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Articles by Curtis Brainard | Email the Author

Climate Conundrums

Slack coverage, quality issues stir debate

2010 was “the year climate coverage ‘fell off the map,’” The Daily Climate, a website that tracks related news and... More

Best of 2010: The Observatory

Curtis Brainard picks the top stories from 2010

1. “New” Media Crucial in Aftermath of Haitian Earthquake With standard telephone, radio, and television communications disabled, “new” media platforms... More

Climate Change 101

Trio of articles re-cover some global warming basics

A little more than a year ago, there was a feeling among many editors and reporters that the climate-change story... More

The Right Place for Scientific Debate?

Scientists snub media as controversy over arsenic-eating microbes rolls on

First there was the wild speculation about the discovery of extraterrestrial life. Then came widespread, sometimes misguided, coverage of the... More

A Life Less Ordinary

After speculation about aliens, arsenic-eating microbe stirs wide coverage

A bacterium trained to substitute arsenic for phosphorus—one of six elements considered essential for life—in some of its basic cellular... More

Close Encounters of the Media Kind

NASA press release leads to wild speculation about alien discovery

Over the last two days, bloggers at a few of the country’s top news outlets have engaged in wild and... More

Drop Out?

Suggested closure of Colorado journalism school sparks controversy

The University of Colorado at Boulder kicked up a cloud of dust when it announced in August that it had... More

How to Place a Story?

Survey finds top environmental newsmakers still target traditional media

Despite disruptive changes in the media industry, which have made it more difficult to place stories and develop relationships with... More

Echoes of Grit and Humor

Great Lakes news startup brings on an inspiring new voice

If all goes as planned, Tom Henry’s decision to take on more work—in the form of a monthly column for... More

Press Pass Problems

Cetacean Society’s decision to deny a reporter raises questions about access

On Tuesday, the American Cetacean Society denied a freelancer’s request for a press pass to attend the society’s annual meeting... More

A Future for Cooperative Politics?

New York Times story on candidates’ psychology is overly optimistic

Thankfully, the days of “neuropunditry,” which sought to decipher voters’ thoughts with brain imaging and which blighted coverage of the... More

Paint it Green

Why it’s been left to reporters to bring up environmental issues on the campaign trail

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, “In much of the nation, ‘cap and trade’ has... More

Red, White, and Blue, but Not Green

Energy and environment issues lacking in mid-term election coverage

Remember the 2008 presidential campaign, when candidates and voters alike couldn’t seem to get enough of energy and climate issues... More

Q&A: Miles O’Brien, Back in Action

Ex-CNN correspondent talks about the NewsHour’s new Science News Unit

Bucking the trend in science journalism, the PBS NewsHour announced last Tuesday that it has created a new Science News... More

“This is Our Beat”

Breaking news and the big picture in Audubon’s special report on the oil spill

Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon sank and oil began erupting into the Gulf of Mexico in late April, the 105-year-old... More

Q&A: Covering the IPCC

Perlman award-winner Pallava Bagla talks about courage and tough questions

[Editor’s Note: The American Geophysical Union recently awarded this year’s David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism to Indian... More

The Oil Plume Paradox

Coverage of various studies engenders frustration

Pinpointing the amount of oil lingering in the Gulf of Mexico continues to be a source of frustration for journalists... More

Gulf Coast Guessing Game

Fresh wave of articles highlight uncertainty about lingering oil

More scientific criticism of a government report that attempted to calculate the amount oil left in the Gulf of Mexico... More

More on Extreme Weather

Day Two stories go a step farther in drawing connection to climate change

Stories exploring a possible connection between climate change and extreme weather around the world continued over the weekend, with some... More

Temperate Coverage of Extreme Weather

Media put heat, floods in proper climatic context

More and more, reporters have been asking whether or not climate change could be responsible for this summer’s extreme weather.... More

Stop using ‘Brooklyn’ to mean hipster neighborhoods - Elite-oriented outlets typically only cover the borough’s most affluent, Manhattan-adjacent neighborhoods

The Reporters Committee is about to start suing people to help journalists - Katie Townsend joins the organization as its first litigation director

How a Nebraska newspaper kicked off a major prison sentencing scandal - The Omaha World-Herald found that hundreds of inmates were being released early

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

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


Female sportscasters are speaking up (NYT)

“[i]n the wake of the recent scandals, women have been driving the story, providing a perspective that their male counterparts simply cannot”

Adviser of high school paper that refused to use ‘Redskins’ suspended (Student Press Law Center)

“Amid a months-long battle with administrators for editorial control … the Playwickian’s faculty adviser was suspended for two days this week”

Apple’s ‘warrant canary’ disappears (GigaOm)

Apple included language in its first Transparency Report to say that it had not been subject to a Section 215 Patriot Act request. That language is now gone.

Trend Piece (New Yorker)

Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword. Isn’t the buzzword on your mind now? Perhaps it is on other people’s minds? Read on or you’ll be clueless, dated, and without any friends in the world. Buzzword again!

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.