Friday, October 24, 2014. Last Update: Fri 11:00 AM EST

Monthly Archive

September 2014

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Shakespeare didn’t say that

Lines that are (mis)attributed to the Bard

Hell hath no fury like a writer scorned, and, should Shakespeare be alive today, he might feel much scorn'd. People... More

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Stories I’d like to see

Where did the Department of Education’s ‘Race to the Top’ lead?

We are fast approaching the fifth anniversary, on Jan. 10, of when state applications are due to apply for awards... More

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In all the goodbyes, media didn’t catch why Jeter will be missed

The shortstop had plenty of positive attention thanks to an absent third baseman.

From the perspective of the New York Yankees' marketing department, it is lucky that Alex Rodriguez spent the final season... More

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This is how Tehran Bureau covers Iran

Its reporting model, using undercover journalists and distant editors, is one way to cover closed societies

At the turn of this century, I started noticing a torrent of messages from Iranian strangers each time I logged... More

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Can a chilling New York Times story help spark new dialogue on end-of-life care?

The paper continues its strong coverage of the aging beat

The New York Times is on a roll these days when it comes to the aging beat, and Nina... More

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How Iowa reporters are teaming up to cover a tight Senate race

Eight papers use a new transparency tool to get a handle on the political ad wars

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — Politics has long been a key beat for Iowa media. But today, political campaigns in the... More

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Good news is good business, but not a cure-all for journalism

Positive news sites are presented as the answer to news fatigue, but solutions journalism practitioners disagree

Most news consumers probably know that the news these days is mostly dire, and that the act of staying informed... More

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Must-reads of the week

A discredited book on Monroe/DiMaggio, the perspectives of female sportscasters, and reporting on Syria

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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Why Bill Simmons might leave ESPN

Other outlets would jump at the chance to gain his following

"Don't get fired, Bill." That's Jalen Rose's maxim, repeated whenever he sees Bill Simmons, his ESPN colleague and periodical podcast... More

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Going easy on Eric Holder’s Wall Street inaction

Press coverage falls short on the attorney general’s failure to prosecute fraud

There's one word missing in too many major press accounts of Eric Holder's tenure as Obama's only attorney general: bankers.... More

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In a new film, once-shunned reporter’s reputation comes full circle

Kill the Messenger as Gary Webb’s final act

Jeremy Renner as San Jose Mercury News investigative reporter Gary Webb in Kill The Messenger (Chuck Zlotnik/Focus Features) When filmgoers see Kill... More

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How tech reporters can deepen their beat

Hint: learn technical language

Ask a tech journalist about the latest cool features from the likes of Google Maps or Spotify, and they are... More

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Reporters jump the gun on Eric Holder replacement speculation

After news broke of the attorney general’s resignation, journalists got ahead of themselves

Hours before Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation Thursday afternoon, speculation among reporters about his replacement had already... More

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How news outlets can cover the war on ISIS with social media

With few journalists on the ground in Iraq and Syria, news organizations turn to social media

It began, as so many things do nowadays, with a tweet. Breaking: Huge explosions shook the city in what might... More

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Startup site manifestos are press criticism

They all have mission statements speaking to what is missing from news and how they plan to fix it

On the first day of The New York Times' existence, back in 1851, an editorial titled "A Word About Ourselves"... More

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How Facebook is changing who gets paid for your work

Content curators and aggregators aren’t going away

In 2009, Wired's then-executive editor, Chris Anderson, released a book with a daunting prediction. In Free: The Future of A... More

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Sports media will rank just about anything

From the best advice offered to Johnny Manziel to the most-watchable NBA teams

Unlike the soccer-loving socialists populating Europe and Latin America, Americans demand hierarchy from our sports. Outside of the occasional football... More

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Beat transfers prompt new labor questions at The Plain Dealer

After union grievance is settled, move of courts beats sparks concern in parts of the newsroom

DETROIT, MI — Labor disputes linger around the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Scarcely had Advance Publications, the paper’s owner, resolved a grievance brought... More

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Reporting on healthcare when it’s politically hot or not

There’s more to the beat than the politics of Obamacare—see the Tampa Bay Times, The Record, and the Kearney Hub

How should reporters cover healthcare when the Affordable Care Act is no longer a hot political story? It's an essential... More

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Simon & Schuster should come clean about discredited Monroe/DiMaggio book

C. David Heymann’s Joe and Marilyn is full of highly dubious information—just like many of his previous books

On Christmas Eve 1983, David Cay Johnston exposed C. David Heymann's Barbara Hutton biography as a fraud on A1 of... More

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Stories I’d like to see

How did the NFL get tax-exempt status?

