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Online Journalism Review | Stories

An assignment for journalists and students: Talk with an entrepreneur
By Robert Niles: Last spring, OJR helped present a boot camp for entrepreneurial journalists at the University of Southern California. We selected and brought about a dozen journalists to USC's Marshall School of Business, where they spent five days learning some of the skills - and the mindset - necessary to start and sustain their own online publishing businesses. But we put those campers, and a second group of finalists, to work before they came to Los Angeles. Today, I'd like to tell you a bit about the first assignment we gave them, because I think it could help any journalist, or journalism student, who is anxious about their place in journalism's future. It's a modified version of the assignment that Tom O'Malia, Director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Marshall School of Business, for years has been giving his beginning MBA students. From the assignment: Entrepreneurship is network dependent. Just like a journalist without sources, an entrepreneur without a strong network could not function. So how do you build a network? How do you attract a mentor? How do you get first-hand information about how someone successfully built an online journalism business? Well, the same way you've gotten any information as a reporter. You ask. You will interview a successful news entrepreneur and, through the interview, learn about his or her journey to success. This exercise allows you to use your existing journalism experience and expertise to take the first step toward building your entrepreneurial network. I believe that all journalists, and journalism students, would benefit from sitting down and talking with someone who's started their own business - ideally, someone who's started a business involving intellectual content, such as a fellow journalist, or an author, artist or publisher.
The Nine-Percenters: A Moroccan micro-blogging mutiny
By Ted Scheinman and Aaron Wiener: Last Tuesday, after reading an Al Jazeera article on the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, a Moroccan expat named Hisham Twittered the following: It's true; things haven't gone too swimmingly for Moroccan journalists of late. Criticizing Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, they've learned, will cost you 3 million dirhams (about $370,000); discussing off-color Islamic humor will get you suspended from journalism. And on August 1, the Ministry of Communication seized 100,000 copies of the provocative French-language magazine TelQuel and its Arabic sister-pub Nichane because they contained a poll on King Mohammed VI's popularity. Conducted on the tenth anniversary of the king's ascension, the survey, it has since been revealed, showed a 91% approval rating for the king (known as le Roi Cool, or simply M6, by the more affectionate of his subjects.) Hisham's hashtag, "#9pcMaroc," refers to the remaining 9%. Iran taught the world that suppression on any scale breeds a Twitterstorm, and the mini-drama that's played out on newsstands and monitors over the past week and a half highlights three central paradoxes in the debate over Morocco's future.
Lessons from the revolution, for the revolution
By Robert Niles: My travels this summer have brought me to Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg, Va., where I've shown my California-dwelling kids some of the scenes of their nation's birth. But while they've been seeing the sights from their U.S. history classes for the first time, I've also enjoyed revisiting some of the scenes of the American Revolution, for the perspective they've given me on the business and information revolution that's now roiling the journalism industry. My kids are big fans of the "National Treasure" films, so, like thousands of other visitors, we had to stop at the National Archives in Washington. While my kids rushed to see the Declaration of Independence (once we slogged through a 90-minute wait), I slid over toward the more legally profound Constitution, then spent the bulk of my time with the Bill of Rights. As a journalist, I find it thrilling to look upon the original First Amendment (actually, "Article the third" on the document). Straining to see those famous words, now faded almost to obscurity on the page, I was reminded that their power draws not from their presence on that piece of paper, but from the affect that they had upon a new nation, and have to continued to have since. Words fade from paper. Websites fall offline. Books are sometimes lost to the ages. But those works' influence endures in the people that they affected - people who copy and reference and change their lives as result of the words that they read or heard. That was the first lesson I took from my recent trip: That the power of journalism lies not in its presence on a printed page or on a website, but in the influence that it has upon the audience who reads it. We protect journalism not by restricting access to it, but by extending its influence by spreading its reach.
Newspaper websites offer no cure on health-care reform
By Tom Grubisich: Helpless to stop their print world from being pulped, newspapers are blowing a golden opportunity to use the Web to recapture relevance and audience. The occasion is a story that impacts every man, woman and child in America – health care and how to universalize quality without busting the entire U.S. economy. News about health-care reform is, obviously, all over the media, including newspaper websites, 24/7, but too much of it has a Washington dateline when, in fact, the issue is basically local. People seek care where they live, not on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue NW or on K Street NW in Washington. Newspapers and their websites, with their still formidable local resources, should own this story as the locus shifts to their backyards.
Eight tips to keep your mobile website readers happy
By Robert Niles: The past few weeks have found me on the road quite a bit, as I visit theme parks around the country for my "day job" website. So I've been using my iPhone to keep in touch, via WiFi, AT & T's 3G network or, when I'm really out in the sticks, the Edge network. Smart phones provide a great way for people to work productively during "down" moments throughout the day. And for road warriors to stay in touch, even when driving the nation's Interstate highways. (Okay, when riding on the Interstate. I'm a stickler for not using the phone when in the driver's seat.) Heck, earlier this week I set up and did two radio interviews while in the car. But as useful as smart phones can be, their effectiveness can be undermined by information providers whose sloppy or ill-advised design keeps phone readers from getting the information they want. Here's what I wish Web publishers would do to make reading the Web by phone easier:
So... what is the future of citizen journalism and social media?
