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Journalism and journalists

Organizations, sites, and resources

for and about journalists and journalism
· Covering abortion
· Covering crime and criminal justice

· Covering disability
· Covering disaster
· Covering diversity
· Covering elections
· Covering extremism
· Covering gun violence
· Covering immigration
· Covering juvenile justice
· Covering mental illness and suicide prevention
· Covering poverty
· Covering public and private tragedy, trauma, and abuse
· Covering rural news and issues
· Covering sexual abuse, assault, harassment, and trauma
· Covering tax avoidance and the wealthy
---· Sidebar: Gutting the IRS
· Covering various other specialty beats
· Covering war

     Scroll down for more beats.


· Alternative news
· Artful journalistic interviewing
· Blogs and newsletters for and about journalists and the media
· Chains, The trouble with
· Citizen journalism
· Collaborative journalism
· Investigative journalism: The craft
· Investigative journalism organizations
· Investigative journalism: Secure ways to share leaks, confidential tips, and investigative reporting

· Investigative journalism stories and series (remarkable examples)
· Journalists on journalism
· New models for newspapers and magazines
· Nonprofit newspapers

· Online journalism
      (plus advocacy, link, measurable, mobile, and process journalism)
· Saving local news

      (see also The trouble with chains)
· Solutions journalism

 

· Data journalism

· Data resources

· Fact-checking
· Financial reporting and business journalism
· Headlines, clickbait, and other audience attractors

· How to pitch a magazine or newspaper piece
· Interviewing children

· The nut graf

· Kill fees
· Magazine markets

· Op Eds (opinion pieces)

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

· Will journalism survive? In what form? (a blog post linking to many stories)

· Restoring trust in the media
· Media bias, Identifying
· Media critiques and distrust of the media
· Navigating mis- and disinformation online

· Pay, gender, color, and credit gaps in journalism
· Politics and the press
· The truth about sponsored links and articles

      (plus payola journalism)
· Unions and the press

 

SEE also, SPECIFIC TO JOURNALISM:

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

SEE ALSO, UNDER DIFFERENT MAIN HEADINGS
Automotive press organizations
Cartoonists, comic book writers, and humor writing
Covering abortion
Covering (and arguing about) climate change
Covering coronavirus (aka Covid-19, the pandemic)
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.)
Fake news and media literacy
Food and beverage writing
For editors and publishing professionals
Getting the numbers right
How not to misread or misreport research reports
How to pitch a magazine or newspaper piece
Local and regional organizations and events
Outdoor writers =

Problems covering government agencies
Problems in the gig economy (especially AB5 and freelancers' rights)
Relationships between public information officers (PIOs) and science and medical journalists
Reporting on controversial scientific and medical topics (Norman Bauman)
Science and medical writing (including Climate Change and related topics)
Should political reporters be more than stenographers?
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)
Sports journalism
Travel writing
Where journalists get their medical news and information
Whistleblowers, Protection for.
· Writing compelling profiles
Whistleblowing, espionage, and a free press (blog post on how the subjects of whistleblowing and espionage may confuse the two)

"Journalism is literature in a hurry." ~ Matthew Arnold

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Investigative Reporting: The Craft

See also


---How They Did It series
---Watchdog groups and Investigative journalism organizations
---Secure ways to share leaks, Confidential Tips, and Investigative Reporting
---Books and other resources about investigative reporting

---Remarkable investigative journalism stories and series

 

"If your mother says she loves you, check it out."
The Craft


Jordan Thomas’s Army of Whistle-Blowers (Patrick Radden Keefe, New Yorker, 1-17-22) The lawyer and his clients have made millions by exposing one Wall Street crime after another. But are they changing the industry? "After Thomas established his whistle-blowing practice, at the law firm Labaton Sucharow, he commissioned an anonymous survey of finance professionals, conducted by the University of Notre Dame. The findings illuminate a rampant ethical permissiveness: more than a third of respondents who have salaries of half a million dollars or more say that they have witnessed, or have firsthand knowledge of, wrongdoing in the workplace; nearly twenty per cent of respondents “feel financial-services professionals must at least sometimes engage in illegal or unethical activity to be successful.” The S.E.C. established the whistle-blower program partly so that people who witnessed misbehavior would have a reliable mechanism for reporting it."
Protection for whistleblowers
InvestigateWashington (compiled by @TomBruneDC and Deb Nelson) Online resources for Washington watchdog reporting from near or far, and see also More Tips & Tools (valuable links if you are just starting out on an investigative project). After an excellent presentation on how investigative journalism is done, Deb Nelson provided links to more useful material:
---Art of the Sensitive Interview Interviews with people who have experienced trauma require extra sensitivity but not less rigor.
---Backgrounding and finding people
---Backgrounding Nonprofits & Companies
---Investigate Local (DMV)  (DMV stands for DC, Maryland, and Virginia)
---Verification: If your mother tweets she loves you, check it out
Forbidden Stories There are stories corporations, organized crime groups and governments don’t want to see published. This group's mission: bypassing censorship by publishing these stories.


The power of 'Mr Bates vs The Post Office' in bringing about justice (Alex Taylor & Yasmin Rufo, BBC News, 1-10-24) The million dollar question in journalism, if little known outside the industry, is "cut through" - how can a story be made to not only reach an audience, but keep them hooked. In writing about a British Post Office scandal that began at the turn of the millennium, how investigative journalist Nick Wallis gave voice voice to over 700 workers prosecuted after faulty Post Office software, known as Horizon, made it appear that money was missing--and how, 25 years on from the first convictions for theft and fraud, the four-part ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office renewed mass public interest in the scandal like never before.

What is the SafeBox Network? All over the world, journalists are jailed, kidnapped and murdered, depriving millions of people of information of general interest. To ensure that their investigations do not disappear with them, Forbidden Stories has created the SafeBox Network. The goal? To deter crimes against journalists by sending a strong message to the enemies of the press: killing the journalist won’t kill the story.
SafeBox Network: A tool to prevent journalists from being silenced (Santiago Sánchez , IJNet, 7-11-22)
Tip Sheet: Pursuing investigative stories as a science writer (Resources and tips from Science Writers 2023 session, 10-8-23) Data, FOIA, tips. Panelists: Lisa Song, ProPublica; Stephanie Lee, Chronicle of Higher Education; Nicholas Florko, STAT; Peter Aldhous, Freelance. Moderators: Priyanka Runwal, C&EN and Betsy Ladyzhets, Freelance. Stories discussed:
---The Climate Solution Actually Adding Millions of Tons of CO2 Into the Atmosphere (Lisa Song, ProPublica, and James Temple, MIT Technology Review, on ProPublica, 4-29-21)
---How the World Bank Group Is Enabling the Deaths of Endangered Chimps (Lisa Song and others, ProPublica)
---Here’s How Cornell Scientist Brian Wansink Turned Shoddy Data Into Viral Studies About How We Eat (Stephanie Lee, BuzzFeed News)
---Death Sentence: A STAT investigation into hepatitis C in prisons (Nicholas Florko, STAT)
---Pregnant Women Have Received False Results From This DNA Paternity Test (Peter Aldhous, BuzzFeed News)
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.
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.
Judd Legum proved that investigative journalism can thrive on Substack (Simon Owens' Media Newsletter, 10-12-21) "The former ThinkProgress editor has over 150,000 signups and at least 7,500 paying subscribers to his newsletter. There’s this misconception about Substack that only opinion writers can thrive on its platform....Since launching his Substack newsletter Popular Information in 2018, Legum has not only broken dozens of major political and business stories, but his reporting has also driven real impact. Fortune 100 companies have been shamed into withdrawing their campaign spending. Media outlets with millions of social media followers saw their Facebook accounts deleted. Even Trump’s presidential campaign was forced to change its deceitful marketing as a result of Legum’s investigations."

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Posse Comitatus Lawyer Jessica Pishko's newsletter focuses on investigating and reporting on sheriff’s departments around the country--"digs deep into history to give readers greater insight into America’s fractured law enforcement apparatus."~ quoting an investigative journalism award site.
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.
How a local paper built a tool to measure impact (Karen K. Ho, CJR, 12-14-17) Digital Director Anjanette Delgado started the project in late 2015 with the belief that investigative journalism needed to be measured by more than just page views, sales.
---News Impact Project Submissions (News Media Alliance)

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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."

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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.

Black Light (Surya Matu, The Markup) A real-time website privacy inspector. Who is peeking over your shoulder while you work, watch videos, learn, explore, and shop on the internet? Enter the address of any website, and Blacklight will scan it and reveal the specific user-tracking technologies on the site—and who’s getting your data.
Who's Behind This Website? A Checklist (Priyanjana Bengani and Jon Keegan, IRE NICAR conference, 3-4-22) This checklist is meant to be used as a reporting tool to help journalists and researchers trying to find out who published a website. This is meant to be used in conjunction with offline reporting techniques.
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.
Barbaric Conditions That Led to a Detainee's Death Are Laid Bare in CIA Reports (Jason Leopold, Vice, 6-14-16) It took me many years and a lengthy #FOIA lawsuit against the CIA to uncover exactly what happened at the Salt Pit, one of the CIA's black site prisons in Afghanistan where detainees were tortured. CIA just destroyed part of it, according to NYT: Covert Evacuations and Planned Demolitions: How the C.I.A. Left Its Last Base in Afghanistan (Christiaan Triebert and Haley Willis, NY Times, 9-1-21) A compound outside Kabul was one of the most secretive — and notorious — in Afghanistan. Our visual analysis shows how the spy agency shut down its operations there — and how the Taliban then entered the site.
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.
Investigative Reporting: Deborah J. Nelson and Yasmeen Abutaleb (YouTube video, 6 minutes) A Reuters investigative series on the underreporting of superbugs and its effects on public health won Deborah Nelson, Ryan McNeill and Yasmeen Abutaleb the gold award in Large Newspaper. Yasmeen and Deborah sit with us to discuss what it was like working on the series and share their top tips for investigative reporting. Above all, what you report should be evidence-based--and that takes time. ‘Superbug’ scourge spreads as U.S. fails to track rising human toll (Ryan McNeill, Deborah J. Nelson and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Reuters, 9-7-16) Fifteen years after the U.S. declared drug-resistant infections to be a grave threat, the crisis is only worsening, a Reuters investigation finds, as government agencies remain unwilling or unable to impose reporting requirements on a healthcare industry that often hides the problem.

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How They Did It series


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.
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.
     The series: 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.
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."

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'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) Much of the $413 million Trump received (in today’s dollars) from his father’s real estate empire came through schemes to avoid paying taxes on multimillion dollar gifts in the family.

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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

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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.
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
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)

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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)

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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.

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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

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Books and other resources about investigative reporting


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.

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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.
The New Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself by Stephen Martin Kohn

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Investigative Journalism organizations

and watchdog groups


Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Watchdog Advisories
Bellingcat A Netherlands-based independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists who specialize in fact-checking and open-source investigations of a variety of subjects, from Mexican drug lords and crimes against humanity, to tracking the use of chemical weapons and conflicts worldwide. See case studies, podcasts, and resources. Also: Bellingcat breaks stories that newsrooms envy — using methods newsrooms avoid (Elahe Izadi and Paul Farhi, Washington Post, 1-8-21)
Binders Full of Investigative Reporters (Facebook group)
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism An independent, not-for-profit organisation that holds power to account. Founded in 2010 by David and Elaine Potter. Not strictly an organization for journalists, it seems.
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
Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) Watchdog
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

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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. '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.
Freelance Investigative Reporters + Editors (FIRE) FIRE exists to help freelancers do investigative reporting, from the liability side to the research, writing, and placing of the final product with media outlets (usually major daily papers in the markets where their supported stories are based). See Guidelines and Application: FIRE provides a suite of customized services to freelance reporters who are planning or developing investigative stories—as well as story grants for select reporters. Any reporter meeting the FIRE criteria would apply for what's known as a FIRE Consultancy—a two-hour consultation to meet your specific needs. Also, be sure to have good professional liability insurance.
Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world, uncovering wrongdoing by powerful people or institutions.
Grants, MacArthur Foundation. See also Information for Grantseekers
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 leading nonprofit for criminal justice reform, helping to exonerate the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms in the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices.

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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.
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.
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). Check out IRE's Events Calendar (including data journalism bootcamps, hands-on training in digging into data, data bootcamps for educators, Web scraping with Python)

     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).

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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)
Meet the Investigators, an interesting monthly series from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
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

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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)
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)

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)
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)
OSINT (SecJuice) A selection of articles related to OSINT (open source intelligence), written by members of the Secjuice writers collective. Secjuice is a volunteer led collective of 100+ writers focused on cybersecurity, information security, network security and open source intelligence. See, for example, The Pig Butchers (Michael Eller, Secjuice, 12-30-22) Pig butchering is when scammers fatten up a pig before sending it off for slaughter. But the scammers aren't fattening a pig, they're fattening their pockets, as in Fraudulent Cryptocurrency Trading Portals (Michael Eller, LinkedIn, 8-30-22)
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

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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) Links to hundreds of stories.
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)
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.
Writer Beware This Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association blog shines a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. Lots of articles--on this page, helpfully listed by year. "The number one sign of a writing scam is solicitation." Not just for SFF writers. Look here for articles and tips on avoiding all kinds of scams and writer abuse.

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Secure Ways to Share Leaks, Confidential Tips, and Investigative Reporting

Confidential News Tips at the NY Times

Best ways to share confidential tips (explained):

---Signal (this free and open source messaging app offers end-to-end encryption) +1 646-951-4771;

---WhatsApp (allows full end-to-end encryption) +1 646-951-4771;

---Email OpenPGP(Pretty Good Privacy) (was 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). "We strongly recommend that tips be sent using a public Wi-Fi network, and that the computer you use is free of malware. If the computer is compromised, communications using SecureDrop may be compromised as well. " The Times outlines 'best practices for use of SecureDrop, as well as the steps that we take to protect your privacy."

       To which, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists adds several other resources, under Leak to Us: Encrypted Mail, Wire, Telegram, Keybase, and ICIJ's phone number: +1-202-820-0036.

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Covering Gun Violence

"Call me crazy, but I hope someday women have more rights than guns do." ~Bill Abbott
"If you're against gun reform, you're not pro-life." ~Robert Reich


Better Gun Violence Reporting (Reporting Resources, The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting, or PCGVR) A super-helpful searchable website, with links to dozens of useful resources, articles. Sections on Reporting Resources, Gun violence prevention reporting, Covering mass shootings, Gun violence prevention research institutions, Intervention programs, Advocacy groups.
The BulletPoints Project Clinical tools for preventing firearm injury
Share the Air (OpenMHz) Listen to Police and Fire radio from across the US. Listen to Trunk Record and explore archived calls. Read about the software behind OpenMHz. One page shows State radio systems


Under the Gun How Gun Violence Is Impacting the Nation (ProPublica series, 2022-2023) Links to all of ProPublica's coverage on the topic. As America emerged from the pandemic, communities continued to experience a rising tide of gun violence. School shootings and the rate of children and teens killed by gunfire both reached all-time highs since at least 1999. ProPublica’s coverage of gun violence reveals how first responders, policymakers and those directly affected are coping with the bloodshed. What follows are some of the many articles o Uvalde.
---“Someone Tell Me What to Do” Lomi Kriel and Lexi Churchill, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, and Jinitzail Hernández, The Texas Tribune, Dispatches, Dispatches, 12-5-23) This investigation takes readers inside law enforcement’s flawed response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Across the country, states require more training to prepare students and teachers for mass shootings than for those expected to protect them. The differences were clear in Uvalde, where children and officers waited on opposite sides of the door.
---Inside the Uvalde Response (Video, Frontline, 12-5-23) Drawing on real-time, firsthand accounts, FRONTLINE, @ProPublica and @texastribune reconstruct law enforcement’s chaotic response to the May 2022 Uvalde school shooting and examine the missteps and lessons learned. 

      " 'Contained and barricaded'. What those two words conveyed to the other officers who were arriving at the scene is that the gunman likely is inside a room, alone, without any victims. Andso what that does is set up a response where they're treating it like a barricaded subject, rather than an active threat, where they should try getting to that room immediately. [Minute 17 on video.] Read full credits for this series under this link.
---Texas Agencies Fight Releasing Records That Could Help Clarify Response to Uvalde School Shooting (Lexi Churchill and The Texas Tribune, 6-15-22) ProPublica and The Texas Tribune have submitted about 70 requests to state and local agencies for emergency response documentation surrounding the mass shooting at Robb Elementary. Most likely won’t be released publicly for months, if ever.
---Texas Judge Orders Release of Uvalde Shooting Records (Zach Despart and The Texas Tribune, with ProPublica, 12-1-22) For more than a year, the state Department of Public Safety has blocked the release of records that could offer more clarity into the police response. The agency can appeal the ruling.
---Records Reveal Medical Response Further Delayed Care for Uvalde Victims (Zach Despart, The Texas Tribune, Lomi Kriel, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, Alejandro Serrano, The Texas Tribune, Joyce Sohyun Lee, Arelis R. Hernández, Sarah Cahlan and Imogen Piper, The Washington Post, and Uriel J. García, The Texas Tribune, 12-20-22) A 17-minute read.) Previously unreleased video, audio and interviews show for the first time how the medical response faltered after police finally confronted the Robb Elementary shooter.
---New Uvalde School Shooting Documentary and Investigation Reveal Details of Law Enforcement’s Flawed Response (ProPublica, The Texas Tribune and FRONTLINE, 12-1-22)The “Inside the Uvalde Response” film and related reporting by ProPublica, The Texas Tribune and FRONTLINE analyze one of the most criticized mass shooting responses in recent history and show real-time insight into officers’ thoughts and actions.

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The CHDS K-12 School Shooting Database
Covering Guns A Non-Partisan Resource for Journalists
Covering Guns & Gun Violence (Dart Center)
Mass killing database: Revealing trends, details and anguish of every US event since 2006 (USA Today, Associated Press, and Northeastern University, 8-18-22 and updated) How many mass killings are there in the US? High profile public shootings are on``ly a portion of the nation's mass killings since 2006, analysis shows. Mass shootings in American schools, churches and other public places capture the nation's attention. But these are only part of the larger violence of mass killings – deaths by guns, knives, fires, vehicles and other weapons in public and in private – that plague the U.S.
Covering Gun Violence (Nieman Reports series)
How a 9/11 narrative guided a gun violence narrative 22 years later (Talia Richman, Nieman Storyboard, 8-25-23) Reporters from The Dallas Morning News pieced together a tick-tock of a deadly mall shooting, starting with "normal aspects of life"
---September 11, 2001; Steve Miller Ate a Scone, Sheila Moody Did Paperwork, Edmund Glazer Boarded a Plane: Portrait of a Day That Began in Routine and Ended in Ashes (David Maraniss, Washington Post, 9-16-01)
Gun buybacks: What the research says (Clark Merrefield, Journalist's Resource, 10-21-22) "Gun buybacks allow gun owners to trade their firearms to law enforcement, no questions asked. We dive into what the research says on whether they work to reduce gun violence....“Perhaps alternative firearm-related policies, such as safe storage laws or stricter background checks would be more effective at deterring gun violence. Our findings also suggest that prior city [gun buyback programs] have been poorly designed to achieve their policy objectives.”. See:
---The effects of state and federal background checks on state-level gun-related murder rates (Mark Gius, Applied Economics, 2015) child access prevention (CAP)
---Child Access Prevention Laws and Juvenile Firearm-Related Homicides (D. Mark Anderson, Joseph J. Sabia & Erdal Tekin, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2018) "Our results suggest that [child access protection] (CAP) laws are associated with a 19 percent reduction in juvenile firearm-related homicides. The estimated effect is stronger among whites than blacks and is driven by states enforcing the strictest safe-storage standard. We find no evidence that CAP laws are associated with firearm-related homicides committed by adults or with non-firearm-related homicides committed by juveniles, suggesting that the observed relationship between CAP laws and juvenile firearm-related homicides is causal."

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Tegna Snaps Gun Violence Reporting Out of Its Fog (Michael Stahl, TVNewsCheck, 6-27-23) 7 Days, 1,000 Shootings, charts a path to more impactful local journalism on the epidemic.
America’s unique, enduring gun problem, explained (Nicole Narea, Li Zhou, and Ian Millhiser, Vox, 4-17-23) The factors that lead to tragedies like the Dadeville, Alabama, shooting are deeply ingrained in US politics, culture, and law. In 2022 Congress reached a deal on limited gun reforms for the first time in nearly 30 years. But the recent shootings underscore why narrow reform won’t stop mass shootings — and just how embedded gun violence is in the US.                "American guns are concentrated in a tiny minority of households: just 3 percent own about half the nation’s guns, according to a 2016 Harvard and Northeastern University study. Gallup, using a different methodology, found that 42 percent of American households overall owned guns in 2021. Self-defense has become by far the most prominent reason for gun ownership in the US today. Gun manufacturers and gun rights organizations like the National Rifle Association claim that further arming America is the answer to preventing gun violence, but the rate of deaths in 133 mass school shootings between 1980 and 2019 was 2.83 times greater in cases where there was an armed guard present.

      "Canada banned military-style assault weapons two weeks after a 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia. The 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia spurred the government to buy back 650,000 firearms within a year, and murders and suicides plummeted as a result.The culture of gun ownership in the US has made it all the more difficult to explore serious policy solutions to gun violence a mass shootings."
What Journalists Can Do To Report More Effectively — and Compassionately — on Gun Violence(Katherine Reed, Nieman Reports, 11-22-19) Ten ways to constructively cover gun violence by applying a “public health model.” It’s everywhere: the crime “brief”—that staple of American journalism—that gives one or two sentences of attention to the shooting death of a human being on some street, or in a car, or in a park. It’s harmful and dehumanizes victims of gun violence. The Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit, a one-day conference at public radio station WHYY in Philadelphia, brought together reporters, trauma surgeons, representatives of NGOs, researchers and survivors—the mothers and aunts of young black men who die with horrifying regularity in Philadelphia. It was an unusually powerful melding of research and practice, and it produced action items for journalists and newsrooms struggling to find the most constructive ways to report on gun violence. Michelle Kerr-Spry, the mother of a shooting victim, noted that stories about her son’s death made no mention of resources for survivors, like her, who wonder each day how they can go on living.
“A mass shooting, only in slow motion” (Glenn Jeffers, Nieman Reports, 2019) Newsrooms are moving away from a focus on mass shootings to tell more nuanced stories about the people and communities marred by gun violence

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More meaningful coverage of firearm violence requires ‘radical empathy’ (Laura Beil, Covering Health, AHCJ 11-2-22) Journalists have long reported on gun violence in its most superficial terms: arriving at a crime scene, interviewing police, witnesses, and distraught family members, then filing a quick story by deadline. But that model doesn’t provide the empathy and dignity victims and their communities deserve, said panelists during the session “Transforming news coverage of gun violence” on October 28 at AHCJ’s fall summit.
Moderator Jim MacMillan, who directs the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting, asked whether it’s time to just abolish the crime beat altogether, suggesting perhaps there is more to throw out than to salvage.
One way to achieve more sensitive coverage is to look beyond the immediate tragedy, said Kaitlin Washburn, an independent journalist in Chicago who covered gun violence at the Kansas City Star. Approach families long after the violence has upended their lives. Learn how to interview trauma victims with sensitivity. Look for stories that focus more on underlying causes rather than violence itself. “The ideas are out there,” she said. “Look at the conditions of the communities you are covering.”
Experts who work with children affected by gun violence say coverage lacks nuance (Katti Gray, Covering Health, AHCJ 11-2-22) Law enforcement officials frequently mischaracterize perpetrators and victims of gun violence, resulting in news headlines and soundbites that sometimes obscure the toll it takes on very young people.

    “‘My son was not a gangbanger,’” said University of Illinois social work professor and community-based mental health clinician Kathryn Bocanegra, quoting some parents whose offspring were killed or injured. “’He was more than someone on felony parole, who was on this corner and was shot’ … You’re adding to the trauma that exists for the family of a loved one” when relatives of violence victims are not sufficiently allowed to contribute to the news narrative.
Red flag gun laws: Dig deeper to find stories that matter (Randy Dotinga, Covering Health, AHCJ, 11-9-22) Are these laws being used? Who’s using them? And in what kinds of circumstances are they being used?”
Covering Mass Shootings (Journalist's Toolbox)
Communities Affected by Gun Violence: What They Want Journalists to Understand (Audio, SoundCloud, PCGVR)
Credible Messenger Reporting Project Empowers people impacted by gun violence to report on root causes, lived experience and possible solutions from the community perspective. Credible Messengers are paired with advanced professional journalists to learn from each other and leverage their combined authority to produce and distribute independent news reports
“Don’t name them” – Criminologist asks journalists to help stop mass shootings (Journalist's Resource) Criminologist Adam Lankford has found that mass shooters and suicide bombers are looking for fame. He asks journalists not to honor them, not to publish their names and pictures. ''

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Estimates of gun sales (The Trace)
Every Stat How does gun violence impact the communities you care about? Stats by state on all gun deaths, suicides, homicides/shootings by police, unintentional, undetermined.
Evidence-based Gun Safety Policies (Grantmakers in Health)
Experts who work with children affected by gun violence say coverage lacks nuance (Katti Gray, Covering Health, AHCJ or Association of Health Care Journalists, 11-3-22)
Fatal Force (Washington Post) Running tally of number of fatal shootings by police this year.'
Ghost Guns The Trace. Less than a month after the ATF required serial numbers and background checks for "buy-build-shoot" kits, sellers have found a workaround.
Gun Policy
Gun violence and violent deaths (Comfortdying.com site) Links to articles, resources. (The Journalist's Toolbox)
How has news coverage of gun violence changed since Columbine? (Lauryn Claassen, Berkeley Media Studies Group)
How journalists cover mass shootings: Research to consider (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journlist's Resource, 8-6-19) Including how they portray shooters of different races, religious backgrounds.
The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting
Journalist's Resources articles on guns'

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Mapping Police Violence
Mass shootings, including school shootings (comfortdying.com site) Links to many articles, resources.
Media’s Reporting on Gun Violence Does Not Reflect Reality (New Release, Penn Medicine News, 2020) The gap between what is covered – and what goes uncovered – in the news could be painting an unrealistic picture of gun violence. Blacks and men were less likely to be covered. Shootings with multiple victims occurred just 22% of the time. However, mass shootings were almost six times as likely to make the news.
Miscellaneous Crime Sites (The Journalist's Toolbox)
National Gun Violence Memorial (search by various factors)
#NotAnAccident Index In 2022 (as of November) there were at least 238 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 106 deaths and 145 injuries nationally. (Behind guns, cars are the second-biggest killer of American kids.)
School Violence (Journalist's Toolbox)
7 things journalists should know about guns (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource)
What Bullets Do to Bodies (Jason Fagone,Huff Post)
Why Suicide Reporting Guidelines Matter (National Alliance of the Mentally Ill, NAMI)

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Covering various specialty beats

Roughly alphabetical by topic but not title

 

 • Covering children and trauma (PDF, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)


A Day in the Life of a Reporter Covering the Elizabeth Holmes Trial (Times Insider, 12-28-21) Erin Griffith, a New York Times journalist who is reporting on the fraud trial against the Theranos founder, shares what it’s like lining up for the trial and inside of the courtroom.
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.
Weinberg Collection University Of Missouri Columbia Libraries (University of Missouri Library Merlin Collection) A wonderful long bibliography of novels about journalism and journalists that Steve collected and the library prizes. View the titles in the collection by searching the Merlin Catalog by subject: Weinberg Collection University Of Missouri Columbia Libraries. I particularly recommend this interview with Steve: A Conversation with Steve Weinberg (National Book Critics Circle).
Covering gun violence (full section on Pat's site about death and dying)
Thomas Curwen and “Surgeon races to save a life during L.A.’s shooting season” (Davis Harper, Nieman Storyboard, 6-27-17) The Los Angeles Times writer, who watched a doctor operate on a teen gunshot victim, talks about his enduring passion for stories that depict “the split-second events that change the predictable course of life"
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 LGBTQ+ health and health care: Reporting tips and story ideas ( Naseem S. Miller, Journalist's Resource, 4-10-12)
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)
Covering Indian Country: How an Outsider Gets In (Steve Magagnini, Nieman Reports)
Writing About Native Americans: 7 Questions Answered (Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer on Jane Friedman's blog, 3-21-23) What is the correct way to refer to Native Americans? Are there still organized tribal nations in North America? What about marketing my books with Native American characters?
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

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Covering immigration


• Reporting on immigration (Chloe Reichel, Journalist's Resource) Tips on how to balance immigration stories with opposing viewpoints responsibly. If you're looking to balance the viewpoints in your immigration stories, seek quotes from both conservative and liberal organizations – but avoid citing organizations that have been classified as hate groups.
A Guide to the Legal Rights of Undocumented Immigrants (Legal Finders) What rights do undocumented immigrants have under the U.S. Constitution? What rights don't they have? What barriers do they face in accessing legal rights? What national legal resources are available in the U.S. for undocumented immigrants? An excellent free online guide to national legal resources for undocumented immigrants.
My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant (Jose Antonio Vargas, NY Times Magazine, 6-26-11) 'One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. “Baka malamig doon” were among the few words she said. (“It might be cold there.”)' So starts a wonderful first-person account of coming to the U.S. as an immigrant. Vargas, a former reporter for The Washington Post, shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. He founded Define American, which seeks to change the conversation on immigration reform.
Dairy Workers on Wisconsin’s Small Farms Are Dying. Many of Those Deaths Are Never Investigated. (Maryam Jameel and Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, 10-25-23) OSHA sometimes investigates deaths on small farms if they provide housing to immigrant workers. Other times the agency says it can’t take action. For decades, Congress has barred the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from enforcing safety laws on farms with fewer than 11 workers unless they have what’s called a temporary labor camp. OSHA has repeatedly, though inconsistently, said housing for immigrant workers is a type of temporary labor camp — and as a result has inspected some small Wisconsin dairy farms after worker deaths. ProPublica identified three deaths on small Wisconsin dairy farms, including a worker’s recent drowning in a manure lagoon, that OSHA didn’t investigate even though workers lived in employer-provided housing.
An Immigration Shift (David Leonhardt, The Morning Newsletter, NY Times, 1-10-24) Before Trump’s presidency, Democrats tended to combine passionate support for the rights of immigrants already in this country with strong support for border security. Not long ago, leading Democrats supported immigration enforcement measures like tough border security and deportations. Today, much of the party is uncomfortable doing so. Leonhardt traces the Democratic Party’s changing position.
The Surge at the Border (David Leonhardt, The Morning Newsletter, NY Times, 12-18-23) Inside the congressional debate over immigration policy: why migration has surged in recent years, and how current proposals would address it.
• 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.
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.
Solitary Voices (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, May 2019) U.S. immigration authorities have been misusing and overusing solitary confinement in detention centers housing tens of thousands of immigrants from around the world, a new five-month investigation reveals. In May of 2019, ICIJ and six media partners published this investigative series on how detention centers under the control of ICE have misused and overused solitary confinement.