1. Checking the NFL’s numbers: In the wake of the fallout over National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling... More

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More cops are wearing body cams. When will the footage be a public record?

In Colorado, the decision will be up to local police departments

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Police departments across Colorado, like their counterparts around the country, are rapidly embracing the use of... More

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Fractured Shakespeare

All that glitters isn’t gilding

Much time has pas’t since Language Corner has revisited Shakespeare, or what passes for Shakespeare these days. A slight refresher... More

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The New York Times exposes surprise medical bills

The latest article in Elisabeth Rosenthal’s standout series may be the best installment yet

Elisabeth Rosenthal deserves a CJR laurel for her Sunday New York Times article, the latest installment in her “Paying... More

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Why it’s getting harder to report on Syria

Rebel areas are increasingly dangerous and the regime has mostly stopped giving out press credentials

CAIRO -- There has never been a more important, or a more difficult time to report on Syria. Today, the... More

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Why news organizations are abandoning the Redskins

The media mostly avoids Washington’s football team name

When Michael Persinger decided earlier this month that the Charlotte Observer would join the list of newspapers, magazines, and online... More

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The Washington Post takes on Rand Paul

How the newspaper pushed back on a senator’s criticism

On Monday, The Washington Post analyzed the evolution of some of Sen. Rand Paul’s policy positions — flip-flops — in... More

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Must-reads of the week

How to write a trend piece, a hotline for ethics, and mapping violence against journalists

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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How comics journalism brings stories to life

Chicago’s Illustrated Press is at the forefront of a burgeoning movement

Darryl Holliday and E.N. Rodriguez of the Illustrated Press, at work. (Illustration by E.N. Rodriguez. Used with permission.) CHICAGO, IL... More

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The good and bad of election prediction data

FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post each have a unique take on what Nov. 4 will bring

In the chapter about political predictions in Nate Silver's 2012 book The Signal and the Noise, FiveThirtyEight's founder explains how... More

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Exploring ethics through journalism hotlines

How news associations are keeping up with changing principles

Media ethics are always a hot-button issue in journalism, but there’s reason to pay particular attention at the moment, as... More

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Investigative reporting is ‘still a very white male business’

How the Online News Association and The Georgia News Lab are working to diversify journalism

MIAMI, FL -- Can an innovative college-professional news collaborative, with a $35,000 grant in hand, "change the pipeline for investigative... More

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Maps reveal violence against journalists

In the European Union, reporters are being hampered from doing their work

A group of media rights activists have set out to map free expression violations within the European Union to... More

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Why were Massachusetts reporters slow to probe the health exchange meltdown?

Q&A with a Boston IT expert who pieced together the story in a 31,000-word ‘Autopsy Report’

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

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Is ISIS a faith-based terrorist group?

Journalists and scholars disagree about how much Islam, rather than politics and power, drives Muslim extremists

The idea that the press has not done a good job of explaining the role of religion in Islamic extremism... More

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How to teach news literacy when the government is watching

The news literacy movement reaches Vietnam, but not without difficulties

Two years ago, Vietnamese journalist and lecturer Huyen Nguyen went with some colleagues to a news literacy workshop in neighboring... More

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Is the US ‘going to war’ against ISIS? The answer matters

A war of words between the Obama administration and the press

The media didn’t buy the terminology President Barack Obama was selling Wednesday night, when he outlined a “comprehensive and... More

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Stories I’d like to see

Just how strange is Governor Andrew Cuomo?

1. What's the matter with Andrew Cuomo? By now I assume New Yorker editor David Remnick has assigned someone to... More

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The Reporters Committee is about to start suing people to help journalists

Katie Townsend joins the organization as its first litigation director

Fair warning, all ye who interfere with newsgathering: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is getting ready to... More

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A fancy word for ‘custom’

Bespoken for

An article labeled as news fawned last week over the new Jaguar XE, which was introduced in London in a... More

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How a Nebraska newspaper kicked off a major prison sentencing scandal

The Omaha World-Herald found that hundreds of inmates were being released early

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — “Had the World-Herald not broken the story, nothing would have happened.” So said Nebraska state Sen.... More

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On media freedom, United Nations plays by its own rules

Months of international crises raises the stakes for reporting on the UN, but investigative journalists remain without a right to information

From Ukraine to Syria to Gaza, a relentless summer of international strife is raising the stakes for the United Nations... More

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Must-reads of the week

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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Will Politico fill a media void in Europe?

