Friday, October 31, 2014. Last Update: Fri 3:50 PM EST

Monthly Archive

June 2014

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Old rivalries, old words

The reappearance of “caliphate” and “the Levant”

From a language point of view, what's happening in Iraq, Syria, and environs has revived words that have not been... More

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A TV news veteran brings a Chicago watchdog group back to life

Under Andy Shaw, the BGA has been reinventing itself—and turning heads

CHICAGO, IL — Late last year, a local watchdog group called the Better Government Association pieced together an investigative story... More

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How to build a healthy news diet

Developers, journalists, and educators are coming together to prototype all sorts of applications to help track consumption, discover news, and make it more relevant

In 2012, developer Clay Johnson published The Information Diet. His premise was simple: Information, like food, impacts our wellbeing as... More

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The back door

How a hacker helped ProPublica expose Russia’s secret infusion of cash to the embattled Syrian government

In November 2012, the investigative news site ProPublica published a two-part story that added an important new dimension to... More

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Must-reads of the week

Women opinion columnists, SCOTUSblog, and global beauty standards

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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Ethiopia reportedly fires 18 journalists from a state-run outlet

The quiet dismissal of some 10 percent of the station’s journalists underscores the country’s further descent into total media blackout

On June 25, when 18 journalists from Ethiopia's state-run Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO) arrived to start their scheduled... More

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Hogs, guns, and money

We heard about a Senate candidate’s “Make ‘em squeal” ad. The outside spending that supported her? Not so much

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — Who is Joni Ernst? According to media reports, she’s a “Harley-riding, pistol-packing,” “hog-castrating” farmer, Iraq veteran,... More

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Rupert Murdoch and News Corp.’s woes will continue

Rebekah Brooks’s acquittal is big, but there’s much more to come

Rupert Murdoch has known since sometime last year that he is a suspect in the investigations probing the systemic corruption... More

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Six times Medicare caved

A pattern for reporters to dig in to

Reporters don't often cover the rule-making process that goes on at government agencies. If they do, they typically borrow from... More

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As Congress scolded him, Dr. Oz launched a magazine

The Good Life is less inflammatory than the doctor’s television show, but the line between ad and editorial is murky

Journalists have delighted in tearing into Dr. Mehmet Oz this week, after a Senate hearing shamed the daytime television personality... More

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TNR’s Scott Walker cover story owed a deep debt to some great local reporting

What’s worse than parachute reporting? “Journalists that don’t even get on the damn plane.”

DETROIT, MI — It goes like this: a local reporter digs deep and turns out a substantive story. Then a... More

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Investigating a $150 billion ‘black box’

CPI did stellar reporting on the Medicare Advantage “money grab,” despite agency stonewalling— here’s how others reporters can dig in

In a year-long investigation of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Fred Schulte, David Donald, Erin Durkin, and Chris Zubak-Skees of... More

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Michael Jackson’s death is a questionable news peg

The King of Pop died five years ago, and outlets are scraping to say something about the anniversary

Coverage was...interesting...on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson's death. Since there's nothing to cover, so to speak--no new news... More

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Stories I’d like to see

A Clinton alternative, more ABC legal woes and where’s A-Rod?

This story, a regular column, was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. The Hillary alternatives: Can it really be such a... More

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When ‘reader engagement’ is more than a buzzword

A collaborative investigation seeks to make readers care about rampant problems in Alabama’s prisons

MIAMI, FL — Journalistic investigations into prisons and jails are difficult. They’re hard because authorities often won’t cooperate and inmates... More

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What the SCOTUSblog credential ruling gets wrong

Beneath the committee’s decisions, an apparent preference for traditional media

The Senate Daily Press Gallery announced yesterday that it did not err in April by rejecting SCOTUSblog’s application for press... More

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Virginia’s governor didn’t say he’s going to ‘expand Medicaid’

But he won’t say he’s not, either! What’s a reporter to do?

CHARLESTON, SC -- It depends on what the meaning of the word "expansion" is. That might be the most appropriate... More

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How to tell if you’re using ‘irony’ or ‘sarcasm’

It’s a fine line

A father and daughter were deep in discussion over breakfast at a diner. "That's not irony, that's sarcasm," the father... More

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In Egypt, a Kafkaesque trial concludes with a victory for censorship

Three Al Jazeera journalists, arrested in December, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms based on questionable evidence

It began with murmuring. Someone sobbed. Then the courtroom melted into a chaos of shouting and people climbing over the... More

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Sticking with Washington’s ‘whistleblower judge flap’

Puget Sound Business Journal’s Valerie Bauman reported the heck out of a state insurance commission saga—and the broader issue of narrow networks

There are different ways to tell the story of what's happening with Washington's insurance exchange, a state marketplace called... More

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Why you should pay attention to Upworthy measuring engagement in ‘attention minutes’

It goes beyond the click

On Monday, Upworthy released the source code for the system it uses to measure user-engagement, focused around attention minutes. Upworthy... More

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Must-reads of the week

The “Deep Throat” garage, the gospel of disruption, and artisanal food

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 revolution will be localized

Eric Cantor, David Brat, and covering the tea party

CHARLESTON, SC – In the days after Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor unexpectedly and soundly lost his primary last week, while... More

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Local cops can track your phone, and the government doesn’t want you to know how

A surveillance technique sparks questions about official secrecy. Reporters, keep digging!

