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Monthly Archive

August 2014

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Must-reads of the week

McDonald’s in Ferguson, rooting for the home team in Buffalo, and The Guardian goes local

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


Colorado campaign ad spending is still tough to track

New disclosure laws help, but it remains hard to see the full picture of Rocky Mountain buys

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- On a recent Thursday, journalist Sandra Fish was on the campus of Colorado State University in... More


Earthquake ‘data’ doesn’t add up

Many online news outlets reposted a chart that didn’t really show readers anything new

On Sunday, the San Jose Mercury-News unveiled the first in a series of stories about how California's foster children are... More


GOP-backed fake news sites target Dems in congressional races

Unlike The Onion and other satire sites, the goal is to fool voters, not make them laugh

DETROIT, MI--Deceptive political ads are one thing. But how about deceptive ads that trade on the credibility of journalism? That's... More


Facebook’s war on clickbait unlikely to do much good

Publishers who cheer the move should know that Zuckerberg & Co. can turn off the traffic spigot whenever it suits them

In May, Mike Hudack posted a self-described rant on Facebook about the dismal state of the media, focused as it... More


New York Times story questions Obamacare’s nursing-home ratings

Facilities have learned to game the system, so five stars may not mean much

Katie Thomas' piece in Monday's New York Times undermined what has become a pillar of the standard nursing-home story of... More


Michael Brown shooting and the crimes journalists choose as newsworthy

Examining why black suspects are covered at a greater proportion than they commit crimes

Since Michael Brown's fatal shooting on August 9, news coverage of the event and its aftermath has been followed by... More


Florida news outlet sees more success with print than digital

For one news monthly, a perfect confluence of demographics has led to a successful newsprint publication

When Mary Kate Leming found herself among the 300 Palm Beach Post employees who lost their jobs in a... More


Ukraine Today aims to clarify Russian media misinformation

Media mogul Igor Kolomoisky has his sights set high for the 24-hour news channel

It broadcasts everything from Ukrainian athletes competing at a track and field event in China to the capture of 10... More


The New York Times’ paywall has plenty of room to grow

Prediction to the contrary from Re/code misses several key factors

A year and a half ago, Quartz wrote that "The New York Times paywall has hit a growth wall." Since... More


The cost battle between insurers and hospitals spills into the press

In Nebraska, public radio captures the plight of the patients caught in the middle

It's not often that a nice succinct story about hospital consolidation, high out-of-pocket costs, and limitations on patient choice comes... More


Stories I’d like to see

The cost of unlawful convictions, cable news’ sharp focus and reporting on kidnapped journalists

1. Becoming a millionaire the hard way: Last week, The New York Times published this article about a man receiving... More

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News on social media suffers a ‘spiral of silence’: Pew study

What gets us chatting—or shutting up—about the news?

If social media users think their followers don’t share their opinion on the news, they are less likely to post... More


Fun with mnemonics

If you’ve been writing ‘pneumonic,’ you’ve got it all wrong

A friend wrote that she had a great way of remembering a complicated topic. "I created a pneumonic device," she... More


The New York Times criticized for Michael Brown profile

But the profile of Darren Wilson, the cop who shot the 18-year-old, has largely been neglected by internet commenters

  This morning, The New York Times published an A1 profile of Michael Brown to coincide with his burial. Written... More

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4 topics John Oliver explained more clearly than television news

The political satirist brings explainer comedy to HBO viewers

It’s not often that news broadcasters warn audiences of how boring a subject is before jumping into a 13-minute segment... More

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Why local media struggle covering sports stadium construction

Local news organizations often support the home team, despite huge public costs of keeping them in town

The word of the National Football League commissioner is not law. But the opening line of a 2,300-word piece in... More


Must-reads of the week

Local news in Ferguson, PTSD at the desk, and Al Jazeera America

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


To publish or not: James Foley video spotlights media’s tough call

Remnick, Baquet and other editors discuss their decisions about when to publish disturbing images

The obvious implication of The New York Times' famous motto that its pages contain "All the News That's Fit to... More


Medicare fraud stories ignore larger issues of reform

The problem is well-established; what to do about it is not

This has been a summer for Medicare fraud stories. In the past week alone, there were stories from The Wall... More


