'All Things Considered' at 30

Thirty years ago today, National Public Radio debuted an afternoon program called "All Things Considered," and drive-time for news junkies has never been the same.

The popular show is commemorating its anniversary with several special reports this week. On today's show, Robert Siegel (who joined the program in 1976 as an associate producer) looks at Americans who are turning 30 in 2001 - a generation that, unlike the one protesting the Vietnam War in the debut edition, is defined more by the rise of AIDS and MTV than by any military conflict.

On Tuesday, Noah Adams (who came on board as a production assistant in 1975) traveled through Mississippi talking with people about the history of civil rights in the state, where integration was still a contentious issue in 1971; yesterday, Linda Wertheimer (who started as the director in 1971) reported on the progress made since the National Cancer Act, which then-President Nixon enacted in 1971. These stories and all of the programs back to 1996 are archived on www.npr.org.

Media's first 100 days

Journalists spent the weekend analyzing President Bush's first 100 days -but how did the media itself fare? The Project for Excellence in Journalism analyzed the coverage in major news outlets of Mr. Bush and Bill Clinton in their early days and published its findings on Monday.

What stood out was the significant decrease in stories between the two presidents in their first two months: Clinton had 566, Bush 333 - a drop of 41 percent. Bush's intentional low profile could be the cause for the decrease, the survey says, but it also cites a shift in media away from politics and toward lighter stories. One sign, PEJ reports, is that while the president is still a popular topic on op-ed and editorial pages, he is not as dominant on front pages, newscasts, and financial pages.

Overall, Bush had fewer positive stories -22 percent vs. 27 percent for Clinton - among the seven outlets monitored, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and nightly newscasts from ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS.

World Press Freedom Day

Today marks the 10th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, a day set aside to support the commitment to independent media worldwide. To draw attention to it, British newspaper The Observer launched a Web campaign Sunday, featuring articles by writers in countries that challenge a free press. Find it at www.observer.co.uk/freepress.

Salon courts subscribers

After public struggles with financing, Salon.com has started charging for some of its edgy fare. As of April 24, surfers have to pay $30 a year to gain access to ad-free, daily musings on subjects like Bush and reality programs. Some sexual content is also no longer free, says spokesman Patrick Hurley. More discouraging news for Salon came this week with reports that it may lose its Nasdaq seat, thanks to a stock price that's fallen below Nasdaq's minimum of $1 in recent months.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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