        The reporting, based on internal reports, showed that a high number of mentally ill immigrants had been placed in isolation cells for weeks and months at a time. The reports described instances of detainees in isolation mutilating their genitals, gouging their eyes, cutting their wrists and smearing their cells with feces. Advocates also say the Biden administration’s lack of action on solitary confinement extends to the much larger federal prison system, and that the practice has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic.


U.S. citizenship (USA.gov) Learn about naturalization, dual citizenship, and proving or renouncing your citizenship.
Green Card Having a Green Card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card (PDF, 1.69 MB) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation.
What Is a Green Card and How Do I Apply for One? (Immigration Help)( Green Card Learning Center (ImmigrationHelp.org) Answers common questions, such as What is the difference between having a green card and having citizenship? What are Humanitarian Green Cards (for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, for Abuse Victims, for Crime Victims, for Human-Trafficking Victims). What are employment-based green cards? diversity-lottery green cards? long time resident green cards
Green Card (Wikipedia) Lots of information, with links.
How to report an immigration violation (USA.gov) Immigration violations include criminal acts, visa violations, or public safety threats. Find out how to report an immigration violation.
ICE Tip Form (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
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.”
Search Immigration, Passenger, and Naturalization Records (My Heritage)
Immigration Direct Immigration software from a private (not official) company.
Fact check: No, migrants aren’t getting $2,200 a month from U.S. (Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, 9-21-23) A viral tweet by Rep. Lauren Boebert is a zombie claim that started in 2006 in Canada. H/T HeraldNet

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Saving local news

(subtopics: Local journalism, chains, community engagement, solutions journalism)

 

"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."


Readers Share the State of Their Local Journalism (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic Newsletter, 1-31-24) "Must read."
---"I live in a remote, small, rural (and breathtakingly beautiful) valley in Washington State. We are fortunate to have a weekly local newspaper that has been operating for over 100 years. However, the owner/editor is elderly. How many more years does he have in him? Who, if anyone, will take over when he is done? I don’t know how else we would get reliable news and information."
---"So much of what people view as free is propped up by the work of journalists who need to eat, too. There is far more value in a local-news subscription than there is in Paramount Plus."

---"Our very local paper, The Pilot, may seem provincial to some, but the paper has won many awards for local reporting and seems quite strong these days. I receive a Briefing newsletter every weeknight that has relevant links to the stories. The paper is published in print form twice a week (Wednesdays and Sundays). This paper is especially important for local elections, school-board news (major drama there), economic development, and sports (lots of golf and high-school sports). I rely on The Pilot."
Report for America In 2017, GroundTruth launched Report for America, a national service program that places emerging journalists into local newsrooms across the country to report on under-covered issues and communities. By bolstering local journalism, Report for America is seeking to shore up local journalism as the cornerstone of our democracy.
Rebuilding Local News 1,800 communities have no local news. Thousands more have “ghost newspapers”; by one study, only 17% of the articles in local papers were about local civic news. Rebuild Local News is a nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition whose member organizations 3,000+ newsrooms, including family-owned newspapers, nonprofit websites, weeklies, ethnic publications, hyperlocal sites, and rural papers – as well as civic organizations and other groups pushing to save local journalism.
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.
A D.C. experiment seeks to save local news with city council coupons (Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 10-30-23) The bill proposes giving registered voters government-funded vouchers to pay for community news subscriptions.

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Is There a Market for Saving Local News? (Clare Malone, New Yorker, 2-3-22) Jump-starting journalism in smaller, economically depressed places requires a degree of patience, and some tolerance for risk. 'More than two hundred counties in the U.S. that the U.N.C. Hussman report found “have no newspaper and no alternative source of credible and comprehensive information on critical issues.” Only three of those counties are the site of a local-news nonprofit. This metro-area focus can also take on a partisan tilt. According to the report, most local-news sites “are located in affluent communities that tend to vote Democratic and not in economically struggling communities that voted Republican in 2016.” Tofel acknowledged that there’s a structural problem when it comes to fixing local-news deserts, at least for the moment. “There is not enough national funding to go everywhere,” he said.'
The Local-News Crisis Is Weirdly Easy to Solve (Steven Waldman, The Atlantic, 8-8-23) Restoring the journalism jobs lost over the past 20 years wouldn’t just be cheap—it would pay for itself.
Local News Lab The future of local news depends on creating new kinds of collaboration between journalists, newsrooms, and communities. The Lab is a project of Democracy Fund. 
Local Journalism Worth Reading From 2023 (Staff of The Morning, NY Times, 12-22-23) Editors from publications across the U.S. shared the best journalism they published this year.
Chalkbeat: Local News Fieldguide
A Guide to Assessing Your Local News Ecosystem
Local News Initiative (Northwestern University) New findings on news deserts, shifting business models and what needs to be done to sustain local journalism.
Is half a billion dollars a big-enough Band-Aid to cure what ails local news? (Sophie Culpepper, NIeman Lab, 9-23) The Press Forward coalition, led by the MacArthur Foundation, has pledged to invest $500 million in revitalizing local news over the next five years while working to raise more. This massive philanthropic coordination effort in support of local news has an ambitious goal: to “reverse the dramatic decline in local news,” and in doing so, “boost community, civic participation, and strengthen democracy.”
More funding is flowing to local journalism and for-profit newsrooms, study finds (Sarah Scire, Nieman Lab, 8-28-23) The report finds “warning signs” over editorial independence in responses from newsrooms. See also Are journalism intermediaries getting too much foundation money? (Richard Tofel, Nieman Lab, 11-3-22) More money should go to news organizations directly — even if that means making hard choices.
Local News Most Trusted in Keeping Americans Informed About Their Communities (Sarah Fioroni, Knight Foundation, 5-19-22) Part 1 of 3. Read the second article (The Roles of Local News, Personal Networks and Social Media in Local Political Engagement) here and the third article (Americans’ Social Networks and Social Media, Not Traditional News Sources, Drive Community Engagement) here.
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.
“Local Matters” spotlights first-rate investigative journalism around the nation (Dean Miller, Seattle Times, 4-9-20)

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 weekly roundup of the best investigative and watchdog reporting from local newsrooms around the country.

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Journalism isn’t dying. But it is changing in ominous ways. (Christopher B. Daly, Washington Post, 7-31-18) "The business model that supported the American newspaper since the 1830s is cratering and not coming back. The fundamental problem is that print advertising has dried up as a reliable stream of revenue...And this has a real impact in how state and local news gets covered — or not covered.Without coverage at local and state level, misconduct will thrive."

      "Even within the hard-news business, developments are not all bad. Some journalism operations, especially with a national audience, are thriving. NPR is having a banner year, as are MSNBC and Fox News. The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal are reporting record numbers of digital subscribers. And some "digital natives" — such as HuffPo, BuzzFeed, Politico, Jezebel and the Undefeated — have gone from employing essentially zero journalists to employing thousands. Podcasting, which did not exist as a career five years ago, is exploding."
Local News Is Dying, and Americans Have No Idea (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 3-26-19) While the industry nose-dives, a large majority of the country thinks it is doing great.
Greenbelt News Review (Greenbelt, MD) A great local news site, an example of how it can be done (long-term). Is there one place that links to a lot of these? Please let me know.
Overstory is one of the fastest growing media companies in Canada (YouTube video, SimonOwens, 1-19-23, 1 hour+) "If you read articles about the state of local news, you’ll come away with a pretty pessimistic view of the industry. But while legacy newspapers have certainly faced a steep decline, there’s a burgeoning explosion of local media startups that are innovating in the space. One such company is Overstory Media. What started as a single local newsletter operating in Victoria has since expanded into 14 separate verticals operating all across Canada. In a recent interview, I spoke to CEO Farhan Mohamed about why he got into local news, his company’s acquisition strategy, and why he’s optimistic about the state of local news."
How to have productive conversations in a polarized world (blog post, roundup of articles)
Gannett Starts Another Round of Staff Cuts (Benjamin Mullin, NY Times, 12-1-22) The largest newspaper chain is cutting roughly 6 percent of its 3,440-person U.S. media division. "Gannett has battled a sagging share price in recent years as revenue from printed newspapers has continued to wane. The company has sought to offset the declining print business with digital subscription revenue and marketing services, but revenue has declined this year amid a difficult ad market."

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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
Local Papers Find Hints of Success With Online Subscriptions (Marc Tracy, Business, NY Times, 2-9-22) The numbers still pale in comparison with print’s heyday, but the increase is giving some publishers an unusual feeling: hope.
These Online Publications Are Not Free … and Readers Don’t Mind (Marc Tracy, NY Times, 10-4-21) Defector, The Daily Memphian, The Dispatch and other outlets of recent vintage are driving a shift in the digital media business.
If local journalism manages to survive, give Evan Smith some credit for it (Margaret Sullivan, WaPo, 1-23-22) The Texas Tribune founder has been a ‘true pioneer’ in finding ways to cover local communities as a nonprofit. When Smith co-founded the Texas Tribune back in 2009, digital-first nonprofit newsrooms were something of a rarity. There was ProPublica, only two years old at the time, MinnPost in Minneapolis, the Voice of San Diego, and a few others....

     'In Baltimore, the Banner — funded by Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum — is hiring staff and expects to start publishing soon. In Chicago, the Sun-Times is converting from a traditional newspaper to a nonprofit as it merges operations with public radio station WBEZ. And in Houston, three local philanthropies working with the American Journalism Project (also co-founded by Thornton) announced a $20 million venture that will create one of the largest nonprofit news organizations in the country.“These newsrooms are popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm,” Smith, 55, told me.'
Can We Fix Journalism? Andrew Van Wagner interviews Robert W. McChesney, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy "Local journalism has historically been the heart and the crucial part of US journalism....even if people want to get involved locally and understand what’s going on in their communities, it’s really hard to do because there just aren’t enough resources there to make it possible. And so we have an information climate that’s ideal for propaganda, and rogues and demagogues, and all sorts of" BS....for the first 75 or 100 years of American history, the federal government basically subsidized the newspaper industry....So that’s the tradition that we need to build on: public money to provide local journalism with the necessary resources, but without government control over content. Is there a way to do that? A long and important discussion.

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Robin Kemp lost her news job in Clayton County, Ga. — but she kept reporting the news. It paid off on election week. (Reis Thebault,WaPo, 11-10-20) "A British radio station wanted her on air to talk about the presidential election in Clayton County, Ga., where she lives and works. Could she be ready in, oh, 30 seconds? That was Kemp’s first clue that her county, a suburban community south of Atlanta, had become the center of the political world....It took her even longer to realize that the world wasn’t just watching her state. It was watching her.... it was votes from Clayton County — the heart of the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis’s old district — that pushed Biden into the lead.... Kemp’s all-night coverage was public service journalism in its purest form." H/T to Delia Cai, Deezlinks (11-12-20) "I’m hugely impressed by this story about how Robin Kemp, the lone journalist who reported on the entire 21-hour-long absentee vote count in her county in Georgia last week, did it not as part of her job for a local outlet or wire service, but for her own fledgling news site that she started after getting laid off two years ago."
The Metric Media network runs more than 1,200 local news sites. Who's funding them?, Part 1. (Priyanjana Bengani, CJR, 10-14-21) and Part 2: How advocacy groups and Metric Media are influencing local ‘community news’ By tracing its funding and partnerships, an investigation by the Tow Center has found how the network promotes interests of advocacy groups without explicit disclosures. This points to a worrying trend that exists across the political spectrum: local news sites and networks funded by political actors, big-money interest groups, and ideological partners that target key battleground states (and counties) on certain issues, while ignoring the bigger local news stories.
       "For example, our analysis found, when a building collapsed in Miami in June, across the local news network, just one story was published, six days after the event, despite the network having about 40 Florida-based titles. In August, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, but none of the fifteen-odd Louisiana-based sites even mentioned the Category-4 storm. Similarly, we found the eight Montana-based sites have not covered wolf-hunting regulations and wildfires at all, but ran multiple stories about a single primary race last year that was funded by a PAC run by a co-organizer of the Community Newsmaker project." H/T Simon Owens
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.
A Secretive Hedge Fund Is Gutting Newsrooms (McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, 10-14-21) Inside Alden Global Capital. The hollowing-out of the Chicago Tribune was noted in the national press. Longtime Tribune staffers had seen their share of bad corporate overlords, but this felt more calculated, more sinister. “They call Alden a vulture hedge fund, and I think that’s honestly a misnomer,” Johnson said. “A vulture doesn’t hold a wounded animal’s head underwater. This is predatory.” The model is simple: gut the staff, sell the real estate, jack up subscription prices, and wring out as much cash as possible
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.

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How Axios is tackling local news: newsletters from small teams, in more markets (Sara Guaglione, Digiday, 9-27-21) Axios has hired 20 new reporters (and three associate editors) to launch local news-focused local newsletters in eight cities, covering local news for Axios’ audience of “smart professionals.” “We are trying to hire the two best journalists in each market.” Johnston believes what differentiates Axios’ local coverage is its newsletter model, rather than a business dependent on traffic and clicks for ad revenue.
Axios Local newsletters
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.

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‘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.
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.

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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.

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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.

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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."
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.

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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."

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"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.
Print newspapers are struggling — public radio might have some solutions (HotPod Insider, 10-15-21) Why the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ are exploring a merger. The Chicago Sun-Times needs help. After being bought and sold several times over the last decade, the 73-year-old paper is looking for a more stable home to continue its award-winning reporting — and it may have finally found it in an unexpected place: a radio station.
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.

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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."
Our Towns Civic Foundation Believing that the sources of American renewal are mainly at the community level, Our Towns aims to share the stories of local innovators; distill and share the lessons of their successes (or failures); promote connections among like-minded people around the country, in virtual and real-world venues; encourage new journalistic models (and technologies) to cover local stories and their implication; and in other ways help now-disconnected innovators and reformers realize that they’re part of something larger.

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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.

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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."
The Expanding News Desert (Penelope Muse Abernathy) For residents in thousands of communities across the country – inner-city neighborhoods, affluent suburbs and rural towns– local newspapers have been the prime, if not sole, source of credible and comprehensive news and information that can affect the quality of their everyday lives. Yet, in the past decade and a half, nearly one in five newspapers has disappeared, and countless others have become shells – or “ghosts” – of themselves. Two separate reports (2018): “The Loss of Local News: What It Means for Communities” and “The Enduring Legacy of Our New Media Barons: How They Changed the News Landscape.”
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.

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‘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.”
Hey, local news publishers: Give the people a calendar (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 3-21-23) “It shouldn’t be that difficult to keep an updated list of when and where and what the meetings are.” Give people more information about what is actually happening in their communities, things that they can attend. The greatest share of survey respondents (more than half) said that they attend events that ‘help me solve everyday problems in my life’ and that ‘connect me to friends and neighbors.’
How local news site Berkeleyside raised $1 million through a direct public offering (Joseph Lichterman, Solution Set, 4-12-18)

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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."

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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.

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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). Changed its name to the Society for Features Journalism in 2011.
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 Publication Editors (ASBPE)
American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA), professional association of freelance/independent journalists and nonfiction book writers.
American Society of Magazine Editors ASME sponsors the National Magazine Awards in association with the Columbia Journalism School, conducts training programs for reporters and editors and publishes the ASME Guidelines for Editors and Publishers.
American Society of News Editors (ASNE) Now part of News Leaders
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
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 appears to be inactive as of 2011.
Association of Food Journalists code of ethics AFJ folded, but Poynter hosts its excellent code of ethics.
Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), a super-helpful organization for anyone reporting on health and medical news and issues, staff or freelance. See especially its tip sheets, blog, Core Topics, resources (How I Did It, Tip Sheets, Why This Matters, On Demand Webinars, Analysis, and more), and excellent annual conference.
The Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) See its Freelance Tools
The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists (NLGJA @nlgja)
Authors Guild (major national organization of fiction and nonfiction authors)
Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) (UK)
Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC)


Brechner Center for Freedom of Information (University of Florida)
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 Democracy and Technology (CDT)
The Center for Independent Journalists (CIJ announced it is folding.) "For independent journalists, focusing on Black, Indigenous and People of Color" (who self-identify as BIPOC, which includes but isn't limited to Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian American, Middle Eastern and North African, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander).
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 .
Center for Scholastic Journalism (School of Media and Journalism, Kent State University)

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• College Media Association (CMA)
College Media Business & Advertising Managers (CMBAM)
Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) Must reading for journalists.
    ---Galley by CJR: A new forum to talk about journalism. Check out its featured journalists (Mathew Ingraham and others Talking with Cory Doctorow about free speech, Talking about Facebook with Roger McNamee, Talking about disinformation with Joe Bernstein, A roundtable on Facebook and transparency, Talking with Will Oremus and many others about Facebook's transparency report, Talking with Eva Galperin and others about Apple's plans to scan your phone, Talking about Section 230 with Makena Kelly, Talking with Rebekah Tromble about research and the platforms, Talking with Nikki Usher about how to save local journalism, and so on. Check it out!
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Defending journalists worldwide. See CPJ's blog.
Content Marketing Association (CMA)The industry association for marketing, publishing, advertising and social agencies. Many journalists find $ doing backup work here.
Current: News for People in Public Media
Council of National Journalism Organizations (CNJO)
Criminal Justice Journalists A national organization of journalists who cover crime, court, and prison beats.
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)
Editor & Publisher (E&P) An American monthly trade news magazine covering the newspaper industry. Published since 1901, Editor & Publisher is the self-described "bible of the newspaper industry." See Wikipedia entry for its history (including changed hands).
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.

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Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN) , independent, nonprofit news organization that produces investigative reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health
FIRE: The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression Defending fundamental rights on college campuses
Freedom Forum A nonpartisan organization dedicated to free press, free speech, and free spirit for all people
Freedom of the Press Foundation, which hosts
---U.S. Press Freedom Tracker A database of press freedom incidents in the United States — everything from arrests of journalists and the seizure of their equipment to assaults and interrogations at the U.S. border.
---Secure Drop An open source whistleblower submission system that media organizations and NGOs can install to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. Available in 21 languages.
Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE), formerly Project Word, a service bureau for freelance investigative reporters, 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 (Bertrand Pecquerie, 11-12-19) announced its closure, ceasing its activities due to lack of sustainable finances. It was an international association of over 6,000 editors-in-chief and media executives whose mission was fostering digital innovation in newsrooms all over the world.
Global Investigative Journalism Network "GIJN is open to nonprofits, NGOs, and educational organizations, or their equivalent, that actively work in support of investigative reporting and related data journalism. Government entities are not eligible to join. Nor are individual journalists and most for-profit businesses, though we work to support investigative journalists in all sectors." Links to lots of useful articles about, for example, whistleblowing.


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.

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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.
Indigenous Journalists Association (IJA) More than two dozen Indigenous journalists seeking to form an indigenous journalists organization established the Native American Press Association in 1983. In 1990 they changed the name to the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) to "to encapsulate and support Native voices across all media platforms." In 2023, by a vote of 89 to 55, the organization became the Indigenous Journalists Association. “Connecting with our brothers and sisters across the globe, from Canada to New Zealand, has made it clear that as Indigenous peoples the struggles we face in this industry are universal,” said president Graham Lee Brewer, Cherokee, and we're "the rightful storytellers of their own narratives.”
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 Independent Journalists (IIJ) An education, professional development, and mutual support organization for independent journalists, focusing on Black, Indigenous and people of color.
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

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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)

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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)

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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)
Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) A non-profit membership association for members of the media and content providers and their defense lawyers, providing resources on media and content law and policy issues.
Military Reporters and Editors (MRE)
MisinfoCon (Trust, Verification, Fact Checking & Beyond) See Catalogue of all projects working to solve Misinformation and Disinformation.

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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)
---NASW's regional chapters

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 Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC)
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), for high school journalists
National Society of Newspaper Columnists Resources of interest to writers of serial essays, including columnists or bloggers, in any medium -- a good example of organizations adapting to change.
National Union of Journalists (NUJ), UK and Ireland
National Writers Union (NWU) (United Auto Workers Local 1981) A union for fiction and nonfiction writers, originally for journalists.
Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) serves more than 1,000 members, including media professionals working in tribal, freelance, independent and mainstream news outlets, as well as academia and students covering Indigenous communities and representing tribal nations from across North America.
--- NAJA to vote on Indigenous Journalists Association name change during 2023 election (6-2-23)
National Association of of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), an educational and charitable association dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanic students, professionals, and educators in the field of journalism.
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)
News Leaders Association (NLA) The American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors joined forces to become NLA, which provides journalists at all levels with training, support, and networks
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
News University (Poynter)

New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ)
New York Financial Writers Association (NYFWA)
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists
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) an organization for digital journalists — connecting journalism, technology and innovation.

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

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PEN America
Pen & Pencil Club (in Philadelphia--oldest continuously operating press club in America)

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 outstanding nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Nonprofit investigative journalism in the public interest. Check out its many excellent series (yes, series is singular or plural, so "this series" or "these series"). 
Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI)

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



Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Devoted exclusively to broadcast and digital journalism--its mission: to promote and protect responsible journalism.
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. Nonmembers can subscribe to The Nuance (a weekly e-letter), which analyzes issues at the intersection of technology and press freedom, highlights notable legislation and policy developments, and shares short updates about surveillance and platform news. Resources for both the press and public.
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) See next entry.
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

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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. Promoting the craft of writing and innovation in lifestyle, arts and entertainment journalism
•  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)

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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.
Study Hall An online community for media workers. See writeup in Successful Pitches Shows Freelancers the Way (CJR): "Study Hall is perhaps the biggest and most visible organization to come out of this new movement for transparency. Founded as a coworking space in Brooklyn in 2015, it has since expanded into a network of over 4,500 members who share resources and tips on everything from pitching to labor organizing in the media industry. The site, says Chayka, saw its biggest increase in membership in May, following a wave of layoffs caused in part by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic." "I think people just don't know what the rules are, because there are no rules."

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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

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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).

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Writing compelling profiles

 

How Journalists Get Their Profile Subjects to Open Up (Narratively, 3-18-23) Seven Narratively writers lift the curtain on what measures they take to get their subjects to trust them, from coming prepared to being fully present to really listening.

     Part 1: How 7 Narratively Writers Found the Perfect Profile Subject
Q&A with Susan Orlean (The Turnaround with Jesse Thorn, 6-26-17) Susan Orlean of The New Yorker talks to Jesse about what she’s learned from more than 30 years of interviewing people as a print journalist, whether it’s been talking to locals in Clackamas, Oregon about Tonya Harding or writing profiles on celebrities like Tom Hanks. Transcript here. "So in the beginning, I will very intentionally go into each interview as open as I can I’ll interview people who seem very tangential to the story because the whole process for me is something has stuck in my head that I want to understand. And to me the only way to truly understand it is to be really open and cast myself in every possible direction rather than having a thesis that I’m looking to support."
New Yorker profiles (archive)
New York Magazine profiles (archive)
Saturday Profiles (New York Times)
Profiles in Science (New York Times)
Teach Your Students to Write Profiles Like a Times Reporter (New York Times Learning Network video, 46 min.)

    One of eight videos from a free writing curriculum series here (The Learning Network Professional Development Team).
Profile Magazine profiles (archive)
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."
     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.

Profile writing brings a fresh approach to health news (Michele Cohen Marill and Barbara Mantel, Association of Health Care Journalists blog, 6-9-23) Profile writing brings readers behind the scenes of important discoveries or challenging medical issues — and it offers a fresh avenue for freelance pitches. “My favorite profiles have been of regular folks dedicated to their jobs who have fascinating back stories and a good personality.”
A Transit Worker’s Survival Story (Jennifer Gonnerman, New Yorker, 8-21-20) Driving a New York City bus during a pandemic and an uprising. (Nogte for award from American Society of Magazine Editors: "With great clarity and care, this profile of a city bus driver depicts daily acts of courage." and quiet morality. The judges called it a celebration of ordinary goodness and decency."

How to Write a Profile Article (Master Class, 9-3-21) While you’re crafting this piece with your own words, show your subject’s point of view. Quote them extensively.
How to Write a Profile Story: 8 Tips for a Compelling Piece (Joel Foster, The Write Life, 3-25-20) Let your subject do 90 percent of the talking.
6 Best Examples of Profile Stories Plus Top Tips for Creating Engaging Human Interest Features (Become a Writer Today) Six examples of successful profile stories.
The Human Element: Bringing Science to Life with Profiles (Esther Landhuis, The Open Notebook, 12-15-15) Use human stories to explore ideas. Look for struggle. Go with your gut.


Narratively announces its Profile Prize (2023)

A few Narratively profiles:
---Meet the Paranormal Moms Society
---The First Family of Counterfeit Hunting
---America’s Most Flamboyant Private Eye and the 8,000-Mile Manhunt
---America’s Next Top Male Model Wears Size XXXXL
---Meet Ladybeard, the Crown Prince of Japan’s Strangest Music Scene
---Inspired by Black Lives Matter, This Masked Man Patrols Under the Cover of Darkness

 

The decline and fall of entertainment reporting (Scott Collins, CJR, 6-22-18) During the Hollywood "studios’ Golden Age in the 1930s, MGM was well known for its masterful manipulation of the press. MGM’s top publicist and in-house “fixer,” Eddie Mannix, was famed for cajoling and bullying reporters into burying such scandals as Judy Garland’s drug addictions and the rape of a dancer named Patricia Douglas at a studio bacchanalia in 1937.

    Then the tide turned. After Watergate brought investigative reporting into vogue, coverage of Hollywood grew more dogged as well."

