icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Journalism and journalists

Organizations, sites, and resources for journalists
· Alternative news
· Artful journalistic interviewing
· Interviewing children
· Chains, The trouble with
· Citizen journalism
· Collaborative journalism
· Covering disability, mental illness, and suicide
· Covering disaster
· Covering diversity
· Covering public and private tragedy, trauma, and abuse
· Covering sexual abuse, assault, harassment, and trauma
· Covering various other specialty beats
· Covering war
· Data journalism
· Data resources
· Fact-checking
· Financial reporting and business journalism
· Headlines, clickbait, and other audience attractors
· Investigative journalism

· Investigative journalism organizations
· Journalists on journalism
· Kill fees
· Local news (check this out!)
· Magazine markets
· Media bias, Identifying
· Media critiques and distrust of the media
· New models for newspapers and magazines
· The nut graf
· Online journalism
(plus advocacy, link, measurable, mobile, and process journalism)

· Op Eds (opinion pieces)
· Pay, gender, color, and credit gaps in journalism
· Politics and the press
· Restoring trust in the media
· Saving local news (see also The trouble with chains)
· Solutions journalism
· The truth about sponsored links and articles

(plus payola journalism)
· Unions and the press
· Useful sites, resources, pieces for journalists and news junkies
· Will journalism survive? In what form?

· Blogs and newsletters for and about journalists and the media
· Books on the craft of journalism
· Books on the journalistic essay
· Fiction and film about journalists and journalism
· Electronic newsletters for journalists and news followers
· Embargoes
· Journalism organizations
· Journalism publications
· Journalism schools, degrees, and training
· Journalists Toolbox (SPJ)

How to pitch a magazine or newspaper piece
Covering Coronavirus (aka Covid-19, the Pandemic)
Problems in the gig economy (especially AB5 and freelancers' rights)
Automotive press organizations
Cartoonists, comic book writers, and humor writing
Fake news and media literacy
Food and beverage writing
For editors and publishing professionals
Outdoor writers
Reporting on controversial scientific and medical topics (Norman Bauman)
Science and medical writing
Should political reporters be more than stenographers?
Sports journalism
Travel writing
Where journalists get their medical news and information
Whistleblowers, Protection for

See also (elsewhere on this website)
How to pitch a magazine or newspaper article
Local and regional organizations and events
Specialty and niche writing, for coverage of certain specialized topics (animals, cars, cartoonists & comic book writers, children's book publishing, food and beverage, outdoors, prison writing, sports, travel, veterans writing)
Science and medical writing, for a world of important beats, including
---Covering (and arguing about) climate change
---Covering medical beats
---Covering the opioid crisis (addiction, treatment, and recovery)
---Ethics, libel, freedom of the press (plus FOIA, protection for whistleblowers, sunshine laws, etc.)
---Getting the numbers right
---How not to misread or misreport research reports
---Problems covering government agencies
---Relationships between public information officers (PIOs) and science and medical journalists

[Back to Top]

Op Eds

(Opinion pieces, printed "opposite the editorial" page)

The Op-Ed Pages, Explained ( Remy Tumin, NY Times, 12-3-17) "The Opinion section operates editorially independently from the rest of the newspaper. It is the section’s unique mission both to be the voice of The Times, and to challenge it. The Op-Ed pages were born, in part, because of the closing of New York’s top conservative newspaper, The New York Herald Tribune. They were created to be opposite the editorial pages — and not just physically.
     “The purpose of the Op. Ed. page is neither to reinforce nor to counterbalance The Times’s own editorial position,” the introduction to the newly created opinion pages stated in 1970. “The objective is rather to afford greater opportunity for exploration of issues and presentation of new insights and new ideas by writers and thinkers who have no institutional connection with The Times and whose views will very frequently be completely divergent from our own.” Check out the New York Times Opinion page and Op Ed Columnists
The real problem with the New York Times op-ed page: it’s not honest about US conservatism (David Roberts, Vox, 3-15-18) "It wants to challenge its readers, but not with the ugly truth...Trumpist conservatism is motivated not by ideas, but by resentments."
Top 9 Conservative News and Opinion Websites (Marcus Hawkins, ThoughtCo, 6-9-2020)
Not just “elected officials and policy experts”: Top editors are trying to refocus the opinion pages on regular people (Sarah Scire, Nieman Lab,4-30-21) Editors at The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post (and one opinionated Substacker) discussed the rapid growth of opinion in online journalism. “Fact-checking, editing, and elevating different — and differing — opinions are all part of “a business strategy,” said Karen Attiah, global opinions editor for The Washington Post. “Our pages, in many ways, are facing competition from right-wing media, individual Facebook accounts, social media accounts, and other alternative forms of voices and viewpoints,” she said. “I think our challenge is to add value. We add value to the conversation with fact-checking, editing, and inclusion. I think we’re realizing that inclusion of various voices is not only a luxury, but an imperative. If we are going to remain relevant and [continue] adding value, we have to continue to uphold these standards.”
The Opinions Essay (Washington Post) See also Our favorite Washington Post op-eds of 2019 and Election 2020: Opinions
How To Write An Op-Ed Or Column (Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, 7-2012)
Op-ed Writing: Tips and Tricks (The Op-Ed Project)
Manning Up, Letting Us Down (Maureen Dowd, Opinion Columnist, NY Times, 9-11-21) Overdosing on macho after 9/11 led America astray. "A top commander in Afghanistan once told me that he was confounded about why we invaded Iraq. Weren’t we playing into Osama bin Laden’s hands by occupying two Muslim countries? Yes. But W. liked the idea of upstaging his father, an actual war hero." Links to many op eds about 9/11.
Ten simple rules for writing scientific op-ed articles ( Hoe-Han Goh and Philip Bourne, PLoS, 9-17-2020)
Writing an Op Ed (Center for Public Engagement with Science & Technlogy, American Association for the Advancement of Science) Includes links to several good op eds about science. Scroll down on page to learn more about how op-ed editors think by listening to remarks by John Timpane, commentary page editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer (click play to hear the audio).H/T to this page for excellent links to pieces about writing science op eds.
Writing for Newspaper Op-Ed Pages:A Guide To Getting Your Views Published David Jarmul, Chapter 12 from Headline News, Science Views)
What Is an Op-Ed Article? (Allena Tapia,The Balance, 7-4-2020) "They are usually longer than a regular letter to the editor, often being written by a subject matter expert or otherwise notable person with the qualifications to have an opinion (or written by someone else for them)."

[Back to Top]

Data resources and tools


The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data by David Spiegelhalter

Interrogating Data: A Science Writer’s Guide to Data Journalism (Betsy Ladyzhets, The Open Notebook, 7-28-2020) is the source of many of the following links (presented in different order):
Tabula A tool for "liberating data tables locked inside PDF files," as another writer put it.

Document Cloud "a similar tool, also boasts an open-source repository of public documents that have gone through this process."
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. For when investigative journalists need to request information from public institutions. See a FOIA primer ("Your right to data") by investigative journalist Djordje Padejski, from The Data Journalism Handbook (free, online)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Central U.S. source for health information, including data and info sheets on issues ranging from flu cases to wildfire prevention.
Climate Central "A nonprofit climate research organization that caters to local reporters and meteorologists through its Climate Matters program.
Cochran Review Search its Plain Language Summaries of health evidence.
Data Is Plural BuzzFeed News data editor Jeremy Singer-Vine's collection of “useful/curious datasets.” Sign up for additions to the collection in a free weekly newsletter.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) An "open-access biodiversity platform hosting over a million species-occurrence records from both institutions and citizen-science platforms."
Google’s Dataset Search  Search for data on any topic, with easily navigable filters for dataset formats and usage rights.
Information Is Beautiful Dedicated to data visualization, this site makes all the datasets behind its visualizations freely available."They are cleaned and updated as needed, making them easy for aspiring data journalists to explore."
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red ListEndangered species data. The IUCN Red List's application programming interface (or API) is essentially a programming platform researchers may use to download massive amounts of data in bulk. Journalists can apply for an API key to use the interface.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA: NCEI) America’s central source for weather and natural-disaster data.
World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory International data on a wide variety of health indicators.

[Back to Top]

Covering various specialty beats

Roughly alphabetical by topic but not title


 • Covering children and trauma (PDF, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)
Covering crime.  Even ethical journalism can have collateral damage (Raina Kumra, CJR, 8-1-18) Raina lost her father to a homicide during a home invasion. By some miracle, her mother survived. They endured a media circus, and the way the story was handled made her question whether Frontline’s editorial team put their own commercial and professional interests ahead of her family’s grief.
Why journalists need to think twice about reporting on arrests (Akintunde Ahmad, CJR, 10-31-19) "Americans believe violent crime is rising, despite its decline over the years. Crime is now at its lowest rate in four decades. Yet it remains the number one topic on local news. A starting point may be for daily news outlets to start publishing less about crime. Being arrested and charged is not the same as being guilty. Reporting charges without using names and photos, especially when the alleged aren’t a potential threat to the community, is fairer to those accused.
Disaster Preparedness (Cool science sites for young people, McNees site). See also 3 quick tips for debunking hoaxes in a hurricane (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource).
Covering diversity and inclusion, in the newsroom and out
Beat Reporting: Education (Deborah Potter, NewsLab)
EWA Radio Your guide to what's hot on the education reporting beat. Each week, the Education Writers Association's public editor, Emily Richmond, hosts engaging interviews with journalists about education and its coverage in the media.
EWA National Seminar (July 21-24, 2020, online) A trio of momentous forces — the coronavirus pandemic, the resulting economic meltdown, and America’s long-entrenched structural racism — have converged in 2020 to upend the U.S. education landscape. Journalists covering the education sector face a host of immediate challenges as they work to help the public understand a coming academic year like no other. EWA’s 73rd annual National Seminar will explore how these three interconnected crises have reinforced profound educational inequities, and how responses, including widespread protests of police brutality, are changing everything from preschool story time to college admissions.
Covering the environment
Covering health reform, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Covering health journalism’s various beats (Slim guides from the Association of Health Care Journalist, on Covering obesity, medical research, hospitals, the quality of health care, the health of local nursing homes, health in a multicultural society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website and data resources). Also online, archived issues of HealthBeat
How to cover drinking responsibly (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource, 6-3-19) 8 tips, including Tip #2: When reporting on alcohol-related health research, put the findings in context. Tip #7: Diversify perspectives on drinking.Tip #8: Diversify perspectives on sobriety, too.
How to cover an epidemic (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource, 11-21-17)
Covering medical beats and health care
Reporting accurately on mental health and violence (Debbie Hall, NewsLab)
Covering the opioid crisis: Addiction, treatment, and recovery
Covering Pandemic Flu (Nieman)
Reporting on immigration? (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource) Choose your sources responsibly.
Covering immigration in a private contractor’s world (Natalie Yahr, CJR, 10-15-19) The growing role of contractors threatens the public’s right to know, as government agencies employing private contractors routinely dodge public-records requests by claiming that contractor-related documents are trade secrets. “It’s a fuzzy area of the law,” Townsend says of whether contractors are subject to public-records laws.... Open the Government, a coalition that advocates for government transparency and accountability, is rallying support for Senator Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) Private Prison Information Act, which would require that private facilities detaining federal prisoners follow the same disclosure rules as public prisons.
Covering Indian Country: How an Outsider Gets In (Steve Magagnini, Nieman Reports)
Covering Indigenous Communities with Respect and Sensitivity (Debra Utacia Krol, The Open Notebook, 6-18-19) After some media outlets misreported—and even distorted—one tribe's objections to placing a 500-foot, red-and-white bull’s-eye on the valley floor to train pilots, subsequent tribal leaders retreated to a 150-year-long tradition of being silent about their 10,000-year-old culture, and they decided to quit interacting with media. This wasn't an isolated incident.
Apocalypse Then and Now: How Indigenous stories test the limits of journalism (Julian Brave NoiseCat,Columbia Journalism Review, Winter 2020) "Indigenous experiences and perspectives challenge the notion that a press corps equipped with notepads and recorders can capture the whole truth. More often than not, I’m convinced that reality defies the disciplined space of stories, waging an epistemic resistance against the tyranny of language, text, and form—something we Indians can relate to."
Covering poverty: What to avoid and how to get it right (Denise-Marie Ordway and Heather Bryant, Journalist's Resource)
Reporting on Religion: a Primer on Journalism's Best Beat (Religion Link, an archive and database of sources, resources and story ideas for journalists, from the Religion News Foundation). See also Religion Links Reporting Guides (on Sexual and Gender Minorities & Religion in Sub-Saharan Africa; hate speech; Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism; Orthodox Christianity; Judaism; Hinduism; and Protestant Christianity.
Covering rural America: What reporters get wrong and how to get it right (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource, 5-14-18)
Covering tragedies (PDF, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma)
As California burns again, news outlets neglect climate change again (Jon Allsop, CJR, 10-29-19) Linking a specific disaster to climate change is really hard, and fires in California are especially complex. But news outlets’ failures to consistently mention climate change in such stories—even just once—are troubling.
What journalists miss when covering the California fires (Justin Ray, CJR, 11-1-19) Among many angles that could be included in coverage, Prison inmates who put their lives on the line to fight wildfires earn between $2.90 and $5.12 per day--a pittance. Ray mentions several others.
Covering Wildfires (Cheryl Clark, @CherClarHealth, Covering Health, AHCJ, 10-30-19) offers tips to keep yourself safe covering wildfires.
How to Use Reporting Skills from Any Beat for Science Journalism (Aneri Pattani, The Open Notebook, 4-24-18) You can read in Spanish. See also Science and medical writing (a full section).
Tracking journalist stoppages at the US border (Kirstin McCudden, CJR, 10-21-19) The US Press Freedom Tracker, a nonpartisan research tool that collects data on the obstruction of journalists’ rights, has reported hundreds of cases of journalists targeted with arrests, subpoenas, and physical assaults. Dozens of cases, like Watson’s, involve journalists at the border who are aggressively questioned, harassed, or pulled aside for secondary screening while they go through what should be the mundane process of customs and passport control. Sometimes, journalists’ devices—phones, computers, cameras—are searched during these screenings

Covering Unidentified Flying Objects [aka unidentified aerial phenomena [UAPs]) (PDF, Center for Skeptical Inquiry, "Tips for Media in Covering UFO/UAP Claims") See also Responding to Claims about Alien UFOs: A Brief List of Resources on the Web (PDF, Andrew Fraknoi, Fromm Institute, U. of San Francisco)

Beat Reporting: What Does It Take to Be the Best? (Chip Scanlan, Poynter, 12-31-02)

"Courage is not an absence of fear; courage is fear walking."~ Susan David

[Back to Top]

Covering War

Historian Barbara W. Tuchman on the “Art of Writing” (Douglas E. Abrams, San Joaquin County Bar Association, 9-1-15) "In October of 1962, the world stood on the brink of war as the United States demanded dismantling of offensive medium-range nuclear missile sites that the Soviet Union was constructing in Cuba, potentially within striking range of American cities. From behind-the-scenes accounts, we know that a new book by historian Barbara W. Tuchman, a private citizen who held no government position, contributed directly to the negotiated outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis as the world watched and waited. After chronicling Tuchman’s contribution, this article discusses her later public commentary about what she called the “art of writing,” commentary that holds valuable lessons for lawyers who write for clients and causes."
The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war (Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, 12-9-19)

---Part 1: At War with the Truth. U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation found. "We don't invade poor countries to make them rich.We don't invade authoritarian countries to make them democratic. We invade violent countries to make them peaceful and we clearly failed in Afghanistan." ~ James Dobbins, former U.S. diplomat
--- Part 2: Stranded without a strategy Bush and Obama had polar-opposite plans to win the war. Both were destined to fail. Conflicting objectives dogged the war from the start.
---Part 3: Built to fail Despite vows the U.S. wouldn’t get mired in ‘nation-building,’ it’s wasted billions doing just that
---Part 4: Consumed by corruption The U.S. flooded the country with money — then turned a blind eye to the graft it fueled
---Part 5: Unguarded nation Afghan security forces, despite years of training, were dogged by incompetence and corruption
---Part 6: Overwhelmed by opium The U.S. war on drugs in Afghanistan has imploded at nearly every turn
---The War in Afghanistan: A visual timeline of the 18-year conflict (12-9-19)
---Explore the documents In a cache of previously unpublished interviews and memos, key insiders reveal what went wrong during the longest armed conflict in U.S. history
--- ‘We didn’t know what the task was’ Hear candid interviews with former ambassador Ryan Crocker and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
--- What we learned from the Afghanistan Papers. (Elizabeth N. Saunders, 12-11-19) Experts’ key takeaways on the war in Afghanistan.
--- Responses from people featured in The Afghanistan Papers
Lessons to Be Learned from the Afghanistan Papers (James Carroll, New Yorker, 12-12-19)

Looking for Calley (Seymour M. Hersh, Harpers, June 2018) How a young journalist found Lt. William L. Calley Jr. and untangled the riddle of My Lai. An excellent account of investigative reporting--an account that helped turn the country against the Vietnam War.
Getting Away With Murder: ‘Clash’ as Media Euphemism for ‘Massacre’ (Alan MacLeod, FAIR, 12-13-19) After deposing Evo Morales in a US-backed coup November 11, Bolivia’s military selected Jeanine Añez as president. Añez immediately signed a decree pre-exonerating security forces of all crimes during their “re-establishment of order,” understood by all sides as a license to kill. Those same forces have now conducted massacres of Morales supporters near the cities of Cochabamba and La Paz. Corporate media have been laundering and obscuring the reality of the situation by referring to these events as “clashes.”
      “'Clash' is an oft-used and highly convenient word for corporate media when they have to report on violence, but, for whatever reason, do not want to assign responsibility to any party for initiating it. This could sometimes be because they are treading carefully, unsure of the full context, but, as FAIR has noted before..., the term is chronically employed to obscure who instigated the violence, launder power asymmetry, and give the impression of two equally culpable sides. As Adam Johnson wrote..., “‘Clash’ is a reporter’s best friend when they want to describe violence without offending anyone in power.”
Reporting War (PDF, Dart Center--recommendations for meeting the emotional challenges of covering war, from a group of seasoned veterans)
10 rules for reporting on war trauma survivors (Carmen Nobel, Journalists' Resource, 8-9-18)
Reporting From the War Zone: Why Conflict Journalism Matters (Nan Peterson, The Daily Signal, 12-18-16) While most news outlets have cut back on their foreign coverage, The Daily Signal has remained committed to covering the war in Ukraine--a war that, tragically, still feels like a secret.
Jo Freeman's review which made me want to read the book: The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage and Justice by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Rigorously reported and powerfully told, The Daughters of Kobani shines a light on a group of women intent on not only defeating the Islamic State on the battlefield but also changing women's lives in their corner of the Middle East (Syria) and beyond.
The Risks and Rewards of Reporting in a War Zone (Scott Simon, Weekend Edition, NPR, 8-23-14)
Return to Ward 17: Making peace with lost comrades (Dean Yates, Reuters Investigates, 4-18-18) "During my first hospitalisation in Ward 17 in 2016, I learned how I’d developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from years of covering war, terrorist attacks and natural disasters in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for Reuters....But I did not make peace with the event that really drove me into mental hell. I was only starting to comprehend the moral dimension of losing Namir and Saeed," two Iraqis, "for what I saw as my complicity in their deaths."
The Paper Trail Through History (Jennifer Schuessler, NY Times on Books, 12-16-12). Ben Kafka in his book The Demon of Writing: Powers and Failures of Paperwork, "traces the modern age of paperwork to the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which guaranteed citizens the right to request a full accounting of the government." (He writes of one clerk in France who in 1794 is said to have saved hundreds of people from the guillotine by disappearing the relevant paperwork.) Lisa Gitelman, who is writing a book about the history of documents, points out that photocopying (as Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon Papers), is one aspect of document leaking that historians have not paid attention to, but “Even though we think of copying now as perfunctorily ripping something off, [Ellsberg] was expressing himself by Xeroxing.”

Beyond Boko Haram: Pictures from Nigeria (Laura Beltrán Villamizar, Nieman Storyboard, 6-7-18) When learning about Nigeria in the news, we hardly ever get to see the work of Nigerian storymakers. Photojournalist Rahima Gambo invited schoolgirls to collaborate with her to create images reflecting intimate moments of joy and playfulness that challenge our perceptions of victimhood and war. “There are some horrific things happening in my country,” says Gambo. “I can give you the facts and figures and historical info on why this is happening, but what I am trying to do now is communicate an experience, the feelings that I have gone through while being there. What is crucial here is asking different questions and not expecting specific answers. That is when stories have an impact.”
•  Memoirs of war and conflict (a reading list)

•  Writing personal stories about war (on McNees site)

[Back to Top]

Alternative news

what the mainstream media doesn't cover

Top 10 Alternative Media List (Adam Rosszay, Citizen's Cafe, 1-29-18) Descriptions and links for

---Abby Martin — The Empire Files (what corporate media don't share)

---Chris Hedges (politics and current events)

---The Corbett Report ("conspiracy theories"--be prepared to go down the rabbit hole)

---Rogue Money (Rosszay's #1 'talk radio' daily news update)

---Signs of the Times (or sott.net, The World for People Who Think -- news and commentary on world events)

---South Front (geopolitical and military analysis of hotspots around the world, with focus on the Middle East)

---SGT Report ("corporate propaganda antidote" that focused initally on economic and precious metal news)
---Truthstream Media ("what in the hell is really going on," with excellent video)

---X22 Report (economic collapse and geopolitical news)

---Zero Hedge (economic news).

TomDispatch.com ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media")
When American Media Was (Briefly) Diverse (Danielle A. Jackson, Longreads, 9-4-19) An economic downturn in 2008 shuttered numerous publications and further marginalized people of color in an already minimally integrated industry. But in the 90’s and early-aughts, multicultural publications flourished, providing an alternative model for journalism that bears remembering.
12 Honest News Sites Way Better Than Mainstream Media (Chere Di Boscio, Eluxe Magazine) Describing

---The Anti-Media

---Consortium News

---The Corbett Report

---Global Research

---Media Roots

---Moon of Alabama
---The Off Guardian

---The Rubin Report


---Truth In Media

---21st Century Wire

---We Are Change
The Last American Vagabond (another set of links and descriptions, with some of the same sites and some others)
Alternative News Sites (World-Newspapers.com) An even longer list, with brief descriptions.
VAMP: Virtual Alternative Media Guide (University of Kentucky Libraries) A research guide to online alternative media resources. See also its Other guides to alt media
Infoshop ("Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth") A general resource on anarchism.
Key Dimensions of Alternative News Media (Kristoffer Holt, Tine Ustad Figenschou & Lena Frischlich, Digital Journalism, 2019) An academic look at the topic.

[Back to Top]

Headlines, clickbait, and audience grabbers

"If it bleeds, it leads."
Bad news is a headline; gradual improvement is not. (paraphrasing Bill Gates)

"People often think that reporters write their own headlines. In fact, they almost never do. The people who do write headlines are the copy editors who are the front and last lines of quality-checking in a newspaper before it goes to print." --Jennifer Lee

The secrets of great headline writing (David Marsh, The Guardian, 1-9-14) "In the old days (the 1990s) we just used to write funny or apt headlines without giving much thought to the reader. SEO [search engine optimization] has changed that...But the dangers of SEO are that it can make headlines too dull and prosaic...or not dull enough....The technology may have changed but the headline writer's art is still to summarise an article in a way that draws the reader in."
5 tips for writing better health news headlines (HealthNewsReview, 4-7-16) (1) Learn the difference between association and causality. (2) Watch those “X may/might do Y” style headlines. Etc.
The Secret to Writing Great Headlines for Your News Stories (Tony Rogers, ThoughtCo., 1-14-19) "Headline size is determined by three parameters: the width, defined by the number of columns the hed will have; the depth, the meaning is the head one line or two (known by editors as a "single deck" or a "double deck";) and the font size. Headlines can run anywhere from something small - say 18 point - all the way up to banner front-page heds that can be 72 points or bigger....So if you're assigned to write a five-column, two-line, 28 point double-deck hed, you know you're going to have a lot more room to work with that if you're given a two-column, one-line hed in a 36 point font."
When it comes to chasing clicks, journalists say one thing but feel pressure to do another (Angèle Christin, Nieman Lab, 8-28-14) "The obsession with clicks is said to be responsible for a degradation of online content: clickbait headlines, listicles of best burger places, and videos of adorable kittens that do little to turn readers into enlightened citizens.... Should journalists be shielded from traffic pressures? Or should they be encouraged to maximize page views?"
Headlines editors probably wish they could take back (the lower case, Columbia Journalism Review). Archives of a popular column. Sample: "Doctor: No heart, cognitive issues. But Trump needs to reduce his cholesterol, lose weight."
#unfortunateheadlines Twitter thread. Sample: NPR Politics: "Races Expected To Be Close In Alabama, Mississippi”
Story about genetic testing company’s problems shows how good reporting stands up to criticism (Joseph Burns, Covering Health, AHCJ, 11-17-17) "In December 2016, Charles Piller (@cpiller), the west coast editor for Stat, reported that a genetic test to identify patients who could be prone to addiction lacked a firm scientific basis. With an eye-opening headline, “Called ‘hogwash,’ a gene test for addiction risk exploits opioid fears,” the article raised important questions about the Proove Opioid Risk test from Proove Biosciences in Irvine, Calif. See also Editor details the challenges of covering genetic testing companies that make dubious claims (Joseph Burns, AHCJ 11-15-17).

The Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Powerful Headlines (Neil Patel) "Step #1: Use specific numbers & data in your headline. Numbers are like 'brain candy'--the brain is receptive to numbers (especially odd numbers). Give them reasons to click: tips, reasons, lessons, tricks, etc.
How Headlines Change the Way We Think (Maria Konnikova, New Yorker, 12-17-14) "By now, everyone knows that a headline determines how many people will read a piece, particularly in this era of social media. But, more interesting, a headline changes the way people read an article and the way they remember it. The headline frames the rest of the experience. A headline can tell you what kind of article you’re about to read—news, opinion, research, LOLcats—and it sets the tone for what follows....almost every journalist has experienced the aggravation of having readers give aggrieved, enraged, dismissive, or, really, any other type of negative reaction to an article based solely on a headline.
• Focus on the "whos," not the "whys." Want to intrigue your audience? Focus on the "who": Headlines including the word "who" generated a 22% higher CTR than headlines without it.' --Corey Wainwright, How to Write Catchy Headlines and Blog Titles Your Readers Can't Resist (Hubspot, 10-13)
ACES announces 2017 Headline Contest winners (4-27-18) ACES: The Society for Editing holds an annual headline contest (search for ACES headline contest winners and a year for past winners). For 2017, winners (with sample headlines) included “Six Personalities Walked Into a Risk Assessment . . . Optimizing Evaluations by Addressing Personality Types” (James Tehrani, Sphera Solutions), “Prada sells $185 paper clip, and Twitter can’t hold it together” (Gael Cooper, CNET.com), “Murder with no body will be tried with no jury” (Rich Mills, Omaha World-Herald), “Protests make Washington's port-a-potty industry flush” (Washington Post), “Ferris State: Where the students are salty, but the sidewalks are not” (Torch, Ferris State University).
"After I do my first writing of the day, I will generally look at Twitter and Google News - and that's my big media secret. I look at Twitter and I look at Google because they pull all the headlines from other websites." --Daniel Mallory Ortberg

[To Top]

Artful Journalistic Interviewing

In Conversation: Terry Gross (David Marchese, Vulture.com, 1-10-18) The Fresh Air host on the art of the Q&A, the guest that most surprised her, and how she salvages a tanking interview. "I'm not the kind of person who's doing interviews to be friends with the guests. I’m not trying to prove that I’m smart or funny. I just want the guests to say things of value. I want them to be interesting and I want them to say things that our listeners will want to hear without being embarrassed or harmed."
Terry Gross Talks with David Remnick (live interview at the New Yorker Festival, Oct. 2019) Terry talks about how she first found her way to the microphone, the role of feminism in establishing NPR, the limits of her expertise, and what she has had to give up to prepare for serious conversations day after day.
Stephen Colbert's interview with Barack Obama (YouTube video) Stephen Colbert's interview with the iconic former president is a perfect example of how two people can engage in a conversation that makes readers curious enough to spring for his expensive memoir, A Promised Land . Humor and personal stories make the book seem human.
What journalists need to know when interviewing a transgender person (Bethany Grace Howe, Nieman Storyboard, 6-24-21) A transgender activist and former journalist urges reporters to move past the bathroom question and other false stereotypes.
How to Talk to People, According to Terry Gross (Jolie Kerr, NY Times, 11-17-18) The NPR host offers eight spicy tips for having better conversations. The secret to being a good conversationalist? Curiosity.“Tell me about yourself,” a.k.a the only icebreaker you’ll ever need.
Mastering the awkward art of the interview (Ioana Burtea, The Power of Storytelling, Nieman Storyboard, 10-25-19) Longform podcaster Max Linsky's five rules for getting people to open up on air. “I know in the first third I want to talk about where they grew up, second third about a book they wrote or an article, last third maybe is whatever I perceive their great anxiety to be. I want to know where I’m going, but I have no road-map other than that.” This forces him to listen, be present and ask follow-up questions. “I’ve found it’s much more effective than walking in with a whole arc of questions. No matter how much you prepare, the person is going to surprise you anyway.” “Your job is to get the best out of them. And a lot of times, the best way to do that is to ask a simple question that’s straightforward.”
Better questions = better journalism (David Beard, Morning Media Wire, Poynter, 5-11-18) 'At a Poynter seminar this week, a Pulitzer-winning journalist told her charges that the Mueller-Trump tussle for information has placed key techniques before all reporters and editors. They are valuable enough to share with all. Robert Mueller’s legal team knows how to ask questions in a way to glean intent and insight, says Jacqui Banaszynski, who has taught best practices of news thinking for decades in the newsroom or university. Most of the 40-some questions for Trump on interference in the 2016 elections, leaked to New York Times, began with “What” or “How.” Those entry points are less judgmental than “Why,” she told students — and more valuable than the “Where” and “When” questions that Mueller already knows.' See
The Questions Mueller Wants to Ask Trump About Obstruction, and What They Mean (Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt, NY Times, 4-30-18) "The questions show the special counsel’s focus on obstruction of justice and touch on some surprising other areas."
The Art of Conversation: Studs Terkel Radio Archive In his 45 years on WFMT radio, Studs Terkel talked to the 20th century’s most interesting people. Browse the growing archive of more than 1,200 programs.
The benefits of calling sources (Pete Croatto, The Writer, 11-22-19) To write better stories, conquer your hang-ups and pick up the phone. "I tend to talk quickly. I stammer. But I sound like a human being. That makes me relatable instead of slick, which leads to a better conversation."
Interviewing for Career-Spanning Profiles (Alla Katsnelson, The Open Notebook, NASW, 3-27-18) A successful profile weaves together three parallel timelines that make up a subject’s life, says Jacqui Banaszynski, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist: the subject’s basic biography and “résumé stuff,” defining personal moments in the person’s life, and "the social and historical context of their work."
How to Conduct Difficult Interviews (Mallory Pickett, The Open Notebook, NASW, 12-11-18) It's okay to be nervous, but it's essential to be prepared. Interviews with the main subject of an investigative (especially a potentially confrontational interview) shouldn’t be about fact-finding. Fight hard to get all sides of a story. Get everyone's perspective. Read about the "No Surprises" letter BuzzFeed News sends out to people and institutions targeted in investigative stories. And see A Cheat Sheet for Difficult Interviews
Reporting 101: When Doing the Interviewing, Don’t Act So Smart (Jack Limpert, About Editing and Writing, 5-14-18) Larry Van Dyne, whose forte was explanatory journalism, always did a lot of reading before an interview and was well informed, but didn't show it. He "always asked lots of open-ended questions, especially at the front end of an interview (‘Tell me a little about such and such’). And lots of what you might call dumb questions...Since I already knew lots about the subject, these open-ended and sometimes dumb questions also revealed if the interviewee was evasive or not telling the truth.”

[Back to Top]

Q&A: Ira Glass on structuring stories, asking hard questions (The Editors, CJR and MaximumFun.org, 6-22-2017). "Ira: I’ve said this many times in many places, but the structure of stories on our show in this kind of narrative journalism is there’s plot and then there are ideas. And those are the two elements that you’re constantly monitoring to know whether or not you’ve got them....What you want is one thing leads to the next leads to the next leads the next and the reason why we do that is because once you have any sequence of actions in order of like, this happened and then this happened and this happened that creates narrative suspense because you wonder what happened next. And once you have narrative suspense, it just makes the entire project of getting somebody to listen to a story or listen to anything you’re saying so much easier because they just want to find out what’s going to happen. And then you can just take them on a journey and walk them through all kinds of feelings and ideas—even on subjects that they don’t think they want to hear about—you know, because they just get caught up in like wait like what happened next?"..."And if you have something bad to say about somebody, you say it to their face so they get to give their side of it. And, and so partly it’s just basic Journalism 101: You need to get their side of it." Tricks of the trade, such as, The Question That Always Works: ":ow did you think it was going to work out before it happened? And then how did it really work out." (The first of a series of conversations with "some of the world's great interviewers," hosted by NPR's Jesse Thorn, for the podcast The Turnaround.
Q&A: Larry King on asking simple questions and listening closely (NPR’s Jesse Thorn, The Turnaround, Columbia Journalism Review, 7-7-17) "when the Gulf War was on, and we would have guests on every night associated with the war: writers, politicians, generals. And I always asked the same question: What happened today? I wasn’t there. You were there. You were covering it. What happened? That’s the simplest question in the world. Why’d you do this? What happened?"
• In another Turnaround segment, Jesse Thorn interviews Dick Cavett (1-9-18) 'Before Cavett launched his show, he received a call from Jack Paar, who gave him this piece of advice: "Don't do interviews...make it a conversation."' Read and listen to more Turnaround interviews (play and/or read transcript) with Ira Glass, Susan Orlean, Marc Maron, Audie Cornish, Larry King, Brooke Gladstone, Errol Morris, Jerry Springer, Anna Sale, Combat Jack, Louis Theroux, Katie Couric, Ray Suarez, Werner Herzog, and Terry Gross. A goldmine.
Loosening Lips: The Art of the Interview (Eric Nalder, Seattle Times). Orig. for Seattle Times (Dec. 2008); here, PBS.
5(ish) Questions: Texas journalist Krys Boyd and the art of the radio interview (Krys Boyd, Nieman Storyboard, 9-26-17) The longtime host of "Think" talks about preparing for her daily show, and how radio is a form of oral storytelling. "I go into every interview with a plan, but I have to be listening carefully to what my subject is telling me and how they’re telling their story. Sometimes if you notice that someone is reluctant to speak, you have to accommodate your style in a way that makes it clear that you’re listening. I don’t think I demonstrate to every guest that I agree with everything they say to me, but I always want them to know that I’m listening, and I genuinely want to understand what they have to say to me."
The Art of the Interview (TED Talk by Marc Pachter, former head of the National Portrait Gallery, discussing his living self-portrait series--a series of interviews with amazing people--and the secrets to successful interviews).
Interviewing (Teen Reporter Handbook, Radio Diaries)
So What Do You Do, James Lipton, Creator and Host of Inside the Actor's Studio? (Amanda Ernst's interview for Media Bistro, 4-4-12)
The Mike Wallace Interview (read and listen to some classic Sixty Minutes interviews by the master, as archived by the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin)
Taking Good Notes: Tricks and Tools (Editors, The Open Notebook 12-6-2011) Science’s online news editor David Grimm offers a trove of advice on note-taking, which he assembled for students at Johns Hopkins University’s science writing master’s program, where he is on the faculty. Grimm polled colleagues about the best way to take notes during interviews and shares their advice.

[Back to Top]

Interviewing for Career-Spanning Scientist Profiles (Alla Katsnelson, The Open Notebook, 3-27-18) When done well, “legacy” profiles reveal something that’s usually hidden: how the swirl of a person’s inner world connects with the accomplishments they make in their outer world. For every answer you get, ask five more questions, says Banaszynski. “The first answer will probably be very general. Stay in the moment and peel it back.” Ask about Turning Points, Failures, and Oddball Details. Download A Crowd-Sourced Cheat-Sheet for Career-Spanning Profile Interviews.
Our Favorite Mike Wallace Stories (60 Minutes Overtime)
The Art of the Interview, Dale Keiger's presentation at the CASE Editors' Forum (3-30-09)
Elizabeth Arnold on Interviewing (The Transom Review)

The Art of the Interview, ESPN-Style (David Folkenflik, NPR, 8-14-06)
Tips for interviewing people with disabilities (National Center on Disability and Journalism). This blog led me to that useful page: Some do’s and don’ts when interviewing people with disabilities (Tara Haelle, Covering Health, Association of Health Care Journalists, 10-10-17)
Krista Tippett's Master Class on the Art of Conversation ($, +Acumen, listen on demand)
Katie Couric on how to conduct a good interview (YouTube Reporters' Center, 6-26-09) "You need to use your questions as a template but you have to be willing to listen and really veer off in a different direction. I can't stand it when people don't have an ability to do that."
Beyond Question: Learning the Art of the Interview (Sandhya Nankani and Holly Epstein Ojalvo, The Learning Network, NY Times 9-20-10) How do interviewers craft and pose questions? How can questions open doors to information, shed light on important subjects and invite subjects to open up?
The interviewee's right to "edit" a transcript or story (Pat McNees)
The Art of Interviewing: How Journalists Can Get the Best Out of an Interview (Newspaper Publishing, Suite 101)
Tips for interviewing people with disabilities ( National Center on Disability and Journalism) The Best Tip: Ask the expert — the person you are interviewing.
Mary Pat Flaherty on interviewing and writing (Patrick Cassidy's Investigative Reporting webpage)
Secrets to a Successful Interview (Valerie Holladay, ancestry.com, 1-1-05)

[Back to Top]

Pat McNees's links to good interview questions and guides online
What to ask in a life story or oral history interview (on a somewhat different tack, but helpful links)
The Sarah Lacy/Mark Zuckerberg Fiasco Has Deep Meaning For Social Media. (Bruce Nussbaum, Bloomberg Business, 3-12-08) On what happens when the interviewer considers herself the expert and ignores the audience.
Paris Review "Writers at Work" Interviews (selections from 1953 on, a gift to the world, and with a single click you can view a manuscript page with the writer's edits)
You Don't Say Ann Hornaday's piece about reinventing the celebrity interview (Washington Post, 8-5-07)
Academy of Achievement (a museum of living history--with archives of interviews in the arts, business, public service, sports, and so on)
Archive of American Television (chronicling electronic media history as it evolves)
Charlie Rose archives (you could spend months listening--and learn a lot)
The Interview Archive (BBC)
Modern Writers (BBC Interviews with remarkable authors, not available to listeners in U.S.)

[Back to Top]

The Art of Cross-Examination by Francis Wellman (Macmillan, 2004) Read free online through Project Gutenberg.
Help with emotional interviews (Chip Scanlan, Poynter, 2-23-05, updated 3-2-11) See also Lessons Learned: Handling Emotional Interviews, Part 2
Out of the Shadows: Reporting on Intimate Partner Violence (Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia Journalism School, 10-21/22-2011)
Great interview questions and guides (www.PatMcNees.com) Links to excellent sets of questions for life story or oral history interviews.
The Art and Technology of Interviewing Moderator James McGrath Morris and panelists Claudia Dreifus, Brian Jay Jones, and John Brady (BIO virtual conference, 2021) presented similar views about successful interviewing in this panel. They agreed that a biographer should find out as much as they can about the interviewee and be equally prepared when something unexpected arises in the conversation and pursue that topic.
Remote Interviewing Resources (Oral History Association, 8-27-2020) Many many useful pages. Remarkable and very helpful. See, for example, among many pages: Advice on oral history interviewing during the Covid-19 pandemic , or this decision tree or Considerations for Choosing an In-Person vs. Remote Interview. With useful sections on equipment, such as Recording platforms.
Still Life with Dick Van Dyke (Marian Sandmaier, Penn Gazette, 4-19-19) A comic superstar, a shy writer, and an unexpected epiphany.
• Finally, I find myself curious about "forensic interviewing." Have any of you been to one of these workshops? Mastering Inductive Interviewing Sheriff Ray Nash talks about his reliable and comprehensive system. Here are some of the topics, from a workshop pitch:The Working Definition of a Lie; Why People Lie; Overview of the Six-Phase Inductive Interview Process; Seven Virtues of an Interviewer; Avoiding the “Shut Down”; Six Objectives of Rapport; The Importance of Rapport and How to Build it Rapidly; Identifying the “Baseline Norm”; Detecting Imbalance in the Narrative; Chronologies and Detecting “Missing Time”; Word Cues: Extra words, use of passive voice, of the word "then," of the word "never," of the word "left," of the word "actually," and shift to present tense.
•  The Dark Art of Interrogation (Mark Bowden, The Atlantic, Oct. 2003)  The most effective way to gather intelligence and thwart terrorism can also be a direct route into morally repugnant terrain. A survey of the landscape of persuasion

[Back to Top]

Covering sexual abuse, assault, harassment,  trauma

Boy Scouts of America Files for Bankruptcy As It Faces Hundreds of Sex-Abuse Claims (Laurel Wamsley, Morning Edition, NPR, 2-18-2020) The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, a sign of the century-old organization's financial instability as it faces some 300 lawsuits from men who say they were sexually abused as Scouts.
How letting sources lead transformed my reporting on survivors of sexual assault (Samantha Caiola, Center for Health Journalism, 10-20-2020)
After Being Harassed and Pushed Out of a Shell Oil Refinery, This Woman Pushed Back (Zahra Hirhi, Buzzfeed, 8-6-19) Ciara Newton had her dream job at a Shell refinery. But she was fired after enduring months of harassment, including sexist comments from supervisors and a lewd sticker. "Despite the industry’s public efforts to recruit women, and the energy of the #MeToo movement, critics say the culture at oil and gas refineries is nearly as toxic now as it was 30 years ago."
Reporting Sexual Assault: Why Survivors Often Don’t (Fact Sheet, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault)
Abortion: A highly politicized issue (articles about women's reproductive rights)
Believed: “The Parents” and “What Have You Done?” (Kate Wells, Lindsey Smith, Jennifer Guerra, Sarah Hulett, Alison MacAdam, Juliet Hinely, Zoe Clark, Vincent Duffy, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, 4-8-19) These two episodes of the ambitious podcast "Believed" – “The Parents” and “What Have You Done?” – focus on Larry Nassar’s victims and their families, exploring the complicated, conflicted emotions that can persist when people are victimized by a seemingly known and trusted person. Judges recognized the "enormous trust" the reporters built with everyone they interviewed, allowing the survivors and parents to “reveal their deepest regrets and vulnerabilities,” and calling the end result "intimate," "revelatory," and "profound." Originally published by Michigan Radio in January 2018.
Interviewing Sources about Traumatic Experiences (Sophie Hardach, The Open Notebook, 7-16-19) Advice based on interviews with other journalists. "Ruth Blue is an oral historian who co-recorded interviews with thalidomide survivors for the Wellcome Library in London. Oral history differs from journalism; for example, Blue's interviewees checked their transcripts before publication. But some of the techniques used by oral historians, such as letting a source speak freely for as long as they want, are worth considering for difficult interviews."
Covering Campus Rape and Sexual Assault A Dart Center tip sheet for college media advisors, editors and student journalists.
Covering Child Sexual Abuse ( Shelagh Beckett, Jeanny Gering, Sarah Heke, Olly Lambert, Katharine Quarmby, Alex Renton, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma) Shared tactics for interviewing victims of childhood trauma.
Reporting on Sexual Violence (Dart Center for Journalism & trauma, 7-15-11)
The Story Is the Survivor: Reporting on Sexual Assault Guest speaker Claudia Garcia-Rojas at a Women’s eNews event last week on best practices in reporting on rape and sexual violence. Her presentation centered on the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women’s toolkit: Reporting on Rape and Sexual Violence: A Media Toolkit for Local and National Journalists to Better Media Coverage
How News Is "Framed" (Sara Tiegreen, Elana Newman, Dart Center tip sheet, 4-1-08) How news stories, traumatic and otherwise, are "framed," finding a general absence of context and recommending avenues for future research.
The Effect of News "Frames" (Sara Tiegreen, Elana Newman, Dart Center tip sheet) Current scholarship on how different, contextual approaches to reporting news influence consumers’ knowledge, perceptions and opinions, and the implications for researchers and for journalists.
Denied Justice (Brandon Stahl, Jennifer Bjorhus, MaryJo Webster, Renée Jones Schneider, Abby Simons, Dave Hage, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, Columbia University, 4-8-19). Originally published by the Star Tribune. This deeply reported multimedia project explores the failure of Minnesota’s policing and courts to serve rape and sexual assault victims.
Sexual Misconduct Procedures (Office of Student Conduct, Georgetown University)
An Unbelievable Story of Rape: Reporting the Complicated Truth A conversation with T. Christian Miller, senior reporter for ProPublica, and Ken Armstrong, writer for The Marshall Project, who peeled back the layers of their 2016 Pulitzer Prize winning investigative project. The story: An Unbelievable Story of Rape (by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Ken Armstrong, The Marshall Project, 12-16-15)
Let's Talk: Personal Boundaries, Safety & Women in Journalism (Dart Center, 12-6-17) Sexual harassment is at the top of the news agenda, and every industry - from politics to arts and entertainment to journalism - is being called to account. Like so many of their counterparts in other fields, women journalists contend with unwanted presumptions and the threat of gender-based violence. The Dart Center asked nine leading women in journalism to share their experiences and to reflect on their own best practices.
Reinvestigating Rape: Old Evidence, New Answers (Rachel Dissell, Dart Center, 8-7-14) A growing number of communities across the country are wrestling with how to deal with rape kit backlogs. In this in-depth report, Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter and 2008 Dart Award Winner Rachel Dissell answers common questions about rape kit testing, and provides useful links, resources and questions that reporters can pose to authorities following the reopening of thousands of sexual assault cases nationwide. Read the Plain Dealer's Reinvestigating Rape project, reported by Dissell and her colleague Leila Atassi, and Tips on Reinvestigating Rape.

