Thursday, October 30, 2014. Last Update: Thu 6:50 AM EST

Monthly Archive

December 2013

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Coal country, for now

Advice for reporters covering coal as the story “ripples” West

PROVO, UT -- If you're even somewhat informed about coal, you know that it is a big story in Wyoming... More

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Holding the Newhouses to ‘The Pledge’

A newspaper’s ex-employees sue over an abandoned “no-layoffs” promise

Once upon a time, the Newhouse family issued its employees a written guarantee that came to be called "The Pledge":... More

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A diplomat’s arrested; from there, the take varies

The US treatment of Indian official Devyani Khobragade has received very different coverage in the two countries

In the days since the United States arrested Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, 39, for allegedly lying on her Indian housekeeper's... More

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The Great Cost Shift comes into focus

It’s time for the press to lead a conversation about who bears healthcare costs

As the tumultuous year of the Affordable Care Act comes to an end, one of the central storylines of health... More

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Best of 2013: Ryan Chittum

A look back at some of my favorite posts this year

The Battle of New Orleans: Amidst the gutting of one of the nation's few remaining great regional newspapers, I took... More

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Cloudy with a chance of amazeballs

The Weather Channel is reinventing itself for the digital age

To house its burgeoning editorial operation, last winter The Weather Channel moved its New York staff into a sprawling office... More

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Tweaking ‘twerk’

Word of the Year lists

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Time for all the familiar clichés, misused or mispunctuated tho' they may... More

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After the battle

A photographer talks about his journey since documenting his wife’s death from breast cancer

Two years ago this week, Angelo Merendino's wife Jennifer died, at age 40, of breast cancer. Merendino, a photographer, documented... More

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USA Today’s stealth tilt toward free content

The paper Al Neuharth built is still grappling with his legacy

Gannett recently announced that next year it will be accelerating its strategy of putting mini-editions of its flagship USA Today... More

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Neocon WSJ editor sits down with France’s Iran critic

Gerard Baker gets a byline

Gerard Baker is an Iraq War-cheerleading neocon, goofball Obama ridiculer, and author of some of the wrongest commentary of the... More

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Must-reads of the week

RIP the blog, snark returns, NewCo cometh

Culled from CJR’s frequently updated “Must-reads from around the Web,” our staff recommendations for the best pieces of journalism (and... More

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Brill is back, and other ACA shout-outs

Kudos to good work in Time and The New York Times

From time to time this space will offer a roundup of interesting, well-done, and useful stories about healthcare and health... More

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Matt Yglesias #slatepitches dividends

Which are not inherently evil

Matt Yglesias trolls business readers with a piece headlined, "Dividends Are Evil: They're a triumph of short-term thinking and do... More

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Prime-time’s global warming omission

A study shows that newscasters don’t mention climate change when covering the weather, but whether they should is a larger question

Climate change is rarely covered in the mainstream press, but getting a hard number on just how often (and under... More

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Political centrism is not objectivity

How the media wrongly treats deficit reduction as non-ideological

How should the United States choose among the difficult tradeoffs it faces in setting the federal budget? There's no one... More

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Crowdfunding, story by story

When fundraising for a specific reporting project, what are the rules?

Last year, crowdfunding was hailed as a great new hope for journalism. A handful of media startups--including a single-issue magazine... More

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Exchange Watch: Missing doctors, missing coverage

In New York, insurance exchange shoppers (if not enough reporters) discover the lack of out-of-network benefits

At the tail end of October, when the media were hyper-fixated on the woes of HealthCare.gov and who knew what... More

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Two paths for newspapers

And Tribune Company is taking the wrong one.

