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Monthly Archive

February 2014


Must-reads of the week

“It’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad”

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


The casualties of healthcare competition

The Record and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report on the dark side of the medical marketplace

One of the great undercovered stories in American healthcare right now--in American business, for that matter--is the slugfest between hospital... More


A new consensus on the future of news

The future isn’t what it used to be, and that’s a good thing

Just a couple of years ago, although it feels like a lot longer, the media world was embroiled in something... More


The Financial Times breaks the law of large numbers

Digital subscriptions soar, putting paid circulation at a record

The paywalled Financial Times is the real digital-first newspaper, and it had a very, very good 2013. Online revenue now... More


Dancing with Hollywood

A new rash of award-winning films owe credit to the journalists who unearthed the original plots

Martin Sixsmith spent four years helping an Irishwoman track down the son she had been forced to give up... More


Audit Notes: NYT’s Goldman elevator coverage, hacking trial, mobile competition

The Times buries the lede

Earlier this week, investigative journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin outed the joke Twitter account @GSElevator, which purported to tweet actual quotes... More


Bridging the print-Web divide

How OnEarth makes environmental longform work—for the internet

Last Thursday OnEarth published the kind of piece that harkens back to the old days of legacy journalism. Written by... More


South African welfare queens gorge on lamb and macaroni as anecdotal Bloomberg fails data test

The wire misses badly

You can tell right from the headline on this Bloomberg News story that the piece is going to be seriously... More


How not to be sexist when covering female candidates

There are dos and don’ts for journalists reporting on political races

Let's face it: Maybe with the exception of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, news media focus more on appearance for... More


Columbia J-school profs denounce journalist arrests in Egypt

“Journalism is not terrorism”

A group of nearly 30 Columbia Journalism School faculty members penned a letter on Wednesday to Egypt's acting president, Adly... More


Why did the FCC want to interview journalists in the first place?

Context for the agency’s Critical Information Needs study—and for the backlash it sparked

CHARLESTON, SC -- The Federal Communications Commission publicly backed off part of a controversial research study last week in the... More


Will a new website deliver on Wisconsin’s promises about transparency?

OpenBook promises to let light in on state spending, but it’s a limited tool for now

DETROIT, MI -- As media watchdogs know all too well, it can be hard to get a handle on what's... More


The persuasive power of the press release

Is printing a press release an automatic ethical lose for the Washington Post

Last week, the Washington Post eliminated a column published digitally in its science section following an article in the Knight... More


The Journal and the bond king

A brutal piece takes on Bill Gross and PIMCO’s corporate culture

What does it take to make someone quit a $100 million a year job? The Wall Street Journal's Greg Zuckerman... More


Why Skype isn’t safe for journalists

Here are some alternatives for secure voice calls to use instead

At last month's "Journalism After Snowden" event at Columbia University, Guardian US editor in chief Janine Gibson described the very... More


The ups and downs to covering Ukraine

Panelists at Columbia’s J-school discussed how protests both encourage journalism and harm journalists

Violent protests around the world may attract media attention and political change, but that attention comes at a price, according... More


Data invasion

Julia Angwin’s journey to the depths of data

Recently, a friend sent me an email with the subject, "Twitter targeted me with this ad." The body of his... More


Calling all entries for Best Business Writing 2014

The third book in The Audit’s annual series

We're in the process of putting together the third book in our Best Business Writing series with Columbia University Press,... More


America’s healthcare prices are absurd. So, now what?

NYT’s Elisabeth Rosenthal “start[ed] a very loud conversation” she hopes will be “difficult politically to ignore.” How did she do it?

It might be said that last year Americans finally began paying attention to the price of their healthcare. Maybe it... More


Wrong turns

Keeping readers off the “garden path”

Sentences have destinations, the place you want your readers to go to absorb the information you're delivering. Most are simple:... More


The Olympics are the closest to coverage parity female athletes get

Normally, the US sports media spends—if we’re being generous—less than 5 percent of its time covering women in sports

For every Olympics since 1994's Lillehammer Games, Andy Billings has broken down how much time the primetime broadcast spends covering... More


A new ‘micro-publication’ for deep environmental and tech reporting

Climate Confidential needs 800 subscribers by March 6 to come to fruition

A group of freelance reporters are on a mission to produce a new kind of science journalism. Called Climate Confidential,... More


