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Monthly Archive

December 2011

Movement Man

Meet Chris Faraone, Occupy reporter for the Boston Phoenix

The week before Occupy Boston changed Chris Faraone's life, grassroots revolution was already on his mind. Faraone, who covers rap... More

About That Santorum Surge

Let’s cover it with some restraint and self-awareness

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — The media has been abuzz about Rick Santorum since Wednesday, when a CNN/Time/ORC International poll showed... More

What a Year!

A foreign editor looks back in wonder at 2011

On a weekend last January I sent Alex Marquardt, our newly minted Mideast correspondent, to cover a protest in Egypt.... More

Best of 2011: The Observatory

From extreme weather to the crisis in Japan, Curtis Brainard picks the top CJR stories from the past year

The Hottest Thing in Science Blogging: The hot ticket for science bloggers and online writers this year was ScienceOnline, a... More

Best of 2011: Ryan Chittum

The Audit’s deputy editor picks his top CJR stories from the past year

Rupert Murdoch and the Corporate Culture of News Corp. On the pressing question of how much Rupert Murdoch is a... More

This News Story Is Brought to You By…

Shouldn’t TV news outlets be clearer about offering pay-for-play?

One of the most disturbing trends in local TV news is the persistence of “pay for play”—when local TV newscasts... More

Local TV News, Meet the Internet

Why are broadcasters trying to block political campaign transparency?

The FCC has proposed an important rule change that could make the political system more transparent. Amazingly, the trade associations... More

Seeking Truth in the Digital Storm

Colorado’s reporters search for ways to keep up with empowered campaigns

COLORADO — Reporter Patrick Malone answers quickly when asked to identify the hardest part of covering politics for his newspaper,... More

Best of 2011: Erika Fry

From Romenesko to rich men, Fry picks her top CJR stories from the past year

Escape from Thailand This was my personal account of fleeing Thailand in 2010—yes, that tropical paradise known as the Land... More

Best of 2011: Joel Meares

From Jerry Brown to James O’Keefe, Meares picks his top CJR stories from the past year

The Cancer Report: I’ve written a fair bit about people who blog through their grief and sickness (not for CJR)... More

Best of 2011: Dean Starkman

The Audit’s head honcho picks his top CJR stories from the past year

Confidence Game: The limited vision of the news gurus: The landmark 8,000-word essay that upended the future-of-news debate. The Hole... More

Examining Gingrich’s ‘Radical’ Rhetoric on Courts

National press, Iowa editors weigh in, but in-state reporters are mostly quiet

IOWA — As Newt Gingrich seeks to shore up his standing with Republican voters here in advance of the first-in-the-nation... More

Audit Notes: Newsstand Success, Paywalls and Tacos, WSJ on Debt Collectors

How much has Apple's Newsstand increased sales of magazine apps. It's hard to say, but Peter Kafka posts a chart... More

Letters Man

Why the letters-to-the-editor section shouldn’t become a forum for flacks

In May 2011, the alt-weekly New Haven Advocate, which I edit, ran a story about the rising cost of rent... More

The Kind of Medicare Story We’d Rather Not See

SmartMoney runs a lackluster listicle

Anyone reading SmartMoney’s take on Medicare would want to get granny off the program in New York minute. It was... More

The Guardian’s Big Hacking-Scandal Error

Failing to attribute its deleted-messages assertion left it open to attack

When The Guardian dropped its Milly Dowler bombshell back in July, I called the News Corporation hacking it reported "abhorrent... More

Best of 2011: Alysia Santo

Santo picks her top CJR stories from the past year

Occupy Wall Street’s Media Team: I spent the day walking and talking with the bloggers, livestreamers, and tweeters in the... More

Audit Notes: Rattner Gets a Pass, NYT’s Golden Parachute, No Rhodes Scholar

New York Times reporter Geraldine Fabrikant writes a column for Reuters, oddly, on the pass former New York Times reporter,... More

The Journal on Congress’s Inside Dope for Investors

The Wall Street Journal continues to investigate the fuzzy intersection between Congress and insider trading, with a good page-one story... More

