Suggested Readings

The New York Times’s Charles Duhigg continues his eye-opening investigation of the state of the nation’s water quality, today looking at unregulated pollution from farm runoff. Last week, it was a great piece on the increasingly lax enforcement of the Clean Water Act, and the price some are paying in states like West Virginia. A month before it was “How Much Weed Killer Is Safe In Your Glass?” Nuff said. This series is what newspapers are for.

The Big Money profiles Felix Salmon of Reuters, the blogger mentioned often here and everywhere else on the financial Web. “He is perhaps the most dramatic example of someone whose reputation has been made entirely by the almost overwhelming and nearly unbelievable transformation of both the media and the economy in recent years.”

Editor & Publisher looks at the “Online Pay Puzzle,” surveying editors around the country on what they think should be done and how. “Most newsroom leaders who spoke with E&P said no decisions have been made but admit they welcome a paid approach to online, noting that readers seem to be willing to pay for Web content that is useful, exclusive and/or in-depth.”

Gary Weiss and Felix Salmon note that scuzzy Ben Stein employer Freescore is suing to unmask an anonymous blogger who criticized it. Salmon calls them “predatory bait-and-switch merchants” and “litigious bullies.” Weiss notes that they’re suing Yahoo, which is, ironically, another Ben Stein employer.

An investigation by the liberal Center for American Progress found that the big banks shoved blacks and Hispanics into high-interest subprime loans at far higher rates than they did whites and Asians. “Among high-income borrowers in 2006, African Americans were three times as likely as whites to pay higher prices for mortgages—32.1 percent compared to 10.5 percent.”

Pay-for-news David Carr debates info-wants-to-be-free Michael Masnick at MediaShift. Carr states the obvious, which is too often ignored: “A broad swath of newspapers are not looking into pay content as a matter of collusion, but survival.” Also, Carr wins.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.