Media convergence: regional newspaper/ national magazine edition

The teams up the Mormon-owned Deseret News for a series on the family

The editorial teams of the and the Deseret News are launching on a four-part series on the American family,... More


Venezuela revokes CNN press credentials (Updated)

The president of Venezuela disapproved of the network’s coverage of protests

(Update, February 22, 2:30pm): After initially announcing CNN no longer had permission to report in Venezuela, the government told the... More


Must-reads of the week

Donald Trump, Roger Angell, John Henry, Asperger’s Syndrome

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


Trial heat polls: All heat, no light

They generate plenty of stories, but it’s way too early for polls to predict anything about 2016

We're still almost three years away from November 2016, but political journalists seem to want to fast-forward past the ongoing... More


New Florida unemployment requirement doesn’t help jobless, does delay benefits

Florida Times-Union, Tampa Bay Times advance the story on state’s flawed new program

MIAMI, FL -- The scope of Florida's unemployment system debacle and early failures to address it continue to emerge,... More


The WhatsApp coverage

Facebook’s rich purchase of a social-media company turns heads

It sure feels like a watershed moment. Facebook bought the messaging service WhatsApp yesterday for $19 billion in cash and... More


Audit Notes: Wall Street’s secret society, Euro joblessness, Sorkin

Kevin Roose crashes the Kappa Beta Phi party

Financial reporters have long wondered just what goes on inside Kappa Beta Phi, Wall Street's elite secret society. Kevin Roose,... More


The next generation of diversity

Why aren’t we studying the digital pipeline?

This week the Women's Media Center released its annual report on the gender and racial diversity of US media. Drawing... More


The photo that cried wolf

A photo of a young Syrian refugee went viral with an inaccurate narrative attached

A few days ago, a four-year-old boy was photographed in the middle of the desert as he walked from Syria... More


Women still underrepresented in US media

This year’s Status of Women in US Media report was released on Wednesday

American media is nowhere near achieving gender parity when it comes to who gets hired. According to the Women's Media... More


Murdoch’s hard-paywall success

The Times of London makes it work

I've criticized Rupert Murdoch for his hard-paywall strategy at The Times of London, arguing that a metered model a la... More


Audit Notes: Twitter math, guard labor, M&A and oligopoly

Newsweek and stock valuations

This is an odd little Newsweek item on "Twitter's Dicey 2013." Newsweek notes that Twitter's fourth-quarter earnings disappointed investors, who... More


Stories I’d like to see

Cigarette companies’ final days, high-speed trading, and how rich is Ringo?

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



A message gone awry

"Do your homework," a parent might say to a child, "or you won't get into Harvard." A typical response might... More


Roger Goodell’s salary stunner

Great sports reporting puts $44 million payday for the NFL commissioner in context

SportsBusiness Daily reports that the National Football League gave a big raise to its commissioner, Roger Goodell, who took in... More


Cut to: Medicare ‘cuts’

Reporters get another chance to put a recurring talking point in context and honestly explain to seniors what’s at stake

At the moment, it looks like Medicare may be the gift that keeps on giving for the GOP. For the... More


FCC revamps controversial study of TV newsrooms

Local stations in South Carolina test market still waiting to hear from federal government

CHARLESTON, SC -- As the Federal Communications Commission revamps a controversial study that has been slammed by critics as an... More

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Axel Springer eyes global expansion

The German media conglomerate is vying for Forbes, but that may be just the beginning

As the story is told in Germany, Mathias Döpfner, chief executive officer of Axel Springer SE, one of Europe's largest... More


Statistical illusions

How readers perceive numbers is important too

We've talked about how the press feeds into the questionable narrative that we're in another housing bubble. Here's a good... More


When old stories go viral

The onus is on readers to double check the timestamp on things they share

Earlier this month, many internet users were sharing a year-old Gawker item suggesting New York City might get 30 inches... More


Must-reads of the week

Snowed-under edition

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


AIDS patients in limbo, Latino sign-ups lag, and other ACA shout-outs

Our healthcare expert shines a light on some strong recent coverage

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


The Obama administration’s pursuit of whistleblowers is taking a toll

The US dropped 13 Points in the Global Press Freedom Index

Last year was a rough one for freedom of the press in the US, and it shows. Every year, Reporters... More