By Sandra Ordonez: In 1996 I was a communications student at American University, and had just discovered the Internet. I became an addict overnight. At that time, the public communications students were required to take many of the same classes that journalism students did. However, there was an innate understanding among my classmates that the journalism students were different. And they were. In many ways the training was more rigorous, and journalism was the only communications track that focused heavily on ethics. Fast forward 13 years. Today, as a Web professional working for OurBlook.com, I find myself researching the "decline" or, depending on whom you talk with, the "transformation" of the same industry my professors helped me cultivate an almost obsessive respect for. The culprit? The same computer phenomenon I fell in love with in all those years ago. In December 2008, OurBlook.com launched a Future of Journalism project. The website is a collaborative, Web 2.0 platform created for the exchange of research, information and dialogue on national and global issues. For both this and other topics, research is conducted in two steps: 1) Interviews with industry leaders are collected and published online. 2) An online book is created using the the interviews as a research base. Given that the editor of the site is a retired journalist himself, and the founder has a long history of philanthropy in the journalism world, we expanded our research to include subtopics such as citizen journalism and social media.
Can objective journalism endure, after Cronkite?
By Larry Atkins: Editor's note: Larry's thoughts on Walter Cronkite provide us an opportunity to talk about what journalism is, and might be, in the Internet era. I'll follow Larry's piece with a comment of my own, and I invite you to do the same. As a journalism professor, the death of Walter Cronkite is a reminder of what journalism was and may never be again. When my college students ask me who I think the best journalists in the business were, my first answer would always be Walter Cronkite. Like most young people, most of my students tend to get their news from local television, the Internet, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Most of them do not read newspapers. Very few of them were familiar with Cronkite. "Walter Cronkite was and always will be the gold standard," ABC News anchor Charles Gibson told the Associated Press. "His objectivity, his evenhandedness, his news judgment are all great examples." Walter Cronkite was everything a journalist was supposed to be. He was truly fair and balanced; not in the Fox News sense. He was thorough and prepared and he asked the tough questions that needed to be asked of politicians and government officials, whether they were liberal, conservative, Democrat or Republican. Back in 1972, Cronkite was voted as the most trusted person in America. Since then, the public's trust of journalists has eroded over the years due to various scandals and controversies involving plagiarism and fabrication.
Staking out newspaper survival in Web analytics
By Nikki Usher: This is part two in a two-part series on Web analytics and the future of news. [Part one] The news industry is caught in a destabilizing position – each newspaper is going to have to come up with its own unique algorithm to give advertisers a sense of their audience. The new metric that advertisers increasingly care about is something called "engagement" – how users are actually interacting and spending time with the site. But because each newspaper website offers unique content, there's no blanket measure for creating a uniform "engagement" score for the news industry from different points of comScore or Ominture data. "We can't boil it down to X percent of unique users plus your time on site plus page views," said Alan Segal, director of audience development at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He explained that the formula in Atlanta would be different from elsewhere. "Engagement for us looks different for us versus the New York Times," Segal said. "It depends on your market and what the goals are and how you interact with your community." Why engagement? Because it's a more robust way of looking at the world than just uniques, page views, visits, or clicks per minute. As Alex Langshur, president of the Web Analytics Association, said, "Measures that reflect audience engagement are more valuable than metrics that just measure raw numbers."
How early online newspaper production tools led the industry down the wrong path
By Robert Niles: Wisdom is the ability to see your life and career not simply as a line going forward from wherever point you are, but as an arc that extends from the past into the future. That's why I believe it is important to teach online journalism students about the history and development of the Internet and for online news professionals to remember the early days of their craft. (It's also why I find books like Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" so interesting.) I've written about how legal precedents shaped the thinking of early online news managers. Today, I'd like to suggest that early online publishing technology affected industry thinking in profound, and, ultimately, tragic, ways as well. For those of you who weren't working on a newspaper website around 1996, let me take you on a trip into the pensieve (or, down memory lane, for those of you overdosed on Harry Potter references this week). I started on the Rocky Mountain News website in November 1996, and was the only person at the paper updating and maintaining the news side of the website. Every morning, I came in around 5 am, selected a couple dozen stories from the newspaper, then called them up on the paper's ATEX terminals. One by one, I sent a copy of each story to a queue we'd created which interfaced with the Pantheon Bridge program on a Windows NT box in the paper's computer room.
It's time to retire newspaper circulation data in favor of Web analytics - But which ones?
By Nikki Usher: This is part one in a two-part series on Web analytics and the future of news Newspaper circulation numbers are taken as report cards for survival. When worse than expected for too long, these numbers forewarn of future layoffs and corporate restructuring – and at the very worst, the death of a newspaper. But we're putting our emphasis, energy, and nostalgia in the wrong place. The future is in Web analytics, but this extends beyond just knowing about page views, unique users, and visits. "If newspapers have any chance of making it in an online and social media world with an ad based model, we've got to see much more living and dying by analytics," said Dana Chinn, a lecturer at the USC Annenberg School of Communication. Nonetheless, a print mentality dominates our current understanding of the media landscape. Consider, as an example of the formidable significance circulation numbers have in our industry, a June 15, 2009 AP story about the troubles facing the Boston Globe:

