At bottom, Novak insists that the whole thing was “a trivial incident exaggerated into a scandal by the Left and its outriders in the news media.” But his version focuses mainly on himself and the public anger he encountered, the break with CNN that resulted, and the steep legal fees he incurred, and only minimally on the fallout in threats of jail, heavy fines, and serious legal fees for other reporters and news organizations that got caught up in the story. That fallout is far from trivial, because reporters now know they can’t really promise confidentiality in the future and sources now know they can’t really expect it. The ranging degrees to which reporters and news organizations ended up cooperating with investigators is something that’s likely to be discussed and maybe second-guessed long into the future, and that is something about which Novak probably isn’t going to have the last word.
Behind the News
12:38 PM - August 18, 2009
CJR Rewind: Novak on Novak
A review of Robert Novak’s autobiography
‘See you on the other side’ - Meet Jessica Lum, a terminally ill 25-year-old who chose to spend what little time she had practicing journalism
#Realtalk: This is the best moment to be in journalism - The old stuff isn’t coming back, but that’s okay
Streams of consciousness - Millennials expect a steady diet of quick-hit, social-media-mediated bits and bytes. What does that mean for journalism?
Sticking with the truth - How ‘balanced’ coverage helped sustain the bogus claim that childhood vaccines can cause autism
An ink-stained stretch - Can Aaron Kushner save the Orange County Register—and the newspaper industry?
Matt Yglesias watched every Star Trek movie and every episode of every TV show in the franchise
The press and Congress are asking the wrong questions
A video that appears to show Toronto’s mayor smoking crack is being shopped around by a group of Somali men involved in the drug trade
The threat of even grander leaks
HD footage from the World Trade Center’s new spire
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.