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Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine Week’

Digital First Media’s Connecticut newsrooms did some old-school watchdog reporting in their Sunshine Week project this spring. But they took a digital-first approach in planning and executing the project.

This post is mostly going to be a guest post by Viktoria Sundqvist, investigations editor for the Register Citizen and Middletown Press. Vik and Michelle Tuccitto Sullo, investigations editor for the New Haven Register, led the project, published in March. They started planning the project and did the reporting while I was in Connecticut working on Project Unbolt and I made a tiny contribution.

This was a traditional watchdog reporting project in many ways:

  • The project held local police accountable, checking how well every police department in Connecticut followed the state’s Freedom of Information law.
  • The work involved shoe-leather reporting, with reporters from DFM’s newsrooms visiting every police station in the state to ask for records that should be public (I checked the town of Plymouth).
  • The reporters wrote a big newspaper story about their results.
  • The project had impact, forcing changes by police departments that were revealed to be violating the law.

Here’s how the project took a different digital-first approach: (more…)

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This is my response to Michael Schudson’s response to my criticism of his report with former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., The Reconstruction of American Journalism. I recommend reading the other links, if you haven’t yet, before reading this. Schudson is a journalism professor at Columbia University. While I encourage you to read Schudson’s response from the link above in one read, I have pasted it below. His comments are in italics, mine in regular type.

First, this was no clip job. Unless there’s something that escaped my  attention, every direct quote in our report came from in-person, phone, or in a few cases e-mail interviews done over the past 7 or 8 months — except for two quotes that came from interviews Len Downie conducted a few years ago.

Buttry responds: I apologize. I was too flippant and not specific enough in calling it a clip job, especially in contrast to the reference by Columbia J-School Dean Nicholas Lemann praising “the breadth of their original research.” Originality in journalism and academia is a serious matter and I did not say or mean to imply that this was plagiarism in any respect. But there is a wide area between original research and plagiarism: rehash. And that’s what most of the first section of the Downie/Schudson report was. (more…)

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