Friday, November 28, 2014. Last Update: Wed 10:50 AM EST

Monthly Archive

July 2014

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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

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — “I won’t be running anything else from Stephen Moore.” So says Miriam Pepper, editorial page editor... More

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How an activist journalist’s commitment to a poor Chicago community led to a big FOIA win (UPDATED)

After a years-long fight, city agrees that records of police misconduct complaints will be public

Jamie Kalven in the study of his home. (Photo by Patricia Evans) UPDATE, 7/31: This week, the City of Chicago released... More

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No, ‘journopreneurs’ are not killing journalism

Digital journalists aren’t sellouts—they are aware of industry realities

Corey Pein seems to think that digitally savvy journalists have a collective case of Stockholm syndrome. "In their long and... More

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Premium offerings for reader engagement look an awful lot like news literacy

Readers connect with journalists by paying for behind-the-scenes content

Last week, Slate published a piece [$] called "Skip the Commentary, Find the Reporting," by its national correspondent, William Saletan,... More

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With launch of i100, viral sites continue to spread

As the BuzzFeed model proliferates, even legacy media like The Independent want a piece of the pie

i100 looks very familiar. The new website from UK newspaper The Independent has “curiosity gap” headlines (“The most uplifting body... More

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There are 6,300 state-level races this year. CPI staffs up to track the money flow.

With a $2.9 million grant, the center plans a multi-year project examining local campaign ads, outside spending, and influence

Thirty-six states will elect governors this year. Forty-six states will host legislative races. And then there are the dozens of... More

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Contently launches an investigative nonprofit and a foundation

The details are still vague, but the organization seeks to fund and promote longform investigations

Contently, a self-described "storytelling platform," launched an investigative reporting publication Wednesday along with a center that the three-year-old outlet plans... More

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Notes from Chilecon Valley

In Latin America, the money may be in the media startups

When the news blows up in Mexico City, Dulce Ramos is on the case. She is editor in chief of... More

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The NYT’s new paywall products flounder

Early problems for the paper’s new apps

The New York Times' expanded paywall offerings are off to a poor start, and its three-year run of higher circulation... More

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What’s the matter with South Carolina?

The trend in the state turns against open government, but this debate shouldn’t be over yet

When it comes to secrecy in South Carolina, less more is more. In the last 90 days, the state Supreme... More

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Stories I’d like to see

The Russian sanctions information gap

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on Reuters.com. There are so many gaps in the reporting about the... More

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In a tabloidized world, tabloids struggle

With dwindling newsstand sales and fierce competition for viral stories online, the New York tabloids are forced to recalibrate

Pranksters’ mysterious swap of American flags for white banners on the Brooklyn Bridge last week seemed made for tabloid glory.... More

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Your head will spin: Uses of ‘naught,’ ‘aught,’ and ‘ought’

Time to start writing some tongue-twisters

If someone says "I know aught about football," the amount of knowledge could be a lot or nothing. That's because... More

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Girl’s foul-ball injury raises a question: When should the media withhold a name?

News organizations in Atlanta abide by a family’s request

MIAMI, FL — When a 6-year-old girl was hit in the face by a foul ball and seriously injured during... More

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The Guardian experiments with crowdsourcing translations

Users are invited to translate a new multimedia project on World War I

Speakers of English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hindi, or Arabic can explore the Guardian's new multimedia project on World War... More

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Journalists subpoenaed in ‘pink-slime’ suit

BPI wants emails from NYT’s Michael Moss, public-health lawyer Michele Simon, and others

At least four journalists and a writer have been ordered to hand over documents to attorneys representing the largest manufacturer... More

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Lawmaker’s astroturf op-ed disappears from newspaper’s site (UPDATED)

Homebuilders and cattle ranchers team up to fight an EPA rule, and industry talking points end up in The Post and Courier

UPDATE, July 25: Rivers’ op-ed appears to have been pulled by The Post and Courier. The link to the commentary... More

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Must-reads of the week

Bloomberg struggles to find direction, the Times is accused of anti-Israel bias, and the New Yorker opens its archives to the public

