman Memorial Colloquium on Politics and the Press told a sympathetic Duke audience last week. CNN’s John King, Politico editor-in-chief and cofounder John F. Harris, and Duke professors Sunshine Hillygus and Philip Bennett (also former managing editor of the Washington Post) led the Sanford-hosted discussion, in which the four conducted a post-mortem on the 2010 midterm elections. With candor, analysis, and a bit of wry humor, they broke down the events leading up to the November 2nd elections, and promised that the 2012 election is still very much up in the air, despite suggestions to the contrary.

by Dan Behrend, staff editor Does avoiding potential damage to a school district’s public image outweigh the benefits of bringing national attention to unhealthy school lunches and high rates of childhood obesity? The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) seemed to respond in the affirmative when it recently rejected an offer to become the new focus of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

By Gillian Grissom, staff editor Even if you’re only an occasional television viewer, I doubt you’ve missed the ubiquitous Domino’s Pizza commercials promoting its new, improved specialty pizza recipes. Perhaps you’ve even noticed the “New Wisconsin 6 Cheese” offering, the newest member of its “Legends” line? What I’m sure you did miss, however, is the fact that a typical serving of this new recipe contains about three-quarters of the maximum recommended daily amount of saturated fat. And two-thirds of the maximum recommended sodium intake.

By Jenny Orgill, staff editor Even Stewart and Colbert underestimated the masses that would pour onto the National Mall for the much anticipated Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. There were not adequate jumbotrons or speakers to accommodate the estimated 215,000 people that stretched from the Air and Space Museum to the Washington Monument. Why had people flocked to the mall in such great numbers? I think even the Colbert fans in the audience knew that this was all about restoring sanity. However, beyond being frustrated with the polarization of politics in America, I don’t think most of us understood what restoring sanity meant.

By Tia Brueggeman, staff editor The interwoven relationship between journalism and public policy often leads to disputes over privacy and regulation. This is no more apparent than with the controversy over WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assanage. In brief, WikiLeaks is an anonymous, growing online drop box for classified documents relating primarily to politics and diplomacy. It has proven quite successful at attracting and posting such documents. In reference to a recent release of US military documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Assanage told CNN, “We released 400,000 classified documents, the most extraordinary history of a war to have ever been released in our civilization.” This anonymous behemoth exposes the conflict that underlies our desires to simultaneously preserve freedom of the press, protect privacy and shield soldiers from further harm.

By Ellen Whelan-Wuest, staff editor On October 24, 2009, thousands of people organized over 3,400 demonstrations around the world to demand the adoption of new energy policies. Nearly one year later, on October 10, 2010 (10/10/10), a similar day of action was coordinated and the number of events worldwide more than doubled. However, despite this increase in grassroots participation, American media coverage of this year’s day of action was almost non-existent, marking a dramatic contrast with last year when several major national news outlets covered the events. There are several possible explanations for the relative media silence that followed 10/10/10, but certainly one of them is the backwards shift in the climate change movement’s political momentum over the last year.