Wednesday, August 27, 2014. Last Update: Tue 2:50 PM EST

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Articles by David Cay Johnston | Email the Author

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The IRS budget and federal revenues:
Who will connect the dots?

The sequester strikes again

We've pointed out before that major news organizations are failing to connect the tax dots--between the sequester-caused cuts to the... More

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Honey, I shrank the IRS

The administration wants more money for tax-law enforcement. Let’s ask why

Last week, we pointed to a piece of news that we have yet to read or hear from most... More

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The big three miss a tax story

The IRS is furloughing workers. For a lot of reasons, that’s news

Okay, it was a big news week. There was the tragedy in Boston. In West, TX, too. And yes, there... More

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Smart, straightforward sequester stories

A HuffPost survey and a close Wonkblog look at cancer treatment stand out

Covering the effect of the across-the-board federal spending cuts does not have to be expensive, and it does not have... More

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Cruelest month for sequester-related cuts?

Layoffs and furloughs are going into effect—coverage needs to keep up

April Fool's Day is an important date for reporting on the meat ax cuts to federal spending resulting from the... More

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Boehner’s overlooked acknowledgment

The Speaker—and Paul Ryan—say we don’t have an immediate debt crisis. Isn’t that news?

Over the past weekend, there was actually some news made on the Sunday morning talk shows for a change. Two... More

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A hat-tip to Investor’s Business Daily

A sharp blog post underscores the radical vision behind the Ryan budget

Yesterday, I praised The Washington Post's Wonkblog for its coverage of Rep. Paul Ryan's latest budget proposal. But revealing insights... More

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Asking the wrong question about Dell

A WSJ columnist misses the point on the CEO-led buyout

Holman Jenkins' column in The Wall Street Journal on the proposed management buyout of Dell shareholders is an excellent example... More

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On Ryan budget plan, Wonkblog shines

WashPost’s crew stands above a generally middling performance by the press

On Tuesday, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, unveiled his umpteenth budget plan of the last... More

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Time to leave budget biases behind

Deficits are falling and government jobs are disappearing. Is it really so obvious we have a spending problem?

With the automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration set to take effect Friday--and plenty of other budget wars looming... More

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People aren’t too worried about the sequester. Is the media to blame?

Coverage is too often dull or absent, but NYT piece on air travel is a standout

Americans are not especially worried about the mandatory federal spending cuts set to begin March 1, widely cited polling by... More

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Sequester debate takes hold in the press

The good, the bad, and the indifferent in this week’s coverage—plus some resources for reporters just tuning in

With mandatory federal spending cuts looming on March 1, news organizations have finally begun running down the numbers on whose... More

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One document, many interpretations

Varied takes on CBO report show “the media” is a competitive market, not a monolith

What a difference reporters and editors can make in choosing from the same report what is news and where and... More

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The true cost of national security

The Pentagon and the White House focus on the core Defense budget, but that’s not the half of it

Soon, we will get the president's proposed fiscal 2014 spending plan. Much attention will focus on Social Security and... More

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Praise, and criticism, for an NYT series on corporate welfare

The paper’s sources challenge some of its findings while praising attention to the issue

Many of the most important stories develop for years before they get covered because no one makes an official announcement,... More

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Back to basics with Krugman

Reporters (and economists) need to take accounting identities into account

Paul Krugman on Monday delivered an excellent primer on basic economics and the importance of what economists call accounting identities.... More

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What’s a trillion, anyway?

How to make scary budget numbers meaningful

Throughout the weeks of intense coverage over the scheduled end of the Bush income tax cuts and the Obama payroll... More

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A thin Post piece on the cliff’s consequences

Article on purported impact of tax shift favors assumptions and anecdotes over data

Since election day, the so-called “fiscal cliff” has moved to the top of the political news agenda, and CJR has... More

Wrongheaded and Incomplete on Incomes

The Wall Street Journal, comforting the comfortable with selective data

This morning’s page-one Wall Street Journal story on incomes in America contains many bungled facts and concepts in a single... More

Welcome to the Jungle

Journalists, meet the all-or-nothing job market

Reporter Dan Browning's piece on coming newsroom cuts at the St. Paul Pioneer-Press contains a curious detail that perhaps will... 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


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”

Tour guide wars at a Paris cemetery (WSJ)

“Because dead men tell no tales, visitors to Père Lachaise cemetery lend their ears to Bertrand Beyern”

Last call (Medium)

“The death of newspapers is sad, but the threatened loss of journalistic talent is catastrophic. If that’s you, it’s time to learn something outside the production routine of your current job.”

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.