Culled from CJR's own stories, plus the frequently updated "Must-reads from around the Web," our staff recommendations for the best... More

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Embedded with the Koch brothers

Hometown reporters get rare access to the media-shy oilmen, with mixed results

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — “I’m so hopeful that there will be something, SOMETHING in the world out there besides ‘Evil... More

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A tentative thumbs up to WaPo’s Storyline; mixed success for FiveThirtyEight

The week in data journalism

This week's Data Darts and Laurels features newcomer Storyline, a just-launched section of Washingtonpost.com "dedicated to the power of stories... More

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Not-so-secret lives on smartphones

There may be no better way to report on the internal lives of others than to examine what’s on their phones

Call it journalistic phone hacking with consent. On The Secret Life of Students, a recent documentary series on the UK’s... More

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The Boston Globe owned the health policy beat once. Where did that tenacity go?

The paper’s coverage of big health news in Massachusetts is now too often ho-hum

As goes Massachusetts; so goes the nation--at least when it comes to healthcare. In 2009 and 2010, in the midst... More

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Bloomberg struggles to break out of the box

Justin Smith’s ambitious digital transformation hits some bumps

When Justin Smith arrived from The Atlantic to last fall to take over the sprawling media group at Bloomberg LP,... More

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From the archives: The Times and the Jews

A vocal segment of American Jewry has long believed that the paper has been unfair to Israel. Here’s why—and why they’re wrong.

Editor's note: The fighting in Gaza has, predictably, reinvigorated the perennial debate over the US media's coverage of the Israel-Palestinian... More

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Stories I’d like to see

The facts on Iron Dome, suing over Flight 17, and reviving the VA

This column, a regular feature, originally ran on Reuters.com. 1. Figuring out the Iron Dome: As I kept reading and... More

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How public media collaborations are creating opportunities for local reporting

Local Journalism Centers offer chances to develop expertise—and build something that lasts

Colorado’s crude oil production is surging, more than the state’s pipelines can handle. In order to increase capacity, shipping companies... More

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Truth and the Russian media

Unhinged claims about the Malaysia jet are part of a broader propaganda campaign

As the world reacted to the deranged explanations emanating from Russia's state-controlled media about what really happened to Malaysia Airlines... More

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Gotcha!

Get, got, and gotten

A software program that acts as a super spelling checker often stops on the word "got," and asks, in effect,... More

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How Forbes got to $475 million

That’s what a Hong Kong investor has agreed to pay for a firm that two years ago had trouble paying its rent

Integrated Whale Media Investments of Hong Kong is now the majority owner of Forbes Media, valuing the company at a... More

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Are female journalists up to the job of a Jill Abramson interview?

Reporters avoid unflattering discussion about her firing

Let me just say this: If I ever get publicly bounced from a job, I am heading straight for Cosmopolitan... More

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Minus proper archives, news outlets risk losing years of backstories forever

Experts say journalism outfits are naive about the safety of digital content and underestimate the value of archives

Print stories can be lost, but digital stories last forever, captured for eternity in some nebulous internet ether or on... More

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Twitter and factchecking don’t mix during debates

Though Twitter provides real-time opportunities to hold candidates accountable during debates, factchecking on the quick isn’t as easy as it looks

Mitt Romney’s assertion in the first 2012 presidential debate - that Obamacare was a government takeover of the healthcare industry... More

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Jose Antonio Vargas’ detention shows what ‘border security’ actually entails

A reminder to reporters: Look beyond familiar images of agents patrolling the line

AUSTIN, TX -- The blurry photograph appears to capture the moment on July 15 when a Border Patrol agent handcuffed... More

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Must-reads of the week

Somaly Mam, the race beat and America’s ‘records of carnage.’

