The Register deserves a LAUREL for hammering a forgotten story until the government finally did its job, but Brubaker’s statement underscores a significant problem in journalism. The fact that the tragedy of Atalissa was allowed to continue for thirty years after it was exposed is an indictment not just of government regulators but also of the media’s propensity to move relentlessly on to the next story, to fire a single bullet at massive, complex problems and consider the job done. This tendency is exacerbated in an era of shrinking newsroom resources and ambitions that erode an outlet’s institutional memory and make it even less likely that reporters will have the time and mandate to tackle these kinds of stories in the first place, let alone stick with them once they have. For that we bestow a DART, not to the Register but to the kind of ephemeral thinking and processes that infect newsrooms nationwide. We hope that this tale from Iowa—both cautionary and inspirational—prompts a thorough scouring of newspaper morgues everywhere. There are bound to be other Atalissas.
Darts and Laurels
06:00 AM - March 25, 2010
Darts and Laurels
A paper in the Midwest exposes a scandal. Thirty years later, it does it again.
Stop trolling your readers - We know you’re only doing it for clicks
Des Moines Register prepares for a ‘very stressful’ newsroom restructuring - Editor Amalie Nash speaks on turnover, transformation, and a virtual reality adventure
PBS pulls ads from Harper’s Magazine after critical essay - Piece argues public broadcaster has fallen under the sway of political influence and outside money
Should all journalists be on Twitter? - Reasons to take up or forgo the 140-character platform
The Tennessean is borrowing reporters from other Gannett papers - Music columnist Peter Cooper is latest journalist to part ways with Nashville paper
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
“Bring gloves to give nurses you meet at clinics, even if you’re there for a story. Get small change to give to the kids who have been out of school for months and are selling ground nuts for pitiful sums on the side of road. Hell, give them candy. Violate all the principles of ostensibly good aid stewardship, because the good stewardship of the developed world didn’t get help here in time, and now everyone is dying around you.”
“These sites claim to be satirical but lack even incompetent attempts at anything resembling humor”
“I would like to be sure that you understand that we trust our editors’ news judgement and that we distrust yours”
“From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily”
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.