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Articles by Deron Lee | Email the Author

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This Kansas City reporter was laid off twice in a year—but her work has just helped change a state law

A long-sought open-records victory is also a personal redemption story

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — The last two years have been a roller-coaster ride for Karen Dillon. The award-winning veteran investigative... More

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Hogs, guns, and money

We heard about a Senate candidate’s “Make ‘em squeal” ad. The outside spending that supported her? Not so much

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — Who is Joni Ernst? According to media reports, she’s a “Harley-riding, pistol-packing,” “hog-castrating” farmer, Iraq veteran,... More

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The Des Moines Register’s dissent

Iowa’s largest paper tries to shift the state’s culture toward transparency

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — In its own polite, Midwestern fashion, The Des Moines Register is mad as heck and is not going... More

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How the First Amendment challenge to lethal-injection secrecy came together

Media organizations take the transparency fight to court in Missouri

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — Missouri’s death-penalty regime took two shots across the bow on Thursday, as dual lawsuits were filed... More

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Post-Dispatch disparities

While execs at parent company Lee Enterprises get bonuses, newsrooms in St. Louis and elsewhere are “simmering the furniture”

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS -- Scott Bujnak might be the first carpenter to obtain “folk hero” status in a newsroom. Bujnak,... More

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Fiber boost for local journalism?

Journalists should take up the fight for municipal-fiber networks in their communities, argues open-internet advocate Susan Crawford

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS -- This is a pivotal time for telecommunications policy. The proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger gets a... More

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The First Amendment vs. death penalty secrecy laws

In Missouri, it’s against the law to name pharmacies that produce drugs for lethal injections. Two news organizations did so anyway. What happens next?

From 1995 to 2006, when the state of Missouri executed a convict by lethal injection, the process was overseen by... More

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All (abortion) politics is national

State policy on other issues is increasingly national, too. Here’s how local reporters can tell more complete stories

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS -- "An abortion facility in Missouri would need to be inspected at least four times annually under... More

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Q&A: Trudy Lieberman on rural health news

CJR’s healthcare expert talks about her efforts to help fill the news gap in parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, and Colorado

Just as many rural communities face healthcare gaps--shortages of doctors, hospitals, and insurers--many also face healthcare-journalism gaps, as we reported... More

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Obamacare and the rural coverage gap

Small communities are underserved when it comes to healthcare—and healthcare journalism

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS -- Back when Al Cross was a newspaper reporter, he now admits, "I avoided healthcare stories like... More

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Sunshine peeks through in Iowa

A long-awaited public-information board is open for business in Des Moines, but the battle for government transparency is far from over

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS -- On Nov. 14, the newly-minted Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), whose formation was the result of... More

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Beacon of hope in St. Louis?

Nonprofit newsrooms team up to swing for the fences—minus the Cardinals coverage

FAIRWAY, KS -- So much for Midwestern reserve. The St. Louis Beacon, a digital news startup founded in 2008, and... More

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Aggregating Congress

Smaller papers can’t put boots on the ground in Washington, but the Web offers ways to keep tabs without leaving the newsroom.

FAIRWAY, KS -- In the five days leading up to the government shutdown on Oct. 1, Rep. Tim Huelskamp of... More

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Showdown, shutdown, fallout

With the Obamacare fight threatening to shutter the government, reporters should keep the spotlight on their local members of Congress

FAIRWAY, KS -- "I was not sent to Washington to shut down the federal government," Sen. Mike Johanns told the... More

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Invasion of the Job Snatcher

As the Missouri media takes up arms against Rick Perry, some facts and context get lost in the fray

FAIRWAY, KS -- Texas and Missouri no longer square off as Big 12 opponents, but governors Rick Perry and Jay... More

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Four ways to make your big investigative report work better on the Web

Lots of newspaper journalism still feels hopelessly print-bound. It doesn’t have to be that way

FAIRWAY, KS -- It's no secret: with a few exceptions, newspapers remain way behind the journalistic curve in taking advantage... More

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‘Ag-gag’ reflex

State legislatures are pushing to stifle farm investigations, and some news associations are fighting back

FAIRWAY, KS -- On Feb. 8, Amy Meyer, a 25-year-old activist, recorded cell-phone video of activities at a slaughterhouse in... More

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Keystone fatigue? Get over it

Many in media are saying enough already on pipeline debate, but the story is far from over

FAIRWAY, KS -- A palpable exhaustion seems to have set in this year among some journalists when it comes to... More

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How Postville changed Iowa’s reporters

As reform debate unfolds, Hawkeye State journalists have taken the initiative—and kept immigrants’ stories front and center

FAIRWAY, KS -- On June 13, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) made headlines in his characteristic fashion--with an outraged, outrageous tweet.... More

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Creeping Sharia legislation

Journalists often dismiss red-state Islamic law bans as a joke. But the story isn’t going away.

FAIRWAY, KS -- For more than three years, lawmakers in Kansas, Missouri, and a host of other states have been... More

How Forbes got to $475 million - That’s what a Hong Kong investor has agreed to pay for a firm that two years ago had trouble paying its rent

Are female journalists up to the job of a Jill Abramson interview? - Reporters avoid unflattering discussion about her firing

How to check if that viral video is true - Journalists don’t always verify user-generated content, so readers need to learn how to verify what they see online

The Grand Dame of Florida reporting has retired twice, but she’s still causing trouble - A conversation with the Tampa Bay Times’ Lucy Morgan

Brick by brick - After years of shrinking ambition at The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has the paper thinking global domination


Insufferable parenthetical asides, ranked (The Hairpin)

18. (strictly for the mise-en-scene)

You are now entering the demented kingdom of William T. Vollmann (TNR)

“Franzen tells a hilarious story of being a young writer in New York, meeting Vollmann, becoming fast friends, and inaugurating a draft swap. A while later, they exchanged work. Franzen gave Vollmann a dozen chiseled pages. Vollmann gave Franzen an entire novel.”

39 pieces of advice for journalists and writers of color (BuzzFeed)

“Make yourself indispensable. Dispel any rumors, however quiet, that you are just there for a ‘quota’”

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.