Culled from CJR’s own stories, plus the frequently updated “Must-reads from around the Web,” our staff recommendations for the best... More

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Free Press takes its transparency dispute with the University of Michigan to court

An attempt to clarify state law—and establish a principle of openness for public universities

Investment commitments and funding of more than $120 million, a property purchase for $12.8 million, construction of a new biological... More

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The best and worst of this week’s data journalism

A cool side project tracking taxi rides, and a quest to find the bowling center of the country

Chris Whong--a self-proclaimed urbanist, mapmaker, and data junkie--filed a Freedom of Information request that resulted in acquiring information about all... More

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How to check if that viral video is true

Journalists don’t always verify user-generated content, so readers need to learn how to verify what they see online

When big news breaks, like the Malaysian airline plane crash in eastern Ukraine on Thursday afternoon, news organizations can't say... More

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Murdoch moves on Time Warner

As pipes companies merge, another round of media consolidation

Seven years ago, when Rupert Murdoch stunned the media world by bidding for The Wall Street Journal, its parent company... More

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Dangerous drug side effects will no longer be secret in Canada

Kudos to the Toronto Star for dogged investigations and pressure on a reluctant government agency

Last fall on a visit to Canada, I spotted a first-rate piece in the Toronto Star by Diana Zlomislic,... More

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How Katrina and BP spill coverage defined NOLA as the two events, in turn, shaped local press

A review of Oil and Water: Media Lessons from Hurricane Katrina and The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

When Hurricane Katrina charged through New Orleans, the devastation left in its wake had an unintended side effect: It became... More

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A long-time science reporter wrote a questionable book on genetics. Can we trust his other work?

The case of Nicholas Wade and reporting on a lively field with a dishonorable past

In the 10 weeks since veteran science journalist Nicholas Wade penned a book claiming that genetic difference between the races... More

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For Detroit’s alt-weekly, rising ambition and a few questionable decisions

Native ads can be OK—just be clear with readers, and please keep them off the cover!

DETROIT, MI — The Boston Phoenix closed up shop. The Village Voice is diminished by heavy layoffs and staff disquiet.... More

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Journalist on criticism of ‘neglected child’ broadcast: ‘I reported the facts I was given by the police’

As a local news clip goes viral, critics bring context and more perspectives

CHARLESTON, SC -- "I reported the facts I was given by the police." That's what broadcast reporter Deon Guillory told... More

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After 29 years, Freep is indefinitely halting its high school journalism program (UPDATED)

It has long been a pipeline, sending local, diverse talent to prominent journalism careers

UPDATE, August 26, 2014: The Freep has announced that the program will continue, thanks to a one-time donation from the... More

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The Grand Dame of Florida reporting has retired twice, but she’s still causing trouble

A conversation with the Tampa Bay Times’ Lucy Morgan

Lucy Morgan with videocamera and phone, before her retirement. (Photo via State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/103503, Donn Dughi.)... More

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Somaly Mam, Nick Kristof, and journalism’s hero problem

Reporters should not abandon the story of child trafficking in Cambodia, just because its ‘hero’ has fallen

Heroes are complicated and victims aren't always who we think they are. As journalists, we are storytellers lured by the... More

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A silver lining in Pew’s statehouse press report?

A Daily Tar Heel reporter sees a call to action in shrinking legacy coverage

It was 4pm, nearing the end of a workday for North Carolina's state legislators, political experts, and public relations flacks,... More

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6 Wikipedia edits made from Capitol Hill

A new Twitter bot records anonymous changes, ranging from serious to mundane, made on computers in Congress

Congressional approval ratings are near all-time lows. Policy issues have taken a back seat on the campaign trail, special interests... More

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A quest to ban the ‘R-word’ from a high-school newspaper nets national attention

The editors of the Playwickian, in Bucks County, PA, are not backing down, which may ultimately lead to a federal case

Jackson Haines and Gillian McGoldrick say their high-school paper will no longer print the word "Redskin." (Photo credit: Dave Warner)... More

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Stories I’d like to see

Google’s lost links, US border crossing guards, and when a Tea Party loss is a win

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. Google's dilemma: Writing in the Guardian last week, Google... More

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In the rise of race beats, echoes of history

Reporters devoted to covering race and ethnicity find stories most others miss

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran may owe the Congressional Black Caucus for helping him beat back a tea party challenger in... More

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Wanton behavior

The difference between “want” and “wont”

In the 1700s, Garner's Modern American Usage says, Samuel Johnson declared an end to "wont." But, Garner's continues, "it hangs... More

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LeBron’s SI announcement was the anti-‘Decision’

It looks like he didn’t want to once again incur fan wrath with his latest movement announcement

Last Friday the sports world was astonished by two stories. First, the NBA's best player, LeBron James, was reversing his... More

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On the NSA, a White House credibility problem

The AP report on the destruction of The Guardian’s hard drives is just the latest evidence that reporters can’t trust the Obama administration on spying claims

On Friday, The Associated Press reported that the Obama administration had advance knowledge last year that the British government would... More

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A new course in video games journalism

As an art form grows up, can the critics keep pace?

