The Tribune’s story raises a larger question, however, one faced by news outlets of all sizes. When some political bigwig wants to talk to your reporters, how tough do you want to be? Can you really ask the hard, confrontational questions that might clarify things for your audiences but piss off the politico who won’t “give” you an interview next time around? Too many times these interviews become sounding boards for politicians to trumpet their agendas and spin their positions to their liking. The news story then becomes a subtle, or not-so-subtle, form of flackery. Unless the news outlet bores down, their stories may not differ much from from political advertising. As health legislation heads toward passage, the audience deserves something better.
08:00 AM - January 11, 2010
When Does a News Outlet Become a Press Agent?
Ben Nelson and the Fremont (Nebraska) Tribune
Why won’t journalists ask Bill Cosby the tough questions? - Sexual assault charges are hardly ever mentioned to the TV star
Knoxville’s alt-weekly wasn’t losing money. It got shut down anyway - Scripps pulls the plug on Metro Pulse in favor of an entertainment supplement for the local daily
Chuck Todd’s Obama book says more about the author than it does about the president - ‘The Stranger’ underscores a broader problem with the way we cover politics
Beware labeling Pope Francis a liberal - Political boxes like liberal/conservative and evolutionist/creationist miss his real significance
The Virginian-Pilot produces a breakthrough investigation amid layoffs - Reporter John Holland discusses how the story came together, newsroom cutbacks, and colleagues who cover for each other
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
“[I]n spite of all the good reasons not to use the phrase, it is still very easy to find in the US press, even in headlines”
“Right now, my immediate plan is to go to work as a lay therapist at The Intercept to bring the healing there so John Cook and Matt Taibbi can return. I have great interpersonal skills.”
“Like the US drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated”
“The organization’s board of directors decided that UNITY will no longer host the quadrennial conferences for which it had become known”
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.