Columbia Journalism Review

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Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

April 28, 2017 - 1:21pm
In this week’s lower case… Sure, he was a meathead — but what was his job? #BadHeadline — Doug Trouten (@TheDougTrouten) August 23, 2015 Please visit — Fab (@fabfree_) April 19, 2017 So that's how it works. #BadHeadline — Doug Trouten (@TheDougTrouten) August 22, 2015 Well, this is certainly breaking news… #BadHeadline […]

Jailing of journalist suggests a country on the brink

April 28, 2017 - 10:13am
A military court in Cameroon on April 21 sentenced journalist Ahmed Abba to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay court costs totaling nearly a hundred thousand dollars, an impossible sum in the impoverished Central African nation. Abba, the correspondent for Radio France Internationale’s Hausa service, has already spent nearly two years in […]

100 days of Trump, as told by The New York Times front page

April 28, 2017 - 6:00am
Two hundred and twenty-two stories. One hundred and one headlines. Thirty-five pictures. That’s what Donald Trump has meant to The New York Times’s front page in the first 100 days of his presidency. Much has been made of Trump’s ability to drive the news cycle, but how does coverage of the 45th president compare to […]

News leaders struggle with fake news and filter bubbles while subscriptions rise

April 27, 2017 - 11:33am
News leaders and Silicon Valley executives at a “Subscriber Summit” put on by The Information discussed an array of stubborn challenges against a backdrop of guarded optimism as evidence emerges that more readers are beginning to pay for news. Speakers at the Tuesday event included CNN’s Jeff Zucker, Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Facebook’s Adam Mosseri, […]

Flint residents searched for water info before news coverage intensified: Study

April 27, 2017 - 9:01am
Before the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, made headlines, residents suspected something was wrong. A new Pew Research Center study using proprietary Google search data shows people in the city searched the web for information related to the water supply before their government and the local media recognized there was a problem. The study shows […]

Stop killing your social stories with bad headlines and images

April 27, 2017 - 5:55am
If you were breathing and near a computer or TV earlier this month, you couldn’t escape the story about a passenger violently dragged from an overbooked United Airlines plane. Rather than focusing on the salacious video or the minutiae of airline contracts of carriage, let’s look at a great second-day story: what the PR nightmare meant […]

ESPN cuts 100 staffers as cable subscribers flee

April 26, 2017 - 12:54pm
In a brutal day for sports media, ESPN announced dozens of staff cuts on Wednesday including highly visible names like NFL reporter Ed Werder and radio host Danny Kanell. The moves come as the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” struggles to adapt to falling subscription revenue, skyrocketing fees for live events, and shifts in the way […]

Teen magazine Brio aims to fill ‘surprisingly absent’ niche

April 26, 2017 - 12:33pm
A magazine for Christian teenage girls is making a comeback after 19 years in the dark. Published by evangelical nonprofit ministry Focus on the Family, the May 2017 issue of Brio is hitting mailboxes as early as this week. Nine more issues will be released before the end of the year. Colorado Springs-based Focus on […]

Here’s what freelance photographers face

April 26, 2017 - 5:55am
From an editor’s point of view, the process is simple: Assign a freelancer, get amazing photos that help tell a story, pay them, repeat. For freelance photojournalists, it is often a different story. Among the frustratingly common challenges they face range from sparse communication after landing assignments, to fishy wording in contracts, to fighting for […]

Podcast: A third generation of ‘conservative’ media?