What the numbers coming out of Ferguson say, and who is saying it best

The week in data journalism

Troopers from the Missouri Highway Patrol stand at the ready in a strip mall along Ferguson's West Florissant Ave.... More


Journalists in Ferguson: Know your rights

The First Amendment affords reporters broad but not perfect protection

Reporting on protests is no easy job--just ask the 16 journalists arrested so far while covering the events in Ferguson,... More

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Q&A: An Apple critic with plenty to say

John Siracusa’s legendary - and lengthy - Apple reviews reach their 15th year

Though he only writes a major story every year or two, for the last decade and a half John Siracusa... More


Trolls make good clickbait

While the media have denounced recent trolling attacks, they simultaneously support the phenomenon

Trolls have been causing havoc online since the early days of the internet, disrupting online debate and directing offensive language... More


In Ferguson, local news coverage shines

‘At so many of these press events, the speakers keep making the point that these cameras will go away…We won’t go away’

Reporter Chris Reginer and cameraman Mike Border of St. Louis' KPLR-11 at the police command post in Jennings, MO, interviewing... More


How to establish a media diet

Keeping up by slowing down

Earlier this year, I began experimenting with different strategies for stepping outside of the 24-hour news cycle. I was overwhelmed... More


Third party apps are winning the traffic battle

News outlets need to make tools pushing personalized content to keep readers on their sites

In 2011, Bill Keller accused Arianna Huffington's namesake site of doing no less than stealing content, arguing, "There's often a... More


When reporters are kidnapped

From the CJR archives: When US journalist James Foley went missing, there was no standard way to save him

Editors' note: The news that ISIS has allegedly executed journalist James Foley, who had been in captivity since he disappeared... More


Cop corruption probe sparks newspaper feud [UPDATE]

A spiked story is at the center of a bitter fight between Philadelphia’s two dailies

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- This city’s two rival dailies, the broadsheet Inquirer and tabloid Daily News, share an owner, a website,... More


Al Jazeera America struggles to get off the margins

A quality-first strategy faces huge hurdles

When Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based cable news giant rolled out its massive new American affiliate one year ago, creating a... More

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Apple can’t hide from a 20-year-old reporter

The University of Michigan student gets behind the tech titan’s newest products

The best-sourced reporter covering Apple Inc., one of the world’s most secretive companies, is a 20-year-old junior at the University... More

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Facebook to Onion readers: They’re just kidding

Satire label tested on fake-news posts save embarrassment but kill the joke

Satire on Facebook now comes with a disclosure. Click on an Onion article in a Facebook News Feed, and the... More


The media’s growing interest in how animals think

The more divorced we become from animals in our daily lives, the more we want to look at them online

Tip the elephant arrived in New York to accolades and fanfare--until things went wrong. A few years into his stay... More


Why words have multiple acceptable spellings

More on the new edition of Webster’s New World College Dictionary

Last week, we talked about the new, fifth edition of Webster's New World College Dictionary, and some things in it... More


Gannett cribs from Advance Publications playbook for struggling newspapers

Staff compete for fewer jobs; ‘readers become the assignment editor’

Gannett's latest Great Leap Forward will go "digital first," heavily emphasizing metrics to guide coverage. It will have significantly smaller... More


Detroit’s Dan Gilbert and the ‘savior complex’

How do you cover a dominating figure in a struggling city without losing your skepticism?

Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert speaks at a news conference in Detroit in 2007. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) DETROIT,... More

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Must-reads of the week

Interviewing pedophiles, valuing BuzzFeed, and withholding a police officer’s name in Ferguson

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


Why did one regulator order a health insurer to set its rates higher?

