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Encouraging excellence in journalism
Updated: 20 hours 51 min ago

Rewriting the rules: The new voice of journalism

July 24, 2015 - 1:51pm
As the head of the International Center for Journalists, I constantly try to assess the future of our field. The technology is evolving at a dizzying rate, transforming everything about our profession. I now own an Apple Watch, so I can talk from experience about "glance journalism" and "snackables," bite-sized pieces of information that appear regularly on my wrist. But what...

This reporter stayed in the newsroom for 66 years because he couldn't imagine doing anything else

July 24, 2015 - 6:50am
Bob Fallstrom believed unapologetically in good news. He spent more than half of his 66 years at the Decatur Herald & Review in Central Illinois writing about high school show choirs, employees of the year and school spelling bees. The 88-year-old Fallstrom, who died July 9 about two weeks after he was laid off as the paper's community news editor,...

What's at risk with digital town halls?

July 23, 2015 - 3:48pm
Hillary Clinton’s question-and-answer session on Facebook this week received ample press, both positive (she’s communicating directly with voters!) and negative (this is about show, not substance). The coverage echoes sentiments that have circulated since digital town halls started becoming an expected part of political campaigns. But because Clinton has kept her distance from reporters--who’ve been gnawing at the bit to...

Next time, use a different quote

July 23, 2015 - 12:35pm
From the   From our archives, 33 years ago this month.   Have a headline you want to share? Snap a photo and email it to or tweet it to us @CJR.

Dallas Morning News editor: 'We are all salespeople now'

July 23, 2015 - 6:50am
Late last year, Mike Wilson became the first person in 35 years from outside the offices of The Dallas Morning News to be named the paper’s top editor. The man he replaced, Bob Mong, joined the News in 1979, held the top job since 2001, and led his newsroom to nine Pulitzer Prizes. On February 16, Mong became editor emeritus...

Why aren’t there more minority journalists?

July 22, 2015 - 2:56pm
In the span of two years, mounting civil unrest concerning unequal treatment of minorities led to large protests in three cities that generated national media coverage. It wasn’t Ferguson, New York City, and Baltimore—it was Los Angeles, Chicago, and Newark in the mid-1960s. In 1967, Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to answer three questions...

Charleston's rival newspapers just merged. Is two-paper Detroit next?

July 22, 2015 - 2:40pm
DETROIT, MI — The sudden merger this week of two newspapers in Charleston, West Virginia, was big media news in that city. It also resonated here in Detroit, more than 350 miles away, for one major reason: The Motor City is one of the few two-paper towns left in the US, and that small group is now even smaller. As...

Shades of suffrage: -ette vs. -ist

July 22, 2015 - 10:54am
In Suffragette, a movie due out in October, Meryl Streep portrays Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the early 20th-century British movement that helped get women the vote. In a discussion of the movie on a women’s group forum, one member objected to the term “suffragette”: The “-ette” suffix is a diminutive, the member argued, meaning it conveys the idea of...

How ICIJ established a new model for cross-border reporting

July 21, 2015 - 12:33pm
In the fall of 1998, powerhouse journalists from a few dozen countries met for the first time in a small room at Harvard University. Most were accustomed to working on their own projects, in their own newsrooms and nations. They had been brought there by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)--at the time just a fledgling offshoot of the...

Being a good journalist means learning how to keep a secret

July 20, 2015 - 6:50am
The role of journalists is to make information public. The irony is that in order to do so, they need to keep lots of things secrets. They do that in all sorts of ways. Sometimes journalists promise anonymity in order to get officials to divulge what they're not supposed to reveal. Sometimes they cloak the exchange of sensitive documents. Sometimes...

Why the Laura Poitras case is bigger than you think

July 17, 2015 - 2:36pm
When the documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras filed a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against three US government agencies this week, most media outlets ran stories on the details that built her argument, overlooking the issue of public records. After all, who could resist the story of a bitter and burned federal government hounding a journalist who appeared...

Why things could get even worse for reporters in Egypt

July 17, 2015 - 9:54am
A request at the Egyptian Government Press Office for some long-sought-after piece of documentation normally results in someone pulling out a stack of papers or going to a cupboard stuffed with folders. But my request to find the people working for FactCheckEgypt was met with confusion: What, I was asked, is FactCheckEgypt? My effort to track down the FactCheckEgypt office...

Unfortunate photo placement

July 17, 2015 - 6:50am
Now that our department Lower case is a regular feature online, we decided to take a look back at some classic headlines from our print archive. This one, from the 1982 Wimbledon Championships, is stirring: The Post-Journal (Jamestown, N.Y.) Have a headline you want to share? Snap a photo and email it to or tweet it to us at@CJR.

"The police are out to get us": Spain's border journalists face growing hazards

July 16, 2015 - 10:22am
Ángela Ríos often wakes to the sound of military helicopters circling: It's five in the morning and the sirens on the border fence are screaming to announce another wave of migrants, as they attempt to climb into Melilla, one of Spain’s two enclave cities on the Moroccan coast. More than 20,000 people tried to make it over this border last...

How university foundations try to avoid public scrutiny—and what reporters can do

July 16, 2015 - 2:20am
In 2012, College of DuPage President Robert Breuder paid $185 to taxidermize a cock pheasant. He gave the bird, mounted on an oak stand, to an upscale campus restaurant, where it serves as a decorative piece. A year later, Breuder bought a black-powder rifle as a gift for the outgoing president of the college’s foundation board. The rifle and its...

Colorado loses another top political reporter— this time to PR

July 15, 2015 - 4:45pm
The congratulations from fellow journalists in Colorado started sadly marching down my Twitter feed like a funeral procession sometime before noon Mountain Time. Lynn Bartels, a legendary political reporter for 16 years at the Rocky Mountain News and six at The Denver Post, had taken a buyout. She'll be the new communications director for Colorado's Republican secretary of state. She's...

One of the best baseball reporters reflects on how coverage has changed

July 15, 2015 - 6:50am
DETROIT, MI—Tom Gage is a Detroit baseball writer who will be inducted this month into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the 2015 Spink Award winner, the highest honor in the field. (The New Yorker’s Roger Angell won last year.) Gage is due to give a speech this month during the lavish induction weekend in Cooperstown, New York. Trouble is?...

A lesson on portmanteaus

July 14, 2015 - 10:50am
A letter to a newspaper about a lowering of local speed limits said that “The ‘car-maggedon’ the DOT scared us with didn’t happen.” In an article on fuel efficiency, Consumer Reports advised how to “identify cars most likely to survive until oil-maggedon or some other apocalyptic event causing the world as we know it to go catawampus.” And a New York Times critic, discussing the state...

Four tips on long-distance managing

July 14, 2015 - 6:50am
Liz: There are a lot of major news stories unfolding around the world. The Greek debt crisis, the growing threat of ISIS, the escalating war in Iraq. Many of the news organizations covering these stories have multiple reporters in the field and probably no onsite editors. A similar scenario plays out domestically when big stories break far from the newsroom....

Meet the photographer who captured the Confederate flag’s removal

July 13, 2015 - 2:23pm
The eyes of the nation have been on South Carolina over the last few weeks, after nine parishioners were murdered in a historic black church in Charleston. Three weeks later, on July 10, the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the capitol building. By the end of the day, the only remnant of the flag was a round...