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Podcast: Time to rethink the media’s Trump coverage?

July 21, 2017 - 2:11pm
On the latest episode of The Kicker, we run through some of the week’s biggest stories: what media mergers mean for both journalists and consumers, how to parse all of those anonymously sourced stories, and why Donald Trump keeps sitting down with reporters from The New York Times. Then, Pete Vernon talks with CJR Editor […]

Resist the temptation to make Sean Spicer a martyr

July 21, 2017 - 12:40pm
Sean Spicer, who came to office a respected, if combative, Washington insider, resigned on Friday as White House press secretary, leaving office with a damaged reputation after completing an ignoble six months in the office. Spicer, as first reported by The New York Times, chose to resign rather than serve under new White House communications […]

School board race reveals chronic gaps in education politics coverage

July 21, 2017 - 10:15am
This story is co-published with The Grade, an independent effort to improve mainstream education coverage in partnership with PDK International. YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW IT if you live outside of Southern California, but the nation’s second-largest school district—Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD)—recently held a nasty and expensive school board election that culminated in the surprise defeat of […]

The media today: Requiem for a lost job

July 21, 2017 - 6:31am
For 14 years, a succession of accomplished journalists held “a job few envied but most people in journalism circles paid close attention to.” That job: public editor of The New York Times. In an excellent oral history for CJR, Andy Robinson spoke with the six people to hold the position, gathering honest, often blunt, recollections […]

Q&A: Anna Sale on asking questions about death, sex, money

July 21, 2017 - 5:55am
A great interview is one of the journalist’s most powerful tools. It can be informative, entertaining, thoughtful. For the next five weeks, the Columbia Journalism Review and will broadcast conversations with some of the world’s greatest interviewers. Hosted by NPR’s Jesse Thorn, the podcast, called The Turnaround, will examine the science and art of […]

Arkansas reporters slam senators for ‘stonewalling’ local news on health care

July 20, 2017 - 1:25pm
IN MAY, TOM COTTON—Arkansas’s junior senator, a promising GOP star with ambition and an Ivy League pedigree—became one of 13 Republican senators tasked with drafting new health-care legislation. During the weeks that followed, Cotton stayed conspicuously tight-lipped about the Republican bill. In June, James Arkin wrote for Real Clear Politics: “Cotton hasn’t made any public […]

The Public Editor’s Club at The New York Times as told by the six who lived it

July 20, 2017 - 9:37am
The public editor is no more at The New York Times. For 14 years, following the Jayson Blair scandal, a succession of public editors read thousands of reader complaints, investigated claims of journalistic malpractices, and published their findings unfiltered, naming names and calling foul when they saw fit. It’s a job few envied but most people in journalism […]

Public editors disappear as media distrust grows

July 20, 2017 - 9:37am
Shortly after The New York Times eliminated its public editor position, BuzzFeed asked: Why have a public editor when Twitter will do it for free? In an attempt to answer the question, BuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith talked to Margaret Sullivan, a former New York Times public editor who is now a media critic […]

The media today: Unified support for a giant of the Senate

July 20, 2017 - 6:56am
On another night jam-packed with news about the president and those in his circle, sad news about one of Washington’s legendary figures provided a moment of unity. Around 8 pm, we learned that John McCain has brain cancer. The longtime Arizona senator, former presidential candidate, and Vietnam War hero recently underwent surgery at the Mayo […]

Q&A: ProPublica’s Lena Groeger on data visualization and writing about design

July 20, 2017 - 5:50am
How can typography save your life? Can bad design actually damage our democratic process? How can sneaker and tire treads tell a story? These are just a few of the fascinating questions ProPublica’s Lena Groeger explores in her “Visual Evidence” essay series. She also speaks regularly at conferences about, for instance, the explanatory power of […]

Journalism is a public service. Why don’t we fund it like one?

July 19, 2017 - 1:31pm
LOCAL NEWS IS IN DIRE STRAITS. In a quest for profit, publishers have gutted newsrooms and hollowed out coverage of local communities. As the industry struggles to build the business model of the future, it’s missing an opportunity to embrace a funding mechanism that can enshrine journalism as a public service: the special service district. […]

In a time of war, investigative reporting in Ukraine is a tough sell

July 19, 2017 - 10:22am
The morning after journalist Pavel Sheremet was blown up in his car in Kyiv last July 20, a US State Department expert told Fulbright Scholars headed to Ukraine that the post-Soviet country would only become truly democratic when journalists expose its corruption. I was among a handful of former journalists in that large DC conference […]

The media today: Is fake news here to stay?

July 19, 2017 - 6:30am
It’s been nine months since Donald Trump was elected, and I can’t believe we’re still talking about fake news! Not the fake news alleged by Trump in the media, but the original fake news, the fake news that uses social media to spread lying headlines and misleading stories. When Trump’s win was partly attributed to […]

The ‘huge issue’ with identifying original content from media outlets

July 19, 2017 - 5:50am
The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold recently broke the news of a series of fake 2009 Time magazine covers featuring Donald Trump, framed copies of which were hanging in several of Trump’s golf clubs. Comparisons with real Time covers revealed visual flaws: the fakes’ red border is too thin, and the bar code came from an […]

Journalists fight the wrong battle on White House access

July 18, 2017 - 3:17pm
As this piece is being written, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is standing behind the lectern in the Brady Briefing room and taking questions from the assembled press. Should you choose, you’ll hear about it, but you won’t be able to watch it. No cameras again today for press briefing with Sarah Sanders at […]

‘Thank God the brain cancer waited for the Pulitzer’

July 18, 2017 - 11:10am
IN BUSTED, A 2014 BOOK based on their Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of police corruption, Philadelphia Daily News reporters Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker offer ample anecdotal evidence of the distinctive jadedness and intense professionalism of their editor, Gar Joseph. “Gar had declared our first version ‘a fucking mess,” write Ruderman and Laker about Joseph’s early response to […]

What’s in an ‘oligarch’?

July 18, 2017 - 10:08am
Hear the word “oligarch,” and the image that probably springs to mind is of a rich, politically influential Russian. That’s the way Politico used it to describe the developer Aras Agalarov, who bought the Miss Universe pageant from Donald Trump (and whose pop-star son, Emin, supposedly conveyed the message to Donald Trump Jr. that he […]

The media today: LA Times investigation highlights local news that gets results

July 18, 2017 - 6:43am
“An overdose, a young companion, drug-fueled parties: The secret life of USC med school dean.” If that headline isn’t enough to grab your attention, nothing will. The Los Angeles Times’s investigation into the troubling behavior of Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito—dean of USC’s Keck School of Medicine, renowned eye surgeon, and key fundraiser—managed to break through […]

Q&A: Jerry Springer on interviewing regular people

July 18, 2017 - 5:55am
A great interview is one of the journalist’s most powerful tools. It can be informative, entertaining, thoughtful. For the next five weeks, the Columbia Journalism Review and will broadcast conversations with some of the world’s greatest interviewers. Hosted by NPR’s Jesse Thorn, the podcast, called The Turnaround, will examine the science and art of […]

Writers dish on scoops that slipped away

July 17, 2017 - 1:48pm
Far as I know, I never got scooped on a story. But it almost happened: I’d spent several years working on a true crime piece about a serial killing in San Francisco. A draft was rejected by a dozen publications. I’d happily dipped into the red, thanks to plane fare and Castro accommodations. But when […]