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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

16 women whose digital startups deserve Vox-level plaudits - A look at the media entrepreneurs who aren’t grabbing headlines

Why was ‘Dasani’ shut out of the Pulitzers? - 5 problems with The New York Times’ ambitious, influential series on the life of one homeless Brooklyn girl

The AP downplays its Obamacare scoop - Repeal on deductible caps marks another step in The Great Cost Shift

The enduring pull of mag covers - Why do magazine cover images still hold so much cultural power in this decline-of-print era?

Michael Wolff’s digital media bloopers - The Newser founder trolls (other) digital-news companies


The future of Facebook may not say ‘Facebook’

The future of the social network is apps—lots and lots of apps

Bitcoin creator ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ unmasked-again?

A linguistics analysis suggests that Nick Szabo, a well known name in cryptography circles, is the mysterious father of the digital currency

The Center for Public Integrity’s response to ABC News

“I urge you to go to your reporters and engage in serious self-examination”

The slaughter bench of history

How war has made the world safer and richer

New Jersey’s good government

Despite the bridge scandal, Chris Christie’s state is relatively transparent and accountable. CJR’s Greg Marx talks to Gordon Witkin

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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.