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Must-reads of the week

November 21, 2014 - 1:45pm
Culled from CJR’s own stories, plus the frequently updated “Must-reads from around the Web,” our staff recommendations for the best pieces of journalism (and other miscellany) on the internet, here are your can’t-miss must-reads of the past week: Virtual reality is journalism’s next frontier (CJR) - Why newsrooms need to consider telling stories in a different way. Jack Shafer on...

The Boston Globe finally digs in to a big story

November 21, 2014 - 11:16am
The Boston Globe has, at last, dug into the big business-of-healthcare story in its state. In an important article earlier this month, the paper did a fine job probing deeply into the deal between Partners HealthCare and Attorney General Martha Coakley and unpacking an agreement that allowed Partners, the state’s giant hospital system, to acquire three community hospitals in Eastern...

My take: The end of an era in Tampa

November 21, 2014 - 9:55am
MIAMI — The sad news out of Tampa just keeps trickling across my Facebook page. This week it was the fact that Tampa Bay Times’ Bill Duryea and Michael Kruse were leaving for Politico. Last week, it was long-time sports columnist Gary Shelton penning his last goodbye to the Times while the crosstown Tampa Tribune laid off a political columnist,...

Engaging News Project works to identify audience behavior

November 21, 2014 - 5:50am
Industry conversation over the best ways to quantify reader engagement on news sites may be reaching fever pitch, with a possible shift afoot from clicks and pageviews to more complex measures of time and attention spent online. News organizations are interested, presumably, in gathering metrics to see whether their stories are reaching intended audiences, as well as who is reading...

A timeline of the #pointergate TV station's defense (Updated)

November 21, 2014 - 5:50am
You’ve heard all about #pointergate. And you’ve probably read or watched a few of the many, many, many pieces exploring what was wrong with a Nov. 6 local TV news segment that reported the mayor of Minneapolis had been photographed “flashing a known gang sign” with a convicted felon, and supposedly endangering her community in the process. So at this...

The press is responsible for ignoring Bill Cosby rape allegations

November 20, 2014 - 3:10pm
Photo credit: Associated Press It is a remarkable thing to see: The collapsing reputation of a star who has been part of American life for more than half a century. A month ago, Bill Cosby was a comedic and sociological icon; now his career is in shambles. A Netflix special on him will not be shown; NBC won't move...

Texas reporters fight for access to fracking facts

November 20, 2014 - 1:50pm
AUSTIN -- Earlier this month, the residents of Denton, Texas--located on one of the country's largest natural gas reserves and home to some 275 gas wells--voted to ban fracking. The ban was a first for a city in Texas, where fracking has enabled an oil and gas boom; the state now accounts for one-third of the United States' natural gas...

Approach ISIS tweets with caution

November 20, 2014 - 10:45am
CAIRO--When it seized huge parts of Syria and Iraq this year, the self-proclaimed Islamic State--and the geopolitical chaos surrounding it--became one of the biggest news stories on the planet. But journalists have little means of directly reporting on the group, its activities on the ground, or the havoc it has sown in the region. A physical meeting with the group's...

Mathias Döpfner, digital counterrevolutionary

November 20, 2014 - 5:50am
The digital counterrevolution is underway in Europe, where national governments and bureaucrats in Brussels are enacting measures to curtail the power of American tech giants, such as the controversial "right to be forgotten," and challenging the fairness of Google's search-engine criteria. In May 2014, a coalition of European telecoms, media companies, and other businesses formed an anti-Google lobbying group called...

Serial creators don't know what will happen to Adnan Syed

November 19, 2014 - 2:00pm
This American Life's popular Serial podcast bills itself as "one story, told week-by-week." For the uninitiated, it's the story of a reporter investigating the case of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. The host, Sarah Koenig, is still reporting, and she insists that she's not much further ahead than her listeners. The...

Virtual reality is journalism's next frontier

November 19, 2014 - 11:00am
Gannett Digital/Des Moines Register Virtual reality is ascendant, and it's time for media outlets to take notice. Why? Consumer access to VR devices is about to take off thanks to ambitious prototypes from Oculus Rift and, in the past year, several major projects have redefined immersion journalism. In September, The Des Moines Register released Harvest of Change, a detailed...

How two Florida reporters 'watchdogged' misuse of the state's open-records law

November 19, 2014 - 9:53am
I teach journalism and media law courses at the University of Kansas, and part of my job is to help students think critically and creatively about the legal problems that mass communicators most often face. We read stories and cases to illustrate abstract concepts, and in that regard I’m now indebted to the Citizens Awareness Foundation (CAF)—which has, reportedly, contributed...

Why Wyoming's press association is worried about a state privacy amendment

November 18, 2014 - 1:50pm
The nation's least populous state may become the next battleground pitting a citizen's right to privacy against the public right to access information. At issue is a debate over whether to amend the Wyoming state constitution. The new language would provide that “the right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be...

Journalism has a plagiarism problem. But it's not the one you'd expect

November 18, 2014 - 9:55am
Some of Fareed Zakaria’s past and present publications are finally facing the music, even though they won’t acknowledge what it sounds like. Plagiarism accusations have dogged the CNN host and Washington Post columnist for years, though the drumbeat has crescendoed in recent months. Corrections and apologies have been added to a wide array of his previous work. But Zakaria...

Will radio save science journalism?

November 18, 2014 - 5:50am
In hiring a brand-new health journalism staff, WNYC may be one of the only news outlets in the country that is actually expanding its physical offices to accommodate more reporting muscle. The flagship station from New York Public Radio is building out a new health unit to house four reporters, an editor, a community projects manager, and the managing editor...

The role of 'in' vs. 'on' for a popular phrase

November 17, 2014 - 1:50pm
Did you know that there's a difference between acting "on behalf of" something and "in behalf of" something? Didn't think so. But you're in good company if you don't think there really is a difference. For some people, "on behalf of" means you are acting as the agent or representative of something: "On behalf of the mayor, let me welcome...

What it's like to be a polygamy beat reporter

November 17, 2014 - 10:10am
Last Tuesday, The New York Times’ frontpage headline read “It’s Official: Mormon Founder Had Many Wives.” That Joseph Smith married as many as 40 women—one of them 14 years old, and others already married to his followers—was a rare story for national news. But it was just another day on the job Nate Carlisle, perhaps the nation’s only polygamy beat...

Connecting dissidents and journalists

November 17, 2014 - 9:00am
One of the greatest obstacles to understanding authoritarian societies is that the dissidents within them have few outlets through which to describe their lives, argue their opinions, and refute official propaganda. The people behind the website Movements.org hope to help change that status quo, using the principles of crowdsourcing to help activists connect with journalists and editors who can tell...

Reporters shouldn't overlook this aspect of Obamacare

November 14, 2014 - 2:12pm
As healthcare reporters begin to focus on Obamacare open enrollment, one major, but overlooked issue comes to mind. That's the messy business of reconciling at tax time what the government paid in health insurance subsidies--based on projected income for the year--with what consumers were actually entitled to. Poor understanding of this aspect of the law may lead to nasty surprises...

The Virginian-Pilot produces a breakthrough investigation amid layoffs

November 14, 2014 - 1:51pm
Last month, The Virginian-Pilot announced it was laying off 32 employees, knocking its newsroom back by about a quarter. The cuts would be the deepest the paper has suffered since 2008 and will leave the newsroom “at less than half of its size in 2007,” when it had almost 250 staffers. So it's been a bittersweet time at the 140-year-old paper in...

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