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Blog Profile / Columbia Journalism Review

Filed Under:Media / Media Industry News
Posts on Regator:13194
Posts / Week:37.5
Archived Since:April 26, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Longform overload

Jill Abramson and Steven Brill’s upcoming longform outfit, a still-unnamed collaboration between the former New York Times executive editor and American Lawyer founder, may be the most exciting media startup of the moment, but it’s not the only new entrant to the longform market. Show More Summary

The moon's unusual names

The moon, like many children, goes through phases. And, just as children's phases have names ("terrible twos," puberty, etc. ) the moon's phases have names too, though we rarely use them nowadays. Three terms are easy: When the moon is fully in shadow and not readily visible at all, it's a "new moon"; when the whole surface facing the earth...

The Tennessean pushes for better healthcare

Readers of Tom Wilemon's recent stories in The Tennessean could easily conclude Tennessee has once again declared war on poor, sick people. The string of stories Wilemon has written since the beginning of the year chronicle yet another troubled chapter in the life of TennCare, the state's Medicaid program (I wrote about TennCare's troubles almost ten years ago). With...

The Texas school board isn't as powerful as you think

Moses was a major political influence on the Founding Fathers? Scientists "disagree about what is causing climate change"? And they further predict that upcoming cooling years will counter global warming and "even things out"? These were the kind of specious claims that the Texas Board of Education debated before it voted to approve 89 textbooks and digital programs for its...

How the media gets the price of Thanksgiving dinner wrong

It's Thanksgiving, which means it's time for the American Farm Bureau Federation's report on the cost of the average Thanksgiving dinner, an annual tradition celebrated by press release rewriters (and media critics) across the land. This year the "news" is that the cost of Thanksgiving dinner will be essentially flat, rising just 0.8 percent. Which means it should be extra...

Statehouse staffing is down, but it's not all doom and gloom in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Fresh off of his successful run for the Illinois governor’s office, Bruce Rauner took a victory lap of sortRes in the state capital last week. The governor-elect made the rounds with state lawmakers and, at one point mid-morning, stepped in front of a scrum of reporters to take a few questions. He must have spotted some familiar...

What we can learn from Robert McCulloch's media condemnation

When Steve Fox's undergraduate news literacy students attended class Tuesday morning at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, they wanted to talk about how much time St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch spent blaming the media the previous night for difficulties in the investigation of the shooting of Michael Brown. Show More Summary

Why Serial is important for journalism

The hit podcast Serial, a journalist's exploration of whether a young man was wrongly convicted of murder, breaks new ground for our field. There are reams of articles and TV "newsmagazines" that expose the killers of the famous--and not so famous--in gruesome detail. Show More Summary

In Rehtaeh Parsons' case, it's press vs. Canadian law

Leah Parsons was only 13 years old when she invented the name that would echo across Canada years later. Her niece Heather had come over to play, and Parsons started to toy with her name, arranging and rearranging the syllables. Heather. Parsons mused over the word, then repeated it backwards. Rehtaeh. "I thought, 'Oh, that's kind of neat. I think...

How to report the narrow-network story

Before the second season of open enrollment on the health insurance exchanges began, I suggested six angles for reporters covering the story. As enrollment moves on through the holiday season, it’s time to take a closer look at one of those angles: narrow networks. Insurers used to keep costs down in part by denying coverage to sick people with costly...

Eric Holder's lasting damage to press freedom

The fact that outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder has prosecuted more people under the Espionage Act than all previous attorneys general combined is an inescapable legacy of his time in office. All of those cases were brought against...Show More Summary

How to use the colon

The colon is one of the most versatile punctuation marks (and organs). We use it to mark time (he arrived at 3:15 pm), identify the source of biblical passages (Psalms 23:4), in mathematical ratios (the horse is running at 12:1), and, of course, in Web addresses (, among many other places. It's in ordinary writing that the colon gets a...

Press subpoenas are a bigger problem than you'd think

By now, everyone knows the feds have been handing out record numbers of subpoenas to journalists hoping to scare them into giving up their sources. The troubles of New York Times reporter James Risen, the most well-known of these besieged journalists, remain unresolved almost seven years after the Bush administration first knocked on his door with a subpoena to...

Is this the golden age of podcasts?

The meteoric rise of podcast phenomenon Serial has placed podcasting firmly in the center of internet chatter and media attention, at a time when the media has announced a podcast renaissance and paid increased attention to the medium over the past year. Show More Summary

The Boston Globe finally digs in to a big story

The Boston Globe has, at last, dug into the big business-of-healthcare story in its state. In an important article earlier this month, the paper did a fine job probing deeply into the deal between Partners HealthCare and Attorney General...Show More Summary

My take: The end of an era in Tampa

MIAMI — The sad news out of Tampa just keeps trickling across my Facebook page. This week it was the fact that Tampa Bay Times’ Bill Duryea and Michael Kruse were leaving for Politico. Last week, it was long-time sports columnist Gary Shelton penning his last goodbye to the Times while the crosstown Tampa Tribune laid off a political columnist,...

Engaging News Project works to identify audience behavior

Industry conversation over the best ways to quantify reader engagement on news sites may be reaching fever pitch, with a possible shift afoot from clicks and pageviews to more complex measures of time and attention spent online. News...Show More Summary

A timeline of the #pointergate TV station's defense

You’ve heard all about #pointergate. And you’ve probably read or watched a few of the many, many, many pieces exploring what was wrong with a Nov. 6 local TV news segment that reported the mayor of Minneapolis had been photographed “flashing a known gang sign” with a convicted felon, and supposedly endangering her community in the process. So at this...

The press is responsible for ignoring Bill Cosby rape allegations

Photo credit: Associated Press It is a remarkable thing to see: The collapsing reputation of a star who has been part of American life for more than half a century. A month ago, Bill Cosby was a comedic and sociological icon; now his career is in shambles. A Netflix special on him will not be shown; NBC won't move...

Texas reporters fight for access to fracking facts

AUSTIN -- Earlier this month, the residents of Denton, Texas--located on one of the country's largest natural gas reserves and home to some 275 gas wells--voted to ban fracking. The ban was a first for a city in Texas, where fracking has enabled an oil and gas boom; the state now accounts for one-third of the United States' natural gas...

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