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Monthly Archive

April 2014


What can we do when a state FOI law takes a hit?

West Virginia media are struggling to figure that out after a court ruling that a dissenting justice called “a step backward”

CHARLESTON, SC -- A few years ago, the South Carolina Press Association assembled a task force to address how public... More


Columbia Spec’s smart switch to digital

As some trustees cry foul over Spec being the first Ivy-League daily to cut print, one says the students could teach their elders a thing or two

When the alumni advisory board of the Columbia Daily Spectator gathered recently to consider a student proposal to curtail the... More


The thankless work of a ‘fixer’

Foreign journalists know they’d be lost, or even dead, without the locals they hire, but do they give them credit back home?

I first met Mohannad Sabry in 2005, when I arrived in Egypt for an unpaid internship with The Associated... More


Why can’t SCOTUSblog get a credential?

It’s surprisingly hard to find out—and the journalists making the rules are as open as Chick-fil-A on Sunday

Around the country, credentialing organizations struggle every year to make decisions as journalists and news outlets apply for law-enforcement passes to cross... More


Stories I’d like to see

Regrouping for Detroit, GM’s bankruptcy evasion and Chinese corporate records

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on 1. Kevyn Orr and a Detroit rebound? Last Friday, I... More


Drone man

If there’s a news story or a documentary about drones, chances are that Brandon Bryant is quoted in it

A new documentary, Drone, which aired on European television this week and plans to come to the US soon, features... More


Federal judge: Delayed access to court records raises First Amendment concerns

Courthouse News editor sees “nationwide plague”—and he’ll get a chance to make his case

It's been a routine for generations of legal beat reporters: Every weekday afternoon, at courthouses across the United States, a... More


Famous lost words

Misplaced phrases or modifiers

Word people love to have fun with misplaced modifiers. The most recognized of these are dangling participles, where a phrase... More


Exit Interview

Frontier man, meet New York

Jake Silverstein steps into his new role as editor of the New York Times Magazine at a critical moment. On... More


ProPublica plans to grow its ‘Data Store’

“There’s no question that selling data is a rich opportunity for many newsrooms”

In February, ProPublica launched the "Data Store," a site from which journalists from outside of the organization could purchase data... More


The New Yorker’s plagiarism blunder

“The problem is the degree to which you are a victim of your own success”

Elizabeth Kolbert's Comment "Rough Forecasts," published in the April 14 issue of The New Yorker, contains this quote from the... More


Must-reads of the week

“Imagination is for turbo-nerds who can’t handle how kick-butt reality is!”

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


Media, policy, and conflict in Pakistan

Policymakers see media’s impact as powerful but not always positive

Pakistan's raucous and increasingly lethal media sector is exerting a powerful effect on decision-making in the country, even though journalists... More


France 24’s trusted volunteer corps

The station has a global network of unpaid, verified contributors that help find and factcheck stories

When a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire in 2010, igniting the Arab Spring, France 24 interviewed a man... More


A newspaper deal threatens Utah’s main non-Mormon-owned daily, critics say

And the Justice Department is looking into it

A deal reached last fall between Salt Lake City's two main newspapers is unraveling into an angry controversy as the... More


5 ideas for a modern internet policy

As the ‘Open Internet’ becomes vulnerable, it’s time to look at other public interest solutions

It's been a bad few months for the principle that the internet should remain a neutral platform on which all... More


John R. MacArthur, Publisher, Harper’s Magazine

Full video of Martha Stewart’s conversation at the Delacorte Lecture series

Streamed live on Apr 24, 2014, a conversation with John R. "Rick" MacArthur, Publisher of Harper's Magazine. More


The $1,000 pill is popular! So, who pays?

Pricey hepatitis C drug Sovaldi “shattered” sales expectations. Reporters need to keep asking the costs and benefits questions.

Remember the $1,000-per-pill hepatitis C treatment, Sovaldi, that wowed the press upon FDA approval in December? In the months since,... More


Print ads go up at The New York Times

At least for one quarter

The New York Times just had a quarter reminiscent of the days before the Great Newspaper Crash. The Times paywall... More


Journalism’s hiring transparency problem

Why do publications make it so hard to figure out what they’re looking for?

Last week, a journalist friend emailed me to say that several of her colleagues had just been laid off, and... More


Climate scientist’s privacy victory may prove a loss for journalists

Court ruling limits access to public information in Virginia

After deliberating for months, late last week the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of climate scientist Michael Mann in... More


Forget the spin of eight million sign-ups

The consumer and business story angles Obamacare reporters should turn to now

With the announcement late last week that eight million people had signed up for Obamacare, it seemed for a while... More


FOIA win against government on drones

Will it lead to more or less disclosure in the future?