As if newspapers didn't have enough problems, they also have investment bankers. Joe Cahill brings some disturbing news about cynical... More

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The cute, friendly encryption tool (updated)

Cryptocat will soon be available for iPhone and Android

Update, January 6, 2014: As of the end of December 2013, the Cryptocat app for iPhone had been rejected by... More

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The 2nd-worst year for jailed journalists

CPJ’s annual census of imprisoned journalists makes sober reading

Two hundred and eleven journalists are in jail around the world, the second-worst year on record since the Committee to... More

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Stories I’d like to see

Profiling John Miller, the Snowden dilemma, and options for national security whistleblowers

In his "Stories I'd like to see" column, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill spotlights topics that, in his opinion, have... More

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Houston, we have no comment

The Houston Chronicle’s investigative work may have silenced chatty Rep. Steve Stockman, but reporters need to keep the questions coming

AUSTIN, TX -- It almost looked like somebody had finally figured out how to get the voluble Rep. Steve Stockman,... More

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Losing prepositions

When the little words get out of hand

"People hustle their way at the avenue, as the majority crossed onto the other side. Yellow-shirted men on navy blue... More

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Patch, back in the news cycle

David Carr forecasts Patch’s demise; others debate, but few, other than AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, disagree

David Carr essentially wrote the obituary for AOL hyperlocal network Patch on Monday, but rumors of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong's... More

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Newtown isn’t the book the tragedy deserves

A superficial book recounting the school shooting was pegged to its one-year anniversary

It's not surprising or controversial when large events come with product tie-ins--commemorative Olympics swag and the like. But attempting to... More

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Newspapers continue demonstrating indispensability

Deeply reported mega-series in the NYT and WSJ add vastly to public knowledge

85 percent of professionally reported accountability news comes from newspapers, but I have heard guesses from credible sources that go... More

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Refugee Hotel

The Bronx Documentary Center is showing the exhibit through December 21

The mood cast by the photographs on the walls of the Bronx Documentary Center right now is somber. The Center's... More

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Must-reads of the week

Winter wonderland edition

Culled from CJR’s frequently updated “Must-reads from around the Web,” our staff recommendations for the best pieces of journalism (and... More

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Better late than never: the new insurance sticker shock story

The press discovers high cost sharing, but the story goes deeper

As coverage of the Affordable Care Act rolls along, the pesky subject of high out-of-pocket costs for plans purchased on... More

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The Daily Show’s jab at Gretchen Morgenson

NYT’s watchdog extraordinaire is not the poster girl for a complacent press

Bloomberg reported in October that Blackstone lent money to a Spanish gambling company on the condition that it default on... More

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Journalists: Stop falling for hoaxes

Initially there were only a few viral hoaxes. Now, with the immense popularity of social media, they are happening almost daily.

You know how it goes. You are on Twitter. You see something outrageous. You click on the link. Really, they... More

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Audit Notes: Jamie Dimon’s doings, WSJ on Elizabeth Warren

JPMorgan Chase manages to avoid prosecution yet again, this time in Madoff case

The New York Times reports on page one today that the Justice Department will bring a "criminal action" against Jamie... More

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Stories versus evidence on Obama’s fate

The never-ending cycle of presidential doom and recovery narratives

Journalists rightly seek to tell compelling stories, which can bring abstract or dry topics to life, but the need to... More

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Investigative journalism on demand

Uncoverage, a new crowdfunding project, helps the public sponsor accountability reporting

Resources for investigative reporters are increasingly thin on the ground. Which is why technologist Israel Mirsky created Uncoverage, a new... More

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Squeezing Time Inc. dry

Time Warner prepares to dump a dangerous debt load on its publishing spinoff

Keith Kelly of the New York Post reports some inauspicious news for the soon-to-be-spun-off Time Inc. Kelly reports Time Warner... More

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Covering Sandy Hook, one year later

The town is asking reporters to stay away, but many victims’ families have started speaking out

As the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting approaches, the first selectman of Newtown, CT, Pat Llodra, has... More

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Fox’s Dennis Kneale takes on ‘out of control’ unions

Hosts an industry shill fighting against the hapless Alan Colmes over poverty wages

Fox Business Network's Dennis Kneale asks "Are unions out of control in America?" in a segment about fast-food workers striking... More

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‘A very special’ Esquire story

The magazine claims that advocacy and good intentions exempt them from a scientific critique

If you like or follow literary journalism, you've probably stumbled upon Esquire's "Patient Zero," a new Tom Junod and Mark... More

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Did the gee-whiz drug story make a comeback?