    "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."
Wikis on Profiling (Wikipedia)

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Covering tax avoidance and the wealthy

(including an  extensive ProPublica series)

See also Gutting the IRS: Who Wins When a Crucial Agency Is Defunded
"Let me get this straight: teachers can only write off $300 in out-of-pocket expenses for school supplies, but "three-martini" business lunches are fully tax deductible for corporations. Hello?" ~Robert Reich


Ten Ways Billionaires Avoid Taxes on an Epic Scale (Paul Kiel, ProPublica, 6-24-22) After a year of reporting on the tax machinations of the ultrawealthy, ProPublica spotlights the top tax-avoidance techniques that provide massive benefits to billionaires. Must-read.
He's Part Of The 1%. And He Thinks His Taxes Aren't High Enough (Jim Zarroli, Up First, NPR, 10-8-20) "The U.S. tax code favors people who make money through investments like stocks and real estate, including a lot of people in finance, such as hedge fund titans and money managers. Instead of paying income taxes, which rise to about 37% as a person's income goes up, investors pay the much lower long-term capital gains tax, which tops out at 20%. This inequity in the tax code is something investment giant Warren Buffett has frequently remarked upon, noting that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his own secretary.
'Our system allows rich people, particularly real estate developers and investors, to pay far lower taxes than people that work for a living,' says Pearl, who chairs the group Patriotic Millionaires, a group that advocates for a more equitable tax system. Most of the other wealthy people he knows share that conviction, according to Pearl. "I think most wealthy people understand that we have to change our system — because the current system is not sustainable," he says.
The tax bill Trump signed "did strip the tax code of some deductions that tend to benefit the well-heeled, but it retained the lower tax rate for investment income....one of the more well-known tax loopholes...[but] it retained the very controversial carried interest provision, which allows many people who work in finance to take the money they make as investment income instead of salary. That sharply lowers their tax rate....[The] bill did little to address the inequities in the tax code."

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Wealth and Poverty
The Deadbeat Billionaire: The Inside Story Of How West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Ducks Taxes And Slow-Pays His Bills (Christopher Helman, Forbes and ProPublica, 4-9-19)
A Right-Wing Think Tank Claimed to Be a Church. Now, Members of Congress Want to Investigate. (Andrea Suozzo, ProPublica, 8-2-22) Forty lawmakers are calling on the IRS and the Treasury to investigate after ProPublica reported that the Family Research Council gained protections by claiming it is a church. They asked the IRS and the Treasury to investigate what the lawmakers termed an “alarming pattern” of right-wing advocacy groups registering with the tax agency as churches, a move that allows the organizations to shield themselves from some financial reporting requirements and makes it easier to avoid audits.
Ken Griffin Spent $54 Million Fighting a Tax Increase for the Rich. Secret IRS Data Shows It Paid Off for Him. (Paul Kiel and Mick Dumke, ProPublica,7-7-22) The ultrawealthy poured money into a successful campaign to defeat a graduated state income tax. For the first time, we can reveal the scale of their return on this investment.
The Pandora Papers: Billions Hidden Beyond Reach (Greg Miller, Debbie Cenziper, and Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post, 10-3-21) A global investigation. A trove of secret files details the opaque financial universe where global elite shield riches from taxes, probes and accountability.The details are contained in more than 11.9 million financial records that were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and examined by The Post and other partner news organizations.
Key findings from the Pandora Papers investigation (10-3-21) A trove of secret files details the financial universe where global elite shield riches from taxes, probes and accountability. Key Findings:
1. Country leaders on five continents use the offshore system
2. Governments launch investigations after secret papers show how elite shield riches
3. Some American states have become central to the global offshore system
4. Wealthy investors profited from stressed American renters amid national affordability crisis
5. Billionaires make extensive use of offshore finance.

6. A global treasure hunt leads to an indicted art dealer's offshore trusts — and the Met
7. U.S. sanctions imposed on Russian oligarchs hit their targets.
Secret real estate purchases are a driving force behind the offshore economy (Margot Gibbs and Agustin Armendariz, Pandora Paper, ICJI, 11-3-21) No longer content with Miami condos and London townhouses, investors are pouring money into properties in all corners of the world, fueling inequality and driving up prices, Pandora Papers investigation reveals. “Whether people are hiding from the tax authorities or law enforcement, or from the scrutiny of a trusting public, these transactions are about obtaining impunity,” said Alex Cobham, head of the Tax Justice Network, a tax fairness advocacy group.

     Read about the series The Landlords--for example, The landlord from Wall Street After a housing crisis, a rising real estate titan purchased tens of thousands of homes, converted them into rentals — and siphoned earnings offshore. How Progress Residential and its investors profited from a housing crisis.

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Meet the Billionaire and Rising GOP Mega-Donor Who’s Gaming the Tax System (Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger, Paul Kiel, Jeff Ernsthausen and Doris Burke, The Big Story, ProPublica, 6-21-22) Susquehanna founder and TikTok investor Jeff Yass has avoided $1 billion in taxes while largely escaping public scrutiny. He’s now pouring his money into campaigns to cut taxes and support election deniers.
Casinos Pled Poverty to Get a Huge Tax Break. Atlantic City Is Paying the Price. (Alison Burdo, The Press of Atlantic City, 6-2-22) Despite growing profits, casino operators used predictions of “grave danger” to convince the state to slash their tax burden, denying millions to the city, its school district and the county. And sidebar: New Jersey Officials Refused to Provide the Numbers Behind New Casino Tax Breaks. So We Did the Math. Lawmakers claimed, without providing evidence, that casinos would close without a tax cut. A ProPublica, Press of Atlantic City analysis found otherwise.
TurboTax Maker Intuit Faces Tens of Millions in Fees in a Groundbreaking Legal Battle Over Consumer Fraud (Justin Elliott, ProPublica, 2-23-22) In addition to the unusual mass arbitration Intuit is fighting, federal regulators and state prosecutors are still investigating the company, which made $2 billion dollars last year. See also The TurboTax Trap: Here’s How TurboTax Just Tricked You Into Paying to File Your Taxes (Justin Elliott and Lucas Waldron, ProPublica, 4-22-19) And FTC Sues to Stop “Deceptive” TurboTax “Free” Ad Campaign (Justin Elliott, ProPublica, 3-29-22) Following an investigation sparked by ProPublica’s coverage, the Federal Trade Commission is asking a federal court for a restraining order barring Intuit from marketing TurboTax as “free.”

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The Secret IRS Files (ProPublica's excellent series, with links to all the stories, starting June 2021) Here are only some of the stories.
---How These Ultrawealthy Politicians Avoided Paying Taxes (Ellis Simani, Robert Faturechi and Ken Ward Jr., ProPublica, 11-4-21) IRS records reveal how Gov. Jim Justice, Gov. Jared Polis, former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other wealthy political figures slashed their taxes using strategies unavailable to most of their constituents.
---Proposal to Rein in Mega IRAs Faces Lobbying Resistance From Retirement Industry (Justin Elliott, ProPublica, 10-25-21) Several companies, including one backed by Peter Thiel, are fighting a proposal to curb giant retirement accounts and tighten rules for IRA investments.
---House Bill Would Blow Up the Massive IRAs of the Superwealthy (Justin Elliott, Patricia Callahan and James Bandler, ProPublica, 9-21-21) The proposed reform stems from a ProPublica story that detailed how PayPal founder Peter Thiel had amassed $5 billion, tax-free, in a Roth IRA. If the bill passes, Roth accounts would be capped at $20 million for high-income individuals.
---More Than Half of America’s 100 Richest People Exploit Special Trusts to Avoid Estate Taxes (Jeff Ernsthausen, James Bandler, Justin Elliott and Patricia Callahan, ProPublica, 9-28-21) Secret IRS records show billionaires use trusts that let them pass fortunes to their heirs without paying estate tax. Will Congress end a tax shelter that has cost the Treasury untold billions? Examples: Charles Koch, Michael Bloomberg, Herb Simon and Laurene Powell Jobs.
---The Inside Story of How We Reported the Secret IRS Files (ProPublica, 8-6-21) The ProPublica journalists who obtained the secret tax documents of thousands of America’s richest people share how they conceived of their stories, what readers should understand about the tax system and where they’re taking these stories next.
--- (Secret IRS Files Reveal How Much the Ultrawealthy Gained by Shaping Trump’s “Big, Beautiful Tax Cut” Justin Elliott and Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, 8-11-21) Billionaire business owners deployed lobbyists to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill was tailored to their benefit. Confidential IRS records show the windfall that followed.
---The Billionaire Playbook: How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Millions in Taxes (Robert Faturechi, Justin Elliott and Ellis Simani, ProPublica, 7-8-21) Owners like Steve Ballmer can take the kinds of deductions on team assets — everything from media deals to player contracts — that industrialists take on factory equipment. That helps them pay lower tax rates than players and even stadium workers.
How a Billionaire Team Owner Pays a Lower Tax Rate Than LeBron James — and the Stadium Workers, Too (Nadia Sussman, Mauricio Rodríguez Pons, Joseph Singer and Kristyn Hume, ProPublica, 7-8-21) Pro sports teams pretty much always increase in value. But our tax laws allow the owners to claim that their teams’ assets lose value, lowering their tax bills through amortization. The government misses out on billions in revenue. Here’s how.
Eight Takeaways From ProPublica’s Investigation of How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Taxes (ProPublica, 7-8-21) How do billionaire team owners end up paying lower tax rates not only than their millionaire players, but even the person serving beer in the stadium? Let’s go to the highlights.
You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire (Paul Kiel, Jeff Ernsthausen and Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, 6-8-21) A new ProPublica analysis of a trove of IRS documents revealed that the richest 25 Americans pay a tiny fraction of their wealth in taxes. But even if you use the most conventional yardstick — income — the wealthiest still pay low rates.
The Secret IRS Files Links to the full series, only part of which is linked to here.

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The great American tax haven: why the super-rich love South Dakota (Oliver Bullough, The Guardian, 11-14-19) It’s known for being the home of Mount Rushmore – and not much else. But thanks to its relish for deregulation, the state is fast becoming the most profitable place for the mega-wealthy to park their billions. A decade ago, South Dakotan trust companies held $57.3bn in assets. By the end of 2020, that total will have risen to $355.2bn.
In recent years, countries outside the US have been cracking down on offshore wealth. But according to an official in a traditional tax haven, who has watched as wealth has fled that country’s coffers for the US, the protections offered by states such as South Dakota are undermining global attempts to control tax dodging, kleptocracy and money-laundering. See also How Britain can help you get away with stealing millions: a five-step guide (Oliver Bullough, The Long Read, The Guardian, 7-5-19) Dirty money needs laundering if it’s to be of any use – and the UK is the best place in the world to do it. Britain’s most famous money launderer is HSBC, thanks to its systematic cleansing of the earnings of the Latin American drug cartels over the second half of the last decade.
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.
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.
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. 
'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.

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."

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Covering Crime and Criminal Justice

See also
Criminal Justice, Injustice, Law, and the Courts
Covering juvenile justice
Crime writing (true crime)
Prison writing
Police, protest, and racial justice


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) See also More crime sites (SPJ) and Miscellaneous crime sites (Mike Reilley, SPJ, 4-12-13)
Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) (Bureau of Justice Statistics, or BJS) CODIS is an acronym for Combined DNA Index System, a computer software program that operates local, state, and national databases of DNA profiles from convicted offenders, unsolved crime scene evidence, and missing persons.
What is DNA?(MedlinePlus) DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself. Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases. This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.
How We Can Help You (FBI) In the case of a sexual assault where an evidence kit is collected from the victim, a DNA profile of the suspected perpetrator is developed from the swabs in the kit. The forensic unknown profile attributed to the suspected perpetrator is searched against their state database of convicted offender and arrestee profiles (contained within the Convicted Offender and Arrestee Indices, if that state is authorized to collect and database DNA samples from arrestees). If there is a candidate match in the Convicted Offender or Arrestee Index, the laboratory will go through procedures to confirm the match and, if confirmed, will obtain the identity of the suspected perpetrator. The DNA profile from the evidence is also searched against the state’s database of crime scene DNA profiles called the Forensic Index."
The Crime Report: Your Criminal Justice Network (Center on Media, Crime and Justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York) A national news service covering the diverse challenges and issues of 21st century criminal justice in the U.S. and abroad. Staffed by working journalists in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

--- Justice Digest published daily
---The Crime Report
Media’s Influence on the Perception of Criminal Justice (Richard Kania, Crime & Justice Research Alliance) See Find an Expert. See also papers on Mass Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment (Todd Clear)
Crime Reporting Tips (Newslab)
Reporting on Crime and Crime Victims (MediaCrimeVictimGuide -- How to Facilitate Sensitive and Respectful Treatment of Crime Victims)
Beat reporting: Crime and Justice (NewsLab)
Southeast Asian Casinos Emerge as Major Enablers of Global Cybercrime (Cezary Podkul, ProPublica, 10-6-23) A growing number of casinos in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are engaging in large-scale money laundering, facilitating cyberfraud that is costing victims in America and abroad billions of dollars, according to new research by the United Nations.
Journalistic integrity requires a reckoning with how news media covers the criminal legal system (Tamar Sarai, Prism Reports, 1-24-23) The ways newsrooms report crime can have irrevocable consequences for both individual lives and public perceptions

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From Fact-Checker to Editor-in-Chief: How One Woman Rose to the Top at OCCRP (Laura Dixon, Global Investigative Journalism Network, 6-5-23) Ten questions with Miranda Patrucic, who has steadily risen up the ranks of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a nonprofit that has pioneered cross-border investigative journalism by hunting down wrongdoing in some of the world’s most difficult places to report. See also
---10 Questions: Lessons Learned from Mexican Investigative Journalist Anabel Hernández (4-4-23) Anabel Hernández is one of the most prominent investigative journalists in Mexico. Her investigation “Narcoland” revealed the links between the Sinaloa Cartel and Genaro García Luna, Mexico’s former Secretary of Public Security.
---10 Questions: Lessons Learned from Investigative Journalist Hayatte Abdou, from the Comoros (1-16-23) As one of just a few investigative journalists in the small island country, which is dominated by state media and where press freedom is under duress, Abdou has faced intimidation for her undaunted watchdog reporting. She has won acclaim for her courageous reporting into the killing of fellow Comorien journalist Ali Abdou (no relation), whose suspicious death was brushed aside by authorities.
---10 Questions: Lessons Learned from Puerto Rican Journalist and Media Entrepreneur Omaya Sosa (2-1-233) Omaya Sosa is the founding co-director of Puerto Rico’s Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI or, in English, Center for Investigative Journalism).

AP says it will no longer name suspects in minor crimes (David Bauder, AP News, 6-15-21) The name of a person arrested will live on forever online, even if the charges are dropped or the person is acquitted, explains AP. And that can hurt someone’s ability to get a job, join a club or run for office years later. See Who Deserves to Have Their Past Mistakes “Forgotten”? (Rachael Allen, Slate, 2-15-21) The Cleveland Plain Dealer started its "right to be forgotten" program in 2018, and the Boston Globe announced it would start its own “right to forgotten program,” called Fresh Start. Newspapers across the country, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Bangor Daily News, have launched similar efforts,
The Army Increasingly Allows Soldiers Charged With Violent Crimes to Leave the Military Rather Than Face Trial (Vianna Davila, Lexi Churchill and Ren Larson, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, and Davis Winkie, Military Times, 4-10-23) A federal watchdog called for ending the practice nearly 50 years ago, but the military pushed back. Now, soldiers leave the Army with a negative discharge, avoiding possible federal conviction and with little record of the allegations against them.
Mapping Police Violence The Official Mapping Police Violence Database. Charts use data from 2013-2023 to show which police departments are most - and least - likely to kill people. You can also compare police departments operating in jurisdictions with similar levels of crime to show that, even under similar circumstances, some police departments are much more likely to kill people than others.

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The Jan. 6 investigation is the biggest in U.S. history. It’s only half done. (Spencer S. Hsu, Devlin Barrett and Tom Jackman, Washington Post, 3-18-23) Nearly 1,000 people have been charged to date, and a federal courthouse strains to handle what may be years more of trials
House GOP gave Jan. 6 footage to Carlson without telling Capitol Police, lawyer says (Justine McDaniel and Tom Jackman, Washington Post, 3-17-23) Police then wanted to review footage for security concerns, but say they only saw one clip out of 40.
Ethics Watchdog Urges Justice Department Investigation Into Clarence Thomas’ Trips (Brett Murphy, ProPublica, 4-12-23) In pushing to kick-start an inquiry into Thomas’ lavish travel provided by a GOP megadonor, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center wrote that the ethics issue has “historic implications far beyond one Supreme Court justice.”
There Have Been Huge Gaps in FBI Hate Crime Data for Years. A New Law Aims to Fix That. (Ken Schwencke, ProPublica, 6-4-21) A lack of reliable hate crime data has left authorities with neither a complete understanding of such incidents nor the tools needed to address them, ProPublica reported. A bill Biden just signed will start to address that.
Another Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Punching Handcuffed Man (Ken Armstrong, ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network and South Bend Tribune, 4-14-23) The conviction is the latest development in the extensive fallout from an investigation into the criminal justice system in Elkhart, Indiana.


A Detective Sabotaged His Own Cases Because He Didn’t Like the Prosecutor. The Police Department Did Nothing to Stop Him. (Jeremy Kohler, ProPublica, and Ryan Krull, Riverfront Times, Criminal Justice, ProPublica, 10-10-23) A number of American cities have elected prosecutors who promised progressive law enforcement, focusing as much on police accountability as being tough on crime. Across the country, police have undermined and resisted reform. To protest a prosecutor, one detective was willing to let murder suspects walk free, even if he’d arrested them and believed that they should be behind bars. From San Francisco to Philadelphia, prosecutors like Kim Gardner have faced pushback from the police and, in several cities, from their own courtroom assistants. Politicians and voters have tried to remove some of these prosecutors from office — and, in a number of cities, they have been successful.
St. Louis has lost hundreds of cops. Here’s why some say they left. (Dana Rieck, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8-14-23) The police killing of George Floyd led to weeks of protests in St. Louis and nationwide, and calls intensified to defund police departments altogether. Meanwhile, tensions continued to mount between police and former Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner, first elected in 2016 on the promise to deliver criminal justice reform and hold police accountable. The result was a police exodus.
We Don’t Talk About Leonard (Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll and Ilya Marritz, ProPublica and On the Media, 10-13-23) One largely unknown man has played a significant role in pushing the American judiciary to the right: Leonard Leo. The conservative legal movement in the United States is more powerful than ever. “We Don’t Talk About Leonard,” a podcast series with WNYC’s “On The Media,” explores the web of money, influence and power behind the conservative takeover of America’s courts — and the man at the center of it all: Leonard Leo.
Friends of the Court: SCOTUS Justices’ Beneficial Relationships With Billionaire Donors (ProPublica series, starting with this story by Andy Kroll, 10-10-23) Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ decades-long friendship with real estate tycoon Harlan Crow and Samuel Alito’s luxury travel with billionaire Paul Singer have raised questions about influence and ethics at the nation's highest court. Scroll down for several stories in this series.

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Hate Crimes Are Up — But the Government Isn’t Keeping Good Track of Them (A.C. Thompson and Ken Schwencke, Documenting Hate, ProPublica, 11-15-16) There is considerable anxiety about the potential for violence after a bitter national election. The data kept on hate crimes won’t reassure anyone.
‘What’s Going On, Daddy’: A Reporter on the Hate Beat Finds 2 Very Local Stories (A.C. Thompson, Documenting Hate, ProPublica, 12-19-16) A brutal beating; a terrible murder. Seeking motives in a divided America.
The SEC Undermined a Powerful Weapon Against White-Collar Crime (Lydia DePillis, ProPublica, 1-13-21) Now the lawyer who wrote the rules that gave Wall Street insiders a big financial incentive to report crimes to the SEC is suing the government for changing them.
Police Say Seizing Property Without Trial Helps Keep Crime Down. A New Study Shows They’re Wrong. (Ian MacDougall for ProPublica, 12-14-20) Civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow police to seize property without trial, are frequently justified as tools to seize millions from kingpins. A new study reveals the median amount taken is as low as $369 in some states.
Some Are Jailed in Mississippi for Months Without a Lawyer. The State Supreme Court Just Barred That. (Caleb Bedillion and Taylor Vance, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and The Marshall Project, ProPublica, 4-14-23) Criminal justice reformers have long complained that the state’s rules on appointing public defenders leave poor defendants without a lawyer as they wait to be indicted.
How Dollar Stores Became Magnets for Crime and Killing (Alec MacGillis, ProPublica, 6-29-20) Discount chains are thriving — while fostering violence and neglect in poor communities.

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Why America Fails at Gathering Hate Crime Statistics (Ken Schwencke, Documenting Hate, ProPublica, 12-4-17) The FBI relies on local law enforcement agencies to identify and report crimes motivated by bias, but many agencies fumble this task.
Hate Crime Training for Police Is Often Inadequate, Sometimes Nonexistent ( A.C. Thompson, Rohan Naik and Ken Schwencke, Documenting Hate, ProPublica, 11-29-17) Only a fraction of bias crimes ever get reported. Fewer still get successfully prosecuted. Perhaps the widespread lack of training for frontline officers has something to do with that.
Hate Crime Law Results in Few Convictions and Lots of Disappointment (Ryan Katz for ProPublica, Documenting Hate, 4-10-17) In Texas, the tiny number of successful prosecutions leave both victims and lawmakers questioning state's commitment to punishing hate.
Alleged Chicago Assault Reignites Issue of Hate Crimes Against Whites (Joe Sexton, Documenting Hate, ProPublica, 1-5-17) As Chicago authorities waited before filing hate-crime charges against four young adult blacks for an alleged attack on a white disabled man, the Internet raged.
A 2-for-1 for Racists: Post Hateful Fliers, and Revel in the News Coverage (Ken Schwencke, Documenting Hate, ProPublica, 3-24-17) White supremacists have targeted college campuses, causing upset and gaining attention.
Federal Judge Unseals New York Crime Lab’s Software for Analyzing DNA Evidence (Lauren Kirchner, Machine Bias, ProPublica, 10-20-17) We asked the judge to make the source code public after scientists and defense attorneys raised concerns that flaws in its design may have resulted in innocent people going to prison.

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Covering Juvenile Justice


Secrecy Shields Powerful Adults in Our Juvenile Justice Systems. Kids Showed Me What’s Really Happening. ( Meribah Knight, WPLN/Nashville Public Radio, ProPublica, 10-16-23) The three years I spent working on “The Kids of Rutherford County” podcast taught me one thing: Tennessee’s punitive policies aren’t leaving children in the legal system better off.
How the top U.S. official for incarcerated youth sees the challenges for kids in the justice system (Nicole Ellis, Tim McPhillips, and Casey Kuhn, Nation and PBS News, 4-4-23) The number of young Americans in juvenile detention dropped by 77 percent over the last two decades, from more than 100,000 to just over 25,000, according to federal data published late last year. Despite this huge reduction due to changing laws and policies, experts say young people still face stubborn barriers that make it more difficult to successfully reenter society after their release from incarceration.
       “Part of the whole initiation of the juvenile court system more than 100 years ago was to provide a path forward for young people to be rehabilitated,” said Liz Ryan, administrator of the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In 2014, Ryan founded the Youth First Initiative, a national advocacy campaign that helped close youth prisons in six states and redirected more than $50 million to community-based alternatives to incarceration. She said her previous work outside the Biden administration informs her priority to serve young people at home and in their communities.
       "When it comes to advice for young people leaving detention or correctional facilities, Ryan advises that it’s critical “to get reconnected right away to their families, to their communities, to community-based supports, to educational opportunities and employment opportunities,” and that “we shouldn’t wait until the day that a young person leaves a facility to make that happen. We need to start the second a young person enters a facility because those young people are going to come home, and we need to make sure they’re fully prepared to come home and that they’re being set up for success.”
This Agency Tried to Fix the Race Gap in Juvenile Justice. Then Came Trump (Eli Hager, The Marshall Project, 9-19-18)
Moving Beyond Mass Incarceration (Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice, or CJCJ, 10-3-23)
Youth In Crisis: How Kings County Locks Up Youth with Disabilities (Disability Rights) Disability Rights California and Disability Rights Advocates conducted a multi-year investigation into conditions at the Kings County Juvenile Center. This locked youth detention center is in Hanford, California and houses between 20 and 30 youth who are detained or incarcerated. The County’s youth arrest and detention rates are excessive – among the highest per capita in the state by several measures. The center is prison-like and regimented, rather than the homelike, rehabilitative environment that state law requires. The incentive program is frustrating and confusing, especially for disabled youth. These conditions re-traumatize many youth with a history of trauma held at the facility. Probation staff in tactical gear improperly interfere in the J.C. Montgomery school at the detention facility, monitoring students’ work and behavior without regard to students’ special education accommodations. Nine recommendations for reform.
Juvenile Justice History (CJCJ)

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge. Meribah Knight, Nashville Public Radio, and Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, 10-8-21) Judge Donna Scott Davenport oversees a juvenile justice system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with a staggering history of jailing children. She said kids must face consequences which rarely seem to apply to her or the other adults in charge. Among cases referred to juvenile court, the statewide average for how often children were locked up was 5%. In Rutherford County, it was 48%. The judge was proud of what she had helped build, despite alarming numbers buried in state reports.
Youth in the System: An overview (Juvenile Law Center)
The Marshall Project Inside (created and led by Marshall Project staff who are formerly incarcerated) provides criminal justice news and information to the millions of people living inside America’s prisons and jails.
The Conversation Articles about juvenile justice.
Formerly incarcerated teens share their research and ideas on how to improve the juvenile justice system (The Conversation, 8-4-21) Valuable comments made by incarcerated teens during focus group interviews inside a juvenile detention center in New Mexico. Among other things, several youths insisted that the “plan of care” section of the probation agreement – which examines youth services such as counseling and drug treatment as well as such privileges as being able to stay out past curfew and work – should focus on individual needs rather than boilerplate language. Curfews determine what time you have to be home. For the teens who work or have after-school activities, an early curfew means they can’t participate in these programs. For example, they argued that many young people work to support their families, and a 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. curfew can impede that.
      Another "goal was to reduce racial and county-to-county disparities found in the enforcement of searches and seizures, curfews and other restrictions found in local county probation agreements. The state also sought to eliminate potential rights violations permitted by the agreements – such as entering homes and confiscating young people’s personal items."
How The Supreme Court Changed Juvenile Justice (The Crime Report, 11-2-23) "Prior to 2005, twenty-two people who were executed in the United States were tried as adults after committing crimes as juveniles. At the time, only two countries in the world, US and Iran, allowed the death penalty for juveniles.
    "Juvenile executions came to a halt in 2005 when the Supreme Court in Roper v. Simmons held that executing a child whose crime was committed when they were under age 18 violated the cruel and unusual punishment provisions of the 8th Amendment and the due process provisions of the 14th Amendment. Roper was decided by a 5-4 vote—four liberal justices and one moderate justice casting the deciding votes over the four conservative justices.
    Five years after Roper, the Supreme Court handed down another juvenile justice decision, Graham v. Florida. Graham held that juvenile offenders could not be sentenced to life without parole for non-homicide offenses; that such a punishment was disproportionate to the offenses in violation of the 8th Amendment.

    "Two years after Graham, the Supreme Court decided yet another juvenile justice case, Miller v. Alabama—a decision finding that sentencing juvenile offenders to a mandatory life without parole for homicide offenses also violates the cruel and unusual punishment provisions of the 8th Amendment....

      In the wake of Miller and Montgomery, states adopted a wide array of resentencing options, including life without parole for the most heinous juvenile murder cases after a factual determination is made that the offender is "permanently incorrigible." 

      "This judicial confusion was created because neither Miller nor Montgomery established a "categorical ban on the practices of imposing life imprisonment without parole for juveniles." Instead, the two decisions required an "individualized sentencing determination to identify those rare instances when a life without parole sentence would be appropriate."

      "Some courts, wishing to avoid future challenges of life without parole sentences, opted to impose what are known as "virtual life sentences"—sentences with a specific number of years that must be served without the benefit of parole which exceed the life expectancy of the offender.

       "These new types of juvenile life without parole sentences were effectively given constitutional blessing in 2021 when the Supreme Court decided Jones v. Mississippi.

And so on. 
      "Texas has a sordid history of fast-tracking juveniles from juvenile court to adult courts for capital offenses, some drug offenses and certain felonies if the offenders, particularly those of color, have extended criminal histories and are charged with a serious violent offense. These are the kind of ideological-driven juvenile sentencing practices Jones v. Mississippi gives constitutional blessing to."

