Darts & Laurels

2012's media highlights and lowlights

DART for inflaming an already tense situation: Business Insider, The Daily Caller, Michelle Malkin, NBC News Following Trayvon Martin’s death in February, several media outlets embarrassed themselves with inaccurate reporting and selective editing. Business Insider and The Daily Caller published what were thought to be negative photos of Martin, BI’s from a white-supremacist website. One of the photos on Michelle Malkin’s website said to be of Martin turned out to be of someone else. Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman (who claims he shot Martin in self-defense), is suing NBC for “accidentally” editing Zimmerman’s 911 call for a segment on the Today show to make the shooting seem racially motivated.

LAUREL for going deep: Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and SCOTUSblog In political terms, 2012 shall be known as the Year of the Niche Bloggers. These two did great work that also showed up their mainstream media competition. On his blog, which has been licensed by The New York Times since 2010, Silver’s statistical method correctly predicted the results of all 50 states and foresaw an Obama win while other pundits and pollsters said the election was too close to call.

When the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act came in, journalists scurried to be the first with the story, but in their haste, several (most famously CNN and Fox News, but also Huffington Post, Time, and NPR) got it wrong. Not SCOTUSblog, which live-blogged the ruling, and took its time in posts to make sure it got everything right. The result: 5.3 million hits (more than 10 times its previous daily high). The Court may want to reconsider its decision not to give scotusblog press credentials.

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.