[To Top]

New models for newspapers and magazines

From Dean Baquet and Joe Kahn: The Year Ahead (Dean Baquet, The New York Times’s executive editor, and Joe Kahn, the managing editor) Their intro to, and high points from, the full report of the 2020 Group. (Covering Trump and the new world order, Reinvent editing, Present a more visual daily report, Expand training, Create thematic teams, Get serious about talent, Prioritize diversity and get results, Reinvent features, Redesign the print paper, Beef up the print hub, Launch an innovation team. Read Journalism That Stands Apart: The Report of the 2020 Group, January 2017 The full report, by a team of seven New York Times journalists, outlines the newsroom’s strategy and aspirations.
The strategic brilliance of Slate's pivot to podcasts (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter). Subscribe here and check out Index of case studies (available to paid subscribers).
Life After Print: How 3 Magazines Are Navigating Their New Business Models (Beth Braverman, Folio, 5-21-19) The print-to-digital transition has proven for some publications to be more of a rebirth, especially when they diversify to additional channels, like events and TV. With Self, the "first step was to eliminate social news writing aimed solely at generating clicks....Focusing on quality and differentiation over quantity and empty clicks has increased our engagement." They are also targeting a younger audience, and profiting from special issues, affiliate revenue and licensing product lines. With WWD, "speed matters (sometimes)," and a shift to the global fashion industry increased overseas sales....Government Executive chose to branch out and to segment the market, launching DefenseOne, covering the defense industry in 2013, and RouteFifty, covering state and local governments in 2016.
FiveThirtyEight and the End of Average (Stratechery.com, 3-17-14)
Testing news paywalls: Which are leaky, and which are airtight? (Ariel Stulberg, CJR, 5-23-17) It's widely known but rarely acknowledged. Most news paywalls are full of holes, that allow readers more access. In general, it’s the Times’s “soft” model, unlimited exceptions and all, that has prevailed. (A how-to for low-budget readers?)
Riding the Juggernaut That Left Print Behind (David Carr, Business, NY Times, 7-21-14) "Nothing can compete with the shimmering immediacy of now, and not just when seismic events take place, but in our everyday lives. We are sponges and we live in a world where the fire hose is always on. But once a sponge is at capacity, new information can only replace old information. Last month, researchers at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand published a study that found that comprehension, concentration and retention all went off a cliff when information was taken in online. (Then again, there are those who say that we see everything and remember nothing because we don’t have to, that the web now serves as our memory.)"
Modern-day magazine business model relies on ‘tricks and goodies’ (Carlett Spike, CJR, 3-28-17) A short, meaty piece. Some alternatives to the advertising-revenue model ("most are repackaged or unsustainable long-term"): Print magazines sharing and renting subscriber lists; advertisers working with publications to produce advertorials and branded content based on the type of readers attracted to the site; recycling content in special-interest issues timed to deaths and anniversaries, benefiting from lower production costs; selling literary tote bags to subscribers; transitioning to, ad-free, scholarly publications (the 'white-paper model') for readers who care enough about the content to pay the higher subscription fee.
Marc Andreessen’s news-business fairy tale (Ryan Chittum, CJR, 3-5-14) "Unionization had nothing to do with the structural changes that have decimated news organizations.""The existential problem for the news is that the Internet has unbundled advertising from content creation. The new digital monopolies all have hundreds of millions of people creating free content for them. That’s where the big profits are. Oh, sure, there are major differences between the old newspaper monopoly distribution model and the digital one. But the similarities are greater.
"The equivalent of Google, Facebook, and Twitter in the pre-Internet days would be a newspaper that shut down its newsroom, kept the ad department (though replacing much of it with robots), and printed stuff other people wrote. Today, Facebook’s got your weddings, baby announcements, and soccer pictures. Twitter’s got your breaking news. And Google’s got your stock listings, sports scores, news, recipes, etc. Oh yeah, and Craigslist has your classifieds."
The reinvention of publishing: media firms diversify to survive (Ben Rossi, The Guardian, 1-30-17) Falling ad revenues have spurred media companies to find new opportunities in areas such as e-commerce and events
The Print Apocalypse and How to Survive It (Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, 11-3-16) With paper ads in massive decline, legacy newspapers like The New York Times are slowly returning to the business models that dominated the ’30s—the 1830s...to recover the subscription-first model that dominated the industry before the 1830s—with one important catch....'Audiences are migrating from print bundles to mobile networks and aggregators. today it’s local news organizations that are suffering the most. “People in Cleveland and Dallas and San Diego have not only stopped subscribing to their local newspapers but in many cases are reading the websites of national news organizations instead of the website of their local paper," wrote Timothy Lee at Vox, one of the foremost news sites he’s talking about.'
Annals of the Magazine Sub Game—Not the Atlantic, Too! (Jack Limpert, About Editing and Writing, 6-20-18) While the editorial sides of the New Yorker and Sports Illustrated respect their subscribers as intelligent readers, their circulation departments increasingly treat readers as pigeons. Let’s hope the Atlantic under its new owner keeps its distance from that con-game approach.
As ESPN Falters, Sports Startup Chases Fans Tired of ‘Old Fluff’ (Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg Businessweek, 7-24-17) The Athletic 'charges subscribers $40 annually for local news in a handful of cities, forgoing advertising....Peeling away sports from other local news coverage seems like a particularly good target for a subscription business, according to Brian Moritz, an assistant professor at SUNY Oswego who studies the economics of sports journalism. “Nobody has ever offered a subscription to just the sports section of the newspaper for $5 a month instead of the whole thing for $10,” he said. The challenge for the Athletic, he said, is in convincing readers that it's making something good enough to justify the pricetag.'
Subscription Businesses Are Exploding With Growth (Richard Kestenbaum, Forbes, 8-10-17) A subscription business is a company that sends you a package, usually once a month, of items they've picked out for you.Ipsy and Birchbox sell beauty products for women, Blue Apron and Home Chef deliver a box of ingredients for a complete meal that you cook at home, Dollar Shave Club sells men's shaving products, Stitch Fix sells fashion....If a company can make a subscription box with pleasant surprises, they will continue to sell through as long as the customer maintains an interest in discovering new products.
Newspapers 2020: How Are Newsrooms Preparing for the Next Decade of Publishing? (Gretchen A. Peck, Editor & Publisher, 5-14-18)
HR Directors Talk Challenges and Opportunities in Staffing Newspaper Organizations (Gretchen A. Peck, Editor & Publisher, 6-11-18)
Instead of abandoning print, the 119-year-old MIT Technology Review is doubling down on it (Marlee Baldridge, Nieman Lab, 6-26-18) The rebrand expands each issue from a summary of articles into a small book discussing the past, present, and future of a single technology.
A Year After the ‘Pivot,’ Video Still Rules Content and Advertising (Rob Tornoe, Editor & Publisher, 6-4-18)
Production: Are Newsprint Tariffs Protecting Production Jobs or Are They Just Another Nail in the Coffin? (Jerry Simpkins, Editor & Publisher, 5-22-18)
Newspapers Are Fighting Harder Than Ever Against the Spread of Misinformation (Jennifer Swift, Editor & Publisher, 5-7-18) The technology is advancing so quickly it’s getting harder and harder for people to catch up with verifying the information. But Jane Elizabeth, , director of the Accountability Journalism Program at the American Press Institute, urges reporters to go back to the tenets of journalism. "Accountability is a word thrown out a lot in journalism circles. It’s much more than rooting out fake news; it’s about holding politicians feet to the fire on matters of policy, and API’s Elizabeth, who heads the effort, believes it could help news organizations hold onto valuable readers."
Reinventing the newspaper (The Economist, 7-7-11) New business models are proliferating as news organisations search for novel sources of revenue. News providers throughout the rich world are starting to charge for content on the web and mobile devices. "The Wall Street Journal, for example, puts much of its business and finance coverage behind a paywall but allows unrestricted access to other, less specialist stories. Another option is the “metered paywall”, pioneered by the Financial Times, which lets visitors to its site read ten stories a month before asking them to pay. (The Financial Times is owned by Pearson, which also owns half of The Economist.) At the New York Times, which has the world's most popular newspaper website, visitors can read 20 stories a month before being invited to subscribe." This was in 2011.
A Media Business Model That Makes the Most of Print (Shellie Karabell, strategy + business, 3-22-16) Selectionnist has created a Web-based bridge between print publications and online shopping. It aims to turn anything in any article or ad — in print or online — into an offering in a reader’s customized shopping catalog. All the reader needs do is take a picture of an image.
A ‘profound shift’ in the newspaper business model (The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, or WAN-IFRA)

[To Top]

Saving local news

(subtopics: Chains, community engagement)


" Good journalism that's fact-checked enables the public to make decisions around where they want their community to go and why," says former mayor Setti Warren. "In the absence of that, you see a deterioration of civil discourse. You see a deterioration of the capacity of government to make the right decisions for their constituents."

“Local Matters” spotlights first-rate investigative journalism around the nation (Dean Miller, Seattle Times Free Press, 4-9-2020) If you wonder what exactly the Save the Free Press initiative hopes to save, take a look at “Local Matters.” The free email newsletter highlights investigative reporting from around the nation that you might not otherwise hear about. Anyone can subscribe, but Local Matters is a must-read among journalists who aspire to do important work no matter how big or small their newsroom is. You can find links to back issues here and you can Subscribe here (free). An important and fascinating weekly roundup of the best investigative and watchdog reporting from local newsrooms around the country.
Shoe Leather A new database of local reporters, for better local journalism. "Need a local reporter in [state] with [expertise]? This directory wants to blow away parachute journalism."~Nieman Lab
How The Dallas Morning News expanded its hyperlocal journalism through a web hub and newsletter initiative (Nicole Stockdale, The Dallas Morning News, May 2021) This project stems from audience-centered idea generation: What do our readers really need from us, and how can we answer that need. Cross-department collaboration has been critical to the success of the project. Breaking down silos and developing relationships across teams is paying dividends in plenty of other projects, as well.
Newspaper chains won’t save local news (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter, 5-28-21) " Legacy newspapers chains are not going to make a comeback. If local news is going to be saved, it's going to be through hundreds of lean, digital native startups.

[Back to Top]

Axios is the latest media company to try to make money from local news. History is not on its side. (Paul Farhi, Washington Post, 5-19-21) National news — which was Axios’s initial strategy, and the one that has built the readership of a few big digital news operations, including The Washington Post — has been more successful for digital news publishers than local news, allowing them to draw from a larger pool of readers. In most cases, advertising alone will not support a venture, because giants such as Facebook soak up so much of the ad market.
How Australia May Have Just Saved Journalism From Big Tech (Whitehead, Time, 2-23-21) On Feb. 18, Australians woke up to find that all the local news stories that they had shared on Facebook had abruptly disappeared. Facebook claimed it had no choice in the face of a proposed media law that would force tech giants to pay for the use of local media content. Both Google and Facebook opposed the new law. This article explains the power struggle that ensued, ending in a win for small newspapers, as the two tech giants agreed to pay for using their news.
The real reason local newspapers are dying (Lyz Lenz, Nieman Lab, 12-14-2020) “I left daily newspaper journalism in 2005. But it’s only gotten worse, because now there is the internet to scapegoat for all of the incompetence and thievery.” A long and important Q&A with Allison Hantschel, who argues that "newspapers were damaging themselves long before the internet and private equity came along."
Is Substack the panacea local news is looking for? (Elizabeth Djinis, Poynter, 3-3-21) When The Weekly Standard announced its demise, journalist Tony Mecia started a local newsletter, using Substack, a barebones newsletter platform that allows journalists to engage directly with subscribers, relying on a paid subscription model to earn writers money. founded in 2017. He's not the only one. An interesting piece.
•  Nextdoor Is Quietly Replacing the Small-Town Paper (Will Oremus, OneZero, 1-27-2021) While Facebook and Twitter get the scrutiny, Nextdoor is reshaping politics one neighborhood at a time....At its core, Nextdoor is an evolution of the neighborhood listserv for the social media age, a place to trade composting tips, offer babysitting services, or complain about the guy down the street who doesn’t clean up his dog’s poop. “Anecdotally, Nextdoor has gone from being kind of sub-Facebook to actually being the main platform you hear people discussing as a vector for local news and events and discussions,”says Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

[Back to Top]

‘Connect the dots’: Why publishers are investing in local media to round out big national stories (Kayleigh Barber, Digiday, 1-20-21) “The thing I’m excited about is the ability to connect the dots” with how national stories impact local communities “and to see more stories bubble up from areas that are not Washington, D.C., New York and California,” said Goo.
Hedge Fund Seeks Full Control of Tribune Publishing, a Major News Chain (Michael J. de la Merced and Marc Tracy, NY Times, 12-31-2020) In the latest sign of the finance industry’s tightening grip on the local news business, Alden Global Capital has moved a significant step closer toward acquiring a major prize: Tribune Publishing, the parent of nine major metropolitan papers including The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News and The Baltimore Sun. Alden Global Capital, already Tribune’s biggest shareholder, is known for its practice of slashing costs in its newsrooms and shutting down small news operations. More on that below.
How Google is hurting local news (Sean Fischer, Kokil Jaidka and Yphtach Lelkes, Washington Post, 12-22-2020) Our audit reveals that Google News sends readers — and advertising dollars — away from local news outlets. "Scholars find that local news organizations strengthen democracy by boosting local involvement in cities and towns, helping to hold officials accountable, and reducing citizens’ partisan polarization. In their stead, a network of “pink slime” propaganda outlets has taken advantage of the gaps left behind, replacing local news outlets with deceptive and manipulative media."
What Happens When the News Is Gone? (Charles Bethea, New Yorker, 1-27-2020) In Jones County, North Carolina, and many other places around the country, local journalism has just about dried up.Part of a special New Yorker series: The Future of Democacy
The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers (Gwen Florio, The Nation, 10-26-2020) Fewer and fewer reporters cover the local institutions whose decisions most directly affect their neighbors’ lives.
Crisis in Local News = Crisis in Democracy (Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for the Washington Post, interviewed by Michel Martin on Amanpour and Company, PBS, 7-27-2020) Listen or read the transcript. Talking about her book Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy, she reports that since 2004, more than 2,000 American newspaper haves closed their doors and stopped the presses and gone out of business. The business models small newspapers relied on for years--print and classified advertising, with a third from subscriptions--shrank when businesses began relying on the Internet. As 11,000 newsroom employees have lost their jobs during the pandemic, we've lost our local watchdogs, which kept local government accountable. Julie E. Brown, reporting on the sex trafficker Jeffrey E. Epstein in the Miami Herald, brought about justice which Epstein had eluded.

     Local journalism and local radio journalism have suffered more than TV, which can do good work, but doesn’t do the same kind of granular, cover-the-city-council, develop-your-sources work that newspapers traditionally do. In many cases, hedge funds are buying up newspaper chains, stripping them of as much value as possible, and laying people off. Politics are affected. With local news gone, people don't learn that a particular candidated is corrupt -- he can get elected by people voting the party line. The more informed people are, the more willing they are to at least consider crossing the aisle to vote for someone in the other party, as opposed to staying in their tribal corners.

[Back to Top]

Hundreds of hyperpartisan sites are masquerading as local news. This map shows if there’s one near you. (Jessica Mahone and Philip Napoli, Nieman Lab, 7-13-2020) "We found that while the (few) left-leaning sites prioritize statewide reporting, right-leaning sites are more focused on local reporting, indicating the potential for these sites to exacerbate polarization in local communities." See Partisan local news sites.
‘No Mercy’ Chapter 7: After a Rural Town Loses Hospital, Is a Health Clinic Enough? (Sarah Jane Tribble, KHN, 11-10-2020) "‘No Mercy’ is Season One of ‘Where It Hurts,’ a podcast about overlooked parts of the country where cracks in the health system leave people without the care they need. Our first destination is Fort Scott, Kansas."
The Local News Landscape is Broken: NewsQ Panel Review of Platform Products (Gabriel Kahn with Meredith Clark, Al Cross, Claudia Irizarry Aponte, Mandy Jenkins, David Kroman, NewsSQ, 11-20-2020) Scroll to bottom of page to download (free) the full report.
How can news algorithms do a better job at ranking and recommending journalism? (NewsQ, MisInfoCon) An initiative of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and supported by Hacks/Hackers, NewsQ seeks to elevate quality journalism when algorithms rank and recommend news articles online. Ultimately, the intent of the NewsQ initiative is to contribute to efforts that drive financial support towards quality news and away from disinformation, and misinformation. Three white papers emerged:
---Local news: The Local News Landscape is Broken: NewsQ Panel Review of Platform Products
---Our Opinion: Recommendations for Publishing Opinion Journalism on Digital Platforms
---Towards Healthier Science and Health News Feeds: NewsQ Panel on Science and Health Journalism.
Senator wants Google, Facebook to pony up for local news (Kate Cox, Ars Technica, 10-27-2020) The decimation of local media is by now a sad, familiar tale experienced by tens of millions of Americans all over the country. A report from the Senate Commerce Committee's top Democrat is laying blame for the bloodbath squarely at the feet of Google and Facebook, claiming the companies have participated in destroying local news in the pursuit of monopolizing monetization. What ad revenue still exists is going to platforms, not outlets, Sen. Cantwell writes.

[Back to Top]

The Last Reporter in Town Had One Big Question for His Rich Boss (Dan Barry, NY Times, 7-10-2020)  For several decades, "The Mercury abided by an understood compact: In exchange for some updated version of a coin pressed into a newsboy's ink-smudged hand, the newspaper provided you with information and context that could not be gleaned from reading school board minutes or watching local-access television. "It's as old as the press in America itself," said Ken Doctor, a news industry analyst. "It all starts with what your elected officials are doing, and what they're doing with your tax money. This was so baked into the DNA of newspapers that nobody thought about it."

     Nancy March, a former Mercury editor in chief, said she took pride in the time-intensive enterprise reporting that provided the people of Pottstown a voice. What it felt like, for example, for a mother to lose a child to the now-overshadowed epidemic of opioids....The Mercury also crusaded: pushing for local government reform, fighting for the rights of crime victims, exposing deplorable conditions at a local institution for people with developmental disabilities. 

     In 2011, the Mercury's owner, the Journal Register Company, was bought by Alden Global Capital. The hedge fund's publicity-shy owners, Randall D. Smith and Heath Freeman, were often referred to as vulture capitalists, having made their fortunes by buying and monetizing distressed properties. Freeman said that newspapers were muddling through the early stages of digital transformation, while Google and Facebook were devouring the advertising revenue they depended on. "And if local newspapers do not reset to these economic challenges," he wrote, "they may cease to exist."  Read the full piece, which covers the problems fully, while profiling a dedicated journalist.

[Back to Top]

Here’s how entrepreneurial local journalists are fighting back against Alden Global Capital (Dan Kennedy, Nieman Lab, 10-15-2020) I just determined that I would rather do anything else in life than to dismantle a proud newsroom and lay off my friends and colleagues and eventually be laid off myself.”
Americans Trust Local News. That Belief Is Being Exploited. (Brendan Nyhan, NY Times, 10-31-19) A growth in impostor local news that promotes ideological agendas.
Local newsrooms across the country are closing. Here’s why that matters (PBS NewsHour, 1-1-20) Across the country, local newspapers are printing fewer pages, less frequently -- and sometimes collapsing entirely. Recent studies paint a grim picture of the decline in local newspapers and the impact it has on American politics. Jeffrey Brown reports and talks to Chuck Plunkett, formerly of the Denver Post, and the GroundTruth Project’s Charles Sennott about the crisis of lost local news. "Studies have shown that, when there are fewer reporters in communities, corruption inevitably starts to grow, taxes start to go up, voter participation starts to drop." With the loss of local news, "there are fewer reporters covering the city hall, covering the statehouse, covering the important beats like cops and business."
Local Matters the "best in investigative journalism." Sign up for a weekly newsletter digest of the best local watchdog reporting around the country. See IRE, Local Matters partner to spotlight watchdog reporting across the country. Alexandra Glorioso, Joe Cranney, and Brett Murphy started the newsletter in December 2016 while they were beat reporters at the Naples Daily News in Florida.
If you want to see the contours of a national crisis, look at local reporting (Brett Murphy, Op Ed, Columbia Journalism Review, 7-24-2020) Local reporters have continued to report on non-covid subjects, holding the powerful to account when and where no one else is looking--linking to examples.
Introducing SJN’s New England Local News Ecosystem Project (Emily Roseman, The Whole Story, 11-26-919) The first of three posts announcing the New England Local News Ecosystem Project, a new effort by the Solutions Journalism Network, studying the issues most urgent to New Englanders, and whether New Englanders say they find the information they need on these issues. Part 2: Mapping Local News in New England, and how the region compares to the rest of the country. Compared to other regions, the landscape of New England newspapers isn’t nearly as grim as other parts of the country. More research is needed to understand how the prevalence of news outlets that serve immigrant and minority communities, also known as ethnic media, compares to other regions around the country.
Meet the Unlikely Hero Saving California’s Oldest Weekly Paper (Tim Arango, NY Times, 2-10-2020) High in the Sierra, Downieville, Calif., was about to become the latest American community to lose its newspaper. In stepped Carl Butz, a 71-year-old retiree.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Community Engagement (Aneri Pattani, The Open Notebook,  9-3-19) Writes Spotlight PA investigative journalist Aneri Pattani in TON's latest feature: "At a time when media organizations are struggling to convince people to pay for their product and most American adults say they've lost trust in journalism, many reporters are turning anew to community engagement. From standing on street corners handing out flyers, to adding extra transparency to reporting, and crowdsourcing data and story ideas, Pattani compiles lessons learned by a host of journalists experimenting with ways to better connect with their audiences and restore that trust." See also Introducing the Transparency Project (Nancy Shute, Science & Society, Science News, 4-26-19) They will be "experimenting with ways to show who we are and how we do what we do, revealing decisions we make to ensure our coverage is accurate and fair." They're partnering with News Co/Lab, a collaborative lab at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

[Back to Top]

The future of local newspapers just got bleaker. Here’s why we can’t let them die. (Margaret Sullivan, WashPost, 2-14-2020) “Local newspapers are suffering but they’re still (by far) the most significant journalism producers in their communities,” was how Nieman Lab’s headline summed it up in September. In 100 communities across the nation, the study found, “local newspapers produced more of the local reporting in the communities we studied than television, radio, and online-only outlets combined.”
When My Newspaper Died (Graig Graziosi, CJR, 11-25-19) "The closing of the massive factory at Lordstown in March of 2019 was that rare Youngstown story that captured the nation’s attention....For a long time, the people with the strongest argument for staying were the workers at the General Motors plant at Lordstown. Their labor had earned them middle-class lives without expensive investment in a college degree. That was one of the sad ironies of my story, “The Last Days at GM Lordstown.” While everyone else ricocheted between staying and leaving, those who most wanted to remain in the valley would be forced to go. My job was to ask these people how they felt now that the end had come. And though I didn’t know it at the time, I would soon know that feeling all too well."
Warren Buffett Was a Terrible Newspaper Owner (Alex Shephard, New Republic, 1-31-2020) "The billionaire's decision to sell his local newspapers could not have come at a worse time for the industry.... There is a limited and rapidly shrinking amount of time left to find a model that can sustain meaningful reporting at the local level. Buffett had the opportunity to find that model. He squandered it."
When the story we cover becomes our own (Chip Scanlan, Nieman Storyboard, 1-9-2020) A reporter chronicles the shutdown of a factory and the closing of his newspaper, capturing a familiar “cycle of death and exodus.”
Losing the News: The Decimation of Local Journalism and the Search for Solutions (PDF, PEN America report, December 2019). What is a local news ecosystem? Why local news matters. Case studies: Views from Southeastern North Carolina, from Detroit, from Denver. Systemic inequity in U.S. news media. Industry adaptation and innovation. Big picture solutions. "One problem with losing local coverage is that we never know what we don't know," writes Margaret Sullivan, an expert on local journalism and a columnist for The Washington Post, "Corruption can flourish, taxes can rise, public officials can indulge their worst impulses."

[Back to Top]

"Newspapers once had beat reporters who didn't just show up at a weekly or monthly meeting—they'd chat with sources daily about what was going on behind the scenes," says columnist Phil Luciano.

Local News on the Brink (Ayad Akhtar, PEN America, 11-20-19) Robust local news drives voter turnout, holds officials and corporate leaders accountable, makes people aware of nearby opportunities and dangers, and, perhaps most importantly, works against the now-widespread breakdown in social cohesion by narrating the life of a place and its inhabitants, telling the daily stories that form the basis for shared communal experience. Local news was essential in exposing the Flint water crisis and in showing how disparities in access to news in neighboring North Carolina counties affected their respective environmental well-being. The good news? In Denver, where two major papers once thrived, a host of locally run, community-focused outlets are proliferating. One such outlet, Chalkbeat, is reporting from public schools and school board meetings, covering education, one of the biggest casualties of the attrition in local news—and successfully scaling to other states. Nationwide, over 6,500 philanthropic foundations, as well as tech giants, are now financing media initiatives. Be sure to read the case studies.
Report for America Revives Possibilities for Local Journalism (James Fallows, Reporter's Notebook, The Atlantic, 6-26-19) Independent local publications are of such tangible importance that (according to a much-noted academic study last year), bond ratings go down, and the cost of issuing bonds goes up, for cities or counties that don’t have viable local newspapers. Yet they're endangered. The Report for America project is part Peace Corps, part Teach for America, part something entirely new -- a new model for saving local journalism, borrowing from national and community service programs. Newsrooms and philanthropists both contribute funding. Most of the RFA corps members have already spent a few years as reporters—so they are older, and better prepared for the newsrooms they’re headed toward. The end goal "is that local communities can hold authorities accountable, improve their schools, have clean drinking water. And if there are secondary benefits to the reporter—as with the Peace Corps, the excitement of being part of something bigger—then that is great as well.”
‘Local, Local, Local’: How a Small Newspaper Survives (James Fallows, The Atlantic, 8-30-19) Local journalism is imperiled for obvious reasons. What has happened to media revenues in general has happened worst, fastest, and hardest to local publications, newspapers most of all. James and Deb Fallows have been reporting on local-journalism innovations (and successes) they’ve seen. Here they report on The Quoddy Tides, the twice-monthly, family-owned and -run newspaper that has a print circulation several times larger than the population of the city where it is based, Eastport, Maine.
How open is your government? Find out.Muckrock's 50 state guides to each public records law as well as examples of successful requests, average response times.

[Back to Top]

The Last Family-Owned Daily in Mississippi (James Fallows, The Atlantic, 5-10-19) A report on how and why one small daily newspaper in the South has been bucking the national trend. They downplay social media, considering it a distraction. They're militant about expenses; if they don't have enough ads to support extra pages, they reduce the size of that day's paper. They have hung on to real estate investments, profits from which support the paper. And the family that owns the paper has "never seriously considered selling out to a newspaper chain or a venture-capital fund." I link here to a sampling from a series. Check it out.
Why the Decline of Newspapers Is Bad for the Environment (Sophie Yeo, Pacific Standard, 11-20-18) New research suggests 'corporations pollute more when there aren't local papers to hold them accountable.' Besides reporting on local government, community newspapers cover nearby corporations—and on the toxic emissions released by those corporations' facilities. In doing so, journalists wield a powerful tool when it comes to forcing companies to clean up their act.
What chasing clicks means for news: A tale of two dailies (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource, 3-21-19) Reichel highlights a case study comparing the news coverage of two community newspapers, one much more focused on audience metrics than the other. “I think journalists everywhere — at the management level, at the reporter level — are struggling with this tug of war between the need to create traffic and the need to fulfill the civic mission of journalism,” lead author Tom Arenberg tells Reichel, discussing the relevance of the research. “Sometimes those two go hand in hand. Most times they don’t.”
J Lab's New Voices Program a pioneering effort to help start local news sites, met its goal of seeding dozens of start-ups that provided much-needed news and information to communities across the United States. The program helped launch 55 local sites between 2005 and 2010 with micro grants of between $17,000 and $25,000. One report details what worked and what didn't and offers tips for other startups. Another report details what happened when, starting in 2009, eight legacy newspapers and one public radio station were invited to partner with at least five independent news sites in their communities for at least a year. J-Lab, with Knight Foundation funding, helped cover some of the costs. Key takeaways from report with case studies: "Content sharing overall can be a win-win for both legacy newsrooms and indie start-ups. Revenue sharing, however, is still a nut to be cracked."

[Back to Top]

The AP is using data journalism to help strengthen local newsrooms (Kristen Hare, Poynter, 2-4-19) Report for America is putting more reporters in local newsrooms. ProPublica’s adding local investigative journalists. And in the last three years, the Associated Press has worked with member newsrooms to localize data stories.
Report for America is ready to kick growth into a higher gear (Rick Edmonds, Poynter, 10-15-18) Report for America, an ambitious attempt to bring the Peace Corps/Teach for America model to local journalism, is opening applications to news organizations and sponsored reporters for a second year. That would put Report for America on a path to fielding 1,000 local reporters by 2022, co-founder Steve Waldman's stated goal.
Local Reporting Network (Connor Sheets, ProPublica, 3-12-2020) ProPublica is supporting local and regional newsrooms as they work on important investigative projects affecting their communities. Topics include conflicts of interest, housing, mental health care, criminal justice and workplace safety. Links to stories from various reporters/participants.
Vulture capitalism: As a secretive hedge fund guts its newspapers, journalists are fighting back (Paul Farhi, WaPo, 4-13-18) Demoralized by rounds of job cuts, journalists at San Jose’s Mercury News and East Bay Times in Oakland, Calif., took their case to the public last month. At a rally in Oakland, they handed out a fact sheet detailing the “pillaging” of their papers, accompanied by a cartoon of a business executive trying to milk an emaciated cow. Headquartered in New York with investment funds domiciled in the tax-lenient Cayman Islands and a clientele that is mostly foreign, a little-known hedge fund called Alden Global Capital has been investing in American newspapers since 2009. Through its majority control of a management company called Digital First Media, Alden owns nearly 100 daily and weekly papers, where it effectively owns every major newspaper around Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area with the exception of the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. the conventional analysis of newspaper decline has been replaced in Alden’s case by a narrative about “vulture capitalism,” the notion that Alden’s draconian cutbacks are designed to sustain profits without regard for the newspapers’ long-term future. And some newspapers are beginning to fight back.
Elaina Plott Explores Everyday Life on a Sinking Island (Olga Kreimer, The Open Notebook,, 2-5-19) Scientists project that Tangier Island, a fishing community in the Chesapeake Bay, might be uninhabitable in 25 years--but locals don't buy it. In her Pacific Standard portrait of a cozy town fighting a changing climate and a changing culture, Elaina Plott shows what climate science and climate politics look like at street level. She spoke to TON Fellow Olga Kreimer about the power of basic questions, the keys to small-town field reporting, and why opinions and empathy might both be overrated.
215 journalists in 43 states applied for ProPublica’s next Local Reporting Network (Kristen Hare, Poynter, 12-12-18) ProPublica announced the newsrooms, projects and journalists for its second-year class of the Local Reporting Network. The project, which launched in 2018, began with seven newsrooms. The local reporting network covers one year’s salary and benefits for reporters and brings them together with ProPublica editors and resources.

[Back to Top]

The Decline of Local News Is Bad for Democracy (Seth Masket, Pacific Standard, 4-2-18) Tracking the events in state legislatures and city councils requires skilled beat reporters. They're becoming an increasingly rare breed. At least one study has found that legislators tend to better represent their districts when the media provides better coverage of those constituents. Weaker news coverage also results in a less engaged citizenry, and one that's less knowledgeable about politics.
The Hidden Costs of Losing Your City's Newspaper (Kriston Capps, CityLab.com, 5-30-18) "Without watchdogs, government costs go up, according to new research.... Politicos take liberties when it’s nobody’s job to hold them accountable....Disruptions in local news coverage are soon followed by higher long-term borrowing costs for cities. Costs for bonds can rise as much as 11 basis points after the closure of a local newspaper..."
Capital Gazette shooting shows the vulnerability of journalists ( Jon Allsop, CJR, 6-29-18)
RIP Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith. "Because it happened in a newsroom, this attack feels different....Writing from the UK this morning, I’m reminded of Jo Cox, the Labour Party lawmaker murdered while working in her district a week before the Brexit vote in 2016. ...Cox’s murder also exposed the vulnerability of those whose jobs depend on meeting members of the public."
New project allows users to identify local media by ZIP code (Michelle Ferrier, CJR, 7-11-18) Story about The Media Deserts Project and its Media Access Research Atlas, an interactive map of all the places in the country where people live in media deserts – places where it is difficult to access daily, local news and information.
What I’ve learned from two years trying to shift narratives about the South (Lyndsey Gilpin, CJR, 11-26-18) "As journalists, we owe it to the places and people we write about to go into a story with an open mind, without writing it in our heads before reporting. I always ask sources what I’m missing or what’s been reported inaccurately before, and their reactions and answers often surprise me. They’re so rarely asked those questions....As we reflect on the midterm elections and try to assess what’s happening politically in Southern states, I challenge journalists to reject boiling things down to red v. blue, or coal v. climate. I hope more journalists will take a beat to confront assumptions about this region. We should tell the stories that have been waiting to be told for decades, like those about systemic voter suppression, the fossil fuel industry’s constant efforts to block job growth, the impact climate change will have on the most vulnerable among us. Southerners are more than a vote or a sound bite; they’re unique, deep, and complex. The stories about their worlds should be, too."
Finding Solutions: Saving Community Journalism. A section from The Rise of a New Media Baron and the Emerging Threat of News Deserts (Report from the UNC School of Media and Journalism, UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media). "The most urgent challenge for newspaper owners is developing new sources of digital revenue so they can survive and continue producing the news that feeds democracy....Cutbacks in newsroom staffing have left many communities and regions in this country — especially those that are rural and less affluent — underserved by news media. Several hundred newspapers in the past decade have either ceased publishing or merged with other papers, leaving their communities without a media outlet....A dual need exists: to raise awareness in society about the vital role of community news organizations and to hold current newspaper owners accountable for delivering on their civic duty in the digital age."
Local news and civic accountability: 5 questions for Setti Warren (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource) Warren, the former mayor of Newton, Massachusetts, is now the executive director of the Shorenstein Center. Reichel got his thoughts on his thoughts on the relationship between local government and local news — and how to improve both -- on what happens to a community when there aren't journalists covering city hall.

[Back to Top]

‘An earthquake’: The deal that changed Montana’s insurance market (Katheryn Houghton, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 1-26-2020) Two decades ago, four Montana hospitals wanted to challenge what they described as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana’s “dominating presence.” So they founded insurer New West Health Services in 1998 to cover hospital employees and whoever else they could pick up. Blue Cross remained the lead by far, but those watching the industry said New West lowered prices for Montanans as insurers’ competition intensified. It worked, and then it ended. By 2011, the hospitals’ leadership wanted out of the insurance business. To do that, they made a deal that deflated New West and boosted the insurer it was formed to compete against. See Montana journalist explains how one deal years ago changed the state’s insurance market (Katheryn Houghton, How I Got That Story, Covering Health, AHCJ, 7-21-2020) Her tips are a reminder that there is a wealth of untouched stories in places where health reporters are few.
Facebook’s troublesome local media tactics (Marie C. Baca, CJR, 6-18-18) What should journalists make of Facebook’s efforts to shape access? ...It’s a question reporters ought to ask themselves in each of the 50 cities where the social media giant is launching Community Boost, a multi-day conference marketed as digital skills training for small businesses. (The majority of the sessions are about how to use Facebook and Instagram.)...to what extent will journalists in those communities push back on the attempts to control and perhaps harvest information—especially if it means risking access to one of the most powerful technology companies in the world?"
AAAS Kavli Small Newspaper Award Can Help Spark Careers (Michaela Jarvis, AAAS, 6-5-18) A journalism award for work in small newspapers gave a boost to the careers of four winners.
When towns lose their newspapers, disease detectives are left flying blind (Helen Branswell, STAT, 3-20-18) "Epidemiologists rely on all kinds of data to detect the spread of disease, including reports from local and state agencies and social media. But local newspapers are critical to identifying outbreaks and forecasting their trajectories....“We rely very heavily on local news. And I think what this will probably mean is that there are going to be pockets of the U.S. where we’re just not going to have a particularly good signal anymore,” said Majumder, a Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.'
A pop-up newsroom in Canada is taking a slow journalism approach to local news (Joseph Lichterman, Solution Set, 5-3-18)
To rebuild trust, we need to change journalistic process (Lewis Wallace, CJR, 7-3-18) "Most news media (in particular public radio, where she worked for five years) is targeted toward upper-income audiences. [Sarah Alvarez] set out to start a news service that would provide high-value information for low-income people in Detroit." Outlier Media is "a Detroit-based service journalism organization. We identify, report, and deliver valuable information that helps residents create more accountability around the housing and utility issues they care about....Service journalism is a news consumer-oriented approach to identifying information needs, building trust with news consumers, and creating accountability. By keeping residents first, we hope to give more than we take, and leave people with the information they need to create change and accountability in their own communities."
Alicia Bell works across North Carolina to connect journalists with underserved communities through an organization called Free Press
This British local news co-op’s model is evolving as it grows (Joseph Lichterman, Solution Set, 4-26-18)
Meet the local “news militia” covering East Lansing, Michigan (Joseph Lichterman, Solution Set, 3-29-18)
Your Tax Dollars at Work (Liena Zagare and Ben Smith, Columbia Journalism Review, Spring 2017) Move legal notices online. "Part of the explanation for the failure of local digital media is the same litany of woes faced by old media: a struggling display ad business; the complete dominance of Facebook and Google, which have absorbed most of the growth in digital ads; and the inherent difficulties in building the scale that powers many digital media businesses through deep coverage for a niche audience. But we would suggest there’s another uncomfortable and underreported reason for the struggles of new community news startups, as well as the survival of a kind of zombie community print press that soldiers on increasingly without an audience: the major, quiet subsidy to print community papers, which comes in two basic forms — legislation requiring that legal notices be published in print, and advertising by government agencies. [Emphasis added.] ...If you want to reach local residents, and alert them to something of civic interest, online community publishers, with their engaged audiences, can do this far better than their print counterparts—and provide fodder for search engines on the side. “State laws should reflect changing times,” NY state representative Nily Rozic told us. “When posting notices about government or private sector activities, important information should expand its reach to local digital media, meeting readers where they are.”
How local news site Berkeleyside raised $1 million through a direct public offering (Joseph Lichterman, Solution Set, 4-12-18)

[Back to Top]

What's Next for Local TV News? (Karen Rundlet and Sam Gill, Knight Foundation, Informed and Engaged, Medium, April 2018). Key findings: 1. TV is a key source of news, but audiences are slowly shrinking. 2. TV newsroom staffs have increased. 3. In local markets, the experiments are online. 4. Social media gets audiences watching more TV. 5. TV news leaders ask if their content is still relevant in the digital age. 6. Is OTT the answer? Is digital? (Over-the-top (OTT) delivery is the distribution of video content via the internet that doesn’t require users to purchase traditional cable, satellite or pay-TV services.)
A Penny for My Thoughts? (Maureen Dowd on local California newspapers outsourcing to India) “A thousand words pays $7.50.”
How we're working with reporters from around America to cover class and inequality (Alissa Quart and Jessica Reed, The Guardian, 6-26-17) The national media failed to cover large swathes of the US pre-election, while rural voices have been quieted by the decimation of local news. Our On The Ground project aims to remedy these issues.
In Search of Equity: the Media Consortium Reinvents Itself (Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, Idea Lab, 9-20-17) The big drivers of national political life—immigration, education, health care—all begin with local stories. To best tell the story of our times we need to be able to tell these stories where they start. The Media Consortium was founded in 2006 to create a collaborative network of self-sustaining independent progressive journalism outlets. The good news is that this work has succeeded. After a dozen years, the Media Consortium will be sunsetting so that a new, stronger organization can rise in its place. Those best equipped to tell these community-specific stories are reporters living in those communities. Here’s what we imagine as the next iteration of the organization that is currently called the Media Consortium: The new organization will be a network of news outlets dedicated to building a racially equitable independent media ecosystem. Consortium members will center the voices of culturally-specific communities, promote local/national partnerships, and work collaboratively to grow impact.
Writing about Immigration From the AP Stylebook. (Andy Hollandbeck,Copyediting, 6-6-18) Dream Act vs. DACA; immigrants, migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees; avoid "chain migration."
Rebuilding local journalism as an essential democratic force (Joyce Dehli, Pulitzer Prizes) In truth, journalists from big coastal news media, with a few exceptions, have never done a good job of covering people in the vast middle of the country.
How to Best Serve Communities: Reflections on Civic Journalism (PDF, Geneva Overholser, Democracy Fund briefing paper, Nov. 2016)
No, Craig Newmark did not kill local news. (Aron Pilhofer, Medium, 6-12-18) "So what killed classifieds? The internet did. Or, more accurately, the impact of a communication platform on which the cost to distribute to a mass audience is effectively zero. Suddenly, it was easy and cheap to reach a local audience, and that’s what killed classifieds."
The Goldenrod A news and culture publication covering the vibrant small towns, hamlets, and communities that serve Central and Eastern Kentucky. (Is there a list somewhere of all pubs covering these local areas?)
With school discrimination coverage, a suburban weekly flexes its muscles (Jackie Spinner, CJR, 2-23-18) "Parents started talking, and we started dropping FOIA requests. We knew they were talking about stuff in closed session they shouldn’t have been talking about."
What a hyperlocal investigative powerhouse looks like (Jackie Spinner, CJR, 6-13-17) "Without journalists in small towns, or in large communities for that matter, no one is held accountable. It’s like having laws without anybody to enforce them....Pinckneyville’s mayor acknowledges that the Press is an ‘adversary.’ But he also says the paper plays a vital role."

[To Top]

Solutions-focused journalism

What solutions-focused journalism has to offer health care reporters Barbara Mantel, Covering Health, AHCJ, 9-17-21)
Fixes (Opinion, New York Times) Fixes looks at solutions to social problems and why they work.
• The Solutions Journalism Network "trains journalists to reframe stories to emphasize and explore how people are responding to problems, rather than merely laying out the problem. The network also connects journalists to newsrooms."
The Power of Solutions Journalism (Alexander L. Curry and Keith H. Hammond, MediaEngagement.org, 2014)
Apply for a 2021 LEDE Fellowship Got an idea to spread solutions journalism in your community (and beyond) and need some money for it? Apply for a LEDE Fellowship and shape the future of solutions reporting with journalism entrepreneurs from around the globe.
Solutions Journalism for Science Reporters (Rachel Crowell, The Open Notebook, 9-17-19) According to Nieman Lab and the 2019 Reuters Institute Digital News Report, between 2017 and 2019 there was a 3 percent upswing in the number of people in the U.S. who reported they "often or sometimes avoid the news." Among reasons reported were the onslaught of negative stories and news-induced feelings of helplessness. Rachel Crowell looks at one antidote to these feelings: solutions journalism. Drawing from the people behind the Solutions Journalism Network, Ensia and elsewhere -- and from a number of solutions journalism stories -- Crowell shares tips for science journalists interested in tackling the "doom and gloom" in unique, solutions-oriented ways.
10,000 ways the world is getting better: Meet the Solutions Story Tracker, "a curated repository of solutions journalism (rigorous reporting on responses to social problems). Links to over 585 stories related to science." (Lita Tirak, The Whole Story: Ideas and Dispatches from the Solutions Journalism Network, 9-17-2020)
How one publisher is trying to solve America’s local news desert problem (Joseph Lichterman, Solution Set, 5-17-18) Solution Set is a project of the Lenfest Institute and the Solutions Journalism Network.
Finding Solutions: Saving Community Journalism. A section from The Rise of a New Media Baron and the Emerging Threat of News Deserts (Report from the UNC School of Media and Journalism, UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media). "The most urgent challenge for newspaper owners is developing new sources of digital revenue so they can survive and continue producing the news that feeds democracy....Cutbacks in newsroom staffing have left many communities and regions in this country — especially those that are rural and less affluent — underserved by news media. Several hundred newspapers in the past decade have either ceased publishing or merged with other papers, leaving their communities without a media outlet....A dual need exists: to raise awareness in society about the vital role of community news organizations and to hold current newspaper owners accountable for delivering on their civic duty in the digital age."
Solutions Journalism Network (rigorous coverage of how people are responding to problems). Here's an example: Seeking Safety
Solution Set (a weekly report from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and The Solutions Journalism Network--each Thursday publishes in-depth story on one innovative idea in news)
Is Solutions Journalism the Solution? (John Dyer, Nieman Reports, 6-11-15) New media ventures are focusing on what’s going right in the world rather than what’s going wrong
What makes a successful solutions journalism story? (Daria Sukharchuk, International Journalists Network, 4-18) The overwhelming negativity of normal news coverage can add momentum to politicians like Donald Trump. The liberal media’s constant coverage of Trump contributed to his rise because he was such a good story. Haagerup believes this kind of reporting is irresponsible toward readers, and that journalists should not focus on stories that simply sell themselves. Readers want to read more about solutions to the problems covered by journalists.
Yes, everyone, there is a reason to believe… (Tom Warhover, Why's This So Good? Nieman Storyboard, 12-25-18) 'As the holiday weekend approached, a newspaper friend asked me why, as editor of a community newspaper, I reprinted the editorial "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" on Christmas day every year for 15 years.' From one crusty newspaperman in 19th century to another in the 21st, the "Yes, Virginia" letter endures, transcending time and cynicism. 
(Jacob Granger, Journalism.co, UK, 10-27-2020)
How solutions journalism makes your reporting stronger (Vicki Krueger, Poynter, 4-25-16) This “howdunnit” approach offers rigorous and compelling coverage about responses to social problems — reporting that adheres to the highest of journalistic standards. It makes watchdog reporting even stronger. "By regularly highlighting problems without including responses, journalists can convey a false sense that people haven’t tried to fix things or don’t know how to do any better. Solutions-oriented journalism can, in many cases, provide a more accurate picture of the world....solutions stories are more likely to be shared on social media than traditional stories....they can make people feel powerful, less likely to tune out and less apathetic or cynical about the problem....can advance the public discourse....can lead to more constructive conversations. People need models for change — so do societies." ~ from Solutions Journalism in Every Newsroom, a self-directed course at Poynter NewsU.