Online Journalism Review | Blog

Former Chicago Tribune reporter takes it to the street
By Geoff Rynex: Geoff Dougherty had had enough. No more working hard to uncover a story, sometimes for a year, only to have it pulled at the last minute. No more bosses. No more corporate interests getting in the way of solid investigative journalism. No more Chicago Tribune. After more than a decade in the mainstream media, Dougherty decided to call it quits at the Tribune last Novembver and start up his own news organization. The website he created took the name of a legendary Chicago paper: the Daily News. With the Chi-Town Daily News, Dougherty saw an opportunity to do everything he thought the mainstream media was failing to do, especially in the realm of the Internet. "That’s really where the future of the industry lies, so my thought was 'Well, rather than wait around ten years to see how that develops, why not actually be in a position to develop it?'" Dougherty said. In the mainstream media, Dougherty saw a trend of newspapers striving to meet the demands of Wall Street at the expense of the readers and at the cost of quality. He was dismayed to see newsrooms cutting staff and stories in order to maximize profits. "There’s an assumption embedded in that which is that people are so dumb that they’re not going to notice that it’s a worse product," he said. "But that’s clearly not true. They are noticing that it’s a worse product because they’re not buying it anymore." So how will the Daily News revive and innovate the news? Along with a non-profit corporate model run by PublicMedia Inc., of which Dougherty is the CEO, his plan is to include hyper-local coverage reported by citizen-journalists and to spark discussion about local issues on blogs. "To tap into that knowledge base and create a dialogue rather than a one-way flow of information I think is a great and powerful thing," Dougherty said. But Dougherty's website takes advantage of more than just citizen journalism and news blogs. The Daily News hyper-local coverage includes podcasts about Chicago sports teams and the local music scene, RSS feeds, and plans are in the works for a cooking blog. The key to the Daily News’ success however, aside from staying on the cutting edge of media, will be an unusual dedication to local news. Dougherty concedes that papers like the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune will keep the market in national and statewide coverage, but believes that the Daily News will become the destination for in-depth local news in Chicago. Dougherty hopes soon to have a dedicated citizen journalist in every neighborhood of the city. "It empowers people to take action to make their lives better and the government more responsive. I think this kind of reporting is the most important kind of reporting we can do."
Question of the day: When should newsrooms ever block websites?
By Robert Niles: Just curious here, but under what conditions would a professional newsroom ever have need to block its journalists' access to a website? Kevin Roderick details how the Los Angeles Times is blocking newsroom access to certain websites here and here. (On the topic of blocking websites, the state of Kentucky appears to be blocking on state computers liberal websites that have been critical of its GOP governor, too. It's not the news business, but certainly that's a significant and emerging national news story.) Certainly, businesses have the right to control what information its employees access using company property (including computers and networks). And I'll concede that a news business might want to restrict non-editorial employees' access to sites that contain illegal content or services or that promote a hostile work environment. But journalists need access to information. All information. I'd love to hear from OJR readers their experiences with -- and opinions on -- newsroom Web filtering software.
Kosmix.com paints Web searches in shades of gray
By Micah Ailetcher: New search engine Kosmix.com is taking a different approach to the typical Internet search by categorizing its results. Rather then presenting search results in a standard list form that can be thousands of answers long, the results are organized and sorted into different categories. The goal, according to product manager Mark Johnson, is to provide better answers. By presenting the search results in categories, Johnson feels that they have an advantage by allowing the user "to see the data in a lot of different ways." In this way, they see themselves more as a "compliment to something like Google or Yahoo" rather than a replacement. For example, Kosmix’s U.S. Politics search engine categorizes its results as "Conservative," "Liberal," "Libertarian," or "Political News." The site currently hosts five different search engines: Health, Video Games, Finance, Travel and U.S. Politics. Kosmix started with its Health search engine. A query in this engine, for example, for breast cancer produces results that are identified as "Basic Information," "Expert Information," "Message Boards," "Blogs," "Alternative Medicine" and over a dozen other categories. The right side of the results page presents Websites in the familiar search engine format, which includes the individual Website’s category in Kosmix in addition to the Website’s summary so users will know before they navigate away to a web page whether it is classified as a "Quiz" about breast cancer or as the findings from a "Clinical Trial." On the left side of the results page is a list of links that allows the user to display the search results by a specific category. For example, this can be helpful if a user only needs to view the results for breast cancer that are categorized as "Symptoms." With its patent-pending algorithms, or as Johnson calls it, their "secret juice," Kosmix crawls the web and classifies different sites by the different "signals" that they provide. There is an amount of subjectivity involved in classifying sites as "Liberal" or "Expert Information," but once a classification is made, the algorithm moves on to classify new sites by looking at things such as what classified sites the unclassified site is often linked to. "When you are dealing with a very nuanced subject, like politics, there are always going to be gray areas," Johnson said. These "gray areas" are exactly where Kosmix sees itself coming into play by helping the user to sort out the type of Website that they are looking for in the search stage. "In some cases, the algorithm can do a much better job than we can in figuring out [a Website’s] subtlety," Johnson explained. Kosmix hopes to add more categories to its search results. For the U.S. Politics engine, one consideration is a "Green Party" category. The Video Game and Finance engines are the latest additions to the site, but Kosmix is hoping to add more diversity to their search engines. "The endgame is clear," Johnson said. "The goal is to categorize the entire Internet. Eventually, no matter what query you type in, we will have the categories that are appropriate for it."