The front-group impresario

The New York Times and Boston Globe take on Rick Berman

It's always good to see a newspaper take on Rick Berman, the PR powerhouse who specializes in organizing deceptive corporate... More


From the desk of a former FCC Commissioner

Journalists need to generate a national discussion on the future of the internet

Dear Journalists: You may wonder why a long-time regulator like me is writing to you. The answer is that... More


Grief and grievances at The Plain Dealer

Advance’s paper in Cleveland is embroiled in a labor dispute as it charts a new digital path

DETROIT, MI -- Are the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the new Northeast Ohio Media Group two separate companies? Both are... More


A new Web series from PBS Digital Studios mocks its own conventions

“Everything but the News” is a mockumentary with real information on the tech world

A sly Web series that pokes fun at the conventions of news shows like the PBS NewsHour is the newest... More


Covering global health with integrity

How to avoid the pitfalls of parachute journalism

In December, a few days after I returned from a global health reporting trip sponsored by the UN Foundation to... More


Audit Notes: Re/coding the Valley, Kellogg’s labor fight

A look inside the bubble

Re/code's Nellie Bowles went to a Startup and Tech Mixer in downtown San Francisco and came away with an instant... More

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Bill Keller moves to the Marshall Project

The former NYT editor takes the helm at a new nonprofit specializing in criminal justice reporting

Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times, will leave the paper to become editor in chief of... More


Obamacare? I wasn’t aware…

A takeaway for reporters from the latest Kaiser poll numbers: don’t forget who the law is for

When it comes to summarizing the key findings of the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, this Washington Post headline neatly... More


The ‘don’ts’ of interviewing trans people

We deserve to have stories about our lives and accomplishments told in ways that don’t reduce us to our genitals

Last week writer and activist Janet Mock appeared on Piers Morgan Live to promote her new book, Redefining Realness, about... More


Stories I’d like to see

CVS and the doctoring business, Sochi consequences, and getting Cohen’s side of the story

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


Putting the bundle back together?

The challenge for new journalism models: replacing the civic benefits of the newspaper

It seems like ambitious new journalism projects are everywhere these days. The announcement that former New York Times editor Bill... More


Digital security covering the Olympics

How reporters covering the Games are—or aren’t—protecting their stuff

NBC Nightly News broadcast a very alarming report last week ahead of the Olympic Games in Sochi, showing just how... More


Wishful thinking

On using the subjunctive

Many people make New Year's resolutions to start diets, saying, "I wish I were thinner." Six weeks later, many are... More


An FT story lets Wall Street off the hook

On mortgage fraud and willful blindness

The Financial Times has a very interesting profile of former Bakersfield real estate guy Carl Cole, who's about to start... More


Let Stephen Glass back into journalism

Glass can’t possibly mess up journalism more than we already have

Stephen Glass, the wunderkind journalist who was discovered to have fabricated dozens of New Republic articles in 1998, is in... More


Questions for the government on Snowden

There are still too many things US citizens don’t know

The case of Edward Snowden raises many questions. Do we need the surveillance programs he disclosed to mitigate the threat... More


NYT hasn’t been hit that hard

Parsing the numbers with Quartz and the WSJ

Quartz posts this graphic of New York Times Company revenues going back to 2003, asking "Can the New York Times's... More


Atlanta’s snowpocalypse was a record traffic day for

Weather crises are a big draw, but newsroom also pivoted quickly to the political story

MIAMI, FL -- Atlanta became a national punch line last week, when 2.6 inches of snow paralyzed the city. But... More


Must-reads of the week

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ezra Klein, Andrew Rosenthal

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


Lewis Lapham, Editor-in-Chief, Lapham’s Quarterly

Full video of Lewis Lapham’s conversation at the Delacorte Lecture series

Streamed live on Feb 6, 2014 — Lewis Lapham talks with Victor Navasky. To view this video on mobile,... More


The NYT on the right track

A solid quarter tops off a very good financial year for the Times

The New York Times's paywall picked up another 33,000 customers in the fourth quarter, bringing its total to 760,000 digital... More


Be the next Ezra Klein!