[Back to Top]

The Trouble with Newspaper Chains

"As The New York Times and The Washington Post have come to dominate national newspapering, we hear mostly about two kinds of regional companies. There are the three big guys — Gannett, GateHouse Media, and Digital First Media — all consolidators of one kind or another, who now collectively own a quarter of U.S. dailies. Then there are the privately owned or family-directed independents — The Boston Globe, the Star Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Seattle Times — caught mid-innovation, fashioning new business models on the fly that they intend will somehow allow them to fulfill their civic missions. Then there’s Tronc, McClatchy, and Lee, all chains on the edge, their status as publicly traded companies complicating their digital transformations." from Newsonomics: There’s a newspaper chain that’s grown profits for the past 5 years, and it’s looking to buy more papers (Ken Doctor, Newsonomics, Nieman Lab, 7-6-17) Because it’s privately held, Hearst isn’t as big a part of industry conversations around the future of newspapers as its publicly traded peers. But it’s charting a path forward and ready to open its checkbook to expand.
The Last Reporter in Town Had One Big Question for His Rich Boss (Dan Barry, NY Times, 7-10-2020) Read or listen. The economic paralysis caused by the pandemic has clobbered a newspaper industry already on the mat. With revenues plummeting, substantial layoffs, furloughs and pay reductions have followed in newsrooms across the country. Meanwhile, the hedge funds and private equity firms that own many newspapers often siphon away profits rather than reinvest in local journalism. Frequently associated with this business model is the Alden Global Capital hedge fund, which controls The Mercury, Mr. Brandt’s employer for 23 years.His newspaper has withered under a hedge fund. His industry was in turmoil even before a pandemic. But Evan Brandt won’t stop chronicling his town.
The Rise of a New Media Baron and the Emerging Threat of News Deserts (Report from the UNC School of Media and Journalism, UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media). "Unprecedented consolidation in the newspaper industry has placed the fate of local journalism into the hands of fewer companies than ever before. The largest chains have grown so large that they necessarily have less attachment to the communities where they own newspapers than even the barons of previous eras. The rise of the newest media owners, with their emphasis on profit benchmarks instead of civic responsibility, has added a new wrinkle."
Papers Owned by the Largest 25 Companies in 2004, 2014 and 2016 (from the UNC School of Media and Journalism report)
Who Profits From Alden Global Capital? You’d be surprised. (Julie Reynolds, NewsMatters, A Newsguild Project for Digital First Media Workers, or DFM Workers, 6-11-18) Alden Global Capital's "vulture" strategy is crippling newspapers. Much of the Knight family's once-grand newspaper empire was ultimately acquired by Alden Global Capital, while the family foundation invested in Alden funds. Randall Smith is the co-founder of Alden, together with his young protégé, Heath Freeman, and has been called the “grandfather of vulture investing.”Alden’s Distressed Opportunities Fund was launched in 2008.
Island hopping with Alden Global Capital (Julie Reynolds, DFM Workers, NewsMatters, 5-16-16) For the past few years, hedge fund sponsor Alden Global Capital has held much of its investments in entities based in the Isle of Jersey and the Cayman Islands, two well-known global tax havens that are part of what investors call “the shadow market.” The privately held Alden specializes in distressed businesses, and is the owner of Digital First Media, one of America’s largest newspaper chains. In the past few years, nearly all DFM papers have sold off their real estate, moved into rented offices, endured years-long wage freezes (or decreases) and escalating staff reductions. It’s a strategy news business analyst Ken Doctor describes as “milking the company as much as possible,” executed in the name of profits for Alden’s mystery investors.
Who is investor Randall Smith and why is he buying up newspaper companies? (Rick Edmonds, Poynter, 7-27-11) Randall Smith, the principal of Alden Global Capital, gives new meaning to the euphemism "low profile."
Vulture in Distress (Michelle Celarier, New York Post, 7-26-12) The newspaper industry hasn’t been the dream distressed investment call that Randy Smith, the "grandfather of vulture investing," thought it would be.
Digital First Media, last month a buyer, becomes a seller (Ken Doctor, Politico, 4-21-16) In several recent sales (of the Salt Lake Tribune to Paul Huntsman, and "of three proud, if small, New England dailies —The Berkshire Eagle, The Brattleboro Reformer, the Bennington Banner — and the weekly Manchester Journal...to local ownership after 20 years of chain ownership," we "see the larger wheeling and dealing of newspaper assets, as three major companies buy, sell and swap properties. Digital First Media, Gatehouse (as in its much–criticized sale of the Las Vegas Review Journal to Sheldon Adelson) and Gannett, in recent buys, all look for edges in the marketplace, and then exploit them. Whatever the motivations for these two sales, they mark a modest reinforcement of a trend to local, monied ownership of dailies."

[Back to Top]

Collaborative journalism

The Silencing of Daphne (Stephen Grey, Reuters Investigates, 4-17-18) Last October, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated by a car bomb. This is the inside story of a murder that tarnishes Europe. A Reuters investigation, in collaboration with more than 15 other media groups, including Suddeutsche Zeitung, Le Monde and France 2 television, sheds new light on Daphne's complex character and life, and for the first time pieces together in detail key elements of the plot to kill her. This story is part of the Daphne Project, an investigation coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based group that continues the work of journalists silenced through murder or imprisonment.
How ICIJ got hundreds of journalists to collaborate on the Panama Papers (Kristen Hare, Poynter, 4-4-16) Read also How Reporters Pulled Off the Panama Papers, the Biggest Leak in Whistleblower History (Andy Greenberg, Wired,4-4-16) More than a hundred media outlets around the world, coordinated by the Washington, DC-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, released stories on the Panama Papers, a gargantuan collection of leaked documents exposing a widespread system of global tax evasion.
Documenting Hate (ProPublica) Hate crimes and bias incidents are a national problem, but there’s no reliable data on their nature or prevalence. ProPublica is collecting and verifying reports, building a database of tips for use by journalists, researchers and civil-rights organizations. Are you a victim or witness? Tell your story. Are you a journalist? Get involved. Read some of the stories ProPublica and its partners developed.
Center for Cooperative Media Creates Collaborative Journalism Database (Jesus Ruiz, Editor & Publisher, 4-5-18). The Database: Search, sort and learn about collaborative journalism projects from around the world (Center for Cooperative Media)
TEDx Talk: ‘Democracy depends on how we archive and share data’ Mar Cabra believes that journalists need to archive documents and share them so they can connect the dots between stories and make sense of the future.
Comparing Models of Collaborative Journalism (Stefanie Murray, Center for Cooperative Media, 9-29-17) Center for Cooperative Media identifies 6 models of collaborative journalism, a ‘revolution’ in media.
WAMU Leads Nine Other Public Media Stations in Launch of ‘Guns & America’ Reporting Collaborative “The Guns & America national coverage initiative will focus the power of public media on one of the most important – and polarizing – issues in our nation,” said JJ Yore, general manager, WAMU. “The collaborative will take a fresh approach to the topic of guns, exploring divergent views, highlighting solutions to gun violence, and stimulating new conversations about one of the most intractable issues of our time.”
The Future of Dams (a collaborative team science blog)
Giving Away the (Wind) Farm (Mike McGraw and Ryan Hennssy, Flatland KC, 12-4-17) Rush to Attract Wind Turbine Investors Leaves Rural School Districts in Kansas Shortchanged
Here are 6 different kinds of collaborative journalism and the good and bad things about each (Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab, 9-29-17)
Drawn to the common aim of covering issues around homelessness, Bay Area media organizations unite for the day (Shan Wang, Nieman Lab, 6-29-16)
ProPublica’s collaborative reporting experiment takes on widespread voter fraud (and finds no evidence of it) (Joseph Lichterman, NiemanLab, 11-28-16) At least not the type that Trump claimed on Twitter was happening: "millions of people...voting illegally."
How We're Working with Reporters from Around America to Cover Class and Inequality (Alyssa Quart, Economic Hardship Reporting Project and The Guardian, 6-26-17) Reporters across the country were commissioned to live in, work in and intimately know underreported communities across America, and report on them.
The Paradise Papers (The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 95 media partners) A global investigation into the offshore activities of some of the world’s most powerful people and companies. Leaders, criminals, celebrities. A giant leak of more than 11.5 million financial and legal records exposes a system that enables crime, corruption and wrongdoing, hidden by secretive offshore companies.
Top 6 Journalism Collaborations of 2017 (Stefanie Murray, MediaShift, 12-18-17) This story led me to many of those linked to on this page. Start here for the big picture.
The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going (Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein, ProPublica, 4-9-10) The Wall Street Money Machine: As investors left the housing market in the run-up to the meltdown, Wall Street sliced up and repackaged troubled assets based on those shaky mortgages, often buying those new packages themselves. That created fake demand, hid the banks’ real exposure, increased their bonuses — and ultimately made the mortgage crisis worse. This investigation of the 2008 financial crisis was a collaboration between ProPublica, This American Life, and Planet Money.
100 Days in Appalachia (West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media in partnership with The Daily Yonder and West Virginia Public Broadcasting) Reporting from inside what national media called "Trump Nation."
French newsrooms unite to fight election misinformation with the launch of CrossCheck (First Draft, 2-6-17) . Google launched a verification platform dubbed 'CrossCheck' at the French Development Agency's headquarters in Paris, to combat misleading or inaccurate news. The idea: the collaborative verification project would help voters make sense of what and who to trust online. See YouTube story.
Three months after launching, Faktisk is already among the most popular sites in Norway (Daniel Funke, Poynter, 10-3-17) The Norwegian fact-checking outfit deftly debunked claims by politicians, led discussions on social media, and quickly grew its audience leading up to the election.
How collaborative journalism sets newsrooms up for remote employees (Melody Kramer, Medium and Center for Cooperative Media, 2-21-18)
It’s time for journalism to build its own platforms (Heather Bryant, Monday Note, Medium, 1-22-18)
37 People Struggling to Get by in New Jersey (Mike Rispoli, Free Press, 4-4-18) Free Press and coLAB Arts launch ’37 Voices’ collaboration to cover economic hardship in New Jersey. This collaboration comes out of nearly two years of community engagement, group meetings, deep listening, issue exploration and project piloting in New Brunswick. People who are in crisis may not be willing to speak with reporters. “They have a story to tell,” said Renee Wolf Koubiadis from the Anti-Poverty Network, noting that it’s important to listen, show patience, accept that people may not respond right away, and establish safe spaces for people to share their experiences. What excited the group was being able to take those personal experiences from the interviews and dive into the larger structures around economic inequality. The interviews won’t just tell stories; they could lead to policy solutions.'
Seven Chicago Organizations Launch Criminal Justice Database (UI Labs, 1-23-18) The newly formed Chicago Data Collaborative unites media, advocacy, and tech groups to investigate Chicago’s criminal justice system via cooperative data sharing.

Collaboration and the creation of a new journalism commons (Carlos Martínez de la Serna, A Tow Center for Digital Journalism Report, CJR, 3-30-18) See stories linked to on right side of page.
Lessons for platform-publisher collaborations as Facebook and news outlets team to fight misinformation (Mike Ananny, CJR, A Tow Center Report, 4-4-18) This project is not about “fake news.” It is about the values and tensions underlying partnerships between news organizations and technology companies. "The press’s public accountability, technologists’ responsibilities, and journalists’ ethics will increasingly emerge not from any single organization or professional tradition; rather they will be shaped through partnerships that, explicitly and tacitly, signal which metrics of success, forms of expertise, types of power, and standards of quality are expected and to be encouraged."

NewsFrames is building tools and a community for collaborative media analysis (Catalina Albeanu, journalism.co.UK, 1-24-18) Bias can be a difficult topic to approach in the journalism community, but NewsFrames hope to tackle it with a new platform and collaborative methodologies
A network of news outlets and data agencies wants to unlock untold data stories across Europe (Shan Wang, Nieman Lab, 1-22-18) Data-driven news stories produced by members of the European Data Journalism Network are translated into English, French, German, Italian, Polish, and Spanish and then made available for free to all partner and non-partner news organizations.

Let me know of other notable collaborative journalism projects.
[Back to Top]

Interviewing children, especially about trauma and catastrophic events

Interviewing Children (Sarah Carr, Education Writers Association Reporter Guides, 2013) "When covering children, firsst do no harm." Particularly important. "Reporters should tell the child that it’s fine to decline an interview before asking for permission to proceed."
Interviewing Children: An EWA Guide for Reporters (Education Writers Association) Detailed presentations and essential listening, particularly for interviewing about trauma. For example: Try to find a quiet location, away from chaos. Really explain, not with jargon, about what you are doing and why you are there. Have someone who the child knows and trusts nearby; otherwise you're going to move into a realm of stress for already traumatized children. Children nead comfort and familiarity even when facing up to very difficult things.
Conducting interviews with kids: Do’s and don’ts (Alexandria Neason, CJR, 3-15-18) Best practices for journalists, especially when interviewing about traumatic events. This excellent piece led me to others listed here, and a daily email of recommended reading from the National Association of Science Writers led me to this piece.
The California Sunday Magazine channels its inner teen with new issue (Meg Dalton, CJR, 12-21-17) Not about interviewing children, but on an issue of the magazine that focused on the American teenager. '“We wanted to give people a look at their lives right now through their eyes,” says Doug McGray, the magazine’s editor in chief. That meant relying on teens to tell their own stories, and consulting with teens on content produced by adult contributors.'
Ethics and Practice: Interviewing Victims (Miles Moffeit and Kristen Lombardi, tipsheet from the 2011 Dart Center workshop "Out of the Shadows: Reporting on Intimate Partner Violence")
[Back to Top]

Covering disability, mental illness, and suicide prevention

Writing Well about Disability (Rachel Zamzow, TON, 10-24-17) "Treating disabled people as sources of inspiration simply because they have a disability reduces them to objects of others’ entertainment and curiosity....“Social media has been the game changer, because now people with disabilities, disability organizations, and disability-rights advocates are able to kind of drive the coverage."
Writing Your Disability or Chronic Illness (Kate Horowitz, TheOpenNotebook, 10-29-19) The question of when—and whether—a writer should publish work about their own disability is as complex as it is personal. Here, six successful disabled writers offer their tips. For example, "Legally speaking, employers cannot discriminate against someone because they are disabled. Practically speaking, it happens all the time." See especially "Questions to ask yourself."
National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ)
Writing About People With Disabilities (Mike Reilley, Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, 10-23-19) resources on disability and accessibility)
Resources for Journalists with Disabilities (NCDJ)
Best practices for covering suicide responsibly (Kelly McBride, Poynter, 6-8-18) How can journalists, celebrities and anyone who might make a post on social media embrace some best practices that will minimize contagion? (Yes, contagion is real.) Some things journalists need to mention when writing about suicides.
Time to Change: Let's end mental health discrimination (Time to Change's Media Guidelines, UK, to encourage realistic and sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems)
NCDJ Style Guide, how to use appropriate language--for example, when is it appropriate to use the terms "handicapped" or "disabled." General, physical disability, visually impaired, hearing impaired, mental and cognitive disability/seizure disorders. (National Center on Disability and Journalism)
Tip sheets for reporters (National Center on Disability and Journalism)
Tips for interviewing people with disabilities (NCDJ)
Investigating Issues (NCDJ) Download useful 7-page PDF, including Post-Dispatch's Restaurant Accessibility Assessment Questionnaire.
Using Data to Cover Disability Issues (NCDJ) Download useful 4-page PDF.
Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media by Beth A. Haller (see Haller's links to disability resources)
Mediadis&dat (news and information about people with disabilities and disability issues)
Want to write about mental health? These publications are looking for pitches (Lindy Alexander, The Freelancer's Year, 5-22-19) Who to pitch and what the pay is at these pubs: Elemental by Medium, Vice, Vox (First Person), Glamour, Reader's Digest.
ADA.gov (information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division)
Social Media Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention (PDF, TeamUp, Entertainment Industries Council). Tips for organizations and individuals communicating about mental health and suicide on social media to reduce stigma, increase help-seeking behavior and help prevent suicide.
How to Use Social Media for Suicide Prevention ((PDF, TeamUp, Entertainment Industries Council). See other resources from EIC.
Changing attitudes about disability
Press Room, Amputee Coalition
Disability Resources (U.S. Department of Labor)
What Medical Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI? (Bethany K. Laurence, Disability Secrets, NOLO) An illness or disease does not need to be listed in Social Security's blue book to qualify for disability benefits.
Living Apart, Coming Undone (Joaquin Sapien of ProPublica and Tom Jennings of PBS Frontline examined the efforts of New York City to let those with severe mental illnesses live on their own. Reporters obtained about 7,000 pages of records from hospitals, psychiatrists, social agencies and housing programs to reveal how an ambitious housing program left many vulnerable residents in danger. In response to the investigation, a New York federal judge ordered expanded oversight of the housing program. Under a landmark settlement, an ambitious housing program promised a better life for mentally ill New Yorkers. But some of the most vulnerable slip through the cracks. (Won 1st place in 2019 Schneider Disability Reporting Competition)
Trapped: Abuse and neglect in private care ( Audrey Quinn, Reveal and PRX, 8-4-18) Quinn reported a history of abuse, neglect and client deaths at facilities run by Bellwether Behavioral Health, the largest group home provider in the state of New Jersey. The award-winning episode showed how even as state after state cut ties with Bellwether, New Jersey continued to send nearly 400 of its most vulnerable citizens and $67 million a year in Medicaid to the troubled company. Listen or read transcript. Won 2nd place in 2019 Schneider Disability Reporting Competition.
G: Unfit (Matt Kielty, Pat Walters and Lulu Miller, RadioLab podcast, listen or read transcript. These episodes reveal how people with disabilities were targeted for sterilization during the early 20th century as a form of eugenic genocide, but laws permitting forced sterilization have quietly stayed on the books. While the language is now different — swapping terms like “feebleminded” for “mentally incapacitated” — there are still 23 states that allow for a person with intellectual disabilities to be sterilized against their will if a court decides it is in their “best interest.” Won 3rd place in 2019 Schneider Disability Reporting Competition. For more winning entries in that competition, go here.
Blogs about disability
Traveling with disability (links to blogs and websites)
Assistive devices, remodeling and other ways to enable independent living (things that make life easier when our body falls short)
Mediadis&dat (news and information about people with disabilities and disability issues)
On Being a Science Writer and Managing a Mental Illness (Alex Riley, TON, 7-18-17) "There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription for writing about science while managing a mental illness. The relationship between the two is different for everyone....I see the days when I can write as a gift from my brain. I cherish them, and they can even help me recover."
Against Stigma: Writing Responsibly About Mental Illness (Emily DePrang, Reporting on Health blog, 4-2-14). Write about mental illness more regularly and outside of a criminal context. There are plenty of fascinating stories.br />• Mental health: why journalists don’t get help in the workplace (Megan Jones, Ryerson Review of Journalism Spring 2014). "Reporters are finally telling empathetic stories about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, but newsroom culture keeps journalists’ own struggles in the dark." Find links to good articles about Suicide, suicide prevention, and suicide reporting here.

[Back to Top]

Covering diversity and inclusion, in the newsroom and out

“Race is the child of racism, not the father.”~ Ta-Nehisi Coates


Students fight back against a book ban that has a Pennsylvania community divided (Evan McMorris-Santoro, Linh Tran, Sahar Akbarzai and Mirna Alsharif, CNN, 9-16-21) Students are protesting a southern Pennsylvania school district's ban of books by black authors--the latest example of panic spreading over how history and race are taught in schools across the US. The all-White school board unanimously banned a list of educational resources that included a children's book about Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai's autobiography and CNN's Sesame Street town hall on racism.
Covering at Work: The Pros and Cons of Being Ourselves at Work (io Advisory, ) Actively covering up aspects of one's identity at work is a surprisingly common. It’s worth clarifying the difference between diversity and inclusion. As explained by Jennifer Brown in Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will To Change: “Diversity is the who and the what: who’s sitting around that table, who’s being recruited, who’s being promoted, who we’re tracking from the traditional characteristics and identities of gender and ethnicity, and sexual orientation and disability—inherent diversity characteristics that we’re born with.

       Inclusion, on the other hand, is the how. Inclusion is the behaviors that welcome and embrace diversity. If you are a great leader for inclusion, you have figured out how to embrace and galvanize [a] diversity of voices and identities.”
Black Lives Matter: An anti-racism reading and resource list for adults (Writers and Editors blog)
Black Lives Matter: A reading list for children (and parents) (Writers and Editors blog)
‘This deepening division is not inevitable’: The failing diversity efforts of newsrooms (Farai Chideya, CJR, 5-22-18) "For most of the country’s history, Latino and non-white journalists were not welcomed in white-run newsrooms. Instead, they produced content which shed light on issues the white press was ignoring through their own news outlets." Newspapers are reluctant to share their staff diversity statistics. "We should not be ashamed by these numbers, whatever they are, but we should be deeply ashamed if we hide them." "Diversity in American media has nearly flatlined for more than a decade, and there’s no reason to expect it’s any better in our political units."
---Tanzina Vega: We're talking newsroom diversity today on @TheTakeaway and here MY top 10 tips for making your newsroom more inclusive (on Twitter)
---Diversity style guides (usage as to ability/disability, age, appearance, color, ethnicity/nationality, gender/gender identity/sexuality, health, and bias)
---Journal-isms (Richard Prince reporting on diversity issues in the news media)
---Diversity Toolbox (SPJ)
When Weeding Books, Librarians Are Attending to Inclusion and Diversity, SLJ Survey Shows (Melanie Kletter, School Library Journal, 6-6-21) Librarians across the country are changing the criteria they use to weed books, paying more attention to unconscious racial bias, inclusion, and diversity issues when culling titles.
Navigating Newsrooms as a Minority (Kendra Pierre-Louis, The Open Notebook, 5-7-19)
Five tips for journalists on covering trans and nonbinary people (Lewis Raven Wallace, Columbia Journalism Review, 9-30-19) #1. Get over the pronoun hump. Do it now.
Diversity and inclusivity in journalism (American Press Institute)
6 tips for journalists reporting on diverse communities (Knight Foundation, Medium, 3-6-18)

Journalists of Color Face Harassment by Sources (Jane C. Hu, The Open Notebook, 4-9-19)
Diversity (Online News Association)
Why don’t newsroom diversity initiatives work? Blame journalism culture. (Kathleen McElroy, Poynter, 8-7-19) 'The problem isn't hiring or nurturing “diverse” journalists — it’s journalism’s approach to diversity, which points at “them,” at “others.” To people who aren’t straight white men.'
On the Shortage of Spanish-Language Science Journalism in U.S. Media (Mariela Santos-Muñiz, Diverse Voices, The Open Notebook, 12-10-19)
Invisible Science: Why Are Latin American Science Stories Absent in European and U.S. Media Outlets? (Federico Kukso, Diverse Voices series, The Open Notebook, 9-24-19)
Writing When on the Autism Spectrum (Kelly Brenner, The Open Notebook, 10-9-18)
Covering Indigenous Communities with Respect and Sensitivity (Debra Utacia Krol, Diverse Voices, The Open Notebook, 6-18-19)
Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true. (Nikole Hannah-Jones, The 1619 Project, NY Times, 8-14-19) The 1619 Project (The New York Times) is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are. Read all the stories.

[Back to Top]

Restoring trust in the media

See also

Identifying media bias

Media critiques and distrust of the media

Nine Ways to Regain Your Readers’ Trust (Tim Gallagher, Editor & Publisher, 3-22-18) #1: Tell them how you did it.
Trusting News Updates from a project that’s helping journalists earn trust and demonstrate credibility. The Trusting News project, staffed by Joy Mayer and Lynn Walsh, is designed to demystify the issue of trust in journalism. It researches how people decide what news is credible, then turn that knowledge into actionable strategies for journalists. It's funded by the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the Knight Foundation and Democracy Fund.
A more nuanced understanding of “journalism” is desperately needed — and we need our communities’ help (Joy Mayer, Medium, 6-29-18) "Community newsrooms need to tell a consistent, repetitive story about what motivates our work, the range of information and stories we offer, what sets us apart, who we are, how we operate and how people can reach us. Telling that story should be a constant drumbeat — part of the rhythm of our work. And as part of that drumbeat, we need to ask for the help of our communities."
Naming names: is there an (unbiased) doctor in the house? (Jeanne Lenzer and Shannon Brownlee, Medicine and the Media, BMJ, 7-23-08) In an attempt to disentangle commercial messages from science, they compiled a list of nearly 100 independent medical experts to whom reporters can turn. See List of Industry-Independent Experts (Health News Review)
Spin happens: How we cover medical studies affects readers’ attitude toward results< (Tara Haelle, Covering Health, AHCJ, 9-13-19) A study of Google Health News stories found that 88% of stories about medical studies had at least some type of spin, such as misleading reporting or interpretation, omitting adverse events, suggesting animal study results apply to humans, or claiming causation in studies that only reported associations. The way we cover a study has impact — potentially both positive and negative — and that means we have a responsibility get it right.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Community Engagement (Aneri Pattani, The Open Notebook, NASW, 9-3-19) Writes Spotlight PA investigative journalist Aneri Pattani in TON's latest feature: "At a time when media organizations are struggling to convince people to pay for their product and most American adults say they've lost trust in journalism, many reporters are turning anew to community engagement. From standing on street corners handing out flyers, to adding extra transparency to reporting, and crowdsourcing data and story ideas, Pattani compiles lessons learned by a host of journalists experimenting with ways to better connect with their audiences and restore that trust."
Earn trust by sharing what motivates your journalism (Joy Mayer, Medium, 6-22-18) Report on the Membership Puzzle Project, The 32 Percent Project, an American Press Institute survey's report on what people think motivates journalism, and examples of how newsrooms can share the "why" of their work.
Americans and the News Media: What they do — and don’t — understand about each other (Media Insight Project, American Press Institute and Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 6-11-18) 'Much of the public doesn’t fully understand how journalists work, and journalism doesn’t make itself understandable to much of the public.... Many Americans think what they see in the news media looks largely like opinion and commentary.... Half do not know what an “op‑ed” is. More than 4 in 10 do not know what the term “attribution” means, and close to 3 in 10 do not know the difference between an “editorial” and a “news story.”' And much more; an interesting summary of the research.
How can we restore trust in news? Here are 9 takeaways from Knight-supported research (Nancy Watzman, Nieman Lab, 6-8-18) As part of its effort to explore the root causes of the current crisis in trust in the media, the Knight Foundation is commissioning a continuing series of white papers from academics and experts. Here’s what they’ve learned so far. #7: "Context helps. ([C]ontextual fact-checks can be remarkably successful in correcting misperceptions. In addition, compared to fact-checks of politicians and candidates, they run a smaller risk of creating a partisan backlash."--from America the Clueless or America the Context-less?.
Why inaccurate political information spreads (Jonathan Ladd, with Alex Podkul, Medium: Trust, Media & Democracy, 3-6-18) And why partisanship makes it difficult for people to accept corrections. "[P]eople are more likely to believe a correction if it comes from a source for whom it runs counter to personal and political interests." Ladd is author of Why Americans Hate the Media and How It Matters. See also the Knight Foundation white paper The Spread of Inaccurate Political Information in the Era of Distrusted News Media.
Reporting in a Machine Reality: Deepfakes, misinformation, and what journalists can do about them (Nicholas Diakopoulos, CJR, 5-15-18) To build up trust, news platforms need to be able to detect fake news and photos and authenticate the real stuff. To do that, news organizations and educational institutions need to ramp up training in media forensics techniques. There are telltale signs of altered and synthesized media that an expert eye can pick out—Hany Farid’s book on photo forensics offers a few alternatives, for instance.
Why Modern Newsrooms Should Mind the Generational Gap (Glynnis MacNicol, Hollywood Reporter, 4-16-18) Ignore the rising millennial class at your own risk: the elite of New York editors and writers is undergoing a massive shift as the under-35 class struggles to shoulder their "enormous influence" that "even they don't understand." "While some dismiss them as the "woke" vanguard of creeping political correctness, the new generation of media leaders, few familiar to anyone older than 40, bring with them differing views on transparency, egalitarianism and social justice — and are far more outspoken about their beliefs." "What's different in media now, Stella Bugbee argues, is that younger writers are incentivized to produce relatively cheap commentary. 'If you don't have the investment or the time to do a reported piece, naturally you're going to identity politics because that's what's available to you,' she says."

     Bias in journalism vs. political correctness. Juan Williams Fired For Admitting He Is Afraid of Flying Muslims (Riley Waggaman, Wonkette, 10-21-10) and In wake of NPR controversy, Fox News gives Juan Williams an expanded role (Matea Gold, in Los Angeles Times, 10-21-10)

Newsonomics: Will Facebook’s troubles finally cure publishers of platformitis? (Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab, 3-27-18) The Cambridge Analytica story is a reminder of the value of a trusted, direct connection between publisher and consumer. Building more of them is the news industry’s best strategy available. "It’s easier to see that now, to understand that Facebook is really just another advertising company — one grown beyond anyone’s imagination (except Google). But what can be done about it? Facebook is social crack, fostering a dependence that has made easy to swallow its monetization of our attention. Now that the extent of what it knows and how that knowledge can be used is clear, what are we going to do?"
Tweets are the new vox populi ( Heidi Tworek, CJR, 3-27-18) Journalists use tweets as a way to include opinions from “ordinary people” instead of going onto the streets to get them from actual people. But tweets can be used to spread disinformation, so Tworek recommends (among other things) Vox Pops (one part of BBC's Editorial Guidelines, which this link leads you to, and Responsible Reporting in an Age of Irresponsible Information (Tworek, Policy Brief, German Marshall Fund, 3-23-18) "The problem of disinformation is exacerbated by two deeper and longer-standing crises within the American media system: a crisis of business model and a crisis of norms. Though issues of disinformation are not new, their appearance in new forms of weaponized information and social media call for new best practices within media organizations." She writes about "how to detect disinformation; how to increase literacy about foreign interference; how to anticipate future problems today."
Show your work: The new terms for trust in journalism (Jay Rosen, PressThink, Dec. 2017) The transparency movement has finally come of age. Power has shifted to the users. Their trust has to be earned in different ways now.
How We Did Our Analysis of New York City Nuisance Abatement Cases (Sarah Ryley for ProPublica and The New York Daily News, 2-5-16) Jay Rosen write that journalists ought to explain how we do what we do. This is an excellent example of ProPublica doing so well.
Who trusts — and pays for — the news? Here’s what 8,728 people told us (Joy Mayer, Reynolds Journalism Institute, 7-27-17)
This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting (Joseph Lichterman, Nieman Lab, 3-1-17) On some stories, potential commenters on a Norwegian public broadcast are now required to answer three basic multiple-choice questions about the article before they’re allowed to post a comment.The goal is to ensure that the commenters have actually read the story before they discuss it.
Restoring the Public's Trust in American Journalism (Mitchell Baker, The Atlantic, 5-11-17) Faith in crucial institutions requires the free flow of reliable information.
Five Tools to Rebuild Trust in Media (María amírez, Nieman Reports, 1-3-18) Helping readers slow down, ask questions, and find reasoned opposing views may foster civil discourse online

[Back to Top]

Media critiques and distrust of the media

How did Republicans learn to hate the news media? (Larry Light, CJR, 11-14-18) "For many Republicans, the existence of a liberal media bias is an established fact, like the temperature at which water freezes. Attacks by Donald Trump, like the one he made last week on CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, resonate loudly with his base....The seeds of the Republican media prejudice were planted in the 1950s, when Republican senator Joe McCarthy launched a campaign to discredit the US government as an institution infested with Communist spies." From the Nixon era on, "Republican pols have used the base’s prejudice against the press to fire up the ideological troops. President George H. W. Bush put out a bumper sticker when he ran for a second term in 1992: 'Annoy the Media, Re-Elect Bush,' it read."
CNN public editor: Television journalism will remain broken post-Trump (Ariana Pekary, CJR, 10-26-2020) "What does the public miss when networks focus so narrowly on Trump’s exploits? Last week, the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, released a study of Biden’s tax plan that concluded he would cut taxes for most Americans in 2021. The study is significant, and has a potential impact on people’s actual lives. It’s certainly the kind of news that a voter might want to know before voting. How many times has it been mentioned on CNN? Not once....We’ll soon find out whether Trump will have sustained the benefits of blanket coverage as he did in 2016. But even if he departs office in January, this fatal flaw in our democracy—that journalists at networks like CNN care only about ratings—will remain."
ABC News suspends correspondent David Wright after comments about Trump coverage, socialism, in Project Veritas sting (Paul Farhi, WaPo, 2-26-2020) ABC News suspended one of its veteran correspondents late Tuesday for unguarded remarks he made in a video by operatives of Project Veritas, the conservative group that records “undercover” footage of mainstream journalists to bolster its accusations of media bias.
Online Harassment Field Manual (PEN America)
Dealing with cyberbullying – What would a feminist do? (Podcast, Jessica Valenti,The Guardian, 5-28-16) Jessica Valenti – The Guardian’s most frequently targeted writer – talks about online harassment and what people can do about it. She speaks with Jamia Wilson, executive director of Women, Action and the Media about resources to combat personal cyber-attacks. We also hear from Danielle Citron, law professor and author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace about legal action options, suggestions for reform and initiatives like California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s Cyber Exploitation research hub.
No thank you, Mr. Pecker (Jeff Bezos responds to David Pecker of AMI, owner of the National Enquirer, the pro-Saudi tabloid, who was apparently apoplectic about the Washington Post's coverage of Saudi Arabia and the "Post’s essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi." Mr. Bezos calls the bluff of Mr. Pecker, who offered not to post revealing photos of Mr. Bezos in return for Mr. Bezos and his lawyer publicly stating they “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”
As publishers pump out repetitive content, quality reporting suffers (Eavi Somaiya, CJR, 6-27-18) "Readers, inundated by streams of stories tailored for them, with similarly sharpened headlines ruthlessly tested to work on social media, develop a kind of fatigue, and can no longer tell what is Watergate and what is a bunch of people on the internet screaming about Watergate."
The decline and fall of entertainment reporting (Scott Collins, CJR 6-22-18) "Over the course of 12 years as a reporter and columnist at the Times, I was swamped by a wave that has carried entertainment journalism far away from hard reporting on the industry, and toward such fripperies as snubs and surprises on awards shows, plot twists of dramatic series, and puff profiles. By the time I quit, in 2016, my colleagues and I were spending less and less time on the type of coverage that seriously examined the people who control Hollywood and how they make their money, and more on … something else....as time went by, opportunities for original reporting grew more and more scarce. "
Journalism While Brown and When to Walk Away (Sunny Dhillon, Medium, 10-29-18) Dhillon's story about resigning from the Globe & Mail went viral. See ‘It all played out very suddenly’: Former Globe and Mail reporter on resigning over race dispute (Karen K. Ho, CJR, 11-15-18)
Polls show Americans distrust the media. But talk to them, and it’s a very different story. (Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for WashPost, 12-28-17) Sullivan talked to readers about what changes would help them trust the media more. Some anwers: Drop the attitude and preconceived ideas. Some of what’s on social media has been fabricated. National media coverage of Bernie Sanders during the campaign was “grossly lacking." You're not always getting the whole story: "Journalism sometimes suffers from a hit-and-run approach to reporting, especially on matters of substance.""Relentless stories about internal politics at the White House strike him as trivial, not worthy of the breathless treatment..." Commentary by pundits comes across as endless bickering ("the most disparaging comments I heard were about the worst qualities of cable-TV news, with their pundit panels and need to fill time, around the clock, by pointlessly chewing over small developmentsl.") Indifference was common: not paying attention to the news.
Scientists and Journalists Square Off Over Covering Science and ‘Getting it Right’ (Dana Smith, UnDark, 3-1-18) Some scientists say they should have the right to review stories in which their work or words are covered prior to publication--particularly fact-checking quotes. Journalists disagree. “It’s as if scientists are saying, ‘Journalists are too dumb to get the science right, and so I have to check their work.’”“I’d heard experienced scientists say they had always been allowed to look at drafts, and I’d heard from journalists that their professional ethics explicitly forbade this.”“We have to care about the facts, and we have to fact check ourselves, and we have to not be embarrassed to admit if we don’t get it.” See also Science and medical writing.
For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It (Susan Goldberg, The Race Issue, National Geographic, April 2018) John Edwin Mason found "that until the 1970s National Geographic all but ignored people of color who lived in the United States, rarely acknowledging them beyond laborers or domestic workers. Meanwhile it pictured “natives” elsewhere as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché. Unlike magazines such as Life, Mason said, National Geographic did little to push its readers beyond the stereotypes ingrained in white American culture." Change came gradually and National Geographic now takes stock.
Why the public hates the media (Mark Oppenheimer, Commentary, Chicago Tribune, 10-28-17) "It's been a rough 12 months for the news media. We got the election wrong, we got booed at campaign events and some of us get death threats on Twitter. In a new Reuters-Ipsos poll, only 48 percent surveyed had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in journalists. Why are they hated? 1) Reporters are like members of Congress: Everybody hates them in general, but loves their own. But there are fewer and fewer local reporters. 2) As news consumption has shifted to Facebook and other social media, we no longer know who originally produced the stories we read. 3) People believe reporters are biased in favor of liberals. Some truth to that but conservatives have opted out of the competition. "A deeper, systemic problem is that even conservatives who think they might be interested in journalism aren’t groomed to be reporters"...instead, focus on opinion writing, so young conservative journalists have a hard time learning reporting skills. And so on. Interesting!
What is media framing? (Critical Media Review, 10-19-15) Media framing is the angle or perspective from which a news story is told. Agenda setting or gatekeeping decides what a newspaper or broadcaster covers or does not cover; the frame is the overarching angle of how various stories are treated. Drugs, for example, may be presented in the law and order frame; drug misuse can framed as a health issue, a social problem, or legal (e.g., recreational drugs should be legal).
Media criticism (HuffPost)
Honest Reporting (Defending Israel from Media Bias)

Identifying Media Bias

How Reliable is Your News Source? Understanding Media Bias 2020 (League of Women Voters, Torrance, CA)
Should you trust media bias charts? (Poynter, 2020) These controversial charts claim to show the political lean and credibility of news organizations. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) (Challenging media bias and censorship since 1986), a national progressive media watchdog group, challenging corporate media bias, spin and misinformation.
Media Bias/Fact Check, a fact-checking website that indexes and ranks websites by left- or right wing bias, as well as by quality of factual reporting.What I like best: the lists of publications/sites that are right-biased, left-biased, left-center and right-center biased, and least biased; those that are pro-science, conspiracy-pseudoscience, questionable sources (including "fake news"), and satire (because it's not always clear when people ARE being satirical).
Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart rates both reliability and political bias.
All Sides Media Bias Ratings, which has a version for Apple iPhones and a version for Android phones
Media Bias (Wikipedia) Interesting long entry.
Newsbusters A project of the conservative Media Research Center (MRC) "exposing and combating liberal media bias"
Whose News Literacy? (Jane Regan, FAIR, 11-18-19) Resources for teachers and students offer useful tools but reinforce status quo
Propaganda in the US vs in the USSR (Noam Chomsky, from Chronicles of Dissent, 1992, 10-24-1986)
The Least Trusted and the Most Trusted News Sources (Lou Hoffman, Ishmael's Corner, 8-13-17) Scroll down to find the excellent graphic.
Conspiracy-Pseudoscience Sites (Media Bias/Fact Check) Fact-check articles from sources on this list, which may publish unverifiable information that is not always supported by evidence.
The TV News Archive's Third Eye project captures the chyrons–-or narrative text–-that appear on the lower third of TV news screens and turns them into downloadable data and a Twitter feed for research, journalism, online tools, and other projects. Third Eye captures four TV cable news channels: BBC News, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.
Liberal, Conservative & Non-Partisan Periodicals (Pace University's LibGuide) Indicates magazines', newspapers', and journals' biases.

[Back to Top]

Data Journalism

What Is Data Journalism? (a chapter in online Data Journalism Handbook)
Data Journalism Tools (Knight Science Journalism, MIT) “Data can be the source of data journalism, or it can be the tool with which the story is told — or it can be both.”— Paul Bradshaw
Investigating your local jails? Reuters journalists share how to analyze and understand their new national data set (Michael Morisy, Muckrock, 2-18-21) After filing over 1,500 records requests, these reporters have built the most comprehensive look yet at inmate mortality in city and county jails. Presentation on how you can use it. See Jail deaths in America: data and key findings of Dying Inside (Grant Smith, Reuters Investigates, 10-16-2020)The U.S. government does not release jail by jail mortality data, keeping the public and policy makers in the dark about facilities with high rates of death. In a first-of-its-kind accounting, Reuters obtained and is releasing that data to the public.To learn about the jails in your state, download the .pdf files; to get information on each individual death in those jails, download the .csv file for a spreadsheet.
How the pandemic turned a local reporter into an award-winning data journalist (Bara Vaida, Covering Health, 6-1-21) National Public Radio reporter Alex Smith won an AHCJ award for Beat Reporting on Covid-19 (Alex Smith, KCUR, 2020) See his How I Did It piece: Simple digital tools helped broadcast reporter track conflicting COVID-19 statistics. Tip: Save everything!
Interrogating Data: A Science Writer’s Guide to Data Journalism (Betsy Ladyzhets, The Open Notebook, 7-28-2020--follow @betsyladyzhets) Data journalism, the practice of using numbers and trends to tell a story, requires a variety of skills: research to find the correct dataset, analysis to determine what kind of story this dataset may tell, and presentation to share that story with readers. These skills are within reach for many science writers, even without any programming background: Simply ask questions, and you will find the central tenet of a story. Invaluable in particular for its several invaluable sets of links to public and journalist-friendly data sources and interesting links to data-made-graphic: Sizing up Australia’s bushfires (Reuters) The Atlas of Moons (National Geographic). (See also Data visualization.)
Practice Data Reporting for Science Stories Using These Workbench Tutorials (Betsy Ladyzhets, The Open Notebook, 9-8-2020) After general explanation, two online tutorials, one easy (about Critically endangered species of America) and one of intermediate difficulty (about Cities with the highest PM pollution).
Data Journalists’ Roundtable: Visualizing the Pandemic (Tien Nguyen, The Open Notebook, 9-29-2020) Four  journalists--Emily M. Eng (graphics editor, Seattle Times), Chris Canipe (data visual journalist, Reuters), Aaron Williams (data reporter, Washington Post) and Jasmine Mithai (visual journalist, FiveThirtyEight)--talk about the biggest challenges they have faced trying to make sense of the ever-changing pandemic using numbers and information that shifts daily. There are, each says, some ground rules: Visualizations must be accurate, digestible, and actionable. They talk about the biggest challenges they have faced trying to make sense of the ever-changing pandemic using numbers and information that shifts daily.
Spotting Shady Statistics (Rachel Zamzow, The Open Notebook, 12-5-2017) The two watchdog powerhouses—Schwitzer spearheads Health News Review and Oransky, Retraction Watch —taught Tara Haelle and the other attendees at a health care journalists conference how to catch flaws in research studies.Some of the issues Haelle calls out involve questionable practices like excessive data mining or cherry-picking subjects—activities that likely reflect increasing pressure on scientists to produce eye-catching results. One way to tweak their results is by a practice known as p-hacking, which entails mining a dataset until you get a finding that passes the bar of statistical significance. Coming up with a hypothesis retroactively—sometimes referred to as “hypothesizing after the results are known,” or HARKing—often follows this form of p-hacking.
Good Jobs First (twitterfeed) A leading watchdog on corporate subsidies since 1998. Interesting twitterfeed.
Data journalism for every scale and skill level (Diana Kwon, National Association of Science Writers, 10-11-15)
Data journalism syllabus: From numeracy to visualization and beyond (Journalist's Resource
Become Data Literate in 3 Simple Steps (Nicolas Kayser-Bril,from Understanding Data) 1. How was the data collected? 2. What’s in there to learn? 3. How reliable is the information?
Trump’s Most Influential White Nationalist Troll Is a Middlebury Grad Who Lives in Manhattan (Luke O'Brien, HuffPost, 4-5-18) HuffPost and a team of data scientists known as Susan Bourbaki Anthony that tracks online propaganda analyzed who was retweeting the now infamous Kremlin-controlled Twitter account @TEN_GOP, which consistently praised Trump, attacked Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and churned out a vile medley of racism, Islamophobia and “fake news.” A profile of Vermonter Douglass Mackey aka Ricky Vaughn in his role of Twitter troll on the far right.
What was that number again …? The solution to re-using stats in your writing (Tara Haelle, Covering Health, AHCJ, 1-28-19) Creating a spreadsheet to save data on various topics, so you don't have to look up the same data the next time that topic comes up again.
EMMA "Providing Market Transparency Since 2008." Get to know this source for hospital financial reports. The official source for municipal securities data and documents--and the official source for comprehensive annual financial reports and operating information about any hospital or health care facility financed by public debt. See AHCJ's webcast about it 8-2-18)
Open Payments database (a federal program that collects and makes information public about financial relationships between the health care industry, physicians, and teaching hospitals--a good place to spot conflicts of interest)
STATS. Sense About Science's collaborative effort with the American Statistical Association to improve statistical literacy among journalists, academic journal editors, and researchers.
Tow Report: As Sensor Journalism Rises, Guidelines Needed (Angela Washeck, MediaShift, 6-25-14) "No one can deny the ubiquitous nature of sensors. They are everywhere (even when we’re not aware of them), whether in the form of radar trackers, satellite imagery, biochips or drones. Simultaneously, the popularity of data journalism is rising and sensors will become a vital device for collecting, sifting through and interpreting data that journalists (and audiences) have never seen before. That’s the message from Fergus Pitt and other professional journalists, academics and technologists who authored Sensors and Journalism, a recently released report from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism."
Journalism in the Age of Data (video, Geoff McGhee, a video report on data visualization as a storytelling medium, produced under a 2009-2010 Knight Journalism Fellowship)
The Quartz guide to bad data (Quartz-GitHub) An exhaustive reference to problems seen in real-world data along with suggestions on how to resolve them (and how to say how to resolve them).
Investigative Reporters & Editors. Join one of several listservs run by IRE and NICAR (National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting)
Understanding data journalism: Overview of resources, tools and topics (Alex Remington, Journalist's Resource). Overview of open datasets, data cleanup, data visualization, what to read.
Mining a New Data Set to Pinpoint Critical Staffing Issues in Skilled Nursing Facilities
(Jordan Rau, Neglect Unchecked, 7-30-18) Low staffing is a root cause of many injuries in nursing homes. Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Jordan Rau explains how he connected the dots between manpower and risk at facilities nationwide, using a federal tool known as the Payroll-Based Journal.
9 Must-read Books for Beginners in Data Journalism ( Adrian Blanco, Infogram.com)
Why Teaching Data Journalism Is a Challenge at Most Universities (Kayt Davies, MediaShift, 2-5-16)
Why Teaching Data Journalism Is a Challenge at Most Universities (Kayt Davies, MediaShift, 2-5-18) "Data journalism is all-at-once the coolest, hardest and fastest changing kind of journalism there is, and that’s a hard thing to suddenly become competent enough in to stand up and teach." Our "exploration of the intricacies of cutting-edge data journalism is minimal for now. Yet, we are laying the groundwork, and by tackling the fears, we are setting people up for lifetimes of learning.... Other helpful advice that emerged from the study was to be bold about blended learning. One of my respondents said she required students to complete Lynda.com’s Excel Five-Day Challenge before starting her course, and another said she encouraged students to use Lynda.com when they were stuck."
Measuring the Toll of the Opioid Epidemic Is Tougher Than It Seems (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, 3-13-18) One of our editors set out to create an ambitious list of data sources on the opioid epidemic. Much of what he found was out of date, and some data contradicted other data.
Opioid Overdose. U.S. County Prescribing Rates, 2016. U.S. Prescribing Rate Maps (CDC) As Maia Szalavitz has pointed out, "most overdose deaths are not related to prescription opioids--they are caused by heroin and 'illicitly made' fentanyl." Originally the crisis was drive by overprescription of opioids, but "many people who once had a medical supply have been driven to street drugs."
Math basics for journalists: Working with averages and percentages (Leighton Walter Kille, Journalists' Resource, 6-15-14)
Tips for journalists working with math, statistics: A list of key resources (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalists' Resource, 5-20-16)
Re-integrating scholarly infrastructure: The ambiguous role of data sharing platforms (Jean-Christophe Plantin, Carl Lagoze, Paul N Edwards, Sage Journals, 2-9-18)
Promoting the use of Best Practices and Setting Standards for APIs.
Software as a service (SaaS) (Wikipedia) Microsoft used to call it 'software plus services.'
A nationwide reporting adventure tracks improbably frequent lottery winners (Jon Allsop, Selin Bozkaya, Jeremy Devon House, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Ayanna Runcie, and Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, CJR, 9-15-17) A reporter asked for 20 years of lottery winner data. After analyzing the records, he noticed something unusual. In the past seven years, nearly 1,700 Americans were frequent winners—w defined as having claimed 50 or more lottery tickets each worth $600 or more. The how-we-did-it behind Gaming the Lottery: An international investigation into the global lottery industry.
Figshare for Institutions – Solving the Research Data Management Problem for Educational Research Institutions (Digital Science)
CAR Conference (IRE and NICAR's annual conference devoted to data journalism)
Health Datapalooza (February event, AcademyHealth, The gathering place for people and organizations creating knowledge from data and pioneering innovations that drive health policy and practice)

[Back to Top]

Financial reporting and business journalism

‘No comment’: The death of business reporting (Steven Pearlstein, WashPost, 7-6-18) In "the age of social media and fake news, the journalism produced at 'legitimate news outlets is more important to us than ever because these are trusted, independent sources of information' but "many companies, what is widely referred to as 'earned media' now takes a back seat to 'owned media'— companies using websites, Internet search engines and social media to build their brand identities and communicate directly with stakeholders....'The prevailing attitude is now that everything is about data and social media and identifying the people they can reach by going over the heads of the established media,' one top public relations executive told me." Factors in reduced trust in media: The decline of "beat reporters" who know a beat well, a "bunker mentality" focused on risk-avoidance in businesses (a "bunker mentality"), and not knowing that the good corporate executives "know how to avoid the bad risks, take advantage of the good ones and manage the ones in between."
Earned media, explained Wikipedia has a good explanation of the differences between owned, paid, and earned media.
---"Owned media is defined as communication channels that are within one's control, such as websites, blogs, or email."
---"Paid media refers mostly to traditional advertising."
---"Earned media cannot be bought or owned; it can only be gained organically, when content receives recognition and a following through communication channels such as social media and word of mouth. Earned media often refers specifically to publicity gained through editorial influence of various kinds. The media may include any mass media outlets, such as newspaper, television, radio, and the Internet, and may include a variety of formats, such as news articles or shows, letters to the editor, editorials, and polls on television and the Internet."
Assets and liabilities are a reporter's first stops in financial statement (Sally Kilbridge, Muck Rack) A big part of breaking down a financial statement depends primarily on common sense: Looking at a company’s assets and liabilities. It’s also good to understand shareholder’s equity. Assets are what they sound like—cash and other investments and what’s sometimes called property, plants and equipment (or hard assets).
How to read the three major parts of a financial statement (Sally Kilbridge, Muck Rack) The first stop for a reporter looking at a public company’s financial health is its financial statement, easily found in its annual report. The three main components of a financial statement are the balance sheet (aka the Statement of Financial Position), the income statement (aka the Statement of Operations or Statement of Comprehensive Income) and the Statement of Cash Flow. This is a summary of the financial balances of a company.
Finding Stories in Financial Filing Footnotes (Erik Sherman, National Center for Business Journalism, 1-23-18)
I've been writing about money for 15 years, and here are the 9 best pieces of financial advice I can give you (Farnoosh Torabi, Business Insider, 10-7-15) Example: "You don’t need to be wealthy to invest, but you need to invest to be wealthy."
Make Money Writing About Money (Jessica McCann, The Writer, January 2010)
How I Broke Into Financial Journalism and What It Took to Stick Around (Tim Beyers, Contently, 2-12-15) "Whether you contribute to The Motley Fool or The Wall Street Journal, financial journalists write for investors first." Investors "expect accurate, actionable advice from the media covering the markets—which is why it’s so important to know how to read and interpret financial reports." "As a starting point, the three documents every financial freelancer should be able to dissect are: the income statement, which tells how much profit a business produced during a specific period; the balance sheet, which is a snapshot of a business’ financial health at the end of a reporting period; and the cash flow statement, which describes how the business turned sales into cash during a specific reporting period." And so on! Recommended for financial reporters in that series:
---The Enron Trial (Forbest Staff coverage, 1-30-06)
---EDGAR (database for the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC). See Researching Public Companies Through EDGAR: A Guide for Investors
---YAHOO! Finance. Go to the Ke Statistics page " if you find yourself covering an earnings report or a news item that requires quick financial context."
---Conference Call Transcripts ("conference calls reveal how managers handle tough questions from Wall Street analysts...free transcripts you can access with one click.")
Become A Data Scientist in 8 Steps: Infographic (DataCamp)
Economist Style Guide
Style guidelines for financial services firms (Susan B. Weiner)
New York Financial Writers Association (NYFWA)
Becoming A Financial Writer (Glenn Curtis, Investopedia, 9-7-14)

[Back to Top]

Magazine markets

What’s the “Front of Book?” (Anna Funk, It's Dr. Funk blog, 10-24-2020) Anna Funk, associate editor at Discover Magazine, discusses the front section of a magazine: “You can’t just start throwing 3,000-word features at readers on page 1. You need to sort of ease people into things,” she says.
The Rookie and the Pro: Different Ways to Succeed on Medium A Q&A with Shannon Ashley and Shaunta Grimes, two top Partner Program writers. See also How to Make Money on Medium – My First Medium Paycheck (Blogging side hustles that pay) (Tom, This Online World, 4-6-18), and How I Make $2,000 a Month from One Medium Article (Eduardo Morales, Hackernoon, 9-12-18) "I wrote a comprehensive overview and actionable How To about a topic a lot of people are curious about, but there is little information for. Instagram bots..." and An Idiot’s Guide to Making Money on Medium (Sparky, The Writing Cooperative, 4-26-18) "I dug around a little bit and discovered that Medium was much more than self-help guru’s sales funnels. I started finding articles that actually made me want to continue reading."

