Wednesday, October 22, 2014. Last Update: Wed 3:17 PM EST

Monthly Archive

March 2014

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Straw men fail to advance future-of-news debate, as usual

A response to Ben Thompson on the Web’s supposed golden age of journalism

Ben Thompson writes a three-part series about newspapers and the future of news over at his blog Stratechery. Since the... More

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Closer than it appears

Farther vs. further

Now that The Associated Press has dropped the distinction between "over" and "more than" for quantities, perhaps it's time to... More

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Busted is a tale of police corruption—and of a newspaper on the edge

Philadelphia Daily News reporters turn Pulitzer-winning series into a new book

DETROIT, MI -- They're a reporter duo who have turned an acclaimed newspaper series into a new book, so the... More

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Audit Notes: Sex bias and arbitration, NYT Now, ageism in the Valley

The Times on corporate culture questions raised by a lawsuit against Sterling Jewelers

Susan Antilla has a disturbing story in The New York Times about a sexual harassment and bias lawsuit seeking class... More

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News literacy goes global

Created in reaction to a distinctly American news media, the discipline is nonetheless gaining steam overseas

News literacy--the discipline that teaches students how to critically engage with the news they consume--grew specifically out of the contemporary... More

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The 10th anniversary of a photo that changed the Iraq War

An image from Fallujah and its consequences

Khalid Mohammed, a photographer for the Associated Press, took a picture 10 years ago of two charred American bodies... More

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Polar Bears ‘R’ Us

The latest edition of a UN report makes a media-ready case for the imminent dangers of climate change

A highly anticipated UN report, to be officially released Monday in Yokohama, Japan, puts a diverse human face on the... More

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Must-reads of the week

Inside Upworthy, Nate Silver vs. Paul Krugman, State of the News Media 2014

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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‘Nobody’s going to run me out of my home’

A West Virginia paper stands its ground in a fight over guns and public records

CHARLESTON, SC -- A throwdown between a county sheriff and a small-town newspaper is showing once again how some local... More

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A family left out of Obamacare

The Man in the Middle has “affordable” coverage; the ACA’s “family glitch” snags his wife and kids

Next week when the administration adds up Obamacare's first-year achievements--six to seven million Americans signed up for insurance on the... More

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The banality of ‘What We Know’ about climate change

Can a “boring” AAAS report change the global warming conversation?

Earlier in March, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the most prominent scientific society in the US, launched... More

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WSJ editorial page brazenly ignores Toyota’s own admissions

Holman Jenkins isn’t entitled to his own facts

Four years ago, at the height of the Toyota sudden-acceleration debacle, Holman W. Jenkins of The Wall Street Journal editorial... More

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ONA prepares a DIY ethics code

The Online News Association is working on a crowdsourced ethics code project

The Online News Association is working on "Build Your Own Ethics Code," a toolkit to help news outlets, bloggers, and... More

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What’s missing from Medicaid coverage: actual people

The media’s been all over consumer problems with the exchanges. For Medicaid, not so much

If a prize were given for the best story about Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act to date in 2014,... More

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The light in Beirut

Up against a wall, waiting to die on a late afternoon in August 1982, a journalist’s life stops and then starts over

This story is being co-published by CJR and by The Big Roundtable, a new digital home for narrative journalism.... More

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In Alaska, journalists see a conflict over oil taxes—but their business side doesn’t

Appointment of public media CFO to state board prompts concerns in the newsroom

In Alaska, oil is king. A third of the state's jobs are tied to the industry. Political campaigns have been... More

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Meet Ukraine’s media moguls

Russia’s advance into Crimea has transformed Ukrainian television news coverage

Ukrainian media mogul Dmitry Firtash walked out of pre-trial detention in Vienna last week, where he was arrested on bribery... More

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One in three Americans view online news videos

This year’s State of the News Media report was released on Wednesday

More American adults are watching news videos online than ever before. According to the 2014 State of the News Media... More

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Audit Notes: Vice talks IPO, Wall Street suicides, Slate membership

CEO floats a Twitter-like valuation

Bloomberg reports that Vice Media is considering an IPO, reporting that its CEO says it will have $1 billion in... More

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On Connecticut’s ‘Gold Coast,’ a local news incubator

Fairfield County is swamped with hyperlocal experiments that hold broader aspirations

Learn About Tableau Unlike other communities around the country, the suburban towns comprising the Fairfield County, CT "Gold Coast"... More

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Bloomberg gets a taste of transparency

And the controversy over its China coverage reaches a crisis point

Ben Richardson's very public resignation from Bloomberg LP over its China coverage takes a scandal that had been a contained... More

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Stories I’d like to see

A fair view of the Koch brothers, and explaining bitcoin

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. Getting a full, fair view of the money behind... More

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The Hamster Wheel is institutionalized at the Oregonian

Newhouse-owned outlet imposes a digital quota

This misbegotten document is what it looks like when HR spins the Hamster Wheel: Oregonian Employee Policy Presentation Willamette Week... More

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Fiber boost for local journalism?

