Journalism

Stephen Glass Couldn't Get Away with It Today

The 2003 movie Shattered Glass stars Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass and tells the story of how he was exposed as one of the biggest frauds in the history of American journalism. I caught the film for the first time recently on HBO. I followed the events of the film closely when they occurred in 1998. I liked that Glass was caught by an online reporter, Adam Penenberg at Forbes Digital Tool, with help from colleagues Om Malik and others. Back then it was not respected to report for a web ... (read more)

News Sites Try to Load Malware from Eclampsialemontree.net

For the last four days, my anti-virus software has been blocking a possible virus when I visit some popular news sites. The URL flagged as a virus is a subdomain of eclampsialemontree.net that has a long string of random characters and looks highly suspicious. A report on VirusTotal indicates two anti-virus providers are blacklisting that domain as a malware site. The latest site where I encountered this virus alert was a story on Stars and Stripes. I'm not embedding a link for obvious reasons, ... (read more)

Jake Tapper Asks Trump 7 Straight Horse Race Questions

I began watching the Sunday talk shows again last weekend because of Antonin Scalia's death, which propelled the U.S. into an exceptional time in our history. We'll be living with the consequences of how the next Supreme Court appointment is made for a long time. Watching one of the shows today reminded me of how terrible political reporting on television can be. On CNN's State of the Union, host Jake Tapper asked Donald Trump 10 questions: Mr. Trump, congratulations on your victory. What do ... (read more)

Orlando Sentinel Disappears Column on George Zimmerman

The Orlando Sentinel has dropped into the memory hole a commentary published Friday evening that called for the community to stand its ground against George Zimmerman. The piece, written by sports columnist George Diaz and titled "Time for Zimmerman to pull a Casey Anthony and vanish," was published at 5:43 p.m. and archived by Google two minutes later. As of 10 a.m. Saturday morning the commentary was gone with no explanation. Zimmerman, who killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, ... (read more)

M.C. Moewe and the Story That Got Away

You know how on cop shows there's often a veteran detective who can't let go of an unsolved case for years? My wife M.C. Moewe has been like that because of a story she reported that no publication will touch. She's a former investigative reporter who worked at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and other newspapers. Around a decade ago a big assignment was dropped on her desk: Family courts were giving custody of kids to a parent accused of sexual abuse and denying ... (read more)

Mister Mystery: Why Papers Keep Using Honorifics

This paragraph in a Wall Street Journal story on Lance Armstrong does a nice job of demonstrating why I hate the use of honorifics such as "Mr." on second reference in news stories: Mr. Armstrong's Austin lawyer, Mr. Herman, called Mr. Tygart and offered to dispatch Mr. Armstrong's legal team to Colorado to meet with him. Mr. Tygart said he wanted Mr. Armstrong to come. When Mr. Herman pushed back, Mr. Tygart called the meeting off. This practice has been dying out in American newspapers, but ... (read more)

AP Launches News Archive Going Back to '70s

Associated Press has quietly launched a beta of the AP News Archive, a free searchable database of AP news stories that goes back as far as 1974. The archive comprises at least 1.5 million articles at present, based on the approximate number of results returned in a Google search of the domain apnewsarchive.com. The AP touts the archive as being more accurate than that dodgy, not-to-be-trusted Internet: If you've tried to do historical research online, you know that there's a lot of ... (read more)

Media Can't Bury a Mass Shooter's Name

There's a lot of talk about how the media should adopt a self-imposed blackout on the name and life story of mass shooters. This makes a lot of sense because so many of these spree killers are motivated by a desire for notoriety. The media occasionally omits information for the greater good, such as when the names of rape victims and children accused of crimes are not reported. Just this week dozens of media outlets hid the news that NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel had been kidnapped in ... (read more)

Times Responds to Roger Cohen's Mistake

I sent New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan an email yesterday describing how Roger Cohen borrowed quotes in his recent column on oversharing. She got back to me today letting me know that this editor's note was added to the column: In this column, the author suggested that he was moved to talk about over-sharing and anxiety online after he came across two comments on Twitter. In fact, both comments were taken from a Web site, overshare.com, that the writer consulted as part of his ... (read more)

Times Columnist Roger Cohen Borrows Quotes

The New York Times columnist Roger Cohen engages in some ethically questionable journalism in his column Thursday about people sharing too much on Facebook and Twitter. In his commentary, Cohen shares this lament: Now I was determined to get through 2012 without doing a peevish column ... but everyone has a tipping point. Mine occurred when I came across this tweet from Claire: "Have such a volcanically deep zit laying roots in my chin that it feels like someone hit me with a right ... (read more)