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6 ways reporters can cover Obamacare open enrollment

October 30, 2014 - 10:46am
As we head into the second Obamacare open enrollment season, the media have a chance to redeem themselves from last fall, when skepticism was sometimes left at the door and coverage was dominated by website screw-ups, cancelled policies, presidential false promises, and anecdotes that blew up under scrutiny. All of this noise drowned out the crucial point: what do people...

What's next for David Plotz?

October 30, 2014 - 6:50am
In July, David Plotz announced that he would be ending his six-year tenure as editor of Slate. Plotz, who remained on staff as editor at large after his announcement, has worked at Slate since it launched in 1996, when it was one of the first magazines to publish exclusively online. But even as other digital publications have proliferated, Slate,...

Is Ari Melber the future of cable-news anchors?

October 30, 2014 - 6:50am
On a Wednesday afternoon in late July, during his regular show on MSNBC, Ari Melber gestured across the table at US senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker. Melber had scored two of cable news' prized guests, and he was reveling in the topic at hand--the senators' just-released bill on juvenile-justice reform. Aware that he had just 12 minutes and...

How the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affected journalists

October 30, 2014 - 6:50am
Tyler Hicks, a photojournalist for The New York Times, was sitting in his hotel room in Gaza last summer when he heard an explosion. He looked out the window and saw the boys. He grabbed his helmet, flak jacket, and cameras, and ran toward the beach. Not knowing whether the Israeli gunner would strike again, he strode onto the...

The case for Huffington Post's crowdfunded reporting job

October 30, 2014 - 6:50am
hen the Huffington Post announced it would crowdfund a one-year reporting fellowship to cover the aftermath of teenager Michael Brown's killing by a police officer in Ferguson, MO, it incited a lot of sniping. Don Irvine, chairman of Accuracy in Media, a conservative advocacy group, summed it up in a blog post: "HuffPo isn't some small, independent, underfunded news organization--rather...

'Working' people have an audience

October 30, 2014 - 6:50am
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Studs Terkel's groundbreaking book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, a collection of interviews with working Americans, from fashion models to coal miners. Working established an audience for first-person stories about real, everyday lives. As such, it has influenced storytellers and...

Story stats

October 30, 2014 - 6:50am
$135 Hourly rate Ferguson, MO, officials charge journalists who seek access to public records related to the Michael Brown shooting 33 Percentage of Hispanic Americans who think the media cover their communities accurately 19 Percentage of African-Americans who believe local news stations cover the black community more accurately than other news sources 49 Percentage of Hispanic Americans who believe that...

Lousy judgment, unlikely hero

October 30, 2014 - 6:50am
A DART to the Columbia Daily Tribune for running a cartoon of Ferguson protesters holding signs with statements such as, "Steal to honor Michael," and "No 60" Plasma TV No Peace!" next to a column about lootings in the town. After numerous complaints, mainly voiced on Twitter, the publication's managing editor Jim Robertson responded to the criticism, asking readers to...

The history of 'wrestle'

October 30, 2014 - 6:50am
he football player "wrestled" the ball away from an opponent and scored a touchdown. Shareholders "wrestled" control of a company from the CEO. Who got dirtier: the football player or the shareholders? Answer: the football player, because he actually did some physical work to get the football. But in reality, what both did was "wrest," not "wrestle." "Wrestle" means "to...

The news business should refuse Facebook's deal

October 29, 2014 - 2:50pm
Facebook wants publishers to become its junior partners, embedding their news and content into Facebook itself (at least on mobile) and sharing the ad revenue, The New York Times reported earlier this week. New ad revenue always looks enticing in the digital space, where it's hard to come by in meaningful chunks. But this is a deal that publishers, who...

BP's aggressive PR strategy obfuscates facts

October 29, 2014 - 1:05pm
.@MorrellGeoff's piece in @Politico is no different than any other op-ed by any other company in any other publication— State of the Gulf (@StateoftheGulf) October 22, 2014 When Politico Magazine published a piece by senior BP spokesman Geoff Morrell last week--chalking coverage of the slow recovery of the gulf from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to "advocacy groups cherry-picking studies"--it...

Should journalism worry about content marketing?

October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
At a glance, the Daily Growl could be any morning news meeting held in the "win the internet through pet videos" bureau of a lavishly funded media startup. Rows of eager young people stand behind their monitors--"TMZ-style," managing editor Lisa Keller told me--as Keller solicits memes and news pegs to supplement the content already scheduled on the team's editorial...

Ta-Nehisi Coates defines a new race beat

October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
He is the most celebrated journalist writing about race today, and yet Ta-Nehisi Coates' ideas are surprisingly unoriginal. He would be the first to say so. Consider, for example, "The Case for Reparations," Coates' 16,000-word cover story for The Atlantic, where he is a national correspondent. Published online in May, it was a close look at housing discrimination, such...

Ebola scare spotlights media's retreat from science coverage

October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
  With the arrival in the US of the Ebola virus, the American public has demonstrated yet again its ability to unduly wind itself up over any vaguely exotic threat--West Nile, bird flu, anthrax--while ignoring genuine threats like seasonal influenza. The fear has been stoked by the predictable cable-news hyperbole, as well as some alarmist coverage from outlets that...


October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
hen Charles Dickens first came to America in 1842, he gave a series of speeches in which he asked the US government to extend copyright protection to works by foreign creators. At the time, American printers could legally publish British novels without paying authors, which Dickens, not unreasonably, resented. Although his motives were largely mercenary, Dickens argued his point with...

The kids are all right

October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
Three years ago, I found myself floating along the East River with the Insane Clown Posse. They had recently played a concert in New York City for the first time in nearly 10 years, an occasion they marked by inviting more than 200 fans to party on a boat with them, a DJ, a cash bar, and a hotdog...

How the First Amendment applies to Jennifer Lawrence

October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Paparazzi Threaten a Free Press By Amy Gajda Harvard University Press 306 pages; $35 n late August, someone anonymously posted hacked nude photographs of the actress Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities on an internet bulletin board. Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton posted the photos on his gossip website. Shortly afterward, buffeted by angry social-media...

Journalism's new beats

October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
Media companies old and new are perpetually rethinking their beats, though their motivations may vary.

Journalism says goodbye to Redskins

October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
The debate over the Washington Redskins' nickname intensified this year when the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team's trademark registration, a ruling that has since been appealed. Franchise ownership has refused to budge from its pro-"Redskins" position, though several media outlets have pledged to avoid the term, and still more commentators have done so unilaterally. Their decisions...

Inside Evin prison

October 29, 2014 - 6:56am
In this issue of Currents, political cartoonist Mana Neyestani talks about the terrors he experienced inside Iran's Evin prison, and how his work on a graphic novel-memoir helped him cope with the trauma (if you missed it, flip back to page 10). Iranian Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari also made his experiences inside Evin the subject of a 2011 memoir,...