AP reporter’s mistake: Did the punishment fit the crime?

Reporters have been sometimes fired for willful misconduct, such as repeated instances of plagiarism or fabrication. Reporters who’ve suffered that fate, such as the New York Times’ Jayson Blair and The Washington Post’s Janet Cooke, were guilty of gross journalistic malpractice. But firing a reporter over an unintentional mistake is “extremely rare,” said Scott Maier, an associate professor at the University of Oregon who has studied reporting errors. “If everyone…

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Attribution, Editorializing and Defamation

In the Nightly Noodle Monthly, former North Adams Transcript journalist Isaac Avilucea posts this passage, which he says was removed from a sports feature that got him fired. But there’s a reason she’s not at MountGreylock anymore, choosing to transfer to a school with somewhat inferior academics and athletics. Part of it has to do with the stuffy social atmosphere that pervades the school. “If you take the movie ‘Mean Girls,’” Alcombright said, “that’s MountGreylock. To be…

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Higgs and Englert Are Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics

Beautiful, beautiful science writing by Dennis Overbye. The “God particle” became the Prize particle on Tuesday. Two theoretical physicists who suggested that an invisible ocean of energy suffusing space is responsible for the mass and diversity of the particles in the universe won the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday morning. They are Peter Higgs, 84, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and François Englert, 80, of the University…

Take It From an Ex-Journalist: Adapt or Die

So what if every reader survey ranked international news coverage near the bottom of what people wanted to read? Didn’t they know our Africa correspondent had just won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting? People needed international reporting even if they were too ignorant to recognize it, and we were determined to give it to them, no matter that the enormous expense of housing reporters all over the world was…

Comedian punches reporter who tweet-heckled him at ‘Funniest Celebrity in Washington’ contest

The tweets in question were pretty mild. In my journalism class, we’ve been talking a bit about the value of having a thick skin and taking the high road. Here’s an example of what can happen in the real world. Stand-up comic Dan Nainan, a comedy club road warrior whose credits include performing for President Obama, was arrested for allegedly punching a reporter in the face Wednesday night after his…

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Should a Journalist Covering Rocky Horror Live Attend the Show in Drag?

Is it a violation of journalistic integrity to participate in an event you’re covering, or is it a powerful, creative technique for reporting an experience from the inside? I spend most of my time as a journalism instructor getting students to pick up the habits of objective reporting (including the convention of the reporter functioning as an invisible observer), but sometimes the story lends itself to the more subjective “new…

In Defense of the Humanities Ph.D.: It’s No Crazier Than Becoming a Journalist

As my own tenure decision loomed, in my darkest moments I consoled myself by noting that, even if I had been denied tenure, I would have spent most of my 20s studying what I love and most of my 30s drawing a steady salary teaching and researching what I loved, along the way managing, by frugal living and entrepreneurial application of my technical skills, to pay off most of a…

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Anti-Semitic Times Square Elmo admits to Girl Scout extortion attempt

The headline made me click the link, and the lead made me blog it. (I confess I didn’t actually read the story, because I doubt anything could live up to that kind of an introduction.) A crackpot Times Square performer who was once busted making anti-Semitic slurs while dressed as Elmo admitted Wednesday he tried to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts. –NY Daily News

The Falling Man — 9/11 Suicide Photograph

Powerful, painful essay. Worth revisiting. In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravitys divine…