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Covering abortion

"If you're against gun reform, you're not pro-life." ~Robert Reich


Traveling for abortions: The untold story (Katelyn Jetelina, Your Local Epidemiologist, 12-24-23) Forced abortion travel has doubled following Dobbs. And if you’re one of the lucky few who can travel, this journey isn’t without very real challenges that may not be apparent to the unseen eye.
Map of World Abortion Laws (Center for Reproductive Rights) The legal status of abortion in countries across the globe, updated in real time. See also its excellent Glossary: Abortion Bans, Restrictions and Protections
After Roe Fell: Abortion Laws by State (Center for Reproductive Laws) Color-coded map of the U.S. to indicate (on a spectrum) Legal, Hostile, Not Protected, Protected, Expanded Access.
Alabama Court Rules Embryos Are Children. What Now? (What the Health podcast, KFF Health News, 2-22-24, audio + transcript) In a first-of-its-kind ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court has determined that embryos created for in vitro fertilization procedures are legally people. The decision has touched off massive confusion about potential ramifications, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham has paused its IVF program. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to endorse a national 16-week abortion ban, while his former administration officials are planning further reproductive health restrictions for a possible second term. Lauren Weber of The Washington Post, Rachana Pradhan of KFF Health News, and Victoria Knight of Axios join KFF Health News’ Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more
Abortion Pill Can Be Dispensed in Retail Pharmacies, FDA Says (Amanda D'Ambrosio, MedPage Today, 1-4-23) Decision allows patients to pick up mifepristone (Mifeprex), one of two drugs used for medication abortion, at brick-and-mortar locations. The rule will not apply to pharmacies in the roughly dozen states that have near-total abortion bans or that restrict access to the abortion pill. However, when the FDA permanently removed the in-person dispensing requirement, it added a condition mandating that pharmacies acquire a special certification to dispense the drug.
---Safe, Online, Delivered: How to Get the Abortion Pill By Mail (National Women's Health Network, 10-6-22) Safe and effective FDA-approved abortion pills (aka medication abortion) are now available by mail in several states — without an in-person clinic visit.
---The Plan C Guide to Abortion Pill Access

---Medication abortion, also known as medical abortion or abortion with pills, can be safely used up to the first 10 weeks of pregnancy according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
An Abortion Clinic One Year Later (Emily Witt, New Yorker, 6-23-23) After the fall of Roe v. Wade, North Dakota’s Red River Women’s Clinic moved two miles away, into Minnesota and a new political reality. Forced to shutter in its home state, it can now provide care with greater freedom just a few minutes away.
Walgreens Says It Won’t Offer the Abortion Pill Mifepristone in 21 States (Pam Belluck, NY Times, 3-3-23) The decision applies to conservative states whose attorneys general threatened Walgreens and other pharmacies with legal action if they dispensed the pill there. The decision does not affect the second pill in the medication abortion regimen, misoprostol, which is used for several medical conditions and has long been available by prescription at retail pharmacies nationwide.

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New tip sheet guides reporting on rise of medication abortion and its safety (Kerry Dooley Young, Covering Health, AHCJ, 5-31-22) See What the FDA and a major report say about safety of abortion pills (Kerry Dooley Young, 5-31-22) Tip Sheet available to members of the Association of Health Care Journalists, a top resource if you're writing about health care). Two broad tips:
   1. Explain the potential risks of mifepristone, also known as RU 486, in proper context, as you should for any medicine. This treatment has been subject to an unusual level of scrutiny because of ongoing political fights over abortion.
   2. Describe the funding and context of any studies or reports on medication abortion.
Medication Abortion Now Accounts for More Than Half of All US Abortions (Guttmacher Institute, Feb. 2022) Throughout the more than 20 years that it has been used in the United States, medication abortion has been proven to be overwhelmingly safe and effective. Because it can be taken safely and effectively outside of a clinic setting, it has long been a target of abortion opponent
Overview of Supreme Court decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and its impact at UT Austin (University of Texas at Austen, Human Resources)

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Abortion: Pro and Con Key arguments on both sides of the debate.
A History of Key Abortion Rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court (Fact Sheet, Pew Research Center, 1-16-13, so before the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision)
Reproductive Health resource links (Association of Health Care Journalists) Key Supreme Court cases, professional medical societies, articles and
ACOG Guide to Language and Abortion (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) To help inform language choice for those writing about reproductive health to use language that is medically appropriate, clinically accurate, and without bias.
Justice Alito’s Crusade Against a Secular America Isn’t Over (Margaret Talbot, New Yorker, 8-28-22) He’s had win after win—including overturning Roe v. Wade—yet seems more and more aggrieved. What drives his anger? If Alito is still fighting against the Warren Court of the sixties, he is now in an incomparably more powerful position.

      'As the liberal Justices pointed out in their dissent, the Dobbs decision endangers other Supreme Court precedents. In particular, it leaves vulnerable the cases that established “unenumerated rights” to privacy, intimacy, and bodily autonomy—rights that the Constitution did not explicitly name but that previous Court majorities had seen as reasonable extensions of the liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

     Many Americans have also built their lives on precedents such as Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 case confirming the constitutional right of married couples to buy and use contraception; Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 case declaring bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional; Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 case recognizing a right to same-sex intimacy; and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case recognizing a right to same-sex marriage. Would Alito grant that these decisions have created reliance interests?'
We Cannot Rest Until Abortion Rights Are Restored (Morgan S. Levy, Shira Fishbach, Vineet Arora, and Arghavan Salles, MedPage Today, 12-30-22) As physicians, we have the privilege of bearing witness to the critical role of preserving access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare. Access to care is essential not only for our patients, but also for the physician workforce, as our data shows over 1 in 10 physicians have had an abortion. For the patient whose amniotic sac ruptures at 22 weeks' gestation and faces likely sepsis, or the patient with a new diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension for whom a pregnancy would be lethal, or for the pre-med student with aspirations to go to medical school: abortion is essential. We cannot rest until abortion rights are restored.
Former Anti-Abortion Leader Alleges Another Supreme Court Breach (Jodi Kantor and Jo Becker, NY Times, 11-19-22) Years before the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark contraception ruling was disclosed, according to a minister who led a secretive effort to influence justices.

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Kansas Votes to Preserve Abortion Rights Protections in Its Constitution (Mitch Smith and Katie Glueck, NY Times, 8-2-22) The defeat of the ballot referendum was the most tangible demonstration yet of a political backlash against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that had protected abortion rights throughout the country. See also Here’s how abortion rights supporters won in conservative Kansas. (Maggie Astor and Nate Cohn, NY Times, 8-2-22)
Abortion: scales tip on this divisive, embattled, politicized issue (Writers and Editors site) Links to many articles about abortion, as healthcare information.
Michigan, California and Vermont Affirm Abortion Rights in Ballot Proposals (Mitch Smith and Ava Sasani, NY Times, 11-9-22) Voters in all five states where abortion-related questions were on the ballot this week chose to secure access to the procedure or reject further limits. The results, which came just months after the U.S. Supreme Court removed the constitutional right to abortion, showed that when asked directly, a broad cross section of Americans want to protect abortion rights.
When Abortion Roiled 19th Century New York (Kenneth D. Ackerman, American Heritage, Summer 2022) Long before Roe vs. Wade, the practice of abortion led to fierce political conflict and public health problems in 1870s America.
Abortion at SCOTUS: A Review of Potential Cases this Term and Possible Rulings (Laurie Sobel, Amrutha Ramaswan, and Alina Salganicoft, KFF, 10-20-2020) A detailed history and legal issues in question for the two abortion cases pending the Supreme Court’s review. See also A Reconfigured U.S. Supreme Court: Implications for Health Policy (MaryBeth Musumeci and Laurie Sobel, KFF, 10-9-2020) A broader discussion on health care cases to be reviewed or potentially coming before the Court in the current term.
With Roe likely in its final days, experts say reporters should sharpen focus on abortion as a health issue (Margarita Martín-Hidalgo Birnbaum, Covering Health, AHCJ, 5-3-22) Pregnancy is a medical condition and abortion is an intervention for it, so journalists writing about the topic should take the same approach they would when writing about cancer, diabetes, and other conditions and treatments: focus on mortality risks, patients’ rights to care and bodily autonomy.s.
State Actions to Protect and Expand Access to Abortion Services (Laurie Sobel, Alina Salganicof, and Amrutha Ramaswamy, Women's Health Policy, KFF, 5-16-22) Should the Supreme Court overturn or weaken the Roe decision in its ruling on the Dobbs case, it will again be up to each state to establish laws protecting or restricting abortion in the absence of a federal standard. While it is estimated that roughly half of the states across the U.S. will move to either outright ban or greatly restrict abortion access, there is growing momentum in a handful of states to not only protect abortion access for their state residents, but also to expand access to people who live in states that ban or restrict abortion.
Abortion Opponents Take Political Risks by Dropping Exceptions for Rape, Incest, and the Mother’s Life (Julie Rovner, KHN, 6-1-22) If it seems as though the anti-abortion movement has gotten more extreme in recent months, that’s because it has. But it’s not the first time — positions taken by both sides of the abortion debate have ebbed and flowed repeatedly in the 49 years since the Supreme Court declared abortion a constitutional right.
Resources for Journalists Reporting on Abortion (Physicians for Reproductive Health) Very useful.
Resources for Journalists: 15 Things to Consider When Covering Abortion, the Supreme Court, and a Potential “Post-Roe World” (Lauren Cross and Elizabeth Nash, Guttmacher Institute)
What If Roe Fell (Map of states, Center for Reproductive Rights) You can filter map by abortion laws: Abortion bans, abortion restrictions, abortion protections.

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Abortion Media Coverage Is “Deeply, and Problematically, Politicized” Says Study (Zoe Larkin, MS, 7-1-20) Some of the studies notable findings:
---Reporters portray abortion as more controversial than it actually is. Seventy-seven percent of Americans, across party lines, support the landmark abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade, and 78 percent support abortion in at least some circumstances—solidifying a decisive outpouring of support for legal abortion.
---Abortion is almost always covered as a political issue. It should be covered as a health and medical issue.
---Reporters use misleading anti-choice rhetoric without explanation.
---Abortion coverage often lacks expert voices.
---Abortion coverage uses polarizing language.
---Reporters can do better. Among other things, writers should include the real-life stories of people who have had abortions—those who ultimately bear the consequences of their reporting.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (Center for Reproductive Rights, 3-19-18) In the most consequential abortion rights case in generations, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a Mississippi abortion ban that directly challenges Roe v. Wade. See also Guttmacher Institute on the case (11-21)
Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows (Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, Politico, 5-2-22) The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision — Planned Parenthood v. Casey — that largely maintained the right. See also Reporting on abortion round table discussion, AHCJ, 4-30-22) Suggested topics to address:

1. Carrying a baby to term is riskier than having an abortion.

2. Teens are more likely than women in their 20s and 30s to develop pregnancy-related high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. Some of the states with the toughest abortion restrictions in the country also have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the U.S.

3. The U.S. maternal mortality rate increased between 2018 and 2020, the most recent year for which there is data. Banning abortion in the U.S. may lead to a significant increase in maternal mortality, especially for non-Hispanic Black women.

4. The restrictions may bring legal ramifications for women who have spontaneous abortions and who perform self-managed abortions in the privacy of their homes.
Abortion in the courts: a political football (Heather Cox Richardson, 9-2-21) While it is hard to remember today, the modern-day opposition to abortion had its roots not in a moral defense of life but rather in the need for President Richard Nixon to win votes before the 1972 election. Pushing the idea that abortion was a central issue of American life was about rejecting the equal protection of the laws embraced by the Democrats far more than it was ever about using the government to protect fetuses.
Heather Cox Richardson on the Supreme Court's decision on abortion (9-3-21) The fact that the Fox News Channel is not mentioning what should have been a landmark triumph of its viewers’ ideology suggests Republicans know that ending safe and legal abortion is deeply unpopular. Their base finally, after all these years, got what it wanted. But now the rest of the nation, which had been assured as recently as the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh that Roe v. Wade was settled law that would not be overturned, gets a chance to weigh in.

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Newsrooms must reframe abortion coverage and the worn-out debate around the rules of objectivity (Kelly McBride, Poynter, 5-5-22) Coverage often fails to capture the complexity of American viewpoints on abortion, and newsroom rules about speech stifle conversation. American newsrooms face two problems when it comes to abortion. The coverage itself often fails to capture the complexity and ambiguity that most Americans express on abortion. On top of that, the internal rules about avoiding political speech tend to stifle this conversation within newsrooms, leaving journalists poorly prepared for capturing the nuances of the issue.
The media fell for ‘pro-life’ rhetoric — and helped create this mess (Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, 5-5-22) A conversation with the journalist son of the doctor who endured Buffalo’s abortion wars (and delivered my firstborn).
Perspective: Lesson from a pre-Roe vs. Wade experience: Men cannot be silent on abortion rights (Norman Pearlstine, LA Times, 6-16-19) The recent spate of antiabortion legislation in Alabama and other states resuscitated long-dormant and traumatic memories that I had suppressed since adolescence. I think it important to remind myself and to tell others what life was like before Roe vs. Wade. Should Roe vs. Wade be overturned, there will be a spike in illegal abortions resulting in increased injuries and death.
I kept my abortion a secret for years, but I'm ready to speak up (Taylor DeVille, Baltimore Banner, 5-5-22) ‘News of the looming Supreme Court decision lit a fire in me to defend our bodies against subjugation. But I’m a journalist, and our standards preclude us from protesting or donating to certain funds. What else can I do but reach out and hope my words touch someone?’
Tracking new action on abortion legislation across the states (Washington Post, 2022)
Sotomayor’s Defiant Dissent (Justice Sonia Sotomayor, The Nation,9-3-21) In her blistering dissent, the Supreme Court justice calls out her conservative colleagues’ breathtaking disregard of precedent and the Constitution. "Conservatives would have you believe that the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas’s law banning abortions after six weeks, and deputizing bounty hunters to enforce it, was a narrow and technical ruling from the high court. It was not. It was a frontal attack on the constitutional rights of women, made all the more despicable by the conservative decision to authorize the Texas attack on women without the benefit of a full, public hearing on the issues....In effect, the Texas Legislature has deputized the State's citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors' medical procedures."

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions (Adam Liptak, NY Times, 6-29-2020) The Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with a single abortion clinic.In Medical Services v. Russo, the court ruled, 5 to 4, that a Louisiana law violated the Constitution when it required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.The case is the first abortion ruling since two Trump appointees joined the court. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voting with the court’s four-member liberal wing but not adopting its reasoning. The chief justice said respect for precedent compelled him to vote with the majority.
The woman behind ‘Roe vs. Wade’ didn’t change her mind on abortion. She was paid (Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 5-19-2020) Director Nick Sweeney started making the film “AKA Jane Roe,” which premiered on FX, in April 2016. He interviewed figures on either side of the abortion issue who were close to McCorvey, including attorney Gloria Allred and Rob Schenck, an evangelical minister and former leader of the antiabortion group Operation Rescue. 'Despite her visible role in the fight against abortion, McCorvey says she was a mercenary, not a true believer. And Schenck, who has also distanced himself from the antiabortion movement, at least particularly corroborates the allegations, saying that she was paid out of concern “that she would go back to the other side,” he says in the film. “There were times I wondered: Is she playing us? And what I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know damn well we were playing her.”'

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Our child received a devastating diagnosis before she was born. We decided to protect her (Allison Chang, STAT, 1-7-19) Is she in pain?” I asked quietly as the pearlescent baby-shaped image on the screen folded its legs and then extended them. The radiologist doing my ultrasound had just finished pointing out a cluster of alarming abnormalities in our developing daughter, using a slew of medical terms my husband and I, both medical students, were grimly familiar with.Something was very wrong with our baby. Trisomy 18 is rare, occurring in about 1 in 2,500 pregnancies. The few who live past one year have serious health problems, such as a toddler lacking abdominal wall muscles, revealing the slithering movement of intestines beneath his skin, or a 1-year-old who cannot not defecate on her own, requiring anal sphincter dilation multiple times each day. As parents, we felt it was our duty to protect our daughter from the inevitable suffering she would meet if she were to make it to term. And so, at 15 weeks of gestation, we made the painful decision to end our very wanted pregnancy. For such a heartbreaking event, we had the best-case scenario. Other families aren't as lucky as mine. (The stories of one rational termination of pregnancy and of another, punitive one.)

The Twenty-First Chromosome and Down Syndrome (Boen Wang, The Sunday Long Read, 9-25-21) Whose life is worth living? Who decides whose life is worth living? Since his son Jamie was born with Down syndrome, Penn State English professor Michael Bérubé has written two memoirs testifying to the richness of Jamie’s life, while also defending reproductive rights. “When parental leave is the law of the land,” he wrote, “when private insurers can’t drop families from the rolls because of ‘high risk’ children, when every child can be fed, clothed, and cared for—then we can start talking about what kind of a choice ‘life’ might be.”
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.
Why The Abortion Fight Is Becoming A Battle Over Health Information (Chelsea Conaboy, CommonHealth, WBUR, 5-22-18) As the White House moves to block federal funding for family planning clinics unless they stop providing abortions or abortion referrals, supporters and opponents of abortion rights are gearing up for a familiar and likely protracted fight. Women today have access to safe, private, do-it-yourself abortion -- if they know where to look. Or rather, which search terms to type into Google. Abortion pills -- typically a combination of misoprostol and mifepristone, the same drugs used in medication abortions initiated at a clinic -- are widely available for sale from online pharmacies. See also Abortion and women's reproductive rights.
As Leak Theories Circulate, Supreme Court Marshal Takes Up Investigation (Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, NY Times, 5-4-22) A leaked draft Supreme Court opinion has led to demonstrations and a renewed focus on Roe v. Wade, prompting speculation over its leaker’s identity and motivation. Not since Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein refused for decades to disclose the identity of their Watergate source has Washington been as eager to unmask a leaker.

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Supreme Court Asked To Uphold Roe V. Wade In Another Major Abortion Case (KHN Morning Briefing, Summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations, 9-14-21) In a court brief, a Mississippi abortion clinic and doctor urged the Supreme Court justices to strike down a Mississippi state law that effectively bans the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy and warned of national "chaos" if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Political and Religious Identities and Views on Abortion (Diana Orcés, PRRI,* 4-8-22) PRRI (the Public Religion Research Institute) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy. I discovered it when researching how Republican and Democratic opinions vary. It turned up as conducting interesting polls.

"In 2021, PRRI asked a series of questions related to how important personal identities are to Americans. About one-third of Americans (35%) said that their religious identity is the most important thing or a very important thing in their lives, compared to about one in five who mentioned their political identity (19%).

    "About six in ten Americans who identify strongly with their political identity (61%) agree that “Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a constitutional right to abortion, was the right decision and should be upheld,” compared to 43% of Americans who identify strongly with their religious identity. Democrats who identify strongly with their political identity are substantially more likely than Republicans to agree with this statement (80% vs. 36%). By contrast, the majority who identify with their religious identity (55%) disagree that “Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a constitutional right to abortion, was the right decision and should be upheld.” This percentage is particularly high among white evangelical Protestants (78% disagree vs. 20% agree) and white Catholics (60% disagree vs. 38% agree), but white mainline Protestants tend to agree more than disagree on this question (44% disagree vs. 55% agree)."

The Roe Baby (Joshua Prager, The Atlantic, 9-9-21) Ever since the National Enquirer published its story on “the Roe baby,” anti-abortion-rights activists have claimed her as a metaphor for their cause. But Shelley herself isn’t so sure. “From Shelley’s perspective, it was clear that if she, the Roe baby, could be said to represent anything, it was not the sanctity of life but the difficulty of being born unwanted.”
New Texas Abortion Law Likely to Unleash a Torrent of Lawsuits Against Online Education, Advocacy and Other Speech(David Greene, Cindy Cohn, Corynne McSherry, and Sophia Cope, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 9-2-21) ' "SB8 is a “bounty law”: it doesn’t just allow these lawsuits, it provides a significant financial incentive to file them. It guarantees that a person who files and wins such a lawsuit will receive at least $10,000 for each abortion that the speech “aided or abetted,” plus their costs and attorney’s fees. At the same time, SB8 may often shield these bounty hunters from having to pay the defendant’s legal costs should they lose. This removes a key financial disincentive they might have had against bringing meritless lawsuits." '
Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows (Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, Politico, 5-2-22) “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito writes in an initial majority draft circulated inside the court. It's a draft, not the final opinion.

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The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate (Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic, December 2019) "No matter what the law says, women will continue to get abortions. How do I know? Because in the relatively recent past, women would allow strangers to brutalize them, to poke knitting needles and wire hangers into their wombs, to thread catheters through their cervices and fill them with Lysol, or scalding-hot water, or lye. Women have been willing to risk death to get an abortion. When we made abortion legal, we decided we weren’t going to let that happen anymore."
Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty edited by Marcia Meier and Kathleen A. Barry. "Sex for women after 50 is invisible for the same reason that contraception, abortion, and sex between two women or two men has been forbidden: sexuality is supposed to be only about procreation. This lie was invented by patriarchy, monotheism, racism and other hierarchies. Sexuality is and always has been also about bonding, communicating, and pleasure. Unmasked helps to restore a human right." ~ Gloria Steinem
MacKenzie Scott Just Made The Single Largest Donation In Planned Parenthood's History (Paige Skinner, Buzzfeed News, 3-23-22)The $275 million donation comes at a critical time when reproductive rights are under attack across the US.
She ended a pregnancy so her child wouldn’t suffer. Now she helps others like her. (Ashley Fetters Maloy, Washington Post, 4-26-22) Emma Belle and other parents who experienced TFMR, or termination for medical reasons, are creating an online community to ease the grieving process. TFMR has long been a taboo subject, but recently, TFMR parents have begun to find one another online, on Instagram in particular, and carve out a distinct place for themselves.
Rise in delivery complications is increasing hospital costs (Maria Castellucci, Modern Healthcare, 1-6-2020) Women are more likely to experience an unexpected outcome during delivery and it's adding to hospital costs, according to a new analysis from Premier. The rate of women with a severe maternal morbidity factor, which are complications during labor such as sepsis, shock or eclampsia, rose by 36% from 2008 to 2018, Premier found. And those vaginal births cost nearly 80% more on average than those without complications. Additionally, cesarean deliveries for women with a severe maternal morbidity factor cost almost twice as much as uncomplicated C-sections on average.Screening women when they present to the hospital for conditions that make them vulnerable to complications (such as substance abuse disorder or obesity) could avoid issues during labor, experts say.

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As Red States Push Strident Abortion Bans, Other Restrictions Suddenly Look Less Extreme (Julie Rovner, KHN, 3-30-22) The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has yet to make clear its stand on Roe v. Wade. But state lawmakers aren’t waiting to consider a variety of extreme measures: bills that would ban abortions in cases of ectopic pregnancies, allow rapists’ families to object to terminating a victim’s pregnancy, or prohibit the procedure in the case of fetal disability. Do these proposals make the less extreme restrictions seem more mainstream?
The Abortion I Didn’t Have (Merritt Tierce, NY Times, 12-2-21) I never thought about ending my pregnancy. Instead, at 19, I erased the future I had imagined for myself.
Most Women Denied Abortions by Texas Law Got Them Another Way (Margot Sanger-Katz, Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Bui, NY Times, 3-6-22) New data suggests overall abortions declined much less than previously known, because women traveled to a clinic in a nearby state or ordered abortion pills online.  See Association of Texas Senate Bill 8 With Requests for Self-managed Medication Abortion (Abigail R. A. Aiken, Jennifer E. Starling, James G. Scott, et al., JAMA Network, 2-25-22) Medication (mifepristone and misoprostol) for home use was ordered through Aid Access.
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. See also Web of Incentives in Fatal Indian Sterilizations (Ellen Barry and Suhasini Raj, NY Times, 11-13-14) and Ankita Rao Reckons with the Toll of Forced Sterilization on Vulnerable Women (Emily Laber-Warren, The Open Notebook, 11-19-19) About the process of finding and pursuing the story.


Methodist Pastor David Barnhart:

       “The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus, but actually dislike people who breathe. Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.”

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Covering extremism


Hate in the Headlines: Journalism & the Challenge of Extremism (James Tager and Summer Lopez, PEN America Experts, Nov. 2022) PEN America's new report examines how the news media has grappled with reporting on the increasing prevalence of far-right extremism in U.S. politics and society; how that reporting has evolved from 2016 until today; and considers how the journalism profession can respond as the line between extremism reporting and political reporting continues to blur. The following links come from that report, so you might want to start there.
The New Anarchy (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 3-6-23) "What had seemed from the outside to be spontaneous protests centered on the murder of George Floyd were in fact the culmination of a long-standing ideological battle. Some four years earlier, Trump supporters had identified Portland, correctly, as an ideal place to provoke the left. The city is often mocked for its infatuation with leftist ideas and performative politics....Right-wing extremists understood that Portland’s reaction to a trolling campaign would be swift, and would guarantee the celebrity that comes with virality. When Trump won the presidency, this dynamic intensified...
      "We face a new phase of domestic terror, one characterized by radicalized individuals with shape-shifting ideologies willing to kill their political enemies....A drumbeat of violent attacks, by different groups with different agendas, may register as different things. But collectively, as in Italy, they have the power to loosen society’s screws....Portland stands as a warning: It takes very little provocation to inflame latent tensions. Once order collapses, it is extraordinarily difficult to restore."
‘Not normal’: What local newsrooms can do now to prepare for a series of historic elections (Jane Elizabeth, American Press Institute, 9-19-22) How do local newsrooms cover elections at a time when democratic principles are under attack, basic voting procedures are questioned, and many people fear the future of personal rights? Designed to help news organizations think about their politics and campaign coverage in different and more effective ways, with advice for how to re-design election-related coverage  Download also What you can expect from our elections coverage (Texas Tribune report, 8-15-22)
Political extremism in the public square: A resource for journalists and voters (Amy Sherman, Poynter, 9-20-22) Fact-checks of 17 claims about election processes and alleged election fraud that are stoking anger among voters who feel neglected.
Covering Political Extremism in the Public Square (Poynter, 9-9-22) This one-day workshop was recorded.
The Authoritarian Playbook (Jennifer Dresden, Aaron Baird, and Ben Raderstorf, Protect Democracy, June 2022) How reporters can contextualize and cover authoritarian threats as distinct from politics-as-usual.
Election Integrity Project (Center for Journalism Ethics, University of Wisconsin/Madison, Fall 2022) Check out its media toolkit Responsible Reporting Toolkit Covering misinformation and disinformation and News Consumers' Toolkit also covering misinformation and disinformation. "Misinformation can acquire power through repetition, creating the illusion of truth." Links to three of several related articles:
---Pre-bunking falsehoods: How Wisconsin voters can avoid falling for election misinformation (Howard Hardee, Wisconsin Watch, 10-17-20) The best defense from rumors, hoaxes and propaganda is knowing what to expect.
---Pro-Trump and pro-Biden PACs spread debunked Facebook ads in Wisconsin (Howard Hardee, Wisconsin Watch, 10-17-20) Researchers flag hundreds of political advertisements containing false or misleading messages — including some already debunked by fact-checkers
---A pile of mailboxes: Tracking the spread of misinformation in Wisconsin   (Naomi Kowles, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, 10-29-20) The life cycle of misleading images purporting to prove Postal Service misconduct shows how social media users can amplify falsehoods
Election SOS Reporting Resources. 2020. "We started with a call for radically different campaign coverage, in collaboration with and inspired by the work of Jay Rosen of New York University on The Citizens Agenda Model for elections. In this call, we issued a challenge and offered a vision for creating voter-centered news reporting." Offers courses, seminars, and training as well as Critical Reads for Covering Extremism (Election SOS) An excellent recommended reading list.
Media inquiry expert list The Election Coverage and Democracy Network is a group of scholarly experts in politics and media offering practical, nonpartisan, and evidence-based recommendations to journalists covering elections. Its Media Inquiry expert list includes approximately 45 high-level political communications scholars for reference, with expertise in polarization, misinformation, election coverage, and hate speech. Political communication scholars available for expert interviews and other media inquiries.

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Navigating Mis- and Disinformation Online

I've "borrowed" links and copy here that I found toward the end of Hate in the Headlines: Journalism & the Challenge of Extremism (James Tager and Summer Lopez, PEN America Experts, Nov. 2022)


An Unrepresentative Democracy: How Disinformation and Online Abuse Hinder Women of Color Political Candidates in the United States.
• (Center for Democracy and Technology, Oct. 2022) CDT explores and explains how online harassment and abuse, including targeted mis- and disinformation campaigns, must be understood as attempts to limit women’s ability to participate in electoral politics and suppress their voices.
Essential Guides: Tools and Tips for Better Online Journalism: First Draft’s Essential Guide to Disinformation. (First Draft News, 4-28-20) This guide compiles resources for identifying and effectively reporting on disinformation, understanding how disinformation works, reporting on manipulated media content, verifying online information, and accessing closed groups. It’s available in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Sanskrit.
Understanding Information Disorder This primer part 1 of First Draft’s “Essential Guide to Disinformation,” breaks down the basics of mis- and disinformation for journalists: what it is, how it spreads, how to spot it, and the risks it poses, particularly in politics.
A Guide to Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT). (Michael Edison Hayden, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism Review, 6-7-19) Hayden, an investigative reporter specializing in extremism at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), published this guide to the world of online research, particularly gathering and verifying information about people and events through social media. 

