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Author Archive

Articles by Curtis Brainard | Email the Author

Tornadoes and Climate Change

McKibben is wrong; many reporters are “making connections”

On Monday, The Washington Post published an op-ed by Bill McKibben, a writer and environmental activist, under the sarcastic headline,... More

A Watershed Moment for the Chesapeake Bay Journal

On its 20th anniversary, the paper is growing and remolding its image

The current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review features a short article about the twentieth anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay... More

Science Blogs “Win a Place at the Table”

Zimmer and Yong on the evolution of online science coverage

According to “techy historians,” there were around twenty-three blogs in 1998. As of mid-February, there were 156 million, Phil Hilts,... More

Tide Change at Bay Journal

The Chesapeake Bay Journal celebrates twenty years of educating readers about the bay

The twentieth anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Journal marks a watershed moment for a publication that knows something about watersheds.... More

Critics Slam PBS, NYT Autism Reports

Mnookin: “A reckless and irresponsible coda to Robert MacNeil’s career”

A PBS Newshour series about autism that drew former host Robert MacNeil back to the show for the first time... More

National Geographic Taking the Wheel at Scienceblogs.com

Report of merger prompts campfire history tale on Twitter

“My baby's all grown up,” mused Christopher Mims, retweeting an unconfirmed announcement posted nineteen minutes earlier that Scienceblogs.com, the site... More

Mixed Grades for Medical Coverage

Analysis of nearly 1,500 articles over five years finds pluses and minuses

A review of nearly 1,500 health-medical articles over the last five years has found that while journalists are nailing a... More

CU-Boulder to Shutter J-School

Journalism education remains a priority, administrators claim

The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents voted last week to close the journalism school at its Boulder campus, marking... More

California Watch is Watching

Investigation reveals lax oversight of seismic standards in schools

California Watch’s Corey Johnson was scanning the website of the state architect’s office one evening in December 2009 when he... More

Japan’s Other Environmental Woes

The Wall Street Journal breaks from the pack with article on non-nuclear fallout

The Wall Street Journal distinguished itself on Monday with an article that examined some of the non-nuclear environmental impacts... More

Covering “Crazy”

“Goldwater rule” overlooked in articles about Qaddafi, Sheen, and Loughner

The media has a penchant for psychoanalysis that often gets news outlets into trouble. From killers to celebrities to dictators,... More

Quaking in California

Articles about the “big one” short on science

The 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 not only sent a tsunami barreling across the Pacific, but also... More

Crisis Juggling in Japan

Reporters struggle to balance quake, tsunami, nuclear coverage

The triple disaster. The triple whammy. Both terms are now common in media accounts of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear-plant disaster that has... More

Microbes and the Media

Burned in the past, journalists wary of astrobiology hype

Claims about extraterrestrial life are once again making headlines. Unlike a December incident involving an assertion about the discovery of... More

“Frack”-tious Reactions

Skirmishes follow recent coverage of shale-gas drilling

The former head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is not happy with The New York Times’s Ian Urbina and... More

Extreme Measures

Must reporters cite climate change in every article about severe weather?

Last week, the journal Nature made a big splash in the press with the publication of two studies which found... More

Coming to Terms with the “Value” of Life

The rhetorical debate behind the NYT’s front-pager

Last week, my colleague Felix Salmon expressed his love for The New York Times’s front-page article on Thursday about federal... More

Dr. Search Engine

NYT prompts needed discussion about the relative merits of health websites

Eighty percent of Internet users seek out health information on the web, according to a survey released by the Pew... More

Add It Up

Bad math mars coverage of penguin banding, climate change

In the last two weeks, reporters have repeated false numbers provided by a study and a report (and by their... More

Giffords’ Medical Care

Healthy dose of science coverage adds context

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remained in critical condition on Tuesday afternoon after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head on Saturday,... 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.