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Posts by Indira A.R. Lakshmanan

About Indira A.R. Lakshmanan

Indira Lakshmanan is the Newmark Foundation chair in journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute. She’s also a columnist for The Boston Globe who’s reported from Washington and more than 80 countries for newspapers, a wire service, television and radio. Indira has traveled with presidents, secretaries of state and candidates, and interviewed world leaders. She has guest-hosted NPR shows and contributed to PBS, and for two years, wrote a “Letter from Washington” column for the International Herald Tribune and Bloomberg. She spent more than a decade overseas, covering the Bosnia War, the fall of the Taliban and the drug war in Colombia, and profiling high-seas pirates, Maoist rebels and Khmer Rouge holdouts. She was a Nieman fellow in 2003-2004.
NEWS

Megyn Kelly, Alex Jones and how to interrogate a liar without getting played

Megyn Kelly and NBC News are standing by their decision to give airplay to crank conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, despite an ad boycott by J.P. Morgan Chase and an outcry from defenders of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims whose memory Jones has defiled by claiming their murders were staged to undermine gun rights. Jones is notorious for … Read More
NEWS

New York Times editing cuts mean doing more with less. Will credibility suffer?

The internet went nuts Wednesday when President Trump tweeted an unfinished, unpunctuated thought with a mysteriously misspelled word — “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” — leaving the world bewildered over his meaning. Trump’s Twitter feed and official White House statements are notorious for such typos — misspelling “attaker,” asking "How low has President Obama gone to tapp my … Read More
NEWS

President Trump’s war on the press is dangerous. He’s discrediting a profession he fears

If you can’t handle reporters asking questions, Congress isn’t the place for you, because that happens here every day. Snowflake, you best stay home. That’s the first takeaway of shocking events on the eve of Montana’s special election for the U.S. House of Representatives. GOP nominee Greg Gianforte, 56, a Christian conservative multi-millionaire, flew into a rage when a reporter … Read More
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The endless loop of terror victims: Lazy journalism that lets ISIS run the newsroom

Watching cable TV and listening to radio last night and this morning, I found myself trapped in an endless loop of panicked victims screaming and fleeing the suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester, England. Shaky witness cellphone video aired again and again, and the image of a girl leaping off a staircase lodged in my mind. Yes, the attack … Read More
NEWS

Should The Washington Post have withheld sensitive details about an ISIS bomb plot?

When The Washington Post broke the story this week that President Trump shared highly classified intelligence from a U.S. ally with Russia, not everything the reporters knew made it into print. Halfway through the story, this paragraph referring to the ISIS plot revealed by Trump appeared: “The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, … Read More
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Breitbart struggles to define its role in Trump era: Bad boy, watchdog or lapdog?

Breitbart News hit a wall Tuesday in its campaign to storm the ramparts of the media establishment when one of the most influential press associations in Washington, D.C. denied its application for credentials to cover Congress because of concerns over the site’s funding, staffing, workspace and independence. The decision by the Standing Committee of Correspondents of the House and Senate … Read More
NEWS

Bill O'Reilly scandal illustrates the price of toxic newsroom star culture

It was money that kept Bill O’Reilly in his bulletproof bully’s pulpit at Fox News despite sordid sex harassment claims dating back 13 years. And in the end, it was money — not morals — that catapulted him out. For two decades, O’Reilly has been the acid-tongued, anti-political correctness muse and megaphone of the populist right and scolder of the … Read More
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The credibility of financial news sites has been damaged. It's up to them to fix it.

When investors go to financial news websites, they’re looking for unbiased, independent guidance. Financial news sites’ reputations, user traffic and advertising depend on readers’ trust — and often the explicit promise — that writers don’t have conflicts of interest and don’t accept payments that could sway the advice they give. So when the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday … Read More
NEWS

Reporter’s firing exposes political pressure on state-funded public radio stations

Imagine if politicians could exert financial pressure on newsrooms to fire journalists who air their controversial comments. It sounds like a gross violation of press freedom, right? Well, it happens at state-owned media in places such as Russia, Egypt and China. And it may have just happened in Tennessee. When public radio reporter Jacqui Helbert was fired March 21 from … Read More
NEWS

Rex Tillerson’s poor 'tone at the top' on press freedom sets a dangerous precedent

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO, is undoubtedly familiar with "tone at the top," a term coined by audit firms and drilled home by business ethicists in the wake of financial scandals at Xerox, Enron and Arthur Andersen. When corporate leaders fail to model tone at the top by upholding principles, corners are cut … Read More
NEWS

Are Kevin Deutsch’s stories too good to be true? A reminder to check sources and keep notes

Public trust in journalism has been dwindling for years, long before Donald Trump proved it’s possible to win voters no matter how many Pinocchios or Pants on Fire ratings the fact-checkers dished out. Newsroom leaders have good reason to worry about the pandemic of hoax stories spread by click-seeking profiteers and partisans that poses an existential threat … Read More
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