How Medium’s Curation, Distribution and Paywall Systems Work for Writers (Michael Sippey, Medium, 2-25-19)
Magazines and Their Web sites (a Columbia Journalism Review survey and report by Victor Navasky with Evan Lerner, March/April 2010). And Tangled Web (their article about the CJR survey of practices at magazines). It is like the Wild West out there. Advertising is king; there is little copyediting online; under Web editors there may be little or no fact-checking; speed is a priority, so print standards may be abandoned; corrections may be made with no acknowledgment of the original error; print may reach a smaller audience but still has more aura of prestige. Some thoughts: “We migrated from a print publication supplemented with online articles to an online publication supplemented with print editions.” “The Web site is an extension of the print magazine, although it reaches far more people.” “I see four missions for the Web site: to build community; to allow us to do things, such as interactive lists and video, that we can’t do in print; to speed news to the reader faster than the print product; and ultimately, of course, to make money…”
Mastheads and editorial calendars of magazines, newspapers, and other publications
How to pitch a magazine story (on this site)
The art of the pitch (on this site)
Talent Network, Washington Post (a freelance journalist network). Read about it here: Sprawling freelancer network pays dividends for The Washington Post (Steve Friess, CJR, 1-27-17)
Do-It-Yourself Magazines, Cheaply Slick (Ashlee Vance, NY Times, 3-29-09)
Magazines Cross the Digital Divide (Keach Hagey, WSJ, 1-18-13). Print publishers have a long, love-hate relationship with electronic media, dating back to the dawn of the internet. Buffeted by declining advertising, magazines are turning to tablet computers and digital editions to boost circulation revenue. In doing so, they are hoping to reset decades of subscription discounting.
The Magazine Is Dead, Long Live the Magazine (Prosenjit Datta, LinkedIn, 10-11-19)
Magazine Writers Ride High On Hollywood's 'Peak Content' Wave (Rob Williams, PublishingInsider, 5-20-19) "Magazine writers are finding themselves in demand as story-hungry Hollywood studios bid up prices in the era of “peak content.” TV production is booming as Netflix, Amazon, Apple and even Walmart vie with traditional media companies for video programming to fill the digital pipes of their streaming services. Studios that used to pay $5,000 or $10,000 to option a magazine story for a show are now ponying up $20,000 to $50,000, Bloomberg Businessweek reported."
Magazine Ad Slump Sends Publishers Into Freefall (Tim Mulaney, Bloomberg, 2008)
A Magazine Startup Checklist (William Dunkerley, STRAT, 12-13-10)
Specialty and niche writing
STRAT: The Newsletter of Print and Online Magazine Publishing Strategy
Mr. Magazine.com (Samir Husni's blog)

[Back to Top]


Investigative Reporting

including "How they did it" series, and covering watchdog groups
"If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

Deceptions and lies: What really happened in Afghanistan (Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, 8-10-21) Part one of an excerpt from his book The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War. “” Whitlock will discuss the book during a Washington Post Live event on Aug. 31, 2021.
• Earlier link on the same topic:The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war (Craig Whitlock, At War with the Truth, Washington Post investigative series, 19-9-19) U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation found.
Geoffrey Kamadi Looks into a Threatened River Ecosystem in Kenya (Abdullahi Tsanni, The Open Notebook, 6-1-21) The story behind the story.  Read the story itself here: Tana River Basin under Threat (Geoffrey Kamadi, Science Africa, 9-17-19)  Kamadi's story won the gold award in the small-outlet category of the 2020 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards.
Democracy’s Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism by James T. Hamilton. "In riveting detail, Hamilton meticulously examines the storied history of investigative journalism in America, chronicles its current malaise, and makes a convincing case that pouring resources into gumshoe reporting makes economic sense for sclerotic news organizations. Why? Because readers hunger for more of it and are willing to pay to read it." ~Walter V. Robinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist and Editor-at-Large at the Boston Globe. Much of Hamilton's data comes from the files of the group Investigative Reporters & Editors. (Thanks, Steve Weinberg)
Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law by Alison Bass. Publishers Weekly: "She makes a strong case for broad decriminalization with limited regulation while assessing the effectiveness of other solutions in place, including brothel-only legalization in Nevada, the temporary loopholes in Rhode Island law, the criminalization of clients in Sweden and Germany, and Canadian laws that prohibited communication about prostitution but not the act itself. The book provides a solid overview of the legal ramifications of sex work, and builds compassion for those at the heart of the issue."
The Mushroom Scammer: Fake Identities, Twisted Science, and a Scheme to Save the World (Zahra Hirji, BuzzFeed News, 5-6-21) Joseph Kelly’s solution to the climate crisis is simple, affordable, and doesn’t require radically changing your life. Take a special blend of fungi that’s packaged in a cute orb, dissolve it in water like a bath bomb, and spray it once on your lawn to boost its ability to suck carbon dioxide from the air. It's an easy fix to the climate crisis — and he’ll take down anyone who tries to stop him from selling it to you.
How to Deal with Pushback on an Investigative Story (Mallory Pickett, The Open Notebook, 10-6-2020) Big institutions like corporations or government agencies often respond to critical stories in predictable ways and defend themselves using common tactics--including angry demands, letters above your head, and sometimes even lawyers. Experienced investigative journalists share their tips for managing these tactics and for preparing for the challenges that can arise while undertaking important stories. Most things are under your control: accurate, well-documented reporting, and clear, timely communication with your sources, PR professionals, and editors.
Confidential News Tips at the NY Times

Best ways to share confidential tips (explained):

---WhatsApp (allows full end-to-end encryption);

---Signal (this free and open source messaging app offers end-to-end encryption);

---Email (Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is encryption software and Mailvelope is a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that makes it easy to use PGP;

---Postal Mail (use a public mailbox, not a post office);

---SecureDrop (this encrypted submission system set up by The Times uses Tor anonymity software).
The President's Taxes: Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses and Years of Tax Avoidance (Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, New York Times, 9-27-2020) The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due.
---How Reality-TV Fame Handed Trump a $427 Million Lifeline (NY Times, 9-28-2020) Tax records show that “The Apprentice” rescued Donald J. Trump, bringing him new sources of cash and a myth that would propel him to the White House.
---Charting an Empire: A Timeline of Trump’s Finances ( Russ Buettner, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Keith Collins, Mike McIntire and Susanne Craig, NY Times, 9-27-2020) Tax records provide a detailed history of President Trump’s business career, revealing huge losses, looming financial threats and a large, contested refund from the I.R.S.
---An Editor’s Note on the Trump Tax Investigation (Dean Baquet, NY Times, 9-27-2020) The New York Times has examined decades of President Trump’s financial records, assembling the most comprehensive picture yet of his business dealings.
Meet the Investigators, an interesting monthly series from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Investigative Journalism: A Survival Guide by David Leigh explores the history and art of investigative journalism, and explains how to deal with legal bullies, crooked politicians, media bosses, big business and intelligence agencies; how to withstand conspiracy theories; and how to work collaboratively across borders in the new age of data journalism. It also provides a fascinating first-hand account of the work that went into breaking major news stories including WikiLeaks and the Edward Snowden affair.
Lord of the Roths: How Tech Mogul Peter Thiel Turned a Retirement Account for the Middle Class Into a $5 Billion Tax-Free Piggy Bank (Justin Elliott, Patricia Callahan and James Bandler, ProPublica, 6-25-21) Roth IRAs were intended to help average working Americans save, but IRS records show Thiel and other ultrawealthy investors have used them to amass vast untaxed fortunes. See also The Ultrawealthy Have Hijacked Roth IRAs. The Senate Finance Chair Is Eyeing a Crackdown. (Justin Elliott, Patricia Callahan and James Bandler ProPublica 6-25-21) Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said he planned to rein in tax breaks for gargantuan Roth retirement accounts after ProPublica exposed how the superrich used them to shield their fortunes from taxes.
New Program Protects Investigative Freelancers From Legal Woes (Erik Hoffner, Society of Environmental Journalists) ‘We need to increase accountability journalism, so we need to advance legal protection.’ — Laird Townsend of FIRE (Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors)
US poised to overhaul the country’s anti-money laundering legislation (Hamish Boland-Rudder, ICIJ, 12-4-2020) Congress has released the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes reforms that would effectively end fully anonymous shell companies. "It’s the single most important change Congress could make to better protect our financial system from abuse." See also more reports of featured investigations (links to current topics, and scroll subject categories to find more). And how-to and how-we-did-it pieces (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)
Polluted by Money: How corporate cash corrupted one of the greenest states in America (Rob Davis, The Oregonian, 2-22-19 through 8-15-19) It begins: "In the last four years, Oregon’s most powerful industries have killed, weakened or stalled efforts to deal with climate change, disappearing bird habitat, cancer-causing diesel exhaust, industrial air pollution, oil spill planning and weed killers sprayed from helicopters. What changed Oregon? Money. Lots and lots of money. Oregon is one of a very few states that allows lawmakers to spend campaign money on perks they’d otherwise have to pay for personally or justify on legislative expense reports. And, by permitting double dips, the state has created a conduit between the nation’s largest companies and legislators’ bank accounts. (This series was the first recipient of the $25,000 Collier Prize for State Government Accountability, a new journalism prize designed to encourage coverage of state government, focusing on investigative and political reporting.)
The FinCEN Files BuzzFeed News, a big series. See Dirty money pours into the world’s most powerful banks. Since 2010, at least 18 financial institutions have received deferred prosecution agreements for anti–money laundering or sanctions violations, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed News. Of those, at least four went on to break the law again and get fined. Twice, the government responded to this kind of repeat offense by renewing the deferred prosecution agreement — the very tool that failed the first time. MORE: Top Deutsche Bank Executives Missed Major Red Flags Pointing To A Massive Money Laundering Scandal.... The Untold Story Of What Really Happened After HSBC, El Chapo's Bank, Promised To Get Clean....They Suspected Their Bank Of Doing Business With Iran And Suspected Terrorist Financiers. Now, They Feel Betrayed By The Government.  And so on.
As Flint Water Crisis Enters Sixth Year, 'Astounding' Report Exposes Lies of Ex-Gov. Rick Snyder and Other Officials (Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, 4-16-2020) "Coronavirus is the biggest story in the country, and rightfully so. But today, this enormous, exclusive, and damning story should be a very, very close second." The story itself: Michigan's Ex-Gov. Rick Snyder Knew About Flint's Toxic Water—and Lied About It (Jordan Chariton and Jenn Dize, Vice, 4-16-2020) Six years after the city of Flint, Michigan, began using a toxic water source that sickened its residents, VICE uncovered payoffs, the silencing of a whistleblower, a shady financial deal, a coverup, and the former governor who presided over it all.
Reporter explains how he wove data, human stories into compelling series on dental deaths (Mary Otto, Health Journalism, AHCJ, 1-13-16) In a seven-part series, Deadly Dentistry, Brooks Egerton set out to offer what he has described as a look “into dentistry’s netherworld, where professionals take chances with patients’ lives and the government largely tolerates it.” Egerton raises questions about how many dental injuries and deaths may be going unreported across the country – and how many dentists may go undisciplined for malpractice.
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP, an investigative reporting platform formed by 40 non-profit investigative centers, scores of journalists and several major regional news organizations around the globe--a network including Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America)
Pay or Die (Sonia Nazario, photos by Victor J. Blue, NY Times, 7-25-19) MS-13 and 18th Street gangsters want to run Honduras. Cutting off American aid isn’t going to stop them. "There are two main ways to get rich illegally in Honduras. One is to take money from drug cartels to help them move Colombian cocaine to the United States....The other way is to steal from the public coffers. This is often done through the creation of nonprofits that get government contracts and either do the work at inflated prices or don’t do anything at all and simply pocket the payments....The corruption trickles down into the country's classrooms...robbing children of their futures. But the corruption of its medical system can rob them of their lives."
She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. “'She Said,' a new book detailing the astonishing behind-the-scenes of the New York Times’s bombshell Harvey Weinstein exposé, is an instant classic of investigative journalism. If your jaw dropped at the newspaper’s original allegations against the predatory movie mogul, prepare for it to hit the floor as authors Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey recount how they uncovered the story: secret meetings, harrowing phone calls, private text exchanges with A-list actresses agonizing over whether to go on the record. Ashley Judd plays the stoic warrior; Gwyneth Paltrow, the circumspect liaison who tries to help the reporters find other sources.” ~ Monica Hesse, The Washington Post (with sidebars on Donald Trump)  A great read.
A Dead Cat, A Lawyer's Call and A 5-Figure Donation: How Media Fell Short on Epstein (David Folkenflik, All Things Considered, NPR, 8-22-19) With an emphasis on how the media fell short -- until Julie Brown came along and wrote Perversion of Justice: Jeffrey Epstein (a series for the Miami Herald (8-8 to 8-17-19). "In her year-long investigation of Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown tracked down more than 60 women who said they were victims of abuse and revealed the full story behind the sweetheart deal cut by Epstein’s powerhouse legal team. Since the Herald published ‘Perversion of Justice’ in November 2018, a federal judge ruled the non-prosecution agreement brokered by then South Florida U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta was illegal, and on July 6 Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges in New York state. On July 12, Acosta resigned as U.S. Secretary of Labor. And on Aug. 10, Epstein died by suicide in his Manhattan jail cell. Investigative journalism makes a difference." Many articles in an excellent series. See also A Reporter’s Fight to Expose Epstein’s Crimes — and Earn a Living Michelle Goldberg, Opinion, NY Times, 7-17-21) "Brown’s book is about a mind-blowing case of plutocratic corruption, full of noirish subplots that may never be fully understood. But it’s also about the slow strangulation of local and regional newspapers....Brown also had to contend with the punishing economics of the contracting newspaper industry, which for the last decade has been shedding experienced reporters and forcing those who remain to do much more with much less."
How one small news organization’s investigative reporting took down Puerto Rico’s governor (Margaret Sullivan, WaPo, 7-27-19) A small, scrappy nonprofit, the Center for Investigative Journalism, or CPI — with only 10 full-time reporters and editors — published nearly 900 pages of devastating documents, which led to the furious protests of hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican people disgusted by the administration’s disrespect and apparent corruption. That led to the governor's forced resignation eleven days after publication. "CPI didn’t merely publish the chat messages, as appalling as many of them were. There also were investigative stories revealing “the corruption behind the chat” — the ways in which the Rosselló administration, Minet said, was misusing its public role to benefit their private interests."

[Back to Top]

Working by Robert Caro. Fascinating stories about how his major books got written -- insights into how a master investigative history writer figured out how power works in his books about Robert Moses and LBJ. A must-read for investigative journalists, especially those willing to do the deep dives.
Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting). Investigative Reporters & Editors. Join one of several listservs run by IRE and NICAR (National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting).
Investigative Reporter's Handbook: A Guide to Documents, Databases, and Techniques by Brant Houston and IRE.
Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide by Brant Houston
The Science Writers' Investigative Reporting Handbook: A Beginner's Guide to Investigations by Liza Gross (Watchdog Press, 2018)
Susan White’s Brief Guide to Investigations (Susan White, The Open Notebook, NASW, 8-18-15) The best investigative reporters pay attention to these inconvenient thoughts. Even a routine daily story becomes an “investigation” when the right questions are asked and answered.
Tip Sheets and Links from 2018 IRE Conference
Open Payments database (a federal program that collects and makes information public about financial relationships between the health care industry, physicians, and teaching hospitals--a good place to spot conflicts of interest)
In the hunt for sustainability, DocumentCloud and MuckRock are joining together as one organization (Christine Schmidt, NiemanLab, 6-11-18) MuckRock and DocumentCloud are joining into one organization on the quest for sustainability as a hub for some of journalism’s most widely-used tools for transparency. MuckRock has a payment system for users and organizations, which DocumentCloud is eager to introduce. DocumentCloud has brand recognition and is good at showing it’s important to the journalism community and getting foundational support. MuckRock users have also asked for annotation and others features that DocumentCloud already has.
The New Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself by Stephen Martin Kohn
Protection for whistleblowers
Pain & Profit (prize-winning Dallas News investigative series, 2018: "Your tax money may not help poor, sick Texans get well, but it definitely helps health care companies get rich") The move to shift Texas’ Medicaid program from a state-run system to a managed care system was intended to cut costs and improve the coordination of sick Texans’ care. Instead, it cost the state billions while patients lost access to critical care, journalists J. David McSwane and Andrew Chavez discovered in their prize-winning “Pain and Profit” multi-part investigation for the Dallas Morning News. Read How they did it: Reporters find dire problems with Texas’ Medicaid system (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource, 3-7-19) A series of interviews with the finalists, in the interest of giving a behind-the-scenes explanation of the process, tools, and legwork it takes to create an important piece of investigative journalism. Journalist’s Resource is a project of the Shorenstein Center, which awarded  the 2019 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting to this stellar investigative report, but had no involvement with or influence on the judging process for the Goldsmith Prize finalists or winner.
What's up with shield laws
A nationwide reporting adventure tracks improbably frequent lottery winners (Jon Allsop, Selin Bozkaya, Jeremy Devon House, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Ayanna Runcie, and Daniel Simmons-Ritchie, CJR, 9-15-17) A reporter asked for 20 years of lottery winner data. After analyzing the records, he noticed something unusual. The how-we-did-it behind Gaming the Lottery: An international investigation into the global lottery industry.
How they did it: Reporting on junk health insurance plans (Joseph Burns, Covering Health, 6-15-21) An excellent example for any journalist looking to cover the complex world of health insurance plans that do not comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. The story: He Bought Health Insurance for Emergencies. Then He Fell Into a $33,601 Trap. (Jenny Deam, ProPublica, 5-8-21) Since the Trump administration deregulated the health insurance industry, there’s been an explosion of short-term plans that leave patients with surprise bills and providers with huge revenue.
Open Payments database (a federal program that collects and makes information public about financial relationships between the health care industry, physicians, and teaching hospitals--a good place to spot conflicts of interest)
Three Years on the Panama Papers in Ecuador\(Monica Almeida, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 4-25-19) Almeida worked with a team of journalists in Ecuador to uncover a bribery scheme set up in the state oil company Petroecuador, fraud in the construction sector, and the use of Panamanian companies by Ecuadorian politicians, among other findings.
How a C.I.A. Coverup Targeted a Whistle-blower (Ronan Farrow, New Yorker, 11-9-2020) When a Justice Department lawyer exposed the agency’s secret role in drug cases, leadership in the intelligence community retaliated. Mark McConnell had uncovered what he described as a “criminal conspiracy” perpetrated by the C.I.A. and the F.B.I...."McConnell had learned that more than a hundred entries in the database that were labelled as originating from F.B.I. investigations were actually from a secret C.I.A. surveillance program. He realized that C.I.A. officers and F.B.I. agents, in violation of federal law and Department of Justice guidelines, had concealed the information’s origins from federal prosecutors, leaving judges and defense lawyers in the dark."
The Mobile-Home Trap (Mike Baker and Daniel Wagner, The Seattle Times, The Center for Public Integrity and BuzzFeed News, 2016) From opposite ends of the country, Mike Baker and Daniel Wagner were each investigating Warren Buffet’s mobile-home businesses when their paths crossed. They decided to pitch the project to their bosses as a partnership. It was an advantageous union, as Baker had been analyzing government mortgage data and Wagner had been focusing on customers. Together they revealed how Clayton Homes, a part of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, and its lending subsidiaries target minority homebuyers and lock them into ruinous high-interest loans. Winner of the Livingston Award for National Reporting.

[Back to Top]

How they did it: Investigative reporting tips from the 2019 Goldsmith Prize finalists (Journalist's Resource) Seven reporting teams were chosen as finalists for the 2019 prize, which carries a $10,000 award for finalists and $25,000 for the winner. This year, for the first time, Journalist’s Resource published a series of interviews with the finalists, in the interest of giving a behind-the-scenes explanation of the process, tools, and legwork it takes to create an important piece of investigative journalism. Read these tip sheets:
---How they did it: Reporters enlist teachers to investigate ‘toxic schools’ (Chloe Reichel, 3-12-19) The Philadelphia Inquirer found over 9,000 environmental problems in the city’s public schools through an investigation that used community-based testing.
---How they did it: Reporters uncovered Trump hush payments to two women (Denise-Marie Ordway, 3-11-19) A Wall Street Journal reporter discusses the newspaper's investigation into secret payoffs Donald Trump and his associates arranged to suppress sexual allegations from two women during the 2016 presidential campaign.
---How he did it: A reporter investigates an Alabama sheriff who pocketed over $2 million in jail food funds (Carmen Nobel, 3-11-19)
---How they did it: Reporters find dire problems with Texas’ Medicaid system(Chloe, Reichl, 3-7-19) Journalists reveal failures of Texas' managed care system through public records requests, statewide door-knocking efforts and data analysis.
---How they did it: Public records helped reporters investigate police abuse of power (Denise-Marie Ordway, 3-17-19) Christian Sheckler of the South Bend Tribune and Ken Armstrong of ProPublica explain how they used public records to spotlight problems within the Elkhart, Indiana criminal justice system.
---How they did it: ProPublica investigates Trump's ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy (Chloe Reichel, 3-4-19) “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I haven't ever been part of a story that has had such powerful impact so swiftly,” Ginger Thompson, senior reporter at ProPublica, said.
---How they did it: Two journalists talk about their teen labor trafficking investigation (Denise-Marie Ordway, 2-27-19) Journalists Daffodil Altan and Andrés Cediel discuss the importance of language skills, tenacity and cultural competency in doing high-quality investigative journalism. Their documentary film “Trafficked in America” investigated a labor trafficking scheme involving Guatemalan teens forced to work long hours at an Ohio egg farm to pay off their smuggling debts.
Journalists Shouldn’t Be Fired for Investigating Their Own Publications (Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads, 2-6-18) Newsweek reporters Celeste Katz and Josh Saul, and their editors Bob Roe and Kenneth Li, were investigating "without fear or favor" why their office was raided by investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney on January 18, quickly turning around a story. They collaborated on two more stories that held their own company accountable, joined by their colleague Josh Keefe. Then on February 5, Katz, Saul, Roe and Li were abruptly fired. 'Another reporter, Matthew Cooper, tendered a letter of resignation to Pragad, criticizing the magazine’s “reckless leadership.” “It’s the installation of editors, not Li and Roe, who recklessly sought clicks at the expense of accuracy, retweets over fairness, that leaves me most despondent not only for Newsweek but for other publications that don’t heed the lessons of this publication’s fall,” Cooper wrote in the letter, which he shared on Twitter.'
Prosecutor's statement at Larry Nassar sentencing "Thank God we had these journalists. And that they exposed this truth." (CNN Staff, 1-24-18) "[W]e as a society need investigative journalists more than ever. What finally started this reckoning and ended this decadeslong cycle of abuse was investigative reporting. Without that first Indianapolis Star story in August of 2016, without the story where Rachael came forward publicly shortly thereafter, he would still be practicing medicine, treating athletes and abusing kids....Thank God Rachael Denhollander made the first contact with the reporter and decided to allow them to publish her name. How many times have we heard that without those stories and Rachael, victims would not have reported, they would not be here to speak this week, to expose what truly happened all of these years behind those doors and under that towel."
'Don't believe the hype:' Carreyrou talks about reporting the Theranos story(Rebecca Vesely, AHCJ, 5-15-18) John Carreyrou, author of the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, talks about his process getting the story. See also When pursuing investigative pieces, Wall Street Journal reporter suggests getting legal advice early(Joseph Burns, Covering Health, AHCJ, 5-21-18). See also The Reporter Who Took Down a Unicorn (Yashar Ali, New York, 5-24-18) How John Carreyrou battled corporate surveillance and intimidation to expose a multibillion-dollar Silicon Valley start-up as a fraud. And before The Fall: How Playing the Long Game Made Elizabeth Holmes a Billionaire (Kimberly Weisul, Inc., 9-20-15). "Inside the 31-year-old's fight to disrupt a $75 billion industry, and grow it by another $125 billion." And How Theranos used the media to create the emperor’s new startup (John Naughton, The Guardian, 6-3-18) With £10bn and a pretty face, fraudster Elizabeth Holmes blinded some of the most respected journalists in the industry.
'Times' Journalists Puncture Myth Of Trump As Self-Made Billionaire (Terry Gross interviews investigative reporters Susanne Craig and David Barstow, who say the president received today's equivalent of $413 million from his father's real estate empire, through what appears to be tax fraud. See also Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father (Susanne Craig and David Barstowand Russ Buettner, NY Times, 10-2-18) The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through schemes to avoid paying taxes on multimillion dollar gifts in the family.

[Back to Top]

A toast to undercover journalism’s greatest coup, when reporters bought a bar<(Jackie Spinner, Columbia Journalism Review, 1-26-18) "In a 25-part series, Sun-Times writer Zay N. Smith (known as Norty when he tended bar), Sun-Times reporter Pam Zekman, and Bill Recktenwald, the lead investigator for the watchdog Better Government Association, detailed a Chicago underworld of bribery, skimming, and tax evasion. The series ultimately led to indictments for a third of the city’s electrical inspectors, and major reforms in city and state codes."
Is journalism a form of activism (Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads, March 2018) It’s time to take another look at the definition of activism and where journalism fits in.
Mexican police officers found guilty of murdering journalist in rare conviction (David Agren, The Guardian, 3-28-18) Two officers sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted in the killing of newspaper owner Moisés Sánchez in Veracruz
This Is What’s Missing From Journalism Right Now (Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones, 8-17-16) And a slightly scary experiment to try and fix it. "Stories that truly reveal something about the way power works are not going to happen in this framework. They take time (way more time than can be justified economically) and stability. They take reporters and editors who can trust their jobs will be there, even if money is tight or powerful folks are offended. They are driven by a desire for journalism to have impact, not just turn a profit." ... 'At the time, however, some powerful, mostly East Coast editors turned up their noses at the “Chicago-style” tactics that Recktenwald and Zekman used to expose voter fraud and nursing home abuse to lawyers and doctors faking accidents for insurance claims.'
The ultimate guide to searching CIA’s declassified archives (Emma Best, Muckrock, 9-22-17) Looking to dig into the Agency’s 70 year history? Here’s where to start.
18 data sources for investigative journalists (Mădălina Ciobanu, Journalism.co.uk, 8-16-17) Looking for data on who owns a company, government spending or political influence? Use these resources to get started
Online privacy for journalists by Michael Dagan (how to safeguard your communications, browsing, and data, from any unwanted "big brother" or intruder--indirectly how to protect a source. Proceeds go to Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Truth in Advertising.org (TINA)
--- Class-Action Tracker
--- Deceptive Marketing 101
---TINA.org's Legal Efforts
---TINA.org in the News (ledes to watchdog journalism)
---Wall of Shame
Watchdog News (@Watchdogorg, Facebook)
Word Has It (Project Word's blog). Here's how Project Word came about.
The Reluctant Memoirist (Suki Kim, New Republic, July-Aug.2016) An investigative journalist returns from an undercover mission in North Korea to write and publish There Is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, which she sees as investigative journalism but which her publisher calls "a memoir." “I think calling it a memoir trivializes my reporting,” she tells her editor. "My work, though literary and at times personal, was a narrative account of investigative reporting. I wasn’t simply trying to convey how I saw the world; I was reporting how it was seen and lived by others."
Extra! Extra! IRE's guide to latest investigative reporting
Loosening Lips: The Art of the Interview (Eric Nalder, PBS) In 2004, investigative journalist Eric Nalder interviewed a whistleblower from ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest oil company. Nader's investigation revealed that oil industry safety nets were being undermined. EXPOSÉ episode, "A Sea of Troubles," featured Nalder's investigation into the enforcement of safety regulations on oil tankers which uncovered serious safety lapses and cover-ups. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Eric Nalder is known for his ability to get people to open up and tell all they know, on the record.
The Human Connection (Steve Weinberg's essay, for EXPOSÉ, PBS) "Pipeline to Peril," a Chicago Tribune investigation by Cam Simpson, showed how critical it can be to find and talk to human sources. The sources in this case also pointed Simpson to litigation involving individuals and institutions involved in the scandal. The documents yielded insights -- and a new trove of human sources.
Protection for whistleblowers (on this website in the section on Ethics, libel, and freedom of the press, along with Media watchdogs, privacy, plagiarism, SLAPP,
the four freedoms, freedom of information)
The Whistleblower's Tightrope (James Sandler, CIR staff reporter, for EXPOSÉ, PBS) You're ready to blow the whistle, are you ready to pay the price? See links to more Tips from Reporters, bottom right.
Five Easy Pieces: A. Starter Kit For S.E.C. Filings (PDF on SABEW, Diana B. Henriques, The New York Times)
Covering Bankruptcy Court (PDF, Chris Roush, Carolina Business News Initiative, UNC Chapel Hill, SABEW)
Investigative reporting tips from SABEW honorees (Urvashi Verma, Student Newsroom, SABEW, April 2017)
LedgerExtra: Spreadsheets 101--Introduction to Excel (Ted Sherman and Padraic Cassidy, April 1997)

[Back to Top]

The Search for Local Investigative Reporting’s Future (Margaret Sullivan, The Public Editor, NY Times, 12-5-15) Part 1 of 2 parts, exploring the threatened state of local investigative reporting. Part 2: Keep the Flame Lit for Investigative Journalism (Margaret Sullivan, The Public Editor, NY Times 12-12-15).
“Why’s This So Good?” No. 101: Ida Tarbell and “The History of The Standard Oil Company” (Steve Weinberg, Nieman Storyboard, 5-3-16) Tarbell more or less singlehandedly invented investigative reporting
How a small team in Wisconsin delivers investigative reporting to 10 Gannett papers (Anna Clark, CJR, 12-16-15) Working from separate newsrooms—Madison, Sheboygan, Appleton, and, until recently, Wausau—members of Gannett’s I-team in Wisconsin make up the only statewide investigative unit in the company’s portfolio. They provide deep-dive journalismsearchable databases, and shorter watchdog pieces to 10 Gannett publications in the state, mostly smaller papers that otherwise wouldn’t be able to pursue that sort of coverage.
I Cover Cops as an Investigative Reporter. Here Are Five Ways You Can Start Holding Your Department Accountable. (Andrew Ford, Asbury Park Press, ProPublica, 6-4-2020) Police culture can be insular and tough to penetrate, but the public can hold law enforcement accountable. Here are important methods and context you need to know.
This Is What’s Missing From Journalism Right Now(Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones, 8-17-16) "Conservatively, our prison story cost roughly $350,000. The banner ads that appeared in it brought in $5,000, give or take. If 0.02 percent of the people who visit the site by the end of September sign up as sustainers, we will have proven something really important about how to keep in-depth journalism alive." Here's more about the story: Inside Mother Jones‘ monster investigation of private prisons (David Uberti, CJR, 6-24-16) "The Mother Jones senior reporter was on assignment at a private prison in Louisiana, working as a guard. Conditions at the facility were deplorable. A poorly-trained staff lacked the support to respond to growing violence. And one of Bauer’s colleagues, who had no knowledge of Bauer’s primary job, told him that an investigative journalist should shed light on the facility’s rampant mismanagement and horrid treatment of inmates." Bauer’s grisly retelling of his time at the facility—a 35,000-word opus accompanied by a six-part video series, with a ppodcast produced with Reveal to come next week—confirms many of our worst fears about the private prison industry.
For journalists covering prisons, the First Amendment is little help (Jonathan Peters, CJR, 7-3-18) It is tempting to see the limited access as an especially Trumpian trouble. But the problem of press access to prisons is a chronic one. The First Amendment does a generally fine job of guaranteeing rights to communicate, but it’s a fickle source for access rights, which come from a complex system of statutes, regulations, the common law, and a few problematic Supreme Court decisions (Branzburg v. Hayes, Pell v. Procunier, and Saxbe v. Washington Post Co.)
Working With Whistleblowers in the Digital Age: New Guidelines (Julie Possetti, European Journalism Observatory, 5-3-18)

[Back to Top]

Protection for Whistleblowers (section of links to important resources)
Reporter , reveals ‘luckiest break’ in investigation of cult behind Netflix’s Wild Wild Country (Alexandria Neason, CJR, 4-6-1)
The story behind the 'Spotlight' movie A look at The Boston Globe's coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the movie "Spotlight," which is based on the stories and the reporters behind the investigation.
Boston Globe introduces $100,000 ‘Spotlight’ fellowship (Dan Adams, Boston Globe, 12-9-15)
New survey reveals everything you think about freelancing is true (David Uberti, Columbia Journalism Review, 2-17-15) freelancers have abandoned at least several hundred investigations over the past five years due to a lack of resources, according to a new survey conducted by the advocacy group Project Word.
New Media, Old Problem (Project Word blog) "...new media companies like Gawker, Huffington Post, and Newsreel can profit exactly because they tend to aggregate other people’s work, rely on cheap opinion instead of expensive reporting, and do not really fund investigative reporting—all the while diverting audiences from legacy media that do (or did)." ... “In a world where aggregated content and new devices lure audiences and advertisers, how will substantial, diverse, expensive public-interest reporting survive?”
Investigative Journalists and Digital Security (Jesse Holcomb, Amy Mitchell, Kristen Purcell, Pew Research Center, 2-5-15) "About two-thirds of investigative journalists surveyed (64%) believe that the U.S. government has probably collected data about their phone calls, emails or online communications, and eight-in-ten believe that being a journalist increases the likelihood that their data will be collected." Most have little confidence that ISPs can protect their data; they are split on how well their organizations protect them against surveillance and hacking.

[Back to Top]

Kickstarter adds journalism and crafts to its categories. And The Guardian promotes some investigative stories funded by Kickstarter
The New York Times Navigator (Rich Meislin). Links to many internet sites of use to working reporters.
Small Pieces, Loosely Joined: On the End of Big News (Nicco Mele, Nieman Reports, Spring 2013). Fascinating analysis of what's happening to newspapers, and especially to investigative journalism--with some hints of new ways to support it.
An extremely expensive cover story — with a new way of footing the bill ( Zachary M. Seward, Nieman Journalism Lab). Sherri Fink's 13,000-word story about the New Orleans hospital where patients were euthanized in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a New York Times Magazine cover storythat is simultaneously available on ProPublica's site, may be "the most expensive single piece of print journalism in years." The new economics of journalism. Investigative journalism is labor-and-brain-intensive! Mother Jones on the same story: Cost of the NYT Magazine NOLA Story Broken Down< (Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones 8-28-09)
The 23-Year-Old Woman Who Pioneered Investigative Journalism A new short film from Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting brings Nellie Bly’s intrepid spirit to life. "Over the course of 10 days in 1887, Bly masqueraded as a psychotic patient and was admitted to the most notorious mental asylum in New York City—the women’s asylum on Blackwell’s Island." And that got her off the society pages.
An Online Upstart Roils French Media, Politics (Eleanor Beardsley, All Things Considered, NPR, 7-1-13). Great story on public radio about Mediapart, a new French Internet company and approach to investigative journalism: It "will never accept advertising. And he calls entertainment and its opinion pieces the real enemies of good journalism. 'My opinion against your opinion, my point of view against your point of view, my religion against your religion, my community — that's the sort of disorder of opinion,' he says. 'A democratic culture needs information.' "
The Public Editor’s Club at The New York Times as told by the six who lived it: An oral history of the NYT public editor (Andy Robinson, CJR, 7-20-17) Public editors disappear as media distrust grows
Stories must 'shock and amaze' for the new Investigations Fund to take off, says Stephen Grey (Judith Townend, journalism.co.uk, 6-24-09). How a group of elite journalists hopes to rescue investigative reporting in the UK

[Back to Top]

STATS (nonpartisan analyses of how numbers are distorted and statistics misunderstood)
Story-Based Inquiry: A manual for investigative journalists (free PDF, in English, French, Arabic, or Chinese, from UNESCO)
Two dozen freelance journalists told CJR the best outlets to pitch (Carlett Spike, CJR, 2-1-17) A handful of publications that value freelancers--described with a focus on pay, the editing process, turnaround time, and the ability to maintain a relationship with the publication.
Verification Handbook: A guide to verifying digital content for emergency coverage. Authored by leading journalists from the BBC, Storyful, ABC, Digital First Media and other verification experts, the Verification Handbook is a groundbreaking new free resource for journalists and aid providers. It provides the tools, techniques and step-by-step guidelines for how to deal with user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies. Funded by the European Journalism Centre and edited by Craig Silverman
Chapter 10: Verification Tools
New handbook fills training gap in verifying user-generated content (Gerri Berendzen, Aces, 2-6-14)
Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting: A guide to online search and research techniques for using user-generated content (UGC) and open source information in investigations (free Web-based read, second installment in a series)
'Verification Handbook' Gets a Free Companion Book (Mark Allen, Copyediting, 4-17-15)
Who are we writing for? Investigative storytelling for grannies and lawmakers (Simon Bowers, Meet the Investigators series, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 11-29-19) A Q&A with Harry Karanikas, @hkaranikas, an investigative filmmaker for One Channel TV and reporter for the website Protagon and newspaper To Vima.

[Back to Top]

Investigative Journalism organizations

including watchdog groups

Californians Aware (CalAware) (The Center for Public Forum Rights). Helping citizens, public servants and journalists keep Californians aware of critical facts and choices through access to public records, freedom to speak, assemble, or report, freedom from fear for whistleblowing, etc.
Center for Public Integrity
Grants, MacArthur Foundation. See also Information for Grantseekers
Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) Watchdog
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog group that uses legal actions to target government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests (see their blog, research and investigations, video, and legal filings). See CREW's Scandals and Scoundrels.
Fix the Court Politics has infected the Supreme Court appointment process. We don't care which party created the problem or how or when it began, but we believe our elected officials should fix it. Here's how. Tell your elected representatives that the justices shouldn't serve for life. Petition the court to adopt the same disclosure rules that the rest of the government follows. Urge he judiciary to allow broadcast media in their courtrooms.