April 25, 2017 - 2:23pm
On the latest episode of The Kicker, we run through some of the week’s biggest media stories, including Trump’s 100-day milestone, what didn’t make it into The New York Times‘ James Comey takeout, and the coverage narratives emanating from France. Then, we discuss whether a new, fictionalized portrayal of El Chapo can speak to larger journalistic […]

Watchdog reporting in East St. Louis highlights potential in under-covered areas

April 25, 2017 - 11:19am
THE STORY STARTED WITH A TIP from a trusted source in a community that doesn’t much trust reporters. The top elected officials in impoverished East St. Louis Township in southwestern Illinois were “covering up trips to Las Vegas,” the source told George Pawlaczyk, an investigative reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat. In a series that earned Pawlaczyk […]

11 images that show how the Trump administration is failing at photography

April 25, 2017 - 5:55am
How much does visual imagery, especially photography, determine the success or failure of a presidency? In the first 100 days, the Trump White House has distinguished itself with largely forgettable imagery, in contrast to the Obama administration’s brilliant orchestration, creation, and curation. The approach to photography under Trump has ranged from haphazard to negligent. In […]

Gender-driven journalism chronicles rise and fall of Thinx founder Miki Agrawal

April 24, 2017 - 12:03pm
Miki Agrawal has been a media magnet from the moment her trendy startup started making money. The CEO and founder of Thinx, which specializes in period-proof underwear, has romanced journalists with the story of her rise to fame over the past two years. Yet the self-proclaimed feminist CEO seems to have blinded reporters to the […]

Local public radio: America’s last public square

April 24, 2017 - 9:57am
A few weeks ago, wildfires ravaged through the Gardiner family’s Kansas ranch and killed a third of the cattle—more than 500 cows. Garth, a fourth-generation farmer and Trump voter, wondered why the president he’d supported hadn’t offered any assistance or even acknowledged the natural disaster devastating his community. A woman in Seattle heard his story […]

Is forwards grammatical, or is it backward?

April 24, 2017 - 5:55am
Is it “toward” or “towards”? “Backward” or “backwards”? “Afterward” or “afterwards”? Yes. Some of you may remember the commercials for 1-800-Mattress. “Leave off the last ‘s’— for savings,” its tagline went. Well, you can leave off the last “s” for saving face in “toward,” “backward,” and “afterward,” at least in American English. Conversationally, it doesn’t […]

Letters from our readers: Covering Trump, WSJ, Amal Clooney, and the Oxford comma

April 21, 2017 - 2:03pm
Here is a selection of emails and Facebook comments we’ve received since March 1. Please send correspondence to, along with your name, address, and any relevant affiliation. “White House reporting through the Gateway Pundit looking glass” I was dismayed by the overall tone of the piece by David Uberti on the panel I participated […]

After ‘crisis of conscience,’ ex-Cigna exec hopes to set the record straight on health care

April 21, 2017 - 12:25pm
THIS SUMMER, A NEWS SITE CALLED TARBELL will make its debut and join a growing number of health-journalism startups. Named for the famous early 20th century muckraker Ida Tarbell, whose landmark expose of Standard Oil led to the breakup of the company, will strive to produce similarly consequential investigative journalism, and pledges to “uncover how […]

Journalists and screenwriters team up for a new TV series inspired by El Chapo

April 21, 2017 - 9:25am
In September 2013, Univision investigative journalist Gerardo Reyes turned down an interview with a source he had been chasing for years. The notorious Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán Loera, widely known as “El Chapo,” had agreed to an interview with Reyes—with the caveat that he wanted approval on the final product. Reyes declined. “We don’t […]

Price of ‘independent’: Can this weekly paper stay critical of its new owner?

April 21, 2017 - 5:55am
THE MISSOULA INDEPENDENT, the decades-old western Montana alt-weekly, was acquired last week by Lee Enterprises, the state’s largest newspaper chain. Around the time Indy staffers were filling out their new W4 forms, The Missoulian—the city’s daily paper, a Lee publication whose offices are just blocks from the Indy headquarters—published an online story about the deal. […]

A Facebook bot purge clobbered USA Today, and no one knows why

April 20, 2017 - 11:23am
USA Today last week reported that Facebook was breaking up an “extensive fake account scam” targeting publisher pages with false “likes.” The ruse apparently was intended to yield the scammers more friends they could later spam, and USA Today added that it was “among the publishers impacted.” Not included in its report was the fact […]