The enormous increase in public attention to the drone war in the past year arguably began with the leak of... More


Come for the Facebook spat, stay for the child welfare story

Yes, there was a social media dustup between SC politicians last week. There’s also a real story here that local media have been on since last fall

CHARLESTON, SC -- Late last week, a Facebook spat between South Carolina's Republican governor and an oft-supportive GOP state senator... More


Aereo coverage in a nutshell

Of all the angles on Aereo, the most important one is the worst for the company

No rational CEO chooses to take a company's business model before the Supreme Court just for the publicity. But for... More


Crossing over

Hybrid documentary series Borderland recreates the treacherous journey that actual undocumented immigrants have attempted from Mexico to the US

Halfway through retracing the journey that thousands of undocumented migrants take from Mexico to the United States each year, Washington... More


Stories I’d like to see

Obama’s unaccountable briefers, pipeline bribery, and economic woes at Yankee Stadium

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on 1. Obama's unaccountable briefers: Here's a key paragraph in Saturday's... More


Newspapers continue to sink (UPDATED)

Ad declines far outweigh subscription gains

The newspaper industry continued to sink last year, shedding 2.6 percent of its revenue on heavy print ad declines, according... More


Pakistan’s most prominent journalist shot by gunman in Karachi

An apparent assassination attempt on Hamid Mir illustrates the price that comes with the higher profile and influence of the news media in Pakistan

Pakistan's most famous and influential journalist is recovering in a hospital after being shot by a gunman in the metropolis... More



To catch a sneeze

In honor of allergy season, here's a riddle: What word's first syllable is pronounced differently than the way it is... More


For comprehensive coverage of the Florida State case, go to…NYT?

The Tallahassee Democrat and other Florida papers could have done more on the Jameis Winston investigation

Last week, the most comprehensive look to date at the flawed investigation into a rape accusation against Jameis Winston, Florida... More


The rise of internet video news

More and more young people get their news from online video, which is not necessarily a bad thing

Most of the discussion of youth news consumption and news literacy--including that of yours truly--focuses on articles and written content.... More


The secret whistleblowers, revisited

The new documentary 1971, which premiered on Friday, reveals how a group of activists exposed the secrets of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI

In March 1971, eight burglars broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Media, PA, and stole hundreds of... More


Must-reads of the week

“Ah, the New York Times is coming today. I’d better put on my best pair of leggings”

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


How the Detroit Free Press won a Pulitzer for commentary

The paper put columns at the forefront of its coverage of the city’s bankruptcy

DETROIT, MI -- This might just be the newsiest city in America--and Stephen Henderson's job is to make sense of... More


The ambiguous LA Times/Occidental rift

It’s in many ways a “they said, he said” story with no easy answers

Last month, the Los Angeles Times dismissed Jason Felch, a 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting, in the kind... More


Jacob Weisberg, CEO, Slate

Full video of Jacob Weisberg’s conversation at the Delacorte Lecture series

Streamed live on Apr 17, 2014, Jacob Weisberg, talks with Victor Navasky. To view this video on mobile, click... More

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Walking the public opinion tightrope

Early reception of a celebrity-packed Showtime documentary demonstrates the difficulty of engaging audiences on climate change

The first episode of Years of Living Dangerously, Showtime's mammoth documentary series on climate change that premiered Sunday night, is... More

huffpo .jpg

Huffington: ‘Virality has become fetishized’

HuffPost’s founder spoke about her site’s direction—and her newest book—at Tufts University on Wednesday

The Huffington Post's South Korean edition--the site's 11th international incarnation--launched in February with a reporting focus on burnout and technology... More


In defense of ‘Dasani’

The NYT series transcends the Pulitzers and the second-guessing

Columbia's Bill Grueskin tries to explain why the Pulitzer board dismissed The New York Times's "Invisible Child" series about Dasani... More


What law did the Toledo Blade break? The Army won’t say

But we’ve got a guess—and the paper’s lawsuit could present the first challenge to the statute

After military police detained two journalists last month outside a military manufacturing plant, an Army spokesman said the journalists had... More


Another Pulitzer for reporting classified info

The prize’s board has “rewarded” coverage of leaked material before

The Pulitzer committee's decision to give its public service award this year to the Washington Post and the Guardian for... More


3 signs you’re in a bad relationship with your editor

What happens if, somewhere between first draft and publication, the editor-writer relationship goes south?

Just like any successful romance, a good editorial relationship starts with two people, a mutual attraction, and the hope that... More


Why was ‘Dasani’ shut out of the Pulitzers?