An unusual case in Oregon draws some good coverage, and deserves sustained attention

A little drama over insurance rates came to a head earlier this week in Oregon, with a result you might... More


Vox fails on journo arrests, the LAT does a great investigation of police misreporting, and The Verge illuminates net neutrality commenters

The best and the worst of recent works of data journalism

It's a little ridiculous to classify as data journalism a classic investigation like The Los Angeles Times' piece from last... More


Why Obama’s statement on reporters’ arrests in Ferguson is hypocritical

Obama defends reporters in Ferguson, but demands compliance from James Risen

In a news conference Thursday addressing the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown and resulting unrest in Ferguson, MO, President Barack... More


Can Ferguson police legally withhold the officer’s name? (UPDATED)

A review of Missouri’s case law and ​open records ​statute suggests ​​courts might see it as a close call

Editor's note: Police in Ferguson on Friday, Aug. 15 released the name of the officer involved in the shooting. Our... More


A TV reporter sheds light on entrapment concerns

Florida sheriff accused of using media to publicly shame innocent men

MIAMI, FL -- There's an old joke that gets a lot of use in central Florida: the most dangerous place... More


Reporter faces jail time for scoop in gruesome murder case

A sensational homicide trial in Illinois tests the boundary of the state’s shield law editor Joseph Hosey has been hit with steep fines and potential jail time for refusing to reveal his source... More


Texas reporters shut out of immigration court

Officials are fast-tracking deportation hearings for Central American migrants, and journalists who once got a welcoming media campaign now find locked doors

AUSTIN, TX -- A story in today's Houston Chronicle takes readers inside an immigration courtroom to report on accusations that... More


Can an algorithm solve comment section trolling?

New technology could point out how online conversations go south

RALEIGH, NC--On a Monday afternoon in March, members of a North Carolina nonprofit called Equality NC hunkered down for a... More


SEC aggressively investigates media leaks

The government agency sends a clear warning to any employee who speaks to a journalist: Shut up

If you think investigations of media leaks are confined to issues of national security, think again. Since 2008, one particular... More


How do you catch a candidate and pin him down?

MinnPost asked Sen. Al Franken’s challenger nine times what he’d do about Medicare and Social Security. The exchange is illuminating for reporters and voters.

Eric Black, a political columnist for MinnPost, offered a great example recently of how to pin down (or, at least,... More


Covering sex trafficking: Journalists can do better

Scholars want to nuance how journalists cover sex trafficking, the most common form of modern-day slavery but an issue that the media still grapples with.

When journalist David McSwane pitched a story about sex trafficking in minors to his editors at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in... More


The relentless trauma of covering Gaza

Though more reporters are present than were admitted during the last big offensive, seasoned war correspondents are feeling the impacts of witnessing continual civilian casualties

CAIRO--In war, the most haunting moments do not always come when people die. For Sherine Tadros, a correspondent for Sky... More


Webster’s new dictionary means change for journalists

Internet is still capitalized

Webster's New World College Dictionary has a fifth edition. Big whoop, you say. But this is not just any dictionary:... More


First Look runs headlong into journalism’s two big problems

Growing pains at the Omidyar/Greenwald venture

When Pierre Omidyar, the eBay billionaire, announced the creation of a news organization featuring, for starters, investigative heavyweight Glenn... More


The great newspaper spinoff

A wave of media deconsolidation sends legacy publishers off on their own

It's hard to recall a spate of media deconsolidation like the one in recent months, as companies shed their publishing... More

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Is communications security for reporters improving?

A new tool makes encrypted phone calls easy; no one can keep information safe

In the year since Edward Snowden's leaks revealed the extent of the National Security Agency's snooping, American journalists have shored... More

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How American journalists covered torture after 9/11

Coverage of the brutal practice was played down in print and on airwaves

Editors’ note: Torture, and specifically the US government’s use of it, is back in the news. The Senate Intelligence Committee... More


Must-reads of the week

Transgenderism, Ha’aretz, and Glenn Greenwald’s jungle fort

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


Why we should be wary with a new survey showing a spike in uninsured Kansans

“It’s a weird one,” the research director says of a surprising result in the Sunflower State

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — “Bottom line, Rep. [Tim] Huelskamp appears to be utterly full of hooey,” Charles Gaba of told... More


Did a spy agency screw The Intercept?

For better and for worse, trust is key to coverage of the national security beat

Predicated on mutual trust, the relationship between reporters and the intelligence community has become increasingly fraught in recent years. The... More


Data reveals who isn’t talking about terrorism

This week’s Data Darts and Laurels

Charles Ornstein, a senior reporter for ProPublica, wrote a comprehensive story for The New York Times' Upshot about the drug... More


Do documentary filmmakers need data about their audiences?