[Back to Top]

Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world.
The Investigative Fund (The Nation Institute, dedicated to strengthening the independent press and advancing social justice and civil rights) Links here also to some great investigative stories.
The Innocence Project
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Center for Public Integrity "Do you have a story about corruption, fraud, or abuse of power? ICIJ accepts information about wrongdoing by corporate, government or public services around the world. We do our utmost to guarantee the confidentiality of our sources." Website links to stories about investigation results as well as how-it-was-done stories and datasets.
International Reporting Project (IRP, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University)
Investigate West, a new model for investigative journalism about the Pacific Northwest
Investigating Disability Issues (National Center on Disability and Journalism)
Investigative News Network (INN)(advancing sustainability and excellence in nonprofit journalism)
Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) Must-join for investigative journalists. Among other things, members can access the many resources available only to members, including a wealth of investigative stories to read and "how-to" and "how-we-did-it" pieces for inspiration and good reading (including more than 25,000 investigative stories entered into IRE's annual awards contests and more than 5,000 tip sheets and presentations by journalists on how to cover specific beats or tackle specific stories). IRE awards: The Golden Padlock Award recognizing the most secretive publicly funded agency or person in the United States, for government at all levels, local to federal, and the Don Bolles Medal (recognizing investigative journalists who have exhibited extraordinary courage in standing up against intimidation or efforts to suppress the truth about matters of public importance).
Investigative Reporting Workshop (American University School of Communication)
Local Matters the "best in investigative journalism," sign up for a weekly newsletter digest of the best local watchdog reporting around the country. See IRE, Local Matters partner to spotlight watchdog reporting across the country.
The Marshall Project (nonprofit journalism about criminal justice)
The Media Consortiumsupporting powerful, passionate, independent journalism)
Mongabay.org (originally a source on tropical forests; now raising awareness about social and environmental issues relating to forests and other ecosystems)
MuckReads(ProPublica's ongoing collection of watchdog reporting by other news organizations)
Muckrock, a U.S. -based organization that assists anyone in filing governmental requests for information through the Freedom of Information Act, then publishes the returned information on its website and encourages journalism around it.
New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR), website, The Eye
OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics)
Open Secrets (Center for Responsive Politics), tracks the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens' lives. See for example:
---Politicians (to see who is giving how much to specific members of Congress, plus several other categories defining influence on politicians)
---Influence and Lobbying (which corporations and industry groups, labor unions, single-issue organizations spend how much to influence political decision-makers).
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project(OCCRP, an investigative reporting platform formed by 40 non-profit investigative centers, scores of journalists and several major regional news organizations around the globe--a network including Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America)
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Project on Government Oversight (POGO), an independent nonprofit U.S. watchdog organization that investigates and seeks to expose corruption and other misconduct
ProPublica (journalism in the public interest -- a nonprofit investigative journalism organization)
Public Citizen(Washington watchdog group, protecting health, safety, and democracy)
Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University (site features these topics: interracial marriage,women's march, human trafficking & modern-day slavery, global inequality, race & justice). See also The Justice Brandeis Law Project (examining systemic flaws in the criminal justice system)

[Back to Top]

Covering public and private tragedy and trauma

and the pandemic

Trauma & Journalism (handbook edited by Mark Brayne, Dart Centre for Journalism & Trauma, 2007)
Gut Check: Working with a Sensitivity Reader (Jane C. Hu, The Open Notebook, 1-21-2020) In one example among many, Hu says that writing an essay on trauma, Kate Horowitz drew on her research and her own experience, striving to represent trauma survivors’ challenges through recovery as accurately as possible, but she also paid $50 for an hour of time with a therapist who specializes in trauma, who provided feedback on Horowitz’s discussions of current trauma theory and recovery. "Like fact-checking, sensitivity reading can help illuminate the truth by avoiding harmful stereotypes or mischaracterizations.... While writers sometimes ask trusted friends or colleagues to do a quick review of a piece as an unpaid favor, consider paying your reader for their expertise. After all, reading and commenting on a piece is a type of editing." See Sensitivity reading and sensitivity readers in section on Fiction.
Five ideas for more respectful media coverage after mass shootings (Jon Allsop, CJR, 11-16-17)

Covering a Mass Shooting, and Adding to a Town’s Pain (Simon Romero, Times Insider, NY Times, 11-13-17)
Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma (a resource for journalists who cover violence)
Out of the Shadows: Reporting on Intimate Partner Violence (Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia Journalism School, 10-21/22-2011)
Writing About DACA? Check Out These Tips for Smart News Coverage (Marquita Brown, Education Writers Association, 3-6-18) See also Word on the Beat: DACA (Emily Richmond, EWA, 1-16-18)
Tragedies & Journalism: a guide for more effective coverage (Dart Center, PDF), includes Tips for photojournalists who respond to tragedies.
A mass shooting, only in slow motion (Glenn Jeffers, NiemanReports, 6-26-17) Newsrooms are moving away from a focus on mass shootings to tell more nuanced stories about the people and communities marred by gun violence. https://www.d2l.org/child-grooming-signs-behavior-awareness/
A journalist’s guide on what to write — and what not to — when covering child abuse (Sarah Welliver, Poynter, 2-4-2020) She writes about developing A Journalist’s Guide to Reporting on Child Abuse (Child and Family Services, Utah Department of Human Services)
Media Guide for Reporting on Child Abuse (National Children's Advocacy Center, 9-2018) Language to use and language not to use. To allege or not to allege. Empower the community to protect children.
Grooming and Red Flag Behaviors (Dark to Light) Child grooming is a deliberate process by which offenders gradually initiate and maintain sexual relationships with victims in secrecy. See also Child Sexual Abuse Statistics; The Impact of Child Sexual Abuse; Identifying Child Sexual Abuse; and Reporting Child Sexual Abuse.
Indigenous Women in Canada Are Still Being Sterilized Without Their Consent (Ankita Rao, Vice, 9-9-19) In the 20th century, the U.S. and Canada carried out a quiet genocide against Indigenous women through coerced sterilization. In 2019, it’s still happening. Also: Web of Incentives in Fatal Indian Sterilizations (Ellen Barry and Suhasini Raj, NY Times, 11-13-14) And: Missing and Murdered Women & Girls (Urban IndianHealth Institute, A Division of the Seattle Indian Health Board) This report contains strong language about violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women. A snapshot of data from 71 urban cities in the United States.
US newspapers run more photos of school shooting suspects than victims (Denise-Marie Ordway reports on a recent study, Journalist's Resource, 8-28-18) When U.S. newspapers cover school shootings, they run more photos of the perpetrators than the victims....it’s important to look at how the news media reports on mass murder considering a growing body of research indicates news coverage contributes to copycat shootings. A 2016 study by criminologist Adam Lankford finds that fame-seeking as a motive for rampage shooting dates back decades. News organizations should consider whether the value of providing these images to the public outweighs the harm they may cause.
Dear Sutherland Springs, you deserve an apology from the news media (Lauren McGaughy, Dallas News, 11-9-17) "As journalists, our role as observers and investigators in times of tragedy is important. But so is our empathy and our humanity. As a profession, we must have a conversation about how best to chronicle horrors like this. We can do better."
Reporting on Grief, Tragedy and Victims (SPJ Ethics Committee Position Paper)
How to Report On Survivors of Gun Violence (Elizabeth Van Brocklin, The Trace, 8-2-18) Tips on how to interview and write about America’s growing population of gunshot victims with empathy and sensitivity.
Aftermath (8-podcast series, The Trace, 5-22-18 thru 7-3-18) Listen online. "Have you ever thought about what it’s like to get shot? For eight months, reporters Amber Hunt of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Elizabeth Van Brocklin of The Trace traveled the country talking to people who know the answer too well. Their backgrounds and circumstances stories all vary, but they share one defining truth: Each had their lives changed by the path of a bullet."
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)
In Parkland, journalism students take on role of reporter and survivor (Alexandria Neason and Meg Dalton, CJR, 2-21-18)
In Wake of Parkland Shooting, Schools Look to Learn From Tragedy (David Loewenberg, Education Writers Association, 3-5-18) Resources, questions to ask as schools reassess systems for identifying, helping troubled students.
Lessons From the Stoneman Douglas School Shooting (Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association, 3-6-18) Podcast of interview with Jessica Bakeman of WLRN.
The relationship between terrorism and economic growth (research findings, Journalist's Resource, Shorenstein Center)
5(ish) Questions: Mark Follman and “The True Cost of Gun Violence in America” (Davis Harper, NiemanStoryboard, 6-29-17) The Mother Jones reporter talks about his landmark investigation into the staggering price of the firearms epidemic: an estimated $229 billion a year. Here's the story itself: The True Cost of Gun Violence in America (Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee, and James West, Mother Jones, 4-15-15)
Major public health journal opens access to gun violence studies (Tara Haelle, Covering Health, 3-7-18) "If you’ve had trouble as a reporter getting access to major public health studies on gun violence, get ready to dive down a rabbit hole. The American Public Health Association just opened up to the public research related to firearms published in the American Journal of Public Health. Every article published in the journal about gun violence — studies, editorials, commentaries and essays — will soon be available."
Media Wise (links to excellent pieces on covering trauma and conflict)
Violence: Comparing Reporting and Reality (Fact sheet, Sara Tiegreen and Elana Newman, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)
Local Tragedy, National Spotlight (Joe Hight, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)
Breaking Bad News (download free booklet from Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)
Help with emotional interviews (Chip Scanlan, Poynter, 2-23-05, updated 3-2-11) See also Lessons Learned: Handling Emotional Interviews, Part 2
Reporting on crisis, disaster, homeland security: Tips from Juliette Kayyem (Journalist's Resource, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, 11-23-15)
Covering Children & Trauma (Ruth Teichroeb, Dart Center) Download PDF
Tragedies & Journalists (Joe Hight and Frank Smyth, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)
News Media and Trauma (Dart Center) Video (watch online or order DVD) featuring Australian journalists recounting experiences and lessons learned covering traumatic stories
Guidelines for Covering Crime (Deborah Potter, NewsLab)
Criminal Justice Journalists (founded in 1997, publishes Understanding Crime Statistics). Not all links on this site worked for me. Be persistent.
Crime Databases and Statistics (Mike Reilley, SPJ Journalist's Toolbox, 5-11-19)
Miscellaneous crime sites (Mike Reilley, SPJ, 4-12-13)
Crime Directories and Links (Mike Reilley, SPJ, 12-27-12)
More crime sites (SPJ)
The Crime Report: Your Criminal Justice Network (Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College)
Internet Resources for Covering Crime & Justice (Newslab)
Covering Columbine (Dart Center). Video (available online or order DVD), a 57-minute documentary on the traumatic impact of the Columbine High School shootings on students, families, the community and journalists.
Reporting on Crime and Crime Victims (MediaCrimeVictimGuide -- How to Facilitate Sensitive and Respectful Treatment of Crime Victims)
Beat reporting: Crime and Justice (NewsLab)
Public Death, Private Grief (Dart Center video, Professor Ari Goldman uses the Bruce Ivins case to examine how far a journalist can and should go when reporting on a suicide)
Reporting on Suicide website. Download PDF of Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide (PDF, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
Speaking of Suicide: Steve Stephens and Responsible Reporting (Pauline Campos, The Fix, 4-25-17) "The Foundation for Suicide Prevention recommends responsible reporting of suicide to prevent "suicide contagion” - copycat suicides or suicide clusters - a proven phenomenon in which at risk individuals can be triggered to act by reading or watching a news story in which certain factors - such as mention of method and glamorizing or sensationalizing death - are present in the coverage. News stories with dramatic/graphic headlines, or images, also can lead to contagion suicide." More than 50 studies indicate that "Risk of additional suicides increases when the story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic/ graphic headlines or images, and repeated/extensive coverage sensationalizes or glamorizes a death,” according to the World Health Organization. Do not say someone "committed" suicide, parallel to "committed murder."
The EVAs (Eliminating Violence Against Women Media Awards)
Case Consortium@Columbia (the official web site for the Case Consortium @ Columbia by Columbia University; includes newsroom scenarios for professors, students, schools).
Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma
The Craft of Trauma Journalism (Winners of the 2009 Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma discuss journalistic craft and answer questions in a panel discussion at Columbia University)
Tragedies and Journalists (a 40-pageDart Center guide to help journalists, photojournalists and editors report on violence while protecting both victims and themselves)
Suicide coverage: time to take stock(MediaWise)

[Back to Top]

Covering disaster

Covering Disasters (Quick Tips, Dart Center)
Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Tectonic Edition (On the Media, WNYC Studios, 8-29-18) After an earthquake struck Nepal in April of 2015, the post-disaster media coverage followed a trajectory we'd seen repeated after other earth-shaking events. On the Media put together this template to help a discerning news consumer look for the real story (H/T Carol Morton)
How Not to Report on an Earthquake (Jonathan M. Katz, NY Times Magazine, 4-28-15)
• Katz refers to Negligible Risk for Epidemics after Geophysical Disasters (Nathalie Floret, Jean-François Viel, Frédéric Mauny, Bruno Hoen, and Renaud Piarroux, CDC, April 2006)
The Really Big One ( Kathryn Schulz, New Yorker, 7-20-15) An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when. "A century and a half elapsed before anyone had any inkling that the Pacific Northwest was not a quiet place but a place in a long period of quiet. It took another fifty years to uncover and interpret the region’s seismic history....Almost all of the world’s most powerful earthquakes occur in the Ring of Fire, the volcanically and seismically volatile swath of the Pacific that runs from New Zealand up through Indonesia and Japan, across the ocean to Alaska, and down the west coast of the Americas to Chile."
Five Steps to Covering a Disaster Effectively (Joe Hight, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, 3-1-09)
Covering Florence: Resources on hurricanes and natural disasters (Pia Christensen, Covering Health, AHCJ, 9-12-18)
12+ tools and resources useful during hurricanes and other disasters (Ren LaForme, Poynter, 9-10-18) Very helpful.
Here's what you need to help you cover hurricanes (and big storms) (Kristen Hare and David Beard, Poynter Tips/Training, 9-10-18) "This is the time that tools like Slack, Google Hangouts (or Meet), Zoom and Skype really come in handy. Zello can also be handy to keep in constant contact with colleagues, friends and family without having to maintain an open connection. Zello works like a walkie-talkie — push to send a message, and others with the channel open will receive it instantaneously. Messages are also backed up for later listening." And check out FEMA's mobile app (receive real-time alerts from National Weather Service; learn emergency safety tips; locate open emergency shelters and disaster recovery centers).
After the fires: A surprising story of a haunted hero and the ashes of regret (Julia Shipley, Annotation Tuesday, Nieman Storyboard, 9-18-18) Lizzie Johnson of The San Francisco Chronicle revisits the headlines to ask about the aftermath. Who knew there was a beat called “fire coverage,” or it was a job they would learn to love? Certainly not Lizzie Johnson, who was covering city hall for The San Francisco Chronicle.Check out her book: Paradise: One Town's Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire, her firsthand account of California’s Camp Fire, the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century -- a riveting examination of what went wrong and how to avert future tragedies as the climate crisis unfolds.
9 tips to avoid spreading misinformation about hurricanes (Daniel Funke, Poynter, 9-12-18)
3 quick tips for debunking hoaxes in a hurricane (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource, 9-14-18)
Covering Hurricanes: Before, During and After the Storm (John Pope, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, 8-29-11) Lessons from the Times-Picayune, a newsroom that anticipates disaster every summer.
Resources for Disaster (Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma)
National Hurricane Center
Why people choose to stay in areas vulnerable to natural disasters (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource, 6-18-18) In the anticipation and aftermath of natural disasters, those in their path face difficult choices: To stay, or to leave? To relocate, or to rebuild in areas prone to the risk of property damage, which is predicted to become more acute as climate change progresses? A growing body of research addresses these decisions.
Covering Hurricane Irma: Reporting Resources (Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, 9-11-17) Hurricane Irma, the most intense Atlantic hurricane observed in over a decade, tore through the Florida Keys and continued its march north on Monday. Please consult our tips and resources on covering disaster and recovery, interviewing victims and survivors, and working with reporters.
Disaster coverage: Is your newsroom prepared? (Joe Hight, AHCJ Tip Sheet)
3 Approaches to Covering Disaster & Crisis with Video (Wochit, Your Guide to Mobile Journalism, 3-15-17)
Weather Underground
More Dart Center stories on covering disaster
Reporting on crisis, disaster, homeland security: Tips from Juliette Kayyem (Journalist's Resource, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, 11-23-15)
Report focuses on challenges of disaster preparedness for older adults (Liz Seegert, Covering Health, AHCJ, 6-5-18)
Grief in the Gulf (Dart Center). The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is different from a war or an earthquake, but the traumatic impact is just as real. The challenge to journalists is to report the slow-motion disaster while seeking stories of resilience and possible recovery.
After the storm: Reporting on the health impacts of flooding (AHCJ Tip Sheet, possibly available only to members of Association of Health Care Journalists)
Reporters: Do not focus on yourself in reporting on disaster (AHCJ)
'The Deadly Choices at Memorial,' The New York Times Magazine (Sheri Fink's award winning story). How she did it. (AHCJ) See the story as it appeared in the Times.
Lessons for Public Information Officers from Paul Revere (Doug Levy, Medium, 4-18-18) Also on LinkedIn "Nothing replaces human, personal contact. When emergency responders go door-to-door, compliance reaches close to 100 percent. No other method consistently gets above 75 percent. For emergency responders in 2018, the lessons are clear: establish trust before the next disaster so that people know what to do when you tell them to take shelter, evacuate, or not worry..."
A Reporter's Guide to Medical Privacy Law (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press). Topics covered include: What is HIPAA, What records are available under HIPPA, Health care journalists' access to hospitals curtailed under HIPAA, General access to hospitals, Attitudes toward privacy rules may change in times of disaster, Confusing laws keep information confidential on college campuses, etc.
Climate change: understanding, covering, and arguing about it (Science section, Writers and Editors). Several pieces here discuss the climate change that underlies many natural disasters.
Report focuses on challenges of disaster preparedness for older adults (Liz Seegert, Covering Health, AHCJ, 6-5-18)
Boosting Disaster Resilience Among Older Adults (Joie D. Acosta, Regina A. Shih, Emily K. Chen, Eric G. Carbone, Lea Xenakis, David M. Adamson, Anita Chandra, RAND Corporation Research Brief, Rand and CDC). Report highlights the need to help older adults become more prepared for unexpected events and called on public health departments to enhance disaster preparedness for this population. The findings take on increasing importance as more seniors age in their own homes or within communities – often alone.
Emergency preparedness among U.S. hospitals a potential story for your community (Bara Vida, Covering Health, AHCJ). For journalists. Journalists covering health and disasters, belonging to AHCJ gives you access to links to covering disaster events.
• Government agencies and other organizations that provide key information on various types of disaster in the US:
--- National Hurricane Center
--- CDC Hurricane Page
--- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
--- National Hazards Center
--- Google's Crisis Map (national and regional-scale layers related to weather, hazards, and emergency preparedness and response, mostly for the United States)
--- NLM's Disaster Information Management Research Center, including Disaster apps (National Library of Medicine). See also Disaster apps for various federal agencies (Red Cross, CDC, FEMA, and many more)
5 Tips for Covering Disaster Preparedness (Al Tompkins, Poynter, 8-24-10)
Covering natural disasters (International News Safety Institute, INSI)
Socio-economic consequences of post-disaster reconstruction in hazard-exposed areas (jamie W. McCaughey, Patrick Daly, Ibnu Mundir, Saiful Mahdi & Anthony Patt, Nature Sustainability, 2018)
The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as Amended, and The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as Amended (FEMA)
Will Miami Survive?: The Dynamic Interplay between Floods and Finance by Kathleen Sullivan Sealey, Ray King Burch, and P.M. Binder (a SpringerBrief)
Weather and weather-related events (Great search links)

[Back to Top]

Online journalism aka digital journalism
(plus advocacy, link, measurable, and process journalism)

Future of digital journalism in question as BuzzFeed and HuffPost lay off 1,000 (Edward Helmore, The Guardian, 1-27-19) Job losses follow sales or cuts at Mic, Refinery29 and elsewhere, but publishing as a whole had already shrunk sharply. By some estimates the shift to digital has resulted in an overall reduction in the business of 50% to 80%. Revenue-per-click, the business strategy that has informed digital publishers for years, was effectively pronounced DOA this week as leading players in a sector once viewed as the future of journalism announced deep cuts. Verizon said it would trim 7% of headcount, about 800 people, from its media unit, which includes HuffPost, Yahoo and AOL. Built on the expectation of fast growth in advertising sales, companies like BuzzFeed and Vox Media have instead found that Facebook and Google – “the duopoly” – have simply tightened their grip on digital advertising revenue.
The problem with online freelance journalism (Felix Salmon, Reuters, 3-5-13) Salmon writes: “The Atlantic magazine only comes out ten times per year, which means it publishes roughly as many articles in one year as the Atlantic’s digital operations publish in a week. When the volume of pieces being published goes up by a factor of 50, the amount paid per piece is going to have to go down” … and … “At a high-velocity shop like Atlantic Digital, freelancers just slow things down—as well as producing all manner of back-end headaches surrounding invoicing and the like. The result is that Atlantic Digital’s freelancer budget is minuscule.” (H/T to Jane Friedman):  The State of Online Journalism Today: Controversial (Jane Friedman, 3-5-13) On the tendency for online journalism sites to pay little or nothing (except "exposure"), and why publications like Atlantic Online tend to hire staff writers.
Link journalism, Google's power on the Web, and the backlash against URL shortening. Start with Nicholas Carr's Rough Cuts piece, Google in the Middle, about how, as a news aggregator, Google capitalizes on the fragmented oversupply of news and the current structure of the news business. Go to Scott Karp's pieces, on Publishing 2.0: How Google Stole Control Over Content Distribution By Stealing Links ("Google isn't stealing content from newspapers and other media companies. It's stealing their control over distribution" 4-10-09) and Mainstream News Organizations Entering the Web’s Link Economy Will Shift the Balance of Power and Wealth (10-16-08). As Karp points out in his April piece, the backlash against URL shorteners (see Joshua Schacter's blog on url shortenders) and site framing (see Joshua Topolsky on Why Engadget is blocking the DiggBar) "is all about who controls the links, and which links Google is going to read and credit." We'll no doubt be seeing more stories like this one by Nicholas Kolakowski, on Publish: AP, Google Deny Conflict, But Bloggers May be in Sights. Sue Russell referred us to this excellent batch of stories on link journalism. See also stories on Process journalism. Hard to keep up with the new jargon! 

•  Whether you're a journalist or a blogger, if you get a note saying someone has excellent material for you to link to and they will pay you to post a link to it on your site, I always say no. I get many requests to post articles or links, in return for payment (and usually sight unseen), and I assume others do too. No, thanks!
International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) An annual gathering of editors, producers, executives and academics from around the world who convene at the University of Texas at Austin to discuss the evolution of online journalism. Plan to spend a few hours listening to panels and talks from previous conferences. Interesting new approaches and insights for new journalistic approaches.
BBC News Interactivess and Graphics
ScribbleLive (software that allows court reporters to live-blog court proceedings and send their updates to Twitter.
The smarticle: What The Guardian has learned trying to build a more intelligent story format — one that knows what you know (Mazin Sidahmed, Nieman Lab, 2-27-18) Like Circa before it, The Guardian aims to atomize a big breaking story into its individual parts — and then be smart about showing you the right ones at the right time. The Smarticle is a story format designed for mobile that aims to meet readers where they are in their knowledge of a developing story by only presenting them with the elements that are most useful to them.
Your tax dollars at work (Liena Zagare and Ben Smith, CJR, Spring 2017) How local governments could help create new media companies rather than footing the bill to keep zombie newspapers alive. A major, quiet subsidy to print community papers comes in two basic forms — legislation requiring that legal notices be published in print, and advertising by government agencies. That category of advertising, public notices, has long been a staple of newspaper revenue, jealously guarded by publishers’ lobbies in state capitols. "Their trade group, the Public Notice Resource Center, has estimated that public notices make up between 5 percent and 10 percent of community newspaper revenue...." "The original intent of the public notice laws is clear and laudable: To make sure taxpayers see how their money is being spent, and to prevent officials from hiding corrupt deals. But these days, there are print publications that exist, essentially, to carry those notices. "
How a small newspaper used iPads to bend the rules of reporting (Tim Sohn, The News Hook, 4-9-13)
NewsVroom, a mobile classroom, community outreach — and funky-looking — van that visits a number of sites each month (Cathy Hirko, York Daily Record
Participatory journalism: what to watch in 2012 (Redefining journalism's Blog, a research site exploring participatory journalism)
Risks Abound as Reporters Play in Traffic (David Carr, Media, NY Times, 3-23-14). What will happen if journalists' compensation is tied to the amount of web traffic and/or articles they generate?
2012: The Apocalypse and the final year of journalism (Mike Brannen, FirstDraft, the SPJ generation, which, alas, allows subheads like "Allow stories the length it deserves")
People: The most valuable part of a story (Quill magazine video) (video, Brett Junvik, SPJ, on getting to know the local people and letting them help you tell an authentic international story)
How a small newspaper used iPads to bend the rules of reporting (Tim Sohn, E-byline's The News Hook--conversation about the future of media)
Online Journalism: Reporting, Writing, and Editing for New Media by Richard Craig
The State of Online Journalism Today: Controversial (Jane Friedman)
Journalists toolbox
Journalists & Bloggers Toolbox blog

[Back to Top]

Advocacy Journalism
---Advocates are becoming journalists. Is that a good thing? (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-15-18) "The line between advocacy groups and media organizations has been blurring for some time. As the internet enabled the democratization of information production and distribution, and social platforms have given everyone the ability to reach an audience, smart NGOs long ago realized they could use these tools to spread their own message, instead of having to rely on partnerships with traditional media." When nonprofits like ACLU, Greenpeace, and Human Rights Watch present their case as journalism, do they sometimes stretch the facts? Do organizations ever misstate the numbers to create a sense of urgency around an issue to help with fundraising? "...in 2015, a number of NGOs and advocacy groups reported that as many as 75 percent of the women in Liberia had been raped during the civil war in that country, but independent surveys put the number closer to between 10 percent and 20 percent." Of course, Fox News Primetime also selects certain facts and individuals because they fit a certain world view.
---Who's Reporting Africa Now?: Non-Governmental Organizations, Journalists, and Multimedia by Kate Wright
Advocacy journalism, says Wikipedia, "is a genre of journalism that intentionally and transparently adopts a non-objective viewpoint, usually for some social or political purpose. Because it is intended to be factual, it is distinguished from propaganda."
---In Light Of Fake News And Advocacy Journalism, We Must Be Savvy News Consumers (Larry Atkins, HuffPost, 12-6-16) It’s essential for people to break out of their own echo chambers and to expose themselves to various viewpoints. "These media outlets, such as Fox News, Breitbart, and theBlaze on the right, and MSNBC, Counterpunch, and Daily Kos on the left, don’t lie or misrepresent facts, but they skew the facts and news presentation to support their narrative and agenda." "Unlike advocacy journalists, the mainstream media should act as an honest broker and be the adult in the room when it comes to media coverage."
---As 4 stations cancel his show, is Tavis Smiley's advocacy journalism too political for public radio? (Tracie Powell, Poynter, 10-24-12)
---Cornel West: The Uses of Advocacy Journalism (Opinion, NPR, 12-15-04) Commentator Cornel West and NPR's Tavis Smiley discuss the notion of advocacy journalism in America, in the tradition of W.E.B. Dubois, I. F. Stone and Ida B. Wells. (Available for listening in archive formats)
---The Fall and Rise of Partisan Journalism (James L. Baughman, Center for Journalism Ethics, 4-20-11) An interesting historical overview.

[Back to Top]

Link journalism.
Why link out? Four journalistic purposes of the noble hyperlink (Jonathan Stray, NiemanLab, 6-8-10) Links are good for storytelling (give journalists a way to tell complex stories concisely). Links keep the audience informed. Links are a currency of collaboration. Links enable transparency. (This interesting piece also links to many other interesting pieces.)
Google in the Middle Nicholas Carr's Rough Type blog piece about about how, as a news aggregator, Google capitalizes on the fragmented oversupply of news and the current structure of the news business. Go to Scott Karp's pieces, on Publishing 2.0: How Google Stole Control Over Content Distribution By Stealing Links ("Google isn't stealing content from newspapers and other media companies. It's stealing their control over distribution" 4-10-09) and Mainstream News Organizations Entering the Web’s Link Economy Will Shift the Balance of Power and Wealth (10-16-08). As Karp points out in his April piece, the backlash against URL shorteners (see Joshua Schacter's blog on url shortenders) and site framing (see Joshua Topolsky on Why Engadget is blocking the DiggBar) "is all about who controls the links, and which links Google is going to read and credit." We'll no doubt be seeing more stories like this one by Nicholas Kolakowski, on Publish: AP, Google Deny Conflict, But Bloggers May Be in Sights.
Later, more stories came: Scott Karp on How Networked Link Journalism Can Give Journalists Collectively The Power Of Google And Digg, Mindy McAdams on Link journalism: Credibility and authority), Jack Lail in Link journalist , Josh Catone,ReadWriteWeb asking Link Journalism: Is Linking to News a form of journalism?, and Catone refers to the Public Editor piece in the NY Times, by Clark Hoyt: What That McCain Article Didn’t Say .
How Link Journalism Could Have Transformed The New York Times Reporting On McCain Ethics (Scott Karp, Publishing2.com, February 2008)
(Sue Russell referred me to this excellent related batch of stories.)

[Back to Top]

Measurable journalism
What Research on ‘Measurable Journalism’ Tells Us About Tech, Cultural Shifts in Digital Media (Elia Powers, MediaShift, 4-9-18) The problem with "measurable journalism" is it measures what news audiences do, not why they do it.~Russell Clemings, NASW cybrarian
Confronting Measurable Journalism (Matt Carlson, Journal of Digital Journalism, 3-23-18)
Measurable Journalism: Digital Platforms, News Metrics, and the Quantified Audience (Digital Journalism, 2018) In a special issue of the academic journal Digital Journalism, nine researchers explore the implications of these technological and cultural shifts.

[Back to Top]

Mobile journalism
Mobile Journalism Guide: How To Get Your Mojo Workin’ (Global Investigative Journalism Network), a column about creating stories using mobile devices.
Mobile Journalism Manual (KAS Media Programme and a team of multimedia journalists lead by Corinne Podger; Torben Stephan, publisher, supported by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Media Programme Asia). Mobile journalism (mojo) is a new workflow for media storytelling in which reporters are trained and equipped for being fully mobile and fully autonomous. For journalists, media companies and broadcast corporations, there are several benefits of doing things this way. It is cheap, fast, and flexible; you can shoot, edit, and broadcast with just one device.
Video Tutorial: Introduction to Mobile Journlaism (MoJo) (YouTube, Verifeye Media, 8-13-15)
New mobile journalism guide has free resources for reporters, newsrooms (Nadya Hernández, International Journalists' Network, 5-24-18)
Mojo Workin’ — Essential Mobile Journalism Tools (Ivo Burum, Global Investigative Journalism Network, 4-11-17) The tools are not free.

[Back to Top]

Process Journalism. Instead of the finished story as posted in a print newspaper in, say, 1980, fully researched and reported and fact-checked and final, stories on the Web are being reported as they are investigated. Here are some pieces online about process journalism (which seems to be different from link journalism but I'm not sure how):
The Morality and Effectiveness of Process Journalism (Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, 6-7-09) Which leads us to Product v. process journalism: The myth of perfection v. beta culture (Jeff Jarvis, Buzz Machine, 6-7-09) "Like the millennial clash of business models in media – the content economy v. the link economy and the inability of one to understand the other – here we see a clash over journalistic culture and methods – product journalism v. process journalism. "In The Times, Damon Darlin goes after blogs for publishing rumors and unfinished stories, calling it a “truth-be-damned approach” and likening it to yellow journalism, the highest insult of the gray class." Darlin writes: "TechCrunch founder] Mr. Arrington and the other bloggers see this not as rumor-mongering, but as involving the readers in the reporting process. One mission of his site, he said, is to write about the things a few people are talking about, “the scuttlebutt around Silicon Valley.” His blog will often make clear that he’s passing along a thinly sourced story.'
The Imperatives of the Link Economy (Jeff Jarvis, The Buzz Machine), who compares the content economy and the link economy. "Links are a key to efficiency. In other words: Do what you do best and link to the rest." And: "The market needs help finding the good stuff; that curation is a business opportunity."
Get the Tech Scuttlebutt! (It Might Even Be True.)(Damon Darlin, Ping, NY Times)
The Morality and Effectiveness of Process Journalism (Michael Arrington, TechCrunch)
Bloggers Defend 'Beta' Journalism (Nicole Ferraro, Internet Evolution).

[Back to Top]


Journalism publications

American Journalism Review (AJR) (RIP, 2015).
The mourning of AJR is less about a decline in press criticism than the loss of an institution (Kevin Lerner, NiemanLab, 8-27-15) and see The end of American Journalism Review and what it means for media criticism (Mike Hoyt, CJR, 8-24-15)
Columbia Journalism Review (CJR)
FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. "Muckraking journalism in the public interest."
Editor & Publisher (E&P), which may discontinue publishing
News Deeply (Platforms: Oceans Deeply, Refugees Deeply, Syria Deeply, Water Deeply, Women's Advancement Deeply, Malnutrition Deeply)
The IRE Journal
News Watch, which publishes a Diversity Style Guide
Online Journalism Review (OJR), focusing on the future of digital journalism
Quill Magazine (SPJ)

[Back to Top]

Blogs, newsletters, and columns by, for, and about
journalists and the media

Behind the News: CJR on the media (Columbia Journalism Review)
Buzz Machine
Center for Media and Democracy (PR Watch.org), countering PR propaganda, informing citizen activism, promoting media literacy, sponsoring open-content media).
Common Sense Journalism (Doug Fisher)
Damn History (Jack El-Hai on what’s new and interesting in the writing and reading of popular history)
Global Voices
Journajunkie (a blog about all things journalism)
Journal-isms (Richard Price reporting on diversity issues in the news media)
The Latest "Covering Today, Informing Tomorrow" (Archives, Journalism Institute, National Press Club). The National Press Club Journalism Institute publishes The Latest newsletter every weekday around 5 p.m. ET.  See sections on top stories , leadership advice, and self-care. Was called "Covering Coronavirus." 
MediaGazer (today's media news headlines--along right, see "Who's Hiring in Media?"
Morning Brew (a daily business briefing, news from Wall Street to Silicon Valley)
Net worked (SPJ, tomorrow's digital journalism today)
Newspaper Death Watch
Nieman Watchdog (questions the press should ask)
On the Media (NPR's invaluable weekly show)
Pew Research Journalism Project (packed with useful, interesting stories)
Poynter Online (Romenesko, Scanlan, Clark and others)
The Press Box (Jack Shafer's column at Slate; here's the archive and The three tides of JS's Daily News Cycle)
Press Think (Jay Rosen's blog: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine)
The Public Editor's Journal (Arthur S. Brisbane is current "readers' representative" for the NY Times)
Regret the Error: Mistakes Happen (Craig Silverman reports on corrections, retractions, clarifications, and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the media), with a special category for fabrication.
SourceWatch (citizens and journalists looking for documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion)
Spin Cycle (Howard Kurtz's blog for The Daily Beast); formerly he wrote Media Notes (Washington Post; read 2010 columns here.
Teaching online journalism (Mindy McAdams)

Blogging for journalists
91 Journalism Blogs and Websites You Will Love (Jeremy Porter, Journalistics, 12-22-09)
Finding local blogs (Jonathan Dube, Poynter, 6-7-05)
NY Times blogs. But see ‘Almost half’ of the NYTimes’s blogs will close or merge (Andrew Beaujon, Poynter, 6-25-14)
SPJ Blogs Network (Society of Professional Journalists)
Online journalism blog
Strong Language (a sweary blog about swearing) (NSFW, meaning "not safe for work")
Study Hall A media newsletter & online support network for media workers. "Our weekly report on the media industry, for anyone who spends too much time on Twitter." See also Study Hall: The Blog. Somewhere in there I got access to "Publications that have cut freelance budgets."
Stuff Journalists Like and The List (of things journalists like)
50 blogs by journalists, for journalists (Journalism UK's links to blogging journalists, blogging mobile reporters and blogging journalism academics in the U.K.)
The 40 Best Blogs for Journalism Students (Open Education Database, 7-16-12)
David Carr: The News Diet Of A Media Omnivore (Fresh Air interview on NPR). Carr writes a column on media issues for the Monday Business section of the NY Times.
Page One: Inside The New York Times (documentary about the New York Times newsroom, and the "inner workings of the Media Desk." Addresses the question: what will happen if the fast-moving future of media leaves behind the fact-based, original reporting that helps to define our society? Available on Netflix Streaming.)

[Back to Top]

Citizen Journalism

Center for Citizen Media (encouraging grassroots media, especially citizen journalism, not to be confused with Huffington Post, which means not getting paid to write)
Brassy Broad: How One Journalist Helped Pave the Way to #MeToo by Allison Bass. In 1989, Alison Bass reported for The Boston Globe on psychiatrists who had sex with their patients. In 1992, Bass reported for The Globe on pedophile priests, a decade before The Globe launched its Spotlight investigation. Later, at the Miami Herald, Bass documented sex workers' lives, a topic she expanded into a book. Brassy Broad: How one woman helped pave the way to #MeToo is her memoir (2021).
List of citizen journalism sites (SourceWatch, The Center for Media and Democracy)
The rise of citizen journalism (Kate Bulkley, The Guardian, 6-10-12) From live blogs on 'Occupy' protests to footage of Syrian atrocities on YouTube, filmmakers now have access to a wealth of raw material – but can it all be trusted?
Story Behind the Story: A Strategy for Getting at the Whole Truth (PDF, Carnegie Mellon University thinktank) Techniques and questions you can ask to get the real stories behind urban workers' problems and realities in at-risk communities.
What ‘Engagement Reporting’ Is and Why It Matters (Taylor Blatchford, MediaShift, 1-22-18) 'What if readers, not just sources, were an active part of the news reporting process? A new group of journalists is exploring that possibility in an effort to deepen their reporting and build community relationships. 'Engagement reporters' are journalists who combine the power of community engagement with traditional news reporting to do journalism that aims to authentically serve the community and reflect their interests and needs. They’re not audience engagement editors and they’re not news reporters — they live in both worlds." [Taylor Blatchford: Does this story not belong under "Citizen Journalism"?]
Civic Journalism, Engaged Journalism: Tracing the Connections (Geneva Overholser, Democracy Fund, 8-3-16)
Boxing Day tsunami heralded new era of citizen journalism (Glenda Cooper, The Conversation,11-18-14) The tsunami of December 26, 2004, changed the way we report major news stories. It was not the first event to use citizen journalism, but it was the first disaster where the dominant images came from ordinary people.
Newest Americans: stories of immigrants who help make the country great (Jasmine Bager, Nieman Storyboard, 4-3-18) Newest Americans is a self-proclaimed “collaboratory” —a collaborative laboratory — led by journalists, citizen journalists, artists, academics and regular people who want to share where they came from to figure out where we are going as a nation. The website is sort of like a multimedia space where slices of life are dished out. The collaborative project asks: "What could be more salient at a time when our nation is debating what it means to be American and who deserves to claim that mantle?” It’s “an incredible mosaic of human migration, resilience and cross-pollination. It is a celebration of the complex factors that brought us together at this moment in this place.”
On convening a community: An excerpt from Jake Batsell’s new book on engaged journalism (Jake Batsell, Nieman Lab, 2-26-15) “An engaged journalist’s role in the 21st century is not only to inform but to bring readers directly into the conversation.” His book:
Engaged Journalism: Connecting with Digitally Empowered News Audiences
Citizen reporting: Sweet spot for local information and engagement? (Michele McLellan, Knight Foundation, 11-27-12, cross-posted from the Knight Digital Media Center's blog) "Mainstream news organizations have had mixed results with citizen news reporting. While crowd-sourcing efforts such as CNN’s iReport and Help Me Investigate have yielded valuable information, many other efforts have foundered, often on journalists’ expectation that citizen-created news must look like what the professionals produce to have value."
Working With Citizen Reporters (Denise Cheng, Knight Digital Media Center) What you will learn: The difference between participatory/civic media, citizen journalism and crowsourced journalism
How to recruit, retain and reinforce citizen journalists
Editing and structure best practices
Assessing time commitment, scale and attrition of citizen journalists.
Californians Aware (CalAware) (The Center for Public Forum Rights). Helping citizens, public servants and journalists keep Californians aware of critical facts and choices through access to public records, freedom to speak, assemble, or report, freedom from fear for whistleblowing, etc.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog group that uses legal actions to target government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests (see their blog, research and investigations, video, and legal filings). See CREW's Scandals and Scoundrels.
Citizen journalism is playing a crucial role in Aleppo – but it comes at a cost (Chris Baraniuk, Wired, 11-2-16) Citizen journalists are risking their lives to report on the brutal conflict in Aleppo - and keeping the information flowing is an uphill struggle
Big data brings new power to open-source intelligence (Matthew Moran, The Conversation, 5-14-14) In November 2013, the New Yorker published a profile of Eliot Higgins – or Brown Moses as he is known to almost 17,000 Twitter followers....The New Yorker’s eight-page spread described Higgins as “perhaps the foremost expert on the munitions used in the [Syrian] war”, a remarkable description for someone with no formal training in munitions or intelligence. Higgins does not speak Arabic and has never been to the Middle East. He operates from his home in Leicester and, until recently, conducted his online investigations as an unpaid hobby." As follow-up see Watch out for Bellingcat (Christopher Massie, CJR, 1-12-15)
Citizen-Journalism Sites: Don't Be Boring (Steve Outing, Poynter, 5-6-05) "Former blogger Brown Moses is trying to build his own type of investigative news operation. His new project, a website called “Bellingcat,” initially funded via Kickstarter this summer, will give him a chance to prove his point. Higgins, who now publishes under his real name, is its most prolific contributor, but most of the other authors use similar investigate methods."
Standing Rock, Orlando, Aleppo: The Year in Citizen Journalism (Andrew Katz, Time, 12-23-16) The ubiquity of smartphones around the world has made everyone a potential witness and a potential broadcaster: the mother tweeting images from her home ravaged by conflict; the celebrity who livestreams her own arrest; the girlfriend who logs onto Facebook moments after her boyfriend was shot by police and shares the aftermath. Here: viral hits from 2016.
The State of Citizen Journalism: Part 1, Newsvine (ReadWrite, 7-14-07). Followed not by Part 2 but by Newsvine Acquired By MSNBC – Leading Citizen Journalism Site Snapped Up by MSM (Richard MacManus, ReadWrite, 10-7-07)
Newsvine Acquired By MSNBC – Leading Citizen Journalism Site Snapped Up by MSM
‘Citizen Journalism’ Is a Catastrophe Right Now, and It’ll Only Get Worse (Jesse Singal, New York, 10-19-16) "In theory, crowdsourced “citizen journalism” is a good idea....sane commentary, originating from a place of basic competence and knowledge and good faith — probably accounts for something like 5 percent of the total online content generated by the leaks. The rest is misunderstanding and innuendo and malicious misrepresentation, and it’s doing serious damage to democracy’s ability to function." (Focus on Trump/Clinton election stink)

[Back to Top]

Advocacy Journalism
---Advocates are becoming journalists. Is that a good thing? (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-15-18) "The line between advocacy groups and media organizations has been blurring for some time. As the internet enabled the democratization of information production and distribution, and social platforms have given everyone the ability to reach an audience, smart NGOs long ago realized they could use these tools to spread their own message, instead of having to rely on partnerships with traditional media." When nonprofits like ACLU, Greenpeace, and Human Rights Watch present their case as journalism, do they sometimes stretch the facts? Do organizations ever misstate the numbers to create a sense of urgency around an issue to help with fundraising? "...in 2015, a number of NGOs and advocacy groups reported that as many as 75 percent of the women in Liberia had been raped during the civil war in that country, but independent surveys put the number closer to between 10 percent and 20 percent." Of course, Fox News Primetime also selects certain facts and individuals because they fit a certain world view.
---Who's Reporting Africa Now?: Non-Governmental Organizations, Journalists, and Multimedia by Kate Wright
Advocacy journalism, says Wikipedia, "is a genre of journalism that intentionally and transparently adopts a non-objective viewpoint, usually for some social or political purpose. Because it is intended to be factual, it is distinguished from propaganda."
---In Light Of Fake News And Advocacy Journalism, We Must Be Savvy News Consumers (Larry Atkins, HuffPost, 12-6-16) It’s essential for people to break out of their own echo chambers and to expose themselves to various viewpoints. "These media outlets, such as Fox News, Breitbart, and theBlaze on the right, and MSNBC, Counterpunch, and Daily Kos on the left, don’t lie or misrepresent facts, but they skew the facts and news presentation to support their narrative and agenda." "Unlike advocacy journalists, the mainstream media should act as an honest broker and be the adult in the room when it comes to media coverage."
---As 4 stations cancel his show, is Tavis Smiley's advocacy journalism too political for public radio? (Tracie Powell, Poynter, 10-24-12)
---Cornel West: The Uses of Advocacy Journalism (Opinion, NPR, 12-15-04) Commentator Cornel West and NPR's Tavis Smiley discuss the notion of advocacy journalism in America, in the tradition of W.E.B. Dubois, I. F. Stone and Ida B. Wells. (Available for listening in archive formats)
---The Fall and Rise of Partisan Journalism (James L. Baughman, Center for Journalism Ethics, 4-20-11) An interesting historical overview.