Journalists should take up the fight for municipal-fiber networks in their communities, argues open-internet advocate Susan Crawford

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS -- This is a pivotal time for telecommunications policy. The proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger gets a... More

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So over it

The reaction to a rule change

Far too much has already been written about The Associated Press's announcement last week that it would begin allowing the... More

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Meet the local paper that’s ‘raising hell’ to keep government open

Florida Times-Union goes to court for key information—and also just for principle

MIAMI, FL -- The Jacksonville-based Florida Times Union is a rare outlier these days, a mid-sized regional paper willing to... More

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Women were digital media pioneers, but there’s still a gender gap there

Women are both underrepresented and underappreciated in the journalism startup world

USA Today launched its first website just days before the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and its staff helped create a... More

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Sources and secrets

An event at the Times Center discussed whether journalists reporting on government secrets are more prosecuted than in eras past

Has the War on Terror turned into a War on Journalists? Yes, according to speakers from some of the most... More

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For the WSJ, access doesn’t pay off

While Businessweek, locked out, gets the big Target hacking story

Let's compare two stories on the Target data breach that offer starkly opposing portraits of how the mega-retailer handled the... More

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Must-reads of the week

Fox hunting 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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Bloomberg News’s deepening China problem

Chairman’s remarks raise serious questions about the news division’s mission in a key market

Peter T. Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg LP, spoke with perhaps more candor than he intended in responding this week to... More

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Existing restrictions on access to gun records? Not good enough, lawmakers say

Michigan lawmakers move to codify gun exemption even while strengthening FOIA law

DETROIT, MI -- The year of the Journal News backlash isn't over yet. When the suburban New York newspaper published... More

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The pitfalls of data journalism

FiveThirtyEight won’t have broad appeal without narrative

The power in data journalism comes from the ability for numbers and statistics to examine a subject in a measurable... More

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Why j-schoolers are depressed

…and why they’re wrong about their job prospects

I spent several days last week talking to classes at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This is the... More

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FiveThirtyEight’s disappointing science section

Science journalism could use an infusion of analysis, but FiveThirtyEight isn’t yet doing it rigorously or objectively

The internet hates Nate Silver today--at least the small quotient closely following the launch of his new site, FiveThirtyEight, this... More

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Michael Milken, financier and philanthropist (UPDATED)

The Washington Post and WSJ forget a key piece of information

So, who is Michael Milken, anyway? According to the Washington Post he's "a financier with numerous philanthropic ventures in health... More

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Americans learn about science from the internet; Brits watch TV

Two surveys of public attitudes towards science reveal national differences

Ipsos Mori, a market research organization based in London, just released a report on of public attitudes towards science, revealing... More

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Automatic approval for weak study on robot journalism

Poor reporting accepts a flimsy report as gospel

"Could robots be the journalists of the future?" asks The Guardian. "People Think Computer Journalists Are More Trustworthy Than Human... More

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How an algorithm helped the LAT scoop Monday’s quake

Everyone, that is, except those desk-diving anchors

On Monday morning, Ken Schwencke, a programmer and data reporter at the Los Angeles Times, was jolted awake at his... More

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Stories I’d like to see

Gauging reactions to Amazon’s price increase, and Congress’ relationship with the NSA

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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Audit Notes: Tribune gets results, Buffett’s sweet deal, China

An investigation of the flame-retardant industry snares a doctor

The Chicago Tribune's outstanding investigation into the flame-retardant industry (a probe featured in The Audit's Best Business Writing 2013) is... More

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Diversity—or lack thereof—in journalism startups, cont.

Emily Bell weighs in on the response to her Guardian column from last week

Someone is wrong on the internet, and I wonder if it might be me. Last week I wrote a piece... More

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Age has less impact on news consumption

A study by the Media Insight Project tracks how Americans follow news stories across time and media platforms

Contrary to general wisdom that media consumption differs by age--older people read print newspapers; teenagers watch online videos--a study released... More

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A drug offers better care for a disease that affect millions. How can it be ‘low value’?