Protecting Journalists in Worldwide Danger Zones

When international protocols fall short

This month marks the five-year anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of Security Council Resolution 1738, which obliges nations to... More

New Investment Company Buys Chicago Sun Times

A digitally focused company has purchased an old media standard. Sun-Times Media Holdings, owner of The Chicago Sun-Times and over... More

A Rate-Regulation Case Study in Pennsylvania

When insurance rates are news—and when they are not

What’s so interesting about insurance rate regulation, and why is it worth reporting on? The topic has everything to do... More

Bloomberg Takes on the Big Lie of the Crisis

Bloomberg takes a crack at knocking down what Barry Ritholtz correctly calls the Big Lie of the crisis, that government... More

Methane Mysteries

Coverage of permafrost melt creates confusion about level of worry

Methane—a potent greenhouse gas that could be released in vast quantities as climate change melts Arctic permafrost—has received quite a... More

The Hole In FON Theory

Continuing the discussion about the future of news with Clay Shirky

I thank Clay Shirky and other posters for their responses to “Confidence Game: the limited vision of the news... More

Audit Notes: Nocera on Frannie, The Fed’s Politics, Confidence Game

Joe Nocera writes that the SEC's case against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives is "extraordinarily weak," relying on the... More

On the Record From Inside a Gilded Bubble

Bloomberg News profiles the beleaguered ultrarich

Bloomberg's Max Abelson has quite an eye for the ridiculous. He's dug up an AIG executive's blame-shifting for the financial... More

The Great Teacher of Journalists: Kim Jong-il

How the Dear Leader was (and was not) like your editor

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has died. A couple of days, perhaps, after the Dear Leader passed, the state news... More

Corrections

Mistakes from our 50th anniversary issue

• We regret that in our fiftieth anniversary special masthead, a list of everyone who’s ever worked here, we garbled... More

Snapshot: Where Conservative Iowans Get Campaign News

A media diet heavy on talk radio and Fox News

IOWA — You heard it last week from an Iowa transplant: Iowans eat meatloaf, casserole and Jell-O molds. This was... More

A Presidential Debate Abroad?

An argument for holding a foreign policy debate in a foreign country

Every fourth fall, more Americans watch presidential debates than just about any other live event in the US but the... More

Audit Notes: Inflation Inflation, FT on Frannie, Deep Downturns

Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong catch Niall Ferguson in a whopper on inflation. Ferguson: And the reason the CPI is... More

Q&A: New York Times Iraq reporter Michael S. Schmidt

On finding classified documents in the trash, and transitioning from the sports beat

Several weeks ago, New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt, a foreign correspondent in the newspaper’s Baghdad bureau, went looking... More

Baby Doomers: The Trilogy

The Journal’s good look at a generation’s bleak retirement prospects

Back in February, The Wall Street Journal's Jim Browning looked at how the Boomers are the first generation to retire... More

The Coverage of Wyden-Ryan, Round One

Consensus building to privatize Medicare

Robert Pear’s New York Times piece “Support Builds for a Plan To Rein In Medicare Costs” seemed like a leak.... More

Language, Free

Blogs for grammar geeks

In Miracle on 34th Street, Kris Kringle makes lots of friends—and money for Macy’s—by sending customers elsewhere when Macy’s did... More

Audit Notes: Walmart Rewrite, AMR’s Strategic Default, Debtors’ Prison

When The Huffington Post's Lila Pearl Shapiro wrote a critical story about Walmart's labor practices earlier this week, the company... More

Don’t Have a Cow, Iowa

State’s reaction to Atlantic piece forgets its ironic tradition

Oh, there's nothing halfway About the Iowa way to treat you, When we treat you Which we may not... More

Phone-Hacking Inquiry Eyes Science Journalism

Nature calls on scientists to “fight agenda-driving reporting”

The Leveson inquiry into the “culture, practice, and ethics” of the British press resulting from the News International phone-hacking scandal... More

