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Author Archive

Articles by Curtis Brainard | Email the Author

Q&A: The NYT’s Justin Gillis

The recent Oakes Award winner talks about how to keep climate on the front page

At the end of March, Columbia University awarded the 2011 Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism to New York Times... More

Little Context for Obama Energy Speech in Ohio

Local reports present a war of words without much fact checking

Unchecked accusations about gas prices and oil production defined local coverage of President Barack Obama’s speech at Ohio State University... More

Reporter’s Toolbox: Oil and Gas Prices

Resources to help journalists stop the spin

Every year, news stories about US gasoline prices appear in the early spring and remain popular until the end of... More

Heartland, Gleick, and Media Law

Experts weigh in on leaks and deceptive tactics

When, if ever, are deceptive tactics legally or ethically permissible in journalism? An old debate over that question has raged... More

Q&A: Eric Roston, Bloomberg’s sustainability editor

A new section tracks businesses’ response to the global “resource crunch”

At the end of November, Bloomberg News launched a Sustainability section “to uncover what businesses are doing, or what... More

“Economy Class Syndrome” Debunked

Personal blood-clot narrative makes for bad science writing in Washington Post

Telling a first-person story about a health problem is a popular frame in medical writing, and it can be effective... More

What Drives Public Opinion About Climate Change?

Politicians, economy more influential than media coverage, study says

The media influence public opinion about climate change, but not as much as national politicians and the state of the... More

Florida Roots

A native son discusses environmental journalism

On any day, there are six novels hiding in the pages of The Miami Herald, says Carl Hiaasen, the... More

The Presidential Energy Narrative

Campaign coverage takes on a green hue

In the last week, President Obama has rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, focused his first campaign ad on clean energy,... More

Keystone XL Jobs Bewilder Media

Reporters still fumbling numbers in wake of pipeline’s rejection

God help the poor news consumers of America, especially the would-be voters. President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL... More

Does Big Pharma Pay Your Doctor?

New federal database could be a boon for reporters … but it needs their input

How useful would a database cataloguing the money that doctors receive from medical drug and device makers—for speaking, research, meals,... More

Critical Juncture for HuffPo Science

With new section, David Freeman has an opportunity to raise the bar

The Huffington Post’s announcement last week that it had launched a new section intended to be a “one-stop shop for... More

Down, But Not Out?

A closer look at the quantity of climate coverage in 2011

Just how scarce was climate-change coverage in 2011? It’s hard to get a fix on the details, but the broad... More

Climate Coverage Crashes

Downward spiral in English-language news media continued in 2011

Twelve months ago, The Daily Climate, a website that produces and tracks media stories about climate change, declared that 2010... More

Best of 2011: The Observatory

From extreme weather to the crisis in Japan, Curtis Brainard picks the top CJR stories from the past year

The Hottest Thing in Science Blogging: The hot ticket for science bloggers and online writers this year was ScienceOnline, a... More

Methane Mysteries

Coverage of permafrost melt creates confusion about level of worry

Methane—a potent greenhouse gas that could be released in vast quantities as climate change melts Arctic permafrost—has received quite a... More

Phone-Hacking Inquiry Eyes Science Journalism

Nature calls on scientists to “fight agenda-driving reporting”

The Leveson inquiry into the “culture, practice, and ethics” of the British press resulting from the News International phone-hacking scandal... More

Newsweek Fetishizes an “Epidemic”

Voyeuristic sex-addiction cover misses an important debate

A “sex addiction epidemic” is unfolding like a plague in the US, according a recent Newsweek cover story—but don’t reach... More

Frozen Planet’s Final Episode Will Air in US

Discovery Channel reverses course following wave of criticism, but what will viewers get?

Discovery Channel reversed course on Tuesday when it announced that it would air all seven parts of a BBC series... More

Besser to Oz: “You Were Right”

Consumer Reports confirms arsenic-in-apple-juice investigation

After accusing Dr. Mehmet Oz of “fear mongering” for reporting that some brands of apple juice contained high levels of... 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


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!

This Is How Joanna Coles Changed Cosmo (Refinery29)

The British reporter-turned-editor has made good on her promises to bring politics to the magazine, win some very big-deal journalism awards, and secure the most interesting exclusive interviews

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.