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Updated: 19 hours 31 min ago

New law threatens reporter-source relationship

January 23, 2015 - 11:25am
DETROIT, MI — Why should journalists care about a new Pennsylvania law that limits the speech of people convicted of violent crimes? Because it could discourage valuable sources from talking to reporters—and might even block or penalize journalists for doing their work. That’s the case made by a lawsuit filed this month by a coalition of advocacy groups, inmates, journalists,...

Database may uncover conflicts of interest for TV doctors

January 23, 2015 - 5:50am
Last September, the federal government rolled out a website that offered a searchable database of the $3.5 billion in payments that drug and device companies provided to physicians and teaching hospitals in the last half of 2013. Data for 2104 is still being accumulated, but the breadth of information already completed has given unprecedented insight into a medical economy that...

Paper files public records request--and city's response is a lawsuit

January 22, 2015 - 2:20pm
When a newspaper requests information, there are plenty of ways government bodies can try to avoid releasing it. But the city of Billings, MT, has come up with a novel tactic: Sue the paper simply for asking. Now, because of the lawsuit, a state judge is currently deciding how to weigh the public's right to know against an individual's right...

Pro-regime journalists are shaping public opinion in Egypt

January 22, 2015 - 10:15am
One of Egypt's most visible journalists at the moment is Mona Iraqi, a television personality who claimed to have tipped police off to the existence of a Cairo bathhouse where gay men were said to congregate then filmed the ensuing raid, one of several in an ongoing state crackdown on LGBT people. An Egyptian court acquitted all 26 people who...

BBC Pop-Up reports from small town America

January 22, 2015 - 5:50am
When BBC Pop-Up journalists Matt Danzico and Benjamin Zand drove into Sioux Falls, S.D., they started hunting for stories in the way they always do—by going wherever people are hanging out. In the winter in Sioux Falls, that’s at the local supermarket. They pulled into the parking lot of the Empire Mall Hy-Vee, unloaded their banner from their car,...

What game design can do for journalism

January 21, 2015 - 3:25pm
From left to right: Cherisse Datu, Kelli Dunlap, and Joyce Rice.   As journalism is increasingly experimenting with innovative platforms and tools, some news media have started noticing the potential of computer games to tackle real-life issues in an engaging way. The New York Times and ProPublica are already designing digital games that integrate journalistic reporting. To explore this...

Is it now-defunct or now defunct?

January 21, 2015 - 10:00am
The new general manager of the New York Jets "was a league scout in the American offices of the now-defunct World League of American Football," one news report said. Another told of the sale of a "now defunct university's" campus. Yes, it's our old friend the hyphen, far from defunct, but not always needed. The phrase "now defunct" is another...

The human costs of not expanding Medicaid

January 21, 2015 - 5:50am
Eduardo Porter's New York Times column last Wednesday, "The Costs of Stinginess In Medicaid," is a provocative reminder there are human costs that come with decisions not to expand Medicaid, as called for by the Affordable Care Act. Porter's piece is timely, as the drive to get health care to more people covered under Medicaid is under "assault," as Politico...

Should journalists care about the State of the Union address?

January 20, 2015 - 1:47pm
The State of the Union is antique. That’s not what President Barack Obama will tell a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, but it is how new media organizations have treated this year’s annual address. The collective shrug started with Vice News, which didn’t publish any previews of the speech. Mic and Vox both outlined White House policy...

Timeline, an app based on "the history of..."

January 20, 2015 - 9:45am
On Timeline, a new made-for-mobile app, the news is told chronologically. An orangutan gaining legal rights in Argentina, for instance, inspired an article last week on the history of personhood, which begins in 1266 France with seven pigs on trial for murder. Similarly, the recent Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong is the last item on a timeline asking, “Will...

Come write for us: CJR seeks Chicago correspondent for United States Project

January 19, 2015 - 10:00am
The Columbia Journalism Review is seeking a Chicago-based correspondent to join its United States Project, which aims to support accountability journalism in local markets around the country by offering intelligent criticism of media coverage, fostering dialogue among journalists, and delivering original reporting on local and statewide news organizations. The project monitors coverage of a variety of policy and political stories,...

Why did CoOportunity fail?

January 19, 2015 - 8:25am
Just before Christmas, Iowa’s top insurance regulator announced he was taking control of CoOportunity Health, one of the 23 non-profit co-op health insurers created under the Affordable Care Act to inject competition into the insurance marketplace. The company, which had quickly amassed close to 120,000 policyholders in Iowa and Nebraska, is now officially in "rehabilitation," but it faces potential liquidation....

Chicago Reader staff votes to unionize, seeking 'stronger voice' in outlet's future

January 17, 2015 - 5:50am
CHICAGO — Employees of the Chicago Reader, the city’s premier alt-weekly, voted unanimously Friday to join the Chicago Newspaper Guild, becoming the third Chicago newsroom to unionize in 13 months. Mick Dumke, the paper’s senior writer and one of the organizers behind today’s vote, says the decision to join the union stems from the desire to have “a stronger voice...

Must-reads of the week

January 16, 2015 - 1:45pm
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: Preparing for Fidel Castro’s death (CJR) - How Florida news organizations plan to cover the Cuban dictator’s passing. With New Charlie Hebdo...