MIAMI, FL — Police departments around the country increasingly are using sophisticated technology to surveil American citizens by monitoring cellphone... More

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The Onion goes social

“America’s finest news source” just launched ClickHole, a viral parody site

If the future of the internet belongs to creators of clickbait--that oversexed, underreported detritus filling your Facebook feed that you... More

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Narrating climate change

Incremental journalism isn’t driving home the dire state of the climate to the public, so researchers and outlets are trying to reach them through a shift in storytelling

In late April, the Yale Forum on Climate and the Media, an independent group publishing reported stories, analysis, and opinion... More

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A reply to Clay Shirky

Who doesn’t distinguish between investing in journalism as opposed to print

NYU's Clay Shirky calls Ken Doctor and me shills and nostalgists for our respective coverage of Aaron Kushner's investment in... More

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Online publishers still aren’t usually liable for user-generated content

A federal court this week reversed a lower court ruling that would’ve upended that precedent

A federal appeals court judge decided earlier this week that a gossip site is not liable for content it invites... More

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The secretive business of fighting content piracy

Private automated systems are sweeping the internet for illegal content—but they sometimes catch legitimate media coverage, too

Nate Glass fell into the takedown business almost by accident. Back in 2008, as a sales and marketing guy in... More

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A rockstar of the paywall set

A Q&A with the Financial Times’ Rob Grimshaw—“Ultimately, it does come back to the content”

LONDON—The New York Times' efforts to adapt to the digital age gets all the attention, for better and for worse.... More

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Women science writers conference about changing the ratio

A summit last weekend presented actions to address systemic gender inequities in science journalism

Image credit: Perrin Ireland CAMBRIDGE, MAScience writers take a “show me the numbers” approach when tackling a tough topic.... More

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Journo-startups that appeal right to readers

Fed-up writers are doing it for themselves

If you spend any amount of time around freelance writers, you're familiar with the litany of complaints. Most publications don't... More

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Stories I’d like to see

Whither Cantor and setting the price on a cure

This column, an occasional feature, was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. An Eric Cantor sweepstakes: Who's going to hire the... More

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The Plain Dealer drops PolitiFact, but keeps on factchecking

Truth in Numbers feature brings reader ratings to the truth squad movement

DETROIT, MI — Josh Mandel didn’t just lose his 2012 bid to unseat Sherrod Brown and claim one of Ohio’s... More

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A tense reunion

Jill Abramson and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. posed at the Pulitzers

On May 28, Columbia University photographer Eileen Barroso captured a historic, if uncomfortable New York Times moment at the... More

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News organizations are the new journalism schools

Politico and Condé Nast will soon be training rookies

Politico and Condé Nast are entering the j-school business. Last week, Politico announced the creation of a 10-day Journalism Institute... More

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‘Civil’ versus ‘sectarian’ conflicts

How to pick the most accurate war word

Iraq is now faced with an escalation of "sectarian violence," and Syria is still ensnared in its "civil war." Those... More

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The case against Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt has its 12th session

A verdict is expected on June 23

CAIRO - At the close of his four-month trial in Egypt on charges of broadcasting false news and aiding terrorists,... More

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Matter shows a Kickstarter risk—the project you back may not be what ultimately emerges

As Kickstarter gives more prominence to journalism projects, one crowdsourcing success story has disillusioned its funders

When the online magazine Matter launched its Kickstarter campaign in February of 2012, the two founders, Bobbie Johnson and Jim... More

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Must-reads of the week

BuzzFeed, the racism beat, and turning 14 in Cincinnati

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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Michigan’s Medicaid program is going to be great, say Michigan, Medicaid officials

Those claims deserve a closer look

A good piece from Kaiser Health News and USA Today this week about Michigan’s Medicaid expansion plan offers some pointers... More

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Pressure, potential for a federal shield law

Journalism activists say protection for reporters is long overdue

Though last week the Supreme Court refused New York Times journalist James Risen's appeal that he should not be made... More

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Allowing police to shoot someone without creating a record you can see

… And other bad ideas. Monitoring press freedom in the laboratories of democracy

In the 1932 case New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, Justice Louis Brandeis dissented from the US Supreme Court’s decision... More

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The EPA goes on background, and journalists revolt

For some reporters, having the call ‘on background’ rather than ‘on the record’ meant that the material was essentially unusable

When the Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Power Plant Proposal last week, which some are suggesting may signify a... More

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As newspapers cut their opinion sections, African American voices take a disproportionate hit

Since 2008, newspapers have laid off, reassigned, or retired at least 21 black opinion writers

This week the city of Memphis, TN, lost its only female, African American metro columnist. The editor in chief of... More

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Media for millennials

Media outlets led by millennials, targeted to millennials, and writing stories about the issues millennials care about are getting not only traffic, but the money to continue growing it

Three years ago, PolicyMic was being run from what CEO Chris Altchek calls "this pretty gross couch." Then last October,... More

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What’s health insurance really going to cost?

