A Journalist’s Guide to the Federal Courts
Source: United States Courts
Federal judges and the journalists who cover them share much common ground. One clear area of mutual interest is accurate and informed coverage of federal courts. A Journalist’s Guide to the Federal Courts is intended to assist reporters assigned to court coverage. It is the media who inform and educate the public about the courts, spark discussion and debate about their work, instill public trust and confidence in the institution and its function, and help protect judicial independence. These are worthwhile and important pursuits.
There are justifiable and distinct differences between the three branches of government and the access they grant the news media. Most of the work of federal courts is performed in open court and decisions, and in most cases court filings are available on the Internet. This primer is aimed at helping reporters who cover federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts – the cases, the people, and the process.
New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. 8(a) Subcontracting Limitations: Continued Noncompliance with Monitoring Requirements Signals Need for Regulatory Change. GAO-14-706, September 16.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665828.pdf
2. Health Insurance Exchanges: Coverage of Non-excepted Abortion Services by Qualified Health Plans. GAO-14-742R, September 15.
1. Land-Use Agreements: Department of Veterans Affairs Needs to Improve Data Reliability and Monitoring. GAO-14-501, August 18.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665331.pdf
2. Healthcare.gov: Actions Needed to Address Weaknesses in Information Security and Privacy Controls. GAO-14-730, September 17.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665841.pdf
3. Broadcast Television and Radio: Disclosure Requirements for Broadcasted Content. GAO-14-738, September 17.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665859.pdf
Statement for the Record
1. Individual Retirement Accounts: Preliminary Information on IRA Balances Accumulated as of 2011, by James R. McTigue, director, strategic issues, and Charles A. Jeszeck, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, to the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-14-878T, September 16.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665805.pdf
1. Financial Stability Oversight Council: Status of Efforts to Improve Transparency, Accountability, and Collaboration, by A. Nicole Clowers, director, financial markets and community investment team, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Financial Services. GAO-14-873T, September 17.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665852.pdf
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” This language restricts government’s ability to constrain the speech of citizens. The prohibition on abridgment of the freedom of speech is not absolute. Certain types of speech may be prohibited outright. Some types of speech may be more easily constrained than others. Furthermore, speech may be more easily regulated depending upon the location at which it takes place.
This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment—of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech.
Website linking: The growing problem of “link rot” and best practices for media and online publishers
Note to FullTextReports followers: This is an excellent article from Journalist’s Resource, a project of Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative. Food for thought and good advice for anyone who publishes anything online. Please share it widely. I’ll leave it here, at the top of FTR for a week or so and then move it off into the archive.
Website linking: The growing problem of “link rot” and best practices for media and online publishers
Source: Harvard Kennedy School of Government
The Internet is an endlessly rich world of sites, pages and posts — until it all ends with a click and a “404 not found” error message. While the hyperlink was conceived in the 1960s, it came into its own with the HTML protocol in 1991, and there’s no doubt that the first broken link soon followed.
On its surface, the problem is simple: A once-working URL is now a goner. The root cause can be any of a half-dozen things, however, and sometimes more: Content could have been renamed, moved or deleted, or an entire site could have evaporated. Across the Web, the content, design and infrastructure of millions of sites are constantly evolving, and while that’s generally good for users and the Web ecosystem as a whole, it’s bad for existing links.
In its own way, the Web is also a very literal-minded creature, and all it takes is a single-character change in a URL to break a link. For example, many sites have stopped using “www,” and even if their content remains the same, the original links may no longer work. The rise of CMS platforms such as WordPress have led to the fall of static HTML sites with their .htm and .html extensions, and with each relaunch, untold thousands of links die. And even if a core URL remains the same, many sites frequently append login information or search terms to URLs, and those are ephemeral. As the Web has grown, the problem has been complicated by search engines, which crawl the Web and archive — briefly — URLs and pages.
Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent and Young Adult Females
Source: Journal of Women’s Health
No prior study has empirically characterized the association between health risks and reading popular fiction depicting violence against women. Fifty Shades—a blockbuster fiction series—depicts pervasive violence against women, perpetuating a broader social narrative that normalizes these types of risks and behaviors in women’s lives. The present study characterized the association between health risks in women who read and did not read Fifty Shades; while our cross-sectional study design precluded causal determinations, an empirical representation of the health risks in women consuming the problematic messages in Fifty Shades is made.
