“The president didn’t send me over here to seek a graceful exit.” So said General David Petraeus in one of many interviews during a press blitz as the summer of 2010 moved toward fall. He was just weeks into running a war that is nearly nine years old, trying to make the case that the pieces necessary for success in Afghanistan, especially troop strength, are finally in place. And, implicitly, that the effort is worth the price. As we write, the latest to bear the cost was an Army sergeant from the 82nd Airborne Division, Christopher Karch, of Indianapolis, age twenty-three. He was number 1,215 among U.S. casualties, killed by small-arms fire when insurgents attacked his unit in the Arghandab Valley. The public will be more consciously trying to measure such sacrifice against the war’s progress in the coming year, and it is the duty of the press to help them. For some inspiration, perhaps, in what is our annual books issue, we take a look at books about wars past, starting with Connie Schultz’s salute to Michael Herr’s Vietnam classic, Dispatches. It is the book she turned to as a young woman in blue-collar Ohio, when she wondered why so many young men left her hometown “full of brag and bravado” but came home “spent and eerily old.”
05:16 PM - September 1, 2010
An introduction to our annual books issue
‘See you on the other side’ - Meet Jessica Lum, a terminally ill 25-year-old who chose to spend what little time she had practicing journalism
#Realtalk: This is the best moment to be in journalism - The old stuff isn’t coming back, but that’s okay
Streams of consciousness - Millennials expect a steady diet of quick-hit, social-media-mediated bits and bytes. What does that mean for journalism?
Sticking with the truth - How ‘balanced’ coverage helped sustain the bogus claim that childhood vaccines can cause autism
An ink-stained stretch - Can Aaron Kushner save the Orange County Register—and the newspaper industry?
Inside Google’s secret lab
We might deplore the practice, but posting pictures of our food online is a way to bring everyone to the table
“Every time the restaurant switched up its format, it got plenty of accompanying media coverage that let judges know they needed to return to see what was going on”
David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon commencement speech as a short film
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.