5 problems with The New York Times’ ambitious, influential series on the life of one homeless Brooklyn girl

On Monday afternoon, the Pulitzer board awarded the local news reporting prize to an impressive, powerfully written series of stories... More


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does the Medicaid story we’ve been looking for

Taking a close look at what life is like in the “coverage gap”

Not long ago, we faulted press coverage of the Medicaid expansion debate for overlooking the personal experiences and struggles of... More


USA Today’s third-rate clickbait

Trolling for pageviews à la Business Insider, but without the panache

What happens when America's Newspaper tries to go Business Insider? Something like this: That's the America's Markets section of USA... More


Stories I’d like to see

Sealing deadly court files, and Obama and his Cabinet

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on 1. Sealing deadly court files: In the wake of continuing... More


Pretentious, or quaint?

Amongst, amidst, whilst

The headline on a recent article in a Tennessee newspaper said the local teachers were "among best-paid" in the state.... More


IBT Media is allegedly breaking labor law

Newsweek’s parent company only pays employees once a month despite laws mandating twice monthly, according to multiple former and current staffers

IBT Media, the parent company of International Business Times and Newsweek, has been violating New York labor law for years... More


2014 Pulitzer Prizes announced

Guardian and WaPo win for public service

This year's Pulitzer Prizes were announced at 3pm on Monday at Columbia University, the final prizes overseen by outgoing administrator... More


Vanessa Bush, Editor-in-Chief, Essence

Full video of Vanessa Bush’s conversation with Victor Navasky at the Delacorte Lecture series

Streamed live on April 14, 2014 — Vanessa Bush talks with Victor Navasky. To view this video on mobile... More


16 women whose digital startups deserve Vox-level plaudits

A look at the media entrepreneurs who aren’t grabbing headlines

Even casual consumers of media news have heard of Ezra Klein and Nate Silver, two names that are now synonymous... More


The enduring pull of mag covers

Why do magazine cover images still hold so much cultural power in this decline-of-print era?

In some ways, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus Rolling Stone cover is a sign of how far we've come: A 53-year-old woman... More


Must-reads of the week

Heartbleed bugs and wonk bubbles

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


The AP downplays its Obamacare scoop

Repeal on deductible caps marks another step in The Great Cost Shift

Earlier this week, David Espo of The Associated Press broke the news that an unlikely alliance of Democrats and Republicans... More


OnEarth eliminates print

The science mag’s editors say sticking to digital will allow them to devote more resources to environmental journalism

Back in February we praised OnEarth, the editorial arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council, for using its website to... More


Michael Wolff’s digital media bloopers (UPDATED)

The Newser founder trolls (other) digital-news companies

Having accurately predicted that Lachlan Murdoch would return to his dad's company, Michael Wolff, in his exhilaration, made this crack... More


A small paper scores an open-records win in a recovering city

The Joplin Globe’s court victory forces an investigation’s findings public before local election

KANSAS CITY -- Voters in Joplin, MO, the small Midwestern city still recovering from a 2011 tornado, went to the... More


The promise and peril of new Medicare data

Newly-released Medicare payment data offer key clues to how physicians practice, get paid—if reporters proceed carefully

Yesterday's release by the Department of Health & Human Services of Medicare physician payment and service data--for decades out of... More


The press and the tech bubble

How the groundwork might be laid for another Big One

Here's a headline you don't like to see if you're worried about a possible social-media/tech bubble: Slate wrote this toward... More


Audit Notes: CNN, SEC scorched, how we read now

CNN is launching a show built for Twitter called Your 15 Second Morning, The Wall Street Journal reports. Fifteen seconds!... More


What coverage of New York’s ‘surprise billing’ fix left out

The fight between doctors and insurers is an important one to keep watching

Last week, The New York Times ran an article announcing a significant healthcare provision in the budget deal reached by... More


The Local goes global

An English-language news site in Sweden is expanding across the continent

In 2004, James Savage and Paul Rapacioli were two Brits who had fallen in love with Swedes, leaving them with... More


WNYC is beefing up its data journalism

New York’s public radio station is expanding its data reporting

WNYC's data team has tracked a lot over the years: cicadas, flood zones, and even wireless internet access on the... More


Al Jazeera journalists still jailed in Egypt

A panel at the Columbia j-school discussed ways to combat the press crackdown there

On December 29, three Al Jazeera English journalists were arrested in Egypt. One hundred days later, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy,... More


Audit Notes: Online polls, local TV news, HuffPost art

The LA Times runs with a shaky survey on wage theft

The Washington Post's Erik Wemple picks apart poor Los Angeles Times coverage of an Internet survey that found that 90... More


‘Nobody’s that lucky’—except in Florida’s lottery?

Palm Beach Post ferrets out lottery fraud, prompts tightening of “meager” safeguards

MIAMI -- When The Palm Beach Post's Lawrence Mower asked the Florida Lottery for information on winners from 1997 to... More


Tina Brown’s glossy feminism

If only Tina Brown had been a feminist throughout her media career, rather than now that it’s fashionable

In the program booklet for Tina Brown's fifth annual Women in the World summit, which took place this past weekend... More

ezraklein.jpeg is going to be a great test of Ezra Klein’s critique of journalism

How much demand is there for a Wikipedia for news? Looks like we’re going to find out, the much-discussed new project from Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell, and Matt Yglesias, launched late Sunday night. With the obvious... More


Wal-Mart. Walmart. wal*mart.

