How “Hail Mary” Became Inextricably Linked to American Football

I am revamping an existing “News Writing” course so that it becomes “News, Arts and Sports Reporting,” and am thus trying to educate myself about sports writing. Good writing is engaging no matter what the subject is. This is a great example. The headline is written for an international audience. Without assuming that the reader already knows what a “Hail Mary pass” is, and without assuming that the reader knows…

Rolling Stone heading to trial over debunked story of UVa rape

For the first time since Rolling Stone magazine’s shocking story about a brutal gang rape at the University of Virginia hit shelves two years ago, the public may hear from the young woman at the center of the now discredited article “A Rape on Campus.” | A defamation trial against the magazine is set to begin Monday over the November 2014 article about the woman identified only as “Jackie” and her…

Fake News Taints Facebook’s Trending Topics

In an experiment conducted over several weeks following Facebook’s promotion of the fake Megyn Kelly story, the Post recorded which topics were trending for it every day, on the hour, across four accounts. | That turned up five trending stories that were “indisputably fake” and three that were “profoundly inaccurate,” Caitlyn Dewey reported. | There’s no way to know whether those were the only false or highly inaccurate articles that made…

1

Debunking the newspapers are dying idea

Don’t count on viral social media posts or TV talkshow monologues to form your world view. It’s a moral obligation for people in a free society to have access to credible, unbiased information. All evidence shows that people of all ages want and consume more news than ever. We need to focus on new ways to address the needs of audience. Legacy newspapers are considered trusted sources of information; we…

Dear readers: Please stop calling us ‘the media.’ There is no such thing.

When my students refer in passing to “the media,” I know what they mean, but I ask them to be more specific, noting that handwritten notes, carvings on stone tablets, and papier mâché are all examples of “media.” So I agree with this WashPo observation that the term is so general it is meaningless. Not too long ago “the press” was a perfectly well-understood nickname for print journalists. When working…

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Journalist!

My new hero is NPR’s Michael Oreskes. Scott Detrow had a terrific story today about Donald Trump’s appearance at a Black church. The pastor called Trump on the carpet for attacking Hillary Clinton when he had promised not to be partisan. Trump later attacked the pastor and misstated key facts about what actually happened. Why was this story terrific? Scott was one of a handful of reporters in the church…

World Trade Center Literary and Cultural Reflections (first posted September 11, 2001)

Not knowing what else to do, in the numb hours after the towers fell, I made a web page that explored the World Trade Center in literature and culture, as well as urban technology in general. I updated it a bit over the next few weeks or months, but have mostly left it as an historical record.    As journalists improvised to meet the public’s demand for online updates (in…