     "Open-source reporting refers to the effort of retrieving information that is publicly available online, part of what we will call an open network."

      Chapters: The difference between open and closed networks. Searching the Open Web. Verifying the authenticity of social media accounts. Verifying images and videos. Exploring fringe websites. Using archives, saving your work. Learning new platforms and interacting with hostile communities. Tools.

 

See also on this Writers and Editors website

---Misinformation, disinformation, and fake news (intentional misinformation) How to spot, recognize, identify, and combat them
---Verification sites

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Op Eds

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


Writing Opinion Pieces as a Journalist (Pratik Pawar, Reported Features, The Open Notebook, 4-18-23) Report the heck out of your argument, just as you would for any journalistic assignment, and make sure your story stands on solid ground. One challenge with writing opinions is that it defies the traditional view of a journalist as a neutral, impartial observer. As such, writing op-eds may raise questions among your readers, editors, or future sources about possible conflicts of interest or bias. Even with the risk of perceived bias or pigeonholing, writing opinion pieces tends to pay off for both writers and their readers.
Op-Eds and Essays (Ashley Smart , KSJ Science Editing Handbook). Nailing down an argument, structuring an op ed, handling perceptions of bias.  
    She links to an important essay: A Reckoning Over Objectivity, Led by Black Journalists (Wesley Lowery, NY Times, 6-23-20). Amazing photo of members of the media outside a memorial service for George Floyd in Houston.
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 NYT Op Ed Columnists
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) The basics.
Op Ed Boot Camp with Steve Holmes (50-minute YouTube video, Student Press Law Center)
Op-ed Writing: Tips and Tricks (The Op Ed Project) Resources, including Public Voices Fellowships

Tips for Aspiring Op-Ed Writers (Bret Stephens, NY Times, 8-25-17) Things he's learned over the years as an editor, op-ed writer and columnist.
A Guide to Op-eds and Original Content (BU Public Relations)

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Pulitzer Prizes for Editorial Writing Read examples of the best editorial writing.
Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest (American Philosophical Association)
CASE Circle of Excellence Awards for Writing Columns or Opinion Pieces Each year the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards recognize hundreds of institutions whose talented staff members advanced their institutions last year through innovative, inspiring, and creative ideas.
ASJA Award for Opinion/Op Eds (American Society of Journalists & Authors)
SPJ Award for Editorial Writing (Society of Professional Journalists)

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The Conversation Slogan: "Academic rigor, journalistic flair." The Conversation is a network of not-for-profit media outlets publishing news stories and research reports online, with accompanying expert opinion and analysis. Articles are written by academics and researchers under a free Creative Commons license, allowing reuse without modification.
Opinion Journalism Is Broken ( Parker Molloy, Pressing Issues, DAME, 4-13-22) "It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that a significant segment of U.S. news consumers can’t tell the difference between what constitutes “news” and “opinion”—but it’s not entirely their fault.The goal of newspapers is to inform the public. But increasingly, they are publishing opinion pieces as fact, misleading and confusing readers, and undermining their own agenda—and quite possibly, our democracy."
NYT Opinion section doubles in size (Sara Fischer, Economy & Business, Axios, 4-26-22) Opinion and its focus on multimedia projects are among the best retention vehicles for the Times' subscription, said Kathleen Kingsbury, opinion editor of the Times.

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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
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)

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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)."
(CNN)

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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)
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.
Nonprofit Explorer (Andrea Suozzo, Ken Schwencke, Mike Tigas, Sisi Wei and Alec Glassford, ProPublica, and Brandon Roberts, Special to ProPublica, 9-14-22) Use this database to view summaries of 3 million tax returns from tax-exempt organizations and see financial details such as their executive compensation and revenue and expenses. You can browse IRS data released since 2013 and access more than 14 million tax filing documents going back as far as 2001.
Tabula A tool for "liberating data tables locked inside PDF files," as one writer put it. Document Cloud "a similar tool, also boasts an open-source repository of public documents that have gone through this process."
World Bank Data Catalog Development data that is "easy to find, download, use, and share. It includes data from the World Bank's microdata, finances and energy data platforms, as well as datasets from the open data catalog."
World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory International data on a wide variety of health indicators.

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Covering Poverty


Covering Poverty (Journalism Writing Lab, University of Georgia, @coveringpoverty)
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." Search for pieces by topic--say, Criminal justice-- or by genre (writing, photography, audio, film/tv, or illustration).
Going for Broke A podcast from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and The Nation about Americans on the edge. Journalist and broadcaster Ray Suarez talks to people who have lost jobs, lost their homes and sometimes lost the narrative thread of their lives--and provide insights into the problems facing millions of people in the U.S.
Between the Lines: A History of the Poverty Line (the Most Important Concept in Global Poverty) (Ranil Dissanayake, Asterisk Magazine, 10-4-23) The global poverty line helps determine how billions of dollars in aid are allocated. But where did the idea of measuring poverty come from — and how might it be holding us back?
Two Stories About Housing and Poverty (Journalism Writing Lab)
Separated by design: Why affordable housing is built in areas with high crime, few jobs and struggling schools (Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, The Connecticut Mirror/ProPublica, 11-25-19) Connecticut’s approach to affordable housing creates pockets of poverty, where low-income people are locked out of opportunities that are just around the corner.
—Broken (Erik Castro and Meg McConahey, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 9-6-18) Castro and McConahey documented a homeless couple for 14 months, recording the couple’s relationship, attempts to rise out of economic insecurity, and experiences in homeless camps in detail. While the story focuses on one couple, it gives a face to the housing and homelessness crisis in Santa Rosa, California.
Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo (winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics)
What $500 Means to Zinida Moore (Elly Fishman, Chicago Magazine, 9-26-23) In an experimental program, 5,000 Chicagoans received monthly cash payments from the city for a year, no strings attached. Here’s how the money changed one woman’s life — and how it didn’t. The $6,000 Moore will receive from the Resilient Communities Pilot won’t, on its own, enable her to buy a house, for instance. But repairing her credit has allowed her to entertain the idea as a real possibility. “The broader social value of a pilot comes from learning new information about what people need,” says University of Chicago economist Damon Jones. “What do people prioritize once they get a little more flexibility and choice?”
Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending US Poverty by Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox.
Federal Poverty Level (Healthcare.gov)
Federal Safety Net Bob Pfeiffer's site with information and articles on U.S.poverty and the anti-poverty, welfare, and safety net programs of the federal government.
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.
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.’
One Problem, Many Dimensions: Tips on Covering Poverty (Jean Claude Louis, Global Investigative Journalism Network, 1-24-14) Find out who attends school. Give voices to the children. Pay attention to people released from prison. Follow the money. Find out the goals and limitations of non-profits. Be aware of people who try to take advantage of poverty. And more....
Tips for Covering Poverty (ristiana Bedei, International Journalists' Network, 11-19-18) Question your preconceived ideas. Don’t miss the bigger picture. Involve people experiencing poverty in your stories.
Broke in Philly Collaborative reporting on economic mobility. Includes a language guide.
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.'
Breaking News Consumers Handbook: Poverty in America Edition (On the Media, WNYC Studios) 10 statements that suggest a range of story ideas for journalists.

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Covering War

Including wars in Afghanistan, Bolivia, Cuba, Israel-Hamas, Nigeria (Boko Haram), Ukraine, Vietnam


Jake Tapper reveals challenges of covering war, why he feels news outlets ‘censor too much’ and what has left him ‘shocked’

(Oliver Darcy, CNN and Reliable Sources newsletter, 11-22-23) An excerpt:

      "What has been the most challenging aspect about reporting on the Israel-Hamas war? As always, it’s the fog of war. Not knowing exactly what is going on for sure at any given moment, first reports being inadequate, sources for information being biased, the difficulty of knowing what is happening on a battlefield, the near impossibility of getting hard, cold facts in real-time.
     "I generally feel that we in the news media writ large, all over the world, censor too much. There is part of me that thinks if we showed more of what war is and what gun violence is and what fentanyl and opioids actually do, the better the journalism we would be providing. But these are fights I lose, and I understand why I lose them. I just don’t think we should pretend that hiding these images is any less of an overt act than showing them."
     Q: "Some critics believe the news media, broadly speaking, has not been doing an adequate job showing the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza. What are your thoughts on such critiques?
     A: "I’ve seen a ton of strong coverage that gives glimpses into life in Gaza, but it is incredibly dangerous to be there right now. Journalists have been killed.
      "The problem as U.S. policymakers explain it is twofold: First and foremost, Hamas staged this brutal attack on Israel on October 7 and ran back into Gaza where they embed within the population. And their spokesmen have been very clear in their public pronouncements that they do not particularly care about the loss of life of Palestinian civilians, and that they have spent money on tunnels for their own safety, that of Hamas fighters, and they consider it the responsibility of the United Nations to protect the Palestinian civilians.
      "Second, and the Biden administration has been pretty clear about this, in their view Israel is not doing enough to protect civilian casualties during its bombing campaign against Hamas. So thousands of innocent civilians have been killed and it is undeniably horrific.
      "Journalists are working every day to get into Gaza and safely report stories out, documenting the horrors of war and loss of human life. Because of the factors above, not to mention the near impossibility of getting in and out of Gaza, covering this war has proved challenging compared to, say, Iraq, Afghanistan or Ukraine."


RISC: Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues "We train and equip freelance journalists in all media to treat life-threatening injuries on the battlefield. Freelancers comprise the vast majority of those who cover wars, and consequently make up the vast majority of deaths and injuries. Surviving a gunshot or shrapnel wound is often a matter of doing the right thing in the first few minutes, and our training focuses on that brief, critical period of time."
       "In response to the increased dangers facing journalists, RISC expanded its program in 2018 to address additional threats. We remain committed to our effective, comprehensive first aid model and have added a two-day security component. Topics will vary according to regional relevance and include things like: creating a safety plan, vehicle and checkpoint procedures, covering protests and riots, surveillance detection/evasion, digital best practices, etc."
What Would a Lasting Peace Between Israel and Palestine Really Look Like? (Isaac Chotiner, New Yorker, 11-28-23)

     "To understand how such a process might develop, I spoke with Nathan Thrall, the former director of the International Crisis Group’s Arab-Israeli project, and an expert on the conflict, who lives in Jerusalem. He is also the author of the recent book “A Day In The Life Of Abed Salama,” which tells the story of the occupation through a Palestinian man’s search for his son after a fatal bus accident....During our conversation, the transcript of which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed how Hamas’s incursion may have changed Israeli politics, whether debates about a one-state solution versus a two-state solution are helpful, and America’s role in the conflict."

---A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy by Nathan Thrall

      "I know of no other writing on Israel and Palestine that reaches this depth of perception and understanding... One could read the book as a précis of modern Palestinian history embedded in the personal memories of many individuals, each of them drawn in stark, telling detail. To get to know them even a little is a rare gift, far more useful than the many standard, distanced histories of Palestine." ~ David Shulman, New York Review of Books
      "Thrall offers a unique window onto the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this captivating profile of Abed Salama, a Palestinian phone company worker and political activist, on the day when his five-year-old son, Milad, was ... in a traffic accident near Jerusalem ... It's a heart-wrenching portrait of an unequal society." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Israel and Hamas (The Economist, All of our coverage in one place) See also: Israel and Hamas: The war in video
OU professor shares insights of covering the Middle East (Yuna Lee, 4029tv.com, 10-13-23) "I've worked in the Middle East over and over and over again, covered countless conflicts between Israel and various Palestinian groups. I've never seen anything like this," Boettcher said. "I feel that this is a pivot point in history, that whatever happens will change the landscape of the Middle East for decades to come."
The Israel-Palestine Debate, on TikTok (Jacob Sweet, New Yorker, 11-28-23) "Adam Ventura, a thirty-two-year-old restaurant manager based in Denver, Colorado, who moderates one of the most popular recurring streams, told me that he wanted to provide a platform for anyone who felt excluded from the public conversation.... Live-streamers have flooded the social-media platform to prove the righteousness of their side. Even as social media companies like Meta, X, and TikTok continue to deëmphasize news, they remain the main source of information for many people.... Pasha Boyer feels that YouTube and podcasts are much more useful and balanced sources of information than TikTok—but, for now, the views on TikTok are higher, so that’s where he’s going to stay, for as many hours as it takes to win a few converts."
Gaza’s Urban Warfare Challenge: Lessons from Mosul and Raqqa (Michael Knights, Policy Analysis, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 10-13-23)The differences and parallels between urban battlefield circumstances in Gaza, Iraq, and Syria give U.S. policymakers a sobering but clear view of what exactly they will be committing to in supporting Israel’s ground campaign.

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20 Days in Mariupol: The Team That Documented City's Agonies (Mstyslav Chernov, 3-21-22) Vivid account of covering Russia's systematic destruction of most of the city's lifelines, starting with power and communications, by two journalists taking risks to get stunning images of the damage to the world, while Russian propaganda denied what their visual record made evident. Follow AP coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war here.
Don’t Look Away: Photojournalists Are Documenting the Brutality of Russia’s War in Ukraine (Chloe Coleman, Nieman Reports, 4-15-22) here are layers to bearing witness, from the war's victims, to journalists in the field, to readers like you. See also
---Covering The War in Ukraine: “The Putin Regime Doesn’t Want Eye Witnesses” by Katerina Sergatskova. Prior to the invasion, few Ukrainian journalists had experience working in conflict zones. Now the war has come to their homes
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)
How Newsrooms Handle Graphic Images of Violence by Helen Lewis. Are images of violence and death too distressing to publish—or too important to ignore?
“The Tragedy Has Never Left Us.” On the War in Ukraine (Florent Guénard's thoughtful interview with Bruno Cabanes, Books and Ideas, 4-18-22) Does the invasion of Ukraine resurrect images of the past: conquering armies, cities under siege, widespread destruction? References to the Second World War abound, but this conflict, with all its complexity and tragedy, belongs firmly to the present. 'Far from being a “war of the past,” the invasion of Ukraine has featured a repertoire of violence that we saw at work in Chechnya in the 1990s or, more recently, in Syria, like in the Battle of Aleppo (2012-2016). The forcible expulsion of civilian populations, village massacres, the organization of humanitarian corridors that Russian troops wasted no time in bombing, the siege or occupation of cities (Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kherson…), and the targeting of hospitals and maternity wards (for example, the Mariupol pediatric hospital on March 9, 2022) even echo the “policy of cruelty” implemented during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia.'
• What Racism Taught an American Journalist About Covering the War (Ruby Cramer, Politico, 3-19-22) Seeing persecution, a Black reporter in Ukraine refuses to keep his distance.  Terrell Jermaine Starr, from his home base in Ukraine, is redefining what it means to be a journalist who is as much a participant as an observer.

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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."
War Reporting for Bloody Dummies (Chris Chafin, The Awl, 7-17-13). If you face danger, considering taking the all-day course offered by Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC) (dedicated to promoting the safety of journalists in combat zones-- training and equipping freelance journalists to treat life-threatening injuries on the battlefield. "RISC doesn't claim to be giving its students tools to keep safe. Rather, its main focus is on 'avoiding the four preventable deaths on the battlefield'...: tension pneumothorax (pressure changes in the body mainly due to explosions), hypothermia, suffocation due to a blocked airway, and hemorrhaging. "Blood is precious," she said,"and if we keep it inside ourselves, all of our systems work a lot better." Hence, learning to apply a tourniquet, etc.


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.
When Hollywood Put World War III on Television (Tom Nichols, The Atlantic Daily, 11-21-23) 'The Day After' premiered 40 years ago. It was a scary year. Roughly 100 million people tuned in on Sunday night, November 20, 1983, and 'The Day After' holds the record as the most-watched made-for-television movie in history.
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 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 Gulf War did not take place (by French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, U.S. Archive) "Baudrillard argued the Gulf War was not really a war, but rather an atrocity which masqueraded as a war. Using overwhelming airpower, the American military for the most part did not directly engage in combat with the Iraqi army, and suffered few casualties." (Wikipedia)
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)

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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

---StormCloudsGathering

---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.

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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

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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. See also Q&A: Terry Gross explains why she’s terrified of being a reporter (Jesse Thorn, interviewer, Columbia Journalism Review, 8-11-17) "I have a very imperfect memory, and the idea of being a reporter was always really terrifying to me," says Gross. So why did she become a radio interviewer? "First of all, you’re invisible on the radio. That’s good if you’re self-conscious. You’ve already eliminated a whole lot of stuff that you otherwise would be worrying about." And "Getting back to the shy thing, I’m the person asking the questions. I don’t have to be the great anecdotalist."

 

Elicitation (John McPhee, New Yorker, 3-31-14) Must-read accounts of McPhee's experiences interviewing. "Whatever you do, don’t rely on memory. Don’t even imagine that you will be able to remember verbatim in the evening what people said during the day. And don’t squirrel notes in a bathroom—that is, run off to the john and write surreptitiously what someone said back there with the cocktails. From the start, make clear what you are doing and who will publish what you write. Display your notebook as if it were a fishing license. While the interview continues, the notebook may serve other purposes, surpassing the talents of a tape recorder. As you scribble away, the interviewee is, of course, watching you. Now, unaccountably, you slow down, and even stop writing, while the interviewee goes on talking. The interviewee becomes nervous, tries harder, and spills out the secrets of a secret life, or maybe just a clearer and more quotable version of what was said before. Conversely, if the interviewee is saying nothing of interest, you can pretend to be writing, just to keep the enterprise moving forward.
    "If doing nothing can produce a useful reaction, so can the appearance of being dumb. You can develop a distinct advantage by waxing slow of wit. Evidently, you need help. Who is there to help you but the person who is answering your questions? The result is the opposite of the total shutdown that might have occurred if you had come on glib and omniscient. If you don’t seem to get something, the subject will probably help you get it...."

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How to Steer an Interview So You Get What You Need (Tyler Santora, The Open Notebook, 2-20-24) With the right approach, you can take charge of any interview and get what you need for a story, from basic facts and story logic to scenic details to juicy quotes.
How to Perfect the Art of Deliberate Listening (video clip, NBC Today show, 3-17-22) Ronnie Polaneczky joins the 3rd Hour of TODAY, to explain how to do Deliberate listening. You suspend the thought that you are right and just listen with compassion, curiosity, and courtesy.

 

Complicating the Narratives (Amanda Ripley, Solutions Journalism, Medium, 6-27-18, updated 2-11-19) What if journalists covered controversial issues differently — based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious?       One summer, 60 Minutes brought 14 people — half Republicans, half Democrats — to a converted power plant in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. The goal was to encourage Americans to talk — and listen — to those with whom they disagree. Amanda Ripley explained how journalists can 'complicate the narratives' in their reporting at Solutions Journalism Network's Conflict Mediation Training in NYC
      'Author and reporter Amanda Ripley published an essay exploring what journalists could learn from mediators, lawyers, rabbis, and others “who know how to disrupt toxic narratives and get people to reveal deeper truths.” It called on reporters and editors to dig beneath people’s positions and get to their motivations, to cover conflict more thoughtfully, to “revive complexity in a time of false simplicity.” 'Nearly 170,000 people read the piece, which one commenter called “the most encouraging, instructive, and informative thing [he’d] read in a year.” 'One item in this interesting story: "Over the past decade, the Difficult Conversations Lab and its sister labs around the world have hosted and recorded close to 500 contentious encounters. They intentionally generate the kind of discomfort that most people spend all of Thanksgiving trying to avoid."
---22 Questions that ‘Complicate the Narrative’ Conversation techniques, interview questions, and stellar story examples born from a conflict mediation training — for journalists
---22 interview questions to complicate the narrative The questions themselves. (H/T to John Grady for sharing these links on the Washington Biography Group's Facebook page ). John writes: "This article appears in the spring 2023 print issue of the Society of Professional Journalists' [SPJ's] Quill magazine. Whether you're working in daily meet-the-deadline journalism, its long form, or narrative nonfiction, particularly biographies, these are great questions to raise the appeal of all stories."
Empathy Interviews (Keri Nelsestuen and Julie Smith, Learning Forward, The Learning Professional, Oct. 2020) Good explanation of an interesting tool.

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Stop Trying to Ask ‘Smart Questions’ (Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, 1-19-23) A Smart Question is a query designed to advertise the wisdom of the asker. Popular articles tend to scope out the full landscape of an issue. "So, for example, rather than fixate on some lurid statistic about New York City rents, the popular piece would ask a broad question such as “Why are rents so expensive in the U.S.?” or “Why can’t America build enough homes?” We called these queries Big Dumb Questions. Readers seemed to like the Big Dumb Question stories because the articles used the day’s news to investigate a deeper truth about the world. Personally, I liked them because they changed the way I thought about asking questions."
Elicitation (John McPhee, New Yorker, 3-31-14) If doing nothing can produce a useful reaction, so can the appearance of being dumb. You can develop a distinct advantage by waxing slow of wit. Evidently, you need help. Who is there to help you but the person who is answering your questions?
The art of the interview (Cultural historian Marc Pachter's talk about his living self-portrait series at the National Portrait Gallery. Watch/listen and/or click on and read the transcript.) "I wanted interviews that were different. I wanted to be, as I later thought of it, empathic, which is to say, to feel what they wanted to say and to be an agent of their self-revelation." In this case, that includes Steve Martin and Clare Booth Luce). It's energy that creates extraordinary interviews and extraordinary lives. (Never interview someone who's modest. They have to think that they did something and that they want to share it with you.)

      "It's amazing what people will say when they know how things turned out." [Paraphrasing:] That's the advantage of interviewing someone old enough to have some perspective on all the accidents that go into making a life. I try to get them to say what they probably wanted to say. Dumas Malone wrote a five-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson. Marc asked him, "Did Jefferson ever disappoint you?"

      "Well," he said, "I'm afraid so....You know, I've read everything, and sometimes Mr. Jefferson would smooth the truth a bit." Basically he was saying that this was a man who lied more than he wished he had, because he saw all Jefferson's letters. "But I understand that. We southerners do like a smooth surface, so that there were times when he just didn't want the confrontation."
The Art of the Interview (C-SPAN, 12-12-07) Brian Lamb interviews Marc Pachter, former head of the National Portrait Gallery, discussing his life, his work, his series of interviews with amazing people--and the secrets to successful interviews. Watch, or read the Transcript. Many of us know Marc through the Washington Biography Group, whose meetings he moderated for many years, until he retired and left Washington DC.

Loosening Lips: The Art of the Interview (Eric Nalder, San Jose Mercury News, 2nd ed., June 2001) Must reading for journalistic interviews. There's a long and a short version of the transcript.
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.

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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. The only icebreaker you'll ever need: “Tell me about yourself.”  
Public Radio International's Lisa Mullins on interviewing for story (Andrea Pitzer, Nieman Storyboard, 9-17-10) "I tell them ahead of time what I might want.... Then I become the person who teases them along and directs them in terms of questions, who fleshes it out.... When I can get them speaking in terms of chronology, in terms of a thought process, in terms of watching a story unfold and then maybe bringing it back to the beginning, that’s when the audience is naturally going to listen."

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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."

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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.
How a top explanatory reporter does emotional interviews: With empathy (Kim Cross, Nieman Storyboard, 9-29-21) Pulitzer Prize winner Ed Yong of The Atlantic takes the same open approach with COVID scientists and frontline nurses. "I start interviews by telling people where I'm at and what I want to do. That sets expectations very clearly upfront. And some of it is achieved through the flexible and open act of interviewing, by showing people that you're actually listening to what they're saying." There's a perception among some that being empathetic and kind to people is antithetical to being a journalist. "You have to be distanced from your sources, you have to be like hard-nosed or whatever. But you can ask people hardball questions without being an ass about it."
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
What narrative master Eli Saslow learned about intimacy interviewing by phone (Matt Tullis, Nieman Storyboard, 2-24-21) The Washington Post's year-long "Voices from the Pandemic" series took hours of pre-reporting, patient listening and letting go of writerly control. He and his editor, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Finkel, had to figure out another way for Saslow to tell intimate stories that illustrate how people’s lives were affected by COVID. They landed on the idea of oral histories: as-told-to, first-person stories that come from those experiencing the pandemic first-hand.
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."

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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.”

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The Turnaround A podcast from Columbia Journalism Review, Maximum Fun, and hosted by NPR’s Jesse Thorn. A great interview — entertaining and informative — is one of the journalist’s most powerful tools. The Turnaround examines the science and art of journalism with the world’s greatest interviewers, from Larry King to Terry Gross.
Q&A: NPR’s Audie Cornish on the intimacy of interviewing (The Turnaround, CJR, 7-4-17) Audie: When you are reporting, you are a detective, you’re a scavenger, you are wooing people.
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: "How 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.
The Art of the Interview: Dick Cavett on How to Elevate a Q&A (Joe Berkowitz, Master Class, Fast Company, 12-4-12) Masterful talk show host Dick Cavett distinguished himself with a conversational, erudite style. Here he opens up about conducting the kind of interviews that leave nothing interesting behind. "The best shows were when the topic just got going and you’d forget all about notes and research and just let it flow." Lead with statements instead of questions. Don't beat around the bush. If there’s an obvious issue, just go for it. If the person has strayed from an interesting topic, the direct approach usually works for getting them back. Just start that topic over again. Say, “Let’s go back to this...”

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Dan Rather’s single biggest secret for interviewing powerful people ( Emily VanDerWerff St. James, Vox, 6-13-19) "Often, the best questions come not from what you have prepared to ask, not from your list of questions in your notebook, but from listening to the interview subject very carefully and picking up questions from what your interview subject says.... The more powerful the person, the more likely it is that the person’s going to try to do what I call the old political sidestep, the side shuffle. They will try to answer the question they want to be asked, not the question you want them to answer. So you have to be particularly alert to not only asking direct questions but also to be sure to follow up and keep following up until it’s either obvious that the person is ducking the question or you get an answer to the question." An interesting comparison of how Presidents Nixon and Trump fared in television interviews, and why. "When you’re under constant attack, it is a political tactic to keep hammering and make it a constant message, as [Trump] has done, that the press is the enemy.... In order to be part of the system of checks and balances, you have to ask the tough questions, the questions that people in power don’t want to answer. You have to keep trying to find out what the people in power are hiding, that they don’t want people to say."
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."
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.

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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)

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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)
Ricky Gervais Compares the American and British "The Office" David Letterman's interview style and genuine laughter seems to bring out the best in Gervais.
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.)

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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.
What journalists can learn from their local TV weather forecast (Jane Elizabeth, American Press Institute, 6-19-18) Journalists can build news consumers’ confidence in media and make them media savvy by making their reporting steps more obvious and helping consumers anticipate them. A good set of basic questions to answer:
---What’s new here? What have we already reported?
---What do we know now?
---What evidence is there? Who are the sources?
---What are the credentials of this journalist?
---What facts don’t we know yet? What’s in dispute?
---What might happen next? What could change?
---How and when will it be covered?
---How can people respond or get involved? See how meteorologist John Elliott (CBS2) in New York explains what will happen, then reminds you what already has happened, building, recycling, and updating “explainers,” adding depth to their reports.

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

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Covering sexual abuse, assault, harassment,  trauma


Advice for incorporating vulnerable voices in news coverage (Fernanda Camarena, Diversity and Includion, IJNet, 2-1-24) The most pressing issues of the upcoming year — immigration, economic opportunity, racial disparities, abortion, public education, gun violence, the United States’ role in foreign wars — will be in the spotlight more than ever during the election cycle. Our audiences need deeply reported, insightful stories to make these big issues resonate. Focusing on vulnerable voices should be the status quo for any story that attempts to get at the heart of an issue.
Reporting on Sexual Misconduct in the Sciences (Humberto Basilio, Open Notebook, 9-5-23) A must-read story, with this takeaway: The arduous process of reporting on sensitive material and the risk of retaliation can take an emotional toll and contribute to burnout. As you cast your net further, reach out to the accused person’s former students and colleagues. These sources can help you understand what it was like to work with the person. The number of documents can mount quickly. To keep things straight and start connecting the dots of a complicated story, it helps to have an organization system in place.