By costing $1,000 a pill. The new hepatitis C treatment puts drug costs on the media agenda

When we first took a look at media coverage of Sovaldi, the new wonder drug to treat hepatitis C,... More

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That tricky ‘e’

Making verbs out of nouns

We have occasionally invoked Tom Lehrer when discussing how the simple letter "e" can change the meaning of many words,... More

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In search of the ur-quiz

One of BuzzFeed’s most popular features, quizzes’ origins in the popular media are surprisingly murky

If you ever doubt that journalism is a glorious line of work, just remember that we reporters can justify what... More

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Digital media hiring diversity under the microscope

As Nate Silver and Ezra Klein were being criticized for their homogenous hires, suggestions for diversification came to the fore

On Wednesday, Emily Bell, director of Columbia Journalism School's Tow Center and a member of CJR's board of overseers, wrote... More

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Must-reads of the week

The First Upshot of Vox’s FiveThirtyEight Media

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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The second draft of history

When corrections go unflagged

What do you do when you make a fact error online? The answer is simple: Fix it and flag the... More

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When public officials skirt open meetings laws, what can we do?

With enforcement weak, the best remedy may be to do what The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did: Expose it

MIAMI, FL -- When officials in Cobb County, GA, wanted to lure the Atlanta Braves out of Atlanta, they devised... More

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In the CAR, journalism hangs by a thread

One local radio station surviving in the midst of conflict has international support

The past year's religious violence and revenge killings in the Central African Republic are not only causing a humanitarian crisis;... More

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Hospitals find one more way to jack up healthcare costs

A laurel to the Tampa Bay Times for its investigation of trauma center fees

Just when we thought we'd heard all the tricks the nation's hospitals were using to jack up the cost... More

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Q&A: Radio Free Europe’s Ukrainian director

Maryana Drach on her staff’s experiences reporting on the conflict

For journalists in Ukraine, safety has become a leading concern. Radio Svoboda, the Ukrainian branch of Radio Free Europe, had... More

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Audit Notes: A fallen journo does retail, local gone wrong, Abelson

Former Politico reporter on falling down the ladder

Joseph Williams had to take a retail job at 50 years old after getting fired from Politico in the wake... More

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Covering the Ukraine conflict grows increasingly dangerous

Harassment and intimidation of journalists—both foreign and Ukrainian—have become commonplace

Tuesday, three Norwegian journalists from public TV broadcaster NRK said they were stopped at an improvised checkpoint as they were... More

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The great Herbalife astroturf war

The New York Times probes Bill Ackman’s campaign against the multilevel marketer

Herbalife is one of those multilevel marketing companies, often sketchy, that usually operate below the view of the national press.... More

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Journos weigh in on covering trans people

A panel at CUNY on Tuesday night offered advice

Coverage of the transgender community has become a major media issue in recent months, given incidents from Katie Couric's invasive... More

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Audit Notes: Agnotology, Blame-the-borrowers debunked, WSJ goes native

Michael Hiltzik looks at the cultural production of ignorance

Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times has a must-read column about agnotology, the study of the "cultural production of... More

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Tabloids in the age of social media

It’s harder to gauge an outlet’s quality in a tweet

Last month the National Enquirer dropped a bombshell report that playwright David Bar Katz, a close friend of the recently... More

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Stories I’d like to see

The mysterious allure of cruises, Al Sharpton conflict check, and doing the math on Ukraine bailouts

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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Two local papers have accepted money from City Hall in 2014. Is this a thing now? (UPDATED)

Deals raise ethical questions—and in one case, complaints from rival news outlets

CHARLESTON, SC -- Last month, a story popped up about local officials in a suburb of Madison, WI, voting to... More

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A letter from death row backfires on Gawker (UPDATED)

The site let Ray Jasper whitewash the brutal killing he helped commit

Gawker has long delighted in thumbing its nose at journalism convention, and that's fine. On the other hand it makes... More

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Saving orphan photos

On the internet, photos are separated from their owners—often on purpose

Say you're writing a blog post, and you're pulling from a bunch of different sources around the Web. Say one... More

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Spellbound

Grammatically incorrect pop culture

In between National Grammar Day and the national conference of the American Copy Editors Society, let us lament that "popular... More

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Newsweek and ‘trust us’ journalism

“The Face of Bitcoin” promised too much

Leah McGrath Goodman tells Felix Salmon this about her controversial Newsweek piece on the founder of Bitcoin: "If I read... More

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The future of data journalism at the Washington Post

