NYTimes on how they got the Trump Jr./ Russia meeting story.

With such strong feelings on the right and the left about the quality of reporting from the legacy media, it can be a challenge to teach journalism these days. It’s easy to say something that a student can interpret as biased. So, I welcome all views in my classes, but I ask that we have a fact-based debate over the credibility of the press and that we be allowed to disagree with each other in a civil way. As Gumby and Pokey say:

gumby facts.jpeg

 

That said, the Times has published a how-we-got the story piece. Check it out here .  Know that Trump has charged that the anonymous sources are fabricated. I disagree, but would be happy to consider evidence to the contrary.

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#Presson: #Sources, #Spotlight and survival

first_frontIn today’s Globe, Sacha Pfeiffer pays tribute to Joe Crowley,  and man who told his story of abuse as the hands of a Boston priest for the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series:  “A bond of sorts sometimes develops between reporters and people who share with them these kinds of intimate, traumatic stories. That’s probably why Joe and I never fell out of touch.”

You can read the whole piece here. And while you’re at it, think about subscribing to The Globe or your local paper. Digital — about a dollar a day for — paper it doesn’t matter. Do your part to keep good journalism alive.

Posted by Spotlight Movie on Monday, February 29, 2016

She sums it up like this:

Joe Crowley died at age 58 on Easter Sunday, a date that can’t help but feel symbolic, his body finally surrendering to his illnesses. He passed away in an apartment he had recently moved into in Brookline, a private residence run by the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter.

“Sacha, I’m so loving my new place,” he wrote in August. “It’s so quiet. Such a beautiful street . . . and completely refurbished. One can still smell the fresh paint on the walls.”

No matter what situation he found himself in, he was determined to persevere.

It was an honor to know you, Joe Crowley. You made me laugh. You helped me understand the lasting trauma of sex abuse and the power of human will. And you emboldened countless other survivors to release their painful secrets and reclaim their lives.

That is a life well-lived.

Resources for students covering the immigration ban in Boston

Ongoing. More resources below.

Tips for covering a rally/march

Get in front of the crowd and turn around. No backs of heads.

People in most photos, not just signs.

Don’t try to get the speakers onstage unless you happen to be close or have a long lens. Get close to a speaker and you might get some audio. Crowd sound can drown it out.

Interview people in the crowd, audio and video. Get photos, name spelling and contact info.

It’s a sunny day. Don’t shoot into the sun and beware of shadows.

To shoot the march, plant yourself and your camera in the middle, turn around and let it flow around you.

Have a theme. I focused on “Nasty Woman” signs. Working on an audio man-on-street from women’s march to this question: “Anything good about Trump?”

More here. 

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Link to 1/29 Boston rally info FB.

Don’t join the protest if you are covering it.

Grab some photos and video either way.

Here’s some good background on refugees and immigration.

Twitter list on immigration ban:  CO201/lists/immigration-ban

Saturday afternoon Globe story 

Trump immigration page

Did the media fail by dismissing Trump supporters?

These two pieces make that case. Let the self-flagellation  begin.

From Columbia Journalism Review

Its inability to understand Donald Trump’s rise over the last year, ending in his victory Tuesday night, clearly stand among journalism’s great failures, certainly in a generation and probably in modern times.

Reporters’ eagerness first to ridicule Trump and his supporters, then dismiss them, and finally to actively lobby and argue for their defeat have led us to a moment when the entire journalistic enterprise needs to be rethought and rebuilt. In terms of bellwether moments, this is our anti-Watergate.capture

From NPR: 

Donald Trump’s election early Wednesday as president — utterly unprecedented, utterly unexpected — caught the media flat-footed. The distance between the nation’s political press corps and its people has never seemed so stark. The pundits swung and missed. The polls failed. The predictive surveys of polls, the Upshots and FiveThirtyEights, et al. with their percentage certainties, jerked violently in the precise opposite direction of their predictions as election night progressed.

And now journalists are confronted by the prospect of a president who avidly campaigned against them and has promised retribution at a time when many of the nation’s most important news organizations can least afford it.

This one goes on to say — It wasn’t us!

 It’s one of NPR’s strengths that it can draw on reporters from hundreds of member stations in states both red and blue. Our reporters consistently capture voters in their own voices. News organizations often struggle to do that.

 

 

Woe is the N&O: Email, libel and the press under siege

The News & Observer in Raleigh was my  journalism home for most of the 1990s. Despite staff and budget cuts, it’s still a great paper. So, I find this libel ruling extra disturbing. From the Columbia  Journalism Review: 

JOURNALISTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY are assessing the fallout a week after a North Carolina jury awarded nearly $6 million in libel verdicts against The Raleigh News & Observer and one of its reporters.

The case seems to provide more evidence that the growing unpopularity of media may translate into less-sympathetic jury pools when news organizations face lawsuits. Adding to worries among newsroom leaders are the ways outsiders, including jurors on the N&O case, interpret internal communications among reporters, sources, and editors.

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I would say watch out what you say in an email — or be prepared to defend it in court. Still even the most benign comment can be taken out of context. More from CJR:

After reading about the N&O trial, Barry Yeoman, a North Carolina journalist who does plenty of investigative work, started looking through old emails among editors about certain stories he covered. Investigative journalism is a collaborative process, he tells me. It’s messy, with a lot of rough edges rubbing up against each other. You sharpen ideas, and some of those ideas end up getting scrapped.

“So if somebody looked at my emails out of context, they may see a point in my thinking where either I have proposed something beyond where the facts may go, or I’ve proposed something that is too timid,” he says. “It is in the honest conversation that I can push the boundaries and an editor can push me back. Or I can arrive short of the line, and an editor can beckon me forward. And it is a dance that happens backstage so that the final product is absolutely true.”

Yeoman says he does worry one email or another he wrote to an editor could be misinterpreted if it ever got in front of a jury. But in many cases, he says he will still write it. “You need to put your thoughts out there if you’re going to get the feedback and the dynamic back and forth that story development needs,” he says.

As for The News & Observer, the paper has vowed to appeal, and it stands by its coverage as accurate and valuable to the community. “Our 2010 stories about the SBI raised important questions about how that agency investigates and how agents testify at trial,” N&O editor John Drescher said in a statement. “After the stories were published, numerous changes were made in how the SBI and the state crime lab work.”

“The N&O has not and will not shy away from reporting on tough issues important to North Carolina,” he added. “We will appeal the jury’s decision and look forward to discussing these stories with the appellate courts.”