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Columbia Journalism Review

Columbia Journalism Review Sep-Oct-13

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

1 min
opening shot

In the nine months since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the rekindled debate over gun control has remained in the headlines. Congress failed to pass new gun-control legislation, but several states pushed through tighter restrictions, prompting gun manufacturers in some of those states to relocate; seven states made it legal for teachers and administrators to carry firearms at school; and a bunch of mayors, led by New York’s Michael Bloomberg, are working to punish the four Democratic senators who voted against the gun bill in Congress. But arguably the most important post-Sandy Hook moment is scheduled for September 10, when Coloradans will decide whether to recall state Senate President John Morse, and fellow Senator Angela Giron, for their role in passing a law requiring universal background checks and…

3 min
divided we fall

In the July/August issue of CJR, Francesca Borri wrote a powerful essay about the plight of being a freelancer, and a woman, covering the Syrian civil war for Italian media. The reaction to her piece was impassioned and global. As of August 6, it had drawn 390,000 pageviews, making it the most-viewed piece ever on CJR.ORG. News outlets in Poland, Germany, Portugal, France, and elsewhere asked to reprint it. Borri got offers to write for better money. But mostly there was heartfelt concern and gratitude, from some fellow journalists and a great many non-journalists. Borri’s piece was less well received in Italy, where some journalists were rankled by the shameful picture of Italian journalism that Borri described: $70 per story; no institutional support; no interest in complexity and nuance; no sense…

8 min

Send lettersletters@cjr.org Power of the punchline Thanks for your article, Dannagal G. Young (“Lighten up,” cjr, July/August). One thing you fail to mention: Satire actually gets political results. Congress passed the 9/11 firefighters/police health bill thanks to the efforts of Daily Show outrage. Over several days, Jon Stewart and staff hammered at the topic, and the legislation soon got passed. I also find the Stewart/O’Reilly conversations to be not only entertaining but enlightening. Stewart does not pull punches with O’Reilly, nor does O’Reilly fail to take on Stewart. True political discourse of political differences. Barry Comment posted on cjr.org Voice of America? It is disappointing that cjr would publish Gary Thomas’ commentary on the Voice of America (“Mission impossible,” cjr, July/August), which contains multiple errors, and calls for changes that are either unrealistic or have already…

11 min

Open Bar Local Edition San Francisco, CA Year opened 2012 Owners Future Bars, a.k.a. Doug Dalton and Brian Sheehy Distinguishing features Located in the basement of the Hearst building, where the San Francisco Examiner was published, it’s filled with old typewriters, printing presses, and the front pages of local newspapers from historic events, like the US declaration of war in 1941, the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Nixon’s resignation. The building was damaged in the 1906 earthquake, and the next day three local papers came together to publish a single issue. A copy signed by the collaborators is on display near the bar’s entrance. Who drinks here Proximity to both the financial district and the start-up-heavy South of Market neighborhood makes it a happy-hour destination for young, well-heeled tech types. But journalists can be…

7 min
cold comfort

BACK IN THE DAY, ARCTIC EXPLORERS HAD IT EASY. IN ORDER TO DRESS FOR expeditions, they simply approached Inuit hunters and ordered the hides of whatever animals could be killed. Frederick Cook, who claimed to be the first white man to reach the North Pole, packed hare stockings, blue-fox coats, bearfur pants, and bird-skin shirts. His rival, Robert Peary, favored seal. To my surprise, it was far harder to outfit a reporting trip to the Arctic Circle last winter, despite modern advances such as Gor-Tex. I am the size of a fifth grader, and for obvious reasons they don’t typically make garments designed for minus-55 degrees to fit children. Finding a parka that didn’t extend to my ankles was proving a challenge. Lest my concerns about wardrobe seem petty, please note…

9 min
déjà news

A STRANGE THING HAPPENS WHEN YOU TURN ON THE NEWS IN HAWAII. TUNE into the 10pm local newscast on kgmb, the Aloha State’s CBS affiliate, then switch to its supposed NBC competitor, khnl. Then go back and forth again. You will see the same stories, the same footage, the same broadcasts from beginning to end. Every weekday, for three hours, the two stations simulcast the news. A third station, kfve, is also not much of a rival, airing 11 hours of news each week that is produced by the same Honolulu newsroom as KHNL and kgmb. Three of the five stations that deliver daily TV news in Hawaii have been joined into a single news operation. The three-way partnership represents one of the more striking examples of a rapidly growing phenomenon…