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Amazing news!

July 7, 2000

NewsWatch Will Return!

Publication will recommence in late August. Keep checking back for more details

Media Tributes

Update, June 6

Brill's Content's Elizabeth Angell asks why a "celebrated media criticism site" bit the dust?

More readers' letters...

Update, June 6

Letters and media stories continue to come in. We are pursing a couple of possible avenues for restarting the site. In the mean time, the archives are still going to be available.

"after many heartfelt notes from readers lamenting the site's untimely demise, the nonprofit CMPA says it is trying to find a new source of funding, perhaps from foundations or j-schools."
Carl Sullivan in Editor & Publisher Online

See also "A death is noted in the meta-media family" - Felicity Barringer, New York Times (second item)

Update, June 2

The tributes are coming in -

"The truth is there are few places to get real media criticism...   NewsWatch.org, the site published by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, has been an exception: a daily, reliably objective look into the many missteps of the American press. From West Nile encephalitis hysteria to bogus reports on the drug Ecstasy, NewsWatch called B.S. on the media. 
- Ken Layne in USC's Online Journalism Review

"A glance at the Newswatch site reveals a sparse design and rich writing on media topics ranging from ABC's hand-wringing over Leonardo DiCaprio's presidential interview to criticism about the current rage for media criticism -- all handled with style and a wry sense of humor."
- From Greg Lindsay's "Cult following isn't enough to save NewsWatch" in Inside.com (registration required)

"Sad news: one of the media sites we've admired the most here at Arts & Letters Daily has gone bust. NewsWatch is no more... "
- Arts & Letters Daily

"I'm writing on behalf of everyone at MediaChannel to tell you how sorry we are that NewsWatch is closing shop. We valued the independent perspective you brought to the analysis of the news media. As our organization consists of over 420 media affiliates worldwide at the present  time, NewsWatch's contribution to, difference with, and complementarity to this diverse range of independent and alternative media sites enriched the various debates about media issues immensely. NewsWatch will be missed by many, w'ere sure."
- Andrew Levy - Mediachannel

Update, June 1.
Thanks to all the readers who have written in to express sadness and support. I will get around to replying to you all in time. Rest assured, that if we can bring NewsWatch back, we will, and to that end, the notice of your appreciation is of enormous help. Thank you again. - Trevor Butterworth


On Tuesday, May 30, NewsWatch.org, a daily media criticism Web site run by The Center for Media and Public Affairs, ceased operations. Described by Smart Computing as one of the "best little-known Web sites," on the Web, NewsWatch.org was launched a year and a half ago to serve as a "consumer's guide to the news." Rather than look at the inside stories behind the day's news - who was up, who was down and who did what to whom - NewsWatch focused on news content, examining inaccuracies, distortions, lack of context and other controversies of interest to the consumers as well as the producers of news.

In support of this mission, its writers examined everything from media coverage of Kosovo's air war to Elian Gonzales; from journalistic confusion over Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle to the myth of cybersex addiction. We tried to praise the good and correct the bad in journalism, operating from a non-partisan perspective. As friendly critics, we also sought to expand public understanding of how the press actually works and where its future may lie, most prominently through an interview series that included "Bobos in Paradise" author David Brooks, Columbia Journalism School Dean Tom Goldstein, Atlantic Monthly/National Journal editor Michael Kelly, and Washington Post Ombudsman E.R. Shipp.

And occasionally, NewsWatch just wrote offbeat and (we hope) amusing stories for the sake of entertaining our readers. Despite our small operation, we enjoyed a steadily increasing readership, buoyed by NewsWatch's contribution to the media debate in such outlets as ABC.com, Arts & Letters Daily, The Associated Press, The Australian, BBC's World News Tonight, Brill's Content, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Editor & Publisher, Fox News, The London Observer, TomPaine.com, U.S. News & World Report, and The Washington Post.com.

Unfortunately, despite our growing public role and increasing readership, our inability to secure a sufficient funding stream has forced us to call a halt to daily publication. We hope that NewsWatch can return in the near future with new sources of support. We want to thank our readers for their loyalty and their, often amusing, commentary. We would also like to thank contributors and staff, past and present, for taking the power of the Internet and creating something new and valuable.

If you wish to send any comments, click here.

Best -

Trevor Butterworth


In Memoriam...

readers respond

Surely cooler heads will prevail to work out a dare I say restructuring deal that would preserve jobs, preserve insight and preserve intelligent counterviews to the prevailing herd and checkbook mentalities that parade as responsible journalism.

Tony Gillotte
Indochina correspondent
Lloyd's List Maritime Asia

I demand that you return, immediately.