Life after Ezra Klein

When blogger and commentator Ezra Klein joined the Washington Post in 2009, he was 25 years old and barely known... More

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What do you mean, control drug prices? We can’t do that

The latest fight over Medicare rules shows why American healthcare costs are so high

Update, 1:44 pm: CMS has backed off the proposed rule changes, The Hill reports. Want to understand why American healthcare... More

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Fox News subpoena case appealed to Supreme Court

Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes’ lawyers are asking the country’s highest court to consider forcing reporter Jana Winter to reveal confidential sources

The New York Court of Appeals ruled in December that Fox News reporter Jana Winter did not have to testify--and... More

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The NYT preps its paywall part deux

A few details emerge on the cheaper NYT Now, plus a high-end subscription

The New York Times has been looking for ways to build on the massive success of its three-year-old metered paywall... More

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Must-reads of the week

Bitcoin inventor revealed, First Look confronted, American journalism Travoltified

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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The Satoshi Paradox

Newsweek out on a wire with a Bitcoin blockbuster

Newsweek wanted a scoop for its relaunch cover story, and boy did it deliver: it uncovered the identity of Satoshi... More

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The end of obesity, sort of

On the heels of a White House media blitz, two contrasting press releases reveal a misleading story

Last week's health headlines were punctuated by a conveniently timed bit of news: On the heels of the White House's... More

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The First Amendment vs. death penalty secrecy laws

In Missouri, it’s against the law to name pharmacies that produce drugs for lethal injections. Two news organizations did so anyway. What happens next?

From 1995 to 2006, when the state of Missouri executed a convict by lethal injection, the process was overseen by... More

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An enterprising Journal fills gaps on investor protection

An outstanding investigation of FINRA, Wall Street’s self-regulator, continues

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent investigative series going into Wall Street self-regulator FINRA and how its system of... More

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News literacy declines with socioeconomic status

Students from families with a lower socioeconomic status tend to be less confident and capable in navigating the Web to find credible information

Remember the digital divide? It was the next big problem circa 1995. Rich people had computers and Internet access, and... More

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The new dream job

And the end of old-media prestige

For years, even as most print-centric publications downsized, they maintained their status as the crème de la crème. The journalistic... More

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Detroit’s one-man brand

Steve Neavling is trying to monetize a home-grown city reporting site

Steve Neavling may be one of the most hated men in Detroit. Since leaving his post as a Detroit Free... More

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The Guardian’s digital boom

Revenue rises sharply online for a second-straight year

The Guardian had another big year of digital business last year, further brightening the paper's long-term outlook. The paper says... More

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Nonprofit angel wings

Sometimes, contra Jeff Jarvis, philanthropy is the answer to journalism’s problems

Digital professor and provocateur Jeff Jarvis recently tweeted, "Every time a rich person gives to a nonprofit, a journalism startup... More

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Marc Andreessen’s news-business fairy tale

The news industry is not in for exponential growth

Marc Andreessen has some outlandish predictions about the future of the journalism business: I am more bullish about the future... More

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Lethal immigration

In Mirta Ojito’s latest book, a notorious hate crime gains context and analysis

One Saturday night in November 2008, after drinking a few beers and joshing around with their friends, seven high-school boys... More

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Covering the $1,000 pill

Five questions reporters still need to ask about very expensive new drugs like sofosbuvir—-and the cost of healthcare overall

Are the costs of super expensive drugs--to cure whatever ails Americans--justifiable? The drug sofosbuvir, used to treat hepatitis C, has... More

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Stories I’d like to see

Ambassadors astray, the Federal Reserve Board’s minutes, and conflict recusals in the Valley

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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To revitalize journalism, give it away

That’s the approach of Mosaic, a new science site that’s affixing a Creative Commons license to its longform

For the last few months, word of British digital science journalism upstart Mosaic has been circulating quietly, as a roster... More

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Audit Notes: Video ads, NPR on the Hamster Wheel, ProPublica’s data store

Adweek on TV versus online video

Adweek clickbaits us with a headline saying, "You Won't Believe How Big TV Still Is." It's unclear why you wouldn't... More

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Political science and journalism: BFFs?

How academics can help improve media coverage of politics

This is my last post for CJR's United States Project--starting this month, I will instead serve as a contributor to... More

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What’s mine is yours

Joint possession

Happy National Grammar Day! The silence in the place of cheers is deafening. Grammar is a boring, regimented set of... More

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Pencils and pixels

What kind of stories can artists, designers, and writers tell when teamed up with data scientists and coders?