That’s the big question reporters must tackle, even as this year’s game of spin the rates takes off

Let the game begin! The game of spin the rates, that is. It's a game that pulled the media in... More

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Why the Orange County Register’s bold experiment hit the skids

Debt doomed Aaron Kushner’s dramatic expansion strategy, financial documents show

Aaron Kushner's massive investment in The Orange County Register—one I argued a year ago was "the most interesting--and important--experiment in... More

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Annotating the news

Can online annotation tools help us become better news consumers?

Last fall, Thomas Rochowicz, an economics teacher at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in New York, asked his seniors to... More

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In Eastern Ukraine, one journalist turns on another

A German reporter is forced to flee after a Russian counterpart denounces him on social media

Paul Ronzheimer has covered the violent protests in Tahrir Square, Istanbul's Taksim Square last year, and the worst of the... More

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Accentuate the positive

When to use diacritics

English has no accents, formally known as diacritical marks, or diacritics. But many words that arrived from other languages do... More

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A Chicago anti-violence program gets belated scrutiny

Why did it take nearly four years for Illinois reporters to start covering the story with gusto?

CHICAGO, IL — In February, Illinois Auditor General William Holland dropped what amounted to a political bombshell: a scathing audit... More

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Market power and the media baron

The anti-competitive practices of Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos

No one should be surprised that Amazon is employing anticompetitive tactics in its negotiations with the book publisher Hachette. As... More

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Press crackdown—and pushback—in Hungary

An editor’s ouster and a new media tax draw street protests and an unusual news blackout

Hungarian press freedoms have been under pressure for a while as the right-of-center government has come under fire for ham-fisted... More

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Must-reads of the week

The American Prospect, SCOTUS declines to hear a protecting-sources case, a refugee photography project

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 New York Times can’t abandon print—yet

It would immediately swing to a big loss

Everyone in the news business feels a sense of urgency these days, as well they should. But there's urgency, and... More

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The case for Voxsplaining the local news

My adventures in understanding North Carolina’s privilege license tax

CHARLESTON, SC – Last week, North Carolina's Republican governor, Pat McCrory, signed a new piece of tax legislation that, among other things,... More

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The ghosts of Iraq

In the wake of the Iraq WMD debacle, the press has been hesitant to report decisively on violence in Syria

  Coverage of chemical weapons in Syria is in some ways a story of redemption. For major news organizations,... More

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Survey: One in five journalists has had a credential request denied

Freelancers, photographers, activists face the highest barriers to access

Last year, a former student asked me how her news outlet, an online startup that relies on freelancers to cover... More

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The demise of NPR’s Tell Me More can be traced to member stations

Shows won’t succeed if affiliates won’t run them

The National Black Church Initiative, a coalition of 34,000 churches, asked members and parishioners late last month to refrain from... More

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2 CJR writers win Mirror Awards

Staff writer Michael Meyer and past contributor Jina Moore are honored for their CJR work

This year's Mirror Awards winners were announced on Wednesday afternoon in New York City, and two of the honorees won... More

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Yemen kicks out foreign correspondents

Can western media work with local journalists to fill the gap?

Journalist Adam Baron was deported from Yemen in early May, after being told that he was no longer welcome in... More

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Why is the $1,000 pill cheaper in the UK?

And other questions reporters should continue to ask about healthcare costs here and across the pond

A few days ago FiercePharma, which bills itself as the "pharma industry's daily monitor," posed this intriguing question: "Why does... More

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Stories I’d like to see

More questions for Snowden and the GOP establishment takes on the 2016 primaries

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. Snowden questions NBC missed: In his interview with NBC's... More

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Words associated with weddings

Inspiration hat-tip to Kim and Kanye

The recent wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West presents an opportunity to discuss the snarky "announcement" that ran in... More

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Management isn’t journalism’s strong suit

And running a newsroom is hard and getting harder

Newsrooms have long hired and promoted based on journalistic chops, and often that alone. The problem, of course, is what... 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


John Oliver video sweepstakes (The Awl)

“We may update this list next week to reflect Facebook shares gathered by The Awl as the result of this post, which is ultimately an elaborate excuse to embed a John Oliver video on our website”

Which news org is the most trusted? (Pew)

The answer is complicated

‘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”

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.