Columbia Journalism Review

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Updated: 7 hours 54 min ago

New series gives ‘fixers’ their due

March 15, 2017 - 12:56pm
In the 2002 movie Live from Baghdad, Michael Keaton plays a seasoned CNN producer who travels to Iraq to cover the first Gulf War. Checking into his hotel, Keaton’s character overhears a woman helping translate for another guest. Without skipping a beat he introduces himself and offers her a job working for CNN. “But I’m […]

Newsrooms should follow two simple rules for reporting on women’s bodies

March 14, 2017 - 3:16pm
Human rights attorney Amal Clooney delivered a speech at the United Nations last week exhorting Iraq to formally request a Security Council investigation so that the Islamic State would not “get away with genocide.” “Mass graves in Iraq still lie unprotected and unexhumed,” Clooney warned. “Witnesses are fleeing. And there is still not one ISIS […]

Local Washington paper balks at bill for interview with city attorney

March 14, 2017 - 2:10pm
Late last week, the mayor of Langley, Washington, asked The South Whidbey Record to compensate the city $64 for an interview with the city’s attorney. The Record’s coverage of the bill “exploded online” over the weekend, and the mayor backed off yesterday, calling the situation a misunderstanding and saying he was just trying to get […]

How to remember who vs. whom

March 14, 2017 - 1:01pm
In the nearly nine years we have been writing this column, we have never explicitly discussed the difference between “who” and “whom.” One reason is that few people care anymore. They haven’t cared for some time. As our predecessor, Evan Jenkins, wrote of “whom” in 1999: A lot of smart people hate the word. It […]

Q&A: Pamela Colloff on her new gig with NYT Mag and ProPublica

March 14, 2017 - 8:58am
Since its sale in October, Texas Monthly has made nearly as many headlines as it has written. Most recently, Executive Editor Pamela Colloff on Monday announced her departure from the magazine where she has worked for 20 years. She will be joining both The New York Times Magazine and ProPublica, in a job that will combine […]

Is journalistic solidarity savvy or short-sighted?

March 13, 2017 - 1:31pm
A spectre is haunting journalism—the spectre of solidarity. For ages the idea of reporters banding together against a common adversary has seemed thoroughly alien to the character of American journalists. We’re back-stabbing, iconoclastic individualists. No wonder Daniel J. Leab’s 1970 history of the Newspaper Guild was called A Union of Individuals. Could the Age of […]

Q&A: How The Guardian is working to burst the media bubble

March 13, 2017 - 10:04am
It is by now conventional wisdom that the victory of Donald Trump amounted to a massive miss by the mainstream media. Mea culpas and garment-rending soon began, but when the dust had settled journalists and editors were left with the problem of how to address a media “bubble” that had failed to accurately reflect the […]

Denverite, Billy Penn get acquainted after Spirited Media merger

March 10, 2017 - 4:08pm
If the name “Jim Brady” rings a bell, then it may be that your subconscious has retained stories about the spectacular failure of TBD, a much-ballyhooed hyperlocal site based in Washington, D.C., that Brady was instrumental in launching, and where he acted as general manager. These days, Brady is hedging his hyperlocal bets as founder and […]

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

March 10, 2017 - 11:14am
In this week’s lower case… Hey I found a hilarious headline from 2 years ago! — Dan Cronin (@croninwhocares) February 28, 2017 Bad Headlines, Cont. — Tengrain (@Tengrain) December 29, 2016 Wait…. what? #Badheadlines #NotTheOnion — Shane Allen (@shanenews) December 19, 2016 Have a headline you want to share? Snap a […]

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner has little to do with the press, and much ado about nothing

March 10, 2017 - 10:19am
Michael Oreskes, then The New York Times’s Washington bureau chief, had had enough. The White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner had become an embarrassment to journalism, an unseemly extravaganza whose lofty goals had been overshadowed by the spectacle of reporters in black tie cavorting with second- and third-tier celebrities. So Oreskes pulled the Times out of […]

Q&A: How Shea Serrano went from middle school science teacher to NYT bestselling author

March 10, 2017 - 5:58am
On the morning of February 22, Shea Serrano, a staff writer at The Ringer, picked a fight with Donald Trump on Twitter. He didn’t do it for retweets or clicks or to amuse his friends. He wanted to win. Serrano’s publisher, Abrams Books, had recently released Why I March, a book of photos from the […]

Now even high school journalists are getting smeared with ‘fake news’ claim

March 9, 2017 - 2:36pm
A once-meaningful term of derision has filtered down from the highest office in the country to the halls of a New York City high school. Two student journalists, who have covered a controversy surrounding their interim principal only to see their efforts demeaned as “fake news” by a Department of Education official, are fighting back. […]

Reporters are caught between Obamacare and Trumpcare. How should they proceed?

March 9, 2017 - 11:17am
A few days ago, a radio host in California told me she did not understand what Republicans were trying to do to repeal and replace Obamacare. “I don’t learn much from the Sunday shows,” she said. “It’s all so much inside baseball and theatrics.” Now, the first details of the GOP’s plan—already dubbed “Trumpcare,” of […]

Advice columns mine a classic formula to stay relevant

March 9, 2017 - 10:13am
The first advice columns, published in the 1600s, fielded pretty basic questions. While revolutionary for their time, people asked about topics ranging from the existential to bodily functions. Like this question featured in The Athenian Mercury: “In what space of time do you think the whole mass of blood circulates through the body?” A simple […]

What happens in Vegas, Norm Clarke knows

March 9, 2017 - 6:03am
FOR 17 YEARS, GOSSIP IN LAS VEGAS wasn’t gossip for long. Until Norm Clarke retired from the Review-Journal last summer, what may have started as whispers among blackjack dealers, cab drivers, or casino managers could be found on page 3A as reliable facts. “Las Vegas had become the center of the universe for entertainment in many […]

How the Indy Star navigated a public records minefield to break its Pence email story

March 8, 2017 - 3:49pm
THE REVELATION THAT VICE PRESIDENT Mike Pence used a private email address to conduct state business during his tenure as the governor of Indiana prompted swift condemnations and a rush of coverage that touched on everything from information security to public records accessibility to partisan hypocrisy. By Saturday, even the “Weekend Update” anchors at “Saturday […]

A street newspaper gave her purpose and pride. But the second issue would be her last.

March 8, 2017 - 12:09pm
On Friday, Raven Canon proudly handed out copies of the second issue of The Springs Echo newspaper, which she launched this year to raise awareness of people who don’t have a home. Canon, homeless herself, dropped off copies at a Colorado Springs shelter where she had been staying. Hours later, the 41-year-old was found dead […]

Podcast: A Breitbart editor walks into a journalism conference…

March 8, 2017 - 11:49am
On The Kicker this week, I’m joined by CJR’s David Uberti, Christie Chisholm, and Shelley Hepworth to discuss some criticism we received for inviting Breitbart Economics Editor John Carney to our conference on Covering Trump. Did his inclusion add a valuable perspective? Or did we play a role in legitimizing a website that has trafficked […]