It has been eight years since Chuck Klosterman lamented in Esquire that there was no “Lester Bangs of video games,”... More

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Must-reads of the week

Press freedom in Burma, Gawker makes office banter public, and Brazil mourns a soccer defeat.

Culled from CJR’s own stories, plus the frequently updated “Must-reads from around the Web,” our staff recommendations for the best... More

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Newspaper revenue experiment throwdown: crowdfunding vs underwriting

Crowdfunded beats might not work, but there are good reasons for newspapers to give them a try

CHARLESTON, SC — Last week, we wrote about a deal between the News & Record in Greensboro, NC, and a local arts... More

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How reporters used data covering the World Cup

Some pieces were revealing; others threw out numbers without saying anything

With the 2014 World Cup set to end on Sunday, this week's edition of Data Darts and Laurels will focus... More

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The Associated Press factchecks a couple ‘Mediscare’ ads in Kentucky

As the midterm campaign gets underway, some familiar talking points come out again

Bravo to The Associated Press! As soon as dueling ads for Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and his challenger in the... More

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Long all-volunteer, Guernica Mag looks toward paying its contributors

The 10-year-old online mag hired its first full-time employee and is launching a second Kickstarter

Ten years after a professor told Guernica Magazine founder and editor in chief Michael Archer to open a free magazine... More

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The Portland Press Herald’s longform look at ethnic inequality in Maine

“Unsettled” takes a deep dive into Native American history

Since late June, The Portland Press Herald has been running daily installments of "Unsettled," a 29-piece series that chronicles the... More

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Gawker’s so-far successful experiment in making office chats public

Are group chat rooms a waste of time or essential to running a modern newsroom?

Last Monday, Gawker editor Max Read announced that the bloggers and editors on his team were spending too much time... More

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Daily Caller editor doubles down on Menendez ‘scoop’

Until The Washington Post’s story that it was a Cuban plot is proven true, Tucker Carlson says, there is nothing to correct

When Tucker Carlson launched The Daily Caller in 2010, he told CJR that the site would produce serious journalism without... More

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A $52 million loss, but a good year for The Guardian

Digital revenue booms while print stabilizes and its trust fund surges

It's quite something to note that a company that lost $52 million last year had a very good year. But... More

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Medicare isn’t doing its own ‘truth checking.’ Why?

Kudos to ProPublica for “Examining Medicare,” but there’s more to this story than the bad apples

In April, the Department of Health and Human Services released its great Medicare data dump unlocking a treasure chest of... More

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Stories I’d like to see

How much is contraception coverage and costly violations for BNP Paribas

This column, an occasional feature, was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. Does health insurance covering contraception actually cost anything? In... More

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A Fourth of July inflation bugaboo

The press fixates on the “exploding” price of a barbecue

The press loves itself a good story about rising prices, particularly if it's about the cost of food going up.... More

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Two Danish reporters investigated MRSA cases, and they ended up on trial for privacy violations

They revealed that Denmark’s most important agricultural industry is riddled with a strain of MRSA that threatens human health

COPENHAGEN--When Danish journalist Kjeld Hansen picked up a medical journal several years ago and read that 50 people from a... More

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Measuring up

Uses of “gauge”

The word “gauge” plays several roles. It both measures something and is the measure of something. A speedometer, for example,... More

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Darts & Laurels [Updated]

Is it okay to use the N-word for effect? Um, no.

