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
Entitled to better reporting - There’s a wider (and increasingly urgent) Social Security story out there—beyond the Beltway and deficit talk
Squeezing Time Inc. dry - Time Warner prepares to dump a dangerous debt load on its publishing spinoff
Covering Sandy Hook, one year later - The town is asking reporters to stay away, but many victims’ families have started speaking out
The future of longform - A conference at the Columbia Journalism School explored the craft’s digital prospects
Healthcare in Great Britain vs. healthcare in the USA: part one - A conversation with Chris Smyth, health reporter for The Times of London
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
“Youngman’s indictment of Washington journalism is an incoherent malange.”
The Duck Dynasty star’s warped vision of civil-rights history feeds his warped view of today’s gay-rights struggle.
“[I]t is perfectly possible to come here and fully immerse yourself in glib spin and nonsense. The solution to that is to not do it.”
“No grand strategy, no new business models for news will emerge from Omaha. Ultimately, these papers will be closed or sold.”
Jane Hall interviews Barton Gellman about his NSA stories, including how Edward Snowden contacted him
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.