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Dangerous drug side effects will no longer be secret in Canada

July 17, 2014 - 3:00pm
Last fall on a visit to Canada, I spotted a first-rate piece in the Toronto Star by Diana Zlomislic, which chronicled the death of 18-year-old Marit McKenzie who had suffered a catastrophic blood clot blocking blood flow to her lungs. McKenzie had been taking the controversial acne medication Diane-35 for about a year to treat mild acne even though...

How Katrina and BP spill coverage defined NOLA as the two events, in turn, shaped local press

July 17, 2014 - 10:30am
When Hurricane Katrina charged through New Orleans, the devastation left in its wake had an unintended side effect: It became a destination for the media, whose coverage defined the city in the eyes of the nation. Before 2005, New Orleans was scintillating, if unknown, place--a historic African American city and a wonderful vacation destination. After, it was a place where...

A long-time science reporter wrote a questionable book on genetics. Can we trust his other work?

July 17, 2014 - 6:53am
In the 10 weeks since veteran science journalist Nicholas Wade penned a book claiming that genetic difference between the races account for social behavior like work ethic and obedience to authority, the clamor over his assertions has steadily climbed. Critics have pointed out that A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History mixes correlation and causality, makes generalized assumptions about...

For Detroit's alt-weekly, rising ambition and a few questionable decisions

July 17, 2014 - 6:50am
DETROIT, MI — The Boston Phoenix closed up shop. The Village Voice is diminished by heavy layoffs and staff disquiet. And last winter, the outlook for Metro Times, the 34-year-old alt-weekly in Detroit, didn’t look too good either. After years of declining circulation and staff cuts, the paper was put up for sale. But in an unexpected turnaround, a newly-formed...

Journalist on criticism of 'neglected child' broadcast: 'I reported the facts I was given by the police'

July 16, 2014 - 2:58pm
CHARLESTON, SC -- "I reported the facts I was given by the police." That's what broadcast reporter Deon Guillory told me last night over email. I had asked Guillory if he'd been following the pointed criticism of a two-week-old story of his that had suddenly gone viral--becoming the most popular item on the website of WJBF, the ABC affiliate that...

After 29 years, Freep is ending its high school apprenticeship program

July 16, 2014 - 11:15am
The Detroit Free Press is abruptly ending a 29-year-old high school journalism program within weeks, where high school students were brought into the newsroom to work alongside seasoned professionals. The Gannett-owned newspaper no longer has a financial interest in funding the program, according to multiple Free Press employees, who learned that the program would be discontinued on Monday but declined...

Somaly Mam, Nick Kristof, and journalism's hero problem

July 16, 2014 - 6:50am
Heroes are complicated and victims aren't always who we think they are. As journalists, we are storytellers lured by the power of a great narrative. But we are also investigators, and that's the part of our job we must honor first--especially when heroes fall and readers become victims, misled by the stories we write. In recent weeks, the Somaly Mam...

The Grand Dame of Florida reporting has retired twice, but she's still causing trouble

July 16, 2014 - 6:50am
MIAMI — The Tampa Bay Times’ Lucy Morgan is the Grand Dame of statehouse reporters in Florida. Morgan was recently inducted into the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame to honor her nearly half century in the business. But her fame is not just for her longevity. She’s a Pulitzer Prize-winner renowned for “causing trouble” for corrupt lawmen, petty politicians, and generations of governors....

A silver lining in Pew's statehouse press report?

July 15, 2014 - 4:00pm
It was 4pm, nearing the end of a workday for North Carolina's state legislators, political experts, and public relations flacks, and I was a college freshman sitting in class waiting for a call back before 5pm came and all hope was lost. Finally, a source from Raleigh called. I ran out of my introductory journalism class, phone and computer in...

6 Wikipedia edits made from Capitol Hill

July 15, 2014 - 3:07pm
Congressional approval ratings are near all-time lows. Policy issues have taken a back seat on the campaign trail, special interests exert disproportionate influence in Washington, and gridlock between parties appears insurmountable. Someone in the halls of power, however, is still doing the people’s work: anonymously editing the Wikipedia entry of the popular sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. As originally...

A quest to ban the 'R-word' from a high-school newspaper nets national attention

July 15, 2014 - 2:50pm
One woman ignited a controversy that has embroiled a suburban Philadelphia high school newspaper staff, student body, administration, and the community. All the tumult is over a single word: Redskins. Donna Fann-Boyle, part Cherokee and part Choctaw, appeared before the Neshaminy school board in 2013 and implored the school directors to cease using the name “Redskins” for the high...

Stories I'd like to see

July 15, 2014 - 12:00pm
This column, a regular feature, was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. Google's dilemma: Writing in the Guardian last week, Google general counsel David Drummond described the trouble the European unit of his company is having trying to implement a European Union court's decision that the search giant must eliminate links to certain Web articles or postings about people that these...

In the rise of race beats, echoes of history

July 15, 2014 - 6:50am
Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran may owe the Congressional Black Caucus for helping him beat back a tea party challenger in his state's primary last month, but journalists have the Associated Press' Jesse Holland to thank for breaking the news last month in the first place. As a race and ethnicity reporter at the AP, the tale of mostly Democratic black...

Wanton behavior

July 14, 2014 - 2:50pm
In the 1700s, Garner's Modern American Usage says, Samuel Johnson declared an end to "wont." But, Garner's continues, "it hangs on today as a slightly whimsical way of expressing customary behavior." It also hangs on as a misuse of "want." "Wont" has to do with habit or custom; "want" has to do with desire. But when something is a habit,...

LeBron's SI announcement was the anti-'Decision'

July 14, 2014 - 2:25pm
Last Friday the sports world was astonished by two stories. First, the NBA's best player, LeBron James, was reversing his decision from four years ago to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat. In a surprising but understandable move, James decided to return to the team he played for during his first seven seasons in the league, close to his boyhood...

On the NSA, a White House credibility problem

July 14, 2014 - 11:20am
On Friday, The Associated Press reported that the Obama administration had advance knowledge last year that the British government would force The Guardian to destroy hard drives containing documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Indeed, as declassified emails obtained through a Freedom of Information request show, National Security Agency officials even applauded the move. And Guardian editors, under government supervision, used power tools...

A new course in video games journalism

July 14, 2014 - 6:50am
It has been eight years since Chuck Klosterman lamented in Esquire that there was no “Lester Bangs of video games,” no true arts critic to give voice to one of this generation's unique cultural artifacts. Today, while video games writing has a broad readership on sites like Kill Screen and the Vox Media-owned Polygon—as well as in general publications like...

Must-reads of the week

July 11, 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: After the fall: An amazing profile of Lance Armstrong (Esquire) - "Here in purgatory, the mansion is smaller, but the wine cellar, paneled...

Newspaper revenue experiment throwdown: crowdfunding vs underwriting

July 11, 2014 - 12:05pm
CHARLESTON, SC — Last week, we wrote about a deal between the News & Record in Greensboro, NC, and a local arts group in which the group will give the paper $15,000 to underwrite expanded arts coverage. We raised some concerns about the arrangement—as did several other critics. One of those critics was the News & Record’s former editor, John Robinson, and...

How reporters used data covering the World Cup

July 11, 2014 - 6:50am
With the 2014 World Cup set to end on Sunday, this week's edition of Data Darts and Laurels will focus on how journalists used data to explain everything from what's going on in the games to fan behavior. To start, we're going to pay special attention to FiveThirtyEight, given their position as quantitative storytellers within the ESPN family. A LAUREL...

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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.