Blog Profile / Columbia Journalism Review

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

Blog Post Archive

Should there have been firings at Rolling Stone?

With the news that Rolling Stone has chosen not to punish any of its employees in the wake of the Columbia report, we asked Jill Geisler to weigh in on that decision. Liz Spayd: The report describes a long list of journalistic failures. Are these firing offenses? Jill Geisler: They are. The review minced no words about the depth of...

3 takeaways for covering sexual assaults on campus

In this time of media self-reflection about coverage of sexual assaults, it is worth remembering the consensus amidst the controversy over the Rolling Stone campus rape piece. Three points, in particular, come to mind in the wake of discussion. Show More Summary

What was the single point of failure at Rolling Stone? The authors of Columbia's investigative report answer that and more

Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll and Dean of Academic Affairs Sheila Coronel sat down for an interview with Columbia Journalism Review Editor Liz Spayd to discuss the school’s report on Rolling Stone’s story of a campus rape. Show More Summary

How Columbia Journalism School conducted this investigation

This report is intended as a work of journalism about a failure of journalism. Last November, Rolling Stone published “A Rape on Campus” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Its principal narrative recounted a horrible gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. Show More Summary

Rolling Stone’s investigation: ‘A failure that was avoidable’

Last July 8, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a writer for Rolling Stone, telephoned Emily Renda, a rape survivor working on sexual assault issues as a staff member at the University of Virginia. Erdely said she was searching for a single, emblematic college rape case that would show “what it’s like to be on campus now ? where not only is rape...

More is not always better

One of the truisms about recent reductions in newsroom staffs is that fewer journalists equals less quality and lower standards. And undeniably, the cutbacks over the past decade have diminished coverage of state legislatures and county courthouses. Show More Summary

Barack Obama’s press freedom legacy

President Obama took office in 2009 promising to make his administration the most transparent in American history. New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger, for one, says he’s failed. “This is the most closed, control...Show More Summary

How a pizzeria took center stage in coverage of Indiana's religious freedom law

The front lines of the national culture war over LGBT rights shifted this week to a family-owned pizzeria in Walkerton, IN, a town of about 2,000. Speaking to local TV station WBND on Tuesday, the owners of Memories Pizza threw their support behind the contentious Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Though the restaurateurs don’t deny regular service to LGBT patrons, they...

What reporters forgot to tell you about the 'doc fix' bill and changes to Medicare

What’s in it? Who does this affect short- and long-term? Who’s going to pay for it (and who is not)? It should go without saying that these are among the key questions reporters ought to tackle whenever the House or Senate passes a bill. Coverage of the “doc fix” bill passed by the House last week, unfortunately, did not adequately...

When a state senator compares police to terrorists, you expect local papers to have the first say

On March 20, Nebraska State Sen. Ernie Chambers compared police to ISIS terrorists in a legislative committee hearing on a concealed-carry gun bill, one that would allow residents to carry hidden firearms into establishments that serve alcohol and allow off-duty police to carry their weapons when attending events on school grounds. Show More Summary

Seymour Hersh on My Lai and the state of investigative journalism

In 1968, a group of American soldiers massacred more than 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians in a village known in the Army as “Pinkville.” The following year, a young American reporter exposed the massacre in what became a watershed in the American public’s understanding of the war in Vietnam. “Pinkville” turned out to be the hamlet of My Lai 4. The...

Why encryption is crucial for all news organizations

Most discussions of digital security begin with Edward Snowden. In November 2014, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press held a conference on news organizations and security subtitled “Solutions to Surveillance Post-Snowden.”...Show More Summary

Don't forget these changes to the AP Stylebook

The Associated Press Stylebook announced some changes last week at the annual conference of the American Copy Editors Society. (Full disclosure: This columnist, as president of the ACES Education Fund, is a member of the ACES board.)...Show More Summary

Covering Scott Walker as a local and national story

Jason Stein’s beat has gone national. The state capitol reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has tracked Wisconsin political drama locally for a decade. But with Governor Scott Walker instituting sweeping policies and then navigating...Show More Summary

60 Minutes' Africa 'problem'

The media’s narrative in Africa typically falls into at least one of three narrow categories, according to Columbia Journalism School associate professor Howard French: Immense Catastrophe, White Protagonists, or Wildlife. CBS’ 60 Minutes...Show More Summary

The huge FCC fine against a Virginia station is a sign we need to rethink broadcast indecency rules

“The stroking of an erect penis on a broadcast [news] program is shocking.” Count those among the words I didn’t expect to type this week. They appear in a written notice released Monday by the FCC. It informs WDBJ, a Roanoke, VA, television station, that the FCC intends to fine it $325,000—for a July 2012 news report that included, for...

Gazette publisher in Colorado defends controversial marijuana series

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- On Sunday, The Gazette, the daily newspaper here in Colorado's second-largest city, published the first of a four-day series called "Clearing the Haze," about the state's marijuana legalization experiment. SoShow More Summary

How to cover Medicaid during campaign season

Amid the abundance of presidential campaign coverage, stories that examine what type of a president a candidate might be—what he or she might do, policy-wise—are often hard to come by. The horse race dominates, but there is much more to cover and the super-charged topic of healthcare and the Affordable Care Act is a compelling place to start. With a...

What happens when platforms turn into publishers?

If you’re a publisher, Facebook holds a lot of power. The social media giant is already responsible for directing up to 40 percent of some sites’ traffic, and 75 percent of BuzzFeed’s. Now, according to a report in The New York Times on Tuesday, Facebook is negotiating with a number of publishers to be more than a funnel that directs...

How Chicago's press corps is dealing with 'Washington Rahm'

For four years now, Mary Ann Ahern has been chasing Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel, a three-term Illinois congressman and former White House chief of staff who became Chicago’s mayor in 2011, has ducked out back doors while Ahern, a veteran TV reporter, has been waiting to talk to him, she said. He has retaliated for coverage he hasn't liked by restricting...

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