Bloomberg Bird-Dogs Meredith Whitney’s Terrible Call

Remember Meredith Whitney's apocalyptic predictions on the municipal-bond market last year? Bloomberg News does. And it makes sure Whitney and... More

Darts and Laurels

Univision, The Miami Herald, and Marco Rubio, the GOP’s rising star

In July 2011, Univision, the nation’s leading Spanish-language network, reported that Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s brother-in-law, Orlando Cicilia, had been... More

The Atlantic Gets Iowa Wrong

And in the process, urges national readers to ignore those hicks in the Heartland

IOWA — With less than three weeks until the Iowa caucuses, the country is beginning to lock its political gaze... More

Two Weeks after Launch, New Worries Take Hold

Launch Pad: The Classical

CJR’s Launch Pad feature invites new media publishers to blog about their experiences on the news frontier. Past Launch Pad... More

Audit Notes: Bloomberg Empire Edition

Reuters's Jack Shafer writes that Bloomberg BusinessWeek has become the best magazine in the country, his "primary source of long-form,... More

Pinning Down the President

Challenging Obama for overpromising on health care

In an interview with President Obama on 60 Minutes Sunday night, it was apparent Steve Kroft was taking his questioning... More

For Whom Are Iowa’s Reporters Writing…

…If likely caucus-goers don’t trust (or even read) their campaign coverage?

IOWA — Here in the Hawkeye State, as in many other places, conservative skepticism about—if not outright distrust of—the “mainstream... More

Newsweek Fetishizes an “Epidemic”

Voyeuristic sex-addiction cover misses an important debate

A “sex addiction epidemic” is unfolding like a plague in the US, according a recent Newsweek cover story—but don’t reach... More

Frozen Out in Florida

Campaign reporters face reduced access, reduced budgets

FLORIDA — Florida’s political reporters are a lonely bunch. Presidential candidates avoid them. Senior campaign staffers rarely return their calls... More

Hudson on the Corporate Culture of Countrywide

The Center for Public Integrity's Michael Hudson continues to turn up whistleblowers and pound on the culture of wrongdoing at... More

Audit Notes: CDS Watch, Murdoch’s Email, Fracking and Quaking

The Wall Street Journal has a good look at how European banks have been busy writing hundreds of billions of... More

Calling Dr. Crowd

News outlets rely on the masses for public health stories

When we feel ourselves coming down with something, we look it up. If you type the words “I think I’m... More

Reuters Finds AMR’s Cost-Cutting Missed a Biggie

AMR’s discreet $30 million house exposed in a securities filing

Back in 2006, BusinessWeek wrote a story about AMR's "penny-pinching," "cost-cutting culture": When it comes to pinching pennies, few full-fare... More

Univision

Placeholder URL

Placeholder URL for the extended version of Erika Fry's Jan/Feb 2012 Darts and Laurels piece on Univision. More

Inside COP17

Why UN climate summits like the one in Durban are challenging, but worth covering

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA—It’s not easy to be a climate reporter. You have to understand the science of climate change, as... More

‘Stingy’ Campaigning Brings Reporting Opportunities

For now, Nevada’s political reporters aren’t running from rally to rally

NEVADA — Asphyxia is often fatal, so it’s probably not a good idea for political reporters in Nevada to hold... More

NPR and its Men-on-the-Street

Whom should we talk to?

It seemed that Mike H., a frequent visitor to CJR.org, had a point. He commented the other day on one... More

Reader Reforms

Plagiarizing magazine turns a new page

In October, I wrote about the most ridiculous (and egregious) case of editorial malpractice I’d ever seen. Reader Magazine, of... More

The Future of Magic Bullets

Cartoonist Ted Rall shows us how to save the news business

Click here to look through Ted Rall's cartoon series on the news industry. More

When Newt Isn’t Newsworthy

The problems with news pegs in campaign coverage

NEW HAMPSHIRE — Yesterday, former House speaker Newt Gingrich returned to New Hampshire for a foreign policy debate with former... More

Winter Reading Club

What are some books that journalists should read this winter?