Deadlines approach for Knight-Batten, ONA awards
By Robert Niles: Deadlines come next week for two major journalism awards. Entrants for the Knight-Batten Awards must get their snail-mailed application to the University of Maryland by June 15. The Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism are administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. The deadline for the Online News Association's Online Journalism Awards is also June 15, but those entries are submitted online, allowing journalists and extra few days to get their entries together. The Online Journalism Awards are administered by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, which also publishes OJR.
Local weatherman turns to Web to share unusual weather theory
By Cameron Bird: Scott Stevens may be best known (or unknown) as an Idahoan meteorologist turned conspiracy theorist, but his online labor of love, Weather Wars has transformed him into an Internet-stationed social activist. The simply-designed site is a collection of links to news stories and personal entries that revolve around a seemingly fringe message. Stevens’ claim: that The Powers That Be harness the technology to control the world’s climate and with it, are engaging in international warfare. "I’m using the site as a tool to point out the obvious," he said. "I have to present the information in a simple manner because the manipulation of our weather is obvious once you choose to look." Stevens said he doesn’t expect people to take his word for it, but rather, for his claims to trigger a sense of "intellectual curiosity." His own inquisitiveness drove him to quit his day job as a local weatherman last year and commit full-time to research and Webmastering. After this transition, and even more so after he attributed Hurricane Katrina to Japanese weather-manipulation weaponry, Stevens started to turn heads in the media. He’s been a guest on Coast to Coast AM, The O’Reilly Factor and some 30 other shows. He has also been the subject of print media news features. The response of personalities and journalists has been hesitant, he said, but ultimately affirmative. "They’re always a little skeptical at first, but once I give them the clues that I use to follow the rabbit down the hole, then they come out going, 'Oh my, there is something to this.'" Stevens said he hopes to gain as much readership as possible and for believers in his proposed theories to put more pressure on the government to take weather-manipulation seriously. He cited a bill moving its way through Congress that would establish a national weather modification policy without oversight from experts and a realistic view of how advanced the technology currently is. "There are not many topics that affect as many people at the same time as our environment. It’s absolutely essential that if we can control our environment that it’s done for the betterment of mankind ... I suppose I’m the right messenger for the right message," he said.
OhMyNews headlines coming to International Herald Tribune
By Robert Niles: The Guardian reports that the New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune has cut a deal with South Korean grassroots journalism site OhMyNews to feature OhMyNews headlines on the IHT website and, possibly in the future, articles in the paper. From the Guardian report:It is not yet clear whether such articles will be treated in a similar manner to those from established news agencies such as Reuters and the Associated Press, but sources close to the negotiations believe it is likely that the newspaper itself could run such stories in the near future. OhMyNews claims more than 40,000 contributors and is said to be negotiating syndication deals with other media companies.
Court protects bloggers, reverses ruling in Apple case
By Robert Niles: A California appeals court has overturned a ruling that would have forced bloggers to turn over to Apple Computer the identity of sources that leaked information about upcoming Apple products. The Mercury News provides initial coverage. The court rejected the lower court judge's ruling that California's trade secrets law trumped its shield law, and went further to refuse to draw a distinction between people publishing news via blogs and those who publish in newspapers or on TV. "We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes 'legitimate journalism,'" Justice Conrad Rushing wrote for the court. "The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here. We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news."
Grist Magazine: Online enviro journalism with flair
