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Columbia Journalism Review

Columbia Journalism Review Winter 2019

Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) encourages and stimulates excellence in journalism in the service of a free society. Published by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, CJR examines press performance as well as the forces that affect it. The bimonthly magazine offers a deliberative mix of reporting, analysis, criticism, and commentary.

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United States
Columbia University in City of New York
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min

Lincoln Agnew is an illustrator living in Vancouver, Canada. Edmon de Haro is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Barcelona, Spain. Serge Bloch is a French illustrator who now splits his time between New York and Paris. Vivienne Flesher is an artist and illustrator. Her next exhibit opens in San Francisco in June. Dadu Shin grew up in Boston and now lives and works as an illustrator in Brooklyn. Ellen Weinstein is an illustrator and author whose books include Recipes for Good Luck and Yayoi Kusama: from Here to Infinity. Melvin Backman is a writer based in Brooklyn. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Garage, Vogue, GQ, and Spook. Nicholson Baker’s sixteenth book is Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids. Ross Barkan is a writer and journalist from New York City. His work…

7 min
getting over ourselves

In late January, over the course of a week, a lousy journalism job market became truly awful. About 1,000 journalists learned they were being laid off, at BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Gannett, marking a grim record for an industry that has traded in bad news for a decade. By habit, reporters turned to Twitter, mourning for friends who had been cut, venting about their bosses, and desperately beginning a search for work. It was at that point that the jeers began. A chorus of online trolls began mocking the misfortune of laid-off reporters, saying, basically, that they had it coming. That escalated into increasingly vicious and personal attacks, racist and anti-Semitic, including a meme calling for reporters to be killed. Finally and inevitably, President Trump joined the fray, predicting more bad news…

7 min
the advice column renaissance

I ORIGINALLY INTENDED my column—“¡Hola Papi!,” a couch surfer that now appears in Out magazine—as a spoof on advice columns. (I pitched it to editors as “Latinx Dear Abby, but huffing poppers.”) It would be for a diverse, queer audience, on the trials of dating and the challenges that arise in navigating friendships. Then letters started coming in. People were earnestly asking me for help—people who, for reasons I didn’t understand, decided they trusted me. Charlotte de Anda, who struggles to balance her mixed identity (white and Mexican), asked me to weigh in. “I don’t always feel connected to the greater Mexican or Latinx community,” she wrote. “Does it ever get easier?” I replied—saying that it does, and that she should never let anyone invalidate her—and she thanked me via direct…

9 min
why the left can’t stand the new york times

EVERY MORNING that I’m not hungover, I wake up around 8am, because that is when my two cats start howling for breakfast. I feed them, make coffee, and walk barefoot and unwashed (mug in hand) through my apartment building’s common hallway to the front door, where I pick up my New York Times and my Financial Times. I then walk back to my apartment, look at the front page of the New York Times for approximately five to eight seconds, and throw the whole thing in the garbage with contempt. I drink my coffee and proceed to read the entirety of the Financial Times, excluding the particularly dense bits of the Companies & Markets section. If it’s the weekend edition, I even read most of House & Home, whose editors seem…

8 min
my life, on screen

I AM NOT A FANGIRL. I may have camped out in Central Park once to see the Backstreet Boys perform for Good Morning America. I may have started my own BSB email newsletter and fan site in the sixth grade. I may have spent $3,000 on a BSB cruise and written about it publicly. And I’m a lot of things—the black sheep of my family, a decently successful professional who struggles with adult relationships, a cultural and political Muslim who fasts one day out of thirty, a friend who is great in person but terrible at staying in touch, a media junkie who is always talking about the podcast I want to start but never starting it. But fangirl? Nope. Not my tribe. So when, in 2013, I was contacted by…

7 min
color correction

A FEW YEARS AGO, Jenifer Daniels, who worked in public relations, was at her computer confronting the same dilemma faced by many a harried editor: she needed a picture and couldn’t find one. So she turned to the stock-photo agencies—Shutterstock, Adobe, Getty. Daniels lived in Detroit, which is about 80 percent Black, and her clients were predominantly in the public sector, so she needed images of Black people working in an office. But on the stock-photography sites she visited, she couldn’t find them. Unlike news or documentary photography, stock photos are under no obligation to portray a specific reality; instead, they need only conjure a plausible reality. They are not images that say Here is the thing we are talking about, but rather When we talk about this thing, we conjure…