[Back to Top]

Citizen Journalism

Center for Citizen Media (encouraging grassroots media, especially citizen journalism)
CyberJournalists.Net (Online News Association, with tips, news, commentary re online and citizen journalism and digital storytelling)
The new age of citizen journalism (audio of the Jarvis/Darnton panel on citizen journalism, CJR)
Your Guide to Citizen Journalism (Mark Glaser, MediaShift, PBS, 9-27-06)
Journalist's Resource Research on today's news topics (on government, economics, environment, politics, society, international) with roundup summaries of key recent research and research results. Also provides Syllabi and Tip Sheets. Examples of latter: Predict if your FOIA request will succeed; Municipal bonds: A reporter’s tip sheet; Building codes pay for themselves in disaster-prone regions; Wildfires, health and climate change: Research and resources.
Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film by Alexandra Zapruder. Abraham Zapruder didn't know when he ran home to grab his video camera on November 22, 1963, that this act would change his family's life for generations to come. Originally intended as a home movie of President Kennedy's motorcade, Zapruder's film of the JFK assassination is now shown in every American history class, included in Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit questions, and referenced in novels and films. It is the most famous example of citizen journalism.
List of citizen journalism sites (SourceWatch)
Part I: The Unspoken Peril for "Citizen Journalists (Danielle Elliot, Rhonda Roland Shearer, MediaEthics, 1-13-09).
HuffPo’s “Citizen Journalism” Under Fire (Rachelle Matherne, SixEstate Communications 2-15-11) The Jig is Up: No More Quantum Magic Accounting –Intellectual Property cannot have both value and no value at the same time.
Enter Austin Post: New online venture seeks to create a 'conversational democracy' (Kevin Brass, Austin Chronicle, 7-10-09, on how "citizen journalism" may be an aggregation of "sloppy bloggers" in a system offering exposure for personal agendas instead of payment for professional journalism).
Citizen Journalism (Mashable stories)
Proposed: Citizen journalists should fill gaps in ‘information ghettos’ (Tracie Powell, Poynter, 7-2-12)
The pros and pros of 'citizen journalism' (Jason Stverak, Online Journalism Review, 3-12-10) and The pros and cons of newspapers partnering with 'citizen journalism' networks (Gerry Storch, OJR, 2-26-10)
Citizens As Budding Writers And Editors (J.D. Lasica, American Journalism Review, July/August 1999). In 1999: "WHERE WILL ONLINE JOURNALISM be in five or 10 years? In the hands of more and more regular folks, who may not even think of themselves as journalists. The Internet has long held out the ideal of Everyman as publisher--ordinary citizens who take back journalism from the professional class. As the Web matures, we're starting to see a flourishing of community journalism, a phenomenon that has both distant roots and a promising future."
Rethinking child support, Part 1: How good parents go to jail (Marjorie Steele, The Rapidian, a hyperlocal citizen journal in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 8-8-17) Examining why the our child support system is out of sync with society, and its impact on Kent County’s most economically disadvantaged parents. "In today’s world of dual-income and single parent households, 40% of which are primarily supported by women, these child support calculations place an unequal financial burden on non-custodial parents. And we haven’t even touched on custody (i.e. “parenting time”).
Huffington Post's no-pay policy
(an experiment in milking journalists,
disguised as "citizen journalism" -- a/k/a "write for free")

Why should writers work for no pay? Contributors to the Huffington Post have begun to chafe at the no-pay policy. They could take a lesson from stand-up comedians who faced a similar insult in the 1970s. (Michael Walker, OpEd, Los Angeles Times, 4-1-11)
AOL (loves) HuffPo. The loser? Journalism. "...it's already clear that the merger will push more journalists more deeply into the tragically expanding low-wage sector of our increasingly brutal economy," writes Tim Rutten(L.A.Times, 2-9-11), commenting "on the ultimate impact of AOL's $315-million acquisition of the Huffington Post on the new-media landscape."
National Writers Union & Newspaper Guild End Huffington Post Boycott (Jason Boog, GalleyCat, 10-21-11)
HuffPost boycott ends as company, Guild talks continue (The Newspaper Guild 10-20-11)
Newspaper Guild Calls for Unpaid Huffington Post Writers To Strike (Jason Boog, Galley Cat 3-17-10)
Why I Left the Huffington Post (Mayhill Fowler, blog, 9-23-10)
HuffPo’s “Citizen Journalism” Under Fire (Rachelle Matherne, SixEstate Communications 2-15-11)
[Back to Top]

Fact checking and fact checkers

Top fact-checking sites (Great search links, Writers and Editors)
Regret the Error: Mistakes Happen (Craig Silverman reports on corrections, retractions, clarifications, and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the media), with a special category for fabrication.
How (and why) to spot and identify fake news
How the Global Fact-Checking Movement is Changing How We Train Journalists (Michael W. Wagner, MediaShift, 10-18-16) The anticipatory fact-checking that went on before the final Clinton-Trump debate. Wagner says that Deciding What's True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism by Lucas Graves argues that fact-checking is a major culture shift in journalism because it moves beyond the bounds of traditional “he said/she said” reporting to hold politicians and other public political actors accountable for the accuracy of the claims they make.
Misinformation: 3 tips to help journalists avoid being part of the problem (Thomas Patterson, Journalist's Resource, 11-6-19) “Patterson, the founder of Journalist’s Resource, examines the forces that are misleading Americans and pitting them against each other: politicians for whom deception is a strategy; talk show hosts who have made an industry of outrage; foreign agents and social media operatives who spread disinformation to promote a cause, make a buck or simply amuse themselves...he shows that many of the mistaken beliefs Americans hold originated with mainstream news outlets or were amplified by them” and offers tips on how to avoid spreading misinformation, by avoiding false equivalences; not sharing thinly sourced, dubious claims; and rushing publication (to be first!). “Patterson says that journalists have a gatekeeping responsibility that requires them to screen out, or at least call out, false claims....As journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel note in their book, The Elements of Journalism, 'the discipline of verification is what separates journalism from entertainment, propaganda, fiction, or art.'”
NYT’s Sarah Cohen will make you realize how much better your public records game could be (Ryan White, Center for Health Journalism, 12-15-15) "Know public records from “propaganda. Statistics are a starting point, not an end....Think of statistics as a signpost: They can point you to the “micro data” underlying them."
The Medium (Michael Erard, The Morning News) Fact-checking is unusual in his article about “young” sign languages, only three or four generations old, which spring up all over the world, mainly in isolated villages where there’s a high prevalence of deafness.
The need to edit opinion pieces (Andy Bechter, The Editor's Desk, 11-5-13)
Q&A with Deborah Strange, Dow Jones News Fund intern (Andy Bechtel, Editor's Desk, 10-13-13)
Q&A with Ashley Leath, copy editor at Southern Living (Andy Bechtel, Editor's Desk, 5-2-13)
Check the facts: 10 tips for copy editors (Pam Nelson, ACES, 1-2-12)
The Problem With Campus Sexual Assault Surveys (Emily Yoffe, Slate, 9-24-15) Why the grim portrait painted by the new AAU study does not reflect reality. (Sometimes it's the data and their interpretation that need checking, investigating, thinking through.)
Survey Finds Slack Editing on Magazine Web Sites (Stephanie Clifford, NY Times, Business, 2-28-10)
Student guest post: Can an app replace a copy editor? (Andy Bechtel, Editor's Desk, 2-11-13). In January 2013, "the Washington Post released a prototype of its new TruthTeller app . This app fact checks a live political speech, with the help of PolitiFact, Factcheck.org and The Washington Post." A supplement, not a replacement for copy editors.
How Did This Happen? (Clark Hoyt, NY Times, 8-1-09) on a NY Times writer who didn't get the heavy fact-checking she always needs
7 ways to make your work easy to fact check (Laura Shin, Poynter, 9-17-12)
Muphry’s Law (Canberra Society of Editors)
Why Journalists Make Mistakes & What We Can Do About Them (Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter, 7-7-2000) "Misspelled names and typos are among the more basic errors journalists make. But there's another type of error that is harder to correct: when journalists miss the story completely." Story about Kathryn Schulz, author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error.
Urban Legends/Fact-Checking (Archive, SPJ, Journalist's Toolbox)
MediaBugs . Fix the news. MediaBugs, Craig Silverman's once-upon-a-time service for correcting errors and problems in media coverage. “A media bug is an error or problem that you find in a newspaper or magazine article, broadcast news report or online posting.”

[Back to Top]


Electronic newsletters for journalists and journalism buffs

Eleven newsletters to subscribe to if you work in media (Adeshina Emmanuel, CJR, 5-10-17). The newsletters (described in Emmanuel's article) are:
---Next Draft (David Pell’s witty curation of “the day’s most fascinating news")
---Infowarzel (BuzzFeed technology writer Charlie Warzel's behind this one)
---VoxCare (Vox's new health care newsletter)
---The Root
---La Agenda (Quartz)
---Need to Know (American Press Institute)
---The Daily Digest (NiemanLab)
---Journalist's Resource (a project of the Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative--much online--and sign up for weekly newsletter)
---Politico Playbook
---The Interpreter (Max Fisher and Amanda Taub of the New York Times)
---Quick Hits (Investigative Reporters and Editors)
---Ida B. Wells Society newsletter

Also (and let me know of others worth linking to):
---BoSacks (hat tip to Marjorie Turner Hollman for this)
---Editors Only: The Newsletter of Editorial Achievement (discussing the changing nature of content delivery), sister pub to STRAT: The Newsletter of Print and Online Magazine Publishing Strategy
---Generations Beat Online, e-newsletter of the Journalists Network on Generations for writers/producers covering issues in aging and retirement, distributed with in-kind assistance by New America Media, a division of Pacific News Service. Journalists can copy the content therein and can subscribe to the excellent GBO newsletter (edited by Paul Kleyman).
---Ethnic Elders Beat
---Elder News Roundup.
[Back to Top]

How the FDA Manipulates the Media (Charles Seife, Scientific American, Oct. 2016) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been arm-twisting journalists into relinquishing their reportorial independence, our investigation reveals. Other institutions are following suit. "This kind of deal offered by the FDA—known as a close-hold embargo—is an increasingly important tool used by scientific and government agencies to control the behavior of the science press....But for [a particular] breach of secrecy, nobody outside the small clique of government officials and trusted reporters would have known that the journalists covering the agency had given up their right to do independent reporting....For example, the FDA assures the public that it is committed to transparency, but the documents show that, privately, the agency denies many reporters access—including ones from major outlets such as Fox News—and even deceives them with half-truths to handicap them in their pursuit of a story....By using close-hold embargoes and other methods, the FDA, like other sources of scientific information, are gaining control of journalists who are supposed to keep an eye on those institutions. The watchdogs are being turned into lapdogs."
Embargo on press releases, rationale for (PLoS). Breaking an embargo is a journalistic no-no, with good reason.
The Embargo Should Go (Vincent Kiernan, Inside Higher Education, 8-21-06). The system under which top journals share findings with reporters doesn't serve journalism, science or the public interest. Kiernan is the author of Embargoed Science
Should Reporters Have Agreed To The Vertex Embargo? (Matthew Harper, Forbes, 6-24-14) A reporter's final thoughts on accepting an embargo agreement on writing about a new drug.
Death to the Embargo (Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, 12-17-08)
The embargo and business journalists (Sabrina Husain, Society of American Business Writers, May 2012)

Federal policies toward media that smack of censorship
CDC official sends troubling message to employees about media questions (Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Journalism Review, 9-13-17) "An official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has instructed employees not to speak directly with members of the press, Axios’ Sam Baker reported yesterday. Several health journalists quickly condemned the CDC move, calling it “really disturbing” and a “gag order,” among other critiques."
CDC cracks down on communications with reporters (Axios ) "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to crack down on its employees' conversations with the press, according to an internal email obtained by Axios. The message — sent by public affairs officer Jeffrey Lancashire and dated Aug. 31 — instructs all CDC employees not to speak to reporters, 'even for a simple data-related question.'"
(Drew Armstrong, @ArmstrongDrew tweeted: "The CDC is a public health institution, not a political one. Come on.")
Report finds federal researchers unsure of media rules (Jenny Mandel, Government Executive, 6-21-07) "Many federal researchers are uncertain of agency media policies and whether they can discuss the policy implications of their work, according to a new study that calls on agencies to clarify their guidelines and boost training. The report: Policies Guiding the Dissemination of Scientific Research from Selected Agencies Should Be Clarified and Better Communicated (GAO, May 2007)
Federal Court: Public Officials Cannot Block Social Media Users Because of Their Criticism (Mark Joseph Stern, Slate.com, 7-28-17) "Does the First Amendment bar public officials from blocking people on social media because of their viewpoint? That question has hung over the White House ever since Donald Trump assumed the presidency and continued to block users on Twitter. "
Think before you post: Here’s the new federal-workforce guidance on social media (Eric Yoder, Federal Insider, Wash Post, 4-16-15) Federal employees would be wise to ponder before posting and to think through their tweeting in order to avoid running afoul of government ethics policies, according to newly released guidance from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. Rules called the Standards of Conduct [updated link] apply to social media in areas such as fundraising, seeking outside employment, use of an employee’s title and more, the office said."

[Back to Top]


The Art and Craft of Feature Writing, by William E. Blundell (saying that reporting and writing are part of the same process, equally important)
The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism, ed. Kevin Kerrane and Ben Yagoda
The Art of the Interview: Lessons from a Master of the Craft by Lawrence Grobel (memoir of a top interviewer who prepares deeply for long interviews; don't expect helpful instruction for quicky interviews).
The Beholder's Eye: A Collection of America's Finest Personal Journalism, ed. by Walt Harrington (first-person stories in which the narrators shaped what they saw and reported, were touched or changed by the experiences they reported, and who borrowed storytelling techniques from fiction (scene, action, description, dialogue, character, and plot).
The Bloomberg Way: A Guide for Reporters and Editors by Matthew Winkler. Read this interesting story (and review) by Jodi Enda (AJR, 3-1-11). While other organizations were firing, Bloomberg was hiring. It has a style and approach all its own for writing about business and money, including this (from Enda): "Show" with facts and anecdotes, "don't tell" with characterizations and labels.
Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide by Brant Houston
The Craft of Interviewing by John Joseph Brady
Creative Interviewing: The Writer's Guide to Gathering Information by Asking Questions, by Ken Metzler (required reading for info-gathering interviews)
The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel.
The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing, by Francis Flaherty
Interviews That Work: A Practical Guide for Journalists by Shirley Biagi
Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life, ed. Walt Harrington (the how-to's of human interest reporting)
Investigative Reporter's Handbook: A Guide to Documents, Databases, and Techniques by Brant Houston and IRE.
Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing by Mark Briggs, author of Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive
Literary Journalism, ed. Norman Sims and Mark Kramer (includes essays by John McPhee, Susan Orlean, Tracy Kidder, Ted Conover, Richard Preston, Joseph Mitchell, Calvin Trillin, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, David Quammen, Brent Staples, Joseph Nocera, Mark Singer, and Walt Harrington)
Literary Nonfiction: Learning by Example, ed. Patsy Sims (with selections by includes selections by Madeleine Blais, Tim Cahill, James Conaway, Joan Didion, David Finkel, Jon Franklin, Tom Hallman, Jr., Walt Harrington, Tracy Kidder, Jane Kramer, John McPhee, Michael Paterniti, Mike Sager, Susan Sheehan, and Tom Wolfe)
Little Bunch of Madmen: Elements of Global Reporting by Mort Rosenblum. "Are 'Foreign Correspondents' an endangered species? Not for Mort Rosenblum, who writes an informative and witty book for young professionals and those interested in the wider world. He broadens 'Old Media's' pool and offers important guidance to anyone who wants to plunge into international reporting."~Deborah Amos, National Public Radio
The New New Journalism: Conversations with America's Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft,Robert S. Boynton (excellent and new, from broad picture down to how they organize their notes, what color pens they use, and other nuts and bolts details)
Oxford Dictionary of Journalism by Tony Harcup (with a slant toward British journalism and a handy companion website with journalism URLs
Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound edited by John Biewen
Reporter: A Memoir by Seymour Hersh “A master class in the craft of reporting." —Alan Rusbridger, The New York Times Book Review. See also Lessons from a relentless “Reporter” (Don Nelson, Nieman Storyboard, 8-16-19) Gleaning fundamental wisdom from the dogged work of Seymour Hersh, best-known for his stories about the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production by Jonathan Kern
Story Building: Narrative Techniques for News and Feature Writers, by Ndaeyo Uko
The Talk Book: The Intimate Science of Communicating in Close Relationships (explains reflective listening and disclosure)
Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, ed. Mark Kramer, Wendy Call
A Treasury of Great Reporting: Literature Under Pressure from the Sixteenth Century to Our Own Time, ed. by Louis L. Snyder and Richard B. Morris. Or you can borrow a PDF copy here.
Verification Handbook Authored by leading journalists from the BBC, Storyful, ABC, Digital First Media and other verification experts, the Verification Handbook is a groundbreaking new free resource for journalists and aid providers. It provides the tools, techniques and step-by-step guidelines for how to deal with user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies. Funded by the European Journalism Centre and edited by Craig Silverman See Chapter 10: Verification Tools.
New handbook fills training gap in verifying user-generated content (Gerri Berendzen, Aces, 2-6-14)
Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting: A guide to online search and research techniques for using user-generated content (UGC) and open source information in investigations (free Web-based read, second installment in a series)
'Verification Handbook' Gets a Free Companion Book (Mark Allen, Copyediting, 4-17-15)


5 Nonfiction Books About Journalism Every American Should Read
(Sadie Trombetta, Bustle, August 2018)

The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff
The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media' by Brooke Gladstone
Taking on the Trust: How Ida Tarbell Brought Down John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil by Steve Weinberg
Covering America: A Narrative History of a Nation's Journalism by Christopher B. Daly
• Indelible Ink: The Trials of John Peter Zenger and the Birth of America's Free Press by Richard Kluger

Tom Brokaw's Five Picks

Five books that Tom Brokaw says provide a "peerless portrait of journalism's high aims and low comedy":
1. The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse (Random House, 1973)
2. All the President's Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (Simon & Schuster, 1974)
3. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (Little, Brown, 1938)
4. Murrow by Ann M. Sperber (Freundlich, 1986)
5. Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman (Viking, 1985).

[Back to Top]

The Journalistic Essay

Jack Hart, when he taught the journalistic essay at The Oregonian, found these books useful:
• Phillip Lopate, ed. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present (Lopate's introduction especially)
• Robert Vare, ed. The American Idea: The Best of The Atlantic Monthly
• Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Atwan, eds. The Best American Essays of the Century.

[Back to Top]

Fiction (and movies) about journalists and journalism

Tom Rachman's top 10 journalist's tales (Tom Rachman, The Guardian, 7-27-11) From Scoop to All the President's Men, the novelist chooses his favourite stories of a troubled trade
Steve Weinberg's favorite journalism novels (ASJA Monthly, April 2014, interviewed by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett)
Mystery writer Michael Connelly on newspaper novels
Michael Hastings’s ‘Last Magazine’ Shows War as Career Opportunity (David Carr, NY Times, 6-22-14). Read also Frank Rich's interesting piece (New York, 6-4-14) on the novel and the issues it raises: Iraq Everlasting. "We are still stuck in 2003, and it isn’t (only) George W. Bush’s fault."
Ten great novels about newspapers (Sameer Rahim and Felicity Capon, The Guardian, 11-29-12)


MOVIES about journalists and journalism

Much variation in choices!
An Exhaustive Ranking of Movie Journalists ( Kate Knibbs, The Ringer, 11-25-19) From ‘His Girl Friday’ to ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,’ which movie muckrakers get their stories, break the most news, and, most importantly, avoid sleeping with their subjects? Who is the best movie journalist? And who is the worst? 45 movies are ranked rated in four categories: Does the character get their story? Are they competent? Are they ethical? How believable is the journalist? Before you look, think: Which movies do you think win and lose? I loved the comments.
The 10 best journalism movies (including Steven Spielberg's 'The Post'), ranked (Brian Truitt, USA Today, 1-11-18)
The Best Journalism Movies (Complex, 1-16-19)
110 Journalism Movies, Ranked (Lou Harry, Midwest Film Journal writers, 6-3-19)
There are a lot of great journalism movies. Here are our top 25. (Tom Jones, Poynter, 4-12-19)

[Back to Top]

Journalists on journalism

Higher-level how-to's and inside news

Jill Abramson’s Book Charts Journalism’s Stormy Seas, With Some Personal Regrets and Score-Settling (Nicholas Thompson, NY Times, 1-22-29) A deliciously insider review of Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts Quoting the review: "Eventually Graham sells to one of the few men richer than Zuckerberg, and the paper begins its new life. An engraving in the newsroom appears after Jeff Bezos takes over with the mantra “What’s dangerous is not to evolve.” The message is exactly right for the industry, and it works. Bezos focuses on the product and engineering departments at The Post, making the pages fast to load and the stories easy to read across platforms. Editorially, it essentially takes the inverse model of BuzzFeed, serving a side of clickbait with a main course of serious journalism. Most everything works, and soon after Bezos arrives The Post has even more readers than The Times." Her book examines "four news organizations trying to sail through the storm of digital transformation: BuzzFeed, Vice, The Washington Post and The Times. It’s partly a memoir and partly a work of investigative reporting."
The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war (Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, 12-9-19) Part 1: At War with the Truth. U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it, an exclusive Post investigation found.
--- Part 2: Stranded without a strategy Bush and Obama had polar-opposite plans to win the war. Both were destined to fail.
--- What we learned from the Afghanistan Papers. (Elizabeth N. Saunders, 12-11-19) Experts’ key takeaways on the war in Afghanistan.
--- Responses from people featured in The Afghanistan Papers
Vulture capitalism: As a secretive hedge fund guts its newspapers, journalists are fighting back (Paul Farhi, WaPo, 4-13-18) Demoralized by rounds of job cuts, journalists at San Jose’s Mercury News and East Bay Times in Oakland, Calif., took their case to the public last month. At a rally in Oakland, they handed out a fact sheet detailing the “pillaging” of their papers, accompanied by a cartoon of a business executive trying to milk an emaciated cow. Headquartered in New York with investment funds domiciled in the tax-lenient Cayman Islands and a clientele that is mostly foreign, a little-known hedge fund called Alden Global Capital has been investing in American newspapers since 2009. Through its majority control of a management company called Digital First Media, Alden owns nearly 100 daily and weekly papers, where it effectively owns every major newspaper around Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area with the exception of the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. the conventional analysis of newspaper decline has been replaced in Alden’s case by a narrative about “vulture capitalism,” the notion that Alden’s draconian cutbacks are designed to sustain profits without regard for the newspapers’ long-term future. And some newspapers are beginning to fight back.
A Day in the Life (a plenitude of profiles of science journalists, on The Open Notebook--"The story behind the best science stories"-- National Association of Science Writers) Under Siri Carpenter and Jeanne Erdmann's's editorship, the fabulous Open Notebook is like a mini-course in journalism, available free to the whole world, and invaluable (check out the threads: Interviews, Elements of Craft, Profiles, and Pitch Database)
How and when to break your off-the-record promises (Kelly McBride, Poynter, 7-31-18) "...while off-record-promises are critical to our credibility, they are not sacrosanct. Instead they are part of a two-way street. And these two examples are the most common reasons for journalists to break the promise.
      If the source is proven to be lying, the promise is not valid.
      And if the source discusses the conversation on the record, then the promise is also no longer valid.
Why Jeff Randall was right to 'burn' a confidential source (Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, 1-2-14) 'In 1993, Randall felt he had been entirely misled by an off-the-record briefing from (Lord) Clive Hollick, then embroiled in a boardroom battle at Mirror Group newspapers. Randall was furious and retaliated by writing a public condemnation of Hollick. He subsequently wrote about why he identified a confidential source: "When we accept off-the-record briefings, we enter into a contract of confidentiality with the source and we therefore publish in good faith. But if we find that we have been deliberately lied to, then any obligation of confidence is removed. Sources have to know that the threat of exposure hangs over them." '
A self-made freelance career (with a little help along the way) (Allison Kirkland, Creatives in Conversation, reprinted on Nieman Storyboard, 8-29-19) "Barry specializes in longform narrative that puts human faces on complex social, political, environmental & racial issues. He also dabbles in audio, and collaborated with Richard Ziglar to produce four hour-long radio documentaries about Southern roots music...Columbia Journalism Review had this praise for Barry’s work: '(One of) the best unsung investigative journalists working in print in the United States … Yeoman specializes in becoming a part of his subjects’ lives; he works hard to dispel the image of the parachute journalist who drops in, grabs the story, and runs.' On longform journalism, audio documentaries, and reporting and writing stories that matter.
Seymour Hersh on spies, state secrets, and the stories he doesn’t tell
(Elon Green, CJR, 6-4-18) An interview associated with publication of his memoir Reporter "This is the first interview in a biweekly series of journalists on journalism."
Dishing up some sides of gratitude (Jacqui Banaszynski, Short Takes, Nieman Storyboard, 11-28-19) Journalists take a moment to remember what they are thankful for: mostly good editors (mentioned by name), but sharp pencils, proper tea, and decent pay help.
Twitter is the crystal meth of newsrooms ( David Von Drehle, WaPo, 1-25-19) It's quick, it's easier than interviews or close observation, it's ideal for smart alecks. "...many journalists are surprisingly shy. We chose a trade that involves watching and witnessing rather than risking and daring. For many of us, the most difficult part of the job is ringing the doorbell of a bereaved family, or prying into the opinions of unwelcoming strangers. Twitter has created a seductive universe in which the reactions of a virtual community are served up in neatly quotable bits without need for uncomfortable personal interactions."
Q&A: CBS’s David Begnaud on covering Puerto Rico when few others did (Karen K. Ho, CJR, 6-4-18)
Covering poverty: What to avoid and how to get it right (Denise-Marie Ordway and Heather Bryant, Journalist's Resource, 9-4-18) This tip sheet, from two journalists who grew up poor and still have ties to the working class, aims to help newsrooms do a better job covering poverty and integrating lower-income people into all news stories. Heather Bryant, the founder of Project Facet, and Denise-Marie Ordway, an editor at Journalist's Resource, offer insights to help journalists think more deeply about who their audience is and how current journalistic practices can limit some people's ability to access the news. For example: WHAT TO AVOID: Representing people experiencing poverty as one of three character types: the victim, the criminal or the exception. HOW TO GET IT RIGHT: Seek out sources who are experiencing poverty for all kinds of stories — not just stories about poverty. WHAT TO AVOID: Making broad statements about what “everyone” thinks or does, especially when those statements likely don’t apply to individuals of all income levels. Associating poverty with certain habits, lifestyle choices or TV shows. Only depicting poverty as despair. HOW TO GET IT RIGHT: Think carefully about how you approach a story and the messages you’re sending to people with limited incomes. Help audiences understand that people living in poverty are multidimensional, as are their experiences. Include details that have meaning to the person you are reporting on. Read story for more concrete suggestions.
Surviving the Elements: Confronting Difficult Field-Reporting Conditions (Kristen Pope, TheOPENNotebook, NASW, 10-30-18) Certain kinds of colorful, dramatic, powerful stories can only be told through on-the-ground reporting, which often comes with difficulties and dangers. Read Kristen Pope's piece on how to plan for such conditions, including interviews with Wudan Yan, Sophie Yeo, Susan Valot, and Douglas Fox on their hairiest experiences and how they handled them.
Dan Rather on why he never worked in network journalism again (Kyle Pope, CJR, 7-9-18) For all of his "professional journalism lifetime" there were four basic categories of news: News (just
the facts), analysis (the truth, which the facts alone may not reveal), commentary ("my comments, having given the facts and analysis"), and editorial. "The difference between editorial and commentary is editorial takes the view that I am trying to convince you." He compares how Nixon hated the press (but respected it) with how Trump does and admits that the press, in focusing too much on Washington, has done remarkably little reporting on "the homeless, the hungry, the heartbroken, the helpless, the placeless, those people who have almost lost hope, at the very bottom or near-bottom of society."
How to Cover Big Science Events: Lessons from the Great American Eclipse (Aneri Pattani, TheOPENNotebook, NASW, 6-19-18) Lessons learned from the 2018 eclipse.
Lizzie Presser Reveals the Underground Work of Home-Abortion Providers (Aneri Pattani, The Open Notebook, NASW, 9-4-18) "Before abortion was legal across the United States, underground networks of women—such as the Jane Collective in Chicago—worked secretly to help end unwanted pregnancies.... Then, in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the landmark case Roe v. Wade, asserting a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion....Many women who had fought hard in the legal battle for abortion rights thought the days of underground medical care were over. Forty-five years later, that hasn’t been the case.Today, approximately 200 women are operating outside the law and the medical establishment to provide cheap and accessible home abortions. But the reasons this work is thriving are more complicated than just access to legal abortion procedures: These women serve clients who can’t afford clinical care, live far from clinics, or simply dislike and distrust medical settings....Here, Presser talks to Aneri Pattani about how she was able to get access to such a sensitive story, how she reported it out with diligence and compassion, and how other investigative reporters can do the same." Here's the story Presser wrote: “Whatever’s your darkest question, you can ask me.” (The California Sunday Magazine, 3-8-18) A secret network of women is working outside the law and the medical establishment to provide safe, cheap home abortions.... ...In Anna’s view and that of many legal scholars, Roe upheld a doctor’s right to perform an abortion, not a woman’s right to choose one. Choice wasn’t just whether a woman could seek an abortion but also how and when she wanted to have it, who she wanted around her, and where she wanted to be." Reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.
An Arizona school district kept a secret blacklist for decades. A reporter found it. (Hank Stephenson, CJR, 1-23-18) "After three hours, I was the only reporter left in the room. Sometimes that’s all it takes....The credit for exposing the blacklist belongs to the school board member who chased this story for years, and the superintendent who owned up to the district’s mistakes."
How an arcane, new accounting standard is helping reporters follow the money (Mya Frazier, CJR, 5-29-18)
Nidhi Subbaraman Uncovers a Story of Medical Neglect—and of Useful Anger—on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation (Siri Carpenter, The Open Notebook, 6-5-18) BuzzFeed News reporter Nidhi Subbaraman knew almost nothing about the long and troubled history of tribal health care in the United States when she began covering the lawsuit that the Rosebud Sioux tribe was bringing against the U.S. government for its failure to provide treaty-mandated health care to tribal members. How she got the story "It's Just Another Way of Killing Our People" (“The Tribe That’s Suing the U.S. Government to Keep Its Promises,” BuzzFeed, 11-17-16)
The great remove (Sarah Jones, CJR, spring/summer 2018) "American society is boldly, unrepentantly rigged against its most marginalized members. But this fact, while clear to me, may not be to everyone else. America is wedded to the myth of its own greatness....Whether you cover pop culture or poverty, your background shapes your path into your chosen field. And if your background includes poverty, that path contains boulders....‘The only people who get to rage about poverty and economic hardship are people who are not experiencing it.’
Adriana Gallardo Finds the Untold Stories of Black Mothers (Aneri Pattani, The Open Notebook, 5-22-18) Every year, about 700 to 900 American women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. ....Yet the problem has managed to go fairly unnoticed. ProPublica and NPR aimed to change that with their Lost Mothers series last year. They decided to use engagement reporting, inviting the public to collaborate in their investigations through social media, online forms, phone calls, and in-person forums....Gallardo sent out a message to the 200 people who had responded to the initial callout with stories about black women, inviting them to discuss their experiences with pregnancy or childbirth—either firsthand or as a loved one of someone affected—with their mothers, daughters, and friends. And she asked them to record those conversations. It was a model of journalism Gallardo had picked up in her previous experience at StoryCorps, a nonprofit that records conversations between friends, family, and others as a way of telling stories and preserving history."
The Story Behind the Story (Mark Bowden, The Atlantic, Oct. 2009) With journalists being laid off in droves, ideologues have stepped forward to provide the “reporting” that feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The collapse of journalism means that the quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition. A case-study of our post-journalistic age, where the model for all national debate becomes the trial, where adversaries face off, representing opposing points of view....Without journalism, the public good is viewed only through a partisan lens, and politics becomes blood sport. Television loves this, because it is dramatic....In a post-journalistic society, there is no disinterested voice. There are only the winning side and the losing side."
The Story Behind the Story (John S. Carroll, Los Angeles Times, 10-12-03) The investigation (before the gubernatorial race) of charges that Arnold Schwarzenegger sexually mistreated and humiliated women.
50 Years Later, the Story Behind the Photos of Robert Kennedy’s Assassination (Jordan G. Teicher, NY Times, 6-5-18) On June 5, 1968, Robert Kennedy was fatally shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Bill Eppridge, who took what may be the most famous photo of the event, went on to cover the aftermath.
Military Exercises and Paranoia in West Texas: A Reporter’s Notebook (Manny Fernandez, Story Behind the Story, Times Insider, 7-15-15) The moral of the story is that when reporters knock on doors in rural Texas, they must do so politely, quickly and a tad nervously.
Times Insider (behind-the-scenes insights into how news, features and opinion come together at The New York Times)
Foreign Reporting We’re Missing the Story: The Media’s Retreat From Foreign Reporting (Anjan Sundaram, NY Times, Opinion, 7-25-14) Stringers provide the little deeply reported news we get from Congo, where Sundaram reported as a stringer for AP. He wrote about that experience in Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo
Toward a One-Paper Town (A.J. Liebling, New Yorker, 2-12-1949)
The cost of reporting while female ( Anne Helen Petersen, CJR, Winter 2018) The work of a journalist is to be accessible, discerning, and persistent. For a woman, this also makes her a target. "The first time I was told I should go die a slow and painful death, it was because I had written about Kristen Stewart."

[Back to Top]

Useful sites, resources, and pieces for journalists and news junkies

"Everything is copy." ~ Nora Ephron's mother
"The problem with having an open mind, of course,
is that people will insist on coming along and putting things in it."~ Terry Pratchett

• Ad blockers. Online publications fight back against ad blockers (Carl Harrison, Multibriefs, industry-specific news briefs, 11-17-16)
Advice for interns: Go beyond what's required, send handwritten thank you notes and find allies (Rachel Schallom, Poynter, 6-14-18)
Responsible Reporting in an Age of Information Disorder (Victoria Kwan, First Draft, Oct. 2019) The tipping point: Should I cover this story? Brief chapters on covering extremism, covering conspiracy theories, covering manipulated content, responsible headlines, linking and search engine optimization (SEO), social media amplification, and empathy, concluding with a responsible reporting checklist.
All the News That Seemed Unfit to Print (Peter Carlson, WaPo, 8-7-07) The Weekly World News was a sleazy tabloid that covered events that seemed to occur in a parallel universe. The most creative newspaper in American history, the Weekly World News broke the story that Elvis faked his death and was living in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Principles of Journalism (American Press Association) In brief:
1. Journalism's first obligation is to the truth.
2. Its first loyalty is to citizens.
3. Its essence is discipline of verification.
4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.
-- American Press Association
Journalistic Standards and Practices (CBC Radio-Canada) Links to a wealth of material, also useful outside of Canada.
RTDNA's coverage guidelines for specific situations (among others: breaking news, live coverage, using telephone calls on-air, 911 calls, bomb threats, guidelines for mass shootings, shootings/hostage situations, law enforcement action, use of police scanners, bioterrorism guide, preventing plagiarism, respecting privacy, using confidential sources, evaluating sources, hidden cameras, file tape, user-generated content, graphic content, identifying juveniles, racial identification, reporting on suicide--the list goes on. Check it out!
Jeff Flake's remarks at the 2018 dinner of the Radio & Television Correspondents (YouTube, 17 minutes, 11-14-18). Flake, in an excellent talk about the search for truth, says that our country is in a crisis of communication, in which people on opposite sides don't even agree on shared facts, and engage in insults and abuse rather than rational dialogue. Full video here (C-Span)
Almost seven-in-ten Americans have news fatigue, more among Republicans ( Jeffrey Gottfried and Michael Barthel, FactTank, Pew Research Center, 6-5-18) Feeling overwhelmed by the news is more common among those who follow the news less closely than among those who are avid consumers. Those less favorable toward the news media are also the most “worn out.”
Alternet.org (a progressive activist news service and a project of the non-profit Independent Media Institute, whose aim is to "inspire citizen action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, and health care issues")
A Manifesto (Jason Pontin, Technology Review, May/June 2009) Newspapers and magazines won't vanish. But they will change.
An Arizona school district kept a secret blacklist for decades. A reporter found it (Hank Stephenson, Columbia Journalism Review, 1-23-18) A reporter attended a school board meeting for 3 hours, longer than other journalists. That ended up being a very good decision. "After three hours, I was the only reporter left in the room. Sometimes that’s all it takes....The names were redacted and the data was incomplete, but the records I received showed more than 1,400 employees had been blacklisted during the past two decades."
Another One Bites the Dust: Can Independent Web Journalism Survive? (Dorian Benkoil, MediaShift, 2-12-18) "The solo blogger or small team can still make a go of it, if they stay as focused on the business aspects as the editorial mission." The Awl, DNAInfo, Gothamist, BuzzFeed (struggling), Mashable (acquired cheaply)...see where the troubles lie, and why. Great visual.
Applying Science to the Beauty and Wellness Beat (Julissa Treviño, The Open Notebook, 2-26-19)
Artisanal Journalism (Structure of News, on (Re)Structuring Journalism, 6-11-12). Talking about data structure and site design is not as sexy as discussing wonderful tales of narrative journalism. But it’s just as important, sez this post.
The Art of Reportage (Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage) "I don’t see the problem with literary reportage providing we get the noun and the adjective in the right order. Reportage as the noun and literary as the adjective. I think that literary reportage is a difficult art to practice because you are restricted to reality as you see it and what you can bring to it. " Isabel Hilton (jury member, Lettre Ulysses Award)
"If you want to report on an issue that is so deep, the only honest way to report it is to have a commitment in time." ~Pedro Rosa Mendes (jury member Lettre Ulysses Award)
"The literary journalist is not a conventional journalist, not a journalist only of information, but a journalist who must speak about human beings, and transcend current affairs to speak about the depth of the human condition" Tomás Eloy (jury member Lettre Ulysses Award)
Ask a Reporter archives Read how New York Times reporters have answered students' questions, or see how different reporters have answered frequently asked questions.
ASNE archives (American Society of Newspaper Editors)
Anatomy of a News Segment (Andrew Sullivan, Daily Dish, video. 1-29-10)
As my dreams changed, my goal to tell stories that move people always remained (Eric Deggans, Poynter, 5-22-18) I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t want to tell stories that moved people.
Audio quality affects the credibility of news (Bill Andrews, D-brief, Discover, 4-18-18) Listeners in an experiment using newscasts of varying quality thought the speakers in the clips with better sound production were more credible, and their topics more interesting-- maybe because it's easier to process.
Awards, grants, fellowships, and competitions (Writers and Editors)

[Back to Top]

Artisanal Journalism (Structure of News, on (Re)Structuring Journalism, 6-11-12). Talking about data structure and site design is not as sexy as discussing wonderful tales of narrative journalism. But it’s just as important, sez this post.
As the ‘forever war’ drags on, veterans bring battlefield knowledge to the newsroom (Jack Crosbie, CJR, 3-21-18) The "Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have ballooned into two of the largest departments in the US government, commanding over 60 percent of Congress’s discretionary spending in the 2018 budget....But as traditional media have scaled back coverage of the country’s conflicts abroad, a new crop of online publications gives voice to veterans and military journalists, covering America’s wars and the people who fight them with an unvarnished blend of personal experience and investigative reporting." Read about The War Horse, Task & Purpose (especially Code Red News (with Paul Szoldra), At War (a new column in the NY Times magazine). “Let’s face it, serving in combat gives many veterans a highly attenuated nose for bullshit. We [journalists] should welcome people like this to our ranks, and coach them and channel them and be excited about the service they can provide readers,” says CJ Chivers, the Times’s long-standing foreign correspondent. See, for example, 15 Years Ago, I Helped Start a War That Hasn’t Ended (Matt Ufford, At War, NY Times Magazine, 3-20-18).
• The assassination of a journalist. The killing of Gauri Lankesh (iddhartha Deb, CJR, Winter 2018) Gauri Lankesh was an outspoken left-wing journalist working in an India that has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries to be a reporter. What the assassination of a Bangalore journalist says about media complacency in the face of Hindu nationalism’s violent rise in India. In spite of a lack of coordination of investigators, certain patterns have emerged that connect the killings of journalists.

The Basics: Principles of Newswriting (Ben Yagoda)
Behind the Cover A new video series goes inside the process for creating the covers of The New York Times Magazine.
Benjamin C. Bradlee (Academy of Achievement). One of several interviews of journalists and about journalism.
The Best Damn Job in the Whole Damn World (Roger Ebert, 4-3-09)
Billionaires gone wild (Alex Pareene, CJR, Winter 2018) The American media landscape, like the rest of the country, is being reshaped by the whims of the ultra-rich. It is one thing—an infuriating thing, granted—to lose your job because of 'the market.' ...But when your livelihood is disrupted because of the whims of one powerful person—when the invisible hand is replaced by one very visible and shockingly capricious one—it is a much more bewildering experience. And it is one more journalists can expect to experience in the near future, as the economic power of the 0.01 percent increases and the revenue models underpinning traditional news-gathering shops break down."
Bloody shoes worn by Orlando doctor reveal power of detail (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter, Storytelling, 6-16-16). Editorial he uses to illustrate his point: A Flower for the Graves, an editorial by Gene Patterson. See also Fighting for Life 50 Floors Up, With One Tool and Ingenuity (Jim Dwyer, NY Times, 10-9-01)
Blue Plate Special.net (by Jay Rosen, his students at NYU, and other recruits from around the Web). A Blue Plate Special is a mix of blog posts, interviews, and informational features on a single subject, and quite a bit about blogging.
Breaking News Consumer's Handbooks On the Air's excellent podcasts on how to be a savvy consumer on various types of news--how to see through the myths and fake news. Topics covered: U.S. storms, drugs, protest, take news, poverty in America, Islamophobia, election polls, migration (at home and abroad), military coups, celebrity experts, bogus health news, terrorism, SCOTUS, stock market volatility, health news and diet fads, data breaches, bearing witness, active shooter, and plane crashes.
Caliphate. The story, and the story about the story. See A Riveting ISIS Story, Told in a Times Podcast, Falls Apart (Mark Mazzetti, Ian Austen, Graham Bowley and Malachy Browne, NY Times, 12-18-2020) A Canadian’s gruesome account as an Islamic State executioner in Syria, which was the subject of the “Caliphate” podcast by The New York Times, was fabricated, officials say. A Times review found no corroboration of his claim to have committed atrocities. (New York Times, 12-18-2020) Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, discusses where “Caliphate” failed to meet Times standards. And Mark Mazzetti, an investigative correspondent for The Times, details new reporting that casts significant doubt on the claims of a central figure in the Caliphate series.
Can We Tape? A Reporter's Recording Guide: A Practical Guide to Taping Phone Calls and In-Person Conversations in the 50 States and D.C. (a state-by-state guide). (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press).
See also Recording phone calls.
Can We Talk (Thomas L. Friedman, OpEd, NY Times, 7-17-10) On the dangers of political correctness.

[Back to Top]

Be Credible: Information Literacy for Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing Students (KUScholarWorks, free download) This free and open textbook teaches college-level journalism students to become information experts. Using the themes of credibility and information literacy, the book helps today’s students, who start out all their research with Google and Wikipedia, to specialize in accessing, evaluating, and managing information that often is not accessible through Google searches.

The cyclical nature of media panics and media reform--pieces by Michael J. Socolow "In my research on media, broadcasting and advertising history, I’ve noted the cyclical nature of media panics and media reform movements throughout American history." (Lots of interesting pieces on this page.)
CNN vs. BuzzFeed: A media spat for the digital age (Pete Vernon, CJR, 11-15-17) In one corner, a media powerhouse that catalyzed the 24-hour news cycle. In the other, a rambunctious upstart that made its name with catchy videos and listicles before diving into hard-news reporting. Two outlets battling for the attention of digital audiences, needling each other along the way. About rivalries between news sites covering the same beat, fighting to draw the larger readership.
• Consumer Reports. Testing out a new future for Consumer Reports (Karen K. Ho, CJR, 6-18-18) "Even the manufacturers are interested in the data, because they can’t even afford to compare themselves to 20 other models."
Contently (powering the next generation of publishing). Described by Columbia Journalism Review as a new platform to connect journalists and publishers . "Contently aims to help journalists to build their brand online and connect them with publishers looking for writers." The Contently platform is said to "streamline your editorial calendar and add efficiency to content creation--for agencies and high-volume publishers." The Content Network "empowers professional journalists and bloggers to build careers doing what they love." Through that network, Contently publishers can "scale up freelance talent for projects and ongoing work with our vetted Network of magazine-quality writing talent." We'll see how it all works out later. Report on your experiences!

[Back to Top]

[Back to Top]

The Chaos at Condé Nast (Katherine Rosman, NY Times, 2-12-2020) "The memoirs of Dan Peres and other ex-employees of the magazine company reveal the mess behind the gloss of the aughts. In the book, Mr. Peres reveals an opioid addiction that he tried for years to hide, and which, until he got clean in 2007, had him taking as many as 60 Vicodin pills a day....The early and mid-aughts were the Roaring ’20s of magazines, with the looming economic recession not yet imaginable and the disruption of digital media not considered by publishing executives, so infatuated with their pretty print pages and the huge margins that print advertising delivered. No matter that their one real job was to have their fingers on the pulse of What’s Next."


Crossword puzzles.
Crosswords Have Always Been a Solace in Times of Trouble. Here's How the 20th Century's Toughest Moments Shaped the Puzzle's History (Adrienne Raphel, Time, 3-27-2020) And her book: Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crosswords and the Puzzling People Who Can't Live Without Them by Adrienne Raphel
How the Crossword Became an American Pastime (Deb Amlen, Smithsonian, December 2019) The newspaper standby still rivets our attention a century later.
Brief History of Crossword Puzzles (American Crossword Puzzle Tournament)
The legacy of the crossword puzzle in times of crisis (Kai Ryssdal and Bennett Purser, Marketplace, 3-24-2020) “I don’t think I have to sell you on the increased demand for this type of pastime in an increasingly worried world. You can’t think of your troubles while solving a crossword.” ~ Margaret Farrar, crossword puzzle editor.

Cut This Story! (Michael Kinsley, Atlantic, Jan./Feb. 2010) Newspaper articles are too long, says Kinsley.

Cyclical nature of media panics and reform. Interesting articles by Michael J. Socolow "In my research on media, broadcasting and advertising history, I’ve noted the cyclical nature of media panics and media reform movements throughout American history."

The Daily Miracle (William Zinsser, American Scholar, Winter 2008) Life with the mavericks and oddballs at the Herald Tribune
Dealing with online harassment
The death of the working class reporter (Justin Ward, Noteworthy: The Journal Blog, 6-26-19) Journalism is becoming an elite profession—and that’s bad news. "The top positions in media today are overwhelmingly held by coastal blue bloods who are isolated—both physically and metaphorically—from the rest of the country." See also Working-class journalism in the Age of Oligarchs (Barbara Ehrenreich, Salon, 12-27-18) "At the beginning of my career, I could earn enough to support my family, at however minimal a level. But starting in the 1990s that began to change. Newspapers and other news outlets were taken over by large corporations that were concerned only about the bottom line."
Digital journalism’s disappearing public record, and what to do about it (Sharon Ringel and Angela Woodall, CJR, 5-17-18) Publishers are not archiving; it's "simply not a businss priority." And "who bears the burden of keeping records when institutions use social-media platforms as an ad hoc archive. Platforms are motivated to collect data because of the potential for profit, rather than as a public service, and relying on them as an archive can conflict with the the legal “right to be forgotten,” which the European Union enforces but which remains contentious in the United States."
Digital portfolios for journalists: What are your options? (Susanna Speier, Poynter, 4-10-13) . She writes about Pressfolios, Muck Rack, Clippings.me, Contently, and "industry-agnostic" platforms such as WordPress.

Document Cloud, created by journalists from ProPublica and The New York Times as an online repository of source documents. From an interesting story in the newsletter of the Association of Health Care Journalists: "Explore how the Las Vegas Sun used DocumentCloud to present hospital inspection reports, and the violations they contained, to its readers": an interactive graphic created by combining Document Cloud with Flash "to make the reports searchable and more meaningful to the public"

Esquire's 70 Greatest Sentences Esquire, 10-1-03). Seventy lines that sparkle, invoke, provoke, or are just damn enjoyable to read.
Ethnic Media Network (New America Media)

FacTank (Pew Research Center, News in the Numbers)
The Field Guide to Security Training in the Newsroom. A training guide for journalists who want to protect their digital privacy. A collaboratively written guide that helps trainers train their colleagues. See Introducing the Field Guide to Security Training in the Newsroom (Amanda Hickman, Kevin O’Gorman, and Ryan Pitts, Source, 4-18-18)
Fifty Writing Tools: Quick List (Roy Peter Clark's priceless and timeless advice, Poynter, 6-30-06)


Finding and developing your voice
Some warbly thoughts on “voice” (Jacqui Banaszynski, Nieman Storyboard, 11-22-19) Finding your signature style within the (flexible) walls of journalism. "It can feel like the particular requirements of journalism ask us to abandon our own voice, but I have found that’s simply not true. We’re just trying to understand and internalize some of the techniques of the masters, then incorporate them into our own work. We might subjugate (quiet) our own voice for awhile as we’re learning the craft, but it’s still there. And the more we know the underlying craft, the more we can let our own voice shine."
Developing Your Nonfiction Voice: Write Like You Speak (Sarah Chauncey, 5-25-17) "Fiction writers can create a voice, or play with different voices, but as a nonfiction writer, your writing should sound like you. Your vocabulary, your cadence, your syntax, your dialect. Your verbal idiosyncrasies. Friends and colleagues should be able to hear your voice in their heads as they read."
“Developing a writer’s voice is almost a process of unlearning, one analogous to children’s painting.” (Jacqui Banaszynski, Nieman Storyboard, 11-7-18) "Voice isn’t the same as opinion, and should never be self-indulgent."
Thoughts on voice: What it is (and isn’t). And how to find yours (Esther Wei-Yun Landhuis, Nieman Storyboard,11-6-18) A panel of writers and editors offer tips on nurturing your authentic writing voice, and modulating it for your story and audience. “We all recognize voice when we read it or hear it. It’s distinct and it’s individual and you feel like you’re being led by an interesting guide,” said Amanda Mascarelli, managing editor of SAPIENS. And yet on some stories there can be too much "voice."
Cookbooks Are So Much More Than Recipes and Photographs (LitHub, 11-1-19) Joshua Raff on the triple pleasures of memoir, travel, and family history. '“People want something larger than a recipe collection,” Matt Sartwell observes, they “want a voice and an authority.” ...Today’s readers are drawn to an authentic voice—it may be fun, it may be conversational, it may be more formal, but the author’s voice must come through.'
Elizabeth Weil and “The Curse of the Bahia Emerald” (Katia Savchuk, Annotation Tuesday, Nieman Storyboard, 1-9-18) The writer talks about her Coen Brothers-ish caper in Wired, the importance of voice, and her fondness for "poignant, hapless conmen who can't let go"
Writing Creative Nonfiction: Voice and Style (Dave Hood, 8-15-12)
What Is Writer’s Voice? (agent Rachelle Gardner, 7-30-10)
Nonfiction Authors: What Person or Voice Should You Write In? (Jessi Rita Hoffman, book editor)

[Back to Top]

Five Great Stories You Didn’t Read in 2005 (Edward B. Colby, Columbia Journalism Review, 12-26-05)
The five ways we read online (and what publishers can do to encourage the “good” ones)(Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 4-17-18) New metrics specifically for news articles. "SIG captures how quickly an article moves toward its final point, passing through all the points along the way made by the individual paragraphs. For example, an article that opens with an abstract paragraph may contain a lot of the information at the beginning and add only a little later in the text. In contrast, a listicle may have a more even distribution of information throughout the text."
5 Ways to Get People to Contribute Good Content for Your Site. Mallary Jean Tenore (Poynter Online, 11-11-10) gives advice on getting good user-generated content (crowdsourcing, or community editorial): "Master the 'fine art of the prompt'; understand what motivates contributors (and that "your content providers are not necessarily your content consumers") and reward them.