A look at how a pan-European outlet might fit into the continent’s news landscape, as Politico branches out

As of Tuesday, it’s official: Following some early predictions, Politico is launching a European edition, a 50-50 joint venture with one of Europe’s... More

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Visualizing the Ebola outbreak

Despite setbacks, The Ebola Report and Frontline use numbers to put the disease into perspective

In August when the recent Ebola outbreak was still in its infancy, we briefly looked at how news organizations successfully... More

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Texas reporters fight for access, public records

New strategies for legal battles may be necessary to reflect the changing media landscape

AUSTIN, TX — Over the summer months, Texas became a hothouse of media access issues surrounding some high profile stories—from... More

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Stop using ‘Brooklyn’ to mean hipster neighborhoods

Elite-oriented outlets typically only cover the borough’s most affluent, Manhattan-adjacent neighborhoods

Last week the Daily Beast trolled the entire internet with an article claiming, absurdly, that "the Upper East Side is... More

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After James Foley: News leaders divided on how to handle kidnapped reporters

Split on full display at Columbia Journalism School panel discussion

The murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff ignited fierce debate over how to react when a reporter is kidnapped.... More

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Columbus Dispatch lets down readers by unpublishing story

The paper should have offered a clearer explanation—and it should set clear standards

DETROIT, MI — Each day, editors across the country make choices about what news is “fit to print.” But what... More

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Why hiring Benny Johnson is a smart play for National Review

The serial plagiarist could help the rightwing magazine go viral in a crowded conservative market

It comes as no surprise that National Review hired Benny Johnson, BuzzFeed’s former viral politics editor who was fired in... More

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Keep calm and write a headline worth reading

Ease up on the exaggerations because someday you may need those explosive adjectives when a truly big story lands

Facebook announced recently that it would be cracking down on teaser headlines crafted to lure readers into clicking on weak... More

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What embedding the Ray Rice video reveals about news judgment

Some media outlets run graphic images of domestic violence

That there is no Golden Rule guiding editors who must decide whether to publish graphic images has never been more... More

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Florida newspaper exposes sweet deal for state politicians

The Tampa Bay Times’ clever public records reporting confirms pols’ secret hunting trips with sugar industry insiders

MIAMI, FL -- The Tampa Bay Times has been rolling out an impressive expose of secret hunting trips to Texas... More

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Stories I’d like to see

How much money is raised and spent in fighting cancer?

1. Cancer money: The Stand Up to Cancer telethon -- simulcast Friday night on all four major broadcast networks and... More

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Audit Interview: Carol J. Loomis

The Fortune legend talks about 60 years in business journalism

Carol J. Loomis, who retired in July after 60 years at Fortune, where she became, indisputably, a giant of business... More

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Paywall pioneer Press+ merges with Piano Media

A European investment fund purchases the company for an undisclosed sum

European investment fund 3TS Capital Partners is buying American paywall pioneer Press+ for an undisclosed sum and will merge it... More

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How to properly use [sic]

Hint: Not often

Twitter, Facebook, email, and the like are great reporting tools, allowing reporters access to more sources, wider reporting, and more... More

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How not to report on inflation

Cognitive biases on prices obscure the big picture on food costs

"Food Prices Are Soaring and Washington Doesn't Care," screeches conservative site The Federalist. The New York Post blares, "Meat, poultry,... More

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What America looks like in the media abroad

One organization is aggregating and translating foreign news about the US trying to make Americans care what the rest of the world thinks

During the crisis in Ferguson, Vox wondered how the US media would cover the events if they were happening in another country,... More

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Must-reads of the week

“I Fucking Love Science,” a reporter who got close to the CIA, and the rekindled rivalry between two newspaper giants

It was a busy week in the media world. Journalist Steven Sotloff was beheaded by an ISIS captor, making him... More

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Goodbye and good luck to all of us

On leaving CJR

Bob Kerr, a wry, witty writer with a mordant worldview that grows from an intimate connection to the working-class life... More

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Why Elise Andrew is an exceptional self-made brand

She introduced her brand to a wide audience without the aid or endorsement of journalistic institutions

When CJR placed Elise Andrew on our September/October cover alongside the title "journalism's first self-made brand", we unleashed a tirade... More

