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Columbia Journalism Review: The future of media is here
Updated: 5 years 15 weeks ago

AxisPhilly makes a splash. Can it last?

October 17, 2013 - 1:50pm
DETROIT, MI -- When the Online News Association announced the finalists for its 2013 awards recently, it may have raised a few eyebrows: AxisPhilly--a public affairs news site in Philadelphia that was scarcely six months past its soft launch under its current name--had not one, but three citations. At the ONA awards banquet this Saturday, the site is in line...
Categories: Media

Journalism and customer service

October 17, 2013 - 10:00am
Let's face it: The bulk of journalism produced is inessential. This isn't to say it's not valuable, just that the bulk of what appears in America's newspapers, magazines, airwaves, and media sites is not exposing government waste or corporate misdeeds. Despite the characterization of this fact as a digital-era problem, this was always the case. It's just that the internet...
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The extraordinary promise of the new Greenwald-Omidyar venture (UPDATED)

October 17, 2013 - 5:50am
Make no mistake, news that Glenn Greenwald is leaving The Guardian to start a new publication funded by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar is giant news—a bigger deal, in my book, than Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post. (UPDATE: I should disclose that the Omidyar Network helps fund CJR, something I didn't know until shortly after I published this post.) This...
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QUEST's quest for sustainability journalism

October 16, 2013 - 1:56pm
Since its 2007 launch, QUEST, a public radio and television program airing on northern California's KQED, has been quietly producing some of the most interesting and innovative science coverage in the country--an unusual role for a local affiliate. But as QUEST has proved time and again, northern California is a place replete with environmental issues of national consequence, as the...
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SCOTUS could change how you watch TV

October 16, 2013 - 10:00am
There's nothing like Twitter to remind a reporter that, in the age of BuzzFeed, an exclusive does not necessarily command the attention it once did. Last week, Variety's Ted Johnson was the first to report that broadcasting giants like Comcast and Fox were about to try to take their fight with the startup Aereo--which, for a fee, will stream network...
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A piracy defense walks the plank at the Post (UPDATED)

October 16, 2013 - 6:09am
There are many problems with Timothy B. Lee's Washington Post blog post on Hollywood's supposed culpability for the theft of its own movies, beginning with the morally unserious jujitsu deployed in arguing that Hollywood is culpable for the theft of its own movies. The Mercatus- and Cato-connected editor of the Washington Post tech blog that aims "to be indispensable to...
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Audit Notes: Shutdown/debt ceiling edition

October 15, 2013 - 2:00pm
Audit pal Felix Salmon has an important piece on the Republicans' debt-ceiling insanity, writing that "the default has already begun"—as has the irreparable damage: The harm done to the global financial system by a Treasury debt default would not be caused by cash losses to bond investors. If you needed that interest payment, you could always just sell your Treasury...
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Watch where you're going

October 15, 2013 - 1:50pm
The power of short documentary video to rally viewers to a cause is nothing new, these days. Social justice giant WITNESS pioneered the video-for-action model 20 years ago, when few people had cameras at their disposal, by sharing equipment and training with citizen-activists around the world. Today, with smartphone-bulging pockets, everyone's a filmmaker. And for fast-film consumers, it seems like...
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Stories I'd like to see

October 15, 2013 - 9:50am
In his "Stories I'd like to see" column, journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill spotlights topics that, in his opinion, have received insufficient media attention. This article was originally published on Reuters.com. 1. How Boehner can save his speakership: Conventional wisdom is that House Speaker John Boehner has been afraid to defy the Ted Cruz-inspired House members who have insisted on...
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A Fed whistleblower on Goldman's conflicts²

October 15, 2013 - 6:07am
ProPublica's Jake Bernstein reports on the intriguing tale of Carmen Segarra, a former Goldman Sachs bank examiner at the New York Federal Reserve who was fired for determining—and then insisting, after being told from superiors to say otherwise—that the bank's conflict-of-interest policies were sorely lacking. Finding conflicts of interest at Goldman Sachs, of course, is like finding gambling in the...
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How C-Ville traveled the multimedia 'Road'