    One "step to ensure a story is ironclad is to send the accused person a 'no surprises letter' just before publication, in which the reporter lists in detail what the story will say about them and gives them one last chance to respond. These letters show that the accused person was notified and given an opportunity to rebut any claims made against them—a helpful defense in the event of a defamation lawsuit."
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.
Brassy Broad: How One Journalist Helped Pave the Way to #MeToo by Alison Bass. "In 1989, Bass was the first reporter in the natilon to write about how common it was for male psychiatrists to sexually abuse female patients. She was also the first reporter at The Boston Globe to write about the molestation of children by Catholic priests, a decade ahead of the Spotlight investigation." A scrappy memoir that meanders through time but did keep me reading.
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.

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New models for newspapers and magazines

Including "Entrepreneural journalism (EP)"


A Free Entrepreneurial Journalism Teaching and Learning Toolkit (Jeremy Caplan) Help yourself to shared resources: a new set of original & curated materials for anyone teaching or learning about news innovation. H/T to Jeremy for many of the following links to resources, found in his EJ Resources Master List. I've included only a fraction of what Jeremy Caplan (creator of Wonder Tools) has listed. The following are Google spreadsheets:
---Good Ideas from Mostly Local Newspapers Google spreadsheet of ideas from Entrepreneuralism Journalism, with sources identified.
---Entrepreneurial Journalism Programs in Universities (2014)
---Resources: an entrepreneurial journalism compendium
---EJ Newsletters: Reaching readers where they spend time — in their inbox  (H/T Jeremy Caplan, Director of Education at the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism) 
How to Pay Freelancers More Without Increasing Your Newsroom Budget  (Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Nieman Reports,9-12-23) Follow these steps to create a more loyal, reliable, and productive contributor pool: Be specific with the assignment scope. Streamline the editorial process. Ask only for what you need.
     "Be fair with your copyright terms. Some publications try to seize all rights from freelancers through a work-for-hire or copyright assignment contract. That means only the publication — not the writer — benefits from reuse of the creative work or any derivative works. Not only is this exploitative of freelancers, often it’s unnecessary. If your publication syndicates content, it’s just as easy to license the copyright from the freelancer exclusively for a set period of time, and then share a nonexclusive license after that time. You are only taking the rights you need — not all that your lawyers might want — and leaving more value in the hands of the freelancer."
Why free streaming channels could be the future of broadcast TV news (Stephen Battaglio, LA Times, 11-7-22) The audience migration to online video has led the news divisions at the “Big Three” broadcast networks to get deeper into the 24-hour news business through free, ad-supported channels that can be accessed on internet-connected TV sets and mobile devices. “We’ve been able to monetize advertiser demand because we can deliver eyeballs,” says NBC News President Noah Oppenheim. The median age for streaming news viewers is up to 25 years younger than the traditional TV news audience. Streaming channels: ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, Fox News (for Republicans)
Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program Newmark J-School’s new online program for Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators helps independent journalists develop newsletters, podcasts, local sites, and other niche news products.
Is quality journalism sustainable? Here are 20 media organizations that are solving this problem (News Entrepreneurs,6-25-19) This post is part of a study that identifies 20 media organizations from 16 countries and four regions—Eastern and Central Europe, Western Europe, Latin America, and the United States—that have developed sustainable business models for high-quality journalism.
The State of the News Media: An Annual Report on American Journalism (Pew Research, 2009) The problem facing American journalism is not fundamentally an audience problem or a credibility problem. It is a revenue problem—the decoupling of advertising from news.
Seeking the Single-Subject News Model (Tow Center for Digital Journalism, 1-1-14) Single-subject news accelerates the trend of “unbundling” the newsroom: Bleacher Report as a spun-off sports desk, FactCheck.org as the outsourced function of a political desk, and Education News Network (Chalkbeat) as a specialized bureau on local schools. Journalists can create new content where they see a deficit because the demand for in-depth news coverage by niche audiences is spawning new products for the digital marketplace.
New Users, New Revenue: Alternative ways to make money (Bill Grueskin, Ava Seave, and Lucas Graves, The Business of Digital Journalism, 5-10-11)
Publishing for peanuts: Innovation and the Journalism Start-up (JJ Robinson, Kristen Grennan, Anya Schiffrin, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, May 2015) A 200-page study of global journalism startups commissioned by the Open Society Foundation’s Program for Independent Journalism.
Survival Is Success: Journalistic Online Start-Ups in Western Europe (Nicola Bruno and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism)
Guide to audience revenue and engagement (Elizabeth Hansen and Emily Goligoski, Columbia Journalism Review, 2-8-18) Donation, subscription, and membership models, explained.
Local News Field Guide (Chalkbeat) Practical advice for newsroom leaders seeking to reinvent the local news industry
Sustainability (Global Investigative Journalism Network) Links to entries on fundraising, audience engagement, commercial revenue, crowdfunding, podcasting, micropayments, news cooperatives
Big Impact: A Pocket-Guide to the Financial Benefits of Major Investigations (Katarina Sabados, Global Investigative Journalism Network, 9-12-18) All the costs of running investigations — including tools, travel expenses, people power and the actual publishing of a story — pale in comparison to the benefits and money saved or retrieved as a result of investigative stories. Good investigative stories reveal structural problems, which in turn force policy changes and criminal proceedings that save millions in the long run.
Google News Initiative

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).
Drones and VR Journalism (Journalist's Toolbox, 4-2-22) A few examples here, but go to the source for dozens more.
---Drone Journalism Lab and its Operations Manual.
---Scene VR (Knight Science Lab, Northwestern University) Turn your collection of panoramic and VR-ready photos into a slideshow of navigable scenes, allowing you to create unique 360° narratives. A simple-to-use editor allows you to order your photos, add descriptions and add text.
---Drone Journalism Resources (Global Investigative Journalism Network)
---GuriVR A free, open source project created to allow anyone to make virtual reality experiences with the lowest possible learning curve.
---More links to resources on drones and VR journalism

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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.
The Magazine Diaries Newsletter "Publishing ideas worth stealing."
Paywalls aren’t blocking access to high-quality news (Simon Owens's Media Newsletter, 6-14-23) Subscription models are by no means a silver bullet, but they’ve played a crucial role in shoring up media losses and helping to fund important journalism.
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?)
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.

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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.

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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.'

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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.

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How a billionaires boys’ club came to dominate the public square (Michael Scherer and Sarah Ellison, WaPo, 5-1-22) The information that courses through legacy publications and social media networks is increasingly shaped by billionaires and other wealthy dynasties. "Of course, billionaires with an ax to grind don’t need media ownership to change the information landscape. PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel (No. 552), who has given millions to GOP candidates this cycle, famously ran the gossip site Gawker out of business by secretly funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the site after it had published a recording of Hogan having sex with a friend’s estranged wife."
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."
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)

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Nonprofit Newspapers


Public corruption prosecutions rise where nonprofit news outlets flourish, research finds (Clark Merrefield, The Journalist's Resource, Editor & Publisher, 10-11-23) "Although prior research focuses on how media outlets alter their coverage in anticipation of economic challenges, this account more fully details the consequences when these efforts fall short.”
    "A recent paper published in The International Journal of Press/Politics is among the first to explore associations between local news coverage and criminal corruption charges brought against public officials.
   "The authors find prosecutions for public corruption are more likely in U.S. communities served by a nonprofit news outlet, a relatively new business model that often aims to fill the void left by shuttered traditional local newspapers."

      Among other key findings in the study, which was published in the International Journal of Press/Politics:
Prosecutions for corruption rise after a nonprofit news outlet is established within a judicial district.
The likelihood of public corruption prosecutions in any given district is correlated with the amount of philanthropic funding the local nonprofit news outlet receives.
Public corruption prosecutions are more likely in districts with higher newspaper circulations.

 

Reporters without orders (Philanthrojournalism) (The Economist, 6-9-12) Can journalism funded by private generosity compensate for the decline of the commercial kind?

      "Readers and advertisers have switched to the internet. Profit margins have shrunk or vanished. Papers are dying and journalists being sacked. Costly foreign and investigative reporting has been particularly squeezed, as has local news.

      One increasingly popular—if limited—response to these travails is the sort of “philanthro-journalism” long practised elsewhere by the likes of Caucasian Knot....Thanks to its charitable traditions, this trend is most visible in America. A few philanthropically financed operations have been around for decades, but recently they have been joined by many more."
     'Almost all philanthro-journalism is initially published online: it helps that, these days, readers often arrive at stories via social-media links and search engines, rather than simply by browsing a popular website. That means small operations can gain big readerships for timely articles.'

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If local journalism manages to survive, give Evan Smith some credit for it (Margaret Sullivan, WaPo, 1-23-22) The Texas Tribune founder has been a ‘true pioneer’ in finding ways to cover local communities as a nonprofit. When Smith co-founded the Texas Tribune back in 2009, digital-first nonprofit newsrooms were something of a rarity. There was ProPublica, only two years old at the time, MinnPost in Minneapolis, the Voice of San Diego, and a few others....

     'In Baltimore, the Banner — funded by Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum — is hiring staff and expects to start publishing soon. In Chicago, the Sun-Times is converting from a traditional newspaper to a nonprofit as it merges operations with public radio station WBEZ. And in Houston, three local philanthropies working with the American Journalism Project (also co-founded by Thornton) announced a $20 million venture that will create one of the largest nonprofit news organizations in the country.“These newsrooms are popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm,” Smith, 55, told me.'
Nonprofit News Websites (Federal Communications Commission (.gov)) Although a free-market conservative, John Hood is skeptical that commercial markets will fill all gaps. “When you get to the state and local level, the collapse of the traditional business models imperils the delivery of sufficient public interest journalism—and we do believe that donor driven journalism can be a very important model.”
    "In all, independent nonprofit websites are providing exciting journalistic innovation on the local level—and a handful have created sustainable business models—but most either are struggling to survive or are too small to fill the gaps left by newspapers."
Life at Local Newspapers in a Turbulent Era: Findings from a survey of more than 300 newsroom employees in the United States (Damian Radcliffe and Ryan Wallace, Columbia Journalism Review, 10-7-21) Set against the backdrop of COVID-19, survey respondents shared how the pandemic — as well as wider deep-rooted challenges — were redefining their work. Long hours: Even with COVID-era furloughs, pay cuts, and reduced contracted hours, more than a third of respondents (37 percent) told us they work 50 to 60 hours a week, with half (50 percent) saying they work 40 to 50 hours a week. Revenue and business models: Respondents spoke candidly about the challenges of attracting advertisers and subscribers, alongside the impact of ownership models on their work. Participants were often highly critical of hedge-fund ownership and frequently cited nonprofit models as the way forward for the sector. This cohort continues to work long hours, contending with job losses and competing with other media for attention and advertising dollars, as well as a rapidly changing work environment.

Finding a Foothold: How Nonprofit News Ventures Seek Sustainability Knight Foundation) Report based on a detailed analysis of 18 nonprofit news organizations between 2010 and 2012, and their progress towards sustainability.
The Columbia J-School wants to help its alums in nonprofit news pay back their student loans (Hanaa' Tameez, Nieman Lab, 8-17-23) Law schools and other graduate programs have long offered loan repayment assistance programs to encourage graduates to pursue work in the public interest without the specter of unmanageable student debt. With a new, pilot loan repayment program, the Columbia University School of Journalism is bringing that idea to graduate journalism schools. “It takes away a little bit of anxiety about pursuing a degree in journalism if you know that there is a path through which the cost can be covered.”
Nonprofit Explorer (Andrea Suozzo, Ken Schwencke, Mike Tigas, Sisi Wei and Alec Glassford, ProPublica, and Brandon Roberts, Special to ProPublica, 9-14-22) Use this database to view summaries of 3 million tax returns from tax-exempt organizations and see financial details such as their executive compensation and revenue and expenses. You can browse IRS data released since 2013 and access more than 14 million tax filing documents going back as far as 2001.

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Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) INN is a new kind of news network. Strengthening 425+ independent news organizations. Because everyone deserves access to trustworthy sources of news.
Nonprofit journalism is the practice of journalism by nonprofit outlets instead of a for-profit business. Nonprofit news outlets often accept private donations and or foundation grants to help fulfill their mission. Nonprofit journalism though not new, has grown significantly in the 21st century.
American Journalism Project (AJP) Empowering communities. Preserving democracy. Rebuilding local news.
The 19th News, an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.
ProPublica Journalism that holds power to account.
Rural News Network Locally sourced, collaborative reporting from and for rural America. The Rural News Network is a project of the Institute for Nonprofit News, a resource hub for more than 425 nonprofit newsrooms dedicated to producing journalism as a public service.Explore the archive.
Independent websites team up to boost rural journalism (David Bauder, AP News, 11-18-21) More than 60 sites cover rural issues or specific rural areas. The institute has seen how many of them are covering similar issues, and thought that by working together, they could produce more powerful, impactful journalism, said Sue Cross, INN executive director and CEO.
Because they are wired into their communities and issues, these member news sites have an expertise that outsiders usually can’t match, said Bridget Thoreson, INN’s collaborations editor.
Philanthrojournalism (Wikipedia) Links to many articles. Although nonprofit journalism dates back to the start of the Associated Press in 1846, the first group dedicated to investigative journalism was the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), which formed in 1977.
Reinventing the newspaper (The Economist, 7-9-11) New business models are proliferating as news organisations search for novel sources of revenue. “The audience is bigger than ever, if you include all platforms,” says Larry Kilman of the World Association of Newspapers. “It's not an audience problem—it's a revenue problem.” News providers throughout the rich world are urgently casting around for new models. They are starting to charge for content on the web and mobile devices, as well as pursuing non-traditional sources of revenue such as wine clubs or dating services. Some are being supported by philanthropy. Nobody yet knows which, if any, of these models will work, but it is clear that revenue from online advertising alone will not be enough to cover the costs of running a traditional news organisation.
Nonprofit News Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) Topics covered:
   The nonprofit news model
   Forming a tax-exempt nonprofit: A general overview
   The taxation of unrelated business taxable income
   Advertising income: prepare to pay taxes, but after offsetting expenses
   Sponsorships: Be careful of acknowledgements that become advertisements
   Content-distribution agreements: income could be taxable if not tied to the nonprofit purpose
   The taxation of unrelated income at the state level
   Losing tax-exempt status because of too much unrelated income
   Other resources for forming a nonprofit news organization

The myth of nonprofit media immunity. A deep dive into sustainability (Andrew Ramsammy, Editor&Publisher, 10-11-23) For many, the label "nonprofit" conjures images of a benevolent sanctuary immune from the traditional pressures and risks of the corporate world. However, beneath this facade, many nonprofit media entities grapple with the same sustainability concerns that for-profit ventures face. The reality is that while nonprofit media may be free from certain financial obligations, they are not exempt from the overarching need for viable revenue streams.

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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."

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Watchdog groups and Investigative journalism organizations


Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Watchdog Advisories
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) founded in 1920 "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States."
Bellingcat A Netherlands-based independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists who specialize in fact-checking and open-source investigations of a variety of subjects, from Mexican drug lords and crimes against humanity, to tracking the use of chemical weapons and conflicts worldwide. See case studies, podcasts, and resources. Also: Bellingcat breaks stories that newsrooms envy — using methods newsrooms avoid (Elahe Izadi and Paul Farhi, Washington Post, 1-8-21)
Binders Full of Investigative Reporters (Facebook group)
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism An independent, not-for-profit organisation that holds power to account. Founded in 2010 by David and Elaine Potter. Not strictly an organization for journalists, it seems.
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
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.

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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. '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.
Freelance Investigative Reporters + Editors (FIRE) FIRE exists to help freelancers do investigative reporting, from the liability side to the research, writing, and placing of the final product with media outlets (usually major daily papers in the markets where their supported stories are based). See Guidelines and Application: FIRE provides a suite of customized services to freelance reporters who are planning or developing investigative stories—as well as story grants for select reporters. Any reporter meeting the FIRE criteria would apply for what's known as a FIRE Consultancy—a two-hour consultation to meet your specific needs. Also, be sure to have good professional liability insurance.
Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world, uncovering wrongdoing by powerful people or institutions.
Grants, MacArthur Foundation. See also Information for Grantseekers
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 leading nonprofit for criminal justice reform, helping to exonerate the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms in the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices.

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.

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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.
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). Check out IRE's Events Calendar (including data journalism bootcamps, hands-on training in digging into data, data bootcamps for educators, Web scraping with Python)

     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.

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The Marshall Project (nonprofit journalism about criminal justice)
The Media Consortiumsupporting powerful, passionate, independent journalism)
Meet the Investigators, an interesting monthly series from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
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

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)
NYPIRG New York Public Interest Research Group

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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)

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)
OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics) Unbiased reporting on money in politics
Open Secrets (Center for Responsive Politics), tracks data on campaign finance and lobbying; 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)
OSINT (SecJuice) A selection of articles related to OSINT (open source intelligence), written by members of the Secjuice writers collective. Secjuice is a volunteer led collective of 100+ writers focused on cybersecurity, information security, network security and open source intelligence. See, for example, The Pig Butchers (Michael Eller, Secjuice, 12-30-22) Pig butchering is when scammers fatten up a pig before sending it off for slaughter. But the scammers aren't fattening a pig, they're fattening their pockets, as in Fraudulent Cryptocurrency Trading Portals (Michael Eller, LinkedIn, 8-30-22)

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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) Links to hundreds of compelling stories. Also: Not Shutting Up.
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)
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
Type Investigations A nonprofit newsroom dedicated to transforming the field of independent investigative journalism. Covers urgent issues of our time, including racial and economic justice, climate and environmental health, and civil and human rights.
Watchdog News (@Watchdogorg, Facebook)
Word Has It (Project Word's blog). Here's how Project Word came about.
Writer Beware This Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association blog shines a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. Lots of articles--on this page, helpfully listed by year. "The number one sign of a writing scam is solicitation." Not just for SFF writers. Look here for articles and tips on avoiding all kinds of scams and writer abuse.

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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.
Press Freedom: ‘It’s a poisonous cocktail’: How legal threats are being leveraged against journalists in Panama (Brenda Medina and Carmen Molina Acosta, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ, 5-3-23) On World Press Freedom Day, investigative reporter Mary Triny Zea reflects on restrictions to journalism around the world after Panama’s transparency office fines another media outlet.
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.
Where are the key Panama Papers figures, seven years later? (Carmen Molina Acosta, ICIJ, 4-3-23) On the seventh anniversary of the Panama Papers, here’s an update on where some of the most pivotal figures are now, and the legacy the investigation left behind.
Confronting the nexus of power and money, Pandora Papers inspires crime thriller (Fergus Shiel, ICIJ, 5-3-23) Bestselling crime-fiction author David Baldacci explains how he was inspired by ICIJ’s Panama and Pandora Papers to write one of his latest novels, “The 6:20 Man.”

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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.

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Covering disability


Assistive devices, remodeling, and other ways to enable independent living for aging and disabled people (Comfortdying.com) Devices to make everyday living safer and easier. See also
---What are some types of assistive devices and how are they used? (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NICHD)


Covering disability

---National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ)
---Reporting on Assistive Technology (Amanda Morris, The Open Notebook, 3-7-23) Don't take a company’s press release at face value. Approach "coverage with rigor and a few special considerations—in particular, what problems a product is supposed to help with, what went into its design, and how it might actually work as part of a disabled person’s day-to-day life. Start with disabled people. Find a nuanced angle. Approach interviews with sensitivity: "Interviews on assistive technology may end up touching on sensitive or private information about a person’s life." Excellent questions to ask on the topic.
---Resources for Journalists with Disabilities (NCDJ)
---Journalist's Toolbox (SPJ's excellent links to resources on disability and accessibility)
---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)
---Covering disability (Writers and Editors website)
---Tips for interviewing people with disabilities (NCDJ)
---Investigating Issues (NCDJ) Download useful 7-page PDF, including Post-Dispatch's Restaurant Accessibility Assessment Questionnaire.
---Amputee Coalition Press Room
---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 also Haller's links to disability resources)
---Mediadis&dat (news and information about people with disabilities and disability issues)
---ADA.gov (information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division)
Changing attitudes about disability
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.

Investigative reporting
“Kids Seem to Be a Paycheck”: How a Billion-Dollar Corporation Exploits Washington’s Special Education System (Lulu Ramadan, Mike Reicher and Taylor Blatchford, The Seattle Times and ProPublica, 12-4-22) Universal Health Services collected more than $38 million in tax dollars for special education services that families and former teachers say it largely didn’t provide. Before UHS acquired its first therapeutic day schools in 2005, the company — the largest operator of psychiatric hospitals in the country — had no previous experience operating this type of specialty school.
Invisible Schools (Mike Reicher and Lulu Ramadan, The Seattle Times and ProPublica, 11-26-22) At Washington special education schools, years of abuse complaints and lack of academics. Washington state spends millions sending students with disabilities to an obscure network of private schools. But what happens inside the schools is a mystery. No test scores. No discipline records. The alarming reports cataloged a failure to serve kids with disabilities at the Northwest School of Innovative Learning, a private school designed to cater to Washington’s most vulnerable students.
At Washington State Special Education Schools, Years of Abuse Complaints and Lack of Academics (Mike Reicher and Lulu Ramadan, The Seattle Times and ProPublica, 11-26-22) Northwest SOIL promised to help students with serious disabilities. But when school districts urged action, the state allowed let the private school stay open and tap a pipeline of taxpayer money. In the five school years ending in 2021, Northwest SOIL collected at least $38 million and took in hundreds of public school students. “Northwest SOIL is an example of turning back the clock 50 years on kids” to an era when people with disabilities were denied access to education. The state “needs to be more hands-on to ensure that these kids are getting a proper education and not just feeding a money horse for UHS,” said Donna Green, Northwest SOIL’s top administrator in 2021, who later resigned.
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)

Actors Access for Performers with Disabilities (SAG-AFRA)
@DisabledWriters Increasing disability diversity in journalism, one connection at a time. Use our database to find disabled writers and sources for your media projects.
Ask JAN (Job Accommodation Network, or JAN, Office of Disability Employment Policy)
ADA.gov (information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division)
Mediadis&dat (news and information about people with disabilities and disability issues)
Lifting Technology Barriers due to disability, literacy, digital literacy or aging (ProAging Sourcebook) (video, Gregg Vanderheiden, on Positive Aging, 1 hour). Fascinating lecture about how with aging we might lose ability to learn new things; and about Morphic, a Open-Source tool designed to make personal computers easier to use. Created by an international consortium of people and organizations working together.
Did You Know? Invisible Disabilities (Center for Disability Rights)
Critical Disability Studies (Purdue)
Disability Resources (U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy) Federal directory of information for employees with disabilities, including explanation of workplace rights.
Employees’ Practical Guide to Requesting and Negotiating Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon. From his author page: "Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal. In Solomon’s telling, these stories are everyone’s stories.
        "All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion and innumerable triumphs of love."
Haymarket Anthology 'Against Ableism' Comes Under Scrutiny (John Loeppky, Publishers Weekly, 4-13-21) An open letter to Haymarket Books calls for Haymarket to disclose how the editors of an anthology in development were selected, asks whether any of the editors are autistic or otherwise neurodivergent, questioned a lack of non-cis editors, and asked whether “the editors and press have the community and political savvy to engage the vast umbrella of Disability?” The anthology, titled Against Ableism: An Anthology, was criticized for not planning to pay contributors, and because the "call for submissions that does not focus on identity-first language (i.e., “disabled person” versus “person with a disability”), and that the initial call did not include accessibility features like alt-text. The letter questioned a lack of non-cis editors, and asked if “the editors and press have the community and political savvy to engage the vast umbrella of Disability?” Loeppky touches on the pecking order of disabilities. One editor wrote "Who do I think I am? What right do I have to claim 'disability' when everyone knows mental illness isn’t really a disability, right?”
How to Qualify for Medicaid and CHIP Health Care Coverage
Mediadis&dat (news and information about people with disabilities and disability issues)
National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ)
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, etc.
Obstacles and Opportunities for Journalists with Disabilities (Michelle Hackman, Nieman Reports, 3-30-16) A blind journalist on overcoming the latent prejudices that keep people with disabilities out of newsrooms
On screen and on stage, disability continues to be depicted in outdated, cliched ways (Magda Romanska, The Conversation, 11-2-2020) Despite an increased sensitivity to gender and race representation in popular culture, disabled Americans are still awaiting their national (and international) movement....Typically, the disabled characters are limited to four types: the “magical cripple,” the “evil cripple,” the “inspirational cripple” and the “redemptive cripple.” ...What if their disability weren’t the thing to overcome but merely one element of one’s identity?This would require deconstructing the conceptual pyramid of past hierarchies, one that has long used disabled characters as props to illuminate conventional heroes."
Organizations and sites helpful for improving life for seniors and the disabled (Comfortdying.com)
Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media by Beth A. Haller (see Haller's links to disability resources)
Resources for Journalists with Disabilities (NCDJ)
Tip sheets for reporters (NCDJ)
We Need More Doctors With Disabilities (Nathan Kohrman, Medical Examiner, Slate, 7-5-17) One-fifth of all Americans have a disability, but less than 1 percent of doctors do. That’s slowly starting to change—to the benefit of medicine and patients.
What Can You Do? The Campaign for Disability Employment, the movement that’s changing attitudes about the employment of people with disabilities
Why people with disabilities deserve better than the ‘checkbox’ approach (William Heisel, Investigating Health, Center for Health Journalism, 1-10-2020) Embry Owen has lived with her own disability — caused by a traffic accident — for the past few years. She now works in web design and accessibility in Philadelphia. Embry suggests that designers and developers consider whether people with disabilities have actually been included in the planning of a particular building or space, or if accommodations look like an afterthought....
Heisel: "Though I didn’t have the vocabulary for it yet, I was trying to navigate illegibility. There are millions of people trying to navigate illegibility around the world. They have differences in their brains and bodies that are truly invisible." See Did You Know? Invisible Disabilities (Center for Disability Rights) "Remember that a person may not have a physically obvious disability. Sometimes these are referred to as non-apparent impairments, hidden disabilities, or invisible disabilities....So what are some of these non-apparent impairments or illegible disabilities? They could be learning disabilities, brain injuries, chronic pain, arthritis, degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer's, mental health conditions like anxiety, or diseases such as diabetes and Crohn's disease."

Writing About People With Disabilities (Mike Reilley, Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, 10-23-19) resources on disability and accessibility)
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."

 

"Those who say it cannot be done should not
interrupt the person doing it." ~ Chinese Proverb

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Covering mental illness and suicide prevention

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)
Writing about the unthinkable pain of child suicides (Mark Johnson, Nieman Storyboard, 5-6-22) Andrew Solomon weaves statistics and personal pain to explore the toll that depression takes on young children in The Mystifying Rise of Child Suicide (Andrew Solomon, New Yorker, 4-11-22), "a riveting, 10,000-word exploration of a reality that is almost unthinkable."  Surprising insights, such as "I thought that the bullying behavior was cruel and maybe even psychopathic rather than recognizing it as despairing and desperate...So I was so shocked as I read the statistics: While suicide is highly correlated with bullying, it’s just as highly correlated for bullies as for victims of bullying....The tendency of bullies to be desperate was one of the real revelations." Solomon's deeply reported and classic memoir The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression has been published in two dozen languages.
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.
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)
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.
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.
New York State Failed to Provide Legally Required Mental Health Care to Kids, Lawsuit Claims (Abigail Kramer, THE CITY and ProPublica, 3-31-22). A plan launched in 2014 by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it harder for children experiencing mental health emergencies to get hospital care when they need it. Plaintiffs allege the state’s Medicaid program has caused young people with serious mental health conditions to suffer unnecessarily, ending up in hospitals and residential treatment programs because they can’t access vital services.

Cuomo Set Out to “Transform” Mental Health Care for Kids. Now They Can’t Get Treatment. (Abigail Kramer, THE CITY, photography by Sarah Blesener for ProPublica, 3-28-22) New York cut nearly a third of state-run psychiatric hospital beds for children, pledging to reinvest the funds in outpatient measures. There’s no evidence it worked.

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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")

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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.

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Restoring trust in the media

See also

Identifying media bias

Media critiques and distrust of the media


Journalists can change the way they build stories to create organic news fluency (Tom Rosenstiel and Jane Elizabeth, White Paper for American Press Institute, 5-9-18) 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 and outright fakery. The first step is thinking about — and asking — what questions audiences may have about a story and then providing those answers explicitly. That step guides the journalist into a new and important mindset of putting themselves in the audience’s shoes.

      This white paper presents templates for building news fluency for 9 story types — guides for constructing stories that proactively resolve doubts and questions audiences may have. Journalists should consider it their job to build stories in a way that shows people the difference between good reporting, bad reporting and outright fakery.

