Sunday, April 20, 2014. Last Update: Fri 2:50 PM EST

The Observatory

A Life Less Ordinary

After speculation about aliens, arsenic-eating microbe stirs wide coverage

A bacterium trained to substitute arsenic for phosphorus—one of six elements considered essential for life—in some of its basic cellular... More

Close Encounters of the Media Kind

NASA press release leads to wild speculation about alien discovery

Over the last two days, bloggers at a few of the country’s top news outlets have engaged in wild and... More

The Risk of Poor Coverage of Risk

Why does a healthier-than-ever world feel so scary?

There is a hidden danger in this modern world of unprecedented plenty and healthier, longer lives: our growing fears about... More

From Copenhagen to Cancun

A challenging year for the climate story

It’s been a challenging time for the climate change story on just about every front. A year ago, the unauthorized... More

How to Place a Story?

Survey finds top environmental newsmakers still target traditional media

Despite disruptive changes in the media industry, which have made it more difficult to place stories and develop relationships with... More

Echoes of Grit and Humor

Great Lakes news startup brings on an inspiring new voice

If all goes as planned, Tom Henry’s decision to take on more work—in the form of a monthly column for... More

Gruesome Graphic Labels

FDA’s new anti-smoking labels light up the web

It was inevitable that the FDA’s new proposal to put graphic, and often gruesome, pictures of dead bodies and diseased... More

Press Pass Problems

Cetacean Society’s decision to deny a reporter raises questions about access

On Tuesday, the American Cetacean Society denied a freelancer’s request for a press pass to attend the society’s annual meeting... More

Man(n) the Torpedoes

Climate scientist Michael Mann goes on the offensive

NEW HAVEN, CONN.—It’s been exactly a year since “Climategate” broke, putting Penn State University researcher Michael Mann and climate scientists... More

A Referendum on Energy Issues?

Not so fast

There is something ironic about the post-election surge of articles about the environmental consequences of various outcomes at the polls... More

A Future for Cooperative Politics?

New York Times story on candidates’ psychology is overly optimistic

Thankfully, the days of “neuropunditry,” which sought to decipher voters’ thoughts with brain imaging and which blighted coverage of the... More

Q&A: UFO Journalist Leslie Kean

Is the truth out there?

Leslie Kean has written an unusual book on an unusual subject: Unidentified flying objects. But this Halloween weekend, Kean would... More

Paint it Green

Why it’s been left to reporters to bring up environmental issues on the campaign trail

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, “In much of the nation, ‘cap and trade’ has... More

How to Use ProPublica’s “Dollars for Docs” Database

Tips for reporters and editors

Investigative innovator ProPublica launched a new project this week, a national database of doctors and the money they have received... More

Red, White, and Blue, but Not Green

Energy and environment issues lacking in mid-term election coverage

Remember the 2008 presidential campaign, when candidates and voters alike couldn’t seem to get enough of energy and climate issues... More

16 women whose digital startups deserve Vox-level plaudits - A look at the media entrepreneurs who aren’t grabbing headlines

Why was ‘Dasani’ shut out of the Pulitzers? - 5 problems with The New York Times’ ambitious, influential series on the life of one homeless Brooklyn girl

The AP downplays its Obamacare scoop - Repeal on deductible caps marks another step in The Great Cost Shift

The enduring pull of mag covers - Why do magazine cover images still hold so much cultural power in this decline-of-print era?

Michael Wolff’s digital media bloopers - The Newser founder trolls (other) digital-news companies


The shirt on your back

How did the clothes you’re wearing get to you? We trace the human cost of the Bangladeshi garment industry in video, words and pictures

Anxious royalist

Fantastic letter in The Times

Coming out as a porn star

How do you tell your family and friends?

The truth about Google X

A look behind the secretive lab’s closed doors

New Jersey’s good government

Despite the bridge scandal, Chris Christie’s state is relatively transparent and accountable. CJR’s Greg Marx talks to Gordon Witkin

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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.