So why do reporters keep reaching to assign significance to these races, even as they acknowledge it may not be there? Any answer to that question is itself speculative, but here’s one idea: it just makes politics more fun. Much as sports fans create extra meaning for games by seeing every choke or victory in moral terms, political journalists make elections more meaningful by threading them into a broader narrative. (This process is facilitated by political consulting companies who have an interest in hyping minor races, as seems to have occurred with the Michigan state Senate race.) The political junkies who read these stories, of course, have all the same incentives to divine broader meaning. But when journalists warn about over-analysis of these races, they’re right—even if they go on to do the overanalyzing themselves.
02:31 PM - November 2, 2009
Press to Cliché: We Just Can’t Quit You
Media acknowledges narrative’s limits; advances it anyway
Stop using ‘Brooklyn’ to mean hipster neighborhoods - Elite-oriented outlets typically only cover the borough’s most affluent, Manhattan-adjacent neighborhoods
The Reporters Committee is about to start suing people to help journalists - Katie Townsend joins the organization as its first litigation director
How a Nebraska newspaper kicked off a major prison sentencing scandal - The Omaha World-Herald found that hundreds of inmates were being released early
On media freedom, United Nations plays by its own rules - Months of international crises raises the stakes for reporting on the UN, but investigative journalists remain without a right to information
Keep calm and write a headline worth reading - Ease up on the exaggerations because someday you may need those explosive adjectives when a truly big story lands
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
“Amid a months-long battle with administrators for editorial control … the Playwickian’s faculty adviser was suspended for two days this week”
Apple included language in its first Transparency Report to say that it had not been subject to a Section 215 Patriot Act request. That language is now gone.
Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword. Isn’t the buzzword on your mind now? Perhaps it is on other people’s minds? Read on or you’ll be clueless, dated, and without any friends in the world. Buzzword again!
The British reporter-turned-editor has made good on her promises to bring politics to the magazine, win some very big-deal journalism awards, and secure the most interesting exclusive interviews
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.