Tuesday, September 23, 2014. Last Update: Tue 11:04 AM EST

Author Archive

Articles by David Cay Johnston | Email the Author

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Placing a bet on USA Today

Gannett has long felt the television model could translate into print. Now it’s using its flagship paper to double down on that idea.

The business model of network television--plugging the power of a national broadcast operation into a grid of local stations--is coming... More

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LAT exposes wasteful spending on the biowarfare beat

Local media outlets around the country can do that, too

An expose of dubious Pentagon spending hit the front page of the Los Angeles Times front page not long ago,... More

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A laurel for The Globe and Mail

Canada’s national business paper examines inequality in “The Wealth Paradox” series

Inequality is an issue not just for the United States, but also for our northern, and very similar, neighbor.... More

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Obamacare and part-time workers

Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily goes beyond claims and counter-claims

Critics of the Affordable Care Act have claimed employers are pushing some workers, especially lower-paid workers, into 29 hours or... More

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Missing context on JP Morgan

A liberal columnist tries the math that the business press should have done

A crucial piece of context went missing in coverage of the recent news that JP Morgan settled with the federal... More

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Local coverage tracks shutdown’s impact

Papers from Maine to Minnesota and beyond find consequences for those in need

The government shutdown in Washington will be temporary--but the damage it creates in some lives is likely to be long-lasting... More

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Hot air housing stories?

News reports on rising housing prices, including rentals, neglect a basic economic fact

The price of housing, whether buying or renting, is rising, or so say many recent news reports. Some skepticism is... More

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How billionaires get around the estate tax

A stellar Bloomberg article uses the Waltons as a case study

Ever wonder why the very rich pay so little in gift and estate taxes, which are intended in part to... More

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A laurel for the Detroit Free Press

Deeply reported coverage explodes simplistic myths about how the Motor City went bankrupt

"How Detroit Went Broke," published Sunday in the Detroit Free Press, is a superbly reported, written, and illustrated investigative... More

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Think taxpayers, not just NFL fans

There is a big—so far, untold—story about the proposed NFL concussion settlement

Journalists threw the public for a loss last week when reporting on the tentative settlement of a lawsuit brought by... More

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Scandal! IRS official cites public record

An “exclusive” report about collusion against a conservative group comes up empty

As Brendan Nyhan wrote Thursday for CJR, the elite mainstream press has largely lost interest in the IRS scandal, even... More

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At what cost?

A New York Times report on presidential helicopters offers lessons for covering government contractors

Competition for government contracts tends to drive down prices for taxpayers. But when bidding requirements are narrowly-crafted, as the New... More

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Tax overhaul: big numbers, hidden stories

Multinationals have ways to avoid taxes not available to domestic companies, and momentum is building in both parties to fix a flawed system. A few journalists are taking note.

How big corporations pay--or don't pay--their taxes isn't a subject that gets a lot of quality explanatory coverage, though... More

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A laurel to Time’s ‘Battleland’ blog

Winslow Wheeler’s posts show how the Pentagon uses its own inflation adjuster to make the case for more spending

The growth in the Pentagon budget over time is even greater than you think--and the scale of the increase... More

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WSJ minimizes the latest IRS news

A solid reporter’s story gives curiously short shrift to fresh facts. Meanwhile, what was the IG directed to find?

When the latest revelations in the IRS political targeting controversy--the fact that nonprofit applications from groups whose names suggested they... More

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Sequester update: contractors’ edition

Government contracting is under-reported terrain—and story-rich, for reporters who know where to look

Because of the budget sequester, food banks cut some Meals on Wheels, day care and Head Start workers were laid... More

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Is BofA mining profits from mortgage misery?

A Laurel to The Palm Beach Post

Kimberly Miller of The Palm Beach Post broke an important story about how the Bank of America allegedly rewarded... More

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A second look at the sequester

And it isn’t pretty. A Laurel to The Associated Press

The federal budget sequester is back in the news. Three months after these across-the-board budget cuts began--some $85 billion... More

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The undercovered dark cloud in the shrinking-deficit story

Flurry of articles was welcome, but some cautionary notes deserved greater play

The federal budget deficit has been shrinking like a wool sweater in a clothes dryer, but that fact seems mostly... More

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The other IRS scandal

Required context for a controversy

The burgeoning "scandal" over how the IRS chose for review 75 applicants for tax-exempt status puts on full display an... 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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A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

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