Columbia Journalism Review

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Factchecking’s impact

April 24, 2015 - 11:06am
Political factchecking has grown up over the course of the past three presidential elections. Launched in 2003, FactCheck.org examined candidates’ claims during the 2004 campaign and was even incorrectly cited by Vice President Dick Cheney during a debate. The then-nascent PolitiFact.com analyzed more than 750 political statements throughout the 2008 cycle, garnering a Pulitzer Prize for its efforts. The genre...

Why Ohio's new 'Sunshine Audits' could be important

April 23, 2015 - 12:14pm
When a member of the public believes a state agency has violated a public-records law, who gets to be the referee? That question is at the core of a colorful political affair that recently unfolded in Ohio, one that pitted Republicans from different branches of state government against one another—and underscored the importance of programs that can resolve public-records disputes...

What we can learn from Judith Miller's rehab tour

April 23, 2015 - 11:12am
Judith Miller’s publicity campaign for her new book (The Story: A Reporter's Journey) which has taken her from the Wall Street Journal to numerous television interviews, has been an instructive and engaging media spectacle. She has shown characteristic passion and energy in attempting to defend her journalistic reputation after being pummeled during here final years at The New York Times...

The value of news

April 23, 2015 - 6:50am
In March of 2011, The New York Times announced that it would start charging readers for digital content. The announcement came from the publisher of the Times, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., who wrote that the shift away from offering all the Times’ online content at no cost was “an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in...

Fear of screwing up

April 22, 2015 - 3:40pm
That could've been me. If you heard about the retracted Rolling Stone rape story, you might have thought that to yourself when you considered its now disgraced reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely. I know I did. Erdely screwed up. Big time. We can tell ourselves she was always a terrible journalist, but she's had a strong career. We can tell ourselves...

Why does US healthcare cost so much? A Texas reporter takes a close look

April 22, 2015 - 11:15am
With what will be a yearlong, 13-part series called “Cost of Care,” the Dallas Morning News is the latest news outlet to take a long, hard look at through-the-roof American healthcare costs. Staff writer and business columnist Jim Landers, who has published six pieces in the series to date, aims to probe “how and why US healthcare spending is the...

Judith Miller tells her side of The Story

April 22, 2015 - 6:50am
When journalists become too deeply invested in a specific story or storyline, they run the risk of ignoring their training and instincts. Let’s call Sabrina Rubin Erdely--who shopped for a spectacular rape to illustrate the problem of campus sexual assault for Rolling Stone--Exhibit A. Former New York Times investigative reporter (and now Fox News commentator) Judith Miller insists that she...

Another 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winner left journalism for PR. Here's why.

April 21, 2015 - 12:11pm
When Natalie Caula Hauff got the news Monday that she was part of a reporting team whose work had been honored with a Pulitzer Prize for public service, she was at work in a county office building miles from her old newspaper. Hauff shared a byline on “Till Death Do Us Part,” a seven-part series from The Post and Courier...

How a Pulitzer-winning series forced South Carolina to face its domestic violence problem

April 21, 2015 - 7:00am
From the time its first installment was published, “Til Death Do Us Part,” a powerful series about domestic abuse in South Carolina from the Charleston Post and Courier, seemed destined for Pulitzer Prize contention. And on Monday, the seven-part series was honored with the nation's most prestigious journalism prize, the Pulitzer for public service. Judges called the work “a riveting...

Why The New York Times apps look different

April 21, 2015 - 6:50am
“The battle will be won on the smartphone,” New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said at a tech conference last February. The paper’s readers have increasingly been coming from mobile in recent years, and the Times has responded with a fleet of apps designed to draw in small, niche audiences to the paper. The NYT Cooking app, an opinion app,...

5 takeaways from the 2015 Pulitzer Prizes

April 20, 2015 - 4:50pm
Despite new rules that brought magazines into contention, and continued economic and editorial disruption throughout the media, the 99th annual Pulitzer Prizes were again dominated by newspapers this year. Winners of the awards, announced Monday at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, ranged from national media giants to local dailies. Here are five more takeaways from this year’s finalists...

To semicolon, or not to semicolon

April 20, 2015 - 12:30pm
“Do not use semicolons,” Kurt Vonnegut urged, more than once. “They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” Ben Dolnick said, “I’ve come to love the awkward things, and to depend on them for easing me through a complex thought.” Mary Norris, the New Yorker copy editor who just released Between You...

The ICIJ’s latest target: the World Bank

April 17, 2015 - 1:55pm
If your target is a mammoth, global institution like the World Bank, it helps to have a global network of muckrakers to hold it accountable. It’s a role uniquely suited to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, who yesterday released the series, “Evicted and abandoned: The World Bank’s broken promise to the poor,” reporting that at least 3.4 million people...

Florida railroad project opponents largely ignored by Miami Herald

April 17, 2015 - 11:47am
MIAMI, FL — A planned expansion of passenger rail in south and central Florida could be a big deal for the region, but coverage has been decidedly hyperlocal—and not in a good way. The project, All Aboard Florida, is being touted as a privately funded project to offer express passenger service between downtown Miami and the Orlando airport, with stops...

Gaining ground, or just treading water?

April 17, 2015 - 6:50am
Is nonprofit news sustainable? Last week the Knight Foundation laid out the case for optimism in its third report on nonprofit news: “Gaining Ground: How Non-Profit News Ventures Seek Sustainability.” If the report were a weather forecast, the prediction for nonprofits would be partly cloudy with a chance of sun. Most of the 20 news organizations it examines aren’t sustainable...

Reuters' Baghdad bureau chief on why he fled Iraq

April 16, 2015 - 2:39pm
Once Ned Parker saw his face plastered across an Iraqi television channel, he knew he had to flee. On April 3, Reuters’ Baghdad bureau chief helped chronicle in gruesome detail the lynching of suspected ISIS captives by government and paramilitary forces. Within days, a social media campaign began demanding his expulsion from the country, with some commenters calling for his...

How to bring clarity and urgency to Social Security reporting

April 16, 2015 - 10:45am
Social Security is looming as a major campaign issue--should it be cut or expanded? And that, of course, calls for reporters who understand what the system does and how various proposals would change it, and who can clearly explain what’s at stake for both current and future retirees. I asked Teresa Ghilarducci--an economics professor who heads the Schwartz Center for...

BuzzFeed's censorship problem

April 16, 2015 - 6:50am
Earlier this week, Gawker broke the news that BuzzFeed Beauty Editor Arabelle Sicardi has resigned from the site. She wrote a piece last week criticizing a Dove soap advertising campaign that BuzzFeed deleted and later republished at the direction of Editor in Chief Ben Smith. Her resignation is the latest chapter in the evolving “DoveGate” scandal. It all began on...

Capital New York is rebranded as Politico expands its reach

April 15, 2015 - 1:33pm
Politico marched forward with its worldwide expansion on Wednesday, as the company’s soon-to-be-launched European outfit announced a spate of new hires and bureaus, and its Washington-based mothership unveiled a plan to create state-focused satellite publications across the country. The moves come during a period of immense change for the political news organization. Famed for incremental scoops that drove discussion among...

Have a wacky opinion on the internet? In Texas, you could make the nightly news

April 15, 2015 - 11:12am
Scene: An Emmy-winning local TV news reporter in North Texas is on the hunt for his next story. He sees a woman from Dallas has posted something on Facebook that is, shall we say, controversial. “A female shouldn’t be President,” the woman has written, and she explains that if that event should come to pass, well, she will be moving...

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