Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

Ivan Lajara

Ivan Lajara

You owe yourself a laugh today. So start it by reading Ivan Lajara’s glossary explaining news jargon.

Some highlights for me (many more than this; just read it yourself):

Circulation: An arrow going down.

Conflict of Interest: White House Correspondents Dinner.

Cover Story: The one story that had art.

Editor: Angry White Man.

Freelancer: Reporter without health insurance.

Reefer or Refer: A column by Maureen Dowd.

Speaking of the Maureen Dowd column, start your day with a second laugh: Read Sarah Jeong’s post on four other Times columnists and Malcolm Gladwell writing while high.

Read Full Post »

When traumatic stuff happens in a community, journalists are some of the first on the scene, along with the cops, fire fighters, paramedics and other emergency workers.

These tragic events that end and disrupt lives can propel a journalism career forward. The phrase “great story” invariably slips from some journalist’s lips (usually out of earshot of those for whom the trauma is evident). We often cover these stories, though, without a full understanding of what trauma is, how it works and its impact on those who experience trauma, including the journalists who cover it.

At a workshop for Digital First journalists this month in West Chester, Pa., Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, led an exploration of the uncomfortable issues of how we get great stories from tragic events and how we process the trauma that we experience.

Scott Blanchard and Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record journalists, organized the workshop and helped Shapiro lead it. They proposed this training to me after attending a Dart program as winners of honorable mention for a Dart Award for their coverage of the lasting impact of a violent, traumatic event. I supported their suggestion and Claire Gaval, Digital First Media’s Vice President of Learning and Organization Development, helped make it happen.

Scott blogged about the workshop yesterday. I was able to attend only the first of two days of training, and Bruce told participants the workshop would be off the record, to encourage people to talk freely. So I won’t blog much about the workshop itself (though I encourage others to consider holding similar workshops).

What I will do here is share some of my advice from years of reporting and editing on stories about disasters, murders, sexual and domestic abuse and other traumatic situations.

Some of these are tips or anecdotes I shared during the workshop. Others I thought of during the discussions but kept to myself because I thought it was more important for others to talk. I’m not on the front lines of our coverage of traumatic news, and the point of the workshop was to get those on the front lines talking, so they could learn from each other about covering these difficult events and about dealing with the personal impact of that coverage. (more…)

Read Full Post »

This is a guest post from Scott Blanchard of the York Daily Record/Sunday News (speaking in my crooked Twitter photo above). I’ll post more about the training tomorrow.

In December 2012, dozens of journalists from Digital First Media newsrooms came together in Newtown, Conn. to cover the mass shooting there for news organizations across the country.

Many returned deeply affected by what they had seen, heard, written and photographed.

The following spring, photojournalist Jason Plotkin and Sunday editor Scott Blanchard of the York Daily Record/Sunday News — which had sent seven staffers to Newtown* — asked Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma executive director Bruce Shapiro if Dart could work with DFM to create something that would be a first for a U.S.-based news organization: A company-wide peer-support program for journalists who cover conflict and violence in their communities. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Belated thoughts on the big developments at the New York Times recently:

I have started twice in the past week to blog about developments at the New York Times. First, I was going to blog about the initial report of the Times Innovation Team, which raised lots of issues for all newsrooms trying to transform digitally. Digital transformation has been the focus of my work at Digital First Media, and I was going to draw some lessons from the Times recommendations for Project Unbolt.

Then I was going to blog about the firing of Jill Abramson as executive editor of the New York Times. I will post some observations about Abramson later in this piece, but I doubt I can add much insight beyond what’s already been written.

Mostly, I want to call my DFM colleagues’ attention (and the attention of everyone trying to change the culture of entrenched print newsrooms) to the full report of the innovation team (leaked to Buzzfeed and both more blunt and more detailed than the summary report). You should read the full report (you can ignore the sanitized version). Then you should read Josh Benton’s piece on Nieman Lab. (more…)

Read Full Post »

My notes from the International Journalism Festival would have worked better as tweets, both for immediacy and because they were a bit disjointed.