On Friday, Ellen Weinstein, an award-winning illustrator based in New York, found herself in unusual company. She was in one... More

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Opening Shot

How The Times have changed

In January, The New York Times introduced the first visual overhaul of its site since 2006. The changes are... More

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Navigating the bedlam

CJR’s new way forward

It came as a jolt. After 25 years at The Washington Post, where I'd spent my early days as... More

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Who cares if it’s true?

Modern-day newsrooms reconsider their values

BuzzFeed, as much as any newsroom, is the antithesis of traditional. A neon sign celebrates the Hot List, BuzzFeed's... More

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Going viral

How to make content sharable

"What makes something go viral?" That has become the $64,000 question among journalists. Ask 10 different publishers and you'll get... More

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And from the left…Fox News

There’s more to Fox News’ strategy of hiring liberals than creating a public boxing match

On a Friday night in January, Bill Maher made an off-kilter joke about mass shootings. By the following Monday,... More

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How dry I am

The most fundamental element of life is water. So why aren’t newsrooms covering it like a beat?

My article on the most important document in the recent and turbulent history of water in Texas opened in... More

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Open Bar

Eightbar

Eightbar Baltimore, MD Year opened 2013 Distinguishing features Don't expect to spot Eightbar from the sidewalk. Instead, you'll need to... More

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Darts & Laurels

Too many hoaxes and anonymous sources

DART to The Daily Mail, Gawker, and NBC, among others, for gleefully reprinting a story about North Korean leader Kim... More

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Placing a bet on USA Today

Gannett has long felt the television model could translate into print. Now it’s using its flagship paper to double down on that idea.

The business model of network television--plugging the power of a national broadcast operation into a grid of local stations--is coming... More

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How free is the free press?

In the wake of the Edward Snowden disclosures, that’s the question everyone is asking

On January 30, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and CJR hosted a lively panel discussion on "Journalism... More

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On the job

A simpler life

When photographer Claire Martin first heard about Faerieland, a sanctuary close to the eastern Australian coast for gay men... More

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Equal ground

Can data transform the way we report on poverty

Carlos Martínez de la Serna started working as a journalist in 1998, when he joined the Spanish newspaper El... More

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Meet Mr. Space

A man on a mission to make Americans care about the solar system

Space isn't what it used to be. At least, that's the thought Mike Massimino fears is floating around the... More

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Language Corner

Naming rights

What do you call a revue of dancing soldiers? A "troupe" of "troops," of course. That was kind of a... More

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Hard Numbers

Viral edition

64 percent of American adults using Facebook 30 percent of American adults getting news from Facebook 16 percent of American... More

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The tyranny of punk rock

Pussy Riot’s venom for Vladimir Putin captivated the media and then set the fearless band on a course to prison

The award-winning BBC Four documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer opens with a quote from Bertolt Brecht: "Art is... More

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The cunning of one letter

And the power of media to change the course of history

In 1987, David Hoffman walked down the dark, sterile halls of the Kremlin with a letter in his breast pocket... More

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Brief encounters

Short reviews of Deadly Censorship and The Loudest Voice in the Room

Deadly Censorship: Murder, Honor and Freedom of the Press | By James Lowell Underwood | The University of South Carolina... More

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Exit Interview

The man behind the Pulitzer

When Sig Gissler announced in January that he would step down as administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes after 12... More

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Letters to the editor

Readers respond to our January/February issue

Accountability vs. access The reason that access journalism fails the test of true reporting is that access reporting depends on... More

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CJR seeks press freedom correspondent for United States Project

Writer will lead coverage of First Amendment and transparency concerns related to state and local journalism

This position has been filled. We're still reviewing applications for regional correspondents. The Columbia Journalism Review is seeking a freelance... More

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Come write for us: CJR seeks correspondents for United States Project

Help critique and support local accountability journalism in your region

The Columbia Journalism Review is seeking freelance regional correspondents to join its United States Project, which aims to support accountability... 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


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”

I’m a black journalist quitting media because I’m sick of racism (TNR)

“Among the challenges that make racism so difficult to fix, and so odiously constant, is that white people often don’t even recognize when they’re saying or doing something that cuts their black colleagues to the bone”

High Times hits middle age (NYMag)

After 40 years, every issue still features a weed centerfold

Lawmakers on why they’re mired in place (Esquire)

Mark Warren “spoke with 90 members of the House and Senate about what’s gone so wrong in Congress. Sometimes it got a little emotional.”

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.