Every year around this time, we ask our readers to recommend some books that journalists might enjoy reading during the... More

The Moments

Fifty years of media culture, as captured by Magnum photographers

Magnum Photos, founded during the most glorious age of photojournalism, has always represented a dream of how journalism can be... More

Hints of Ben Smith’s BuzzFeed Move?

Early today, Politico's Ben Smith announced that he will be "giving up this blog" (the recently renamed and relaunched "Ben... More

Yule Love This

Making a list of holiday expressions

A couple of years ago we discussed some of abuse that poor, misused apostrophes suffer this time of year, in... More

PM: an anniversary assessment

Why a left-leaning New York tabloid failed

PM was a liberal tabloid published in New York from 1939 to 1948. As Lewis Donohew explained in CJR’s Summer... More

Audit Notes: Nobody’s Guilty In SEC Deals, Swipe Fees, Euromess

The New York Times makes a good catch on the disparities in a Justice Department settlement with Wachovia and an... More

In Iowa, an ‘Openly’ Inflammatory Perry Ad

Coverage offers incomplete picture of rules around expressions of faith

IOWA — Since Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry’s latest TV ad hit the airwaves, national reporters and those based here... More

Anti-Romney voters’ top concern

Perhaps last month's front-page, fact-packed, 1000-word story about Mitt Romney’s hair, from The New York Times’s Michael Barbaro and Ashley... More

Morning Edition Connects With Regular People

But is anybody listening in Washington, DC?

The other day NPR did some solid man-on-the-street reporting, and found—as we have found in our ongoing Town Hall series—the... More

Press agent—but still President

No President has monitored his public image with more zeal than LBJ

Ben Bagdikian, who wrote regularly from Washington for CJR in the 1960s and ’70s, explained in our Summer 1965 issue... More

A Big Corporate Welfare Story Gets Short Shrift

Reuters’s Johnston and Times Union spotlight news almost everyone else ignores

Here's a story that's calling out for more attention and isn't getting it. Reuters's David Cay Johnston wrote last week... More

The Lower Case

Bad News!

Editorial Page Almost a Garbage Dump— Delta (BC) Optimist 3/11/81 Newsmen Threaten Exposure— The Guild Reporter 7/24/70 Readers: We invent... More

Sensationalism and Consumerism, Paid For on the News

The Post pulls up a bit short on plugola

I like this Washington Post story on how product experts popping up on newscasts are frequently paid by companies to... More

Frozen Planet’s Final Episode Will Air in US

Discovery Channel reverses course following wave of criticism, but what will viewers get?

Discovery Channel reversed course on Tuesday when it announced that it would air all seven parts of a BBC series... More

Where’s the Party?

News startups bring their readers together offline

Burnt Orange Report, a popular political blog based in Austin, Texas, held its first Republican “debate watch party” in September... More

Ad Layout of the Day

From the A-section of The Wall Street Journal: More

Hell Yes to Hell No

New book flags ways US targets dissent

Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in 21st-Century America | By Michael Ratner & Margaret Ratner Kunstler | The New... More

Homegrown

The living language

To look back at the early years of the Columbia Journalism Review is to look at how we used... More

60 Minutes’ Tough Piece on Crisis Prosecutions

Kroft on the lack thereof

A tip of the cap to 60 Minutes for an excellent report Sunday asking about the lack of criminal prosecutions... More

The Murky Politics of the Payroll Tax

The media begin to step in the muck

Each day the payroll tax saga gets more complicated, and the public no doubt gets more confused. Bloomberg reporter Brian... More

Besser to Oz: “You Were Right”

Consumer Reports confirms arsenic-in-apple-juice investigation

After accusing Dr. Mehmet Oz of “fear mongering” for reporting that some brands of apple juice contained high levels of... More

Cold War Comics

When “consistently propagandistic” funnies took on the Reds

In our Winter 1965 issue, Daniel J. Leab, then CJR's editorial assistant, compiled nearly 20 comic strips and frames that... More

A Super Journal Story on “Death-Debt” Collectors

Bank proxies harassing grieving family members to give money they don’t owe

The Wall Street Journal had an outstanding story this weekend on so called death-debt collectors—an industry that makes money by... More

CJR Holds a Town Hall in Nebraska

Voices of the occupiers on Centennial Mall

George Packer’s superb New Yorker article about the Wall Street Occupiers is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand... More

On, Dasher!