A formula for becoming a new-media mogul

You can't swing a dead LOLcat these days without hitting an enterprising journalist who's striking out to create a new-media... More


Gannett’s print-focused paywalls flounder

The quality imperative and charging for news online

Gannett's fourth-quarter newspaper results, announced Tuesday, were basically miserable. Revenue at its publishing segment dropped 4.6 percent in the fourth... More


The Daily Beast suggests Philip Seymour Hoffman should’ve kicked addiction with fatherhood

The piece neglects to incorporate how addiction works

In December, CJR took Daily Beast Columnist Michael Daly to task for publishing a "notable exception" to otherwise responsible media... More

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Upsides to ‘I’

Four journalists make the much-maligned first-person into a strong storytelling tool

When Stephanie Hanes set out to write her first, forthcoming book, about an environmental project in Mozambique funded by a... More

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An ambiguous Medium

An essay about an inappropriate love affair tears open the problems with the two-tiered platform

Last week, Medium editor Arikia Millikan published a coming-of-age essay chronicling a stilted affair she'd had with a married (and... More


Fox News, so confused?

Fox & Friends does nothing to clarify one woman’s confusing Obamacare trials, but still gets its message across

By now, we're accustomed to tales from the Obamacare trenches--good, bad, and ugly--spun in the media. There was Deborah Cavallaro,... More


A new podcast network will focus on story-driven radio shows

Radiotopia seeks to “flip the model” of broadcast-to-internet

PRX, an online marketplace for public media, launched a new podcast network on Tuesday to help promote digital-first audio programming.... More


Will seniors pay the price?

The hospital lobby’s agenda is clear—hit up Medicare beneficiaries, not hospitals, to pay for the “doctor fix”—and merits wider coverage

A telephone call with reporters on January 23 couldn't have been more explicit. The American Hospital Association, the big trade... More


Stories I’d like to see

Is NBC soft on Sochi terror threats, political stalling, and the lawyer who could nail Christie

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


The ratings game

The Super Bowl, the Oscars, and the numbers

David Carr got into the Super Bowl media scrum with a thumbsucker about why so many people watch the Super... More


For Pakistani journos, a treacherous calling

Eight Pakistani reporters spoke about their professional lives at the Columbia Journalism School

Militant propaganda, death threats, and violent military action are among the daily realities some journalists face in Pakistan, which ranks... More


Word choice and reader knowledge

Journalists should write with vocabulary most readers possess

We use words because they articulate what we want or need to say (we hope). But how do you know... More


There are no Al Jazeera journalists reporting in Egypt

They’ve all been detained or indicted

CAIRO, Egypt--These are deeply uncertain times for journalists in Egypt. On Wednesday, the country's chief prosecutor general leveled a raft... More


Viral math

Curiosity-gap headlines are a way of hacking real-world friendships for profit—one Facebook won’t long abide

This chart, from Newswhip via Derek Thompson, has been doing the rounds, and causing a bit of debate: The question:... More


Preventing war by promoting ‘peace journalism’ in Uganda

A program in Uganda aims to keep violence away and, perhaps, promote peace in war-torn neighbors

"Do not kill those cockroaches with a bullet; cut them to pieces with a machete," blared Rwanda's Radio Télévision Libre... More

New survey reveals everything you think about freelancing is true - Data from Project Word quantifies challenges of freelance investigative reporting

Why one editor won’t run any more op-eds by the Heritage Foundation’s top economist - A reply to Paul Krugman on state taxes and job growth made some incorrect claims

Why we ‘stave off’ colds - It all started with wine

The New Republic, then and now - Tallying the staff turnover at the overhauled magazine

Why serious journalism can coexist with audience-pleasing content - Legacy media organizations should experiment with digital platforms while continuing to publish hard news

The rise of feelings journalism (TNR)

“Bloom engaged in an increasingly popular style of writing, which I’ve discussed on my blog before, which I call “feelings journalism.” It involves a writer making an argument based on what they imagine someone else is thinking, what they feel may be another person’s feelings. The realm of fact, of reporting, has been left behind.”

Things a war correspondent should never say (WSJ)

“The correspondent retelling war stories surely knows that fellow correspondents had faced the same dangers or worse”

On WaPo trying to interview a cow (National Journal)

“‘I wasn’t milked on the White House lawn by a strange man,’ The Washington Post—the venerable institution that would later come to break the Watergate scandal and win 48 Pulitzers—quoted her, a farm animal, as saying”


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

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