By Heather Hart: After seven years online, Grist Magazine is known for its in-depth coverage of environmental issues -- and its tongue-in-cheek humor. Bringing humor to the headlines was "a late-night, fevered, overworked idea, but now it’s kind of become our signature," said David Roberts, a Grist staff writer. Based in Seattle, Washington, Grist began as an alternative to the stuffy sources of environmental news that existed at the time. "There’s just so much bad news and ... fear and angst out there that it causes a lot of people to tune out. A lot of people have actually expressed relief." Roberts started working at Grist nearly three years ago with very little formal training in journalism. He said that helped him bring a fresh perspective to both journalism and environmentalism. "People get stuck in that old-fashioned, formal style of journalism and they can’t see past the inverted pyramid. There’s great value in that kind of traditional journalism, but it just doesn’t always fit with online. Our readers are younger, they skim a lot and have less patience for that," he said. "At Grist, we attempt to balance formality and keeping things sounding personal while still maintaining trust and keeping our facts straight," Roberts said. Roberts spends most of his time working on Gristmill, the site’s blog, but also occasionally contributes stories and columns. Aside from Roberts and "muckraker" columnist Amanda Griscom Little, Grist relies on submissions from freelance writers for much of its content. In just the two years since Roberts started working at Grist, the online magazine has grown by leaps and bounds, doubling their monthly traffic – now about 600,000 visitors a month – and nearly tripling the staff. "We’re trying to speak to a younger generation" in order to get them interested in preserving the environment, Roberts said. Online is the future of the news media, according to Roberts. "All major print media outlets are aggressively moving online. In the next two to three years it looks as though their online operations will be more important than the traditional print medium." Online journalism is still a relatively new and untested medium, Roberts said, so it will still be a long time before it will realize its full potential. In the coming years, he predicts that online journalism will "continue diversifying. It looks as though it will become much more community-based with a lot more multimedia, allowing more interaction from readers and minute-by-minute accounts. Online has the benefit of moving much faster than traditional outlets, even TV." The publishers of Grist have also been turning their eyes to the future, said Roberts. "It’s tricky to keep what works and what people like and also evolve with the changes" in the medium, he said. But the future of Grist will probably include a lot more community involvement and multimedia and adding more impromptu and spontaneous elements to the blog. "Even with all of that, though, I don’t think we’ll ever really lose that tight, old-school, heavily sourced and fact-checked style of magazine writing. There’s a certain credibility and more trust that comes with that kind of journalism."
The Tranquilo Traveler: Adventuring in the blogosphere
By Laura Ybarra : On The Tranquilo Traveler, Joshua Berman blogs his 16-month around-the-world trip and extended honeymoon. "The blog is a fun way to connect with people — other writers and travelers, long lost friends and new readers," Berman said in an e-mail interview. "Ultimately, I hope the content will serve as raw material for a book about this trip," Berman said. "It also serves as a way to further brand myself as a writer, to build an audience." After traveling to Paris, Dubai, Pakistan, India, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, Berman says the Hunza Valley in Pakistan stands out. "The Pakistan Himalaya, or the ‘Roof of the World’ has had very few foreign visitors since 9/11. We spent two weeks in Karimabad, drank dood chai with the Mir of Hunza, and trekked across glaciers and into a tribal shepherds’ village where a ram was slaughtered in our honor," Berman said. Although the blog doesn’t make money, Berman said he’s been contacted by editors which, in turn, has led to writing sales. "If you do strange, extraordinary and scary things, you’ll have strange, extraordinary things to write about," Berman said. "Next is learning how to play the game: how to contact editors, where to publish for free, how to get your name out there. I talk about this more on my FAQ page." Berman said the BootsnAll Travel Network helps him support the site. "In addition to hosting and including me in their massive network of traveler, they provide excellent technical support. Very low-key and friendly," Berman said. Berman said he uses the latest version of Moveable Type. He admits to tweaking some details since the blog launched in May 2005, but says he likes the current structure. "The ‘scheduled post’ feature is nice, where I can post future entries on an assigned date, in case I know I won’t have access for a while, like during my 10-day meditation retreat in Bodhgaya, India," Berman said. As for dealing with technology, Berman offers this advice: "If you’re planning on putting any amount of serious time into your blog, bring a laptop, digital camera, and several USB flash cards—especially if traveling to less developed parts of the world." WiFi is a "rare treat" that is found in capital cities, and broadband ports are "increasingly available," he said. The trip will end this August in Colorado where Berman hopes to start a writing fellowship.
New award offered as Online Journalism Awards open for entries
By Robert Niles: The Online News Association and the USC Annenberg School of Communication (publisher of OJR) will open the annual Online Journalism Awards for entries, starting Monday, May 15. The entry period will close on June 15 and the awards will be presented at the ONA's annual convention, in Washington, D.C. this fall. This year's awards include a new category, the first to pay a cash award. The $5,000 Knight Award for Public Service will honor the use of journalistic resources, digital techniques and public information that produces compelling coverage of a vital issue and engage a geographic community. "While the online world allows people to form virtual societies divorced from geographical limitations, this prize acknowledges the power of digital news media to move citizens to improve the physical communities that still define their democracy and their day-to-day lives," the ONA said in a statement. "As more Americans receive their news and information online, it remains critical that online journalism be held to the highest standards of the profession. We are delighted that Knight Foundation continues to support outstanding journalism and look forward to using this award to spotlight the best online journalism that serves its readers and the public at large," Michael Parks, director of the School of Journalism at USC Annenberg, said. For more information about the awards, or to enter, starting Monday, visit http://www.journalist.org/awards/

