Columbia Journalism Review

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BuzzFeed to social platforms: More transparency, please

June 24, 2016 - 4:35pm
Amid publishers’ ongoing handwringing about social platforms’ control over media, BuzzFeed has become a poster child for embracing third-party distribution networks. This progressive view has helped it gain a massive global audience. But on Friday, days after news broke that BuzzFeed had inked a $3.1 million deal to produce Facebook Live videos, company brass called on Facebook and similar platforms...

Winners in Brexit: Old people, old media

June 24, 2016 - 3:42pm
The referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union was a battle of old against young. But it was also a battle of old media against new. And on both counts, the result was a smashing victory for the elder generation. During the campaign, there was much talk about data-driven targeting, and relentless attempts at social media engagement. Politicians from...

'It’s just a tough environment': Kansas sales highlight the challenges for family-owned papers

June 24, 2016 - 2:05pm
June 17 was a tumultuous day for family-owned newspapers in Kansas. Members of the Simons family, which has owned the Lawrence Journal-World for 125 years, informed employees that morning that they had agreed to sell the paper and other properties to West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers for an undisclosed sum. Separately, around the same time, Hutchinson-based Harris Enterprises Inc. announced that...

Inside Mother Jones' monster investigation of private prisons

June 24, 2016 - 11:53am
Shane Bauer tried to keep a straight face. The Mother Jones senior reporter was on assignment at a private prison in Louisiana, working as a guard. Conditions at the facility were deplorable. A poorly-trained staff lacked the support to respond to growing violence. And one of Bauer’s colleagues, who had no knowledge of Bauer’s primary job, told him that an...

Deaths, detainments mount as media environment worsens in South Sudan

June 24, 2016 - 11:09am
JUBA, South Sudan – Joseph Deng received a call from a friend on March 8 saying that his 27-year-old son was lying in a cemetery. “He’s alive. Don’t go alone,” the friend warned. Deng’s son, a newspaper editor named Afandi Joseph, had been missing for four days. It was evening, around 9 pm, when the father rushed to the graveyard...

A big investigation of slaughterhouse safety highlights the promise of media partnerships

June 23, 2016 - 3:55pm
Two years ago this month, Ralph Horner, a 54-year old maintenance employee at a Greeley, Colorado, meatpacking plant, was killed in the middle of the night. The piece of equipment he was working on caught his hair and the sleeve of his shirt, pulling him in. He was suffocated beneath a conveyor belt. One of the journalists following Horner’s story...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

June 23, 2016 - 10:27am
In this week's Lower case... Eugene Register-Guard, 6/21/16 Submitted by Bill Goetz, Eugene, Oregon  

In South Carolina, a watchdog reporter sets out on his own

June 22, 2016 - 3:15pm
The midlands region of South Carolina, anchored by the state capital of Columbia, is as good a place as any for a muckraker. The region has produced a rogue’s gallery of unseemly public officials and has a long history of bad behavior and corruption. So it makes sense that when Ron Aiken, a well-traveled reporter, decided to set up a...

How a Utah media company aims to take native advertising local

June 22, 2016 - 12:55pm
Experimentation is often more helpful in highlighting what doesn’t work than what does. Take a sponsored post from February 2015 that Deseret Digital Media produced for the Utah Transportation Coalition. “Utah: A national model and blueprint for the future,” reads a piece extolling the virtues of a plan to bolster the state’s transit system. “Yawn, right?” says Matt Sanders, senior...

Who owns the news consumer: Social media platforms or publishers?

June 21, 2016 - 3:29pm
The relationship between news organizations and platform companies has become far closer far more quickly than anyone predicted. The increasing influence of a handful of West Coast companies is shaping every aspect of news production, distribution, and monetization.  In the past 18 months, companies including Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google have moved from having an arm’s length relationship with...

Social media is on the rise, but not like you’d expect

June 21, 2016 - 1:28pm
As readers worldwide increasingly rely on distributed news—found through social media and other aggregators, rather than on a publication’s homepage—their awareness of newspaper brands and individual journalists may be deteriorating. The decline of print, the growing use of smartphones and social media, and the rise of ad blockers are changing the way we get our news. But a new report...

How the Flint water crisis and a statehouse scandal gave a boost to FOIA reform in Michigan

June 21, 2016 - 12:47pm
A succession of high-profile scandals in Michigan over the last year have cast a spotlight on the high cost of secrecy in state government. Now, there’s an opportunity for open records reform with a bipartisan 10-bill package that passed unanimously through a House committee this spring—and it’s championed by a young lawmaker who once trained as a reporter. Journalists have...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

June 20, 2016 - 1:16pm
In this week's Lower case, suggestively placed ellipses, and more ... St. Louis Business Journal, 6/15/16 Submitted by Tim Rank from Belleville, Illinois  

Everything you never knew about thongs

June 20, 2016 - 11:34am
It’s summer, and time to bring out the “thongs.” Not the underwear. The shoe. (OK, maybe the underwear, too.) What, you don’t know what “thongs” are? Maybe you call them “flip-flops,” though that term has been co-opted by politicians accusing one another of changing positions. On their excellent Grammarphobia blog, Pat O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman wrote what may be the...

This week, Trump media coverage took an important turn

June 17, 2016 - 3:47pm
Donald Trump and the political media have become this election season’s odd couple. So it’s fitting that this week, which saw the one-year anniversary of Trump’s descent by escalator into the presidential campaign, has been something of a best-hits celebration of the relationship. Journalists took familiar battle stations after Trump’s self-congratulatory and conspiracy-riddled response to a terrorist attack on a...

Local news isn't dead. We just need to stop killing it.

June 17, 2016 - 12:44pm
For more than 20 years, local news organizations around the globe have been trying to make a go of it in the new digital economy. And most, as we read day after day, are still struggling. Layoffs are constant, bankruptcies common, and storied local brands face uncertain futures. This has fueled low morale and heightened cynicism in many local newsrooms....

Is Trump's penchant for press bans trickling down to local pols?

June 17, 2016 - 12:38pm
What motivates a politician to freeze out the press? In Harrisburg, the poverty-stricken capital of Pennsylvania, Mayor Eric Papenfuse has barred his spokeswoman from speaking with reporters for PennLive, the area’s largest news outlet, and banned PennLive reporters from attending his weekly media briefings. The mayor says he’s taking a stand against a news outlet that has become an “illegitimate...

Additional research on branding and trust

June 17, 2016 - 6:50am
The following studies were reviewed for CJR's experiment on magazine branding and trust online. Those marked with * are directly referenced in the text.  *Austin E, Dong Q (1994) Source v. content effects on judgments of news believability. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 71:4 973-983. *Blackwell CJ (2011) Protecting the magazine brand: brand manuals, their uses, and implementation. The University...

Why we trust, and why that’s changing online

June 17, 2016 - 6:50am
rint anachronisms had DJ Khaled ranting recently. The record producer is one of the most-followed people on Snapchat, in part for his superhuman good cheer. But in an interview last fall with SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning, Khaled was fuming about magazines being so out of touch as to leave him off their covers. “Some of these people that run...

A photojournalist tells the stories of Chicago police torture victims

June 16, 2016 - 3:54pm
Chicago photojournalist Amanda Rivkin is blunt. The men she is photographing were “kidnapped” by municipal police officers and “tortured." “You’re at the corner store. Driven to a rail yard. Your testicles are electrocuted," she says. "This is kidnapping. This is not a normal arrest procedure.” The events she describes didn’t happen in Azerbaijan or Bosnia or even Turkey, places where...

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