The company is inconsistent, but the AP isn’t

One style change the Associated Press has made recently is to decide that the giant discount chain based in Bentonville,... More


Toledo Blade lawsuit alleges military guards detained journalists, deleted photos

Editor: “Everything that happened that day made it apparent we couldn’t sit back and take it.”

The Toledo Blade filed a federal lawsuit Friday against various government officials after military police reportedly detained two of the... More


More female journalists means broader foreign coverage

A conference on women in media met at Columbia’s Journalism School on Saturday

In 2013, Lauren Wolfe, a freelance journalist who has reported extensively on sexual violence director of Women Under Siege at... More


Falling for internet hoaxes

Some people who share satire don’t realize they’re missing the punchline

There is a certain language that accompanies sharing News of the Weird. Popping into my Facebook feed with some regularity... More


Must-reads of the week

New Michael Lewis, sponsored Josh Marshall, over-sized David Hasselhoff

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


Afghanistan appears deadlier for journalists

A targeted attack killed a longtime AP photographer on Friday

Afghanistan may be becoming more dangerous for journalists, most recently evidenced by the violent attack by an Afghan policeman on... More


Can The Washington Post’s national push help support local news?

In Post digital access for local print subscribers, some see makings of a new news bundle

When The Washington Post announced in mid-March that it would provide free digital access to subscribers of a half-dozen local... More


Planned NSA reforms still leave journalists reason to worry

“Two hops” may still include numerous reporters

Last week the Obama administration set forth a proposal to reform one part of the National Security Agency's surveillance program:... More


‘You can’t do more with less’: Reaction to the Star-Ledger cuts

Latest round of job losses will hit a quarter of the newsroom

It's not been the best week for jobs in journalism. Entertainment Weekly laid off seven staffers. Digital First Media shuttered... More


Audit Notes: Star-Ledger sinks, Strib swims, news revenue quantified

Advance Publications and the Newhouses slash another already-gutted newsroom

The Newhouses brought the ax down yet again on the Star-Ledger today, slashing 167 jobs, including 40 in the paper's... More


Ken Lerer and Ben Smith, BuzzFeed

Full video Ken Lerer, CEO and Ben Smith, Editor-in-Chief, BuzzFeed at the Delacorte Lecture series

Streamed live on April 3, 2014 -- Ken Lerer and Ben Smith, BuzzFeed talk with Victor Navasky. To view... More


Obamacare open enrollment ends. Time for a checkup?

What reporters are asking now and where they should focus in the weeks and months ahead

Midnight Monday brought the end of Obamacare's first open enrollment period, a deadline marked the next day by President Obama's... More


Dear reader

For small sites, loyalty might be a better path to pageviews

Recently NYU professor Jay Rosen offered some advice to entry-level journalists: Start in a niche. Choose a topic where there... More


Native ads: Advertorial for the digital age

Talking Points Memo, Andrew Sullivan, and advertising as a necessary evil

The native-ad wars have flared up again, this time over Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, the longtime standard bearer for... More


No, Ebola is not spreading to the US

Some news orgs jumped on an outbreak as a chance to spread unlikely hype

Infectious disease outbreaks usually afford news outlets the opportunity to post dramatic, attention-grabbing headlines, and the recent Ebola outbreak in... More


Broadcast partnership limits in the crosshairs

The National Association of Broadcasters and Congressional Republicans are both trying to stymie new FCC rules against broadcast conglomerates

Update, May 12, 2014: The National Association of Broadcasters announced that it did indeed file a suit in the US... More


Digital First plans layoffs (Updated)

High-level executives and high-profile digital projects targeted

Digital First Media, the New York-based newspaper operator that has made a high-profile bet on its digital business, is planning... More


Audit Notes: Business Insider’s junkets, NYT’s union dig, naive AP

Henry Blodget’s site lets sources pay for business reporters’ overseas trips

Henry Blodget's Business Insider is still letting reporters take junkets paid for by their sources, which it should go without... More


Audit Notes: WSJ’s Obamacare frame, undercover, too big to fail

The Journal’s angle slants against

Contrast how The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal frame the Obamacare news on their front pages: The... More


Stories I’d like to see

America’s biggest boondoggle and ‘REAL’ voter ID

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on 1. The book on America's biggest boondoggle: Last week, the... More


The IPCC presser was livestreamed, but those present still got the best stories

Digital connection can only get reporters so far

Associated Press environment reporter Seth Borenstein was in Yokohama, Japan, for the release of a blockbuster UN report Monday that... 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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Who Owns What

The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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Questions and exercises for journalism students.