Wifi at the conference was spotty and I was able to livetweet only for Margaret Sullivan‘s keynote address on Saturday.

In addition, more than once, I’ve joined a session early or ducked out late, either because of appointments to meet fellow panelists or other friends or because I wanted to see overlapping panels. So in several cases, my notes cover only parts of sessions (the best parts, I hope). But I enjoyed each session, so I’ll share my disjointed notes here, starting with some tweets from the Sullivan keynote:

The 2009 Clay Shirky post that inspired Sullivan to join Twitter and become a more aggressive part of the digital revolution was Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable. I posted on the Shirky post at the time. (more…)

Read Full Post »

A foggy morning in the valley gives a beautiful view from our hilltop setting in Perugia.

A foggy morning in the valley gives a beautiful view from our hilltop setting in Perugia.

I can’t remember attending a journalism event in a more beautiful location, atop a hill in the historic center of Perugia, Italy.

But the International Journalism Festival was also a terrific event, with lively discussions and teaching on a wide range of journalism topics.

I spoke on four panels. Here are some tweets about my contributions to them:

A video of our discussion of the future of all-digital journalism:

And a brief video interview:

I will later post some of my notes from other sessions I attended.

Read Full Post »

Fifty years ago today, City Editor Gale Cook of the San Francisco Examiner sent the note below to his staff.

Gale Cook

Gale Cook

I remember memos like this from editors, saved a lot from my bosses and wrote a few for my staffs. I really like this one and share it with permission of Cook’s daughter, Jennifer Cook Sterling. Jennifer’s husband, Robert Sterling, is editor of the Marin Independent Journal, a Digital First newsroom, and Mimi and I enjoyed dinner at their home last summer. (Update: Robert has blogged about Gale and his memo, too.)

I will comment on some of Cook’s note, but I don’t want to interrupt it. So I’ll let it run in full (it’s long, as editors’ memos to the staff can sometimes be, five pages, single-spaced). Then I’ll comment. But one note here that will help you understand the first paragraph: The Examiner promoted itself as the “Monarch of the Dailies.”

TO THE STAFF:

I want to offer you some ideas for improving our newspaper – things we can do to strengthen the Monarch’s position in this jungle fight for circulation. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Ogden Standard Examiner front page Nov. 22, 1963, Kennedy assassinationI am under no illusion that my thoughts or memories of the Kennedy assassination are any more insightful than all the others you’ve already read and heard for the last month or so.

But I do think the front pages my father saved from November 1963 are pretty interesting.

We lived in Sunset, Utah, at the time. I was a fourth-grader at Doxey Elementary School. My father saved the front page above from the evening edition of the Ogden Standard-Examiner, the daily paper delivered to our home. It apparently started Dad (and then me) on a couple lifetimes of saving historic front pages. This is the oldest of dozens of papers Dad saved over the next 15 years before his death. As the journalist in the family, I got his collection and added dozens (maybe hundreds) more.

Take a look at the front page above. Kennedy was shot at 12:30 a.m. p.m. Central time, 11:30 a.m., right on (or perhaps after) deadline for an evening paper. Clearly they just had enough time and material for one wire story (from UPI) and a file mug shot of the president. There isn’t even a wire photo from Dallas. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Robert G. Kaiser told a humbling story in the Washington Post Sunday: The Post nearly ignored Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech and his historic “I have a dream …” theme in its coverage of the march on Washington 50 years ago.

It’s not the first big story a newspaper (or most of the news media) has missed. Collectively most of the media blew the coverage of intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as well as the developments that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. The Lexington Herald Leader ran a front-page correction in 2004 for its failure to adequately cover the civil rights movement.

Here’s my question: What are today’s historic stories that we will look back on and say that we missed the real story or the importance of the story?

Update: Linda Deutsch writes about covering the march.

Twitter reactions

Update: Sally Duros says the historic story we’re missing is the “death of the public schools.”

Update: Thanks to Steve Fagan for a thoughtful response to this post, wondering if newsroom staff cutbacks won’t prompt some newsrooms to provide shallow coverage of some historic events in their communities.

