Business & Finance
Columbia Journalism Review

Columbia Journalism Review September - October 2015

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.

United States
Columbia University in City of New York
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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
opening shot

In The Boys on the Bus, Timothy Crouse famously portrayed the traveling press corps for the 1972 presidential campaign as a pack, too often with interchangeable vantage points, sources, and, therefore, stories. That year, Rolling Stone’s Hunter S. Thompson utilized a new gadget to file remotely: the fax machine. Forty-three years after Nixon vs. McGovern, the bubble “on the bus” remains, though the bus itself has changed. More than a year before the 2016 election, only Hillary Clinton had a robust enough operation to offer a press bus. Traveling with candidates is enormously expensive, and with more than 20 candidates to cover and a front-loaded primary season, media outlets are taking mixed approaches. Organizations such as the AP and The Washington Post often assign reporters to bounce among several candidates—the number…

2 min.
letter from the editor

Every building holds a story within its walls. The towering spires of cathedrals stand guard over their worshippers’ prayers and confessions. The majestic domes of state capitols project power to a citizenry whose lawmakers quarrel and barter inside. Newspaper buildings have their stories, too. They hold the tales of reporters who drive toward hurricanes when everyone else is driving away. Who sleep on the coiled springs of military cots fora frontline view of war. Who tell other people’s stories, and think it is their calling to do so. The newspaper building I know best is at 1150 15th Street NW in Washington, dc: It is the home of The Washington Post and its facade is nothing exceptional, but the stories it holds are second to none. Stories about Watergate, about the…

3 min.

Send lettersletters@cjr.org Everything new After reading your July/August cover story on Vice [“The Cult of Vice”], I came to the conclusion that they’re doing little that is edgy or groundbreaking. They’re delivering news content, well packaged around their brand, and they want to be seen by millennials as a trusted, albeit hip, gatekeeper, just like The New York Times and other “old” media. I guess we can turn the song on its head: “Everything new is old again.” James Heckel Sparta, NJ The people we know Jack Murtha begins his story thus: “Paul Watson may be the most famous journalist you’ve never heard of.” [“A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter explains why he recently resigned from the Toronto Star,” Aug. 5] In billing it, cjr Top Stories repeats the line: “The most famous journalist you’ve never heard of .…

2 min.
can you really tell an entire story in a headline?

In 2009, the British tech journalist Ian Betteridge capped a brief blog post with a simple motto: When a headline asks a question, the answer should be “no.” Betteridge’s Law, as it’s now called, is built on the idea that news outlets place these crowns atop stories that don’t have the facts required to buttress the nut graph. Readers adopted the motto, using its blunt force to clobber click-hungry headlines and scrutinize the reporting that followed. Is it really a sin to be single? No. Are we ready to let military robots decide whom to kill? No. Is this deep-fried Big Mac completely disgusting or absolutely wonderful? Wait one second. Betteridge’s Law crumbles when applied to open-ended headers. The maxim’s flaws are also apparent next to some questions with definitive answers. It’s acceptable…

2 min.
penciling the primaries

From Richard Nixon’s droopy jowls and Gerald Ford’s Frankensteinian forehead to the ever-expanding ears of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, editorial cartoonists can find the quirks in any politico’s mug. CJR asked cartoonists to describe their approach to drawing some of the current candidates for president, including some whose looks are especially hair-raising. GARY VARVEL Indianapolis Star Hillary Clinton “Caricature is very subjective and each cartoonist has his particular style. What I see in Hillary is her expressive eyes, eyebrows, prominent cheeks, and a diminutive chin, along with her short stature.” MIKE LUCKOVICH Atlanta Journal- Constitution Donald Trump “First of all, with any drawing I do, I really try to capture a person’s likeness. In regards to Trump, I try to get his look, plus his innate assholishness. Is that a word? Do I need to think…

2 min.
so you want to start a podcast?

For media organizations, launching a successful podcast often takes more than two witty hosts, a microphone, and an iTunes feed. Unless an outlet already has the expertise and resources, creating great audio journalism can be daunting. Podcasting is still a nascent medium, without standardized ways to advertise, track listeners, or make money. Modes of production, promotion, distribution, and hosting are continually in flux. “The game is not to win existing podcast audiences,” says Nick Quah, who does audience development at Panoply, Slate’s podcast network, and is the author of Hot Pod, a weekly podcast newsletter. “It’s to get more people listening to podcasts.” For news organizations looking to enter the fray, here are some options: JOIN A PODCAST NETWORK Podcast networks like Radiotopia from PRX or Panoply from Slate are hubs that take on the…