Adam Hochberg

Conan O'Brien discusses his life and the art of comedy during a forum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Thursday, May 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Conan’s comedy bit hints at serious issues for local TV news

Just before the holidays, late-night comedian Conan O’Brien poked a little fun at local TV newscasts. In doing so, he illustrated some serious issues about the compromises journalists make in understaffed newsrooms.

O’Brien strung together clips of two dozen local … Read more

The gloves come off as journalists increasingly fact-check other journalists. (Depositphotos)

‘Gloves come off’ as journalists debunk each other’s Obamacare horror stories

When Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik saw Deborah Cavallaro tell her story on television, something about it didn’t add up.

Cavallaro is a real-estate agent and investor in Westchester, Calif. She’s also become a minor media celebrity in the … Read more


The challenges, benefits of consolidated editing & design centers

(This case study, the second in an occasional series, was underwritten by a grant from the Stibo Foundation.)

In a sprawling, windowless office in Hickory, N.C., more than a dozen small-town and metro newspapers come together each night.

Seated in … Read more

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Disputes over crime maps highlight challenge of outsourcing public data

Colin Drane is an unlikely warrior in the fight for open government.

An inventor and TV infomercial producer, Drane spent much of his career marketing products like the Trunkanizer  for organizing car trunks, a toy called Bendaroos, and Invisi-liftRead more

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job satisfaction napkin doodle

‘Journalist’ or ‘illustrator’? How self-identification affects designers’ job satisfaction

When veteran newspaper artist and designer Charles Apple worked at the (Raleigh) News & Observer in the 1990’s, he and his colleagues had an ongoing discussion about how they viewed their own jobs.

As they drew up the artwork, maps … Read more

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers his concession speech at his election night rally in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Gaffes defined and defied campaign narratives, but did they affect who won?

As Mitt Romney visited Poland this summer, Washington Post reporter Phil Rucker shouted a question to the candidate that revealed a lot about the media’s coverage of the campaign.

“What about your gaffes?” Rucker called out, as Gov. Romney walked … Read more


George Zimmerman’s lawyers hope to win trial by social media in Trayvon Martin case

In the Trayvon Martin case, the court of public opinion has moved online.

Late last month, attorneys for George Zimmerman – the Sanford, Florida man facing second-degree murder charges in Martin’s killing – launched a website, Facebook page, … Read more


CNN’s unedited epithets raise questions about when to use unfiltered hate speech

When Tulsa police arrested two men Sunday in connection with a shooting spree that targeted African-Americans, much of the media drew attention to a racist Facebook post apparently written by one of the suspects. But CNN’s unusually explicit on-air … Read more

Caucus participants Tony Muenster, left, Bernard Michel and Donald Sieverding sit in a closet due to the large attendance at the Jackson County Iowa Democratic Precinct 2 caucus Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008 in St. Donatus, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mark Hirsch)

News orgs in four states ban or limit journalists’ participation in political party caucuses

Five states will hold presidential caucuses in the opening weeks of 2012. But while the events likely will play an important role in deciding the Republican presidential nominee, many journalists will be prohibited by their employers from participating.

Unlike in … Read more


IRS pledges to ‘adjust’ cut-and-paste letter writing campaign to local papers

The Internal Revenue Service says it will re-evaluate an initiative that encourages organizations and volunteer tax preparers to send canned letters to the editors of their local newspapers. An IRS Web page contains sample letters promoting the earned income tax credit and volunteer tax assistance sites. It instructs users to “just copy and paste” a letter onto their letterhead, sign their own name, and send it to a newspaper. “I think this is going a little too far,” conceded IRS Communications Director Terry Lemons when he was alerted to the Web page.“This whole business of copy-and-pasting; we shouldn’t be doing that.” Lemons said the agency will “make some adjustments” in the program. (more...)