Freedom of the press
A police officer stops to look at flowers laid close to the scene where Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was killed in May.
June 6th, 2013
02:26 PM ET

Freedom of the press

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - The divide between the U.S. and the U.K. over press coverage of crimes is about as wide as the Atlantic.

Cases in point: George Zimmerman, who’s accused of shooting Trayvon Martin last year in Florida – and the cases of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the two Muslim converts who are accused of butchering to death British soldier Lee Rigby in South London last month.

Zimmerman’s lawyer has used the courts – and the Fourth Amendment – to try to reshape the image of Trayvon Martin, says defense attorney Ron Kuby. He’s done it by getting the press to cover his requests to enter evidence that would link Martin, in the jury’s mind, with the idea of guns, and marijuana and violence.

[:44] “O’Mara’s purpose in releasing all this information he knows can’t come into evidence is to dirty up Trayvon Martin….to portray him in the minds of the jurors as a vaguely menacing young black man,” Kuby told CNN

In other words, O’Mara’s using the court – and the press – “trying to eliminate that image of a totally innocent teenage boy armed with Skittles and iced tea.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • International • Justice • Media • Soundwaves • Stories
Introducing Wendy Williams
TV personality Wendy Williams attends the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on March 24, 2012 in New York City.
May 31st, 2013
12:22 PM ET

Introducing Wendy Williams

Hosted by Michael Schulder

Follow Michael at: www.wavemaker.me

Editor's Note: Listen to the full interview in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - I think I hit the jackpot when I sat down with Wendy Williams for this CNN Profile.

She may be Exhibit A in the case I’ve been building since I turned 50 to destroy the myth of the 18-49 demographic.

The “demo” is the age group that advertisers having been paying top dollar for on network television for the past half century or so. In fact, some advertisers won’t pay for any audience members outside that demo.

If any advertiser or network executive would like to inform Wendy Williams she will soon be kicked out of your target “demo,” please leave your name and job title in the comments section below. We’d like to hear from you. FULL POST

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Filed under: CNN Profiles • Culture • Media • Profiles • Voices
Who cares about Jodi Arias?
May 23rd, 2013
05:15 PM ET

Who cares about Jodi Arias?

By Tommy Andres, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - The 12 people who unanimously convicted Jodi Arias of first degree murder earlier this month are having a little more trouble deciding whether she should live or die. They've been mulling it over all week, and if they can't come to an agreement, Arias could get a new trial with a new jury.

Twelve new people who will have to make that life-or-death decision.

As the country awaits an answer to that giant question, we wanted the answer to a different one. Why is this case so dang popular?

CNN's sister network HLN has been leading the coverage of the trial since it began on January 2, and it's been a big ratings boon.

We met up with HLN After Dark Executive Producer Jennifer Bernstein on a television set that may just make television history: a life-sized model of Travis Alexander's apartment where Jodi Arias murdered him.

Bernstein told us about the thought process behind the display's creation:

[0:41] "In recreating this killing scene, which is something unusual for HLN, we hadn't done something to this scale before – we had concerns about going too far and what is that line that you cross. So, to be honest with you, there was a lot more blood in that crime scene. This was a man who was stabbed almost 30 times, his throat was slit. He was shot. So you can imagine there was a lot of blood in that crime scene. And when we first built this we had a lot more red paint marking the blood. After meeting, we decided it was too much so we actually painted back over it to scale it down."

Bernstein says she thinks HLN viewers who have gotten wrapped up in the case are very smart. She describes them as couch jurors and psychiatrists:

[2:26] "Along the way they've emailed very detailed questions and observations, sometimes observations that our own trial experts hadn't picked up on. Everything we've done has been in response to their involvement. So, we've seen a huge interest online and acting as that 13th juror, with people giving their take and, if they were on the jury, what questions they would be asking."

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

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Filed under: Crime • Culture • Media • Soundwaves • Stories
Radio's last stand
Rachel Gordon on air during the Big Room concert at CD102.5 in Columbus, Ohio.
May 17th, 2013
08:36 AM ET

Radio's last stand

By Gavin Godfrey, CNN

Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - Columbus, Ohio's WWCD-FM is a throwback. It's one of just a handful of independent, major-market commercial music stations left in America.

If the state of radio in the country seems bleak, that's not something you can sense when speaking to the staff at WWCD, dubbed, "The Alternative Station."

I traveled with CNN.com writer Todd Leopold for his story on the state of commercial music radio in the United States and we wanted to capture a day in the life of one the last truly unique stations left.


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Seduced by Mary
Producer David Davis, actress Mary Tyler Moore, producer Allan Burns, fan Joe Rainone and producer James L. Brooks gather for a photo in 1971.
May 10th, 2013
12:13 PM ET

Seduced by Mary

Hosted by Michael Schulder

Follow Michael at: www.wavemaker.me

Editor's Note: Listen to the full interview in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Once a success, always a success.

You know who said that?


At least nobody I know of.

Often when we see a great success, whether it’s an individual like Steve Jobs, or a product like – oh man, I better get off this Apple bandwagon. Let me think of another iconic brand.


The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

When you think of how hooked America became on The Mary Tyler Moore Show – through its initial run in the 1970s and many years of reruns, it’s easy to imagine the successful backstory.

The incredibly likable Mary Tyler Moore pitches her show to CBS executives.

They can’t resist this new, refreshing storyline that’s just a little ahead of the curve on America’s evolving attitudes towards the role of women in society. A 30-year-old divorcee seeks to start life over in the big city, to seek career satisfaction and, if it comes, true love. It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s unfamiliar.

That was the problem.

You know how it is. Some leaders have a hard time saying yes to something they’ve never quite seen before. The unfamiliar is where the greatest opportunity lies. But it’s risky.

So here is the initial response from executives who listened to the pitch, as reported by our guest on this CNN Profiles, journalist Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.

[1:12] “We want you to listen to some research from this guy who does our research for us and he said that people do not want to watch television about divorced people; Jews; people from New York; or people with mustaches."

Audiences loved Mary when she was Laura Petrie married to comedy writer Rob Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke Show. But a single lady – who could leave a man to strike out on her own personally and professionally?

Risky for Mary Richards – the spirited young woman applying for job with TV news manager Lou Grant. Too risky for the real life executives. They resisted Mary’s charms at first.

Her story was too unfamiliar.

But, as Tom Waits sings, in one of his greatest songs of seduction, “we all begin as strangers.”

Wait until you hear what our guest found out about why executives resisted Mary.

Focus groups too. So much resistance.

So how did Mary make it after all?

That story – of overcoming adversity to create something original – is the story Jennifer Keishan Armstrong has brought to life in her brand new book, “Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted. And you can only hear it if you click the play icon at the top of this blog.

Yes, we all begin as strangers.

But if we just give a new relationship a chance – give it enough time – then we may come to realize, in the words of Tom Waits, “we really aren’t strangers any more.”


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