11 Journalists on Covering the Capitol Siege: ‘This Could Get Ugly’

Reporters who planned to watch a political ceremony were caught in a wave of turmoil.

The journalists ended up chronicling a siege that underscored the fragility of American democracy. Many did their jobs a few feet from drawn weapons. Others faced the wrath of pro-Trump agitators with a grudge against the news media.
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The Groundbreaking Honesty of Joe Sacco’s Comics Journalism

His decades-long project of reportage in graphic form works like oral history—bearing witness to the historical traumas of his subjects.

That honesty is a crucial part of Sacco’s decades-long project. Whether covering the lives of Palestinians in the occupied territories, Bosniaks and Serbs in the former Yugoslavia, or the Dene, he seeks out difficult and painful stories and tells tales of war and oppression that many people may not want to hear. Sacco’s oeuvre is built on using words, images, and a potent combination of the two to make visceral the realities of historical trauma. As Hillary Chute wrote in her 2016 book, Disaster Drawn, his work “is about an ethics of attention, not about producing the news.” And as a white Western man, he’s keenly aware of the power his attention holds.

Is Substack the Media Future We Want?

The newsletter service is a software company that, by mimicking some of the functions of newsrooms, has made itself difficult to categorize.

The subscription-based news industry, the founders speculated, could someday “be much larger than the newspaper business ever was, much like the ride-hailing industry in San Francisco is bigger than the taxi industry was before Lyft and Uber.” These days, Substack’s founders, investors, and marketing materials all have different ways of describing the startup’s mission. Depending on which source you consult, Substack might be “reinventing publishing,” “pioneering a new ‘business model for culture,’ ” or “attempting to build an alternative media economy that gives journalists autonomy.” It is “writers firing their old business model” or “a better future for news.” Substack’s C.E.O., Chris Best, has said that the company’s intention is “to make it so that you could type into this box, and if the things you type are good, you’re going to get rich.” Hamish McKenzie, one of Substack’s co-founders, told me that he sees the company as an alternative to social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. “We started Substack because we were fed up about the effects of the social-media diet,” McKenzie said. Substack’s home page now reads, “Take back your mind.”
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Out of Nowhere

What’s lost and won as newsrooms close their offices for good

Bowie, of the Baltimore Sun, began adjusting to working from home. It was feasible only because of the strong relationships she’d developed with editors over three decades in the newsroom. “You can sort of read them through Slack channels and email in a way that if I was a new reporter entering the newsroom it would be very, very difficult,” she told me. Early in the year, the Sun’s staff had shared a Pulitzer Prize for a series of investigations into allegations of corruption and fraud committed by Catherine Pugh, the former mayor. Bowie believes that work would have been impossible as a remote project. “There were so many moments during those months where the discussions in the newsroom resulted in better stories coming out, because we were all asking each other questions all the time,” she said. “I know for a fact that our reporting would not have been as good if we couldn’t have been together in that room.”
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It’s time to hold editors accountable for harassed news workers - Poynter

If you are an editor, publisher or general manager, what, if anything, do you do when employees, especially women, are harassed online?

Jessie Opoien, opinion editor for The (Madison, Wisconsin) Capital Times, broke journalism convention by sharing the offensive message. That same convention asks news workers to ignore slurs and threats, promote their work on social media, and focus on their assignments instead of their detractors. That’s a prescription for PTSD, especially for women journalists.
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As election looms, a network of mysterious ‘pink slime’ local news outlets nearly triples in size

The run-up to the 2020 November elections in the US has produced new networks of shadowy, politically backed “local news websites” designed to promote partisan talking points and collect user data. In December 2019, the Tow Center for Digital Journalis

THE RUN-UP TO THE 2020 November elections in the US has produced new networks of shadowy, politically backed “local news websites” designed to promote partisan talking points and collect user data. In December 2019, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism reported on an intricately linked network of 450 sites purporting to be local or business news publications. New research from the Tow Center shows the size of that network has increased almost threefold over the course of 2020, to over 1,200 sites.
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How Can the Press Best Serve a Democratic Society?

In the nineteen-forties, a panel of scholars struggled over truth in reporting, the marketplace of ideas, and the maintenance of a free and responsible press. Their deliberations are more relevant than ever.

Lippman lamented the tendency of the press to act as “a searchlight that moves restlessly about, bringing one episode and then another out of darkness into vision.” He believed that the searchlight needed to pause long enough to illuminate issues of vital importance to the public. The Hutchins Commission had similar concerns: “Too much of the regular output of the press consists of a miscellaneous succession of stories and images which have no relation to the typical lives of real people anywhere. Too often the result is meaninglessness, flatness, distortion, and the perpetuation of misunderstanding among widely scattered groups whose only contact is through these media.” Today, in the age of digital journalism, the pressures of velocity and volume are even more powerful, particularly for media organizations which depend on advertising; even subscription-oriented businesses are not immune, since they must attract new readers and optimize their editorial content for search engines and social-media sharing. Democracy may well depend on finding a sustainable business model for a slower, more deliberative form of news. If “objectivity” has lost its usefulness as a shorthand for journalism’s aspirations, and if the meaning of “moral clarity” is unclear, then perhaps quality, rigor, and depth could be worthy ideals.
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Spies, Lies, and Stonewalling: What It’s Like to Report on Facebook

One day in July 2016, Casey Newton, a tech reporter for The Verge, sat down at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park for the biggest interview of his career. Across from him was Mark Zuckerberg. With his characteristic geeky excitement, Zuckerberg descri

With the knowledge that a company that has built a globe-spanning surveillance apparatus might always be watching, reporters and sources take tremendous precautions. Any Facebook-issued device, or even a phone with the Facebook app installed, could be vulnerable to the company’s internal investigators. If a source has friended a reporter on a social network or merely looked up their profile on a company computer, Facebook can find out. It can potentially tap location data to see if a reporter and a source appear to be in the same place at the same time.

Australia Moves to Force Google and Facebook to Compensate Media Outlets

The decision, announced after talks on a voluntary system stalled, is part of a global push to save local news organizations.

The Australian government said on Monday that Google and Facebook would have to pay media outlets for news content in the country, part of an emerging global effort to rescue local publishers by moving to compel tech giants to share their advertising revenue.
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The Year in Pivoting to Video | Hazlitt

There’s only ever so much you can control at any job. You make the things you make as good as you can, at which point they are not really yours anymore, or anyway not yours to control.

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A special Poynter Report: The year in media - Poynter

Today, I look back at the year in media — from the best to the worst to the odd to the inspiring and everything in between.

Good morning and welcome to a special edition of the Poynter Report. Today, I look back at the year in media — from the best to the worst to the odd to the inspiring and everything in between.
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Looking Forward to 2020, Here are 10 Themes for News

A human-centered design research process to understand how people use technology and what that might mean for news.

No matter where we spoke to people, certain themes continuously came up regardless of the topic we were researching. We looked at these themes through the lens of news, but they are indicative of how people consume content and use technology. We’ve collected 10 of our top themes and are sharing them below and as a downloadable packet.
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