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Updated: 13 hours 12 min ago

At one Virginia paper, coders and reporters unite to make sense of government data

May 26, 2015 - 3:00pm
These days, Wednesday evenings in the Daily Press newsroom in Newport News, VA, mean pizza. And data. Lots and lots of data. The paper, which recently moved from a 1960s building to new downtown digs, has been opening its office up for monthly meetings of the local chapter of Code for America, a national nonprofit that builds open-source technology designed...

Not all conjunctions are created equal

May 26, 2015 - 1:46pm
Multiple people have written multiple times to dispel the myth that sentences cannot begin with conjunctions. We’ve tried to dispel it, too. That creates situations like the one where a student turned in a paper with this The landlord refused to respond to inquiries. Because he said he needed to talk to his lawyer. When told the phrase beginning with...

What to expect from Sports Illustrated’s new media podcast

May 26, 2015 - 10:57am
Sports Illustrated is expected to launch close to a dozen new podcasts over the next couple of months. While SI has had a somewhat patchy history with the form, staffers were asked earlier this spring to pitch podcast ideas “that would serve both the SI audience as well as help bring new people to SI,” says senior editor Richard Deitsch....

Are podcasts the new path to diversifying public radio?

May 22, 2015 - 6:50am
Late last month at the first-ever podcast upfront in New York City, NPR unveiled a study showing that nearly 33 percent of its podcast audience is comprised of people of color. This is significant in light of public radio’s long struggle with trying to reach more diverse audiences, particularly African American, Latino, and Asian American listeners. While NPR is touting...

As budget cuts spark mental health concerns, Chicago's WBEZ is on the story

May 21, 2015 - 9:22am
After the closure in 2012 of half of Chicago's mental health clinics and years of state and city budget cuts (with more on the table), Chicago is experiencing a "mental health emergency," as the title of an audio segment by WBEZ reporter Shannon Heffernan's recent put it. The public radio station--including Heffernan and her colleagues Cate Cahan and Jason Marck--has...

Bernie Sanders can't win: Why the press loves to hate underdogs

May 21, 2015 - 6:50am
On the eve of the 1948 presidential election, Newsweek asked the 50 reporters on President Truman’s campaign train to forecast the winner. To a man they went the way the Chicago Tribune infamously would on election night: "Dewey defeats Truman." Lay historians will recall that not only did Truman defeat Dewey; he clobbered him. Sorting out how the media got...

A new website wants to disrupt how freelancers do business

May 20, 2015 - 3:11pm
It was over a dinner of Chinese food that the seed for Scott Carney’s new business was formed. Carney, a book author and journalist, was catching up last year with a friend who writes for The New Yorker. The conversation drifted to the value of the written word, and soon the two friends started calculating how much top magazines pay...

How The New York Times is trying to combat the backfire effect

May 20, 2015 - 11:40am
The press has forever operated on a relatively simple model: Journalists provide information, and readers in turn become more informed. A blissfully naive reader comes across an article on her favorite restaurant’s health code violations, and, armed with her newly acquired knowledge, decides to make dinner at home tonight. It’s known as the information deficit model, and it’s the basis...

After a year of change, new publisher looks to make his mark at Cincinnati Enquirer

May 19, 2015 - 2:43pm
The past year has been a time of turnover at the Cincinnati Enquirer—and it’s not over yet. Last week, the Enquirer announced that Carolyn Washburn, the top editor, had left the paper, and a national search for a successor was being launched. The news came just 10 weeks into the tenure of Rick Green, the new publisher and president of...

A pair of lawsuits highlight libel law's complexity

May 19, 2015 - 11:12am
One of my first editors used to joke that you haven’t really lived as a journalist until you’ve been threatened with a libel lawsuit. He wasn’t being cavalier about the duty to report accurately—he was just lamenting the pervasiveness of the threat. For various reasons, threats usually don’t become lawsuits. But last week featured some news and developments in notable...

What is the role of the digital-age arts critic? Superscript conference hopes for answers

May 19, 2015 - 6:50am
The New York Times film critic A.O. Scott, writing in 2010 about the shrinking ranks of arts critics, said that “the surviving full-time classical music, dance, and even literary critics might have trouble filling out a bridge game.” His has been just one voice in a chorus of lamentations. Theater critic Jeremy Gerard said in January that a flattering Times...

Can the Boston Phoenix's digital history be saved?

May 18, 2015 - 12:44pm
It’s always hard when a newspaper dies. But when the alt-weekly Boston Phoenix passed away, it prompted one of the more notable media funerals in recent memory. After the announcement was made on Twitter, TV and radio crews stood outside, ready to interview staffers walking out for the last time. Later, pallbearers carried an “open-casket newsbox” past Fenway Park to...

Mystery misspellings

May 18, 2015 - 11:30am
A friend writes: I thought “moreso” was always one word, and I looked it up in Garner’s and it says two words. I have always seen it more as one word and I see validation of that online--articles saying everyone does incorrectly use it. Another writes: I always thought the spelling of the word for a difficult choice was “dilemna.”...

The media’s reaction to Seymour Hersh’s bin Laden scoop has been disgraceful

May 15, 2015 - 1:45pm
Seymour Hersh has done the public a great service by breathing life into questions surrounding the official narrative of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Yet instead of trying to build off the details of his story, or to disprove his assertions with additional reporting, journalists have largely attempted to tear down the messenger. Barrels of ink have been...

Open-records laws could get a much-needed boost in Kansas

May 15, 2015 - 12:26pm
Open-government reforms in Kansas are starting to become a regular thing—and the media can claim a good chunk of the credit. Last year, some inspired coverage by reporter Karen Dillon played a key role in changing state law to open up police records to the public. This year, the efforts of journalists and media associations have again prompted legislative action...

Facebook publishing for local news outlets could arrive 'in the coming months'

May 14, 2015 - 3:58pm
When Facebook on Wednesday unveiled its new Instant Articles feature that allows news organizations to publish directly to the social media platform—and, in the process, set off an avalanche of commentary and speculation about the future of digital news—its “launch partners” were a who’s who of major online publishers on both sides of the Atlantic: The New York Times, National...

Meet the man who wants to help journalists with numbers

May 14, 2015 - 6:50am
Like many champions of a fledgling idea, Trevor Butterworth has a big vision. He talks about revolutions--a revolution in big data, a revolution in exposing bad science, a revolution in journalism. “This is the counterpoint to all the dismal news about the news media,” Butterworth says. “This is really exciting. This is journalism ascending to a higher level of understanding...

Why a stylebook should be a guidebook, not a rulebook

May 13, 2015 - 2:50pm
One small result of the recent earthquake in Nepal was a change in how many news organizations refer to its capital, from “Katmandu” to “Kathmandu.” (The pronunciation is the same, with the “th” acting like the “th” in “thyme.”) The Associated Press actually moved before the quake, sending an advisory about the change on March 24. Last week, The New...

The public report card that has everyone scratching their heads

May 13, 2015 - 10:45am
Liz Spayd, CJR editor: There is an interesting report newly released from the Columbia Journalism School's Tow Center on how our obsession with measuring traffic impacts newsroom culture. If your stories do well, everyone cheers, and if they don't, anxiety ensues. Many managers are probably somewhat new to handling this issue, so what advice might you have? Jill: Warning: if...

Why almost no one’s covering the war in Yemen

May 13, 2015 - 9:40am
CAIRO — More than 1,200 people have died since Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a military operation in Yemen in March, but the country has become so hard to access that news organizations are finding it almost impossible to cover the conflict. At the same time, a lack of electricity and poorly developed internet infrastructure are hampering the citizen...