Broken Record (On The Media: Friday, 17 July 2009)

President Obama promised to bring transparency to the White House, but one opaque practice has continued unabated: off-the-record briefings. AP's managing editor for U.S. news, Michael Oreskes, explains why these secret conversations prevent reporters from doing their jobs.

Just Eat It (On The Media: Friday, 17 July 2009)

There are a few things you can do with a printed newspaper that you can’t with websites: start a fire, wrap a present or make paper-mâché. But you can also eat it. Todd Wheeler of the marketing company US Ink is working to get flavor strips into food advertisements. He says they could provide a much-needed new revenue stream for newspapers.

Covering Big Food (On The Media: Friday, 17 July 2009)

Robert Kenner set out to make a documentary about the food industry, thinking he’d hear from both activists and industry insiders. But he quickly realized that the insiders wouldn’t talk, farmers who did suffered consequences and, by the way, he needs a lot more lawyers. Kenner says the process was “Orwellian.”

How the Sausage Was Made (On The Media: Friday, 17 July 2009)

Kevin Mattson is a historian who’s written about the food industry’s original scourge, Upton Sinclair. Sinclair is famous for writing “The Jungle,” a novel that exposed some of the more stomach-turning goings-on in meatpacking factories at the turn of the century. Mattson discusses some of the surprising facets of Sinclair’s life, like his mediocre talent as a novelist and his failed run for the governorship of California.

The Child in White (On The Media: Friday, 17 July 2009)

You discover that your mother has a long-lost sister who was reportedly institutionalized as a child. But you’re a journalist, so you dig deeper. Steve Luxenberg, associate editor of the Washington Post, talks about his experience unearthing the ghosts in his family’s closet.

Letters (On The Media: Friday, 17 July 2009)

Bob responds to a few of your letters and … makes a couple of corrections.

Best Selling (On The Media: Friday, 17 July 2009)

Online advertising is a delicate balance. Most of us like ads tailored to our interests and don’t mind sacrificing a little privacy for something that helps fund free media, search and email. But just how much information are we willing to give away, and do we trust who has it? Randall Rothenberg, head of the biggest online ad association, says never fear, his industry wants what’s best for everyone.