NPR’s piece on a new hepatitis C med fell short on costs, conflicts, and caveats

To hear NPR's piece last week about the FDA's then-imminent approval of a new drug to treat hepatitis C--sofosbuvir, approved... More

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Jana Winter’s victory

And what she lost along the way

On Tuesday, The New York Court of Appeals overturned a subpoena that's been hanging over investigative reporter Jana Winter's head... More

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Beastie Boys sue GoldieBlox after all

Lawsuit says toy company “acted intentionally and despicably with oppression, fraud, and malice”

I really didn't think the Beastie Boys would risk the bad PR to sue GoldieBlox for ripping them off in... More

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Audit Notes: Steve Jobs’ liver, NYT v. Bloomberg, WSJ overkill

The Commercial Appeal uncovers a conflict with the late Apple chief’s surgeon

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has some very good reporting on the questions surrounding the late Steve Jobs's liver transplant in... More

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Stories I’d like to see

Behind a legislative triumph, Mandela memorial security, and a question for Politico

In his "Stories I'd like to see" column, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill spotlights topics that, in his opinion, have... More

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Fortune flacks for the ‘sharing economy’

Airbnb astroturf group Peers gets a puff piece

If you've at all followed the Airbnb story, in which the rent-a-room startup is in trouble with New York and... More

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Healthcare reporter ISO agenda-free source

CJR convened Midwestern journalists to discuss pitfalls, possibilities of covering the politicized ACA

DETROIT, MI -- Healthcare reporters are in a tricky spot. They may understand that covering the Affordable Care Act's insurance... More

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Cast away

Do you live ‘on’ or ‘in’ an island?

Prepositions are funny things. Most of them are short words, but they can alter the meaning of a phrase or... More

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NC Republican finds a way to get his message in the media—pay for it

Asheville newspaper apologizes after neglecting to label “advocacy advertising”

CHARLESTON, SC -- Conservative politicians tend to have a lot of complaints about the "mainstream liberal media." But just before... More

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The future of longform

A conference at the Columbia Journalism School explored the craft’s digital prospects

When readers started moving to the internet, media analysts thought longform journalism was in trouble. Attention spans were going to... More

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Must-reads of the week

Down-with-smarm edition

Culled from CJR’s frequently updated “Must-reads from around the Web,” our staff recommendations for the best pieces of journalism (and... More

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Journalists and PTSD: Is it about guilt?

Research suggests that reporters convinced their work inflicted harm suffer more from covering violence

In the summer of 2011, a man named Anders Breivik boarded a ferry for Utoya, a small, mostly barren island... More

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Effective teachers, lackluster test scores?

In Florida, an opportunity to dig deeper into some contradictory data

MIAMI, FL -- Two big evaluations of education in the Sunshine State came out this week--and readers can be excused... More

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Audit Notes: BS as business model, Larry Kudlow, Third Way revealed

Report a hoax, reap the traffic, and shrug off the consequences

Dave Weigel goes after BuzzFeed, which wants to be taken seriously as a news organization, but doesn't want the responsibilities... More

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Credulous press for a report on abuse of female journalists

Reporters overlook statistical problems in passing on eye-popping numbers

Rule of thumb, journalists: If the "study" you're writing about is based on a SurveyMonkey.com survey, it probably deserves a... More

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How to ditch photo metadata

Or, how to avoid pulling a Vice

Just about everyone has heard by now the cautionary tale of Vice Magazine's accidental outing of a source's location, and... More

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Native ads aren’t as clear as outlets think

Consumers skip over labels, and even when they see them, many don’t understand what they mean

Publishers and marketers believe they are being responsible by distinguishing native advertising--advertising designed to look and feel like journalism--from news... More

