Columbia Journalism Review

Subscribe to Columbia Journalism Review feed Columbia Journalism Review
Updated: 15 hours 43 min ago

South Carolina's top daily buys an alt-weekly in the state capital

May 3, 2016 - 12:15pm
Another alternative weekly has been purchased by a big daily, continuing a trend in recent years that has seen alts come under the arm of nearby mainstream newspapers. In 2012, the parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times bought the Reader, the city’s leading alt-weekly. In 2014, the same thing happened in Baltimore. This time, the acquisition takes place in South...

A better way to report on sexual assault

May 3, 2016 - 9:36am
Too much conviction can be a dangerous thing. It certainly was for Marine Major Mark Thompson, who had a friend approach The Washington Post on his behalf, in late 2014, about Thompson’s story of how he had been wrongly accused of sexual misconduct while teaching at the US Naval Academy. Thompson claimed the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had failed him;...

'Miami is the best news town': A photojournalist reflects on a 40-year career

May 2, 2016 - 4:57pm
Over a 40-year career at The Miami Herald, Tim Chapman covered more than 50 hurricanes, rolled up on thousands of crime scenes and parachuted, figuratively speaking, into wars and coups around the region—though those who know him wouldn’t be surprised if he jumped out of a plane to get a photo. His images recorded the best and the very worst...

He and him

May 2, 2016 - 11:16am
The television anchor told a heartwarming story of a disabled young man taken to his high school prom by 37 dates. “It was a memorable day for he and his classmates,” the anchor concluded. That’s a common error that occurs in writing more than it does in speech. As we frequently say, pronouns can be difficult. As we did previously...

The backstory of Gannett's bid to buy Tribune

April 29, 2016 - 3:27pm
This week’s announcement that Gannett is seeking to purchase Tribune Publishing seems, at first glance, to encapsulate the plight of the newspaper industry in the wake of the internet. The size of the proposed merger might be surprising--it would leave Gannett with a circulation of 62 million--but its logic feels inevitable. As the newspaper industry has been buffeted by the...

In Chicago, two brothers are using Instagram to engage new audiences for investigative reporting

April 29, 2016 - 11:09am
In early 2015, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, a freelance investigative journalist, published a story in The Chicago Reporter about a reverse mortgage scheme that targeted elderly African-Americans on Chicago’s south and west sides. More than 1,700 words, and accompanied by a trove of court documents, the article detailed the legal fight to protect homeowners. Then Lowenstein and his brother, the photographer...

How one woman's 'hyperlocal C-Span' brings transparency to politics in Georgia

April 28, 2016 - 4:27pm
Nydia Tisdale, Georgia’s most notorious citizen journalist, crisscrosses the state with a cardboard box containing little red and blue books in the back of her 2003 Honda CRV. The red one is Georgia’s Sunshine Laws; the blue one is Georgia Law Enforcement and the Open Records Act. Tisdale hands them out, with the earnest enthusiasm of a Jehovah’s Witness distributing...

Exporting Ira Glass-style podcasts to post-Soviet nations

April 28, 2016 - 4:08pm
Taxi Taxi is like This American Life for the South Caucasus set, only without the three-act structure, episode themes, or, of course, Ira Glass. But the two podcasts share a style of storytelling that is rooted in place. In the first few episodes of Taxi Taxi, a Georgian country singer croons in a Nashville accent even though he’s never been...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

April 27, 2016 - 3:34pm
In this week's Lower case ...   Submitted by Richard DettmanBusiness Editor, CKWX News 1130Vancouver, BC, Canada  

Newsweek Middle East aims to be the insiders’ voice

April 27, 2016 - 6:50am
It’s been just five months since Newsweek’s Middle East edition launched, but Deputy Editor Habiba Hamid can already reel off a list of favorite features. From a profile of the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood to a look at religious influences in Jordan’s school curriculum, the newsroom, as she says, is “pulling no punches.” Some 40 writers who are new to Newsweek...

Will readers pay for local news? A digital startup in Tulsa bets that they will

April 26, 2016 - 2:43pm
About 500 subscribers over the course of eight months: If your reference point is Facebook-fueled pageviews, or even a typical newspaper’s print circulation, it might not sound like a lot. But for the leaders of The Frontier, an investigative journalism startup in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that number is reason for encouragement—a sign that some people will spend real money on local...

'Gossip,' and other words repurposed by Shakespeare

April 26, 2016 - 6:50am
We’ve just missed the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the 452nd anniversary of his birth, but it’s never too late to talk about the Bard. His words are the gifts that keep on gifting. Last week, we talked about how Lewis Carroll was so fond of making up words. Shakespeare was no laggard in that department: He is credited...

Crain's offers a strong look at the fall of an 'Obamacare darling'

April 25, 2016 - 2:58pm
The failure of health insurance “co-ops” around the country has become one of the saddest stories of Obamacare—and for a long time, it wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. But we’re finally seeing signs that the business press, at least, is digging in.  Last November, Adam Cancryn of SNL Financial offered a stellar look at why the co-op experiment has...

For enthusiast media, ethics can be costly

April 25, 2016 - 12:13pm
Last month VeloNews, a bicycling magazine, obtained the specifications of a highly anticipated new product by bike parts manufacturer Shimano and called the company for comment. Shimano’s rep told VeloNews Editor in Chief John Bradley to kill the story about the secret product. If he didn’t, Shimano would cancel the rest of its 2016 advertising with VeloNews. Bradley stood his...

The Center for Investigative Reporting bets it can change audio journalism—and itself

April 25, 2016 - 6:50am
In 2014, The Center for Investigative Reporting found itself at a crossroads: Cut much of its staff or create a full-time radio show. That was the choice then-editorial director Mark Katches says the organization faced. “The burn rate can be a pretty scary thing to witness when there is very little revenue coming in to cover your costs,” he adds....

Admit it: You used to be that ‘Guy at your J-school’

April 22, 2016 - 1:27pm
Maybe he’s the ego-buster journalism students need. About a month ago, a parody account called “Guy at your J-school” began tweeting insights into life, with posts that range from delusional to chokingly smug. No doubt, “Guy at your J-school” hits notes that can make any jaded reporter sneer. The caricature might even cause some to reflect on their own rosy...

Is social media the newest front in Uganda’s war with the press?

April 22, 2016 - 12:49pm
KAMPALA, Uganda--The night before Uganda’s February 18 presidential vote, David Tumusiime went to bed with a firm plan in place for the next day’s coverage. The website editor for Uganda Radio Network (URN), a syndicate of more than 20 correspondents spread across the East African country, Tumusiime had set up a WhatsApp group to collect video clips and audio reports...

Drones can photograph almost anything. But should they?

April 21, 2016 - 2:00pm
Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu in the South Pacific in March 2015, destroying or damaging 17,000 buildings and displacing 65,000 people from their homes. Shortly after the storm, humanitarian first responders and journalists began flying drones over the affected area to document the devastation. Drones have become an increasingly important tool for quick, comprehensive damage assessment after natural disasters, but...

Survey: Editors see media losing ground as legal advocate for 1st Amendment

April 21, 2016 - 9:54am
Editors around the country are losing confidence in the news industry’s ability to fulfill its role as a First Amendment champion, and they believe that shrinking resources are to blame, according to a report released this morning by the Knight Foundation in partnership with the American Society of News Editors, Associated Press Media Editors, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

April 20, 2016 - 1:12pm
In this week's Lower case ...   Chester County, Pa., Daily Local News, 1/9/85   Toronto Star, 7/31/82   The Sacramento Union, 4/24/84   New Orleans Times-Picayune, 5/22/83