Investigative Reporters and Editors

Pentagon's logistics concerns mean profit for transportation companies
Air freight companies are profiting from the war as the Pentagon increases its investment in logistics, reports Michael Fabey for Air Cargo World. "Contracts and contract modifications for companies flying cargo and passengers to the war zones in 2006 and...
Qualifications of some D.C. special ed teachers called into question
An inspection by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that "D.C. school administrators can’t verify that their special education teachers are certified to serve the city’s most vulnerable and costliest student population," reports Dena Levitz of The Washington Examiner. The...
$85 million in supplies meant for Katrina victims declared surplus
An investigation by CNN's Abbie Boudreau and Scott Zamost discovered that FEMA gave away $85 million of new supplies meant for Hurricane Katrina victims. The items, ranging from clothes to cleaning supplies, sat in FEMA warehouses for two years before...
Report shows FAA behind in training new air traffic controllers
An inspector general's report shows the Federal Aviation Administration is hiring more air traffic controllers than it can effectively train, reports Michael J. Sniffen of the Associated Press. "The Transportation Department's inspector general said the Federal Aviation Administration is so...
Marine life jeopardized by record crop sizes
A report by Kent Garber of U.S News & World Report shows that U.S. farming policy, which is leading to record crop sizes, is having a negative impact on marine life. With more land being planted, more chemicals are leaching...
Requirements sacrificed in selection of new rescue helicopter
An investigation by Michael Fabey of Aerospace Daily and Defense Report delves into the selection process of the Boeing HH-47 (CSAR-X), the U.S Air Force's replacement for its Combat Search and Rescue helicopter. Interviews with experts and the review of...
Overtime a strain on workers, county budgets
Mary Beth Pfeiffer and John Ferro of the Poughkeepsie Journal compiled a two-part report examining overtime at the Dutchess and Ulster county governments. The report found correction officers and deputies at the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office earned $3.9 million in...
Taken for a ride
An investigation by reporter Larry Lebowitz of The Miami Herald shows that local taxpayers were promised massive improvements to the county's mass transit system when they approved a sales tax six years ago, yet those promises have not been fulfilled....
Borrowed Time
An investigative series by The Columbus Dispatch analyzed the impact of the subprime mortgage crisis in central Ohio, as well as the future impact to the region. "A wave of foreclosures during recent years has pushed property values downward for...
Utility fund lines pockets at customers' expense
Michelle Breidenbach and Tim Knauss, of The Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.), examined the previously undisclosed accounting of the National Grid fund, a little-known fund run by the power company. It spent $25 million of its customers' money on economic development projects...

