Writing About Legendary Columnist Jim Murray

Earlier this winter I wrote about my excitement upon being assigned to write about the legendary writer Jim Murray. I’m happy to say that the chapter on the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote for The Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated, Time  and other news outlets has been published. The piece also ran in Yahoo Sports’ The…

Still No Cheering in the Press Box

I never had the chance to meet legendary columnist Jim Murray during my tenure at The Los Angeles Times. I began several years after his death. But his presence could easily be felt on the sports desk, where I worked. Then-editor Bill Dwyre and columnist T.J. Simers both fondly recalled working with Murray during the…

Oh, The Places I’ll Go (And The things I’ll Buy)!

I had a conversation recently with a friend that went something like this: Me: Yeah, so I’m going to this podcast taping tonight. I’m really excited. Friend: Podcast taping? Me: Yep. It’s the Slate Political Gabfest. They’re doing a live show in D.C. Friend: Oh. So, you mean, you’re watching people talk to each other?…

The State of Nonprofit Journalism

As a former reporter for the St. Louis Beacon, a nonprofit news outlet in Missouri, and the author of two recent journal articles on nonprofit news donors, I eagerly awaited the Pew Research Center’s state of nonprofit journalism report. Published two years after its last major study on the nonprofit landscape, Monday’s report comes at…

After Tragedy, Praise for the Local Press

CNN is typically declared the ratings winner when disaster strikes. Breaking news has long been the cable station’s bread and butter. Even with its recent string of embarrassing mistakes (see: Boston bombing arrest and Supreme Court health care ruling), CNN still raked in viewers during mid-April’s Boston saga. But when it comes to the winner…

What’s the role of the journalist/moderator? The debate continues.

The event was billed as a conversation with the presidential and vice presidential debate moderators about the impact of the televised forums on the democratic process. The subtext was clear: What would Jim Lehrer have to say about his much-criticized performance as moderator of the first presidential debate? Lehrer didn’t disappoint. In the midst of…

Balance of Power Shifts to the Source?

On the first day of my news writing and reporting class, before we cover leads and nut graphs and quotes or anything else, I talk to students about interviewing techniques and best practices. Two issues I make sure to raise: (1) Don’t let the source review any quotes and (2) The first choice is to…

Insights from Journalists Just Off the Campaign Trail

Mitt Romney joked at a presidential debate last month that being on stage with him was the most romantic way that President Obama could celebrate his anniversary. Channeling that sarcastic wit, NBC’s Peter Alexander said Thursday during a panel event in Washington that rehashing the campaign with other journalists and hundreds of people in the…

Covering The Candidates Who Thirst For Attention

At this time of the campaign season, the major-party candidates are thoroughly sapped of energy from months (years, in Mitt Romney’s case) of campaigning, fundraising and recent weeks of debates across the country. Not so much for third-party candidates, who still seemed energized and ready to pack in as many last-minute debates as possible before…

Talking Heads Under the Microscope

Nate Silver, the political prognosticator of the moment, spoke to a standing-room-only bookstore crowd in Washington D.C. a few weeks back as part of his election season book tour. Silver, the baseball statistician-turned New York Times reporter, showed a slide of some of the most well-known talking heads on television and then proceeded to undress…

Hyperlocal or Fully Global

The news of the week that Newsweek is ending its print publication has sparked a debate about the future of  national news tailored to a mass audience. It seems a safer bet these days to target the polar ends of the audience spectrum. One the one hand, AOL’s Patch, the grand experiment in hyperlocal news,  is…

Musings on the Zakaria/Lehrer Plagiarism Scandals

Five mostly related comments about the recent scandals involving Fareed Zakaria and Jonah Lehrer: 1. Get Used to Nuanced Cases of Plagiarism. For every Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass there are dozens of Zakarias and Lehrers. That is to say, while the clear-cut, tisk-tisk cases of fabrication and stealing others’ work are fodder for films…

Journalists Don’t Understand Fair Use & Signs of an improving journalism job market

I’m just back from the 2012 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference in Chicago. It was a whirlwind four days of presenting research, listening to panel discussions and networking with other journalism educators. Among the most fascinating panels I attended was a discussion about fair use hosted by American University’s Center for…

Teaching The Youngest Journalists

My journalism career launched in earnest many summers ago at Northwestern University’s Cherubs high school program (it has gone through several official names, but ask any program alum and he’ll refer to it as Cherubs). I’ve since had the pleasure of teaching twice at this long-running Northwestern journalism program, which is somewhere in between summer…