      The first step is thinking about — and asking — questions audiences may have about a story and then providing those answers explicitly (in the mindset of putting yourself in the audience's shoes). The authors pose key questions a discriminating or “fluent” news consumer might ask to decide what to make of the story, guides for constructing stories that proactively resolve doubts and questions audiences may have. Broadly:
     What is new here?
     What evidence is there?
     What sources did you talk to and why them?
     What facts don’t we know yet?
     What, if anything, is still in dispute?
The authors present templates for building news fluency for 9 story types, providing questions for nine news categories: Standard news stories, non-investigative projects, investigations, fact-checks, explainers, breaking news (live/unplanned), live events (planned), features, opinion.
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.
David Brooks Interview: How To Live A Meaningful Life (YouTube video) A wise and encouraging talk about life, with a sidebar into how he got into the business of being a commentator.
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

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Media critiques and distrust of the media


Five key questions for business journalists navigating sustainability coverage (Evie Liu, Reuters Institute, 7-17-23) “While holding those in power accountable is crucial, sustainability coverage should not solely focus on exposing problems and wrongdoings. By showcasing potential solutions and innovations, journalists can foster a sense of hope and encourage positive action from the audience. … Journalists also play a vital role in evaluating the viability of potential solutions to ensure that attention and resources are channeled towards the more effective strategies. By doing so, journalists could help shape public discourse and drive progress in the fight against climate change.” -- Evie Liu, reporter covering markets and investing at Barron’s (H/T "The Latest," National Press Club Journalism Institute)

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."
Slouching Toward Post-Journalism (Martin Gurri, City Journal, Winter 2021) The New York Times and other elite media outlets have openly embraced advocacy over reporting."Traditional newspapers never sold news; they sold an audience to advertisers. To a considerable degree, this commercial imperative determined the journalistic style, with its impersonal voice and pretense of objectivity. The aim was to herd the audience into a passive consumerist mass....The digital age exploded this business model. Advertisers fled to online platforms, never to return....

     "Led by the New York Times, a few prominent brand names moved to a model that sought to squeeze revenue from digital subscribers lured behind a paywall....The new business model required a new style of reporting. Its language aimed to commodify polarization and threat: journalists had to “scare the audience to make it donate.”...

     “The goal of post-journalism, according to media scholar Andrey Mir, is to ‘produce angry citizens.’” Discussion, then, on the Trump-collusion-with-Russia set of stories, and on The 1619 Project. "The final paradox of post-journalism is that the generation most likely to share the moralistic attitude of the newsroom rebels is the least likely to read a newspaper."
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.

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Data Journalism

See also
Getting the numbers right
How not to misread or misreport research reports
Transparency and openness in reporting on science research


What Is Data Journalism? (a chapter in online Data Journalism Handbook)
What is data journalism? (Melissa Bell, Vox, 2-4-15) The explosion in data sources readily available on the web can both aid in telling important and necessary stories, but can also be easily misunderstood and potentially manipulated. It's important for journalists to develop new skills to use these data sources effectively.
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
How to Read This Chart (Washington Post newsletter) A weekly dive into the data behind the news. Each Saturday, national correspondent Philip Bump makes and breaks down charts explaining the latest in economics, pop culture, politics and more. See also A Prophet of Boom With Charts for Every Occasion With “The Aftermath,” Philip Bump marshals a sea of statistics to debunk myths about that big, self-involved and endlessly discussed postwar generation. His book: The Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America
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)
Using ‘per capita’ to describe data: 4 things journalists need to know ( Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 6-16-23) An economist and a statistician help us explain the right and wrong ways to use 'per capita' to describe data related to economics, public health and other news topics. Headings for explanations given: 
   1. Remember that per capita numbers represent averages.
   2. If a research paper or government report doesn’t break down a number per capita, do the calculation yourself by dividing the number you’re interested in by the target population.
   3. Don’t confuse per capita with other types of rates.
   4. When comparing countries, states or regions, put data into context by including per capita and median numbers.
10 simple data errors that can ruin an investigation (Rowan Philp, The Global Investigative Journalism Network, 3-30-23) Do read the explanations and examples. Only some errors listed here:
   1. Forgetting the threat of blank rows in spreadsheets.
   2. Failing to check whether government nomenclature or coding has changed.
   3. Confusing percentages with percentage points.
   5. Forgetting that number formats are different in different countries.
   8. Assuming the dataset tells the whole story.
   9. Using the wrong scale on graphs or charts.
  10. Forgetting to tie columns together when sorting in Google Sheets.
STATS. Sense About Science's collaborative effort with the American Statistical Association to improve statistical literacy among journalists, academic journal editors, and researchers.
Need US government data? Get to know TRAC at Syracuse University (Clark Merrifield, Journalist's Resource, 2-1-23) Whether you are investigating the immigration system or activities of federal criminal and civil courts, TRAC (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse) has done the FOIA work to obtain data that can bolster your reporting. See TRAC/DEA for comprehensive, independent and nonpartisan information about the DEA, and similar pages for immigration, FBI, IRS, ATF, FOIA project, and TRAC reports.
How data journalism is different from what we’ve always done (Samantha Sunne, American Press Institute, 3-9-16)
Diving into Data Journalism: Strategies for getting started or going deeper (Samantha Sunne, American Press Institute, 3-9-16) Data is essential to making the journalism of today stronger than what came before. See also How to get started with data journalism in your newsroom and How to establish data reporting newsroom-wide and make it sustainable Getting into a mindset of asking for data is one of the most important factors in becoming a data-savvy newsroom.
The Guardian's data blog

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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.
AP’s Ron Nixon reflects on transformation from corner data geek to newsroom ace (Ryan White, Center for Health Journalism, 10-10-22) Smart data journalism can serve as a kind of lifeboat, helping us navigate the seas of misinformation and disinformation.
The Power of Data Journalism (Harvard Political Review, , 11-5-14) In 2008, Nate Silver, a relatively unknown baseball statistician, correctly predicted every Senate race and all but one state in the presidential election. He used basic statistics to analyze the large volume of polls available and predict an outcome. Data journalism can support narratives, making them more quantitative and accurate. But most journalists are not trained statisticians and don’t know how to interpret accurately the probabilistic nature of data nor do they know how to deal with models with seemingly contradictory conclusions. More importantly, journalism is not yet fully aware of the latent limits of data-based reporting.

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Categorize DocumentCloud collections in real-time with SideKick (Mitchell Kotler, Muckrock, 11-30-21) Machine learning can help quickly sort and label large document dumps. As part of the 2021 JournalismAI Collab Project DockIns and in partnership with La Nacion, CLIP, and Ojo Público, Muckrock developed SideKick, a machine learning platform baked right into DocumentCloud designed for quickly and efficiently training new models based right within the DocumentCloud platform itself.
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.)

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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?

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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.
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)

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Financial reporting and business journalism


Personal HIstory: Why CEO pay exploded (Robert Reich, 12-4-23) It happened one day in the Clinton White House. Top executive pay started to be linked to the price of stocks.
Putin's war, economic uncertainty, and socialism for the bankers (Robert Reich, 2-22-22) "The stock market is gyrating wildly in light of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, but Wall Street traders are doing just fine. Bad news is good news for traders who make money off volatility.
     "After all, in the year of Delta and Omicron, climate chaos, Trump Republican attacks on democracy, bitter divisiveness, a calamitous exit from Afghanistan, and accelerating inflation, the Street’s biggest banks have reaped record profits. Bonuses are through the front Porsche."
Was Jack Welch the Greatest C.E.O. of His Day—or the Worst? ( Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker, 10-31-22) As the head of General Electric, he fired people in vast numbers and turned the manufacturing behemoth into a financial house of cards. Why was he so revered?
‘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."
Author discovers 'most important financial skill' for achieving financial freedom (Kerry Hannon, Yahoo News, 5-28-23) Jonathan Clements, a retirement expert was long-time personal finance columnist at the Wall Street Journal and is founder and editor of the HumbleDollar website. In this book My Money Journey: How 30 people found financial freedom - and you can too, he shares the financial lives of 30 people, ranging in age from 30 to mid-80s, including a high school teacher, a minister, and a software engineer. Most of the contributors are dedicated index fund investors.
Financial reporting and business journalism
Business and commerce search sites
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."
The Real Nature of Thomas Edison’s Genius (Casey Cep, New Yorker, 10-28-19) The inventor did not look for problems in need of solutions; he looked for solutions in need of modification. In his biography of the man, Edmund Morris "reminds us that there was a time when a five-second kinetoscopic record of a man sneezing was just about the most astonishing thing anyone had ever seen; people watched it over and over again, like a nineteenth-century TikTok. And he makes plain the cosmological significance of Edison’s phonograph—how, against all understandings of human impermanence, it allowed the dead to go on speaking forever."
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, economic, and data science reporters:
---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."
---Morningstar
---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)

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GUTTING THE IRS: Who Wins When a Crucial Agency Is Defunded

(ProPublica series takes on wealthy tax dodgers)

See also Covering tax avoidance and the wealthy

Gutting the IRS: Who Wins When a Crucial Agency Is Defunded (Pro-Publica series, 2019-2023 so far) A multiyear campaign to slash the IRS budget has left it understaffed and on the defensive. That’s been good news for tax cheats, the rich, and big corporations — but not for the poor.
The IRS Tried to Take on the Ultrawealthy. It Didn’t Go Well. (Jesse Eisinger and Paul Kiel, 4-5-19) Ten years ago, the tax agency formed a special team to unravel the complex tax-lowering strategies of the nation’s wealthiest people. But with big money — and Congress — arrayed against the team, it never had a chance.
How the IRS Was Gutted ( Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica and The Atlantic, 12-11-18) An eight-year campaign to slash the agency’s budget has left it understaffed, hamstrung and operating with archaic equipment. The result: billions less to fund the government. That’s good news for corporations and the wealthy.

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The IRS Tried to Crack Down on Rich People Using an “Abusive” Tax Deduction. It Hasn’t Gone So Well. (Peter Elkind, 1-3-20) The tax agency, Justice Department and Congress have all taken aim at a much-abused deduction exploited by wealthy investors. A conservation easement, in its original, legitimate form, is granted when a landowner permanently protects pristine land from development. With a “syndicated conservation easement,” which the IRS calls “abusive,” profit-seeking middlemen known as “promoters,” buy up land, find an appraiser willing to declare that it has huge development value and thus is worth many times the purchase price, then sell stakes in the deal to wealthy investors who extract tax deductions that are often five or more times what they put in. In March 2019, the IRS added this scheme to its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of “the worst of the worst tax scams.” Yet the crackdown is having minimal impact, costing the Treasury billions. See The Billion-Dollar Loophole (Peter Elkind, 1-3-20)
Senators Urge IRS to Focus on Big-Time Tax Cheats, Citing ProPublica Stories (Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger, 3-8-19) Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and three fellow senators say the agency should do more to tackle financial crimes, even in the face of crippling budget cuts.

IRS: Sorry, but It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the Poor (Paul Kiel, 10-2-19) Congress asked the IRS to report on why it audits the poor more than the affluent. Its response is that it doesn’t have enough money and people to audit the wealthy properly. So it’s not going to.
You Don’t Earn Much and You’re Being Audited by the IRS. Now What? (Paul Kiel, 10-4-18) Millions of low-income families rely on the earned income tax credit. We took an IRS audit notice sent to one taxpayer who’d claimed the EITC and annotated it to help explain what it really means.

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You Can’t Tax the Rich Without the IRS ( Jesse Eisinger and Paul Kiel, 5-3-19) Slowly and quietly over the past eight years, the IRS has been eviscerated. It’s lost tens of thousands of employees. It has fewer auditors now than at any time since 1953. In real dollars, the agency’s budget has dropped by almost $3 billion since 2010. Until the budget-starved agency is restored, corporations and the wealthy will easily fend off attempts to increase the rates they pay.'
It’s Getting Worse: The IRS Now Audits Poor Americans at About the Same Rate as the Top 1% (Paul Kiel, 3-30-19) As the agency’s ability to audit the rich crumbles, its scrutiny of the poor has held steady in recent years. Meanwhile, a new study shows that audits of poor taxpayers make them far less likely to claim credits they might be entitled to.
Who’s Afraid of the IRS? Not Facebook. (Paul Kiel, 1-23-20) The social media behemoth is about to face off with the tax agency in a rare trial to capture billions that the IRS thinks Facebook owes. But onerous budget cuts have hamstrung the agency’s ability to bring the case.

Americans Dodge $660 Billion in Taxes Each Year — And It’s Probably Getting Worse (Lucas Waldron, 12-12-18) The IRS is underfunded and understaffed. One result: audits of the wealthy are rapidly declining.
Who’s More Likely to Be Audited: A Person Making $20,000 — or $400,000? (Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger, 12-18-18) If you claim the earned income tax credit, whose average recipient makes less than $20,000 a year, you’re more likely to face IRS scrutiny than someone making twenty times as much. How a benefit for the working poor was turned against them.

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Has the IRS Hit Bottom? (Paul Kiel, 6-30-20) Every year, the IRS annual report is an opportunity to measure how effectively the U.S. government has sabotaged its own ability to enforce its tax laws. This year’s report signals historic lows for U.S. tax enforcement.
How the IRS Gave Up Fighting Political Dark Money Groups (Maya Miller, special to ProPublica, 4-18-19) Six years after it was excoriated for allegedly targeting conservative organizations, the agency has largely given up on regulating an entire category of nonprofits. The result: More dark money gushes into the political system.
      In the past decade, people, companies and unions have dispensed more than $1 billion in dark money, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The very definition of that phrase, to many critics, epitomizes the problem of shadowy political influence: Shielded by the cloak of anonymity, typically wealthy interests are permitted to pass limitless pools of cash through nonprofits to benefit candidates or political initiatives without contributing directly to campaigns. Such spending is legal because of a massive loophole. Section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. tax code allows organizations to make independent expenditures on politics while concealing their donors’ names — as long as politics isn’t the organization’s “primary activity.” The Internal Revenue Service has the daunting task of trying to determine when nonprofits in that category, known colloquially as C4s, violate that vague standard.

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Remarkable investigative stories and series

A few samples

 


US takes aim at real estate money laundering (Joanna Robin, ICIJ, 2-9-24) "A new rule would close a loophole Treasury warns is exploited by bad actors using ill-gotten cash to anonymously buy residential properties. The financial crimes unit of the U.S. Treasury has put forward its long-awaited plan to stem dirty money flows through residential real estate across the United States. “All-cash transactions are a favorite tool of criminals because they allow them to fly under the radar, avoiding scrutiny from banks and other financial institutions that are subject to extensive anti-money laundering measures.”
     "If finalized, the new rule would require certain real estate professionals to flag these “high-risk” transactions with FinCEN by filing “real estate reports,” similar to the suspicious activity reports, or SARs, filed by financial institutions. The reports would identify the beneficial owners of the entities or trusts that properties are transferred to, with the information to be stored in a non-public database, accessible to law enforcement and national security agencies."
California's Collusion with a Texas Timber Company Let Ancient Redwoods Be Clearcut (Greg King, History News Network, 6-4-23) It wasn't shocking that a Houston-based energy company would seek to liquidate newly acquired holdings of ancient redwood trees and defy California law to do it. It was shocking that state agencies seemed determined to help them do it. [Editorial note: That "be" in the title should be capitalized. It's a verb.]
A Former NFL Player Persuaded Politicians That His Child ID Kits Help Find Missing Kids. There’s No Evidence They Do. (Kiah Collier and Jeremy Schwartz, ProPublica, 5-8-23) At least 11 states have agreed to distribute fingerprinting kits sold by Kenny Hansmire’s National Child Identification Program. Some are spending millions even though similar kits are available for free. See also Inside 30 Years of Former NFL Player Kenny Hansmire’s Troubled Businesses (Mark Paoletta, ProPublica, 5-4-23)
Clarence Thomas’ Friend Acknowledges That Billionaire Harlan Crow Paid Tuition for the Child Thomas Was Raising “as a Son” The friend said Crow covered two years of schooling for the teen, which would amount to roughly $100,000 of undisclosed gifts.
The Hidden Fees Making Your Bananas, and Everything Else, Cost More (Michael Grabell, ProPublica, 6-16-22) A cadre of ocean carriers are charging exorbitant, potentially illegal, fees on shipping containers stuck because of congestion at ports. Sellers of furniture, coconut water, even kids’ potties say the fees are inflating costs.
States Prepare to Send Checks to Consumers Tricked Into Paying for TurboTax (Paul Kiel, ProPublica, 5-4-23) A year after a $141 million settlement with Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, that emerged from an investigation sparked by ProPublica’s reporting, 4.4 million customers will receive compensation.
The Uber Files (An ICIJ investigation, series) The secret story of how the tech giant won access to world leaders, cozied up to oligarchs and dodged taxes amid chaotic global expansion. See especially Uber shifted scrutiny to drivers as it dodged tens of millions in taxes (Scilla Alecci, ICIJ, 7-11-22) Executives agreed to share driver data to “contain” a tax audit and deflect from the tech giant’s use of European and Caribbean tax havens, new leak shows.

“The Human Psyche Was Not Built for This” (Marilyn W. Thompson and Jenny Deam, ProPublica, 9-6-22) How Republicans in Montana hijacked public health and brought a hospital to the brink. How lax vaccination policies have consequences. A growing body of research shows that death rates were significantly higher in red states like Montana because of lower vaccination rates.“Viruses don’t care how you vote,” he said. “If you allow lots of people to become infected at once, it will crash health care.” 


Patients for Profit: How Private Equity Hijacked Health Care (KHN series) Their model is to deliver short-term financial goals and in order to do that you have to cut corners. Explore the Database (scroll down on KHN starting page)
---Sick Profit: Investigating Private Equity’s Stealthy Takeover of Health Care Across Cities and Specialties

(Fred Schulte, KHN,11-14-22)
---KHN Investigation: The System Feds Rely On to Stop Repeat Health Fraud Is Broken

(Sarah Jane Tribble and Lauren Weber, KHN, 12-12-22)
---Baby, That Bill Is High: Private Equity ‘Gambit’ Squeezes Excessive ER Charges From Routine Births

(Rae Ellen Bichell, KHN, 10-13-22)
---ER Doctors Call Private Equity Staffing Practices Illegal and Seek to Ban Them

(Bernard J. Wolfson, KHN and States Newsroom, 12-22-22)
---Hospices Have Become Big Business for Private Equity Firms, Raising Concerns About End-of-Life Care

(Markian Hawryluk, KHN, 7-29-22)
---Death Is Anything but a Dying Business as Private Equity Cashes In

(Markian Hawryluk, KHN,9-22-22)
---Buy and Bust: When Private Equity Comes for Rural Hospitals

(Sarah Jane Tribble, KHN, 6-15-22)
---Buy and Bust: After Platinum Health Took Control of Noble Sites, All Hospital Workers Were Fired

(Sarah Jane Tribble, KHN, 9-22-22)
---Some Addiction Treatment Centers Turn Big Profits by Scaling Back Care

(Renuka Rayasam, KHN, and Blake Farmer, Nashville Public Radio and CBS News,1-31-23)
---More Orthopedic Physicians Sell Out to Private Equity Firms, Raising Alarms About Costs and Quality

(Harris Meyer, KHN, 1-6-23)
---The Business of Clinical Trials Is Booming. Private Equity Has Taken Notice.

(Rachana Pradhan, KHN, 12-2-22) After finding success investing in the more obviously lucrative corners of American medicine — like surgery centers and dermatology practices — private equity firms have moved aggressively into the industry’s more hidden niches: They are pouring billions into the business of clinical drug trials.
---Britain’s Hard Lessons From Handing Elder Care Over to Private Equity (Christine Spolar, KHN and Fortune, 9-27-22)
---Private Equity Sees the Billions in Eye Care as Firms Target High-Profit Procedures (Lauren Weber, KHN, 9-19-22)
---Misinformation Clouds America’s Most Popular Emergency: Contraception (Sarah Varney, KHN, 6-7-22) At a moment when half of U.S. states stand poised to outlaw or sharply curtail abortion services, Plan B One-Step, the last-ditch pill for women aiming to stave off an unwanted pregnancy, rests in the unlikely stewardship of two private equity firms whose investment portfolios range from Italian foods to vineyard management to children’s cough medicine.
---Despite a First-Ever ‘Right-to-Repair’ Law, There’s No Easy Fix for Wheelchair Users (Markian Hawryluk, KHN, 6-2-22)
---Betting on ‘Golden Age’ of Colonoscopies, Private Equity Invests in Gastro Docs (Emily Pisacreta and Emmarie Huetteman, KHN and Fortune, 5-27-22)
---Private Equity Ownership of Nursing Homes Triggers Capitol Hill Questions — And a GAO Probe (Victoria Knight, KHN, 4-13-22)
---Profit Strategy: Psychiatric Facilities Prioritize Out-of-State Kids (Lauren Sausser, KHN and The Post and Courier, 4-11-22) South Carolina children who need immediate, around-the-clock psychiatric care risk being stranded for days — even weeks — waiting for help, only to be sent hundreds of miles away from home for treatment.

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Philip Meyer Journalism Award (Wikipedia chart) A guide to some interesting series:
---Unnecessary Epidemic: A Five-Part Series (Oregonian archive, 2004) This series of articles, written largely by Steve Suo, exposed how Congress and the Drug Enforcement Administration could have stopped the growth of meth abuse by aggressively regulating the import of the chemicals necessary to make it. It illuminated and encouraged Oregon’s legal strategy toward addiction which uses institutional punishment approach versus a medical approach which might offer an individual’s recovery as a primary goal.
---Perfect Payday (Wall Street Journal, 2006) This series exposed the widespread practice of secretly backdating stock option grants to benefit corporate insiders.
---Faking the Grade: (Holly K. Hacker and Joshua Benton, Dallas Morning News, 2007) A three-day series that uncovered strong evidence of cheating on standardized tests by more than 50,000 students in Texas public and charter schools.

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How a Suicide in a Clinical Trial Turned a Bioethicist Into a Whistleblower (Kristina Fiore, Director of Enterprise & Investigative Reporting, MedPage Today, 10-6-22) It took bioethicist Carl Elliott seven years to investigate the death of San Markingson, who stabbed himself multiple times in the shower and died, while on quetiapine (Seroquel). Elliott learned of the case in 2008, and spent the next 7 years trying to get Markingson's death investigated, filing requests with dozens of agencies and organizing petitions, vigils, letter-writing campaigns, campus events. Eventually, with the help of a former governor of Minnesota, there was a state investigation. His advice for other potential whistleblowers: Don't go it alone. He's apparently written a book (I can't find it for sale: Lonesome Whistle: Exposing Wrongdoing in Medical Research) which profiles six cases: the Tuskegee syphilis study; the Willowbrook hepatitis study; the Cincinnati radiation experiments; the New Zealand cervical cancer "unfortunate experiment"; the Fred Hutchinson leukemia study; and the Paolo Macchiarini synthetic trachea study (writeups linked to in the article). Please let me know when the book comes out!
How Foreign Private Equity Hooked New England’s Fishing Industry (Will Sennott, The New Bedford Light and ProPublica, 7-6-22) Owned by a billionaire Dutch family, Blue Harvest Fisheries has emerged as a dominant force in the lucrative fishing port of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Its business model: benefit from lax antitrust rules and pass costs on to local fishermen.
Overpolicing Parents: How America’s CPS Dragnet Ensnares Families (ProPublica and NBC News) An investigative series uncovers the unequal treatment of poor families and parents of color by the child welfare system. Check that link for more stories, including these:
---In Child Welfare Cases, Most of Your Constitutional Rights Don’t Apply (Eli Hager, ProPublica,12-29-22) The child welfare system rarely offers the same rights as the criminal justice system, leaving many families facing permanent separation without due process protections.
---The “Death Penalty” of Child Welfare: In Six Months or Less, Some Parents Lose Their Kids Forever
---Mandatory Reporting Was Supposed to Stop Severe Child Abuse. It Punishes Poor Families Instead.
---Arizona’s Governor-Elect Chooses Critic of Racial Disparities in Child Welfare to Lead CPS Agency (Eli Hager, ProPublica, 12-30-22) Matthew Stewart will become the first Black leader of the Department of Child Safety, which ProPublica and NBC News found had investigated the families of 1 in 3 Black children in metro Phoenix during a recent five-year period.
DOJ Investigating Texas’ Operation Lone Star for Alleged Civil Rights Violations (Perla Trevizo, 7-6-22) Emails obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune confirm that federal authorities are probing discrimination claims involving Gov. Greg Abbott’s multibillion-dollar border initiative.
UK, US and Germany say Xinjiang Police Files offer ‘shocking’ new evidence of China’s human rights abuses (Scilla Alecci, ICIJ, 5-24-22) Top officials from around the world have publicly reacted to the Xinjiang Police Files, an unprecedented leak from inside China’s internment camps, renewing calls for an official investigation into alleged human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
The Price Kids Pay (Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, and Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune) Illinois law bans schools from fining students. So local police are doing it for them, issuing thousands of tickets a year for truancy, vaping, fights and other misconduct. Children are then thrown into a legal system designed for adults.
St. Jude’s Unspent Billions: Behind the Hospital’s Claims to Donors (ProPublica) St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital raises more money than any health charity in the country. It promises no family will receive a bill. That’s not the full story. St. Jude uses donations to cultivate bequests, challenge wills.

---St. Jude Fights Donors’ Families in Court for Share of Estates (David Armstrong and Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica, 3-21-22)  The high-profile children's hospital uses donor money to engage in long and costly legal battles over wills. Here's how St. Jude has created one of the most lucrative charitable bequest programs in the country.

---St. Jude Hoards Billions While Many of Its Families Drain Their Savings (David Armstrong and Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica, 11-12-21) St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital promises not to bill families. But the cost of having a child at the hospital for cancer care leaves some families so strapped for money that parents share tips on spending nights in the parking lot.

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In San Francisco, Hundreds of Homes for the Homeless Sit Vacant (Nuala Bishari, ProPublica and San Francisco Public Press, 2-24-22) In spite of a growing Department of Homelessness with an annual budget of $598 million, eligible people still wait months or even years after being approved for assisted housing. Meanwhile, hundreds of units remain unused.


The College Rankings Racket (James Fallows, Breaking the News newsletter, 9-6-21) You get more of what you measure. How to measure better things. Part of a series over time. 
---The Rankings Racket Goes to Kindergarten (9-6-21) If you thought the concept of "Best Colleges" was harmful, just wait for this! As discussed in a segment on NPR.
---The Early-Decision Racket (Fallows, The Atlantic, 9-2000)
---The Great Sorting (Nicolas Lemann, The Atlantic, 9-95) The first mass administrations of a scholastic -aptitude test led with surprising speed to the idea that the nation's leaders would be the people who did well on tests
---The Case Against Credentialism (Fallows, The Atlantic, 1985) Measuring "input" rather than "output."
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.
• 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.

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In secret tapes, palm oil execs disclose corruption, brutality (Desmond Butler, WaPo, 9-9-21) Listen or read. Global Witness’s two-year investigation is a rare behind-the-scenes look at the corruption, labor abuses and destructive environmental practices in an industry that is clearing carbon-rich rainforests and emitting greenhouse gases at a rate that has become a growing concern for climate scientists. The world’s most common vegetable oil has spawned vast fortunes, while coming under scrutiny for its labor practices and environmental impact.
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)

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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 Skyscraper That Could Have Toppled Over in the Wind (Joseph Morgenstern, New Yorker Classic, 5-29-1995) What’s an engineer’s worst nightmare? To realize that the supports he designed for a tower like Citicorp Center are flawed—and hurricane season is approaching.
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.
ICIJ awards (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) Recognizing both the impact of ICIJ’s investigations and ICIJ’s innovative approach to cross-border reporting. Indirectly, a good reading list for investigatie stories.
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)

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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."
Forbidden Stories (The Pegasus Project) Journalists from the Pegasus Project — more than 80 reporters from 17 media organizations in 11 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories with the technical support of Amnesty International’s Security Lab — sifted through the records of phone numbers and were able to take a peek behind the curtain of a surveillance weapon that had never been possible to this extent before: An unprecedented leak of more than 50,000 phone numbers selected for surveillance with Pegasus, a spyware sold by Israeli company NSO Group, shows how this technology has been systematically abused for years to spy on journalists, human rights defenders, academics, businesspeople, lawyers, doctors, union leaders, diplomats, politicians and several heads of states.
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.

