Journalists who are doing their job by reporting fairly on a controversial topic often get attacked from both sides. 

Americans can fairly and legitimately differ on important values. Freedom or security? Peace or justice? Which short-term sacrifices are worth making, for which long-term benefits?

Most readers will nod along with whatever parts of a story affirm their values. A significant number will reject any story — even one that’s carefully sourced and fact-checked — if it challenges their world view. (“So biased!” “Fake news!”)

Whenever even the fairest-minded journalists tackle a high-stakes story involving groups with different levels of access to wealth, education, healthcare and personal security, any honest story they publish is going to make someone upset.


Journalism 101: I fixed this meme for you.

I can sympathize with the sentiment, but the top part of this meme (the white text on black background) is not how I’d frame the situation. My take (which I’ve added underneath the original) is that when two sources disagree, assuming that one must be right and the other must be wrong is a form of bias. What if one source is in New York and the other is in…

Details drive the news (new handout)

I have nothing against essays, but not every writing task requires an essay. I tell my students they will be more successful if they produce a narrative personal essay because it’s the right genre for the occasion, not because it’s the only genre they feel comfortable writing. This handout is my latest attempt to help them see important differences between writing essays and reporting the news. Cut the filler. Unnecessary…