Ray Mallett
San Francisco

I am sorry to see you go. In fact, in these times of increasing mistrust to media, more of your sort would be welcomed to emerge, and challenge the profession for not falling short. All over the world, we see signs of credibility crisis in varying degrees. You were great help to me, in my lonely profession, highlighting the patterns and trends. I hope, and somehow know, that you will come back.

Yavuz Baydar
Reader Representative
Milliyet daily
Istanbul, Turkey

Sorrily I just found you as you might be leaving...I am optimistic....I can't believe I never heard of you till now as your site is right up my alley! Stay with it, don't hang it up yet!

Emily Miller Mundy

Come back!

Mark Randell
Precinct Coordinator
City of Fremantle

Regrettably, I only heard of your site when reading a piece about your shutdown. I have looked it over, and it is outstanding! I hope you can work out a financial plan to get back in operation.

Best of luck,

John Cunningham
Eagle River, Alaska

I am very saddened to see your site close down. I enjoyed reading  Maia Szalavitz's column and often surfed by to read it. I hope you  will be able to get funding for your site soon

Kira Smith

It's a shame that I just found your site and your gone!! I am writing an argumentative research paper on the media "Useful information, not entertainment". Your site was perfect for my argument. If you should stand up in the near or distant future, could you add my E-mail to a distribution list (if you intend to make one). Thanks and I hope you guys return soon.


Victor S. Angry
Honolulu, HI

Come back please, I've just discovered you.

Auckland, New Zealand

I only learned about you and your site recently with your piece on the Heisenberg principle. I weep at the thought that you have to pull down your cyber shingle.

Best regards,

Nick Schulz

I will miss your literate postings. Thanks for giving us something to think about. I wish there was some other list that would fill the void since so much of cyberspace has been taken over by commerce & the mass media. Wish we could built another oasis somewhere. Could you try again to get more funding--or perhaps paid subscriptions? Nice reading you. Best of luck

Anne McDonald

This is truly sad news! I am probably a late arrival on the NewsWatch scene but I quickly learned its value and truly looked forward to each writing. I do hope you are able to revive the concept, and if so will inform me. Thanks for what you were able to provide. You guys and gals should have nothing but pride with what you have done. The best to all of you.

Jim Morrison
Denver CO

Your web site will be missed. Please come back.

Lillian Katz

So sorry to hear about this latest development. I read you guys regularly and really enjoyed everything you posted. Here's hoping you won't have long before you can get things going again.

Eric Deggans
TV Critic
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times

The market will - in the end - recognize good ideas. This was / is one of them.

Tom McLeod
Melbourne, Australia

Oh no! How tragic! I hope you will be back online real soon. We desperately need your services. I am so depressed. :(Maybe you could hookup with Jewish World Review, Townhall.com or FreeRepublic until you get on your feet again. I so often read your stuff on, hmm, Jewish World Review I think it was. Really, really important work. Please don't give up.

Debi Chesson
Wichita, Kansas

Thank YOU for your outstanding work!! I hope that you will be able to find the funding needed to resume operations.

Tom Mitchell
Wilmington NC

NewsWatch crew:

I'm completely bummed. I am a devoted fan of your site. I'm executive editor of The Register-Guard, a mid-sized daily newspaper in Eugene, Ore., and, among   other things, I write a weekly column that attempts to educate readers  about how and why newspapers do what they do. I found more thoughtful material and important leads for columns from your site than any of the  dozens of other "media criticism/analysis" sites I monitor each week.

Your material was incisive, thought-provoking and expertly reported. I  always found myself hoping an examination of The Register-Guard's coverage of topics you explored on NewsWatch would indicate we were striving mightily to meet the high standards you set for responsible journalism. Striving being the key word. I genuinely hope you find the support you need to continue your important  work. Though I realize it is not a particularly successful model on the  Web, I would be willing to subscribe, join or otherwise pay a reasonable  fee to continue to have access to the valuable information you provide.

Best of luck,
Jim Godbold
Executive Editor
The Register Guard

This is very bad news. I echo Mr. Jim Godbold: "I'm completely bummed. I am   a devoted fan of your site." I'm just an average citizen and I've been reading your site for a few months. In that time, I've come to rely on it to get to the truth underlying media coverage. In my opinion, you have succeeded  in becoming a "consumer's guide to the news." Thank you for the good work. I can only hope this turns out to be just an interruption.


Jim Cina

As someone who used your site in my media lit class I am very disappointed to see you go. Having my students read articles from your site was always a great educational lesson. What are the possibilities that you will find funding before the fall semester kicks up (I know it sounds really selfish of me to ask but I am hoping somehow you will get back on line soon - for all the people who use your website).