DART to the Westview News, a Greenwich Village monthly, for poor judgment in using the N-word, spelled out with all... More

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Government lies

Charles Lewis’ new book says nonprofit journalism is the answer to government lying and corporate bullying—but we have to figure out how to pay for it

On August 5, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson went on national television and told the following story: Three days earlier, North... More

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Reporting in Burma

In this Southeast Asian country only recently released from the grip of a brutal, almost 50-year military junta, it turns out even lighthearted reporting evokes darkness

Day partying seemed like a harmless enough subject to report on in Burma. To circumvent parental and societal pressure to... More

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Looking beyond the line

When reporters rise above politics, they deliver a broader look from the border

AUSTIN, TX — On June 5, the conservative news blog Breitbart.com published photographs of Central American children packed into an... More

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This week’s data journalism wins and fails

Darts to WSJ and Slate; laurels to Medium, NYT, and CIR

"Data journalism" is an increasingly visible storytelling form that puts numbers, statistics, and databases front and center. Like all journalism,... More

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Journalists need to know all the things ‘cyber’ can mean for smart coverage

Journalists need to learn to evaluate threats by being as specific as possible in describing them, and who might be affected

Former National Security Agency head General Keith Alexander is putting his post-governmental energy into his consulting firm, IronNet CyberSecurity Inc.,... More

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In the summer of #yesallwomen, #menpr seeks to join the conversation

NPR is running a series on “Men in America”

Last year, NPR producer Melissa Gray began thinking about her two sons--specifically, about how to raise them in contemporary society.... More

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The Loomis era

A note on the retirement of a business-press legend

Carol Loomis' extraordinary career is being celebrated around the media world on word of her retirement after 60 (that's six-oh)... More

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If it sounds ‘too good to be true…’

How Health News Florida flubbed the rate story last week and what all reporters can take away from it

Remember those seven tips I offered earlier this month for how to report on health insurance rate proposals? I have... More

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This Kansas City reporter was laid off twice in a year—but her work has just helped change a state law

A long-sought open-records victory is also a personal redemption story

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — The last two years have been a roller-coaster ride for Karen Dillon. The award-winning veteran investigative... More

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The Journal’s BNP Paribas ‘blunder’

Anonymous bank sources assure the paper they knew nothing about its crimes

Was BNP Paribas's $8.9 billion settlement with the Justice Department caused by a long-running criminal conspiracy or was it just... More

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The newest tool in teaching about climate change: the weatherman

A South Carolina pilot project expands

In March of 2013, CJR awarded a laurel to a meteorologist in the midst of a promising project: Jim Gandy,... More

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Hey, Greensboro News & Record, don’t sell yourself cheap!

A creative model to restore local arts coverage raises some serious questions

CHARLESTON, SC — Have you heard about the latest innovative funding model that will save journalism? Allow a group that wants... More

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In New Orleans, a comprehensive schools coverage hiatus

The Lens is in the midst of a funding crunch

Before hurricane Katrina, New Orleans education reporters covered one big, famously dysfunctional public school board. As the city now becomes... More

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A look at the last nine US reporters who faced the possibility of jail time

Each protected sources while under threat of imprisonment

Do journalists have a right to protect their sources? The issue is back in the news with the Supreme... More

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Power shift

Journalists increasingly control decisions about what’s in the public interest

In the basement of The Guardian's London offices, under the watchful eye of British intelligence agents, the paper's staff... More

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Letters to the editor

Readers respond to our May/June issue

Robot vs. Human How many news media drones--or camera and microphone mounted on the end of broomsticks (see last graph... More

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Infographic: Soccer goes mainstream in the US

A niche sport no more, and media coverage has expanded to match interest

For four solid weeks in the middle of summer, a growing legion of US soccer fans cling to radios, laptops,... More

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Brick by brick

After years of shrinking ambition at The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has the paper thinking global domination

Andrew B. Myers In April, six months after her family sold the newspaper it had controlled for eight decades... More

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Google Glass vs. Google Hoax

Can you tell which of these stories about the gadget are true and which are false?