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Defense Department data still murky

The best and worst of this week’s data journalism

Prompted by President Obama's recent order to review the Defense Department's supplying equipment to local law enforcement agencies in the... More

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How Al Jazeera is making sure its jailed journalists in Egypt aren’t forgotten

The network is holding discussions around the globe to broach press freedom

Perhaps it is fitting that the day Al Jazeera Media Network called a roundtable with media and human rights experts... More

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Very important alcohol vocabulary tips

Foment vs. ferment

"Both sides are just trying to ferment a war," a blog posting said of the situation in the Middle East.... More

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News literacy vs. media literacy

How academics are differentiating critical thinking skills

Three years ago, pioneer media literacy scholar Renee Hobbs published a short critique of what she viewed as troubling trends... More

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‘Mediscare’ claims persist. Does calling them ‘debunked’ suffice?

A humble suggestion for reporters covering a recycled Medicare campaign claim

Well, what do you know. Republicans are trying their luck yet again with campaign ads telling voters that the Dems... More

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Why California’s smartphone ‘kill switch’ law should concern journalists

An antitheft measure creates the risk that the government could interfere with newsgathering

Imagine this. You’re a journalist covering a street protest, and the local police chief doesn’t like the photos you’re tweeting... More

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How civic hackers are helping local journalism

In Chicago, the practice goes back long before “open data” became a buzzword

CHICAGO, IL — Last year, when Chicago Public Schools released a list of 129 schools slated for possible closure, the... More

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Is it time to end media blackouts?

The head of the Committee to Protect Journalists believes it’s no longer an effective strategy

The brutal murder of journalist James Foley and now Steven Sotloff in Syria has sparked disbelief and raw outrage. Now,... More

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Who is Fred Ryan?

Bezos’s choice for Washington Post publisher is notable for what he can bring to the paper, and also what he cannot

On October 1, Politico co-founder and former Reagan administration official Frederick Ryan, Jr. will take over as publisher of The... More

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How misinformation goes viral: a Truthy story

Conservative media’s reaction to an Indiana University project shows how shoddy information can quickly become an online narrative

On August 26, Fox’s Megyn Kelly aired a four-minute segment on an Indiana University project called Truthy, declaring sarcastically, “Some... More

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A future without ‘Graham Grams’

On the end of an era at The Washington Post

When my wife and I were young parents in the late 1970s and I was working as a Metro reporter... More

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The Boston Globe launches Crux to draw a global, Catholic audience

With 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, the metro newspaper hopes a single-issue Catholicism site will help it reach the promised land

The religion of journalism has always found believers in Boston. The same goes for Catholicism. No small wonder, then, why... More

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How to build an audience

We know what readers are doing on our sites. What we need to know is why.

The Marketplace of Attention: How Audiences Take Shape in a Digital Age By James G. Webster The MIT Press 280... More

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The Tea Party is timeless

Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism In American Life reviewed

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life doesn’t seem like a catchy title, but, more than 50 years on, it has demonstrated... More

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Do you know Elise Andrew?

The creator of the Facebook page “I f*cking love science” is journalism’s first self-made brand

In retrospect, I could easily have ignored the picture that appeared on my Facebook feed on a lazy Sunday... More

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Gun Crisis Reporting Project uncovers despair

The Philadelphia-based nonprofit provides a behind-the-scenes look at gun-assisted crime

It’s just before midnight on a warm summer monday when photographer Joe “Kaz” Kaczmarek gets word of a double... More

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What science can tell sportswriters about why we love sports

There’s something special about a winning team

This summer was tumultuous for the mood of nations, as you may have read in the sports section. In... More

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When late-night went political

Could Stephen Colbert bring politics back to talk shows?

Dick Cavett isn’t the first hardnosed reporter who comes to mind when we think of the Watergate scandal. Probably... More

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Letters to the editor

Readers sound off on the new-look Washington Post, sports coverage, the trauma of covering Gaza, and more

Brick by Bezos Which Bezos? Commenting on your article about Jeff Bezos taking over The Washington Post (“Brick by brick,”... More

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Can news literacy grow up? [Updated]

After a decade, the movement tries to prove its worth

In 2005, as Howard Schneider was developing a plan for Stony Brook University’s new journalism school, he taught a... More

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Carol J. Loomis reflects on 60 years at Fortune

“It’s pretty amazing I’ve worked this long!”