October 15, 2013 - 5:50am
When The New York Times published "Snow Fall," its celebrated multimedia narrative extravaganza, in late 2012, the project sparked a ton of future-of-news buzz (along with the inevitable backlash). But in the months that followed, other projects that looked and felt like "Snow Fall"--from The Washington Post, Grantland, and the Times--followed a similar pattern: they focused on stories about sports,...
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Coming soon

October 14, 2013 - 2:05pm
In "eminent domain," a government can seize property for public use, as long as it compensates the owner. In "imminent domain," it stands to reason, the government wants to do it NOW. Except that there is no such thing as "imminent domain." It's a mistake--a common one, but a mistake nonetheless. The only thing "eminent" and "imminent" have in common...
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Topless women endure in the UK press

October 14, 2013 - 1:50pm
UK author and actress Lucy Ann Holmes bought a copy of The Sun one day last August to read its sports page-- the previous day, six British women had won Olympic gold medals. But the predominant woman in the paper was the topless one on page three, a tasteless recurring feature. "Lucy was horrified to see that the page-three image...
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Plight of the urban whore--ahem--science writer

October 14, 2013 - 11:53am
On Thursday afternoon, biologist Danielle N. Lee, who writes about ecology and diversity in science for her Scientific American blog, Urban Scientist, received an email. An editor from Biology-Online.org, an aggregator and a partner site of SciAm wanted Lee to write for the site. Upon learning the assignment would be unpaid, according to Wired, Lee replied with a polite rejection:...
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A laurel for the Sun Sentinel

October 14, 2013 - 10:00am
MIAMI, FL -- When CJR interviewed Howard Saltz, editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, earlier this year, he had this to say about running a paper whose newsroom had been slashed during the crisis: "We've chosen to make investigative a priority out of the resources that we have." The paper had preserved a dedicated investigative team, and...
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Audit Notes: Ginger Baker, $15 minimum wage, fisking Niall

October 14, 2013 - 6:30am
Ginger Baker, the former Cream drummer, gives the interview of the month to Rolling Stone. Baker is simply not having any of it: Why is Alec your favorite bass player? Because of the way he plays!... Are you living in England now? 

 Yes. That's where I am right now. You just phoned me so you know that this is...
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Some news sites suffer from an online mugshot crackdown

October 14, 2013 - 5:50am
Google and payment processing companies are going after for-profit websites that post publicly available arrest photographs and then (in many cases) charge up to $1,000 to have them removed. But changing Google search to stop showing mugshot sites near the top of the results could end up causing collateral damage to some news sites that also post booking photos to...
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Reviewing Obamacare coverage: Week 2

October 11, 2013 - 4:08pm
The splashy Obamacare media story of the week was Jon Stewart's Daily Show interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Monday night. It was worth watching, even if not as sharp as The Daily Show's 2012 sit-down with Sebelius; the secretary stuck to her talking points, never really giving a good reply to Stewart's repeated questions about why...
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Must-reads of the week

October 11, 2013 - 1:50pm
Culled from CJR’s frequently updated “Must-reads from around the Web,” our staff recommendations for the best pieces of journalism (and other miscellany) on the Internet, here are your can’t-miss must-reads of the past week: Christopher Chabris should calm down -- Malcolm Gladwell responds to his persistent critic The new canon -- HBO vs. Netflix Was the saga of Colin McGinn...
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Pick on someone your own size!

October 11, 2013 - 10:00am
Factcheckers often struggle to change the minds of skeptical voters. But what effect do they have on the politicians under scrutiny? Can the threat of being factchecked help keep politicians honest? To answer this question, my co-author Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter and I conducted a field experiment during the final months of the 2012 campaign. We sent...
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