Caitlin Johnston


Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.27.14 AM

Andy Borowitz on satire, politics and why he’s really not jaded

Andy Borowitz on Wednesday night at The Poynter Institute. (Photo by Tom Cawthon/Poynter)

Andy Borowitz on Wednesday night at The Poynter Institute. (Photo by Tom Cawthon/Poynter)

Andy Borowitz wants people to know he’s not a jaded person. Really, he’s not.

Nor is he mean.

Not when he’s writing about George W. Bush’s inability to make nouns and verbs agree, or the voices in Ben Carson’s head, or Sarah Palin’s failure to name a single U.S. Supreme Court decision she disagrees with.

No, in those instances, Borowitz, a satirist for The New Yorker, is hoping to effect change.

“Everybody who is a satirist or does what I do — criticizing things and trying to be funny about it — comes from a place of innocence and earnestness,” Borowitz told a packed audience Wednesday night at The Poynter Institute. “I think the impulse to point out this stuff comes from a misguided view that things should get better.”

Satire, on some level, is supposed to be a corrective exercise, Borowitz said. Read more

UVa Fraternity

How to investigate a university (the right way)

Don’t let Rolling Stone’s botched story of sexual assault at UVA spook you: 2015 should be a standout year for investigations of universities and colleges.

With the White House creating a task force to look into sexual assaults on college campuses and the Department of Education announcing a string of Title IX investigations, there will be more than enough material for reporters to dig into properly. Throw in incidents of hazing and academic misconduct, and it’s no wonder so many compelling news stories came to light this year.

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house  at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

While the logistics of higher ed investigations don’t vary greatly from investigations of other institutions, reporters may be surprised when institutions so dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and truth act surreptitiously or attempt to obstruct the flow of information. Read more

Jobs, vector

Newspaper reporter is ‘worst job’ in 2013, study says

Newspaper reporters can add to the list of sources telling them to flee journalism.

The group took 200 jobs and ranked them in order from most to least desirable, based on factors such as environment, income, outcome and stress. Add all that together and newspaper reporter rings in at a dismal 200 out of 200 – the worst job on CareerCast’s list, below lumberjack, janitor, garbage collector and bus driver.

“We look at a wide range of criteria, as analytical as we can be,” said Tony Lee, CareerCast’s publisher. “There are some subjective pieces but, frankly, it’s really driven by the data.”

The data come from sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and trade associations. Read more


Newspaper acquisition market keeps churning: Colorado Springs Gazette resold after four months

Aaron Kushner’s 2100 Trust investment group is selling The Colorado Springs Gazette just four months after buying the paper.


The company, led by former greeting-card entrepreneur Kushner, acquired the Gazette and six other papers when it bought Freedom Communications in July.

But the sale to billionaire Philip Anschutz’s Clarity Media Group isn’t a sign that Kushner is losing interest in newspapers. Read more

1 Comment

Journalism that works: Telling the story of school deterioration, rebuilding

Many of America’s school buildings are in disarray, with leaking roofs, toxic air and termite-infested walls. Parade Magazine decided to tackle this issue in a 2,000-word story, but one that editors and freelancer Barry Yeoman chose to tell through a lens of success rather than as an unrelenting diatribe.

“It was a story that was reporting on a very difficult problem, but we also knew if we didn’t have a solutions piece of it, that it wouldn’t have the impact on readers who tend to gloss over stories that are just unrelentingly depressing,” Yeoman told Poynter. “If you tell an uplifting story, you’re more likely to get readers to be able to focus on the underlying problems.”

Jennifer Marquez, Parade’s articles editor and daughter of a public school teacher, pitched the story after coming across a statistic from the group “Rebuild America’s Schools” about how many millions of students attend class in deteriorating buildings. Read more


Media blames itself for ‘the cult of Gen. David Petraeus’

Wired | “Reliable Sources” | “Meet the Press” | The Guardian | BuzzFeed
Since Gen. David Petraeus’ resignation as CIA director, after admitting to an extramarital affair, many journalists are asking, “Were we too easy on him all along?”

“Like many in the press, nearly every national politician, and lots of members of Petraeus’ brain trust over the years, I played a role in the creation of the legend around David Petraeus,” writes national security reporter Spencer Ackerman in a Wired piece published Sunday entitled, “How I Was Drawn Into the Cult of David Petraeus.”

Ackerman uses his own relationship with the general to highlight how easily the press was swayed by Petraeus’ intellect, personality and willingness to engage with reporters. “I bought into it, especially after I found Petraeus to be the rare general who didn’t mind responding to the occasional follow-up request,” he writes. Read more


BBC Director General George Entwistle resigns after broadcasting false child abuse accusations

BBC | The Guardian | The Telegraph
BBC Director General George Entwistle resigned Saturday, in the wake of a “Newsnight” story that led to led to false accusations of child sex abuse by ex-senior Tory Lord McAlpine.

Entwistle, who served in his position for less than two months, said his resignation was the “honorable” thing to do. He announced his resignation in a statement delivered outside New Broadcasting House.

As director general, Entwistle was also the editor in chief and responsible for the news organization’s content. Entwistle previously told John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4′s “Today” program that he knew nothing about the McAlpine story before it was broadcast Nov. 2. Read more


Architecture photographer explains how he got that New York magazine cover shot

Shooting in the dark, with a handheld camera, in a vibrating helicopter, 5,000 feet above land sounds like a photographer’s nightmare. But Iwan Baan made it look easy.

The Dutch photographer’s image of a half-illuminated, half-powerless New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy captured the nation’s attention on the cover of New York magazine.

“It was the only way to show that New York was two cities, almost,” Baan said on the phone Sunday evening from Haiti. “One was almost like a third world country where everything was becoming scarce. Everything was complicated. And then another was a completely vibrant, alive New York.”

Baan made the image Wednesday night after the storm, using the new Canon 1D X with the new 24-70mm lens on full open aperture. Read more

Members of the Ross family, from Egg Harbor NJ, watch the rough surf of the Atlantic ocean in Margate N.J., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as the area prepares for Hurricane Sandy. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the U.S. Northeast braced for the onslaught of a superstorm threatening some 60 million people along the most heavily populated corridor in the nation. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

Newark’s Star-Ledger stays close to readers during Hurricane Sandy

As people across the East Coast hunker down in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey’s Newark-based Star-Ledger is focused on staying close to its audience and providing around-the-clock information through the next few days.

“Readers want to have a direct line to us,” Editor Kevin Whitmer says. “And on something like this, having been through Irene last year, we’re in a little bit better position to learn from what we did there, what worked, what we need to do a little bit better.”

When Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast last August, it turned into a week and a half of non-stop reporting for The Star-Ledger staff. One big lesson from that was learning how best to deploy people and making sure the staff manages to still get rest, Whitmer says by phone Sunday night after putting the print edition of the paper to bed. Read more


Des Moines Register endorses Mitt Romney for president, becoming 6th major paper to flip from Obama in ’08

The Des Moines Register endorsed Mitt Romney Saturday night for the presidency. Breaking from 40 years of Democratic endorsements, the Register cited the economy, job creation and an ability to work across party lines as reasons for their support of Romney.

“The former governor and business executive has a strong record of achievement in both the private and the public sectors,” the paper wrote in its endorsement. “He was an accomplished governor in a liberal state. He founded and ran a successful business that turned around failing companies.”

The endorsement breaks the pre-existing tie in endorsements from major papers in Swing States. The Register joins five other papers — including the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun Sentinel — to flip its support from Obama in 2008 to Romney in 2012, giving the GOP nominee the lead in Swing State newspaper endorsements. Read more

Page 1 of 212