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The Magazine

November/December 2012

Articles

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Cover Story

Questionable taste

Ricky Gervais describes the pleasures and pitfalls of being interviewed

As his Golden Globes hosting gigs have shown, Ricky Gervais is not afraid to say what he thinks. So... More

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Cover Story

Rules of the game

The sometimes nauseating, often fun, and always absurd life of a movie publicist

I’ve always regretted that I never thanked Goldie Hawn for launching my career as a publicist. Goldie became my... More

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Cover Story

In cold type

When Truman Capote set out to profile Marlon Brando for The New Yorker in 1957, he knew just how to set his traps

One morning in January, 1957, Josh Logan, the veteran Broadway producer and Hollywood director, came down from his room into... More

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Cover Story

Gross misunderstanding

What journalists miss about the movie business

The vast preponderance of news reporting about Hollywood concerns the weekly box-office race. It is offered free to the... More

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Cover Story

Esprit de corpse

What it’s like to be embedded—on a movie set

With an explosion of light, the screaming starts. . . . This place is wrecked—an entire ballroom flopped on its head. In the... More

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Cover Story

The red-carpet treatment

Set the Wayback Machine to April 9, 1984. The stars are filing into the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles for the 56th Academy Awards . . .

In 1984, gaining access to the Oscars was pretty easy. Calling from Vanity Fair, where new immigrant Tina Brown had... More

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Cover Story

Taking the seen-it route

Why toil as an entry-level slave when you can watch a lot of TV, write it up, build a following—and perhaps even get paid?

Since I could talk, I have talked back to the television. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was great—I loved that segment... More

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Cover Story

Avoiding pilot error

By tracking its users’ intent to watch fall shows, TVGuide.com handicaps the new TV season

Television viewers are all over the place these days, tuning in via computers, tablets, and phones, at odd times, and... More

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Feature

Lost and found

In 1967, an ambitious young reporter broke a promise to a troubled source and inadvertently made her famous. Forty-three years later, he set out to find her and apologize.

On October 27, 1967, senior editors gathered for the Thursday story conference to see how things were shaping up... More

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Feature

Going to great lengths

After two years as the hot new thing, the e-singles market is getting serious—and crowded

From the beginning, The Atavist was a small startup with a lot of big playmates. A pioneer in the... More

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Cover Story

The fame game

Just in time for Hollywood awards season, CJR shines a Klieg light on entertainment journalism—a sometimes deprecated but highly influential corner of the craft.

In the past half century, as the big movie studios ceded control of the media narrative, celebrities have loomed... More

Departments

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Opening Shot

Opening Shot

A picture is worth a thousand meanings

In October, Columbia J-School joined with BagNewsNotes, an almost decade-old site devoted to analyzing media images, for a discussion... More

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Currents

Behind the news

Give me a visual

Serious graphic novels, like Maus or Persepolis, have proven that comics aren’t always funny. But what about graphic journalism?... More

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Currents

Title Search

Python developer

Alexandre Conrad is a Python developer for SurveyMonkey. Jay Woodruff interviewed him in September. Have you ever been slapped in... More

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Currents

A matter of time

Pretty in Finke

In October, auto-racing and truck-leasing scion Jay Penske announced that he’d bought Variety, the storied Hollywood trade publication founded in... More

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Darts and Laurels

Darts and Laurels

Women’s work

When The New York Times made Buffalo News editor Margaret Sullivan its new public editor in September, there seemed... More

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Editorial

Hard truths

What is the future of political factchecking?

As the presidential campaign wound down, it became clear that the media’s factchecking effort, which played a more prominent... More

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Currents

Talk to the hand

A long-running journalism inside joke gets new (after?)life

Eight years ago, the Chicago Tribune put the halogen searchlight of public attention on an age-old international media conspiracy—an... More

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Currents

Language Corner

There, there

There are many ways to start articles and sentences. There is often a way to avoid beginning with the phrases... More

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Currents

Gifted

‘Tis the season

If you love a journalist, you know how hard it is to find the perfect gift—they’re so neurotic! So... More

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Currents

Open Bar

The Anchor Bar

The Anchor Bar 450 West Fort Street, Detroit, MI Year opened 1959. It’s been in its current location since 1993,... More

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Currents

Death becomes … who?

What the NY Times obits say about America

The New York Times is, more than any other single publication, the nation’s arbiter of erudition, prosperity, and success.... More

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Readers respond to our September/October issue

Fleurs du mal Very compelling argument and well-stated, Clay Shirky (“Failing Geometry” CJR, September/October). Traditional media’s “original sin” (re: the... More

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Currents

Hard Numbers

Election edition

54 Percent of Americans who knew that General Motors’ decision to close its plant in Janesville, WI, happened before Barack... More

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The Lower Case

The Lower Case

Headlines that editors probably wish they could take back

- Daily Variety, 9/14/12 - Ventura County (CA) Star, 8/23/12 - Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/29/12 More

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Currents

DIY celebrity profile

Fill in the blanks

It is half-past 10 on another soullessly sun-kissed Los Angeles morning. And (promising young star) is late. I’ve been sitting... More

Ideas & Reviews

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Second Read

Human capital

In O Albany!, William Kennedy pays homage to the hard-to-love city that is his novels’ greatest hero

On January 16, 1928, William Joseph Kennedy suffered a misfortune of birth only slightly preferable to bastardy. Having drawn... More

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Essay

Flag on the play

Why a great sportswriter blew the story of a lifetime; the undoing of Joe Paterno

For those who care about sports and sports writing, the recent publication of Joe Posnanski’s book on the late Penn... More

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Critical Eye

Brief Encounters

Short reviews of Out of the News, The Way the World Works: Essays, and The Stammering Century

Out of the News: Former Journalists Discuss a Profession in Crisis | By Celia Viggo Wexler | McFarland & Company... More

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Critical Eye

The future’s so bright …

How to save the world while paying people with beer and hugs

In early 2012, a musician named Amanda Palmer took to Kickstarter to ask her fans for $100,000. Palmer, a... More

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Critical Eye

Color blind

When white men and three networks ruled the media, coverage of race was … better? Damn you, Internet!

Last summer, Gawker asked veteran news anchor Dan Rather to review Aaron Sorkin’s new television series The Newsroom. It... More

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The Research Report

Innovator’s lament

Shouldn’t trailblazers be allowed to establish new standards of success?

Some months ago, on the Poynter Institute’s website, PolitiFact’s Bill Adair urged: “[L]et’s blow up the news story.” Journalism must... More

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Q and A

‘How to Get On With Your Life’

Kate White talks life after Cosmo

It takes guts to quit a job running the world’s best-selling women’s magazine. But Kate White has long embodied... More

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


How one reporter copes inside the ‘Ebola bubble’ (BuzzFeed)

“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.”

Fake news sites using Facebook to spread Ebola panic (The Verge)

“These sites claim to be satirical but lack even incompetent attempts at anything resembling humor”

How Ben Bradlee dealt with flacks (Washington Post)

“I would like to be sure that you understand that we trust our editors’ news judgement and that we distrust yours”

Ben Bradlee, 93 (WaPo)

“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”

Bloggingheads

Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute

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Who Owns What

The Business of Digital Journalism

A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Study Guides

Questions and exercises for journalism students.