Blog Profile / Columbia Journalism Review

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

Blog Post Archive

Biting off more ‘informal language’ than you can chew

When we talked about “bizarro” words last week, we promised to talk this week about the difference between “colloquial” and “slang.” Just for fun, we’ll throw in “idiom” as well. They’re all part of our “informal” language, weapons in our arsenal to convey the tone of something we are saying as well as its substance. Just as you change your...

Analyzing debate questions: Is it time to rethink the town hall?

With fewer audience questions than in past years, an unrelenting focus on the characters of the candidates at the expense of substantive issues, and a shift in power from undecided voters to professional journalists moderating the event, last night’s presidential debate raised the possibility that the town hall format is due for a rethink. A feature of the election cycle...

Martha Raddatz and the case for a more assertive debate moderator

When Martha Raddatz needled Donald Trump’s apparent lack of knowledge about American foreign policy on Sunday, it was an unusually aggressive approach for a presidential debate moderator. The tactic stood out even more given the event’s...Show More Summary

A reporter pursued a grim tip about teen slaves. Now he’s a national hero.

One day in June, Swe Win, chief correspondent for independent news agency Myanmar Now, walked into a tailor shop in downtown Yangon. He announced that he was a businessman going to Europe for the first time, and he wanted to order the most expensive suits available. “The most important thing for me was just to buy time,” the 38-year-old investigative...

Why it's important for news organizations to show their corrections

As coverage of the presidential race enters the final stretch, CJR Editor Kyle Pope and our resident management guru Jill Geisler look at leaders who lie, social media missteps, and fact-checking the fact-checkers. Kyle: Lying, and the media's role in calling it out, has become a theme, oddly enough, of this presidential campaign. What about closer to home? Is it...

Analyzing debate questions: Why the town hall style is unique

Sunday night’s second presidential debate will look very different from the last showdown between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on September 26. Following a format first used in 1992, the candidates will answer questions posed not by a journalist moderator, but by voters in the auditorium and online. If past town halls are any guide, Sunday’s debate will bring focus...

The media’s Weimar moment

n June 1954 on national television, Joe Welch, the US Army's chief counsel, exposed Senator Joseph McCarthy's dubious morality with those two legendary questions: "Have you no decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" Such was the novelty of television back then that having given McCarthy an authoritative forum for his views, TV could now...

Headlines editors probably wish they could take back

In this week's Lower case... Florida Times-Union, 10/2/16 Contra Costra (Calif.) Times 5/31/77 The Herald (New Britain, Conn.) 10/14/78 Detroit Free Press, 7/1/75 And one more for fun: Headline of the day from @denverpost— Toby Harnden (@tobyharnden) October 6, 2016 Want to see more regrettable headlines? Check out the Lower Case archives.

Nikole Hannah-Jones speaks on schools, segregation, and systemic racism

Five years ago, Nikole Hannah-Jones was thinking about quitting. “I only became a journalist because I wanted to write about racial inequality,” she told professor Keith Gessen in front of a gathering of journalism students, faculty, and fans at Columbia Journalism School’s first Delacorte Lecture of the 2016-17 season. Show More Summary

With two promotions, Chicago Sun-Times returns to its watchdog roots

After five mystifying (and let’s be honest, pretty wretched) years under the ownership of wannabe journalism mogul and investor Michael Ferro, the city’s No. 2 newspaper signaled a fresh start and a new direction late last month with the promotion of two award-winning investigative journalists to top spots in the newsroom. Show More Summary

Q&A: Timothy Garton Ash on Trump, Brexit, and the age of media polarization

What does Brexit have in common with the Trump phenomenon? According to author and historian Timothy Garton Ash, they’re both symptoms of increasingly polarized societies, which can be attributed, at least in part, to the media. In his latest book, Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World, Garton Ash outlines the requirements for a free and open society, one...

FiveThirtyEight’s ‘Whiz Kid’ Harry Enten represents the new generation of political journalist

n a Monday night in September, 2,000 people gathered at a theater off Times Square to watch five political journalists sit on a stage and talk about polls. The occasion was a live taping of the FiveThiryEight Elections Podcast, an almost unimaginably nerdy event for which attendees paid up to $100 per ticket. As members of the crowd sipped IPAs...

Toward a Constructive Technology Criticism

“This is a work of criticism. If it were literary criticism, everyone would immediately understand the underlying purpose is positive. A critic of literature examines a work, analyzing its features, evaluating its qualities, seeking a deeper appreciation that might be useful to other readers of the same text. In a similar way, critics of music, theater, and the arts have...

Media escapes with scratches in undercover-video fight with Planned Parenthood

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last week that increases penalties for certain violations of the state’s laws against recording private conversations, over the objections of media and civil liberties groups. It’s a win for Planned Parenthood, which pushed Assembly Bill 1671 as a way to crack down on undercover recordings like the ones made of its executives by...

Don't be a dope. Do something dope.

Fans of Superman comics or Seinfeld know about “bizarros,” characters that are the exact opposite of more familiar characters. They say “goodbye” instead of “hello,” for example. English has many “bizarro” words, used as opposites to traditional meaning, or even opposite to each other. Show More Summary

Q&A: The journalist who outed bestselling author Elena Ferrante

One of the great literary mysteries in recent history was apparently solved on Sunday morning. In an article published in the New York Review of Books, Claudio Gatti, an Italian investigative reporter, claimed he had discovered the true identity of best-selling pseudonymous author Elena Ferrante. Show More Summary

Just launched: A tool that will make life easier for FOIA reporters

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, FOIA users must be geniuses. Fee categories. Pre-determination agency actions. Multitrack processing. Administrative appeals. Glomar responses. In some ways, the FOIA is as impenetrable as it is helpful, but a new resource wants to change all that: FOIA Wiki, which launched in beta today. Show More Summary

Trump's many, many threats to sue the press since launching his campaign

Donald Trump’s outright contempt for journalists and press freedom is well known—but in the past month he has outdone himself. In the span of a long weekend in mid-September, Trump threatened to sue The New York Times, his staff had a Vice reporter arrested outside a campaign event, and he blamed the New York terrorist bombings on “freedom of the...

Reporting massive human rights abuses behind a façade

ast year, I was flown to Cambodia to testify as an expert witness for the prosecution at the genocide trial of two senior Khmer Rouge leaders. As a journalist and author, I assumed my biggest challenge would be protecting any confidential sources while maintaining a reporter’s right to refuse to testify. I consulted an attorney and assured myself on both...

The best and worst journalism of September 2016

Another month of the presidential race consuming the media’s collective brainpower has whizzed by—time flies when you’re having an existential crisis! Campaign coverage rubbed CJR both the right and wrong ways in September, headlining a simultaneously standout and depressing month for journalism. Show More Summary

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