9

Local news is the building block of a national democracy.

Yesterday, I asked my students, “How many of you spent $4 on a cup of coffee in the last month? How many have spent that much to support local news?” “If people don’t get local news, they don’t know what’s going on in their community. If they don’t know what’s going on in their community, they don’t get involved in their community. If they’re not involved in their community, and…

7

A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation.

This looks like a deliberate attempt to plant a “fake news” story, presumably in order to discredit the Washington Post for falling for it. Verify, verify, verify. The Post did its homework, and did not fall into the trap. Sadly, this story will be used to discredit people who come forward with legitimate sexual assault accusations. Jaime Phillips, who claimed to The Post that Moore impregnated her as a teenager,…

1

Controlling behavior of HQ CEO hijacks what should have been a puff piece about popular HQ host Scott Rogowsky

A few minutes ago I heard about HQ for the first time, through a friend’s Facebook post. An item or two down in my feed I saw a different FB friend had linked to this story. The Daily Beast describes a tense encounter with a CEO who calls a reporter, threatens to fire his own employee who previously spoke with a reporter for allegedly revealing company secrets, discloses at least…

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…

Columbia Journalism Review

Sorry, Wrong Number

Numerical errors usually occur for one of these five reasons: A journalist mishears a correct number given to them by a source and fails to double-check it. A source unwittingly provides a mistaken piece of information and the journalist fails to verify it. A source deliberately fudges the numbers and the journalist fails to verify them. A journalist or editor miscalculates a figure. A journalist re-reports a mistake made by…