December 11 – December 18, 2008 Edition

Media Madness
Too Much for Kids;
CNN, Huffington Grow

(Authorlink News December 11, 2008)–In this week’s issue of Media Madness, a column exploring web sites, media industry news, books, author Dan Cook has these insights.

News flash: Too much media exposure can melt your kids’ brains. That’s the essence of the findings of a new study that synthesized information from 173 studies on media consumption. “In a clear majority of those studies more time with television, films, video games, magazines, music and the Internet was linked to rises in childhood obesity, tobacco use and sexual behavior,” reports”A majority also showed strong correlations — what the researchers deemed ‘statistically significant associations’ — with drug and alcohol use and low academic achievement.” The study was conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the nonprofit group Common Sense Media. “The research is clear that exposure to media has a variety of negative health impacts on children and teens,” said Jim Steyer of Common Sense Media. Steyer said he hoped the entertainment industry would be “responsible and responsive” in the wake of the findings.

Is CNN gunning for The Associated Press? Looks like it: “CNN, in the afterglow of an election season of record ratings for cable news, is elbowing in on a new line of business: catering to financially strained newspapers looking for an alternative to The Associated Press,” reports CNN is meeting with editors from 30 papers this week in an effort to sell them on their new service, CNN Wire. CNN president Jim Walton says the network already has an internal wire service and that it will be able to offer columns and text versions of stories to papers. “The CNN system is set up so we use content across all our networks and platforms,” Walton said. Fueling CNN’s aggressive move is not only its success in recent election coverage, but also problems at AP: some newspapers have been leaving the service because of its high cost, and the company recently announced it is cutting 400 employees, about 10 percent of its workforce.

In another aggressive media stance, reports that the Huffington Post blog site is looking to expand, too. The Times says site founder Arianna Huffington has secured $15 million in investor funding that will bankroll the liberal site’s move “into the provision of local news across the United States and into more investigative journalism.” The article, “Business big shot: Arianna Huffington, online entrepreneur,” does not specify further about the expansion. Meanwhile, Huffington Post editors have put together a new book, The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, which is published by Simon & Schuster. The book aims to provide “tools to help you build your blog, strategies to create your community, tips on finding your voice, and entertaining anecdotes from HuffPost bloggers that will make you wonder what took you so long to blog in the first place.”