Blog Profile / Columbia Journalism Review

Filed Under:Media / Media Industry News
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Archived Since:April 26, 2008

Blog Post Archive

The great GIF debate

“You say EE-ther, and I say EYE-ther,” Fred Astaire sang to Ginger Rogers. One modern equivalent is “You say JIF and I say GIF.” And even though one developer of the GIF has weighed in on the pronunciation, no one, it seems, wants to call the whole thing off. GIF, of course, is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a...

A reporter’s role in the notorious unsolved mystery of ‘D.B. Cooper’

On November 24, 1971, a United Press International reporter named Clyde Jabin pulled the evening shift at the wire service’s bureau in Portland, Oregon. From his home in the Hollywood District to his downtown office, it was about a half-hour drive. He got there about 3pm, settled in, and began making his calls. Jabin, a 43-year-old married father of four,...

A joint investigation complicates old narratives about public housing in Chicago

In the years since officials in Chicago began to demolish the city’s troubled public housing projects, people in the region have become accustomed to hearing stories about where the former residents of Cabrini-Green, the Robert Taylor Homes, and other developments ended up. They all moved to the suburbs south of the city, the stories went, or even relocated to places...

For journalists covering Trump, a Murrow moment

As Edward R. Murrow wrapped up his now-famous special report condemning Joseph McCarthy in 1954, he looked into the camera and said words that could apply today. “He didn’t create this situation of fear--he merely exploited it, and rather successfully,” Murrow said of McCarthy. Most of Murrow’s argument relied on McCarthy’s own words, but in the end Murrow shed his...

The FOIA process can be messy. Muckrock hopes to tidy it up.

The team behind Muckrock, a nonprofit that helps users navigate the FOIA process, launched a project today that aims to catalog all of the reasons state agencies give for rejecting FOIA requests. In doing so, they hope to shed light on the network of state laws that impact the public’s right to know, thereby helping journalists and citizens appeal when...

Could Facebook Live change the way courts think about privacy law?

“The people formerly known as the audience,” as Jay Rosen famously put it, have been busy the past few years. They’ve recorded the police killings of Eric Garner in New York, Walter Scott in North Charleston, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge—raising serious questions about the role of race in the use of force, and fueling a national protest movement....

How The New York Times is incorporating design into audience research

The pressure to anticipate an audience’s needs and desires is intense—no longer only of concern to business sides of media organizations but a part of the editorial mission. As former CJR Editor and Publisher Liz Spayd wrote for her first column as The New York Times Public Editor, insight into readership is crucial, especially for the Times, which has “hitched...

How Donald Trump captivated mainstream media early in primary season

Donald Trump isn’t just a thoroughbred of horse race journalism. He’s Secretariat. The reality TV star built his campaign on wall-to-wall media coverage that Trump himself propelled with constant interviews, unscripted political rallies, and exclamation-filled tweeting. Show More Summary

Cop to arrested reporter: ‘I’m tired of y’all saying you’re journalists’

Ryan Kailath, a reporter for WWNO New Orleans Public Radio on assignment for NPR, was arrested during protests in Baton Rouge Saturday. The arrest took place as protesters clashed with riot police near the Baton Rouge Police Department. Show More Summary

What phony op-eds about climate change have in common

Beginning in 1999, the Department of Justice pursued (and ultimately won) a civil lawsuit against several major tobacco companies. By denying the negative health effects of tobacco, the suit alleged, the industry was engaging in fraud. Show More Summary

How The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore learned to dance

JILL LEPORE, THE HARVARD HISTORIAN AND NEW YORKER WRITER, cannot dance. “I have three left feet,” she said, sitting in her campus office with one right and one left foot propped up. She excels at metaphor, though. To explain the clumsy moves reporters often strut to bolster their stories with historical context, Lepore draws on the language of dance. There’s the...

Before The Killing Fields, Sydney Schanberg gave voice to victims of another war

The former New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg will forever be associated with Cambodia, and for good reason. It was there that he chronicled the Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh in 1975, and it was there that he befriended Dith Pran, forming a personal and professional bond that inspired the award-winning 1984 film The Killing Fields. After Dith Pran...

How a regional newspaper pulled off a national investigation into sexual abuse by doctors

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week rolled out a remarkable, ambitious investigation into sexual assault and misconduct by doctors. The stories of women being abused by their physicians that the AJC uncovered are horrifying, and...Show More Summary

Of God and goodbyes

Even the most unreligious among us invokes God more than we might think, especially when parting from another person. Take “goodbye,” for example. You might spell it “good-bye” or even “good-by,” but what you are telling someone is “may God be with you.” The Oxford English Dictionary traces it to the 16th century and says our current “goodbye” was formed...

The photographer behind the emotional Dallas shooting image is an intern—but he’s no novice

In the aftermath of Thursday night’s sniper attack on police in Dallas, a photograph of a sobbing Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer quickly became one of the most recognizable images of the tragedy. The picture ran in print or online at publications from The Seattle Times to The Washington Post, from the Miami Herald to the Mankato (Minn.) Free...

Pew: Most news sharing remains low-tech, offline

The Pew Research Center’s latest report supports much of what we already know about news media: Print is dying, digital is growing, and the future lies with mobile. What stand out are the findings about our news sharing habits, which suggest that sharing overwhelmingly remains a low-tech, offline activity. Despite huge growth in the use of social networks, 85 percent...

Exit interview: Sreenivasan on his time at the Met, crowdsourcing his future

The name Sreenath “Sree” Sreenivasan has become practically synonymous with social media. So naturally, when presented with what some might call a “career crisis”--his employer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, decided last month to let him go in a cost-cutting move--Sreenivasan turned to the medium he knows best. Show More Summary

A reporter's arrest is just the latest reason to worry about press freedom in Missouri

Last week, Fox 2 St. Louis reporter Chris Hayes was placed in handcuffs by police for attempting to bring a camera into a public meeting in Kinloch, Missouri—a small municipality right next door to Ferguson—just a day after Hayes had revealed stunning mismanagement by the town’s police force. Show More Summary

Philando Castile, Facebook Live, and a new chapter for citizen journalism

We’ve seen cellphone videos of the police killings of Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and too many others. Earlier this week, the fatal police shooting of Louisiana man Alton Sterling was captured from two angles. Such imagery not only informs...Show More Summary

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