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Not-so-secret lives on smartphones

July 24, 2014 - 3:45pm
Call it journalistic phone hacking with consent. On The Secret Life of Students, a recent documentary series on the UK’s Channel 4, cameras tracked 12 freshmen through their first four months of college. There was one difference: Every single online interaction they had was tracked too. The students—together with their parents and university—gave full consent to having their phones essentially...

The Boston Globe owned the health policy beat once. Where did that tenacity go?

July 24, 2014 - 12:14pm
As goes Massachusetts; so goes the nation--at least when it comes to healthcare. In 2009 and 2010, in the midst of the debate on Obamacare, I wrote a series of 10 posts examining the Bay State's 2006 law that served as a the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act. It's time for an update. This is the first of an...

Bloomberg struggles to break out of the box

July 24, 2014 - 6:50am
When Justin Smith arrived from The Atlantic to last fall to take over the sprawling media group at Bloomberg LP, the move was greeted by hosannas in the media and journalism circles. Here was the young, digitally savvy executive credited with playing a crucial role in pulling a 156-year-old monthly from the brink of extinction coming to an immensely profitable...

A state lawmaker's op-ed appears to be copied from... somewhere

July 23, 2014 - 3:17pm
CHARLESTON, SC — What does cattle ranching in Wyoming have to do with building homes in South Carolina? More than you’d think, apparently, judging by a recent newspaper op-ed by a Charleston lawmaker and a PR package from a beef lobbying group in Cheyenne. The two pieces use nearly identical language in their opposition to a controversial EPA proposal that would clarify...

From the archives: The Times and the Jews

July 23, 2014 - 2:00pm
Editor's note: The fighting in Gaza has, predictably, reinvigorated the perennial debate over the US media's coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. As the country's most-influential news outlet, The New York Times has always been at the center of that debate--a fact that was reiterated in today's New York Observer, beneath the headline: "Two Weeks of Shallow, Facile Moral Equivalency in...

Stories I'd like to see

July 22, 2014 - 3:35pm
This column, a regular feature, originally ran on 1. Figuring out the Iron Dome: As I kept reading and seeing television reports last week about how the Iron Dome missile defense system was doing such a good job protecting Israel from Hamas' rockets, this intriguing story by the highly regarded veteran journalist James Fallows appeared on the Atlantic website....

How public media collaborations are creating opportunities for local reporting

July 22, 2014 - 2:56pm
Colorado’s crude oil production is surging, more than the state’s pipelines can handle. In order to increase capacity, shipping companies increasingly use railways to transport crude across the region, sometimes through crowded communities. And that can lead to accidents—as on May 9, when six cars derailed south of Greeley, CO, and spilled more than 5,000 gallons of oil. While the damage...

How an activist journalist's commitment to a poor Chicago community led to a big FOIA win

July 22, 2014 - 10:58am
CHICAGO, IL — Ten years ago, a school janitor named Diane Bond brought a civil rights lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department. Complaints get lodged against the police by the dozens every year, but this one stood out: Bond gave a ghastly account of alleged police misconduct—assaults, sexual and racial abuse, threats to plant false evidence, among others—perpetrated by...

Truth and the Russian media

July 22, 2014 - 9:56am
As the world reacted to the deranged explanations emanating from Russia's state-controlled media about what really happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 17, it's worth noting that these tales of flying corpses and nefarious Western plots are part of a much broader campaign of distortion and propaganda designed to bolster support for the insurgency in eastern Ukraine and rally Russians behind...


July 22, 2014 - 6:50am
A software program that acts as a super spelling checker often stops on the word "got," and asks, in effect, "did you mean gotten"? Probably not. "Gotten" has, um, gotten lost as a verb form. There are times when it comes in handy, or should be used, but many people don't remember those "rules," understandably so. "I get a kick...

How Forbes got to $475 million

July 21, 2014 - 5:06pm
Integrated Whale Media Investments of Hong Kong is now the majority owner of Forbes Media, valuing the company at a whopping $475 million. What the buyers get is a dwindling print magazine, digital growth, and the Forbes brand, which has been seriously diluted in the last four years. It's hard to imagine an American investor paying half the price. Fortunately...

Are female journalists up to the job of a Jill Abramson interview?

July 21, 2014 - 4:45pm
Let me just say this: If I ever get publicly bounced from a job, I am heading straight for Cosmopolitan magazine. Then I'm off to see Greta Van Susteren at Fox News and then onto Katie Couric, who will be waiting at Yahoo News. Gail Sheehy, I'm hoping, can get me in Politico. This is the route Jill Abramson has...

Minus proper archives, news outlets risk losing years of backstories forever

July 21, 2014 - 12:41pm
Print stories can be lost, but digital stories last forever, captured for eternity in some nebulous internet ether or on a hard drive in a desk drawer. At least, that's the vague theory assumed by many producers and consumers of digital news. Once something is posted or backed up, it never really disappears--and if that's true, archiving digital work seems...

Twitter and factchecking don't mix during debates

July 21, 2014 - 6:50am
Mitt Romney’s assertion in the first 2012 presidential debate - that Obamacare was a government takeover of the healthcare industry - was right in PolitiFact’s wheelhouse. And the factchecking organization didn’t whiff. With about 10 reporters and editors on duty that night, eyes peeled for both new and oft-repeated factual claims, PolitiFact quickly tweeted a link to its 2010 piece...

Must-reads of the week

July 18, 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: Who gets shot in America: What I learned compiling records of carnage for The New York Times (Raw Story) - "A year...

Jose Antonio Vargas' detention shows what "border security" actually entails

July 18, 2014 - 2:50pm
AUSTIN, TX -- The blurry photograph appears to capture the moment on July 15 when a Border Patrol agent handcuffed Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and perhaps the nation's most well-known undocumented immigrant, at a South Texas airport near the border. A video captured by a reporter with the McAllen newspaper, The Monitor, who was evidently positioned a...


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.