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
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
“Make yourself indispensable. Dispel any rumors, however quiet, that you are just there for a ‘quota’”
Nate Silver drills into the numbers
“A single page in a glossy magazine could be discounted by more than half its open rate and still get an effective CPM of about $70. Online display ad CPMs average under $3”
With the relaunch comes the archive
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.