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Articles by Curtis Brainard | Email the Author

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Debunking the ‘war on coal,’ take two

The AP gets it right the second time around

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Such was The Associated Press’s approach this month to explaining the... More

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Turner’s turnaround

LA Times columnist learns that evaluating electric vehicles is harder than it seems

Twice in the past six months, the media have gotten carried away with stories portraying electric vehicles as unreservedly bad... More

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The vilification of electric vehicles

Media botch full explanation of the latest research

When comparing electric vehicles (EVs) to gas-powered vehicles, most studies have focused on the electricity or fuel consumed while driving,... More

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The good news about organics

And why the media tend to ignore it

In the long-running debate about whether organic food is more healthy and nutritious than the conventional variety, the press has... More

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TNR causes trouble for coal baron

Exposé on pressuring employees to make campaign contributions stirs inquiry

The New Republic stirred up a bit of trouble for coal baron Robert Murray by revealing the aggressiveness with which... More

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Jackpot lost

Is a $75K prize or better training more likely to improve environmental coverage?

The backers of one of journalism’s richest awards are bringing the prize to an end, betting that professional development, rather... More

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The value of skepticism

Why science reporters should question research

Skepticism has earned a bad name in recent years thanks to those who doubt the consensus that human industry is... More

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No debate about environment

Hopes for questions about climate, public lands fall flat

The presidential candidates didn’t talk about the environment during their first debate on Wednesday. Nobody really expected them to; they... More

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BPI’s beef with ABC News

‘Pink slime’ defamation suit a long shot, media report

The maker of “lean, finely textured beef,” which critics call “pink slime,” is unlikely to prevail in a defamation lawsuit... More

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Press digs into anti-GMO study

Reporters thwart scientists’ attempt to prevent scrutiny

A paper claiming that a diet of genetically modified corn and/or a widely used weed killer increased the likelihood of... More

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Shoddy TV science coverage

CNN’s Gupta promises cancer cure, while PBS’s Michels delivers false balance on climate

It’s been a bad week and a half for coverage of science on television. Stories about cancer at CNN and... More

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What does ‘healthier’ mean?

Coverage of organic-food study plays loose with the term

“Healthier” is a word the media often use without enough care, and that shortcoming was on full display during last... More

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Yao Ming and the elephant massacre

Recent coverage of the African poaching crisis strikes at supply and demand

After weeks of the media mostly failing to realize why basketball star Yao Ming’s trip to Kenya was fairly important... More

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Conventions create climate coverage

While ScienceDebate.org gets some answers

The presidential candidates are still treating it like a back-burner issue, but the Republican and Democratic national conventions incited a... More

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Water woes

Regional papers turn out series on sea level, drought

Exposés about the changing climate in the polar north are great, and all the more important in light of reports... More

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Required skimming: fossil fuels

Drill, baby, drill

This month, CJR presents “Required Skimming,” a daily miniguide to our staffers’ beats and obsessions, ranging from finance to food.... More

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CBS goofs up the green beat

Network fails to disclose M. Sanjayan’s affiliation and ties to source

Only two months after hiring him, CBS News has already botched a report from its new science and environment contributor,... More

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Candidates clam up on climate

Reporters call out Obama and Romney’s silence

Nary a word has been spoken about climate change on the presidential campaign trail, and it’s a silence that some... More

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UPI shirks responsibility

Raeburn takes wire to task for cribbing from Science News

The plagiarism, or problematic paraphrasing, parade continued on Thursday as several reporters from Science News complained on Facebook that the... More

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Ryan re-energizes coverage

VP candidate brings fossil fuels, alternatives back into focus

Paul Ryan’s selection as the GOP’s candidate for vice president has renewed debate about, and coverage of, the stark differences... More

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

Are female journalists up to the job of a Jill Abramson interview? - Reporters avoid unflattering discussion about her firing

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

The Grand Dame of Florida reporting has retired twice, but she’s still causing trouble - A conversation with the Tampa Bay Times’ Lucy Morgan

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


The 10 worst New Yorker longreads (Gawker)

“[A]pparently [Adam] Gopnik did not know you could bake fancy breads from France and other cultures. So he got his mom to teach him how to bake them. A fine anecdote, maybe, to tell a friend or a therapist. But in this case he wrote about it for the New Yorker, a magazine.”

Insufferable parenthetical asides, ranked (The Hairpin)

18. (strictly for the mise-en-scene)

You are now entering the demented kingdom of William T. Vollmann (TNR)

“Franzen tells a hilarious story of being a young writer in New York, meeting Vollmann, becoming fast friends, and inaugurating a draft swap. A while later, they exchanged work. Franzen gave Vollmann a dozen chiseled pages. Vollmann gave Franzen an entire novel.”

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.