Carol J. Loomis retired in July after 60 years at Fortune, where she became, indisputably, a giant of business... More

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Lincoln teams up with journalists

Quick reviews of Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion and The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom

Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion By Harold Holzer Simon & Schuster 768 pages;... More

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Uncle Sam wants (to kill) you

A political screed misses the true threat to war correspondents

War Reporters Under Threat: The United States and Media Freedom by Chris Paterson Pluto Press 216 pages; $29 I traveled... More

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Matt Bai seeks a larger truth

A new book examines how Gary Hart’s fall turned political reporters into character cops

All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid By Matt Bai Alfred A. Knopf 288 pages Hardcover; $26.95... More

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Kyiv Post’s unlikely success

An editor from Minnesota and a Pakistani billionaire are riding the story of their lives as Ukraine unravels

If you search for “Ukraine news” on Google UK, you might expect to find the BBC or The Guardian... More

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Qaddafi couldn’t stop this reporter

Abdullah Aboathba risks his life to be a journalist in Libya

In January, Abdullah Ali Aboathba, a Libyan television journalist in the southwestern desert city of Sabha, heard from his... More

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Bowe Bergdahl, Pat Tillman, and the media’s problem with simplifying soldiers

Why it’s problematic for the press to define heroes or traitors

For most Americans, the story of Bowe Bergdahl’s release began in the Rose Garden. It was there, amid the... More

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Can newsrooms boost traffic without spoiling their brand?

The search for a perfect contributor model

They don’t make bylines like they used to. In July, I read a story on Forbes.com by someone named Rick... More

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Has climate change become a business story?

The cost of brushing science aside

One of the more robust periods of study in the modern history of climate change has taken place this... More

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Meet the robots that factcheck

Are these companies making it easier to get the details right?

Factchecking has been going out of style for years, as magazines and other publications embrace the feckless creed of modern... More

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How robots consumed journalism

A look back in time reveals machines have long been after news jobs

1770s Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz builds “The Writer,” a 6,000-part automated doll that could be mechanically programmed to write with... More

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Hyphen use disappearing

Is the web to blame for quick changes to language?

Language evolution is happening right in plain sight. “Off-site” and “on-site” are in the process of becoming “offsite” and... More

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Reporters rummage through Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Poor judgment used when covering the tragedy in Ukraine, and the rest of our darts and laurels

DART to the ghoulish journalists who rummaged through the scattered belongings of people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was... More

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Headlines that editors probably wish they could take back

Need a lesson in copy editing? Look no further

(The Herald-Times, 6/12/14) (The Daily News, Newburyport, 7/3/14) More

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Giving female journalists a voice in developing nations

Zubeida Mustafa helps illuminate the lives of women in Pakistan

Global Voices: Truthdig Women Reporting, a collaboration between Truthdig and the International Women’s Media Foundation, launched in June with a... More

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Marijuana in the media

Take a look at the plant’s roots in journalism

21 states (including DC) that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana 16  writers at The Cannabist, The Denver Post’s marijuana site... More

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When quitting goes viral

Thanks to social media, resignations get a global audience

It’s the ultimate fantasy of disgruntled journalists everywhere: quitting with a grand, public gesture that leaves bosses fuming and colleagues... More

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Newsrooms struggle with free-content strategy

How to bring the traffic without tarnishing the brand

Most of the media industry’s problems can be boiled down to simple math—or is it physics? Whichever it is,... More

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Concussion controversy

Media coverage of the consequences in high-impact sports highlights problems athletes face

In 2014, the efforts to make organized sports safer and more just had a run of significant victories. In... More

Stop trolling your readers - We know you’re only doing it for clicks

Des Moines Register prepares for a ‘very stressful’ newsroom restructuring - Editor Amalie Nash speaks on turnover, transformation, and a virtual reality adventure

PBS pulls ads from Harper’s Magazine after critical essay - Piece argues public broadcaster has fallen under the sway of political influence and outside money

Should all journalists be on Twitter? - Reasons to take up or forgo the 140-character platform

The Tennessean is borrowing reporters from other Gannett papers - Music columnist Peter Cooper is latest journalist to part ways with Nashville paper


Fake news sites using Facebook to spread Ebola panic (The Verge)

“These sites claim to be satirical but lack even incompetent attempts at anything resembling humor”

How Ben Bradlee dealt with flacks (Washington Post)

“I would like to be sure that you understand that we trust our editors’ news judgement and that we distrust yours”

Ben Bradlee, 93 (WaPo)

“From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily”

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

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

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.