More than ever we need the press to lead the debate. Lead it with investigative stories and analyses that are grounded in intellectually honest reporting. We need the press to trust in the authority its reporters and editors earn through just-the-facts reporting that leads to a deep, contextualized understanding of the issues. Not so long ago there was a national debate over the question of good news versus bad news in Iraq. The reporters on the ground were saying that the situation was even worse than their reporting can convey. Here at home, the White House was insisting that freedom was still on the march, and its trumpeters in the partisan media were railing against the “liberal” MSM and its alleged desire to see America fail in Iraq. Today, all but the most deluded know that the reporters on the ground were right. They are the true authorities on the situation in Iraq. Many have been there longer than the military personnel who rotate in and out. They have written about it more, thought about it more, and studied it more. Why shouldn’t they be leading the debate?
Behind the News
12:04 PM - October 9, 2006
The Press Must Lead the Debate, Not Just Reflect it
As the role of the press continues to be hotly debated, one thing remains clear: it has never been just a passive observer.
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
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
“Here’s how not to suck at it: Don’t write like an entertainment reporter”
“[R]ather than immediately launching a large collection of digital ‘magazines’ based on strong, expert journalists with their own followings, as we imagined earlier, we’ll begin by building out the two we’ve started and then explore adding new ones as we learn”
“Almost every officially sanctioned exchange between reporters and the proverbial ‘senior administration officials’ is conducted in the presence of a press staffer”
“TMZ’s real engine — what defines its mission, what legitimizes it and sets it apart — is a unique and controversial mix of scandal mongering and investigative journalism”
Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.