Karl Steinkamp
VHS Media Lit Teacher
Graded American School
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Although I was not a very regular reader of your web site, I always found it informative and even, enlightening. If you return soon I promise to be a more loyal reader.

Best wishes
Michael Ferstein

Well, I'm saddened to find out your organization is gone. I had just found your site and sent you a May 25 e-mail regarding an April 26 NYT article on racial injustice in the juvenile justice system. That story had at its core totally wrong statistics about blacks and whites being sentenced to juvenile  prisons. That's how urban legends or myths start.  After a month long e-mail battle with my local newspaper, I had hoped   NewsWatch would investigate this story. I know that will not happen. Is there   any place else for me to turn?

Best to you and your future.

Arlin Peters

I hope NewsWatch rises from the ashes, and I want to tell you that I enjoyed your material, Trevor, particularly your Irish mastery of irony. I hope to see you surface online again! Thank you and NewsWatch for the constant reality checks and the humour too. I wish you well.

Mary Ellen Torobin

Sorry to see you go. As a daily reader,   I was both informed and entertained by your articles. I will miss your organizations insight and over all balance in reporting. I hope to see you back again in the near future. If need be, I would gladly pay a fee to subscribe and read your articles. Hoping to see you back soon...

Patrick Lopez

If you do resume some kind of publication, I would be most grateful if you could manage to put my name on an email list to inform me of your revival.

Best regards and good luck

Frank Pool
Austin, Texas

Please, Do Hurry Back.... I love your site and we all  NEED YOU.

Dede Fisher

My sympathies are added to many you have surely received. Does it strike anyone else - are former colleagues listening? - that this is a website that could well be part of an academic institution like a J-School. Funding might then come from foundation sources or, in a fit of complete idealism, funding might come from the very institutions being watched by the website. This bit of fanciful hope would go a long way to fulfilling the mission of a "news council", and the self-funded analysis would be a healthy message to readers, listeners, and viewers that there are some institutions of journalism who care about their standards!

Peter Herford

I appreciate what you people tried to do. The reporters we get nowadays are more interested in making their big splash, and not analyzing the data they are GIVEN, instead of gathering their own data, and reporting it with no slant. Slant is what OPINION pages are for, after all. Without you policing the news, I feel we are a poorer nation. Please try again.

Tom Wheeler
Bryan, OH

I'm very sad to hear that your fine website will be on a break until new funding is found. I truly enjoyed reading your material. I always felt that you were performing a valuable public service by pointing out to the news consuming public that we deserve quality in the media. You did an excellent job of showing where that quality was present and where it was lacking.

I'll keep checking back at your website, hoping that new funding has been found. In the mean time, thanks for all your good efforts. If it means  anything, I have over 300 "favorites" filed in my copy of Internet Explorer and yours was at the very top of the list.

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

John F. Hughes
News from Hughes Information Services
San Francisco, CA

I'm really sorry to hear that the plug has been pulled on your site. Good luck getting the funding to get it back up and running again.


Sarah Bachman
Visiting Scholar
Asia/Pacific Research Center
Stanford University

Thank YOU.
Your work has been consistently some of the most illuminating and motivating in the public arena. Good luck in your search for support. I hope you maintain your mailing list for when, not if, you get back in service.

Gray Buckley

Your site is (was?) one of the ten or fifteen I check daily. I confess that I installed ad-blocking software, so that if your site is supported by banner ads, I will never have seen them, much less click them... so perhaps I am part of why your site went down.  Have you considered aligning yourselves with a college journalism department somewhere? That may be a stupid question -- if so, please don't trouble yourself with by replying to tell me so!

Assistant Professor Dennis G. Jerz,  Dept. of English 
Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 

It's a real shame, my friend. I am terribly sorry to hear that you've had to close down and I only hope you find a way to re-open some day soon. You were doing the (Journalistic) Lord's work and it will be a tragedy if such a valuable and much-needed critical voice is silenced.

Sandy Edry

I hope that Newswatch can be revived very soon. Your site, which I stumbled on through Arts & Letters Daily, contained much provocative, intelligent and well-written comment and analysis.  It's a shame to see it go.

Geoff Elliott
London, England

I'm greatly disappointed to see the hiatus in your analysis of the media. We all need help in keeping coverage in perspective - news consumers and producers alike. I hope to see you return to your valuable service in the near future.

Fred Arnold
Elementary Science Program
Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES
Spencerport, NY

Even more tomorrow


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