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Columbia Journalism Review

Columbia Journalism Review Summer 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

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian is a senior editor at The Nation and the author of The Cosmopolites (2015), an investigation into the global market for citizenship. Priyanka Borpujari is an independent journalist based in India. She is also a former Fulbright scholar. She has walked 1,000 kilometers across India as part of the journalism project Out of Eden Walk. Andrew Curry is a journalist based in Berlin, where he has lived since 2005. Charles Foster is a Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, and the author of Being a Beast (2016). Susana Ferreira is a freelance journalist, producer, and writer. As a correspondent and stringer, she has filed from throughout the world for major dailies, wires, television news networks, and radio. She’s a Portuguese-Canadian dual citizen and speaks five languages—six, if you count…

4 min
all news is global

Journalists have always been parochial. Reporters tend to focus on their story, their beat; newsworthiness depends on the narrow interests of a community. In some ways, the internet has pulled us out of our isolated spheres and offered the potential for vastly growing our audiences, yet for most outlets, that expansion has not happened. The news has largely remained local—or at least has aimed to stay that way in light of brutal economic threats. But things are changing. We face, at once, the rapid, technology-fueled spread of disinformation; the rise of authoritarianism as a response to worsening income inequality; and the broadening fear of demographic shifts in countries around the world. The press has been tasked with covering these stories, and has been caught in their nets. The proliferation of misinformation has…

5 min
targeted by duterte

IT WAS FEBRUARY 13, 2019. I was having a meeting in the offices of Rappler, the news site I helped create, when Beth Frondoso, who heads multimedia, burst into the room. She looked agitated. Our space is open, with glass walls, and I was sitting with my back to the office. I turned around and saw Glenda Gloria, our managing editor, walking hurriedly toward a group of men. “Turn around, Maria,” Beth said. “They’re here to arrest you.” My stomach sank. I thought for a moment, then laughed. (That’s how I cope.) The Philippines, where I live, is in crisis: since June 2016, when Rodrigo Duterte became president, there have been some 27,000 killings as part of his “war on drugs.” That number comes from the United Nations, but it hasn’t…

6 min
explaining a novel to pakistani intelligence

“FEAR IS A LINE in your head,” my dear friend Sabeen Mahmud used to say. “You have to decide which side you want to be on.” Mahmud paid the maximum price for her fearlessness. In 2015, she organized a public discussion in Karachi about the disappearances of political activists—she was an activist herself—knowing it was a subject the Pakistani media was afraid to touch. After leaving the event, she was shot dead. The assassin was hanged after a summary trial, but the shot that killed Mahmud still reverberates: her murder marked the beginning of an unprecedented assault on freedom of speech in Pakistan. The Pakistani media is now enduring its darkest phase yet. Major General Asif Ghafoor, the head of the Pakistan Army’s public relations department, has been circulating the online…

7 min
on the indignity of crisis photos

ON THE AFTERNOON OF January 15, a group of armed assailants entered 14 Riverside Drive, an upscale hotel and office complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The attackers, members of Al Shabaab, an Islamist militant group, opened fire on patrons of the DusitD2 Nairobi hotel and other businesses on the grounds, leaving 21 people dead and many more injured. As fear rippled through the capital and the rest of the country, details of the attack were shared online. The New York Times, in its initial report, published a gruesome photo of victims, their bullet-riddled bodies slumped over, dead, in their chairs at a café. When the Times article started circulating, Kenyan officials hadn’t yet declared the Riverside episode over. People were still trying to confirm the whereabouts of their parents, children, and friends; the…

7 min
venezuela’s news abyss

THREE DAYS OF A massive blackout plunged Venezuela into darkness. Power outages are common there, but never do they last so long. From Brazil, where I live, I checked the Twitter account of Gustavo Ocando Alex, a journalist based in Maracaibo, my hometown and Venezuela’s second-largest city. “At least 80 neonatal patients have died in the Emergency Room of the University Hospital of Maracaibo, Zulia, since the national blackout started on Thursday, March 7, until the early hours of Sunday the 10th.” It was startling news—80 dead babies in three days—and got lots of attention online. In a second tweet, Ocando made an even more staggering claim: that 216 adults, teenagers, and non-infant children had also died in the hospital’s emergency room. As it happens, my sister-in-law Elbia, a nurse, works…