Society of Professional Journalists

YouTube videos are pulling in serious money
Making videos for YouTube — for three years a pastime for millions of Web surfers — is now a way to make a living. One year after YouTube, the online video powerhouse, invited members to become “partners” and added advertising to their videos, the most successful users are earning six-figure incomes from the Web site.

Source: Brian Stelter, The New York Times
Mobile content bits: Telegraph on Android, BBC on Nokia ...
-- Telegraph.co.uk: The news site has updated its Android app to add video. First of the paper’s vidcasts to be pushed over T-Mobile’s G1 is finance roundup Business Bullet. The video only uses half of the screen and doesn’t work in landscape mode, however. Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO) has extended its sponsorship of the regular Business Bullet to the platform.

Source: Robert Andrews, PaidContent
WAVE-TV lays off seven
The economic hard times have hit WAVE-3 TV, which laid off seven employees today. “Business is horrific,” said general manager Steve Langford. “This is strictly a case of everybody in the economy is connected and … we’re having to adjust so we can maintain the strength of our station through difficult times. We’re having to make do until advertisers feel confident enough to bump up their advertising revenues to normal levels.”

Source: Angie Fenton, Courier-Journal
Online video draws mixed reviews from media execs
More people than ever are watching video online, but monetizing this viewership is a whole other ballgame. At The UBS Global Media Conference in New York, executives from media companies, both of the new and traditional variety, were split on the platform’s potential. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, speaking at the conference, said that despite the large content library that Discovery owns, viewers are unlikely to find any of it online in the near future.

Source: Alex Weprin, Broadcasting & Cable
NPR layoffs include trainer of its 'Next Generation'
National Public Radio is canceling "News & Notes" and "Day to Day" effective in March, and the network is reducing its work force by 7 percent, NPR announced on Wednesday. A projected $2 million deficit for fiscal year 2009 has become $23 million with the downturn in the economy, the network said.

Source: Richard Prince, Journal-isms
Where to find the best in Flash journalism
10000 Words: Where to find the best in Flash journalism, including Interactive Narratives, Portfolio.com and Swarm Interactive.

Source: 10,000 Words, Social Media
Newsweek to cut back staff, slim magazine in makeover
Newsweek magazine is planning staff cuts as part of a major makeover that is likely to result in a slimmer publication with fewer subscribers and more photos and opinion inside its pages, according to people close to the magazine.

Source: The Wall Street Journal
Radio Dissonance: More listeners, less revenue
The number of people over the age of 12 reached by radio on an average week increased to 234 million in 2008, up from 232 million in 2007, according to the latest national listening report from Arbitron. Arbitron's report is based on surveys of a national panel of 300,000. The data on teens was especially encouraging, as 90% of people ages 12-17 still listened to radio at least once a week.

Source: Erik Sass, MediaPost
The Turning of Atlanta: 'AJC' to cut circ area -- and 156 jobs
ATLANTA The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will reduce its circulation area to 27 counties around metro Atlanta -- and cut 156 jobs in its third cost-cutting move since early 2007. The newspaper said Wednesday that effective Jan. 11 it will eliminate distribution in 22 counties: Banks, Butts, Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Greene, Habersham, Haralson, Heard, Jackson, Lumpkin, Morgan, Pickens, Rabun, Spalding, Towns, Troup, Union, and White in Georgia, and Cherokee, Clay and Macon in North Carolina.

Source: The Associated Press, Editor and Publisher
Greenberg v. National Geographic comes to an end
WASHINGTON, DC – Photographer Jerry Greenberg's long legal battle against the National Geographic Society and a series of appellate court rulings has finally come to an end. The United States Supreme Court has denied to hear an appeal by Greenberg in which he asked the justices to reverse a lower court's landmark copyright decision in his 11-year-old case against National Geographic.