As Netflix and other services gain viewer insights, filmmakers aren’t seeing the full picture

Last week, Netflix acquired exclusive rights to Virunga, a documentary film about a national park in eastern Congo and the... More

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Local news outlets are joining the data journalism bandwagon

Available resources don’t always match the desire to analyze regional issues

A few years ago, Gene Balk noticed that numbers and statistics were increasingly becoming more available and compelling as a... More


Gannett’s changes bring excitement, some pain, and a full-time beer beat

A conversation with Joshua Awtry, the chain’s top editor in the Carolinas

Yesterday was a busy one for Josh Awtry. He was one of a handful of editors at Gannett-owned papers around... More


Guardian reporter battles the British power elite

One of the biggest media stories in history was right in front of Nick Davies, and he almost missed it

Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch By Nick Davies Chatto & Windus 448 pages Hardcover, £20... More


IRS controversy raises the question: What are the limits of the local angle?

Cincy paper delivered solid coverage, but “what we didn’t do is put a face on it locally”

DETROIT, MI — In May 2013, two weeks after investigative reporter James Pilcher returned to The Cincinnati Enquirer after a stint working for... More


How a new Washington stifles a new political press

As political PR machines become more sophisticated and aggressive, journalists need to rethink how they cover government

The video featured all the trappings of a heartwarming human interest piece: uplifting piano music, a hometown angle, and a... More


Why The New Yorker’s radical feminism and transgenderism piece was one-sided

Last week's New Yorker article, "What Is a Woman: The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism" by Michelle Goldberg has... More


The backstory on native advertising

Why the ad technology revolution that was supposed to help publishers actually devastated so many of them

Back in antiquity (five years ago), when I ran a popular Web 1.0 content site called Beliefnet, we used to... More


Bill Keller-led Marshall Project gives readers a ‘sneak preview’

The criminal justice nonprofit cross-published its first story in The Washington Post on Monday

The Marshall Project published its first piece Monday, revisiting the story of a 2004 Texas execution that The New Yorker... More


SI, Drew Brees, and TRX

Upstart exercise company gets priceless plug in the venerable sports-journalism brand

The opening photo of a July 28 Sports Illustrated "exclusive" on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' off-season training is... More


Stories I’d like to see

What we don’t know about Qatar and what we don’t know about key Senate races

This column, a regular feature, was originally published on 1. Inside Qatar: The terrorists' benefactor and America's friend As... More


The problem with ‘scoreboard’ reporting on the gun violence beat

Chicago’s reporters work to bring context and accountability to the city’s crime stories

CHICAGO, IL -- Peter Nickeas mans the Chicago Tribune’s graveyard shift. Witnessing Chicago’s “violence and mayhem”—as his Twitter bio puts... More


The history of using ‘quantum’ to mean ‘really big’

It’s best to avoid using just plain “quantum” to mean “huge”—especially if addressing a physicist

Verizon offers "Even faster FiOS Quantum Internet" speeds. Duracell has a new Quantum alkaline battery. James Bond had his Quantum... More

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Journalism groups rally around a petition supporting James Risen

The Supreme Court ruled against the NYT reporter, who is refusing to reveal sources

Ten months after the Committee to Protect Journalists issued its scathing report "The Obama Administration and the Press," journalists and... More


Animated news site gives US expansion a second try

Next Media Animation, maker of zany news shorts, is aiming for a presence in 10 cities

Three years after abruptly clearing out of New York City, Next Media Animation is back for another shot at the... More

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Must-reads of the week

Journopreneurs, a look at First Look Media, and photos of Gaza

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


Jobs day is a party on Twitter

Financial journalists on Twitter have a monthly feeding frenzy when the government releases its jobs report

Look no further than Twitter around 8:30 am on the first Friday of each month to watch the media echo... More


After murders raise questions about parole supervision, LA Times sues for records

Paper invokes Jaycee Dugard precedent to argue for access to parole documents

Registered sex offenders Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, are accused of raping and murdering four women in... More


Multiple news orgs made Ebola outbreak data data visualizations this week, and some succeeded more than others

Plus laurels to WaPo and yet another dart to FiveThirtyEight in this week’s Data Darts and Laurels

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, already considered the deadliest in history, led several news organizations to turn to... 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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