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Unchecked: America’s Broken Food Safety System (A ProPublica series) In the U.S., food poisoning sickens roughly 1 in 6 people every year, and a fractured and largely toothless food safety system fails to protect consumers.
---America’s Food Safety System Failed to Stop a Salmonella Epidemic. It’s Still Making People Sick. (Bernice Yeung, Michael Grabell, Irena Hwang and Mollie Simon, ProPublica, 10-29-21) For years, a dangerous salmonella strain has sickened thousands and continues to spread through the chicken industry. The USDA knows about it. So do the companies. And yet, contaminated meat continues to be sold to consumers.
---Chicken Checker (Andrea Suozzo, Ash Ngu, Michael Grabell and Bernice Yeung, ProPublica, 10-29-21) Find the P-number on a package of raw chicken or turkey. We’ll show you how often the USDA found salmonella at the plant that

 


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 Busiprocessed it.
---The Low-and-Slow Approach to Food Safety Reform Keeps Going Up in Smoke (Bernice Yeung, Michael Grabell and Mollie Simon, ProPublica, 12-23-21)The U.S. has one agency that regulates cheese pizza and another that oversees pepperoni pizza. Efforts to fix the food safety system have stalled again and again.
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.
The Great Organic-Food Fraud (Ian Parker, New Yorker, 11-15-21) There’s no way to confirm that a crop was grown organically. Randy Constant exploited our trust in the labels—and made a fortune.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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)
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.

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---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."

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'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.
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

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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.
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)

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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)

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

The New Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself by Stephen Martin Kohn

 

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Covering tax avoidance and the wealthy

(including an  extensive ProPublica series)
See also Gutting the IRS: Who Wins When a Crucial Agency Is Defunded


Ten Ways Billionaires Avoid Taxes on an Epic Scale (Paul Kiel, ProPublica, 6-24-22) After a year of reporting on the tax machinations of the ultrawealthy, ProPublica spotlights the top tax-avoidance techniques that provide massive benefits to billionaires. Must-read.
He's Part Of The 1%. And He Thinks His Taxes Aren't High Enough (Jim Zarroli, Up First, NPR, 10-8-20) "The U.S. tax code favors people who make money through investments like stocks and real estate, including a lot of people in finance, such as hedge fund titans and money managers. Instead of paying income taxes, which rise to about 37% as a person's income goes up, investors pay the much lower long-term capital gains tax, which tops out at 20%. This inequity in the tax code is something investment giant Warren Buffett has frequently remarked upon, noting that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his own secretary.
'Our system allows rich people, particularly real estate developers and investors, to pay far lower taxes than people that work for a living,' says Pearl, who chairs the group Patriotic Millionaires, a group that advocates for a more equitable tax system. Most of the other wealthy people he knows share that conviction, according to Pearl. "I think most wealthy people understand that we have to change our system — because the current system is not sustainable," he says.
The tax bill Trump signed "did strip the tax code of some deductions that tend to benefit the well-heeled, but it retained the lower tax rate for investment income....one of the more well-known tax loopholes...[but] it retained the very controversial carried interest provision, which allows many people who work in finance to take the money they make as investment income instead of salary. That sharply lowers their tax rate....[The] bill did little to address the inequities in the tax code."

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The Deadbeat Billionaire: The Inside Story Of How West Virginia Governor Jim Justice Ducks Taxes And Slow-Pays His Bills (Christopher Helman, Forbes and ProPublica, 4-9-19)
A Right-Wing Think Tank Claimed to Be a Church. Now, Members of Congress Want to Investigate. (Andrea Suozzo, ProPublica, 8-2-22) Forty lawmakers are calling on the IRS and the Treasury to investigate after ProPublica reported that the Family Research Council gained protections by claiming it is a church. They asked the IRS and the Treasury to investigate what the lawmakers termed an “alarming pattern” of right-wing advocacy groups registering with the tax agency as churches, a move that allows the organizations to shield themselves from some financial reporting requirements and makes it easier to avoid audits.
Ken Griffin Spent $54 Million Fighting a Tax Increase for the Rich. Secret IRS Data Shows It Paid Off for Him. (Paul Kiel and Mick Dumke, ProPublica,7-7-22) The ultrawealthy poured money into a successful campaign to defeat a graduated state income tax. For the first time, we can reveal the scale of their return on this investment.
The Pandora Papers: Billions Hidden Beyond Reach (Greg Miller, Debbie Cenziper, and Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post, 10-3-21) A global investigation. A trove of secret files details the opaque financial universe where global elite shield riches from taxes, probes and accountability.The details are contained in more than 11.9 million financial records that were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and examined by The Post and other partner news organizations.
Key findings from the Pandora Papers investigation (10-3-21) A trove of secret files details the financial universe where global elite shield riches from taxes, probes and accountability. Key Findings:
1. Country leaders on five continents use the offshore system
2. Governments launch investigations after secret papers show how elite shield riches
3. Some American states have become central to the global offshore system
4. Wealthy investors profited from stressed American renters amid national affordability crisis
5. Billionaires make extensive use of offshore finance.

6. A global treasure hunt leads to an indicted art dealer's offshore trusts — and the Met
7. U.S. sanctions imposed on Russian oligarchs hit their targets.
Secret real estate purchases are a driving force behind the offshore economy (Margot Gibbs and Agustin Armendariz, Pandora Paper, ICJI, 11-3-21) No longer content with Miami condos and London townhouses, investors are pouring money into properties in all corners of the world, fueling inequality and driving up prices, Pandora Papers investigation reveals. “Whether people are hiding from the tax authorities or law enforcement, or from the scrutiny of a trusting public, these transactions are about obtaining impunity,” said Alex Cobham, head of the Tax Justice Network, a tax fairness advocacy group.

     Read about the series The Landlords--for example, The landlord from Wall Street After a housing crisis, a rising real estate titan purchased tens of thousands of homes, converted them into rentals — and siphoned earnings offshore. How Progress Residential and its investors profited from a housing crisis.

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Meet the Billionaire and Rising GOP Mega-Donor Who’s Gaming the Tax System (Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger, Paul Kiel, Jeff Ernsthausen and Doris Burke, The Big Story, ProPublica, 6-21-22) Susquehanna founder and TikTok investor Jeff Yass has avoided $1 billion in taxes while largely escaping public scrutiny. He’s now pouring his money into campaigns to cut taxes and support election deniers.
Casinos Pled Poverty to Get a Huge Tax Break. Atlantic City Is Paying the Price. (Alison Burdo, The Press of Atlantic City, 6-2-22) Despite growing profits, casino operators used predictions of “grave danger” to convince the state to slash their tax burden, denying millions to the city, its school district and the county. And sidebar: New Jersey Officials Refused to Provide the Numbers Behind New Casino Tax Breaks. So We Did the Math. Lawmakers claimed, without providing evidence, that casinos would close without a tax cut. A ProPublica, Press of Atlantic City analysis found otherwise.
TurboTax Maker Intuit Faces Tens of Millions in Fees in a Groundbreaking Legal Battle Over Consumer Fraud (Justin Elliott, ProPublica, 2-23-22) In addition to the unusual mass arbitration Intuit is fighting, federal regulators and state prosecutors are still investigating the company, which made $2 billion dollars last year. See also The TurboTax Trap: Here’s How TurboTax Just Tricked You Into Paying to File Your Taxes (Justin Elliott and Lucas Waldron, ProPublica, 4-22-19) And FTC Sues to Stop “Deceptive” TurboTax “Free” Ad Campaign (Justin Elliott, ProPublica, 3-29-22) Following an investigation sparked by ProPublica’s coverage, the Federal Trade Commission is asking a federal court for a restraining order barring Intuit from marketing TurboTax as “free.”

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The Secret IRS Files (ProPublica's excellent series, with links to all the stories, starting June 2021) Here are only some of the stories.
---How These Ultrawealthy Politicians Avoided Paying Taxes (Ellis Simani, Robert Faturechi and Ken Ward Jr., ProPublica, 11-4-21) IRS records reveal how Gov. Jim Justice, Gov. Jared Polis, former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other wealthy political figures slashed their taxes using strategies unavailable to most of their constituents.
---Proposal to Rein in Mega IRAs Faces Lobbying Resistance From Retirement Industry (Justin Elliott, ProPublica, 10-25-21) Several companies, including one backed by Peter Thiel, are fighting a proposal to curb giant retirement accounts and tighten rules for IRA investments.
---House Bill Would Blow Up the Massive IRAs of the Superwealthy (Justin Elliott, Patricia Callahan and James Bandler, ProPublica, 9-21-21) The proposed reform stems from a ProPublica story that detailed how PayPal founder Peter Thiel had amassed $5 billion, tax-free, in a Roth IRA. If the bill passes, Roth accounts would be capped at $20 million for high-income individuals.
---More Than Half of America’s 100 Richest People Exploit Special Trusts to Avoid Estate Taxes (Jeff Ernsthausen, James Bandler, Justin Elliott and Patricia Callahan, ProPublica, 9-28-21) Secret IRS records show billionaires use trusts that let them pass fortunes to their heirs without paying estate tax. Will Congress end a tax shelter that has cost the Treasury untold billions? Examples: Charles Koch, Michael Bloomberg, Herb Simon and Laurene Powell Jobs.
---The Inside Story of How We Reported the Secret IRS Files (ProPublica, 8-6-21) The ProPublica journalists who obtained the secret tax documents of thousands of America’s richest people share how they conceived of their stories, what readers should understand about the tax system and where they’re taking these stories next.
--- (Secret IRS Files Reveal How Much the Ultrawealthy Gained by Shaping Trump’s “Big, Beautiful Tax Cut” Justin Elliott and Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, 8-11-21) Billionaire business owners deployed lobbyists to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill was tailored to their benefit. Confidential IRS records show the windfall that followed.
---The Billionaire Playbook: How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Millions in Taxes (Robert Faturechi, Justin Elliott and Ellis Simani, ProPublica, 7-8-21) Owners like Steve Ballmer can take the kinds of deductions on team assets — everything from media deals to player contracts — that industrialists take on factory equipment. That helps them pay lower tax rates than players and even stadium workers.
How a Billionaire Team Owner Pays a Lower Tax Rate Than LeBron James — and the Stadium Workers, Too (Nadia Sussman, Mauricio Rodríguez Pons, Joseph Singer and Kristyn Hume, ProPublica, 7-8-21) Pro sports teams pretty much always increase in value. But our tax laws allow the owners to claim that their teams’ assets lose value, lowering their tax bills through amortization. The government misses out on billions in revenue. Here’s how.
Eight Takeaways From ProPublica’s Investigation of How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Taxes (ProPublica, 7-8-21) How do billionaire team owners end up paying lower tax rates not only than their millionaire players, but even the person serving beer in the stadium? Let’s go to the highlights.
You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire (Paul Kiel, Jeff Ernsthausen and Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, 6-8-21) A new ProPublica analysis of a trove of IRS documents revealed that the richest 25 Americans pay a tiny fraction of their wealth in taxes. But even if you use the most conventional yardstick — income — the wealthiest still pay low rates.
The Secret IRS Files Links to the full series, only part of which is linked to here.

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The great American tax haven: why the super-rich love South Dakota (Oliver Bullough, The Guardian, 11-14-19) It’s known for being the home of Mount Rushmore – and not much else. But thanks to its relish for deregulation, the state is fast becoming the most profitable place for the mega-wealthy to park their billions. A decade ago, South Dakotan trust companies held $57.3bn in assets. By the end of 2020, that total will have risen to $355.2bn.
In recent years, countries outside the US have been cracking down on offshore wealth. But according to an official in a traditional tax haven, who has watched as wealth has fled that country’s coffers for the US, the protections offered by states such as South Dakota are undermining global attempts to control tax dodging, kleptocracy and money-laundering. See also How Britain can help you get away with stealing millions: a five-step guide (Oliver Bullough, The Long Read, The Guardian, 7-5-19) Dirty money needs laundering if it’s to be of any use – and the UK is the best place in the world to do it. Britain’s most famous money launderer is HSBC, thanks to its systematic cleansing of the earnings of the Latin American drug cartels over the second half of the last decade.
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.
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.
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. 
'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.

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."

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Covering public and private tragedy and trauma

and the pandemic


Reporting trauma: John D. Sutter on Hurricane Maria (Richard Forbes, Strictly Q&A, Nieman Storyboard, 1-27-22) Sutter spent a year following victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico for CNN, and gained insights about taking care of story subjects and himself. "When I’m talking to someone about something that can be really traumatizing, I think a lot about consent. Have you gotten consent? And there are multiple layers of consent....Even if no one really knows what that will feel like, I try to give people information so they can consent knowingly." See all Nieman Storyboard Strictly Q&As on reporting trauma.
Advice for photographing vulnerable communities ethically and compassionately (Natalia Jidovanu, Multimedia, IJNet, 5-18-23) When working with vulnerable communities, consider the legal context and whether your photo subjects’ safety could be in danger as a result of your work. “Even if there are people who are ready to take any risk to fight for their freedom, it is important to keep in mind that even if a story is published in a foreign language, it does not mean that people in Uganda will not be able to access [it]. I always advise anonymous pictures [that conceal the subject’s identity],” said Sofi Lundin, a Uganda-based journalist.
An editor’s sensitive guide to interviewing victims of trauma (Jan Winburn, Nieman Storyboard, 1-20-22) Narrative editor Jan Winburn created a class at the University of Montana focused on "The Worst Day Ever: Writing about Trauma" "What goes on in someone’s brain when the unthinkable happens? How can a reporter do justice to a trauma survivor’s story without doing harm? And what is the value of reporting on loss? How does it balance against the potential of retraumatizing someone?"
Trauma & Journalism (handbook edited by Mark Brayne, Dart Centre for Journalism & Trauma, 2007)
Trauma-informed journalism: What it is, why it’s important and tips for practicing it (Naseem S. Miller, Explainer, Journalist's Resource, 4-13-22) Experts and journalists who have researched and worked with trauma survivors say that practicing trauma-informed journalism not only leads to better, more accurate stories, but also helps protect survivors from further harm.
10 rules for reporting on war trauma survivors (Carmen Nobel, Journalists' Resource, 8-9-18)
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)

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What this longtime crime reporter says the news media gets wrong in covering tragedy ( Joanna Chiu, Toronto Star, 5-16-23) A Q and A with Tamara Cherry, whose new book The Trauma Beat: A Case for Re-Thinking the Business of Bad News explores how to mitigate harms tied to coverage of violence and trauma. "The top tip I give journalists is to try to find a go-between when approaching a survivor, such as a homicide investigator, victim services or a friend of the family. Someone with at least a degree of separation and who has the best interest of family members in mind, who can broach the subject of an interview request....Cherry found after years of research that survivors value media coverage as a way to seek justice or raise awareness about issues such as impaired driving or gun control. Helpful resources for covering trauma:
---The Domino Effect of Murder podcast by Detroit psychologist Jan Canty, whose husband was murdered.
---The Trauma Impact (Ability to Rise) Boston Marathon Survivor and licensed professional counselor Amy O’Neill talks about the impact of trauma on the lives of survivors, victims, family members, and communities in the aftermath of mass violence. In this informative and inspiring show, you will hear survivor stories, learn from an expert.
---Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Lewis Herman
---The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma (about treatment of traumatic stress) by Bessel van der Kolk
--- How Journalists Experience Vicarious Trauma (Michelle Quirk, Psychology Today, 1-17-23) Journalists are frequently exposed to incidents involving threats to life and serious injury. They may be exposed to traumatic information for a prolonged period of time without ever leaving the newsroom. For reporters, factors associated with PTSD include personal, work-related, and organizational stressors.
You Are Not Your Traumas. But Here’s How to Write About Them ( Lisa Cooper Ellison on Jane Friedman's blog, 2-22-22) Learn how to navigate the triggers and tripwires you might encounter as you write about distressing material. To write sustainably about trauma, you need to operate more like a tea kettle that lets a small, steady stream of feeling pour from you—a process that requires moderation. Trauma is a response, not an identity. To write well about the episodes that elicit these responses requires three steps: Bearing witness to what happened. Assigning it a meaning and a place in your life. Letting it rest or letting it go.

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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)
Violence: Comparing Reporting and Reality (Fact sheet, Sara Tiegreen and Elana Newman, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)
Breaking Bad News (download free booklet from Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)
Local Tragedy, National Spotlight (Joe Hight, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma)
Tragedies & Journalism: a guide for more effective coverage (Dart Center, PDF), includes Tips for photojournalists who respond to tragedies.
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.
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
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)

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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.

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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."

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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)
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)

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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)
Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma honor innovative, ethical and effective reporting of violence, trauma and tragedy across all media platforms.Guidelines and past winners.See also Telling the Hardest Stories (Dart Center) Winners and judges of the Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma break down the process behind three exemplary stories (short videos).
Case Consortium@Columbia (the official web site for the Case Consortium @ Columbia by Columbia University; includes newsroom scenarios for professors, students, schools).
Suicide coverage: time to take stock(MediaWise)

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Magazine markets


The Magazine Supply Chain Is in Chaos. Mother Jones Isn’t Immune. (Claudia Smuckler, Production Editor, Mother Jones, 6-2-22) Their frozen paper was stuck in a massive traffic jam of cargo waiting to be transferred to trucks. Paper prices had increased 38 percent in just six months and the supply-demand imbalance for publication paper was likely to continue through at least 2023. Publication of a particular month's magazine depended on last-minute heroics in an increasingly chaotic market.
The Magazine Business, From the Coolest Place to the Coldest One (Alexandra Jacobs, Critic's Notebook, NY Times, 5-10-22) A new book about Anna Wintour and another by a longtime editor at Vanity Fair arrive amid the accelerating erosion of an industry (deeply wounded by the time-consuming Internet). Goodbye to an era? The books:
---Dilettante: True Tales of Excess, Triumph, and Disaster, by Dana Brown, a longtime editor at Vanity Fair
---Anna: The Biography, Amy Odell's biography of the Vogue editor Anna Wintour, as reviewed in Is Anna Wintour Really a Tyrant, or Something Else Entirely? "It depends on who you ask."
Magazine Article Jackpot: How I Make Over $500 for Each Regional Parenting Reprint (Kerrie McLoughlin,The Published Parent, 6-17) Not for every piece. Just some.
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)

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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)
‘Show Us the Carnage’ (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 5-26-22) A never-ending moral and civic challenge for the media: When real life is horrific, how much horror should we show? Four examples, including children bombed in Vietnam. With mass killings, people are calling for honest photos.
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."

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Five Steps to Covering a Disaster Effectively (Joe Hight, Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, 3-1-09)
What happens when a huge ship sinks? A step-by-step guide to averting disaster (Emma Bryce and Harvey Symons, The Guardian, 1-11-23) In 2021, 54 large vessels either sank, ran aground or went up in flames and these behemoths are more likely to cause catastrophe when things go wrong.
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

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.
Cyberjournalist.net
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

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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)
E&P (Editor & Publisher) "The Authoritative Voice of #NewsMedia Since 1884" (whose several changes of management in recent years are itemized on a Wikipedia page in its name)
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."
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)
Uplink

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


Behind the News: CJR on the media (Columbia Journalism Review)
Breaking the News (James Fallows' blog, arising from his book Breaking The News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy  Well-informed, intelligent writing. See Media World, Part 1: Let Us See How the Sausage is Made.
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)
Draft Four (Christian Lupsa) "Inspiring because of its vulnerability, but also how deeply he sources — challenges — his ideas. If you want to study essay structure within a focused narrative frame, this should be on your list."~JB
Frank Bruni Newsletter A contributing opinion editor at The New York Times, for his personal take on issues of the day, and the last notes he includes every week: “For the Love of Sentences.” He features brief snippets from all sorts of published work, like a smart and literary TikTok.~JB
Global Voices
The Joggled Mind, by Dale Keiger. An eclectic writer who likes to play with ideas and criticism. A strong voice, always wrapped in literary elegance."~JB
Journajunkie (a blog about all things journalism)
Journal-isms (Richard Price reporting on diversity issues in the news media)
Journalism.co.uk
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." 
Letters from an American (Heather Cox Richardson) "Ties present-day events to history. A master of clarity and credibility. I was sadly slow to her work and now consider it a morning must."~JB
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 Now an archive of watchdog journalism, replaced by NiemanReports, a website and quarterly print publication whose editorial mission is "“to promote and elevate the standards of journalism.” A site worth exploring.
On the Media (NPR's invaluable weekly show)
Pew Research Journalism Project (packed with useful, interesting stories)
Politics with Charles P. Pierce "Humor (the hardest thing to write) laced throughout with a dazzling knowledge of history, culture, music, religion, sports, politics, literature, science and even dinosaurs....a great study in voice and creativity."~JB
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.
Simon Owens Media Newsletter Thoughtful observations, roundups on themes I find interesting.
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)
Tom Jones, Poynter "Conversational with authority. I feel we’re having coffee or a beer and he’s telling me all the stuff he’s found out, sourcing included."~JB

Pieces about blogging and newsletters and about good journalistic writing, and more recommendations:
Read not just for the what of the story, but for the how of the writing (Jacqui Banaszynski, Nieman Storyboard). JB in the links above means she recommended them.)
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.)

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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.

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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
Revolution on the Radio (Zoe Carpenter, The Nation, 3-12-12) When activists established Portland’s occupation in early October, producers at the volunteer-driven community station decided that the best way to cover the movement was from the inside—to occupy Occupy. Community radio stations were key to spreading the message of the Occupy movement.
    "In the last few decades, corporate consolidation and stringent restrictions on independent broadcasters has sharply curtailed the ability of citizens to use the airwaves. By building an independent media structure at Occupy, Rousset says, “we were demonstrating that we don’t want a media system that’s controlled by Wall Street, one that’s trying to teach us about ourselves or spreading lies about a movement. We want to be able to tell those stories ourselves.”
    "Working around the regulatory squeeze, community radio has historically been an effective medium for voices of dissent."
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.
Cyberjournalist.net
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
It’s not “citizen journalism,” but it is “citizens taking notes at public meetings with no reporters around” (Christine Schmidt. Nieman Lab, 1-11-18) Chicago’s City Bureau is betting on local residents doing this sort of low-key not-quite-journalism at meetings, and now it’s expanding the model to Detroit.
Bellingcat's Online Investigation Toolkit, a freely available open source toolkit
--- Watch out for Bellingcat (Christopher Massie, CJR, 1-12-15

--- First Steps to Getting Started in Open Source Research (Giancarlo Fiorella, Bellngcat.com, 11-9-21)
--- A Beginner's Guide to Social Media Verification (Annique Mossou & Ross Higgins, Bellingcat., 11-1-21)
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."
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)

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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.

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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)
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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.”

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Electronic newsletters for journalists and journalism buffs

and newsletters with news roundups


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)
---The Latest (archived issues, National Press Club Journalim Institute)
---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.

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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
The Reporter in the Novel (Steve Weinberg, CJR/IJPC, 1997) Read about Steve's collection of journalism novels
Mystery writer Michael Connelly on newspaper novels
12 Novels About the Power of Journalism (Tobias Carroll, Electric Lit, 12-1-17) New Grub Street by George Gissing; The Quiet American by Graham Greene; Eastman Was Here by Alex Gilvarry; Speedboat by Renata Adler; Philadelphia Fire by John Edgar Wideman; The Shipping News by Annie Proulx; Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer; John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead; The Book of Formation by Ross Simonini; The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Böll; The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe by D.G. Compton; and Malacqua by Nicola Pugliese.
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)

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Journalists on journalism

Higher-level how-to's and inside news


A Word the Press Should Remember (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 2-3-22)

FRAMING. Fallows proposes that the framing of stories and coverage is what we should be talking about—more than familiar discussion of “bias” or “balance,” or even refinements like “both-sides-ism” or obsession with “the horse race.” Rather than talking about “bias,” please look for framing:
    That is largely intended to make people feel angry or victimized;
    That reduces everything to its party-politics ramifications;
    That normalizes abnormal behavior; and
    That gives a disproportionate view of what works, and doesn’t.

For example,
   1. From Fox News: ‘They’re Out to Get You.’
   2. From many mainstream outlets: What’s most interesting about anything, is the politics of it.
   3. Also from most of the media: Grading on the curve, when it comes to Trump and the modern GOP.
   4. From everywhere: what works is suspect, or boring.
A journalist assisted a woman’s quest for suicide. Did he get too involved? (Jeremy Barr, WaPo,2-2-24) The Boston Globe acknowledged that writer Kevin Cullen crossed an ethical line by signing a legal form for Lynda Bluestein attesting that she was sound of mind when she requested to die in Vermont, which granted her the right to do so.. But the woman’s husband is grateful for what he did. “What he did may or may not have been a violation of the Globe’s standards,” the Globe's editor said in an email to The Washington Post, “but it was very much in keeping with the standards for acting like a decent human being.”
Synthesizing Ideas to Write with Authority (Julia Rosen, The Open Notebook, 4-26-22) In her article Learning to Love G.M.O.s for the NY Times Magazine (7-20-21), Rosen faced 'the sprawling subject of genetically modified foods, which could congeal into a stew of scientific misinformation, environmental concerns, and anxieties about the power of agribusiness. But from that complex topic she created a lean, focused story. Writing with authority "takes a combination of expertise, confidence, and purpose. Part expert storytelling, part tenacious truth-seeking, authority is one of the more ineffable qualities of good writing. It comes through when a writer takes charge of a story to prioritize selectiveness over comprehensiveness, momentum over excessive citation, rigorous thinking over “balanced” circumspection. In other words, when a writer knows what they’re talking about—and what they want to say." ' Stories Rosen uses as examples:
---The Social Life of Forests by Ferris Jabr (NY Times Magazine)
---Succession by Aathira Perinchery (in 52). Evolutionary ecologists keep finding new species in the Western Ghats. Here’s how it happens.
---An Atlas of the Cosmos (Shannon Stirone, Longreads)
---The Medical Miracle of a Pig’s Heart in a Human Body (Rivka Galchen, New Yorker)

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Two Journalists Started an Argument in Boston in 1979. It’s Not Over Yet. (Ben Smith, NY Times, 10-10-21) A writer for an alt-weekly called out a Boston Globe editor for his “fealty” to the idea of objectivity in a column that reads as if it were written yesterday. And he links to:
---A Reckoning Over Objectivity, Led by Black Journalists (Wesley Lowery, NY Times, 6-23-2020) "What’s different, in this moment, is that the editors of our country’s most esteemed outlets no longer hold a monopoly on publishing power."
---Black journalists push media to cover ‘hyper-racial’ moment in politics (Michael Calderone, Politico, 7-29-19) ‘Race and politics,’ one reporter said, ‘is really the story of our time.’
---Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitri Muratov are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (NY Times, 10-8-21) "Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov "have been persecuted, at heart, not because their governments don’t like their style of journalism, but because their governments won’t tolerate the notion of independent, truth-seeking journalism."
Can solo writers monetize longform journalism? (Simon Owens' Media Newsletter, 10-14-21) Audience growth doesn’t have to come at the expense of research and quality.
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."

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How to network with commissioning editors (Marcela Kunova, editor at Journalism.co.uk, 2-18-22) "At the end of the day, the more you pitch, the more chances you have to get commissioned. The best way to find new ideas is to talk to people. This can be your sources, fellow journalists, and editors — talk to whoever you can contact. Also read publications cover to cover, even the sections you do not normally follow. Any new information or background can give you ideas for fresh angles on stories you would like to write about.”
Breaking the News (James Fallows, Breaking the News, 9-24-21) It’s a well-plowed field, this flailing of the “both-sides” press in a 'one side doesn’t care about truth' era. For more, I direct you (for starters) to" (and he links to a few places to find good political journalism)
---Press Run (Eric Boehlert)
---Popular Information (Judd Legum) Independent accountability journalism
---Margaret Sullivan (Washington Post)
---Greg Sargent (Washington Post) 
---Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post) 
---Press Think (Jay Rubin)
---On the Media with Brooke Gladstone WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our worldview.
---Booksmart Studios, especially Bob Garfield
---The Big Tent (Crooked Media’s Editor-in-Chief Brian Beutler walks "you through the big debates unfolding among Democrats in real time, from the campaign trail to the Senate floor to the Twitter battles that leave everyone feeling angry at the end."
---Press Watch (Dan Froomkin, in an intervention for political journalism)
---Breaking the News (James Fallows, author of the book Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy
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

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How Rupert Murdoch’s Empire of Influence Remade the World (Jonathan Mahler and Jim Rutenberg, Planet Fox, 4-3-19) Murdoch and his children have toppled governments on two continents and destabilized the most important democracy on Earth. What do they want? A 20,000 word biography of the Murdoch media empire. See the CNN cable series (2022): The Murdochs: Empire of Influence. A family business story destined for television.
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)

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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.

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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)
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.

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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)
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."

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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.

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