Today's Top Stories

Which comes first: the Constitution or cities' no-camping rules?

One wonders how Thomas Paine and others of the early rebels against the Crown might have felt about “time, place and manner” restrictions on the right to assemble and petition the government, especially in a time of economic crisis such as now. What we are seeing in the Occupy Wall Street and related protests, in addition to the economic and other grievances being voiced, is a full-throated defense of the First Amendment in its purest form, the likes of which America has not seen for a very long time.

Phone hacking: number of possible victims is almost 5,800, police confirm

The number of possible victims of phone hacking by the News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire is now close to 5,800, the Metropolitan police have confirmed. This is 2,000 more than previously identified by detectives tasked with trawling through 11,000 pages of notes seized from Mulcaire's home and will reinforce claims that hacking was conducted on an "industrial scale" at News of the World.

NUJ ballots over no-confidence vote in BBC director general

The National Union of Journalists is to ballot its members on a vote of no confidence in Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, over his cost-cutting program that includes nearly 2,000 job cuts. In an unprecedented move for the 104-year-old union, NUJ officials unanimously agreed to the ballot at a meeting on Wednesday, with general secretary Michelle Stanistreet saying Thompson was being singled out as the "architect of this butchery."

Oakland Local Covers Occupy Oakland

Oakland Local, a hyperlocal news site produced by professional journalists, has gotten a huge burst of recognition following its coverage of the Occupy Oakland protests. Executive editor Susan Mernit says she realized the site's importance when she saw its stories being referenced, tweeted, linked to, and discussed by people in the community -- all at a time, ironically, that coincides with the Bay Area News Group’s massive layoffs and consolidations among local newspapers.

Occupy rally shuts down shipping port indefinitely

Occupy Wall Street protesters declared victory after thousands of demonstrators shut down one of the nation's busiest shipping ports late Wednesday, escalating a movement whose tactics had largely been limited to marches, rallies and tent encampments since it began in September. The nearly 5-hour protest at the Port of Oakland, the nation's fifth-busiest shipping port, was intended to highlight a daylong "general strike" in the city, which prompted solidarity rallies in New York, Los Angeles and other cities across the nation.

Unions, Occupy Wall Street to protest outside Treasury for ‘Robin Hood’ tax

Pivoting off the Occupy Wall Street movement, unions are planning coordinated protests today for a financial transactions tax. Organizers estimate more than 1,500 union members from more than 20 labor groups, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and CWA, will be outside the Treasury Department to call for what has become known as the “Robin Hood Tax.” Occupy Wall Street protesters also are being bused in from New York by National Nurses United.

If a paywall is your only strategy, then you are doomed

The NYT paywall is what I’ve called a “sandbag strategy,” in that its main goal is to shore up print circulation so that the paper can continue to benefit from higher-value print ads, even as that market declines. Is the New York Times better off having a paywall than it would be otherwise? Possibly. But because it is by definition a stop-gap strategy, newspapers that are relying solely on a paywall to save their bacon are likely doomed.

Labor Finds a Young Soulmate

A better way to think about the role of unions in the Occupy Wall Street movement is to ask what OWS can offer the labor movement. Occupy Wall Street could inspire what remains of organized labor in this country to move away from just pushing specific employers for modest wage gains and start organizing working-class people in order to shape not just industry standards, but a new economic order, as its frustrated radical factions have dreamt about.