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Updated: 12 hours 47 min ago

Why are the insurance co-ops failing? This article provides the best answer yet

November 25, 2015 - 9:55am
As a media critic and healthcare reporter, I read a lot about health policy in general and the Affordable Care Act in particular, from plenty of different sources. But earlier this month, I came across one of the best Obamacare stories I’ve seen since the debate on the law began—and it was in a trade publication that I have to...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

November 25, 2015 - 5:50am
Happy pre-Thanksgiving! To celebrate the short week, we bring you an extra-long Lower case filled with favorites from our archives. Lewiston (Me.) Daily Sun, 4/2/79   San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15/82   The Buffalo News, 4/6/83   Morning News and Evening Journal (Wilmington, Del.), 9/29/83   Hamilton, Ont., Spectator, 6/8/85  

Why Nigeria’s Freedom of Information Act is even less effective than ours

November 24, 2015 - 1:50pm
Intended as a boon for journalism in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria’s Freedom of Information Act took more than a decade to implement. When it was finally passed in 2011, it established the right to access or request information from a public official, agency, or institution. Those institutions, in turn, were legally obliged to respond within a week; whistleblowers would...

Syria’s media war

November 24, 2015 - 12:20pm
The driver stops on a crowded, dusty road lined with cars. Used SUVs and sedans are parked two deep in front of tired warehouses bearing sun-bleached signs for a shipping company and a tire store. “Is it here?” I credulously ask the chauffeur who was dispatched to bring me to this desolate stretch of road. “Yes, wait,” he says, pointing...

What improv could teach newsrooms

November 24, 2015 - 10:06am
The critical success of Spotlight, the new film about the Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic sex abuse scandal, has prompted a lot of discussion about cinematic portrayals of journalism. But there’s another way to look at the connection between theater and newsrooms, which is: What can acting teach journalists? Amanda Hirsch has some thoughts on that subject. The former...

Where do science journalists draw the line?

November 23, 2015 - 2:10pm
The annual meeting for the National Association of Science Writers got off to a heated start last October in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The first session centered on the knotty issue of ethics. According to several reporters in attendance, many in the audience voiced concerns about whether it is ethical for a reporter to take money from outside interests for travel, hotel...

Why some SPJ leaders are engaging Gamergate

November 23, 2015 - 11:30am
Michael Koretzky saw an opportunity—that’s what he would call it, anyway. It was early May, and the Society of Professional Journalists had abandoned its #SPJEthicsWeek Twitter chat after it was overrun by numerous posts tagged with #Gamergate. The hashtag drew mainstream media attention last year for reactionary trolling and mob-like harassment online, aimed mostly at feminist writers and critics. Supporters’...

Let's not 'talk turkey'

November 23, 2015 - 5:50am
It’s the most clichéd time of the year. More than 100 times in the last month, readers have been urged to “talk turkey” or some variation, according to Nexis. There were nearly 1,000 occurrences of the phrase “all the trimmings” in news reports by the time Thanksgiving was a week away. The overstuffed day will trigger the mother lode of...

Is Facebook a proto-state?

November 20, 2015 - 2:50pm
As the debate about Facebook’s use of Safety Check in Paris, but not in Beirut, saturated social media this past weekend, one could not help but notice that in the past, this kind of service-- connecting victims of a terrorist attack with loved ones--might have been administered by an element of the state, specifically by those working in public health...

After Twitter falls for a URL trick, Gannett fixes a company-wide glitch

November 20, 2015 - 12:10pm
How long does it take a major newspaper chain to fix a very public glitch in its CMS? About a day and a half, apparently—at least, based on what we saw from the Gannett websites this week. On Wednesday, The Tennessean, a Gannett paper, published a story about a top state Republican lawmaker suggesting that the National Guard round up...

Paid to vote: Why a nonprofit news outlet gave away $10,000 in a lottery

November 19, 2015 - 1:55pm
Bridget Conroy-Varnis, a school crossing guard, voted this month in Philadelphia’s mayoral election—and won $10,000 for her trouble. Conroy-Varnis was the randomly selected winner in a voting lottery run by The Philadelphia Citizen, a nonprofit news start-up that launched in full force, after a long gestation period, in September. Taking a page from the book of Ed McMahon, Citizen editor Larry...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

November 19, 2015 - 10:18am
The New York Times, 05/24/77   The Macon News (Georgia), 08/11/76   Tulsa Daily World, 11/30/76 Have a headline you want to share? Snap a photo and email it to or tweet it to us @CJR.

Virginia’s journalist of the year on leaving his paper: ‘Time for us to go our separate ways’

November 18, 2015 - 1:55pm
Reporter John Holland's tenure at The Virginian-Pilot was a brief but eventful one. The Boston native with a thick New England accent came to the paper in late 2013 after a few years reporting overseas and, before that, a decade at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. In less than two years he shook up Virginia Beach, won the state press...

Three reasons why the Herald-Tribune schizophrenia project works

November 18, 2015 - 9:32am
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune rolled out an ambitious project on schizophrenia this weekend with a goal of reducing the stigma that surrounds the disease and a presentation online and in print that demands readers’ attention. The project, “The S Word: the Stigma of Schizophrenia,” is notable on several fronts. It’s personal. The project—a package of stories about people with schizophrenia and...

The Paris-Beirut debate: Why news organizations paid more attention to the attacks in France

November 17, 2015 - 2:10pm
The Friday attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 left many American news organizations racing to get pieces in place for wall-to-wall coverage over the weekend. The story still dominated The New York Times’ front page on Monday, with four stories exploring various angles of the ISIS-planned strikes, their aftermath in France, and global ramifications. But it was a...

Iowa's Ann Selzer on what journalists need to know about polling

November 17, 2015 - 12:52pm
The profession of political polling is “teetering on the edge of disaster,” Jill Lepore writes in this week’s New Yorker. It’s a stark diagnosis, but not a fringe opinion. As voters continue their migration from landlines to hard-to-reach cell phones, response rates for public-opinion surveys have dipped under 10 percent. A wave of high-profile polling misfires—in the 2014 midterms; in the UK, Greece, and Israel; and...

When 'late' is lost

November 17, 2015 - 5:50am
We talked “last” week about whether you have to change “in the last three months” to “in the past three months.” Short answer: No. What’s past can be last, in most cases. The same is not necessarily true of someone who is “late.” As Garner’s Modern American Usage says, using “the late” before someone’s name or title, a sign of...

Remembering ‘fearless’ war photographer Dickey Chapelle

November 16, 2015 - 1:50pm
Terry Koper stood off to the side, a few feet from the grave, scribbling in his notebook as the wind swirled the leaves at his feet in gigantic gusts.  Maybe because it was November in Wisconsin. Or maybe because the heavens knew, as some mourners suggested. But the wind was the same, and the sky was the same, and there...

What Snapchat's evolution means for storytellers

November 16, 2015 - 12:20pm
The latest headlines around Snapchat have been a rollercoaster of highs, lows, and neck-jerking twists. Last week alone, the news that Snapchat’s vanishing videos now draw 6 billion views a day and that another legacy newsroom, this time The Wall Street Journal, would soon be joining its group of Discover publishers, were bracketed by a sobering report that Fidelity, which...

A gun-carrying journalist, and rightly so

November 16, 2015 - 5:50am
I frequently advise journalists not to carry arms because doing so “can undermine your status as an observer,” which in violent and lawless societies is precisely what keeps reporters safe. But I make an exception for Cándido Figueredo Ruíz, a Paraguayan crime reporter who has been threatened, shot at, and attacked so many times that he barely leaves his home....