Source: National Press Photographers Association

Columbia Journalism Review

Off the Wrack
One news article said: “Compensation is coming under greater scrutiny since the world’s biggest financial companies wracked up almost $1.6 trillion of losses and write-downs.” Another, about a beloved pet going into surgery, said: “It was a nerve-wracking day of waiting for the phone to ring and my heart pounding every time it did.” Wrong and wrong. But the...
Match the Ombud to the Offense!
Three newspaper ombuds. Three recent columns. Below are excerpts from the work of the following reader representatives: Siobhan Butterworth of the (UK) Guardian, Andrew Alexander of the Washington Post, and Clark Hoyt of New York Times. Can you match the newspaper to the journalistic offense in question? Excerpt one: Readers complain to me constantly about anonymous sources in [this newspaper],...
Blowing Up a Feeble Defense of Ben Stein
You'll recall Ben Stein's ethical lapse last month that got him fired from his plum Sunday business column in The New York Times. You know, the one where he shilled on TV for Free Score, one of those Web sites that gets people to sign up for a "free" credit score and hopes that they forget to cancel...
Blogging in the Middle East: License to Differ
Lawrence Pintak and Yosri Fouda's assertion that, by defending online writers in the Middle East, Western press freedom groups are undermining journalism in that region is a real head-scratcher. What’s the premise for that argument? Maybe it’s the notion that ‘bloggers are not journalists’. Or if that’s too sweeping a statement, then maybe the reasoning is ‘only a...
Blogging in the Middle East: Not Necessarily Journalistic
CAIRO – What is a journalist? In Western media circles these days, the boundaries are blurring between online newspapers like the Christian Science Monitor and Guardian.co.uk, “blogs” such as HuffingtonPost.com, YouTube’s “citizen journalism,” and the rantings of political attack-dogs of all political stripes. Sure, HuffPost has a White House press pass, but beyond that, it’s all semantics, right? Not so...
Not Since Tucker Carlson...
... doffed his bow tie to compete* on ABC's Dancing With The Stars in 2006 (only to be declared "an awful mess!" by one judge and become the first contestant voted off) will Beltway folks have a better reason to tune in to the dance competition show: former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R, TX) will appear on DWTS's ninth...
"Unemployed Copy Editors" to the Rescue?
On MSNBC this morning, I caught a bit of a discussion between Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and guest Pete Hamill about the challenges of covering/communicating the fundamentals of health care reform: SCARBOROUGH: We throw these terms around and The Left says, "We've got to have the public option!" The Right says, "The public option equals Stalinism!" Most Americans don't...
The Economy Today: Polling the Stimulus
As signs of economic improvement overseas continue to crop up—most recently, according to The New York Times, in Japan—The Washington Post reports today that many economists are lowering expectations about a recovery in the U.S. Traditionally, the economy rebounds from a downturn “like a rubber band,” a Brookings economist tells the Post, but it’s hard to...
Q & A: The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill
One of the interesting developments stemming from the growth of Web news and the splintering of traditional audiences has been the way the Guardian, Britain’s leading liberal newspaper, has cultivated a readership in the United States. As the Guardian’s bureau chief in Washington, D.C., Ewen MacAskill has lately been writing about the health care debate, Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination,...
The NYT Looks at the FT's Paywall
The New York Times this morning posts a not-very-good look at the paywall strategy of the Financial Times's Web site. There's not much new here, just a sort of roundup of information already out there about the FT, which gives registered users ten free stories a month and then forces them to subscribe if they want to read more....

Topix.net | Journalism

Sports writer Reed to teach at IUPUI

A Kentucky public relations executive and former hall of fame sportswriter has agreed to teach two introductory courses in sports journalism this fall in Indiana.

Suicide bomber attacks Ingushetia

Aug 17 - A truck filled with explosives was blown up outside the police headquarters in Russia's troubled Ingushetia region.

A comfortable retirement is no sure thing

Many retirees hope to add to their income by taknig on some part-time work. William Hanley says the 'jobless' recovery could upset those plans.

Jay Ambrose: Health care protests on target

Now we know the enemy in the health-care debate, the really, truly despicable people, the worms who ought to be stuffed back in the dirt they crawled out of.

Pakistan Taliban fight for control of dead leader's millions

Taliban commanders are engaged in a bloody succession contest for control of their late leader Baitullah Mehsud's 25 million fortune, Pakistani security sources have claimed.

K-State Study Finds That 18- to 24-year-old Group More Politically...

A study by three Kansas State University graduate students finds that the 18- to 24-year-old demographic became more politically active during the 2008 U.S. election season through the use of new media, but that the young adults were not necessarily more knowledgeable about politics.

Rowan Pelling's sex advice column: 'I love my husband, but I have no desire for him any more'

The former Erotic Review magazine editor answers your sex questions... QUESTION: I have been married for six years and I have two small children aged five and two.

The tragedy of the Internet

You know it's going to be a difficult day when you wake up with "Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera, Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera" going around and around in your head and it won't stop.

Ling Sisters Shopping Book Deal: Report

The story of California's best-known sister duo may be coming to a book shelf near you.

Commentary: Australian editor s anti-China rant violates press ethics

A lengthy article by an editor on Australia's biggest-selling national newspaper on Thursday instructing notorious separatist Rebiya Kadeer on how to counter China is an open violation of a journalist's professional ethics.