Columbia Journalism Review

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Encouraging excellence in journalism
Updated: 14 hours 6 min ago

What will happen to the Tampa Bay Times?

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
They are barely noticeable on the cream-colored wall of the seventh floor executive suite at the Tampa Bay Times: nine simple wood-framed announcements signed by the president of Columbia University and one emblem, lined up in two modest rows—Pulitzer Prizes, the brass rings of journalism. The newspaper, still widely known outside Florida as the St. Petersburg Times, its name until...

The rules of plagiarism

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
is the mythical Bob Dylan, a man of singular talent who gave birth to a strand of acoustic rock so compelling that it made others want to rip it off. And so they did. By the hundreds. His work became an inspiration for Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, and Kurt Cobain, all legends in their own...

The power of Pop-Up Magazine's live journalism

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
a group of journalists and artists gathered around a conference table backstage at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco to toast their shared contribution to Pop-Up Magazine, which was scheduled to go live in half an hour. Not in the way that a digital magazine goes live, but in the most literal sense of the word: Live onstage,...

Hurting for words

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
was asked to cook a partridge. Escabeche de perdiz, a standard dish. Like countless chefs all over Spain, he had made it countless times, but now, faced with the task of cooking it again, he froze. He just couldn’t do it. “How to deal with this sad bird?” the celebrated magazine journalist Michael Paterniti writes in his book, Love...

How to get attention

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
the deputy international editor of The New York Times, would be leaving to become editorial director at UpWorthy. O’Leary’s role at the Times, where she had worked for eight years, mostly involved helping the paper adapt to the digital world. Most famously, she co-authored an “innovation report,” leaked last May, that concluded the paper has struggled to make that...

Drawing inspiration from the South Bronx

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
shoots from the hip. The Nigerian-born photographer holds a camera near his waist as he navigates 149th Street in the South Bronx, snapping photos of unknowing passersby mid-sentence, mid-purchase, mid-chew. Crowds on the snow-coated corridor thicken as they approach The Hub—a nickname for this part of the neighborhood, which pulses with nail salons, Latin American restaurants, and mobile phone...

The foreign desk in transition

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
met the newsroom for the first time in September of 2013, he mentioned two recent Post stories that he’d found particularly intriguing. The first was a human-interest feature on the death of a bouncer, the kind of richly descriptive narrative that has been a Post hallmark for decades. But Bezos’ other favorite was something of a surprise: a 2,800-word...

Cheap shot

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
or at least they used to be. Images come cheap in the digital news market, with iPhone snapshots saturating social media and high-quality cameras becoming more affordable for amateurs eager to get published. Many newsrooms have responded by slashing photo staffs. In 2013, the Chicago Sun-Times justified axing its entire 28-person team, including Pulitzer Prize-winner John H. White, with a...

Why plagiarize when you can rip off a writer's thoughts?

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
about plagiarism by starting with a little verse about a renowned professor who won his fame by appropriating the work of another: Let no one else’s work evade your eyes Remember why the good Lord made your eyes So don’t shade your eyes But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize... Only be sure always to call it please 'research.' I might credit...

The irredeemable Chris Rose

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
in his small French Quarter apartment, the crystal badly chipped from various accidents. “For Distinguished Commentary, Times-Picayune,” the disfigured trophy reads, a reminder of both prowess and loss. "The way the people of New Orleans made me feel after Hurricane Katrina—like I was holding this fucking city together all by myself,” Rose tells me at the Napoleon House restaurant...

The value of digital data

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
about the conduct of the NSA don't just tell us about the past conduct of the government. They tell us something about the future of political journalism. In light of the extraordinary pressure on New York Times reporter James Risen to reveal his sources, and significant movements to restrict journalistic reporting of leaks by the Obama Administration, it's clear...

Why the media don't get Detroit--and why it matters

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
In Detroit, the American Dream has become an American Paradox: Corporate-backed revitalization downtown belies the continued deterioration of sprawling neighborhoods of single-family homes; a fledgling creative class masks the ongoing plight of what was once a massive working class; white newcomers trickle in by choice, just as many black natives have no choice but to stay where they are....

The New Republic: A public trust or a business?

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
On Thursday, December 4, Frank Foer resigned as editor of The New Republic, having learned from a gossip site that the magazine's owner, former Facebook executive Chris Hughes, had already hired someone to replace him. Leon Wieseltier, who was widely known to be on the chopping block, and whose renowned back-of-the-book Hughes had already threatened, followed suit. The next...

Should journalism worry about content marketing?

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
At a glance, the Daily Growl could be any morning news meeting held in the "win the internet through pet videos" bureau of a lavishly funded media startup. Rows of eager young people stand behind their monitors--"TMZ-style," managing editor Lisa Keller told me--as Keller solicits memes and news pegs to supplement the content already scheduled on the team's editorial...

How to build an audience

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
The Marketplace of Attention: How Audiences Take Shape in a Digital Age By James G. Webster The MIT Press 280 pages; $29.95 ome Facebook users were outraged this summer when they learned that the world’s biggest social network had, during a week in 2012, manipulated their emotions by tweaking its News Feed algorithm. Researchers showed some users mostly upbeat posts,...

Can newsrooms boost traffic without spoiling their brand?

March 2, 2015 - 12:01am
hey don’t make bylines like they used to. In July, I read a story on by someone named Rick Ungar. I found the story through Facebook—someone had shared it on my feed. Like most news articles on Facebook, it displayed just a picture, a short-source URL ( in this case), and a headline: “Hobby Lobby Invested In Numerous Abortion...

Must-reads of the week

February 27, 2015 - 1:51pm
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: Will the new Page One meetings finally make the Times digital first? (CJR) - Nothing else has worked so far. How limited...

Why llamas took over the news cycle

February 27, 2015 - 1:50pm
On Thursday, when two escaped llamas in Arizona captivated the internet, the Associated Press was ready. "Two quick-footed llamas dashed in and out of traffic in a Phoenix-area retirement enclave," read the AP's news item, "causing a stir in the streets and on social media." The AP wasn't the only traditional news outlet to lift the llama story out of...

Jake Silverstein, editor of The New York Times Magazine

February 27, 2015 - 10:20am
Streamed live on Feb. 26, 2015--Jake Silverstein speaks with Victor Navasky. To view this video on mobile phones, click here.

Victor Pickard on native ads and the new journalism economy

February 27, 2015 - 10:00am
Victor Pickard celebrated the Federal Communication Commission's vote Thursday to regulate the internet as a public utility at an internet victory party in Washington, DC. For Pickard, an assistant professor at the Annenberg School of Communications, and an expert on global media activism, the decision is a win for the public good, and maybe even the future of journalism--two concerns...