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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

Apple can’t hide from a 20-year-old reporter - The University of Michigan student gets behind the tech titan’s newest products

Al Jazeera America struggles to get off the margins - A quality-first strategy faces huge hurdles

Finding James Foley - This 2013 story takes a look at GlobalPost’s search for the photojournalist

Gannett cribs from Advance Publications playbook for struggling newspapers - Staff compete for fewer jobs; ‘readers become the assignment editor’

Cop corruption probe sparks newspaper feud - A spiked story is at the center of a bitter fight between Philadelphia’s two dailies


The impact of watching executions (PSmag)

“[E]xecutions, even for people who support capital punishment, and even when the criminals being put to death evoke little personal sympathy because of the nature of their crimes, take a toll on witnesses”

Times of India demands employee social media passwords (Quartz)

The company will possess log-in information and will be free to post any material to the account without journalists’ knowledge

Reconnecting with a story source, 17 years later (Hartford Courant)

“People who say reporters exploit people? You are right, we do. We parachute into people’s lives, sidle up, convince them that we care — and then disengage when the story is over. But that doesn’t mean we don’t connect, in a genuine way.”

The McDonald’s in Ferguson (LAT)

“Lately, the restaurant has taken on the appearance of a battered frontier outpost”

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.