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Columbia Journalism Review: The future of media is here
Updated: 1 day 11 hours ago

First Look runs headlong into journalism's two big problems

August 11, 2014 - 11:00am
When Pierre Omidyar, the eBay billionaire, announced the creation of a news organization featuring, for starters, investigative heavyweight Glenn Greenwald, media expectations were set soaring—even here—and understandably so. In a disrupted and desiccated landscape for journalism, The Intercept promised something fresh: an accomplished technologist with deep pockets combined with a new-look journalist, Greenwald, a lawyer-turned-blogger who combines world-beating scoops...

The great newspaper spinoff

August 11, 2014 - 9:43am
It's hard to recall a spate of media deconsolidation like the one in recent months, as companies shed their publishing divisions. Time Warner unloaded its magazine division, Time Inc. Meantime, Tribune spun off its newspapers, as has News Corporation, with EW Scripps, Journal Communications, and now Gannett planning to follow suit soon. The Grahams sold the Washington Post and kept...

Is communications security for reporters improving?

August 11, 2014 - 6:50am
In the year since Edward Snowden's leaks revealed the extent of the National Security Agency's snooping, American journalists have shored up our defenses. I see more reporters with their public PGP keys--the first step to sending encrypted messages using the Pretty Good Privacy program--published on their Twitter feeds and websites. News organization have picked up tools like SecureDrop, which facilitates...

How American journalists covered torture after 9/11

August 8, 2014 - 4:02pm
Editors’ note: Torture, and specifically the US government’s use of it, is back in the news. The Senate Intelligence Committee is set to release a much-anticipated report on the CIA’s treatment of terrorism suspects in the wake of 9/11, prompting President Obama to say, bluntly, “We tortured some folks.” And on Thursday, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet announced that...

Must-reads of the week

August 8, 2014 - 2:50pm
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: There is only one major news site that both pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians read (Quartz) - Data scientists use a map of connections...

Why we should be wary with a new survey showing a spike in uninsured Kansans

August 8, 2014 - 1:03pm
PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS — “Bottom line, Rep. [Tim] Huelskamp appears to be utterly full of hooey,” Charles Gaba of told CJR in May, after the bombastic Tea Party congressman had claimed that more people in his home state of Kansas were uninsured under Obamacare than before. Our story also noted that Washington Post factchecker Glenn Kessler had awarded his worst rating of “four...

Did a spy agency screw The Intercept?

August 8, 2014 - 12:05pm
Predicated on mutual trust, the relationship between reporters and the intelligence community has become increasingly fraught in recent years. The most recent example of the changing dynamic came Tuesday, when the National Counterterrorism Center preempted a scoop by The Intercept, a site whose stable of reporters, led by Glenn Greenwald, has consistently been a thorn in the intelligence community’s side....

Data reveals who isn't talking about terrorism

August 8, 2014 - 10:40am
Charles Ornstein, a senior reporter for ProPublica, wrote a comprehensive story for The New York Times' Upshot about the drug Achtar, which cost the Medicare program about $141.5 million in 2012 despite being prescribed just 3,387 times under Medicare that year. Ornstein's story is a prime example of how to find stories inside datasets--ProPublica has produced a number of stories...

Local news outlets are joining the data journalism bandwagon

August 7, 2014 - 2:55pm
A few years ago, Gene Balk noticed that numbers and statistics were increasingly becoming more available and compelling as a central subject in news stories. "Data journalism has been getting more popular, and I noticed that there's so much data that's local that we weren't using," said Balk, a news librarian at The Seattle Times since 2002. With the backing...

Gannett's changes bring excitement, some pain, and a full-time beer beat

August 7, 2014 - 11:30am
Yesterday was a busy one for Joshua Awtry. He was one of a handful of editors at Gannett-owned papers around the country who spent the day explaining to reporters and staff the specifics of some big changes coming their way. Gannett, which recently announced it is splitting its publishing and broadcast divisions into separate businesses, will also see several newsrooms restructured...

Guardian reporter battles the British power elite

August 7, 2014 - 7:00am
Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch By Nick Davies Chatto & Windus 448 pages Hardcover, £20 In 2008, Nick Davies put out a book arguing that the British press had become passive conduits of propaganda and public relations. It was the serious newspapers and broadcasters that concerned him then. "Nobody needs a book to tell them...

IRS controversy raises the question: What are the limits of the local angle?

August 6, 2014 - 3:15pm
DETROIT, MI — In May 2013, two weeks after investigative reporter James Pilcher returned to The Cincinnati Enquirer after a stint working for a local telephone company, news broke that the Internal Revenue Service had apologized for singling out for scrutiny certain groups applying for nonprofit status—namely, Tea Party groups. What came next was a firestorm of media attention and political showmanship, headed straight for...

How a new Washington stifles a new political press

August 6, 2014 - 10:50am
The video featured all the trappings of a heartwarming human interest piece: uplifting piano music, a hometown angle, and a main character named Earnest. Released by the White House last week, the four-minute film shows Press Secretary Josh Earnest, a Kansas City native, inviting four locals to dinner with President Barack Obama. More than 42,000 viewers watched the clip as...

Why The New Yorker's radical feminism and transgenderism piece was one-sided

August 6, 2014 - 10:08am
Last week's New Yorker article, "What Is a Woman: The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism" by Michelle Goldberg has been widely criticized since its publication. The article purports to offer a history of conflict between trans-exclusionary feminists and trans women. Yet it ignores the vast majority of that history, offering New Yorker readers a one-sided view of the conflict...

The backstory on native advertising

August 6, 2014 - 6:50am
Back in antiquity (five years ago), when I ran a popular Web 1.0 content site called Beliefnet, we used to cockily predict to investors that our advertising rates were going to rise every year. We knew this because the prestigious market researchers told us so. And their logic seemed flawless: More and more ad dollars were going to shift online,...


Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.