[Back to Top]
An elegy for alt-weeklies, as ‘smart, gutsy, colorful’ voices are silenced (Philip Eil, CJR, 1-25-18)
The Editors (BBC News' blog on dilemmas and issues BBC faces, welcoming comments)
The Editor's Desk (thoughts on editing for print and online media, with an emphasis on U.S. newspapers and news websites)
Editors Only: The Newsletter of Editorial Achievement (discussing the changing nature of content delivery), sister pub to STRAT: The Newsletter of Print and Online Magazine Publishing Strategy
Edit tests are out of control, say journalists in search of jobs (Zoë Beery, CJR, 3-2-18) Interviews with more than two dozen writers and editors reveal that, as journalism jobs have evaporated, edit testing has become excessively burdensome for candidates. These journalists find themselves taking on multiple tests a year, sometimes simultaneously, amounting to 20 or more unpaid hours of work per test that often yield no results--sometimes not even a note informing them they are no longer being considered.
8 steps to upgrade your everyday news stories with ‘tiny narratives’ (Katia Savchuk, CJR, 4-13-17) Breaking news and hard-hitting features put the facts center stage. Savchuk scatters “tiny narratives”--compact anecdotes, sometimes only a few lines long--throughout a fact-driven article. "Those nuggets of humanity can help keep readers on the page." Excellent examples.
An Elegy for Copy Editors (Lawrence Downes, OpEd, NY Times, 6-16-08) The job hasn’t disappeared yet, but it is swiftly evolving, away from an emphasis on style and consistency, from making a physical object perfect the first time. The path to excellence is now through speed, agility and creativity in using multiple expressive outlets for information in all its shapes and sounds.
Emily Bell thinks public service media today has its most important role to play since World War II (Anders Hofseth, Nieman Lab, 4-2-18) "Google and Facebook have hoovered up everything. The ad departments just didn’t see it coming."
“I think there’s a very viable long-term financial model for commercial media. But I don’t necessarily think that applies directly to journalism.”
"At the moment, I think public service media has got the most important role to play that it’s had at any point since the end of the second World War."
Employment picture darkens for journalists at digital outlets (Alex T. Williams, CJR, 9-27-16) "In 2005, for every one digital-only journalist, there were 20 newspaper journalists. In 2015, for every one digital-only journalist, there were four newspaper journalists."
[Back to Top]

[Back to Top]

Forged in wildfires: Lessons from California student-reporters (Anne Belden, CJR, 4-4-18) The most destructive wildfires in California history claimed 44 lives, wiped out 8,400 homes and structures, and caused at least $9 billion in damages in Sonoma and neighboring counties last fall. No lecture, reporting exercise, or emergency planning could have prepared Santa Rosa Junior College journalism students—many of whom produce The Oak Leaf newspaper, where I serve as adviser—for the magnitude of the firestorm that swept through their community. You can read that special issue.
Freelancers: California Writers & Journalists Losing Work Due to New Court Ruling (Authors Guild, Industry News, 12-13-18) "Writers and journalists may be losing out on work as a result of an April 2018 California Supreme Court ruling that restricts who can be declared a freelancer. While the ruling in Dynamex Operations West Inc. vs. Superior Court of Los AngelesJust who is an independent contractor? (Lisa Renner, Capitol Weekly ("Covering California government and politics"), 9-17-18) 'The ruling on Dynamex Operations West Inc. vs. Superior Court of Los Angeles provides a new three-part “ABC” test to determine who can be an independent contractor.'
Freelance Journalists Deserve to Be Better Protected (Elisabeth Cantenys, A Culture of Safety Alliance, Open Society Foundations, Medium, 2-23-18)
From Silent Mode to Heated Mode: Reconstructing the Magazine Future… the Popular Science Way. Samir Husni's interview with Mark Jannot; includes “six basic principles that underlie the Mag+ digital platform.” Sidebar: Me and My iPad, in Mr.Magazine blog
Front pages of today's newspapers (881 front pages from 91 countries, for example--sponsored by Newseum, Washington DC's most interactive museum

[Back to Top]

Generation J Community (SPJ, section for journalism school grads)
The golden age of computer-assisted reporting is at hand (Mathew Ingram, Nieman Lab, 5-20-09) A little dated, but just to give a sense of recent history!
Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Era of Corruption) (Paul Starr, New Republic, 3-4-09)
Google Pours $300 Million Into Effort to Aid News Publishers (Mark Bergen, B loomberg, 3-20-18) Google is rolling out a new feature, Subscribe with Google, aimed at helping media publishers grow subscriptions, battling fake news, and supporting digital journalism. CBO Schindler: "If our partners don’t grow, we don’t grow" Google’s latest initiative coincides with a backlash against the internet giants that are increasingly becoming global gatekeepers of information.

Help a Reporter (HARO) (the jouralists' side: Post a query)
Hidden History, archive of Narratively's monthly newsletter exploring the nuanced and forgotten histories of a topical person, place, or event.
Historians are a great resource. Journalists, be sure to give them credit. (Danielle McGuire, Columbia Journalism Review, 4-28-18). See also Recy Taylor, Who Fought for Justice After a 1944 Rape, Dies at 97 (Sewell Chan, NY Times,12-29-17) The name pronounced “REE-see.” See also The Rape of Recy Taylor’ Takes a Deep Dive Into Systemic Injustice (a review by Jeannette Catsoulis of the documentary, NY Times,12-14-17).
How journalists can navigate privacy laws Annie Waldman, NASW, 6-14-18) Excellent practical tips.
How 86-year-old Dan Rather became Facebook’s favorite news anchor (Ben Bergman, CJR, 3-8-18)
How Health and Education Journalists Can Turn Privacy Laws to Their Advantage (Annie Waldman, ProPublica, 3-19-18) Via JournalistsResource.org: "ProPublica offers reporters tips for gaining access to health and education records that are protected by two federal laws: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Reporter Annie Waldman explains what data is available and gives suggestions for getting around privacy restrictions. For example, journalists could request patient records with any personal identifiers removed or redacted. In some cases, journalists can access limited- or restricted-use data sets by signing data use agreements."
How I overcame fear and mistrust to tell immigrants’ stories of crippling back pain (Cristina Londono, Center for Health Journalism) "The most important piece of advice I can ever give a fellow reporter who is interviewing immigrants is to not treat them as victims....However precarious the situation they may be in, they are aware of the battles they have won to be here, and are ready to take on more. If treated with dignity and not looked down upon, they are both willing and proud to share their stories." But she gives other good advice, too.
How News Happens: A Study of the News Ecosystem of One American City (Pew Resarch Journalism Project, 1-11-10)
How ProPublica Became Big Tech’s Scariest Watchdog (Katharine Schwab, Co.Design, 2-16-18) The nonprofit is fighting fire with fire, developing algorithms and bots that hold Facebook and Amazon accountable. Reporter Julia Angwin’s team specializes in investigating algorithms that affect people’s lives, from the Facebook News Feed to Amazon’s pricing models to the software determining people’s car insurance payments and even who goes to prison and for how long. To investigate algorithms, they’ve developed a new approach to investigative reporting that uses technology like machine learning and chatbots."
How to tell good [academic] research from bad: 13 questions journalists should ask (y Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource)
• HuffPost slow to do right. So now HuffPost decides to pay writers. Its effect on the industry still lingers (Matthew Hays, CJR, 1-25-18)

[Back to Top]

Idea Lab (Media Shift)
• Identifying misinformation. 5 takeaways from First Draft’s identifying misinformation course (journalist's Resource, 3-19-18) A new online course from First Draft helps journalists use free tools to track down, source and verify information they find online.
If a Pharmaceutical Company Publishes a Magazine, Is it Journalism? (Michael Schulson, Undark, 2-12-18) That’s the nagging question for LeapsMag, a new science publication underwritten by Bayer, the pharmaceutical and agricultural sciences conglomerate. "I chose not to write for Leaps, concerned that taking money from Bayer would compromise my ability to report on the company." “It was clear that, yes, they did want an independent publication, as long as it didn’t criticize ethical issues that touched on Bayer.” (Read the comments, too.)
If the Internet Didn’t Exist, Where Would Newspapers Be? (Paul Fanlund, Shoptalk, Editor&Publisher) A two-part answer: First, the newspaper revenue model, especially the once-robust classified advertising business, would be considerably healthier. Sites such as Craigslist and Monster.com changed everything." Second: "With the advent of conservative Fox News on cable television about two decades ago, the mainstream media entered an era in which claims of bias often became the first line of defense against negative stories. ....while the internet poses a massive challenge to the business of newspaper journalism, this liberal-conservative media split and quick-trigger claims of bias pose a challenge to the soul of newspaper journalism."
The Inheritance (Mark Bowden's story in Vanity Fair about Arthur Sulzberger and the NY Times, 3-30-09) With a doomsday clock ticking for newspapers as we know them, no one has more at stake than fourth-generation New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., who is scrambling to keep his family’s prized asset alive. Some see him as a lightweight cheerleader, others as the last, best defender of quality journalism. Talking to company insiders, the author examines the nexus of dynasty and character that has brought the 57-year-old Sulzberger to the precipice.
Inside the Brilliant Career and Tragic Death of Javier Valdez (Ioan Grillo, Esquire, Oct 2018) El Chapo, Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, is in jail, awaiting trial next month in Brooklyn. For years, Valdez reported on the cartels, risking his life in what has become the deadliest assignment in the world outside of a war zone. His friend Ioan Grillo recounts his vibrant life and tragic death. "What I remember most about Javier is his voice..."
The Intercept "Fearless, adversarial journalism that holds the powerful accountable."
---Reviewing Nonprofit Media: The Intercept (Liliana Segura, Daily Kos, 3-5-17)
---Media Bias/Fact Check

The intrepid reporter who got expelled from the UN (Amanda Darrach, CJR, 7-30-18) “Everyone thinks he’s nuts, but everyone reads him"
Ira Glass's Commencement Speech at the Columbia Journalism School Graduation (posted on This American Life, 5-17-18) A marvelous pep talk, well worth a read no matter when or if you graduated.
IRE Tipsheets (Investigative Reporters & Editors)
• Is teaching news literacy a journalist's job? Yes. Here's a way to build stories that can show people the difference between good and bad journalism. Journalists can change the way they build stories to create organic news fluency (Tom Rosenstiel and Jane Elizabeth, American Press Institute, 5-9-18) "We propose a new way of creating journalism that helps audiences become more fluent and more skilled consumers of news the more they consume it....imagine a format or presentation that, alongside the story, poses some key questions a discriminating or “fluent” news consumer might ask to decide what to make of the story." They might ask: What is new here? What evidence is there? What sources did you talk to and when? What facts don't we know yet? What, if anything, is still in dispute? ...Imagine if more journalists were to raise and answer these questions in an element placed at the top of the narrative."
How working journalists and academics can help each other (Rebecca Whittington, HoldTheFrontPage, 5-31-18) The UK's Journalism Knowledge Exchange (JKX) is “a project which aims to bring together ideas from journalists and academics with the intention of identifying potential collaborative projects of mutual benefit.”
Journalism: A Love Story by Nora Ephron, from I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections."In those days, the Post published six editions a day, starting at 11 a.m. and ending with the 4:30 stock marketfinal. When news broke, reporters in the street would phone in the details from pay phones and rewrite men wouldwrite the stories. The city room was right next to the press room, and the noise—of reporters typing, pressmenlinotyping, wire machines clacking, and presses rolling—was a journalistic fantasy." See also Jennie Ziegler on Nora Ephron and Indulging Old Aches (Essay Daily, 12-17-18) "Though I consider myself a writer, an essayist, and am content for it, I find myself speaking about my one summer at one newspaper like that....“honeymoon,” in French, translates to la lune de miel. A moon full of honey. And that’s how that time follows me—this pregnant moon of memory, hanging like a soft-watt bulb above me."
Journalism and Art: Complementary and Collaborative Storytelling (Michael Blanding, Nieman Storyboard, 3-28-16) As journalists use art to bring stories off the page, artists adopt reporting techniques to address social issues
Journalism Awards (Poynter). Links to 22 awards.
Journalism Director Suddenly Stripped of Title (Dylan Campbell, The Kingsman: The Voice of Brooklyn College, 9-19-17). Piqued that Anthony Mancini, deputy chair of the journalism program (under English department chair Ellen Tremper), went above her head to argue for something for the journalism program, Tremper fired Mancini as deputy chair (though not as a professor). Mancini argues that journalism no longer belongs in the English department. The result: Much campus support for Mancini. (Disclosure: Mancini is a long-time personal friend.)
Journalism Is Itself a Religion: Special Essay on Launch of The Revealer (Jay Rosen's essay, PressThink, 1-7-04). See also “The Requesting of Good Things” (Dustin Dwyer, NiemanReports, 4-10-18) "Journalism, like religion, is an act of faith."
Journalism links (Society of American Travel Writers)
Journalism Listservs and Newsgroups (Mike O'Reilly, Jourmalist's Toolbox, Society of Professional Journalists, 5-22-16)
Journalism Needs Freelancers, and Freelancers Need Protection (Elisabet Cantenys, Open Society Foundations, 2-23-18)
The Journalist’s Creed
A Journalist's Guide to the Internet (Christopher Callahan). With whole valuable pages, such as Journalism Organizations & Related Sites
Journalists of Color Face Harassment by Sources (Jane C. Hu, The Open Notebook, 4-9-19) Science writer Jane C. Hu talked with journalists of color about their experiences with racial harassment and microaggressions on the job, how they handle those all-too-frequent occurrences, and how the journalism community can better support reporters of color who face these difficult situations.
Journalist's Resource (Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy). Research on today's news topics.
A J-School Year (blog by and for journalism school students, and those thinking of j-school), written by University of North Carolina students.

[Back to Top]

Late Editor Blames Three Key People for Newspapers’ Demise (John Walter, SalmaGandi, originally on Poynter, 2-11-09). Walter served as executive editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was a founding editor of USA Today.
Learn to Write News Stories (Tony Rogers, ThoughtCo) Step-by-step instructions: The lede, the five Ws and the H, basic news format.
Ledes and Sewer Fat Wall Street Journal writer Barry Newman: 'like all reporters, I’m an exception' (Barry Newman, The Guardian, 4-23-15) The journalist behind more than 400 Wall Street Journal front-page features reveals his techniques for opening stories – and shows how he made a riveting read out of fat in sewers. The part about ledes is okay; the story about what a problem fat is in New York's sewers is fascinating (and its implications for what fat might be doing in your body will probably stick with you).
Lessons from fiction for science writers: The Heist, The Scientists, and How to Tell the Story (Nicholas Booth, Google doc, 10-15-2020) In a session at the UK Conference of Science Journalists, three panelists discussed how fiction writing techniques can be applied to your journalism to make it clearer, more balanced, and more exciting. Nick Booth, one of the speakers, shared this list of resources that he thinks might be useful to science writers. H/T: Science Writing News Roundup #14
Let’s Invent an iTunes for News (David Carr, The Media Equation, NY times, 1-11-09) "Remember that when iTunes began, the music industry was being decimated by file sharing. By coming up with an easy user interface and obtaining the cooperation of a broad swath of music companies, Mr. Jobs helped pull the business off the brink. He has been accused of running roughshod over the music labels, which are a fraction of their former size. But they are still in business."
LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) and Resources Clearinghouse (brings together professionals interested in the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals ages 50-plus)
Lie? Falsehood? What to call the president’s words (Pete Vernon, CJR, 5-29-18)
A Look Back at the New Journalism—What Was That All About? (Jack Limpert, About Writing and Editing, 3-14-18) The new journalists were feature writers trying to bring a new look to the old news story. A cogent analysis/critique and interesting look at Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, George Plimpton, Joe McGinness, Hunter Thompson, Tim Krouse, David Halberstam and others who, starting in the 60s, tried to breathe fiction-like life into the news.

[Back to Top]

The Mafia Reporter With a Police Escort (and the 200 Journalists Like Him) (Gaia Pianigiani, NY Times, 5-20-18) Angering the mafia as a journalist in Italy makes for a lonely life. Paolo Borrometi is one of nearly 200 journalists in Italy who live under police protection....murders connected to organized crime are rising in Italy, the authorities say, and international observers consider criminal networks the principal threat to journalists in Europe."
Mathematics Competency Test for Journalists (School of Journalism and Mass Communication, UNC Chapel Hill
Media Bias/Fact Check. Use its search feature (header) to check the political bias of 2200+ media sources (as left biased, left-center, least biased, right-center, right biased, pro-science, conspiracy-pseudoscience, questionable sources, or satire)
Media Myth Alert. Joseph Campbell's blog sums up myths reported in his book Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism. Tom Ashbrook interviews Campbell about the myths on NPR's radio program On the Point: When the Media Got It Wrong.
Mediashift: Your Guide to the Digital Revolution (PBS), hosted by Mark Glaser. Check out such pieces as
---Rethinking the Role of the Journalist in the Participatory Age by Alfred Hermida, 7-9-10
---WikiLeaks, iPhone Incidents Show that U.S. Needs Shield Law by by Clothilde Le Coz,7-1-10
---5Across: Beyond Content Farms by Mark Glaser, 7-27-10. "Content farms or mills churn out massive amounts of content tailored to Google searches. But the approach to churning out that content varies from how-to articles (Demand Media), vertical topics (High Gear Media), hyper-local (Patch.com) and sports (Bleacher Report, SB Nation). And at some sites, writers get paid a small amount, while at others they toil for free."---Writers Explain What It's Like Toiling on the Content Farm by Corbin Hiar 7-21-10
---5 Digital PR Lessons from BP's Oil Spill Response by Ian Capstick 7-12-10.
---How to Teach Social Media in Journalism Schools (by Alfred Hermida, 8-30-10)

Mike Sager's Tips (50 Ways to Improve Your Writing, Fifty-Three Ways to Improve Your Reporting, Twenty-Five Ways to Improve Editorial Relations)
A mission for journalism in a time of crisis (The Guardian, 11-16-17) In a turbulent era, the media must define its values and principles, writes Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner. This part is particularly apt right after the U.S. Republicans passed their big Tax Reform gift to the wealthy: "Skyrocketing inequality between the rich and poor has bred resentment at the political and economic establishment. In October it was revealed that the world’s super-rich now hold the greatest concentration of wealth for 120 years – many of them taking elaborate steps to avoid tax in the process, as the Paradise Papers showed." See Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of the world elite's hidden wealth (Juliette GarsideThe Guardian, 11-5-17)

Narrative nonfiction aka narrative nonfiction, literary nonfiction, long-form journalism, creative nonfiction, or narrative.
NewAssignment.Net (An experiment in open-source reporting, which shows that open collaboration over the Internet among reporters, editors and large groups of users can produce high-quality work that serves the public interest, holds up under scrutiny, and builds trust).
NewsLab. Since 2017, under the UM School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi. Home to a new integrated marketing communications program as well as its established and well-respected journalism program.
The newspaper business isn't dying, it's evolving (Kirk LaPointe , Vancouver Sun, 5-1-09)
News organizations have all but abandoned their archives (Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, 4-4-19) Sharon Ringel and Angela Woodall have published a comprehensive, in-depth look at the state of news archiving in the digital age, working under the auspices of the Tow Center at the Columbia Journalism Review. They find that “news organizations are cavalier, even negligent, about archiving their news, and contrast this with the heyday of newspapers where dedicated librarians staffed a "morgue" of carefully clipped and cross-referenced print articles. By contrast, today's news organizations rely primarily on their CMSes, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, reporters' personal Google Docs accounts, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to store their articles, social media posts, and other materials.”
Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable (Clay Shirky, 5-13-19) Why iTunes is not a workable model for the newspaper business..."For the next few decades, journalism will be made up of overlapping special cases. Many of these models will rely on amateurs as researchers and writers. Many of these models will rely on sponsorship or grants or endowments instead of revenues. Many of these models will rely on excitable 14 year olds distributing the results. Many of these models will fail. No one experiment is going to replace what we are now losing with the demise of news on paper, but over time, the collection of new experiments that do work might give us the journalism we need."
News University archives (Poynter) See also News University resources
Newswise. Newswires for journalists, grouped in sections (Daily Wire, MedWire, SciWire, LifeWire, BizWire, Special Wires). Sign up for a press pass to get embargoed alerts.
News You Can Lose (James Surowiecki, New Yorker, 12-22-08) about the essence of problems in the newspaper industry.
New York Times Newsroom Navigator For years, used by New York Times reporters and editors as the starting point for their forays onto the Web. See also Navigator for students, teachers, and parents.
Nieman Foundation for Journalism (see Nieman's own separate section, under Narrative Nonfiction, which includes Nieman Reports (a website and quarterly print publication covering thought leadership in journalism). See also Articles, Nieman Watchdog , Archives, including Journalism Under Pressure (Winter 2019)


The nut graf: varied angles on a biblical element of journalism

--- Back to basics: the nut graph (Michelle V. Rafter, WordCount, 8-15-13)
---The nut graf tells the reader what the writer is up to (Chip Scanlan, Poynter, 5-9-03) An excerpt from "Reporting & Writing: Basics for the 21st century."
--- Nut grafs: Overused, misused — or merely misunderstood? (Chip Scanlan, Nieman Storyboard, 1-29-19) When a summary nut beeps like the back-up horn on a truck or blinds like a searchlight, it can ruin the magic of a narrative
---A nut graf by any other name might taste sweeter ~ and be more digestible (Jacqui Banaszynski, Nieman Storyboard, 1-31-19) A defense of the summary nut as it is used in variations by Ken Burns, the Beatles and Shakespeare
---Primas of storywork on how they interpret the dance of the nut graf (Jacqui Banaszynski, Nieman Storyboard, 2-1-19)
---More on nut grafs: A sweet addendum (Los Angeles Times writer Thomas Curwen offers some elegant examples)

---Nailing the Nut Graf (Tina Casagrand, The Open Notebook, 4-29-14) "Writing a nut graf can feel like showing your work on a math test or stopping at traffic lights when no one's around." But "With a little careful study, a nut graf can be just as artful as the rest of your narrative."

[Back to Top]

[Back to Top]

Of Science, Certainty, and the Safety of Cell Phone Radiation (Michael Schulson, Undark, 2-1-18) How to cover an issue when the stakes for human health seem so high, scientific questions still linger, and passions run so deep?

100 Questions and Answers about Arab Americans: Journalist's Guide (Detroit Free Press)

On the Media (with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield) WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our world view.


****The Open Notebook. The story behind the best science stories. For example:  Seth Mnookin follows a family battling a rare genetic disease (Sara Carpenter) Mnooking set out to learn: What do you do when you learn your child could die from a disease with no other known sufferers? The story: One of a Kind (New Yorker, 7-21-14) What do you do if your child has a condition that is new to science? when you learn your child could die from a disease with no other known sufferers?


Opinion, Op Ed pieces

Tips for Aspiring Op-Ed Writers (Bret Stephens, NY Times, 8-25-17)
Charles Seife’s Brief Guide to Writing Opinion (The Open Notebook, 9-8-15) "When I think back about the op-eds and other opinion pieces I’ve written, it’s the ones that are backed by interesting reporting that I remember, not the ones which are framed by an interesting opinion."
Top 10 tips for writing op-eds that get published (PDF, Sandra Beckwith, Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, 1-2012). This got published by sending out a tip sheet. See Boost Online and Offline Exposure with Versatile Tip Sheets (Sandra Beckwith, IBPA, March 2014)


The Paper Trail Through History (Jennifer Schuessler, NY Times on Books, 12-16-12). Ben Kafka in his book The Demon of Writing: Powers and Failures of Paperwork, "traces the modern age of paperwork to the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which guaranteed citizens the right to request a full accounting of the government." (He writes of one clerk in France who in 1794 is said to have saved hundreds of people from the guillotine by disappearing the relevant paperwork.) Lisa Gitelman, who is writing a book about the history of documents, points out that photocopying (as Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon Papers), is one aspect of document leaking that historians have not paid attention to, but “Even though we think of copying now as perfunctorily ripping something off, [Ellsberg] was expressing himself by Xeroxing.”

[Back to Top]

On the record, off the record, on background, not for attribution (NYU Journalism Handbook for Students: Ethics, Law and Good Practice) And other explanations of journalistic "good practices."
Photographers: Fight for your rights (NewsLab guide) Confrontations that impair the constitutional right to make images are becoming more common. To fight the abuse of your right to free expression, you need to know your rights to take photographs and the remedies available if your rights are infringed.

Post dismisses reporter for lax attribution in ‘aggregated’ news stories (Paul Farhi, Wash Post, 6-27-18) "The Washington Post has dismissed a reporter for inadequately attributing material and closely parroting sentences from other publications in articles based on outside news sources." She f"appears to have mimicked too closely the structure of the news stories she was aggregating. She also failed to attribute various facts from those articles, potentially leaving a reader with the impression that she had gathered the information herself. And her wording, at times, closely resembled — although it didn’t precisely copy — the source article."

•   PowerReporting (Bill Dedman's excellent resources for journalists). He's no longer updating links, but those new to journalism should check out such gems as:
---Web treasure hunt (10 questions to test newsroom literacy)
---Power Reporting, newsroom training in computer-assisted reporting, writing and editing (bring his seminars to your newsroom)

Poynter (rich daily resource on journalism, from the Poynter Institute, trainer of journalists). Here's a history.

[Back to Top]

More journalists and fiction writers are shifting to writing videogames (Stephany Nunneley, vg247, 11-19-10)
Mr. Magazine, official blog of Samir A. Husni, an expert on magazines, on magazine media and the publishing industry.

National Writers Workshops (Bill Mitchell, Poynter, 10-23-04) From Poynter and Harvard. Still going or not?
National Writing Project (NWP) Sites Nearly 200 university-based writing project sites span all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, providing professional development and leadership opportunities to more than 100,000 K-16 educators every year.
Nearly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 5-4-11). These must-reads are his personal picks for the best nonfiction of 2010. Happy reading!
A Nebraskan and a New Yorker cross swords over ‘coastal bias’ in reporting (Ryan Bell, CJR, 2-7-18) 'The rise of digital publishing, such as Slate, was supposed to herald a new age in journalism where place would be of little importance. Reporters could work from anywhere in the country, so long as there was a good internet connection. Digital newspapers and magazines did create a bump in the industry, from 77,900 jobs in 2007 to 206,700 in 2017, but those reporters were stationed in the big cities. “Their reporters, an admirable lot,” wrote Jack Shafer for Politico, “can parachute into Appalachia or the rural Midwest on a monthly basis and still not shake their provincial sensibilities: Reporters tote their bubbles with them.” It was a matter of time before a local reporter would take a swing to pop that bubble.'
New American Media (expanding the news lens through ethnic media)
News Feature v. Narrative: What’s the Difference? (Rebecca Allen, Nieman Storyboard, 1-9-06). Excellent explanation and examples.
News Gets New Life When Exhumed From the Morgue (Jeff Roth, Erika Allen, NY Times Q&A, 5-20-14)
Jeff Roth takes us on a basement tour of The New York Times’s archives, known as the morgue, explains how old clips in morgue are repurposed for an obituary.
NewsLab: Resources Many helpful links
NewsLab: Tools Many helpful links
• Newsletters. Here’s how to build a better newsletter, according to a bunch of self-professed newsletter nerds (Christine Schmidt, Nieman Lab, 1-24-18) In the unquenchable quest for greater interaction with readers, journalists have become nerds for newsletters--talking about best practices for A/B testing, actually landing in inboxes, and using email newsletters to build community. "Have a voice, tone, mission and audience in mind for every email you send."
Newswise Theme Wires Calendar. Professional journalists can sign up to receive Newswise news alerts, access to embargoed news, and contact info for expert sources. There is a Daily Wire, a Science Wire, a Medical Wire, a Life Wire, and a Business Wire.
The next big thing in journalism might be algorithm reporters (Ren Laforme, Poynter, 3-15-18) "News organizations in the near future may include special-ops teams of investigative reporters who scrutinize algorithms, regularly launch large ephemeral projects to highlight key events, and — thanks to loosened FCC rules under chairman Ajit Pai — find new ownership under a handful of consolidating megacorporations. Those are a few of the issues highlighted in the Future Today Institute’s 11th annual Tech Trends Report. The “act now” trends include: computational journalism, I-teams for algorithms and data, voice interfaces for news and books, crowdlearning, digital frailty, radical transparency, limited-edition news produts, one-to-few publishing, notification layers, transparency in metrics, offline is the new online, audio search engines, video, media consolidation. (Read the explanations!)

[Back to Top]

The Root (black news, opinions, politics, and culture)
Safety and self-care strategies for every beat (Annie Hylton's tip sheet, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, 11-9-15) On video, Yamiche Alcindor, Donna DeCesare, Danny Spriggs and Bruce Shapiro discuss practical tactics for assessing risk and and staying safe while reporting
Sell the New York Times. Now. And other unsolicited advice for A.G. Sulzberger. (Jack Shafer, Politico, 1-14-18) Insights into the business/economics/long-term future of a top newspaper company
Seth Mnookin on the fallacy of “both sides” journalism (MIT News) "We’ve seen too many journalists confuse not taking sides with not calling out liars and frauds," says MIT researcher and author.
7 ways journalists can access academic research for free (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource)
Sexual harassment in the newsroom: An oral history (Alexandria Neason, Meg Dalton, and Karen K. Ho, CJR, 1-31-18) More than 300 people responded to a survey on sexual harassment in journalism. Read their stories.
Should the New York Times Charge for Its Website? (Hamilton Nolan, Gawker, 2-3-09)
Sinclair's new media-bashing promos rankle local anchors (Brian Stelter, CNN Media, 3-7-18) "This is so manipulative."
That's an anchor at a local TV station owned by Sinclair, describing the company's latest mandate, a promotional campaign that sounds like pro-Trump propaganda. The staffers who shared the documents with CNN say the promos are inappropriate -- yet another corporate infringement on local journalism. Corporate also monitors comments from the audience, cutting local stations out of interactions with viewers. Sinclair is already the biggest owner of local television stations in the country -- with 173 it either owns or operates.
Sinclair Employees Say Their Contracts Make It Too Expensive to Quit (Jordyn Holman, , Rebecca Greenfield, and Gerry Smith, Bloomberg, 4-3-18) Noncompetes, forced arbitration and a liquidated damages clause can equal 40 percent of annual salary.
Small news outlets influence us more than we think (Giorgia Guglielmi, Science Magazine, 11-9-17)
The Smoking Gun (uncovers public documents on crimes, celebrities, politicians, and the FBI)
Solutions Journalism. Here's an example, which Tina Rosenberg recommended: Seeking Safety, a series in the Fayetteville Observer, which serves as a model for solutions journalism (in this case to address the crime problem in Fayetteville): "Investigative reporter Greg Barnes spent a year traveling around the southeast writing about what other cities were doing that had evidence of success. No advocacy, very strong journalism, big impact."
The Source (Jay Solomon, Columbia Journalism Review, 3-5-18) Jay Solomon explains how his relationship with a source cost him his job as the Wall Street Journal’s chief foreign affairs correspondent in 2017. Solomon’s relationship with Iranian-American businessman Farhad Azima became public when files containing email and text messages between the two appeared on the dark web. In a piece for CJR, Solomon looks back at his errors and offers advice to other journalists. “I’ve tried to be honest in laying out areas where I made mistakes, particularly in managing sources in an incredibly murky story like Iran,” he writes. “A reporter clearly can’t give any ammunition to critics or enemies who want to challenge his or her credibility. And I did so.”
Spackman: Journalism and search optimisation are 'completely interwoven' at Times Online (Martin Stabe, Press Gazette, UK, 2008) But she also counselled against becoming a “traffic tart”.
SPJ Code of Ethics
Sprawling freelancer network pays dividends for The Washington Post (Steve Friess, CJR, 1-27-17)

[Back to Top]

[Back to Top]
Reporting on Suicide website. Download PDF of Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide (PDF, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
Right-wing media obsesses over FBI text message story; hours later it's debunked (Oliver Darcy, CNN Media, 2-7-18) The "narrative ricocheted through the pro-Trump media universe in what has become a pattern for stories that seem to call the investigation into Trump into question, or suggest that the investigation into Clinton wasn't thorough. The misleading messaging was delivered to millions of people through Fox News' airwaves and through other pro-Trump media, which went into overdrive. Articles about the text led websites from the Drudge Report and Breitbart to InfoWars and the Gateway Pundit....Fox News continued to discuss the story on its air Wednesday afternoon, even after multiple outlets -- including the Wall Street Journal, which is controlled by Fox head Rupert Murdoch -- had reported contrary information."
Riptide: An oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology, from 1980 to the present (Digital Riptide, September 2013). Three veterans of digital journalism and media — John Huey, Martin Nisenholtz, and Paul Sagan, Fellows at the Joan Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School — interviewed dozens of people who played important roles in the intersection of media and technology — from CEOs to coders, journalists to disruptors. Riptide is the result: more than 50 hours of video interviews and a narrative essay that traces the evolution of digital news from early experiments to today. It’s what really happened to the news business.
The Rise and Fall of Liz Smith, Celebrity Accomplice (John Leland, NY Times, 7-28-17) She was the most powerful gossip columnist in
the 1980s. The price of admission, she discovered, was often uncritical reverence. Celebrities learned they could count on Ms. Smith. A tabloid celebrity herself, she could turn anyone into a star overnight. Until she couldn’t.

State of the News Media 2011. The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that people are spending more time with news than ever before, but are increasingly doing so online. Of all the traditional media, the audience for AM/FM radio has remained most stable. Interesting report.
STATS. Sense About Science's collaborative effort with the American Statistical Association to improve statistical literacy among journalists, academic journal editors, and researchers--nonpartisan analyses of how numbers are distorted and statistics misunderstood.
The Struggle to Keep Science Reporting Scientific (Rick Weiss, MediaShift, 2-21-08) "The fact is, there is more science to cover than ever before but fewer full-time, dedicated science reporters to cover those stories." Of course, you don’t have to be a full-time health, science, or environment reporter to do a good job covering these topics. But journalists accustomed to covering local news or politics are less likely to ask such science-critical questions as, “Did the sample size adequately power the experiment?” “Was the design double-blind?” and “Did the results achieve statistical significance?”
Sunlight Foundation blog. Making government transparent and accountable. A national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses civic technologies, open data, policy analysis and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all.
A survival kit for journalists of color (Seema Yasmin, Poynter, 6-12-18) The Toolkit for Journalists of Color is a deck of cards developed by two John S. Knight Journalism Fellows, Dr. Seema Yasmin and Michael Grant.
Talk to The Times: Q. and A. With Staff Members Wonderful stuff.

A Vanishing Journalistic Divide (David Carr, NY Times, 10-10-10). "Open up Gawker, CNN, NPR and The Wall Street Journal on an iPad and tell me without looking at the name which is a blog, a television brand, a radio network, a newspaper. They all have text, links, video and pictures. The new frame around content is changing how people see and interact with the picture in the middle." Carr goes on to point out what traditional journalism does that the others don't and why we should be glad it still exists.
Vice shows how not to treat freelancers (Yardena Schwartz, CJR, 8-31-16) Following the publication of this story, Vice sent a memo to its global editorial staff detailing a series of steps to improve working relationships with freelance journalists. Read it here: Vice sends memo in response to CJR freelancer report.

Video Journalism
Citizen Tube
Pulitzer Center: Tips for Video Journalists (part of YouTube Reporters' Center) "The golden rule in video journalism is that you never have enough B roll."
Using Google Maps in your online coverage (IJNet)

[Back to Top]

[Back to Top]

Tangled Web. Victor Navasky and Evan Lerner report on a Columbia Journalism Review Survey, which finds that magazines are allowing their Web sites to erode journalistic standards. See also the full CJR report: Magazines and Their Web Sites (click on opening page to get text).
Tech Is Starting to Lose Its War on Journalism (Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg View, 1-24-18) Rupert Murdoch is right: It's time for professional media to mount a counterattack. Now that tech platforms are realizing they have no good replacement for quality journalism, it's time for them to start paying for it. Good content can't be free. It's time for a counterattack.
Teen Reporter Handbook (Radio Diaries)
There’s a Digital Media Crash. But No One Will Say It (Josh Marshall, TPM, 11-17-17) Problem "1 (too many publications) and Problem #2 (platform monopolies by Google, Facebook, and others) "have catalyzed together to create Problem #3 (investors realizing they were investing in a mirage and don’t want to invest any more)."
30 Organizations Dedicated to Keeping Journalism Great (Jeremy Porter, Journalistics, 5-18-09)
The Three Key Parts of News Stories That Are Usually Missing (Matt Thompson, Poynter, 8-22-09) Longstanding facts. How journalists know what they know. The things we don't know.
Tips for Aspiring Op-Ed Writers (Bret Stephens, Op-Ed column, NY Times, 8-25-17)
Toolkits for Journalists (World Federation of Science Journalists) Free toolkits on Hepatitis C, Dementia, Infectious disease, Nuclear safety
Tools for journalists, particularly for science journalism and telling science stories with code and data.
Top 15 newspaper sites of 2008 (Nieman Lab)

[Back to Top]

Top 30 Job Sites for Careers in Broadcast Journalism (Molly Canfield, Journalism Journeyman 6-14-11)
Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
---Finding New Revenue Models for Journalism in the Digital Age (two-part video from event co-sponsored with the Digital Initiative at Harvard Business School and the Shorenstein Center on the Future of Advertising and Publishing)
---The Platform Press: How Silicon Valley Reengineered Journalism (report by Emily Bell and Taylor Owen)
---A Guide to Journalism and Design
---Other Tow Center reports and briefs

The Transformation of NPR (Jennifer Dorroh, American Journalism Review, Oct./Nov. 2008) On NPR's reinvention as a multimedia, multiplatform force.
Trust Index (2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report) Surveys show trust in government and the media falling, compared with nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and business. U.S. trust in media diverges along voting lines, with a 34 point difference between Republicans (low trust) and Democrats (whose trust in government has declined since presidential election).
Two dozen freelance journalists told CJR the best outlets to pitch (Carlett Spike, CJR, 2-1-17) She comments on Mel Magazine, Pacific Standard, Los Angeles Times, Quartz, The Guardian, and The New Yorker.

[Back to Top]

[Back to Top]
What a billionaire can do for a paper (Hint: It’s not always good) (David Beard, Poynter, 2-12-18) What new L.A. Times owner Patrick Soon-Siong can learn from Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post.
What's Next for Local TV News? (Karen Rundlet and Sam Gill, Knight Foundation, Informed and Engaged, Medium, April 2018). Key findings: 1. TV is a key source of news, but audiences are slowly shrinking. 2. TV newsroom staffs have increased. 3. In local markets, the experiments are online. 4. Social media gets audiences watching more TV. 5. TV news leaders ask if their content is still relevant in the digital age. 6. Is OTT the answer? Is digital? (Over-the-top (OTT) delivery is the distribution of video content via the internet that doesn’t require users to purchase traditional cable, satellite or pay-TV services.)
What type of journalist are you? (Nicole Smith Dahmen, CJR, 1-24-17) "Historically, journalists were divided into two groups: the Disseminators, who favor detachment and objectivity, and the Interpretives, who favor involvement and advocacy. By the early 2000s, two new roles emerged: the Adversarials, who show a more combative outlook toward government and business, and the Populist Mobilizers, who reflect a movement toward civic journalism that emphasizes giving ordinary citizens a voice." Dahmen, Karen McIntyre, and Jesse Abdenour conducted a study of more than 1,300 newspaper and online journalists across the US which showed "the emergence of a new journalistic ideology: the Contextualist...this new group of journalists places high value on acting with social responsibility, contributing to society’s well being, and alerting the public to both threats and opportunities, while still holding firm to journalism’s responsibility to portray the world accurately....While conventional news stories focus on conveying information (a just-the-facts approach), contextual news stories provide a deeper understanding of the news, thereby providing a big-picture approach."
When towns lose their newspapers, disease detectives are left flying blind (Helen Branswell, STAT, 3-20-18) "Epidemiologists rely on all kinds of data to detect the spread of disease, including reports from local and state agencies and social media. But local newspapers are critical to identifying outbreaks and forecasting their trajectories....“We rely very heavily on local news. And I think what this will probably mean is that there are going to be pockets of the U.S. where we’re just not going to have a particularly good signal anymore,” said Majumder, a Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.'
• The White House Correspondents' Dinner. The Strangest White House Correspondents' Dinner Ever (George E. Condon Jr., The Atlantic, 4-24-15) Franklin Roosevelt boldly used the dinner in March 1941 to prepare the nation for entry into World War II.The association's president had no idea how to host an evening that would now be an odd mix of slapstick and earnest talk of war. See also Evolution of the White House Correspondents Association (C-SPAN, 2-25-14) and C-SPAN coverage of other White House Correspondents' dinners. Condon is writing a book about the subject. I heard him talking about the dinner's history on 4-28-18, and if that was recorded it's worth listening to.
Who killed Time Inc.? (Howard R. Gold, CJR, 2-1-18) "No one has figured it out because there’s nothing to figure out. It’s like the horse trying to figure out the automobile."
Why Do Journalists Call What They Produce ‘Pieces’? (Ben Yagoda, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5-10-18) Harold Ross of The New Yorker seems to have started it.
Why it is so hard for foreign journalists to get published? (Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Science Writers, NASW, 2-8-18) Why don't foreign bylines appear more often in such publications? In a roundtable conversation conducted by email, editors and freelance writers were asked about the challenges writers face in working across international boundaries.
Why off-the-record is a trap reporters should avoid (Indira Lakshmanan, Poynter, 3-19-18) Indira Lakshmanan, the Newmark chair in journalism ethics at Poynter, examines the rules and pitfalls of off-the-record reporting after two news organizations posted stories about an off-the-record briefing by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Lakshmanan warns journalists to avoid off-the-record agreements. "In my view, off-the-record is a cop-out for officials to share information without fingerprints or accountability," she writes for Poynter.org. "Journalists should insist that sources share tips that we can report, or at the very least, use the information to seek confirmation from others."
Why the “golden age” of newspapers was the exception, not the rule (Heidi Tworek and John Maxwell Hamilton, Nieman Lab, 5-2-18)“In our ‘news’ today we can see the tattler, the party pamphlet, the recondite journal of opinion, the yellow rag, the journal of commerce, the sob sister, the literary journal, and the progressive muckraker.” The myth portrays the four-decade period from 1940 to 1980 as the apotheosis of a golden age for news [especially for white men].... In fact, this period was an anomaly in a longer, four-century history of news....American journalism was expensive. It cost a huge amount of money to finance foreign bureaus, investigative reporting, state and national news bureaus, standalone Sunday book reviews, and specialized reporting on health, science, and business." This was a profitable time, with returns of 12 to 20%., with ads providing 80% of revenue. Then the Internet unbundled news, so sports no longer subsidized ... An interesting history of the news biz!
Women in Journalism oral history interviews (Washington Press Club Foundation) Links to some transcripts.
Who Owns What? (Columbia Journalism Review's guide to what the major media companies own)
Why Journalists Make Mistakes & What We Can Do About Them (Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter, 7-7-10)
With little sleep, low pay and high pressure, careers in journalism and medicine start the same (Dr. John Biemer, Poynter, 5-21-18) How starting off in journalism is like a serving medical residency, from someone who has done both.
You Can’t Sell News by the Slice (Michael Kinsley, NY Times, Oped, 2-9-09)
Your Tax Dollars at Work (Liena Zagare and Ben Smith, Columbia Journalism Review, Spring 2017) Move legal notices online. "Part of the explanation for the failure of local digital media is the same litany of woes faced by old media: a struggling display ad business; the complete dominance of Facebook and Google, which have absorbed most of the growth in digital ads; and the inherent difficulties in building the scale that powers many digital media businesses through deep coverage for a niche audience. But we would suggest there’s another uncomfortable and underreported reason for the struggles of new community news startups, as well as the survival of a kind of zombie community print press that soldiers on increasingly without an audience: the major, quiet subsidy to print community papers, which comes in two basic forms — legislation requiring that legal notices be published in print, and advertising by government agencies. [Emphasis added.] ...If you want to reach local residents, and alert them to something of civic interest, online community publishers, with their engaged audiences, can do this far better than their print counterparts—and provide fodder for search engines on the side. “State laws should reflect changing times,” NY state representative Nily Rozic told us. “When posting notices about government or private sector activities, important information should expand its reach to local digital media, meeting readers where they are.”
[Back to Top]

Journalism schools, degrees, and training

Student reporter sues university president for forbidding journalism (FIRE, aka Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) Jared Nally wants Haskell Indian Nations University, a public institution operated by the federal government, to answer for the 90 days he was silenced, without any due process, under a directive that banned him from engaging in basic acts of journalism.The university shorted funding for student newspaper by over $10,000 without any explanation and ignored emails for months.
Do we need J-schools? (Columbia Journalism Review, Spring/Summer 2018) The role of a reporter is shifting, as are the economics of education. With this new calculus, does journalism school still have a place in our profession? Three views: Yes, more than ever by Bill Grueskin. No, and they should not exist by Felix Salmon. Maybe, but cost is key by Alexandria Neason.
News University (Poynter's online courses, inexpensive and often free, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation). See list of NewsU courses.
Dallas editor’s plea to the next generation of journalists: ‘Care.’ (Kristen Hare, Poynter, 4-6-17) Selwyn Crawford gave an impassioned speech to 400 Texan students at the end of The Dallas Morning News' annual High School Journalism Day (and i quote from article): It used to be that people were impressed when they learned you were a journalist, he said on Thursday. Now, they're dismayed."Journalists aren't the enemy of the people," he said. "We are the people. If the kids don't understand that, then we've really got a problem. But before you can understand anything, you've got to care enough to want to be involved.""I promise you, for those that have even more than just a fleeting interest in journalism, and especially in the day and the time that we live in, it's going to become even more important. I urge you — and I daresay I challenge you — I challenge you to pay attention, to get involved, to know what's going on in your community, and to care. To care."
How NPR's Next Generation Radio, which trains young journalists, has evolved since 2000 (Doug Mitchell, IJNet, 7-16-14)
BBC Academy. The College of Journalism, part of the BBC Academy alongside the Colleges of Production and Technology, oversees training for BBC News staff. This website focuses on core skills, safety, specialist areas, legal and ethical issues, and houses the News style guide. It's a site about BBC journalism.
Journalismtraining.org (SPJ for the Council of National Journalism Organizations)
Best Schools for Journalism (Jeremy Porter, poll results, Journalistics, 7-6-09)
The Definitive Guide to Online Journalism Degrees & a Career as an Internet Journalist (Molly Canfield)
The Best Online Journalism Degrees (Molly Canfield)

How to Become a Journalist (College Boards)
You Just Graduated From Journalism School. What Were You Thinking? (Michael P. Ventura, The Village Voice 7-28-09). J-School students try to stay upbeat about their future and their industry
Letter to a Young Journalist (Lane DeGregory, Gangrey, 9-16-13). Wonderful advice for journalists of any age.
100 Exemplary College Newspapers for Journalism Students (Heather Silver, JournalismDegree.org). A lot of work went into compiling this list, with descriptions. Good work, Heather.

