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Student journalists especially vulnerable to Trump’s press-as-enemy rhetoric

January 23, 2017 - 10:15am
If Trump were elected, what could he do to change US media law and/or restrict journalism practice? That was the question I sought to answer in an October CJR piece. I recounted the former reality TV star’s numerous threats to sue the press: The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, The New York Times, The Associated Press, and so on. I...

Don't let Trump get away with 'alternative facts'

January 23, 2017 - 3:59am
Call them what you will—whoppers, untruths, lies—but casual falsehoods have been the hallmark of President Donald Trump’s young political career. The latest example came on Saturday, when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer berated journalists for “deliberately false reporting” on the underwhelming attendance for Trump’s inauguration. Spicer’s error-ridden diatribe—on his first day in the taxpayer-funded job—came after hundreds of thousands...

Journalists offer early insights on covering President Trump

January 20, 2017 - 11:42am
Media thought-leaders and front-line journalists continue to prepare for challenges that lie ahead under the new Trump administration. We picked up five key pieces of insight on facing those challenges at a post-election symposium on tech, politics, and the media this week sponsored by The Knight Foundation and Civic Hall, an organization devoted to increasing civic engagement through new technologies....

'Women who want equality aren’t biased. They are fair.’

January 20, 2017 - 5:50am
This week, countless American journalists have been weighing the costs of joining the Women’s March in Washington, DC, or one of the many sister demonstrations being held on January 21. Staffers coast to coast, from The San Francisco Chronicle to The New York Times, have received specific edicts against attending. Others likely know the tried-and-true rule, handed down from standard-setting...

Trump’s hostile takeover of the American brand

January 19, 2017 - 2:56pm
Since the election I have heard a network anchor and a Times correspondent speak independently of an ongoing “soul-searching” process at their organizations and give exactly the same examples of what the media “got wrong.” Two things: (1) overestimating the polls and (2) neglecting the angry white working class out there in a rusty heartland that might as well exist...

The coming storm for journalism under Trump

January 19, 2017 - 10:10am
or a president who became synonymous with the abuse of executive power, Richard Nixon’s public exchanges with adversarial reporters seem quaint by today’s standards. Take Nixon’s March 1974 news conference in Houston, hosted before a convention for the National Association of Broadcasters. A young, sideburned Dan Rather introduced himself to a mix of cheers and jeers from the crowd, and...

Chelsea Manning commutation won’t save Obama’s transparency legacy

January 18, 2017 - 3:32pm
Transparency has long been a part of Barack Obama’s political identity. He talked about it on the campaign trail in 2007. He talked about it on his first full day as president. He talked about it in his 2015 State of the Union. He even mentioned it in last week’s farewell address. But many of the reporters who covered the...

Disinformation with a Silicon Valley ethos

January 18, 2017 - 12:00pm
et aside for a moment concerns that the Russians are undermining our democracy, and let’s pause to admire their handiwork. Seen through a Silicon Valley optic, they are remarkable media innovators. They’ve disrupted the tech sector so thoroughly that even Facebook and Google are scrambling. You can picture the approving nods they would get in West Coast boardrooms as they...

Putin's throwback propaganda playbook

January 18, 2017 - 12:00pm
ussian President Vladimir Putin had dreamed of becoming an intelligence agent ever since high school. “What amazed me most was how one man’s effort could achieve what whole armies could not,” the former KGB agent later recalled. “One spy could decide the fate of thousands of people.” Putin’s prophetic words weren’t uttered during the Cold War, when the US and...

CJR, Texas Tribune dig into coverage of education equality

January 17, 2017 - 1:26pm
The Columbia Journalism Review and the Texas Tribune convened a group of readers to look at how education equality is covered in Texas. The lunchtime forum in Austin--which included professors, education nonprofit leaders, a high-school guidance counselor, and two members of the Texas House of Representatives--met in a “book club for news” organized by the Texas Tribune and CJR. Tribune...

An open letter to Trump from the US press corps

January 17, 2017 - 11:40am
Dear Mr. President Elect: In these final days before your inauguration, we thought it might be helpful to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps. It will come as no surprise to you that we see the relationship as strained. Reports over the last few days that your press secretary is considering pulling...

The dossiers you don't know about

January 17, 2017 - 10:00am
Let’s assume your doctor has not gone totally electronic. If you walked into the doctor’s office and, behind the receptionist, saw a cabinet containing rows and rows of fat manila folders, each with some letters or numbers on the spine, you would probably think of it as a “filing cabinet,” or as shelves filled with “files.” When you went into...

Reporters flocked to a campus controversy but missed its surprising conclusion

January 17, 2017 - 5:50am
A column criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement nearly sank The Wesleyan Argus, the nation’s oldest twice-weekly college newspaper, in September 2015. The ensuing backlash and national media attention made the small, private Wesleyan University a poster child for a recurring debate over the First Amendment on campus. More than a year later, it’s almost as if the controversy never...

Rethinking the right to reply

January 16, 2017 - 5:50am
In March 2015, El Faro, the El Salvador-based online magazine, published a detailed investigation of a massacre that took place in the village of Santa Cruz in 1981, at the height of the country’s civil war. The El Faro report, based on research carried out by the University of Washington, directly implicated retired General Sigifredo Ochoa Pérez, then a member...

Podcast: The ethics of BuzzFeed's decision to publish Trump-Russia memos

January 13, 2017 - 2:42pm
Did BuzzFeed make the right call by publishing unverified memos detailing Russian efforts to compromise Donald Trump? How is The Undefeated, a new publication by ESPN, tackling this moment in race and politics? What did Trump's first press conference as president-elect tell us about how he'll treat the media going forward? We discuss that and more this week on The...

Q&A: Former Obama staffers launch Crooked Media

January 13, 2017 - 1:03pm
During the 2016 campaign, a trio of former Obama staffers, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor, mixed insider knowledge, humor, and open partisanship on the Keepin’ it 1600 podcast, which drew as many as 400,000 listeners per episode under the umbrella of Bill Simmons’ website, The Ringer. In the weeks and months leading up to the election, they provided...

Chicago TV journalists finally get their first—and last—interviews with Obama

January 13, 2017 - 9:40am
For the eight years he was in office, President Barack Obama snubbed the Chicago press corps, ignoring repeated interview requests from local reporters in his adopted hometown. Then—days before he returned this week to deliver a farewell address to 18,000 people at the McCormick Place Convention Center on Tuesday—the White House invited five Chicago TV journalists to Washington and offered...

In the story of Trump, there is no story

January 13, 2017 - 5:50am
ournalists are masters of narrative. The language of journalism reflects this: You have to get the "story"; the "story" will run on the front page; don't get behind the "story." The very idea and promise of America is one great saga of humble beginnings, hard work, redemption and reward. This is why Hollywood plots still bear the influence of Joseph...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

January 12, 2017 - 9:58am
We're back at it again! In this week's Lower Case... Canton Rep, 1/5/17 .@bsudailynews circa 1985 made it onto the newseum's bad headline bathroom wall— Kara Berg (@karaberg95) December 20, 2016 From The (Santa Fe) New Mexican, 6/14/81 Want to see more regrettable headlines? Check out the Lower Case archives.

PEOTUS Trump’s first presser was a PR stunt, because of course

January 11, 2017 - 4:55pm
When Donald Trump emerged from gold-plated elevator doors into a Trump Tower lobby Wednesday morning, so many of the journalists arrayed before him thrust their smartphones upward that us poor souls in the back could hardly catch a real-life glimpse. The content gods require constant offerings, after all, and even grainy iPhone pics will temporarily suffice. Likewise, when the mercurial...