Females ages 18 to 24 (n=715), who were enrolled in a large Midwestern university, completed a cross-sectional online survey about their health behaviors and Fifty Shades’ readership. The analysis included 655 females (219 who read at least the first Fifty Shades novel and 436 who did not read any part of Fifty Shades). Age- and race-adjusted multivariable models characterized Fifty Shades’ readers and nonreaders on intimate partner violence victimization (experiencing physical, sexual and psychological abuse, including cyber-abuse, at some point during their lifetime); binge drinking (consuming five or more alcoholic beverages on six or more days in the last month); sexual practices (having five or more intercourse partners and/or one or more anal sex partner during their lifetime); and using diet aids or fasting for 24 or more hours at some point during their lifetime.
One-third of subjects read Fifty Shades (18.6%, or 122/655, read all three novels, and 14.8%, or 97/655, read at least the first novel but not all three). In age- and race-adjusted models, compared with nonreaders, females who read at least the first novel (but not all three) were more likely than nonreaders to have had, during their lifetime, a partner who shouted, yelled, or swore at them (relative risk [RR]=1.25) and who delivered unwanted calls/text messages (RR=1.34); they were also more likely to report fasting (RR=1.80) and using diet aids (RR=1.77) at some point during their lifetime. Compared with nonreaders, females who read all three novels were more likely to report binge drinking in the last month (RR=1.65) and to report using diet aids (RR=1.65) and having five or more intercourse partners during their lifetime (RR=1.63).
Problematic depictions of violence against women in popular culture—such as in film, novels, music, or pornography—create a broader social narrative that normalizes these risks and behaviors in women’s lives. Our study showed strong correlations between health risks in women’s lives—including violence victimization—and consumption of Fifty Shades, a fiction series that portrays violence against women. While our cross-sectional study cannot determine temporality, the order of the relationship may be inconsequential; for example, if women experienced adverse health behaviors first (e.g., disordered eating), reading Fifty Shades might reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma. Likewise, if women read Fifty Shades before experiencing the health behaviors assessed in our study, it is possible that the book influenced the onset of these behaviors by creating an underlying context for the behaviors.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft and War in the Public Relations Domain (PDF)
Source: Air & Space Power Journal
Many of the RPA articles, opinions, and interviews produced over the last decade are either based on false premises (option a) or employ a logical fallacy of analogy (option c); therefore, many of their conclusions are invalid. This article does not attempt to show that most of the writing on RPAs over the last decade contains fallacies of some kind. Rather, it recognizes the ease with which sincere people can commit such errors as a result of the epistemic problem inherent in any discussion of RPA operations.
The argument, then, begins by asserting that such a problem exists and suggesting that it has three causes. First, enemy forces (here referring specifically to al-Qaeda and the Taliban) have an effective public relations (PR) campaign against RPAs. Second, the United States conducts an ineffective PR campaign in support of RPAs. Third, RPA operations are necessarily concealed by security classifications and national security precautions. The article expounds upon the significance of these causes and provides evidence for them—evidence that will demonstrate not only the three causes but also the reality of the epistemic problem. Its conclusion offers two ways that individuals can mitigate the dilemma and one means by which the US government can rectify it.
Signifying the public: Celebrity advocacy and post-democratic politics
Source: International Journal of Cultural Studies
Celebrity advocacy has become an important part of the way in which development non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and charities more generally, try to achieve social and political change. Yet research into how different audiences respond to such advocacy is parlous. This article presents findings from two large surveys (1111 and 1999), focus groups (9) and interviews across the charitable sector and celebrity industries to explore those responses. These data suggest that celebrity advocacy is not a particularly popular phenomenon, but it is widely believed to be so. Celebrity advocacy is thus firmly entrenched in post-democratic politics and part of the public alienation from politics that term describes. Nevertheless, because celebrity advocacy also works well with political and business elites it may still be a good vehicle for pursuing some of the goals of development advocates.
See: Celebrity promotion of charities ‘is largely ineffective,’ says research (EurekAlert!)