[Back to Top]

Journalism organizations

ACOS Alliance, an unprecedented coalition of major news companies, journalism organizations, and freelancers, who have gathered to develop and endorse worldwide freelance protection standards and work to embed them into newsrooms worldwide. These principles were launched in February 2015.
Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ)
American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors (AASFE)
American Copy Editors Society (ACES)
American Jewish Press Association
American Journalism Review (AJR), no longer publishing original content, but website and archives still available online.
American Press Institute (API), training and professional development
American Society of Business Publications Editors (ASBPE)
American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA), professional association of freelance/independent journalists and nonfiction book writers, who share info about markets, writing rates, contracts, editors, agents, etc. Members have access to samples of successful query letters and book proposals, among other resources. Non-members may attend the annual conference (Saturday), which is preceded by a more advanced day for members only (Friday), and sometimes followed by longer, more targeted workshops for everyone, on Sunday .
American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), the editorial part of Magazine Publishers of America(MPA)
American Society of News Editors (ASNE)
Asian American Journalists Organization (AAJA)
Associated Collegiate Press (ACP), for U.S. college student media
Associated Press Media Editors (APME)
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
Associated Press Photo Managers (APPM(
The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM)
Association for Women Journalists (AWJ-Chicago)
Association of Alternative News Weeklies (AAN)
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC)
Association of British Science Writers (ABSW)
Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors (Capitolbeat)
Association of Food Journalists (AFJ)
Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), helpful for anyone reporting on health and medical news and issues, staff or freelance
The Association of Independents in Radio (AIR)
•  The Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA @nlgja)
Authors Guild (fiction and nonfiction authors)
Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) (UK)
Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC)

Broadcast Education Association (BEA)
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) A London-based nonprofit news organization founded in 2010 to hold power to account, to pursue "public interest" investigations, funded through philanthropy. The Bureau works with publishers and broadcasters to maximize the impact of its investigations. Investigations in the world outside the U.S.
Buzzfeed Open Lab (an arts and technology fellowship program at Buzzfeed News)

California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA), Latino Journalists of California
Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)
Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma (an educational charity promoting the physical and emotional safety of journalists in Canada and abroad), which has editorial control of MindSet Media Guide: Reporting on Mental Health (PDF, free download, in French or English)
Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families
Center for Citizen Media (encouraging grassroots media, especially citizen journalism, not to be confused with Huffington Post, which means not getting paid to write)
Center for Cooperative Media (CollaborativeJournalism.org)
Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), dedicated to improving U.S. efforts to promote independent media in developing countries around the world
Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), investigative reporting on the Web
The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), a US-based nonprofit investigative journalism organization whose stated mission is "to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions in order to cause them to operate with honesty, integrity, accountability and to put the public interest first." Here's Wikipedia entry on and how CPI is funded .

[Back to Top]

College Media Advisers (CMA)
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Defending journalists worldwide.
Content Marketing Association (CMA)The industry association for marketing, publishing, advertising and social agencies. Many journalists find $ backup with this work.
Current: News for People in Public Media
Council of National Journalism Organizations (CNJO)
Criminal Justice Journalists. See CPJ's blog.
CyberJournalists.Net (Online News Association, with tips, news, commentary re online and citizen journalism and digital storytelling)
Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma (a resource for journalists who cover violence)
Design & Artists Copyright Society (DACS, UK)
Displaced Journalists (a community where displaced journalists find common ground and "begin to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get on with our lives and livelihoods")
The Economic Hardship Reporting Project (Barbara Ehrenreich's baby) "aims to change the national conversation around both poverty and economic insecurity. The stories we commission — from narrative features to photo essays and video — put a human face on financial instability. We fund and place our reportage and photojournalism in the most renowned and popular sites and magazines, from The New York Times to Slate to MSNBC."
Editorial Photographers (EP)
Education Writers Association (EWA)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
European Journalism Observatory (EJO), an international network of research institutions that disseminate analysis on journalism and on the global media industry.
Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN) , independent, nonprofit news organization that produces investigative reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health
Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE), formerly Project Word, is a project of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).
Freelance Success (good online resource for professional writers and editors of nonfiction)
Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), supporting investigative reporting projects around the world
GardenComm: Garden Communicators International
Gen Beat Online(. Generations Beat Online (GBO), the e-newsletter of the Journalists Network on Generations for writers/producers covering issues in aging and retirement
Global Editors Network an international association of over 6,000 editors-in-chief and media executives with the mission of fostering digital innovation in newsrooms all over the world.
Hacks/Hackers Hacks/Hackers is an international grassroots community of people who seek to inspire and inform each other to build the future of media. “Hacks” (journalists) and “hackers” (technologists) work together to create physical and digital spaces for exploring new ways to tell stories. Check out Global Open Calls and MisinfoCon summits on misinformation and disinformation.
Independent Press Association (IPA)
Independent Press Institute (IPI), aiming to strengthen community voices and empower the media that serve them, New York Community Media Alliance.
Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources (promotes public dialogue about natural resource issues through programs that inform, empower and inspire better journalism)
The Institute for Nonprofit News (originally the Investigative News Network) fosters collaboration among a new collective of nonprofit newsrooms dedicated to serving the public interest. Explore the website for links to news stories about immigration; climate change; health and healthcare; money, power & influence; gun violence & criminal justice; #METOO; community wellbeing; we, the people; local investigations; and global reporting.
Inland Press Association (IPA)
Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources (IJNR) (providing top-quality immersion training programs for environment and natural resource journalists throughout North America, to promote public dialogue about natural resource issues through better journalism)
Institute on Political Journalism (sponsored by the Fund for American Studies, in partnership with George Mason University) hosts an eight week summer academic internship program that offers undergraduate students a first-hand look at the journalism and communications in our nation’s capital.
International Association of Religion Journalists (iARJ), partnering with the ARDA (Association of Religion Data Archives -- resources, teaching tools, press room, research archives)
Inter American Press Association (IAPA)
International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) (excellent resources)
International Cinematographers Guild (Local 600). Members work in the world in film and television as Directors of Photography, Camera Operators, Visual Effects Supervisors, Still Photographers, Publicists and all members of camera crews. See International Cinematographers Guild Interview Collection
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ, the world's best cross-border investigative team, a project of the Center for Public Integrity)
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Among other benefits, the IFJ International Press Card (IPC) "It gets you wherever the story takes you" (aso available through the Authors Guild.. See also the IFJ Safety Fund, a "lifeline for journalists facing violence, persecution and threat or needing medical treatment."
International Journalists' Network (IJNet)
International Reporting Project (IRP), a project at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University that aims to fund independent journalistic coverage of "under-reported" events around the world (e.g., ten journalists are brought to the IRP office in Washington, D.C. to participate in a five-week overseas reporting project, and 24 "gatekeeper editors" are selected to visit countries of importance in the news) After 20 years of supporting journalists to report in more than 115 countries, the International Reporting Project (IRP) is ending its programs effective in February 2018.
International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE)
International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ), an annual gathering of editors, producers, executives and academics from around the world who convene at the University of Texas at Austin to discuss the evolution of online journalism. For sessions at many past gatherings you can watch, read, or download sessions from past symposia.
International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF)
Investigative News Network (INN), helps nonprofit news organizations become sustainable
Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting)
Jazz Journalists Association (Jazzhouse)
Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS), which has a JAWS Camp (a Conference and Mentoring Project, "a remarkable network of kickass women"), JAWS Facebook page (@JAWSFB) that sounds interesting but produced the ugliest tee shirt I've ever seen, which I inherited in a White Elephant exchange.
Journalism Education Association (JEA), scholastic journalism and media education
JournalismTraining.org (managed by SPJ for the Council of National Journalism Organizations)
Kid Magazine Writers (about writing for children and teen magazines--includes guidelines for many publications)
The Lenfest Institute (a nonprofit whose mission is to develop and support sustainable business models for great local journalism)
Los Angeles Press Club
Maynard Institute for Journalism Education
Media Bloggers Association (MBA)
Military Reporters and Editors (MRE)
MisinfoCon (Trust, Verification, Fact Checking & Beyond) See Catalogue of all projects working to solve Misinformation and Disinformation.
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE), for journalists covering real estate and home and urban design
National Association of Science Writers (NASW)
National Writers Union (NWU, a union for fiction and nonfiction writers, originally for journalists)
Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)
NLGJA -- The Association of LGBTQ Journalists

[Back to Top]

Online News Association an organization for digital journalists — connecting journalism, technology and innovation.

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
PJNet (Public Journalism Network, an information clearinghouse for public, citizen, representative journalism)
The Poynter Institute. Much useful information, once you dig into the website. For example, 12+ tools and resources useful during hurricanes and other disasters (Ren LaForme, 9-10-18)
Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), formerly Periodical Writers Association of Canada
Project for Excellence in Journalism (Pew Center's Journalism.org)
ProPublica ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Nonprofit investigative journalism in the public interest.
Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI)

Quill and Scroll (International Honorary Society for High School Journalists)

Reclaim the Media (grassroots organizing for social change through media justice--expanding communication rights of ordinary citizens)
Religion News Association (RNA) (formerly (Newswriters")
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Reporters Without Borders (for freedom of information -- press freedom index, by year; Internet enemies (by country)
RTDNA, Radio Television Digital News Association (formerly Radio-Television News Directors Association)
Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF)
Reporters Without Borders (important journalist advocacy group, fighting for press freedom). The U.S. ranks 47th on its Press Freedom Index. See 2017 World Press Freedom Index -- tipping point

Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy
Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW, an organization of business journalists). Presents annual Best in Business Awards and has an excellent teletraining archive.
Society for News Design (SND), for editors, designers, graphic artists, publishers and other media professionals.
Society for Features Journalism (SFJ)
The Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) From which grew The American History of Business Journalism (AHBJ), a volunteer project developed by former SABEW president Philip Moeller and other business journalists, educators, and journalism students.The AHBJ’s goal is to host a comprehensive repository of articles, essays, reminiscences, and important milestones in the history of U.S. business journalism. Check out SABEW and AHBJ's archives and SABEW's teletraining archive. Other incarnations seem to be The Business Journalist, Society of Business Journalists.
Society for Features Journalism, formerly the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors
•  Society for News Design (SND)
•  Society for Technical Communication (STC) Here because it's so big, but not particularly for journalists.
Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ)
Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Sigma Delta Chi. A national organization that normally doesn't make headlines like this: A disastrous conference call for SPJ, followed by a call for impeachment (Andrew McCormick, CJR, 6-5-19)
Society of Professional Obituary Writers (writing about the dead for a living)
Solutions Journalism Network (rigorous coverage of how people are responding to problems). Here's an example: Seeking Safety
Solution Set (a weekly report from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and The Solutions Journalism Network--each Thursday publishes in-depth story on one innovative idea in news)
South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA)
Southern Newspaper Publishers Association (SNPA)
Special Libraries Association, News Division
Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA)
Student Press Law Center The nonprofit, nonpartisan SPLC provides information, training and legal assistance at no charge to student journalists and the educators who work with them.

Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAAA)
Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University
Trans Journalists Association
Trusting News (an RJI research project, Helping journalists earn news consumers' trust)

UK Conference of Science Journalists (Association of British Science Writers) A three-day online programme of professional development and networking.
United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA, whose links spin their wheels when I click on them at http://www.unca.com/).
UNITY, Journalists of Color
University Research Magazine Association (URMA) promotes excellence and professionalism among those who write, edit, design, and publish magazines, e-newsletters, social media, and multimedia about research at a university, nonprofit research center, agency or institute.
U.S. Basketball Writers Association

Washington Center for Politics & Journalism
Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism (Knight Digital Media Center)
White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA)
Wired Journalists,(home of collaborative journalism, a Publish2 network)
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), global organisation of the world’s press
World Press Institute (WPI)
Writers Guild of America (WGA)
Youth Media Organizations (local and national youth-led media organizations identified by youth researchers at The Freechild Project -- including Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), HarlemLIVE, and Teen Voices).

[Back to Top]

National Center for Business Journalism (BusinessJournalism.org, at Arizona State University)
National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ) (provides info and resources for all journalists, including style guidance--what language to use that is not offensive to particular groups)
National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW)
National Federation of Press Women (NFPW)
National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR), part of IRE, maintains a library of federal databases, employs journalism students, and trains journalists in the practical skills of getting and analyzing electronic information. Valuable organization.
National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA)
National Newspaper Association (NNA), community newspapers
National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), The Black Press of America, a federation of black-owned U.S. newspapers
National Press Club, a private club for journalists and communications professionals,“The Place Where News Happens" (mostly through luncheon speeches)
National Press Association (NPA) (We make journalists better)
National Press Foundation (primary mission: to increase journalists' knowledge of complex issues in order to improve public understanding)
National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), "The voice of visual journalism"
National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)
National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA)
National Society of Newspaper Columnists (for writers of serial essay, including columnists or bloggers, in any medium) -- a good example of organizations adapting to change!
National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), for high school journalists
National Union of Journalists (NUJ), UK and Ireland
National Writers Union (NWU) (United Auto Workers Local 1981)
Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)
Network of Hispanic Communicators
New American Media (NAM) (national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations, providing Ethnic Media in the News, Collaborative Reporting and many other resources).
NewAssignment.net (testing open-source reporting)
New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR), website: The Eye
New England Newspaper and Press Association (NEN&PA)
The News Literacy Project (NLP, works with educators and journalists to teach middle school and high school students how to sort fact from fiction in the digital age)
The Newspaper Guild (Communications Workers of America) and The Guild Reporter
New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ)
New York Financial Writers Association (NYFWA)
North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ)
Ochberg Society for Trauma Journalism . See its magazine Act of Witness: Covering Trauma, Conflict, and Human Rights (Trauma journalism gets personal) and its blog.
Online News Association (ONA)
OpenNews (connects a network of developers, designers, journalists, and editors to collaborate on open technologies and processes within journalism)
Organization of News Ombudsmen (ONO)
Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), an international, professional association of outdoor communicators, outdoor companies and outdoor industry service providers
Pen & Pencil Club (in Philadelphia--oldest continuously operating press club in America)

[Back to Top]

Politics and the press

(Covering elections and other difficult assignments)

How Rush Limbaugh’s rise after the gutting of the fairness doctrine led to today’s highly partisan media (Al Tompkins, Poynter, 2-17-21) Limbaugh’s success after President Reagan declawed the doctrine gave rise to others and provided encouragement for Fox News’ 1996 launch. Interesting history.
Loved and loathed — the death of talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh (Tom Jones, Poynter, 2-17-21) He was both brilliant and bitter, masterful and malicious, alluring yet repulsive, superbly talented and yet supremely contemptible.For more than three decades, Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio show that aired on more than 650 stations from coast to coast drew millions of devoted listeners and helped set the conservative political agenda in this country. And, yet, that very same show — because of Limbaugh’s bigotry, gaslighting and crass hatefulness — helped to split a nation and lay the groundwork for the political discourse that currently defines our country.

•Jeffrey P Jones on Twitter (2-17-21)
What Rush Limbaugh did to us:
1. Made opponents into true enemies
2. Revived overt and dog whistle racism
3. Stifled attempts to revive the Fairness Doctrine
4. Showed Roger Ailes the formula for right-wing broadcast success
5. Offered ignorance as "common sense" thinking

How 60 reporters from 25 media outlets in 18 countries are finishing the work of murdered journalists (Amaris Castillo, Poynter, 1-25-21) ‘The crime’s crossing the border, so our journalism needs to cross the border as well,’ an organizer of The Cartel Project said. The Cartel Project was coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a global network of investigative journalists whose mission is to continue the work of reporters who are threatened, censored or killed.
How the press covered the last four years of Trump (Jon Allsop and Pete Vernon, Columbia Journalism Review, 10-23-2020) “Even if Trump is trying to undermine the press for his own calculated reasons,” Fox News’s Chris Wallace said, “when he talks about bias in the media—unfairness—I think he has a point.” Writing to mark the one-year anniversary of Trump’s election, Margaret Sullivan, the closely-watched media critic at the Post, credited some dogged reporting, but judged that, overall, “the reality-based press has failed.”
Judge slaps down Trump appointee who has sought to reshape Voice of America and related agencies (Paul Farhi, Wash Post, 11-21-2020) 'Lee R. Crain, one of the attorneys who represented the plaintiffs, said Howell’s ruling ensures that journalists at the agencies can ‘rest assured that the First Amendment protects them from government efforts to control” their reporting. “They are free to do exactly what Congress intended: export independent, First Amendment-style journalism to the world.”... Michael "Pack had asserted the right to direct how journalists at VOA and sister networks such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia covered the news, a violation of the traditional “firewall” that ensures the networks aren’t government mouthpieces.'
How foreign correspondents have covered the protests and the election (Jon Allsop, The Media Today, CJR, 10-30-2020) "With the election approaching, America is a prime global news story, and foreign correspondents are playing a crucial role translating the febrile atmosphere for readers and viewers back home. (Donald Trump has fans abroad, of course, but most international observers seem to want him gone: only around fifteen percent of respondents to a recent poll covering seven European countries hope that he’s reelected.) This week, the New Yorker released a documentary about how foreign correspondents view the United States."
What Do Foreign Correspondents Think of the U.S.? (Episode 27 of The New Yorker Documentary, 10-26-2020) Journalists from around the world are reporting on the 2020 Presidential race—and offering perspectives not found in American media coverage. "Larry Madowo, a Kenyan journalist who works for the BBC, said that he’s been stunned to see that “the same things that America has been lecturing Africa on appear to be happening right here at home.” Alan Cassidy, who reports for the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, described America in 2020 as “a car-crash situation: you don’t really want to watch, but you have to because it’s so outlandish and crazy and insane.”
The consequences of ‘horse race’ reporting: What the research says (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 9-10-19) Media scholars have studied so-called “horse race” reporting for decades to better understand the impact of news stories that frame elections as a competitive game, relying heavily on public opinion polls and giving the most positive attention to frontrunners and underdogs who are gaining in popularity. Such reporting is linked to distrust of both politicians and news outlets, an uninformed electorate, and inaccurate reporting of opinion poll data. Bad poll reporting might be the result of journalists’ poor statistical skills. But it “may also be driven by journalists’ and editors’ desires for interesting horse race stories.” An excellent, readable summary of academic studies.
Truthful Not Neutral in a Time of Dissent: A Conversation with Christiane Amanpour (University of Rhode Island lecture, 7-16-2020)
No One Believes Anything’: Voters Worn Out by a Fog of Political News (Sabrina Tavernise and Aidan Gardiner, NY Times, 11-18-19) Paying attention to the impeachment inquiry and other developments means having to figure out what is true, false or spin. The rise of social media; the proliferation of information online, including news designed to deceive; and a flood of partisan news are leading to a general exhaustion with news itself. Add to that a president with a documented record of regularly making false statements and the result is a strange new normal: Many people are numb and disoriented, struggling to discern what is real in a sea of slant, fake and fact. Many Americans are throwing up their hands and tuning it all out.
“Flood the zone with shit”: How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy (Sean Illing, Vox, 1-18-2020) In an interview with the journalist Michael Lewis, Steve Bannon said, “The Democrats don’t matter, The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.... One response to this situation is to walk away and tune everything out. Another reaction is to retreat into tribal allegiances....stick to the places that feed you the information you most want to hear....What we’re facing is a new form of propaganda that wasn’t really possible until the digital age. And it works not by creating a consensus around any particular narrative but by muddying the waters so that consensus isn’t achievable."
News Coverage of the 2016 General Election: How the Press Failed the Voters (Thomas E. Patterson, Shorenstein Center, 12-7-16) Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump received coverage that was overwhelmingly negative in tone and extremely light on policy. “Were the allegations surrounding Clinton of the same order of magnitude as those surrounding Trump?” asks Patterson. “It’s a question that political reporters made no serious effort to answer during the 2016 campaign.”
11 questions journalists should ask about public opinion polls (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 6-4-18) #1: Who conducted the poll? It’s important to know whether it was conducted by a polling organization, researcher, non-expert, political campaign or advocacy group.
Covering political polls: A cautionary research roundup (Clark Merrefield, Journalist's Resource, 4-25-19)
Which polls to trust (Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight, 5-31-18) Scroll down to the chart How prolific pollsters have fared in recent elections. The polls at the top had less error than other pollsters in similar types of races.
A reporter went public when denied an interview. Here’s what happened next … (Felice J. Freyer, Covering Health, AHCJ, 5-20-19) "The Boston Globe’s environmental writer was used to being denied interviews with state scientists and officials. But this latest refusal from the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was just too absurd. Abel had been forbidden to speak with the state ornithologist....So he went public in a big way and, in so doing, provided an example for health care reporters, who often face similar frustrations at the state and federal levels."
How to deal with obstructive public information officers? Challenge them. (Cinnamon Janzer, CJR, 5-20-19) "I attempted to go around him, but, at every turn, I was informed that all communication had to go through the PIO. I didn’t fare much better with the mayor’s office.... 'That’s a straight refusal to answer, and that’s what you need to call it,” Carolyn Carlson, a retired journalist, professor, and former president of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), says. Carlson, whose academic research focused on public information officers, adds, “They try to cloak it like they’re being cooperative when they’re not.”'
Science Essentials for Political Reporters--A practical primer for campaign coverage (an all-expenses-paid, 2½-day workshop to be held Aug 4-6, 2019). Applications thru May 17, 2019)
Media Bias/Fact Check, a fact-checking website that indexes and ranks websites by left- or right wing bias, as well as by quality of factual reporting.What I like best: the lists of publications/sites that are right-biased, left-biased, left-center and right-center biased, and least biased.
How biased is your news source? You probably won’t agree with this chart (Shawn Langlois, Market Watch, 4-21-18) Interesting chart.
Covering political polls: A cautionary research roundup (Clark Merrefield, Journalist's Resource, 4-25-19) "This research digs into bias in evaluating political polling, polling errors across time and space, the relationship between media coverage and polling, and more," writes research reporter Clark Merrefield.
Lesley Stahl: Trump admitted mission to "discredit" press (CBS News, 5-23-18) Stahl asked him why he kept attacking the press, and "He said, 'You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.'"
Trump, the press, and the truth (he doesn't get it)
Everything to know about FARA, and why it shouldn’t be used against the press (Alexandra Ellerbeck and Avi Asher-Shapiro, CJR, 6-11-18) '...three Democratic congressmen joined with 16 GOP lawmakers to make an unusual request of the Department of Justice in March. Al Jazeera, the international media organization funded by the government of Qatar, the lawmakers wrote, had a troubling record of “anti-American” coverage. They asked the DOJ to investigate whether the network was in fact operating as “foreign agent” of the Qatari government....The DOJ, the bipartisan group suggested, should consider using the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) to investigate the network. When entities are registered under FARA, their funding is disclosed to the public and they must submit detailed logs of their activities every six months.... In invoking FARA, Congress is relying on a notoriously opaque unit within the Department of Justice to draw an impossible line between propaganda and journalism. Source protection, media access, and the US promotion of press freedom abroad may all be compromised."
A New Facebook Feature Shows Which Pro-Trump Facebook Pages Are Run From Overseas (Jane Lytvynenko and Craig Silverman, BuzzFeed News, 5-11-18) The feature is called "Page History" but now it's gone.
The Fall and Rise of Partisan Journalism (James L. Baughman, Center for Journalism Ethics, 4-20-11) Intelligent.
Newsbusters. Media Research Center (MRC) "exposing and combating liberal media bias"
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) (Challenging media bias and censorship since 1986), a national progressive media watchdog group, challenging corporate media bias, spin and misinformation.
Political Polarization & Media Habits (Amy Mitchell, Jeffrey Gottfried, Jocelyn Kiley and Katerina Eva Matsa, Pew Research Center, Journalism & Media,10-21-14) There is little overlap in the news sources libeRals and conservativesy turn to and trust....And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study. Those with the most consistent ideological views on the left and right have information streams that are distinct from those of individuals with more mixed political views – and very distinct from each other....Yet as our major report on political polarization found, those at both the left and right ends of the spectrum, who together comprise about 20% of the public overall, have a greater impact on the political process than do those with more mixed ideological views." See graphic: Striking Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives, But They Also Share Common Ground. Related: Morning Mediawire: Local news is shrinking from The Sinclair Effect (David Beard, Poynter, 4-2-18) 'Many TV local news stations are focusing more on national politics and have taken a rightward slant over the past year. And that move is stemming from ownership of the stations, not the demands of a local audience, conclude two Emory University researchers. The study comes just as many are raising concerns about a coordinated effort by one major owner of TV stations that forces its anchors to record a segment about “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” The authors found Sinclair stations, on average, carried about a third less local politics coverage and a quarter more national politics. That national allotment included commentaries the stations are forced to run by former Trump official Boris Epshteyn.'
Trump thrives in areas that lack traditional news outlets (Shawn Musgrave and Matthew Nussbaum, Politico 4-8-18) Relentless use of social media and partisan outlets helped him swamp Clinton and exceed Romney’s performance in places lacking trusted local news media. Trump won most counties with the lowest newspaper circulation rates. (No wonder he hates the media.)
“We have built the world that they told us existed”: Did the rise of young, white “Internet reporting” bolster the alt-right? (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 5-22-18) “For a guy who doesn’t want to be interviewed for free, you’re giving me a lot of good quotes!” Stein wrote to Auernheimer — “good,” here, meaning “neo-Nazi hate mongering.” “Without journalists reporting on them, there’s no way [far-right elements] would have gotten the attention they did,” Ashley Feinberg, now a senior reporter at HuffPost, told Phillips. “We’re setting the tone for them by covering them that way…at this point we have built the world they told us existed. We are the reason that these people are getting actual legitimate platforms now.”
A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland (Richard Fausset, NY Times, 11-25-17) This Nazi-next-door profile drew significant feedback, most of it sharply critical. The Times's national editor responded:Readers Accuse Us of Normalizing a Nazi Sympathizer; We Respond (Marc Lacey, Bulletin Board, The Readers Center, 11-26-17) "We regret the degree to which the piece offended so many readers. We recognize that people can disagree on how best to tell a disagreeable story. What we think is indisputable, though, is the need to shed more light, not less, on the most extreme corners of American life and the people who inhabit them. That’s what the story, however imperfectly, tried to do."
The American experiment was built on a government-supported press (Will Meyer, CJR, 5-7-18) The advertising business model for journalism only gained traction 150 years ago. From the 1790s onward, news publications received a postal subsidy that slashed as much as 90 percent off postage fees. (It was met with resistance in the South; slaveholders loathed it.) Today, the United States trails far behind many of its industrialized counterparts in supporting the press.
Laura Ingraham is a victim of a totalitarian campaign from the left, apparently (Jason Wilson, The Guardian, 4-2-18) The American right have revealed a vision of free speech that is very expansive for conservatives, but far less accommodating for those who disagree with them. The biggest fight has been centered on Laura Ingraham, Fox News star, talk radio host, bestselling author and founder of conservative website, Lifezette. Fellow conservatives have spent ... days arguing that Ingraham is the victim of a more or less totalitarian campaign by the left. Bill O’Reilly, who lost his own Fox show after a similar advertising campaign, wrote on Monday that the campaign was being “directed by powerful, shadowy radical groups who want Laura Ingraham off the air. Same thing happened to me.”...Elsewhere, various outlets folded Ingraham’s woes into ongoing efforts to demonize Hogg.'
“Trump Is Like, ‘How Can I F--k with Him?’”: Trump’s War with Amazon (and The Washington Post) Is Personal (Gabriel Sherman, Vanity Fair, 4-2-18) Trump looking to ramp up attacks on Amazon in retaliation for unflattering coverage in WaPo--as he focuses ever more closely on his perceived enemies and obsessions. Amazon, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns The Washington Post, is currently the main target. 'He is considering canceling government contracts with Amazon and asking “red state” attorneys general to open investigations into the company’s business practices.'
How America's Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump's War On The Media (Timothy Burke, Deadspin, The Concourse, 3-31-18). Includes video mash-up of various newsreaders reading the Sinclair-scripted lines about "fake news" being all too common. See Stations owned by Sinclair (Wikipedia)
Media bias is real, finds UCLA political scientist (Meg Sullivan, UCLA Newsroom, 12-14-05) A few surprising findings: "hile the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than the New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.""Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter." [This was in 2005]

[Back to Top]

Unions and the press

The New Yorker Staff Has Unionized (Noreen Malone, Daily Intelligencer, New York, 6-6-18) Organizers say that of the 115 or so union-eligible employees, nearly 90 percent have signed union cards. This interesting article covers white collar dissatisfaction at more than the New Yorker. See also The New Yorker has formed a union. (statement, The New Yorker Union)
Joining the ranks (Anna Heyward, CJR, Spring/Summer 2018) Newsroom unionizing has become a way to ask what it means to be a journalist in the 21st century.
What’s driving the new wave of unionization sweeping digital newsrooms? (Steven Greenhouse, CJR, Spring/Summer 2018) More secure jobs, bigger paychecks. The reasons for unionizing haven’t changed much in the last 80 years.
The LA Times flirts with unionization, defying its history (Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, CJR, 11-12-17) The formation of a union at the Los Angeles Times would have been largely unimaginable in the last century. Followed by Tronc's anti-union strategy (Los Angeles Times Guild organizing committee) in which journalists analyze how wrong the Tronc anti-union playbook is. (Formerly known as Tribune Publishing, Tronc also owned the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Baltimore Sun and other major daily newspapers.) And then: Tronc sells the LA Times weeks after the LA Times guild succeeded in unionizing its newsroom.
Union Is Formed at Los Angeles Times and Publisher Put on Leave (Sydney Ember, 1-19-18) ' Known for years as the “citadel of the open shop,” The Times, and the city it covered, has traditionally been against organized labor....“It’s a huge symbolic shift,” said Ruth Milkman, a sociology professor at the CUNY Graduate Center, who has written about labor in Los Angeles. “The Times was literally the celebrated centerpiece of anti-unionism for such a long time. Turning that around is a big achievement.”' It never quite gets it that journalists have rights, though: Los Angeles Times Wants Rights to Books Written by Staff (Authors Guild, 2-27-19) In the midst of contract negotiations with its newsroom staff, the Los Angeles Times, purchased last year by biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, has proposed that its journalists, as a condition of employment, cede control of any books or other creative works made outside of their daily journalistic duties.
In Historic Move At Labor-Skeptic 'Chicago Tribune,' Newsroom Pushes To Form Union (David Folkenflik, The Two-Way, NPR, 4-11-18) And then Tronc Voluntarily Recognizes Chicago Tribune Union (Kristen Thometz, WTTW, 5-7-18) The recognition comes after more than 85 percent of eligible employees signed cards stating their interest in union representation. <
From the Chicago Tribune to the LA Times, journalists organize and push back (Pete Vernon, CJR, 4-12-18) "As demonstrated by recent battles at the Times and Denver Post, journalists are pushing back forcefully against profit-squeezing cuts that jeopardize their papers’ missions. The wave of unionization, even at outlets long hostile to organized labor, signals a new front in the fight for a future at some of the nation’s most prestigious titles."
Life after TRONC: Norman Pearlstine’s plans for the LA Times (Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, CJR, 6-27-18)
In an era of billionaire media moguls, do press unions stand a chance? (Marick Masters, The Conversation, 11-15-17) "Between 1960 and 1965, for example, 108 strikes took place in the newspaper industry. The 1990s witnessed another wave of high-profile strikes, including the staffs of papers such as the New York Daily News (1991), Pittsburgh Press and Post Gazette (1992) and Detroit News and Free Press (1995-1997). In the wake of declining ad revenue over the past decade, unionized newsrooms, from the Baltimore Sun to the San Francisco Chronicle, have engaged in concessionary bargaining to try to keep the newspapers viable and preserve as many jobs as possible. Despite this adversity, unions in this sector have adapted, intensified their organizing efforts and shown signs of revitalization."
The Long Good-Bye (Scott Sherman, Vanity Fair, 11-30-12) Fifty years ago this month, striking printers shut down seven New York City newspapers. The strike would last for 114 days and helped to kill four of those newspapers. “This was an absolutely unnecessary strike,” recalls Tom Wolfe, who worked for the doomed Herald Tribune. Deep down it was about technological disruption—a foreshadowing of dislocations that roil the newspaper industry in our own time. As a newspaper town, New York was never the same again.
Truthout Has Unionized (Maya Schenwar and Matt Renner, Truthout, 9-14-09). First online-only news site to unionize.

[To Top]

Pay, gender, color, and credit gaps in journalism

Formerly The pay gap in journalism

A female historian wrote a book. Two male historians went on NPR to talk about it. They never mentioned her name. It’s Sarah Milov. “ (Caroline Kitchener, The Lily, 7-14-19) "It’s unfortunate that we didn’t acknowledge the author who was largely responsible for much of the content,” said Sam Fleming, managing director of news and programming at WBUR.
It’s not just Sarah Milov. Female academics aren’t credited in media ‘all the time.’ (Caroline Kitchener, The Lily, 7-20-19) Last Sunday, when The Lily broke a story about historian Sarah Milov, whose book provided all the material for a recent episode of NPR’s Here & Now but who was never mentioned on the segment, many female historians began speaking up on Twitter. As sources, women are cited in major media outlets significantly less than men--even when an article is based  on what they said in background interviews. The ‘whisper network’ has been activated.

Guild at LA Times learns harsh reality of the pay gap (Kevin Roderick, LAObserved, 4-11-18) Women and journalists of color earn far less than white men at the LA Times.
Los Angeles Times Guild Pay Study, April 2018 (PDF opn Google Drive)
Telegraph tops list of newspapers´ gender pay gaps
Gender Gap Journalism (Kay Hymowitz, Institute for Family Studies, 9-11-14) This pieces goes deeper than most and applies to more than journalism. "Gender gap journalism often shies away from just how big a role marital status plays in all of its percentages....Researchers have long known that married fathers earn more than childless, never married, and divorced men. In fact, the marriage bonus is larger than the fatherhood bonus...while higher-income men get a big daddy bonus, “parenthood . . . does not benefit lower-wage working men at all.” She mentions, though only in passing, that higher-income men are almost always husbands as well as fathers; lower wage fathers often aren’t.""
Re-Visiting the Family Gap in Pay in the United States (Ipshita Pal and Jane Waldfogel, Columbia University, 8-5-14, PDF) " the penalty to motherhood in 2007 is similar to 1977. However, the results differ by race/ethnicity, education level ,
and marital status. Most importantly, we find that the magnitude of the family gap has declined in recent decades for married mothers, but increased for never married mothers.
Pay doesn’t look the same for men and women at top newspapers (Danielle Paquette, WashPost, 3-10-16)
The gender pay gap--Men, women and work (The Economist, 10-7-17) Women still earn a lot less than men, despite decades of equal-pay laws. Why?
Male and female journalists still aren't paid the same. When and how can we demand change? (Katie Hawkins-Gaar, Poynter, 7-28-17)
White, male faculty earn higher salaries than women, minorities at public universities (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, updated 9-18-17) Black and Hispanic faculty earn lower salaries than their white peers at American public universities. But the wage gap between men and women is even larger, a new study finds. (Included to remind us it's not just journalism that pays unfairly.)
The Motherhood Penalty vs. the Fatherhood Bonus (Claire Cain Miller, The Upshot, NY Times, 9-6-14) A Child Helps Your Career, if You’re a Man
How to find financial security in a volatile journalism industry (Meena Thiruvengadam, Poynter, 6-7-18) Financial security isn’t easy to come by in a volatile media industry with tight budgets and an average salary of around $41,000. How struggling young journalists are making ends meet.
9 Times Men Were Given Credit For Women's Historic Accomplishments (Lara Rutherford-Morrison, Bustle,3-1-17)

[To Top]

The Journalistic Essay
Jack Hart, when he taught the journalistic essay at The Oregonian, found these books useful:
· Phillip Lopate, ed. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present (Lopate's introduction especially)
· Robert Vare, ed. The American Idea: The Best of The Atlantic Monthly
· Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Atwan, eds. The Best American Essays of the Century.

Will journalism survive? In what form?

What are some alternatives, as the advertising-pays-for-print-journalism model stops working? Have combined this section with an updated version of a blog entry first published in 2009. You'll find it here: Will journalism survive? In what form?

[Go Top]

The truth about sponsored content and native advertising -- plus payola journalism

 • Sponsored Links in Google: How to Get Your Ad in Google's Paid Links (WordStream: Online Advertising Made Easy). Those links at the top of Google search results are typically ads, and are so labeled. Google "how to find a dentist" and you will have a page or two of ads before you find a real article on how to find a dentist. We're all learning to scroll down past the ads to where the links to real content start (I think).
What Is the Difference Between Sponsored Content and Native Advertising? (Shannon Porter, VI Marketing and Branding) 'When Google introduced its “Hummingbird” algorithm in 2013, keywords became not as important and content, based on the way people truly speak, became the new SEO darling. In layman’s terms, Hummingbird loves original, high quality content that is conversational in nature. As content marketing has continued to grow, so have the buzzwords associated with it.  "Sponsored content” and “native ads” are both paid forms of content.
Bribes for Blogs (Jon Christian, The Outline, 12-5-17) How brands secretly buy their way into Forbes, Fast Company, and HuffPost stories. An Outline investigation found that contributors to prominent publications have taken payments in exchange for positive coverage.  And sequel: These are the people paying journalists to promote brands in articles (Jon Christian, The Outline, 1-18-18) "Those writers described an upside-down version of journalism, in the trenches of the contributor networks at Entrepreneur and the Huffington Post, where shadowy marketing agencies with whom they have standing relationships pay them to promote certain brands. Sometimes the agencies even send fully-written articles that the contributors then publish under their own bylines."
How 'deceptive' sponsored news articles could be tricking readers — even with a disclosure message (Will Heilpern, Advertising, Business Insider, 3-17-16). "Most online publishers use some form of native advertising — ads that look like news stories — to grow revenue. It is accepted practice to declare that this content is sponsored by a company, so that readers can differentiate between what is and is not news. However, the way in which many publishers declare these ads could be "complicit with deception" according to a new study by Bart Wojdynski, director of the digital media, attention, and cognition lab at the University of Georgia...Overall, only 20% of people in the study were aware that they were reading advertising, rather than objective, editorial content." Even as I copy that link, I see an ad below the credit for Big Island Cookies and Candy, a firm I received a gift from eons ago (they were yummy). It is NOT marked "advertising."
Publishers Are Rethinking Those ‘Around the Web’ Ads (Sapna Maheshwari and John Herrman, NY Times, 10-30-16) "You see them everywhere, and maybe, sometimes, you click: those rows of links under web articles, often augmented with eye-catching photos and curiosity-stoking headlines about the latest health tips, celebrity news or ways to escape financial stress.Usually grouped together under a label like “Promoted Stories” or “Around the Web,” these links are often advertisements dressed up to look like stories people might want to read. They have long provided much-needed revenue for publishers and given a wide range of advertisers a relatively affordable way to reach large and often premium audiences...Recently Chandler Riggs, an actor on “The Walking Dead,” posted screenshots on Twitter of two such ads — “Young Actors Who Quietly Passed Away This Year” and “Young TV Star Found Dead” -- featuring a photo of his face....Readers are starting to express discontent."
Everything You Need To Know About Sponsored Content (Chad Pollitt, Moz.com, 1-20-15 ) The Internet is experiencing a deluge of content, and many channels for content discovery are bloated...'With content marketing adoption rates so high, many brands are looking to native advertising to promote their content. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) defines native advertising as "paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong." According to the IAB, native advertising contains six different types of ad units: in-feed, promoted listings, in-ad with native element, paid search, recommendation widgets, and custom....They are actually an evolved version of what many marketers call advertorials, which have been around for decades. The biggest difference between the two is where the content resides in the customer buying journey. Advertorials are middle to bottom-of-the-funnel content.
..., sponsored articles strictly reside at the top of the funnel. Their purpose is to be helpful, entertaining, or both. Top-of-the-funnel content doesn't appear to be salesy and brand-centric to the reader. It's the rise of content marketing that helped move advertorials up the funnel. This helps brands become not just purveyors of goods and services, but a producer of ideas and a distributor of knowledge...The New York Times claims readers spend the same amount of time on sponsored articles as traditional news stories....BuzzFeed's entire business model is built around what it calls sponsored "listicles," a.k.a. sponsored articles.' A good overview of names and numbers of sponsored content and content marketing. Not yet regulated....
Consumers Can’t Tell the Difference Between Sponsored Content and Editorial (Ginny Marvin, Marketing Land, 9-9-15) In a new study, consumers identified native advertisements as articles a large percentage of the time.
Content Marketing.

[Back to Top]


New forms of funding

Kickstarter adds new categories: Journalism and Crafts
The Guardian promotes some investigative stories funded by Kickstarter:
StartSomeGood (crowdfunding for nonprofits, social entrepreneurs and changemakers)
When should you use Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Crowdtilt?
Retrospective collection of Kal cartoons from The Economist (the goal was $20,000, to self-publish the collection; they collected $100,219, from 1,462 backers)
Tiny Spark . Kickstarter funded this investigative radio initiative.
Beacon Reader (fund one writer for $5 a month; get access to every story on Beacon)

Is Free the Future?
"At a hearing on Capitol Hill in May, James Moroney, the publisher of the Dallas Morning News, told Congress about negotiations he’d just had with the online retailer Amazon. The idea was to license his newspaper’s content to the Kindle, Amazon’s new electronic reader. 'They want seventy per cent of the subscription revenue,' Moroney testified. 'I get thirty per cent, they get seventy per cent. On top of that, they have said we get the right to republish your intellectual property to any portable device.' The idea was that if a Kindle subscription to the Dallas Morning News cost ten dollars a month, seven dollars of that belonged to Amazon, the provider of the gadget on which the news was read, and just three dollars belonged to the newspaper, the provider of an expensive and ever-changing variety of editorial content. The people at Amazon valued the newspaper’s contribution so little, in fact, that they felt they ought then to be able to license it to anyone else they wanted. Another witness at the hearing, Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post, said that she thought the Kindle could provide a business model to save the beleaguered newspaper industry. Moroney disagreed. 'I get thirty per cent and they get the right to license my content to any portable device—not just ones made by Amazon?' He was incredulous. 'That, to me, is not a model... "
~ by Malcolm Gladwell, Priced to Sell: "Is Free the Future?" in the New Yorker

[Go Top]


How the FDA Manipulates the Media (Charles Seife, Scientific American, Oct. 2016) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been arm-twisting journalists into relinquishing their reportorial independence, our investigation reveals. Other institutions are following suit. "This kind of deal offered by the FDA—known as a close-hold embargo—is an increasingly important tool used by scientific and government agencies to control the behavior of the science press....But for [a particular] breach of secrecy, nobody outside the small clique of government officials and trusted reporters would have known that the journalists covering the agency had given up their right to do independent reporting....For example, the FDA assures the public that it is committed to transparency, but the documents show that, privately, the agency denies many reporters access—including ones from major outlets such as Fox News—and even deceives them with half-truths to handicap them in their pursuit of a story....By using close-hold embargoes and other methods, the FDA, like other sources of scientific information, are gaining control of journalists who are supposed to keep an eye on those institutions. The watchdogs are being turned into lapdogs."
ASCO 2018: How a major medical meeting uses embargoes to shape the news, and what the consequences may be ( ) Like many medical meetings, the 'American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will hold a virtual “presscast” giving journalists a sneak preview into a handful of “new, high-impact studies” that will be presented at their annual meeting two weeks. Just six out of 2,500 abstracts were selected for the preview. Journalists who "essentially pre-reporting on preliminary, pre-published findings is worrisome....The meeting presentation hasn’t even occurred and the data are often proprietary. This not only puts commenting experts in a difficult position, but it can be potentially harmful to patients who are understandably eager for new treatments." Embargoes argue that "the heads up helps journalists to be more accurate; they’ll have more time to seek out expert opinions and do in-depth research. “I don’t buy that,” said Kiernan. “Journalists have habituated to embargoes. They simply yoke journalists into a pack, and that usually results in homogenous coverage. Do they really have freedom of action? Are they really free when the timing and the content are selected for them?”
Embargo on press releases, rationale for (PLoS). Breaking an embargo is a journalistic no-no, with good reason.
The Embargo Should Go (Vincent Kiernan, Inside Higher Education, 8-21-06). The system under which top journals share findings with reporters doesn't serve journalism, science or the public interest. Kiernan is the author of Embargoed Science
Should Reporters Have Agreed To The Vertex Embargo? (Matthew Harper, Forbes, 6-24-14) A reporter's final thoughts on accepting an embargo agreement on writing about a new drug.
Death to the Embargo (Michael Arrington, TechCrunch, 12-17-08)
The embargo and business journalists (Sabrina Husain, Society of American Business Writers, May 2012)
[Back to Top]