Without question, cutbacks are causing us to miss important stories and raise the importance of good news judgment in how to use resources (which have always been limited). But I should point out that Kaiser’s piece makes clear that the Post heavily staffed the march, but barely noticed the most important part of the story. So staffing isn’t always the reason for failures by newsrooms.

Also, I doubt that newsroom staffs have been cut as severely since 1963 as Steve speculates. The annual American Society of News Editors newsroom census has counted nationwide staffing in newspaper newsrooms since 1978 (or at least figures are available online going back to 1978. I don’t know what the trend was from 1963 to 1978, but I suspect it was growth. Newsroom employment totaled 43,000 in 1978 and grew to a peak of 56,900 in 1990. It was stable for most of the next two decades, never dropping below 53,000 until 2008. In the past six years we’ve lost 17,000 employees, with 38,000 counted this year. That’s a severe loss, but I suspect it’s about the same as in 1963, not half or one-third less as Steve speculated. Update: Steve updated his post to reflect these numbers.

That said, Steve’s point remains valid. The cuts in recent years have been staggering and we need to beware of missing or minimizing important stories. Steve also had the great idea of linking to the I Have a Dream speech’s text. So I copied that move and added a video:

Read Full Post »

I participated in the International Journalism Festival last week in Perugia, Italy.

It was one of the best journalism events I’ve attended in my career. I was busy enough that I didn’t blog about it, beyond a post on paywalls to accompany my appearance on a panel discussing the topic and a post with links and slides for my presentation about ethical aggregation.

Here are videos from my panel discussions in Perugia (some of the panelists are speaking Italian):

On hyperlocal news:

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Jill Abramson, photo linked from New York Times

Because I was attending the International Journalism Festival when Dylan Byers published his click-bait piece “Jill Abramson loses the newsroom” on Politico, I initially intended to respond just with disapproving tweets.

Then Emily Bell slammed the piece for its sexist tone better than I could have. And I initially thought I’d respond just with approving tweets.

After all, I don’t know Jill Abramson. And she doesn’t need me to defend her (great response from her, cited in Huffington Post). I had no idea whether the story was true or not, though I had serious doubts because it relied heavily on unnamed and unaccountable sources. But as I considered it, I thought that a male voice, a former editor who might have supposedly “lost” a newsroom, might have some value and I started pondering a post.

Then I heard Aron Pilhofer tell an Abramson story at the festival and I decided I’d better blog about this.

Most of the editors I’ve worked for have been men. That’s probably true of most people in the news business because the vast majority of editors are men. While women have made strides, men still dominate in newsroom leadership.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

john e mcintyreJohn E. McIntyre has long been a source of wisdom for journalists, particularly colleagues at the Baltimore Sun and fellow copy editors.

He is a founding member (and two-time former president) of the American Copy Editors Society. I knew of him long before I met him, when he led a discussion for a seminar I was planning for news editors and copy desk chiefs at an American Press Institute workshop, probably in 2006 or so.

He’s a guardian of the language who enforces the rules that matter and debunks the ones that don’t. He may be an Old Editor, but he’s also a prolific blogger and podcaster, a witty tweep and he was the first person to point out that I was violating Facebook etiquette early in my social media days by syncing my Twitter and Facebook accounts so that nearly all my tweets posted to Facebook (way too often to post on FB, but an acceptable pace for Twitter).

I’m pleased to see that John has compiled some of his wisdom into a book: The Old Editor Says: Maxims for Writing and Editing.

John does not pretend that all the maxims are original. In the preface he handles attribution deftly:

Some you may find familiar, such as the Chicago News Bureau’s, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” some are adapted from the remarks of my own editors, some are from the general lore, and some – many , actually – are my own.”

I should add that I didn’t know the maxim about Mom (which I’ve used a time or two on my blog) had a known origin. It figures that John would know. Even the familiar and adapted maxims are delivered and explained in John’s authoritative voice and with his dry wit. This is very much his book, even if you’ve heard and read some of the wisdom before. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,089 other followers