A punctuation mark loved too much—or not enough

Many punctuation marks have different uses—think of the comma—but only a few leap off the page to a reader’s eye—as... More

A DIY Version of a Large-Scale Project

Launch Pad: The Classical

CJR’s Launch Pad feature invites new media publishers to blog about their experiences on the news frontier. Past Launch Pad... More

Audit Notes: Reproducibility, Daily Show, Boeing Settlement

The Wall Street Journal has a very good page-one story today reporting on how most peer-reviewed medical studies can't be... More

The Truth about Public Untruths

Are journalists and others equipped to beat back the lies?

What’s to be done with lying liars and the lies they tell journalists and the public? This is a topic... More

Power of Dispassion

Alan Schwarz changed football

On October 17, 2010, the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Atlanta Falcons before a crowd of nearly 70,000. The game... More

In Iowa, Covering a New Breed of Campaign

Reduced access to candidates, more Twitter, fewer town halls

IOWA — The rise of social media and the increasing prominence of cable news is making coverage of the 2012... More

WSJ Gives Minimum Info on Front Group

An astroturf group gets a hit on the minimum wage

Here's how The Wall Street Journal framed its report yesterday on several states raising the minimum wage next year: Small... More

James Boylan on Founding CJR: A CJR Podcast

On the occasion of our fiftieth anniversary, we invited James Boylan, who founded CJR in 1961 when he was thirty-three... More

Viet Nam reporting: three years of crisis

“A trying and sometimes hazardous business”

While he may be best known for the photo he took of a Buddhist monk's self-immolation, Associated Press correspondent Malcolm... More

Immediate Returns

Ben Smith is not an old-school political reporter

Thirty-five-year-old Ben Smith reports on national politics for Politico from a rent-a-desk writers’ workspace on the first floor of... More

The Landman Cometh

Innovation Trail and other New York outlets help readers prepare for fracking prospectors

Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s the “landman,” offering quick cash to extract natural gas on your property using a technique... More

Kristof Finds a Banker With Regrets

I've praised Bloomberg News a couple of times this week for digging up years-old muck on the financial crisis, so... More

A Reporter in Full

Isabel Wilkerson listens

Isabel Wilkerson spent most of her journalism career at The New York Times where, as Chicago bureau chief, she... More

Stop trolling your readers - We know you’re only doing it for clicks

Des Moines Register prepares for a ‘very stressful’ newsroom restructuring - Editor Amalie Nash speaks on turnover, transformation, and a virtual reality adventure

PBS pulls ads from Harper’s Magazine after critical essay - Piece argues public broadcaster has fallen under the sway of political influence and outside money

Should all journalists be on Twitter? - Reasons to take up or forgo the 140-character platform

The Tennessean is borrowing reporters from other Gannett papers - Music columnist Peter Cooper is latest journalist to part ways with Nashville paper


How one reporter copes inside the ‘Ebola bubble’ (BuzzFeed)

“Bring gloves to give nurses you meet at clinics, even if you’re there for a story. Get small change to give to the kids who have been out of school for months and are selling ground nuts for pitiful sums on the side of road. Hell, give them candy. Violate all the principles of ostensibly good aid stewardship, because the good stewardship of the developed world didn’t get help here in time, and now everyone is dying around you.”

Fake news sites using Facebook to spread Ebola panic (The Verge)

“These sites claim to be satirical but lack even incompetent attempts at anything resembling humor”

How Ben Bradlee dealt with flacks (Washington Post)

“I would like to be sure that you understand that we trust our editors’ news judgement and that we distrust yours”

Ben Bradlee, 93 (WaPo)

“From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily”

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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Who Owns What

The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Study Guides

Questions and exercises for journalism students.