Columbia Journalism Review

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Updated: 20 hours 41 min ago

Clearing up compliment vs. complement

June 29, 2015 - 2:00pm
A brochure arrived via email the other day, offering a tour of some property in Florida and a “complementary” three-day vacation. It’s true that the tour and the vacation might go well together, but the word the brochure writer wanted was “complimentary,” a synonym for “free.” The only difference between them spelling-wise is a single letter, and the intent is...

The court case is over--but here's another big story for healthcare reporters to follow

June 26, 2015 - 11:37am
The big healthcare story of the week, of course, is the Supreme Court’s decision to leave in place the insurance subsidy regime set out by the Affordable Care Act. But big as it is, that news just lets the status quo stand. There’s another important healthcare story percolating that could bring important changes to the insurance markets—and while it’s drawn...

Revolution and its discontents: The messy case of Egypt’s journalists union

June 25, 2015 - 11:45am
YEHIYA QALLASH, AN EDITOR AT EGYPT'S state-owned newspaper Al-Gomhouria, has a reputation as a government critic. He also recently became president of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate at a time when attacks on the press in Egypt have risen to an all time high. In his two-year term, Qallash will have to navigate the uneasy waters of post-revolution Egypt: The old...

How Charleston's paper captured the response to a horrific church shooting on its front page

June 23, 2015 - 3:12pm
It’s almost a truism of media’s digital age: For all the ways in which newspapers have been battered by the shift away from print, the front page can still play a unique and remarkable role. In times of tragedy and crisis, a well-conceived front can focus a community’s grief and seek to represent a shared response—and, in a sign of...

Black and white: why capitalization matters

June 23, 2015 - 1:24pm
The killings in Charleston, South Carolina, heartbreakingly elicit another focus on race. In our case, not about race as a social construct, but race as it appears in print: Specifically, when to use capital letters or not for people who are identified with the label “black” or “white.” A website originally registered to the man accused in the Charleston killings,...

Removal of faculty advisers sparks concern about independence of student publications

June 22, 2015 - 3:09pm
At least four college newspaper advisers have been removed from their roles or seen their positions reduced or eliminated over the last six months, raising concerns among advocates about the independence of student publications around the country. Two of the cases have prompted lawsuits, and one of the former advisers has filed a grievance. At one school, the entire journalism...

Can Politico rise again?

June 22, 2015 - 6:50am
The new era began as new eras typically do at Politico, with a memo. The email flashed into staffers’ inboxes at 6:50 a.m. on September 18, its eventual circulation throughout Beltway media circles preordained. The tone of such company-wide notes is known to reach Churchillian heights—top brass’ gung-ho descriptions of global journalistic domination stand out in an industry shaking off...

Lose labyrinthine and keep it bizarre

June 17, 2015 - 2:50pm
The recent election in Turkey, where voters refused to grant a majority of seats in Parliament to any one party, creating the threat of political gridlock, could literally be called “Byzantine.” After all, Istanbul, Turkey, was once called Byzantium. In fact, Byzantium’s history could also be called “Byzantine”: Its name remained on its empire for more than a thousand years...

In the wake of Serial’s success, Atlanta paper creates a true-crime podcast

June 17, 2015 - 6:50am
In a bit of what might be called fan nonfiction, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has rolled out a podcast modeled on Serial, the smash hit spin-off of This American Life in which Sarah Koenig investigated a murder conviction, sharing with her audience her reporting steps and her own uncertainties about the case. The AJC’s Breakdown explores the case of Justin Chapman,...

Experimenting with NPR's new Storytelling Lab

June 16, 2015 - 2:50pm
NPR is coming out of its car radio. The nonprofit broadcasting giant is slated to break even for the first time in six years, according to Wired. That progress is rooted in a combination of good fortune and good strategy—podcasts are “in” this season, and the broadcaster is hoping to capitalize on on-demand streaming with the new NPR One app,...

The first statewide police body-cam law comes with a major caveat

June 16, 2015 - 10:57am
Last week, Nikki Haley of South Carolina became the first governor to sign a state law directing every police department in the state to implement the use of body-worn cameras. Just one thing: The footage captured by all those cop-cams won't be subject to the state's open records laws. Notably, the bill signing came not long after the Aiken Standard,...