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Attempting to fill a local news void, ProPublica launches Illinois unit

December 8, 2016 - 4:26pm
In the nine years since its founding, ProPublica has established a sterling reputation and racked up awards for its deeply-reported investigative pieces. Yesterday, the nonprofit newsroom announced the next phase in its evolution: the upcoming launch of an Illinois unit, focusing on stories in Chicago and around the state. As local and regional newspapers have grappled with the collapse of...

Podcast: Michael Rosenwald on the enduring primacy of print

December 8, 2016 - 4:13pm
Should mainstream journalists be engaging more with the right-wing press? Was print media too quick to jump on the digital bandwagon? Why do foreign news outlets seem to be getting all the scoops about the Trump transition? We discuss all that and more on The Kicker, this week guest hosted by CJR Managing Editor Vanessa Gezari. Vanessa is joined by...

Washington Post fake news story blurs the definition of fake news

December 8, 2016 - 3:08pm
The Washington Post’s November 24 report checked all the boxes: “The flood of ‘fake news’ this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign,” it began. Not only had American voters been influenced by a deliberate misinformation operation, the story suggested, but the Kremlin was largely to blame. Journalists and Democrats still searching for answers after Donald Trump’s...

Who Works Where

December 8, 2016 - 3:05pm
he post-election media merry-go-round is upon us. Every four years, as outlets take stock of their newsrooms and draft their strategies for covering the new administration, they also cast a wandering eye around the industry, snapping up talents who have distinguished themselves over the course of the campaign. Breakout stars like Sopan Deb and Salena Zito have already been tapped,...

Teaching journalism after election a tricky endeavor

December 8, 2016 - 11:06am
Amanda Bright looked around her classroom of journalism students at Eastern Illinois University the morning after the presidential election. The 15 men and women had been up much of the night and were exhausted, unusually quiet. Like journalism students across the country who had been closely following the race, students in Bright’s newswriting class were not only stunned by Donald...

Where the digital dollars have gone

December 7, 2016 - 12:55pm
nnovation comes in many forms. Popular imagination often bends toward the idea of isolated genius: Thomas Edison toiling away at Menlo Park, discovering 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb; Steve Jobs sketching the smooth contours of the iPod. For many of today’s media leaders, innovation means looking beyond the horizons of their internal headquarters. From virtual reality to...

Documentary filmmakers fear more legal challenges in Trump era

December 7, 2016 - 10:38am
A few days after Donald Trump was elected president, a respected documentary film director met with a roomful of potential backers and distributors in New York City. The director was making a film about questionable contributions to Republican political campaigns, a hot topic given the election. The men and women in the room were riveted by the stirring trailer that...

Reporting and punditry that escaped infamy

December 7, 2016 - 5:50am
Nobody knew anything at first. The attack happened far out in the Pacific, on a small remote island. And the long shadow of time has erased much collective memory about the first few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 75 years ago today on December 7, 1941. For the American media, that’s a good thing. With very limited access...

The revenge of the real

December 6, 2016 - 11:20am
ust as digital didn't eradicate print, it also failed to kill a lot of other things that were supposed to be obsolete. Here are a few other areas where the world of real things is showing renewed life.   The poster child of analog’s recent revenge is also its most improbable. Since its peak as a format for recorded music...

Print is dead. Long live print.

December 6, 2016 - 11:20am
Roger Fidler is a forefather of digital journalism. In the early 1980s, he wrote and illustrated an essay on the future of news. When Fidler presented his ideas around Knight Ridder, his co-workers sometimes laughed. “It was not quite like Roger had descended from another planet,” a colleague of his once told me, “but he was saying some things that...

Subscription surges and record audiences follow Trump’s election

December 6, 2016 - 10:37am
When CBS Chairman Les Moonves said in February that the Donald Trump phenomenon “may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS,” he likely didn’t imagine his comment would apply to the entire news industry come December. While many in the media have expressed concerns over the impact a Trump administration could have on press freedoms, the...

In a time of many questions, literary journalism provides an answer

December 5, 2016 - 3:46pm
f ever there was a time for the speculations, generalizations, and associative leaps of literary journalism, it is now, in this unimaginable moment that has become our everyday reality. Where the hard facts of reportorial and investigative journalism end, and where the fact-based judgments of opinion journalism reach their boundary, literary journalism--the rational application of the imagination to facts and...

Quiz: Do you know your political labels?

December 5, 2016 - 1:14pm
Much has been written about the alt-right movement and what it stands for. Bottom line, it’s a label for a range of people whose beliefs fall to the far right of the political spectrum, with an emphasis on white nationalism or racism. As is true of all labels, its meaning is refracted by the eye of the beholder. But it’s...

A simple step to make news sites more secure

December 5, 2016 - 12:25pm
While media organizations have spent the post-election period highlighting the perils of fake news on social media, few seem to recognize the risk of fake news appearing where they might least be looking for it: their own websites.  The vast majority of mainstream news organizations still publish to HTTP domains, making it impossible to guarantee either their readers’ privacy or...

A chain of small newspapers hits on a formula for growth

December 5, 2016 - 9:55am
Second-generation newsman Joe Smyth quietly did something extraordinary 25 years ago--he essentially gave away his family’s chain of small community newspapers. Smyth, now 75, tells CJR he was trying to protect the newspapers from the prevailing winds of large corporate ownership--as well as from the future decisions of his six children. So he set up a nonprofit to own the...

Letters from our readers

December 2, 2016 - 3:42pm
Here are a selection of letters and emails we’ve received since mid-November. Please send correspondence to, along with your name, address, and any relevant affiliation.     TRUMP VS. THE PRESS “Covering Trump: An oral history of an unforgettable campaign” The oral history project is simply brilliant. Have you considered adding visual tools like this timeline? It could be...

The view from Hollywood

December 2, 2016 - 12:51pm
In The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm writes of her excitement at the admittedly tricky prospect of interviewing a fellow tribesman: “[Joe] McGinniss and I would be less like experimenter and subject than like two experimenters strolling home from the lab together after a day’s work, companionably thrashing out the problems of the profession. The tape recorder would preserve...

Q&A: NPR Morning Edition host Rachel Martin on connecting with listeners

December 2, 2016 - 12:07pm
On Monday, listeners to NPR’s flagship morning news show Morning Edition will hear a new voice anchoring the broadcaster’s coverage. Rachel Martin, an award-winning reporter who has been hosting Weekend Edition Sunday for the past four years, will join Steve Inskeep and David Greene in leading the daily program. Martin has reported on US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the...

Paper makes audacious decision to highlight silent epidemic

December 2, 2016 - 11:10am
The Palm Beach Post made the bold decision to profile all 216 people who died of an opioid overdose in its coverage area last year, risking the wrath of victims’ families, some of whom were horrified to have their private pain publicized. The stark display of photos of each of the dead, accompanied by brief profiles, effectively served The Post’s...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

December 1, 2016 - 1:59pm
In this week's Lower case, some favorites from the archives ... Tarrytown Daily News, 8/16/75 (NY) Daily News, 1/21/76   The Sacramento Union, 4/24/84 Have a headline you want to share? Snap a photo and email it to or tweet it to us @CJR.