Blog Profile / Columbia Journalism Review

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

Blog Post Archive

Calling Trump a liar sets a thorny precedent

“You calling me a liar?” It’s the archetypical male testosterone-fueled challenge, and yes, the media is calling Donald Trump a liar. Isn’t that what journalism is all about, telling the truth? New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet has said it would be “almost be illiterate to have not called the birther thing a lie,” referring to Trump’s trafficking in...

9 podcasts worth listening to this election season

Podcasts are, at their best a cross between radio and the alternative press: Like radio, they traffic in audio and retain its intimacy; like the alt-press, they take advantage of lo-fi production and low expectations to make room for a more personal journalism. Podcasters have a penchant for intellectual honesty, but in the end they are willing to wager success...

Let's go to the videotape

We get used to using certain words to describe things, and we continue to use them even when they are no longer accurate. As we wrote a few years ago, telephone terminology hangs on even though we no longer hang up. So it’s not a surprise that news reports frequently refer to “video footage” when there is no actual footage....

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

In this week's Lower Case... The Tampa Tribune 8/7/79 Pretty cool picture of my nephew Andrew at game last night and caption-But the headline below picture is hilarious — David Morissette (@Davemorissett43) July 27, 2016 Albuquerque Journal, 2012 via Laura Marrich Want to see more regrettable headlines? Check out the Lower Case archives.

Changing the media's notions of failure and success

onald Trump is a moral, intellectual and spiritual failure. He lies, he cheats, he insults, he practices the rankest hypocrisy. He manipulates the tax code to avoid paying taxes. He wields bankruptcy to avoid paying his creditors. And yet. He does not hide behind professions of virtue while practicing his vices. He falters, sins, fails in his obligations, falls prey...

What Trump could (and couldn't) do to restrict press freedom if elected

I’m increasingly convinced that Donald Trump, to quote Lord Varys in Game of Thrones, would happily see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes. And where better to start the fire than the First Amendment? Since announcing his presidential candidacy, Trump has threatened to sue the Daily Beast for reporting that his ex-wife Ivana once used...

What Birmingham readers want: dig deep and be a 'witness'

Engaged readers appreciate deep and nuanced reporting on education and race relations in Birmingham, but they also wish news outlets had the resources to send reporters to all the board meetings of the area’s 25 school systems. ThatShow More Summary

Amazon's Good Girls Revolt finds contemporary relevance

In March 1970, 46 women staffers at Newsweek--shunted away from reporting, writing and editing positions and paid less than their male colleagues--filed a lawsuit charging the magazine with sex discrimination. It was timed, brilliantly,...Show More Summary

A fellowship aims to teach journalists not to make mistakes of the past

Every spring a handpicked group of young journalists travels to Central Europe on a fellowship to look at how reporters and editors covered the Holocaust. The group first visits Berlin to examine the organizational and political roots of the Nazi’s “Final Solution” and then to Auschwitz to see the most infamous death camp where it was carried out. In past...

A celebrated foreign correspondent built his life work on detachment. Then everything changed.

I came of age as a journalist in the now quaint era when reporters were instructed to keep themselves out of their stories. As one of my early editors once snapped, “No one gives a damn what you think.” Even a byline was a rare reward for exceptional work. As a result, I spent nearly all of a 50-year career...

Why DDoS attacks matter for journalists

On the evening of September 20, the website of computer security researcher and journalist Brian Krebs suffered a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that ultimately took his site offline. While DDoS attacks are common...Show More Summary

A daily's loss in court may cause journalists to rethink how they communicate

Journalists across the country are assessing the fallout a week after a North Carolina jury awarded nearly $6 million in libel verdicts against The Raleigh News & Observer and one of its reporters. The case seems to provide more evidence...Show More Summary

Sinking a bold foray into watchdog journalism in Japan

It seemed like compelling journalism: a major investigative story published by The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second largest daily newspaper, about workers fleeing the Fukushima nuclear plant against orders. It was the work of a specialShow More Summary

The linguistic backstory of 'bad hombres'

The presidential debates and their aftermath offered many tidbits for language lovers. Nearly as entertaining, though, were the ways people tried to look things up. Google is a wonderful search engine, and it can often anticipate what you’re looking for, but it still records the actual search. Show More Summary

Mosul streams raise concerns about Facebook Live

One morning last week, I lay snuggled under my warm duvet, scrolling through Facebook. The feed looked very different from the usual photos of friends’ children and stories about the state of the journalism industry. Instead, the top three items were livestreams from Iraq, where a battle to free the city of Mosul from ISIS is underway. I flashed back...

What the news media can learn from librarians

We can all agree it’s been a rough season for the news media. Hostile political crowds, accusations of slander, and struggles with what Guardian editor Katharine Viner has called the “waning power of evidence” and “diminishing status...Show More Summary

How the media covers the 'deplorables'

remember when I saw my first "deplorable." I was in my teens. He was the subject of a photograph by Berenice Abbott. The picture has haunted me as a person, and as a journalist, ever since. In 1935, Abbott traveled through Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Deep South, taking pictures of the people and places she encountered. Though not done...

Covering the election: A CJR roundtable

Though the presidential election hasn’t yet happened, the journalistic post mortems have already begun. The past year has included some of the best moments in political journalism -- reporting at the Washington Post, the New York Times and BuzzFeed have particularly stood out -- as well as the most tortured: News outlets have struggled with the roles their reporters should...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

In this week's Lower Case... Every once in a while, it's possible to summarize an entire historical moment in six words.— David Sessions (@davidsess) October 13, 2016 Tonawanda (N.Y.) News Frontier, 1/18/75...Show More Summary

Program lifts aspiring writers from poverty, infuses media with fresh voices

Stephanie Land had all but given up on becoming a writer in 2015. She was like many of the subjects who appear in articles about the poor--a single, thirtyish mother of two little girls from Missoula who worked long hours as a cleaner and collected food stamps. To pay for pizza dinners, she bounced checks. She earned $10 per hour...

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