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Millennials: not bringing mom to interviews

Debunking another dumb bit of millennial truthiness

I'll never forget the interview that led to my first job, as associate editor at Campus Progress (which has since... More

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Seriously slick

At Jake Silverstein’s “amped up” Texas Monthly, water policy, immigration, and BBQ are all cover stories

AUSTIN, TX -- From his posh office on the 17th floor, Jake Silverstein, the editor-in-chief of Texas Monthly, has the... More

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Viral done right

Not all shareable content is empty clickbait

First the Wall Street Journal profiled Gawker traffic powerhouse Neetzan Zimmerman. Then came the news that, thanks largely to social... More

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Pizza parties, backroom drinks won’t fix DC

A Boston Globe story undercuts an unpersuasive theory

Why can't members of Congress just get along? Critics of polarization often suggest that a key reason for the decline... More

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The media’s struggle for survival in Bhutan

The changing media landscape in the tiny Himalayan nation

When Bhutan began its transition into a parliamentary democracy in 2006, its media scene exploded. People in the remote Himalayan... More

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Print: It’s alive!

Newsweek’s return to print is another body blow to the idea of free content from old media

Newsweek's announcement that it is resurrecting its print edition is probably the most dramatic sign yet that digital-only ad models... More

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Ukraine’s deep-rooted media problem

As the country is roiled by protest, a Kiev-based journalist looks at a long-standing problem in the media business, where fake, paid-for “news” stories are routine

KIEV—For Ukrainian journalists, "jeans" is not just a pair of denim pants, but also a media piece published for a... More

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Entitled to better reporting

There’s a wider (and increasingly urgent) Social Security story out there—beyond the Beltway and deficit talk

A year ago, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein appeared on the CBS Evening News to talk about the debt crisis--a... More

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LAT exposes wasteful spending on the biowarfare beat

Local media outlets around the country can do that, too

An expose of dubious Pentagon spending hit the front page of the Los Angeles Times front page not long ago,... More

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Creative Commons: Ur doing it wrong

Give credit where it’s due and, under new rules, take credit for changes you make

Creative Commons--an incredibly powerful legal tool that many media outlets take for granted, and without which the internet would be... More

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Asperger’s, pedophiles, and questionable motivations

A dart to the Daily Beast, for its ill-informed speculation on Adam Lanza’s psyche

Midway through the third page of the state's attorney report on the Sandy Hook shootings, released last week, the authors... More

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Stories I’d like to see

A video game called ‘School Shooting,’ backing the video gaming industry, and a qualified lawyer on hold

In his "Stories I'd like to see" column, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill spotlights topics that, in his opinion, have... More

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ONA launches $1 million Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education

The Online News Association is running a competition to explore new forms of journalism education

The Online News Association launched a $1 million micro-grant contest on Monday to help universities and news outlets find new... More

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An NFL flack’s non-answers

On the Media runs a talk-around on concussions, leading the author to extrapolate the flack’s rhetorical style to other scenarios

If you plan on going into public relations and want a primer on how to artfully not answer a reporter's... More

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Paddle ball

Making a “racket” over “racquet”

Many people are hoping to get new tennis "rackets" this holiday season. But many people who play "racquetball" are hoping... More

The ethics of The Guardian’s Whisper bombshell - It would have been a journalistic lapse not to have told readers

Gawker: The internet bully - Nick Denton’s media empire is an intellectual online fraternity that invites people to their parties only to make them buy the booze

The Washington Post short-sells a reporter’s integrity - Steven Pearlstein smears TheStreet’s Adam Feuerstein for criticizing a biotech firm

Former Sun-Times staffers react to top reporter’s resignation - “Whereas we don’t have all the answers, we have way too many questions about what happened here”

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


‘My Captivity’ (NYT Mag)

An American journalist on his two-year kidnapping in Syria

FBI faked an AP story, in Seattle Times style, to catch a suspect (Seattle Times)

“‘We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the US Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,’ said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best”

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”

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.