Everyone's talking about Google Glass. After years of development and exclusive, invitation-only testing, the tech giant finally made its wearable... More

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Hard Numbers

Freedom of the press

60 percent of US journalists in 1982 said they had "almost complete freedom" in selecting their stories 33.6 percent... More

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Story Control

A new suite of tools allows the public to parse press coverage

Back in February, MIT's Center for Civic Media published a stunning series of graphics tracing press coverage of Trayvon... More

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Striking redundant expressions

Why use two words when one would do?

"Write tighter" is a plea most journalists have heard, probably more than once. One way to do so is to... More

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Crunching the numbers on self-publishing

How much profit did four writers make from online publishing platforms?

Amazon, Atavist, Beacon Reader, Byliner, iTunes, Kobo, Medium. There are plenty of online platforms where writers can get longform stories... More

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The toy department shall lead us

Why sports media have always been newsroom innovators

When Ezra Klein left the Washington Post in January to start his own website at Vox Media, a big... More

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Rosie the scribbler

Why women are leading coverage of the war-torn Middle East

Liz Sly, the Beirut bureau chief of The Washington Post, was sitting in the lobby of a Damascus hotel... More

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End of an era?

Congress tries to neuter Voice of America’s journalism

Spurred by the foreign policy crises in Ukraine and Syria, and a fear that the US is losing the global... More

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Bedrooms of the fallen

Preserved by their families as memorials to loved ones lost

Ashley Gilbertson has made a small ceremony of stopping for a cup of coffee and a cigarette on his... More

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Are we journalists first?

The longstanding debate about whether and when a reporter can intervene in a story is rekindled in the age of inequality

In the fall of 1997, the Los Angeles Times published an ambitious 6,500-word front-page feature on the lives of... More

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Journalism’s bright future (is a lie?)

Slate’s Jacob Weisberg and Harper’s John R. MacArthur on the new world

Since 1985, the George T. Delacorte Center at Columbia Journalism School has hosted a lecture series on magazine journalism. Over... More

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Build the future

Journalism’s deathwatch is over

A decade ago, aspiring journalists could just think about journalism and leave the financial side to others. Now, to... More

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False idol

The scrooge of ‘digital correctness’

For a Delacorte Lecture I gave in 2012, I described what I viewed as a headlong rush toward digital... More

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A parting shot

Michael Hastings’ posthumous novel skewers the media elite

The Last Magazine By Michael Hastings Blue Rider Press 352 pages Hardcover, $26.95 Michael Hastings first burst onto the national... More

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Received wisdom

How think tanks became the malls of America’s intellectual life

Think Tanks in America By Thomas Medvetz University of Chicago Press 344 pages Hardcover, $32.50 The Public Broadcasting Service's round-the-clock... More

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Brief encounters

Short reviews of Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability and Foreign Correspondent: A Memoir

Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability By Penelope Muse Abernathy The University of North Carolina Press 254 pages; $27.50... More

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Exit Interview: Ed O’Keefe

Pop! goes the disruptor

After 12 years at ABC News, working his way up from a desk assistant to executive producer of ABC... More

Serial creators don’t know what will happen to Adnan Syed - New developments in his legal case suggest that the outcome is wide open

The press is responsible for ignoring Bill Cosby rape allegations - Where were journalists 10 years ago when claims originally surfaced against him?

Journalism has a plagiarism problem. But it’s not the one you’d expect - Fareed Zakaria’s case highlights news organizations’ ethical grey areas

4 topics John Oliver explained more clearly than television news - The political satirist brings explainer comedy to HBO viewers

Will radio save science journalism? - WNYC will soon have a new health unit


CNN reporters in Ferguson provide coverage of CNN reporters in Ferguson (Slate)

“[T]here was little that justified CNN’s egocentric coverage”

Which media outlets use ‘illegal immigrant’? (Fusion)

“[I]n spite of all the good reasons not to use the phrase, it is still very easy to find in the US press, even in headlines”

Jack Shafer on losing his job (Capital New York)

“Right now, my immediate plan is to go to work as a lay therapist at The Intercept to bring the healing there so John Cook and Matt Taibbi can return. I have great interpersonal skills.”

On outlets that continue to call unknown drone victims ‘militants’ (The Intercept)

“Like the US drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated”

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.