Kristen Hare

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Tips from a fact-checker: ‘Ultimately it’s about the care that you take with a piece’


Fact-checking is about both the big and the small, the grit of details and the arc of story.

“What checking does is similar to so many other types of editing,” says Yvonne Rolzhausen, head of the fact-checking department at The Atlantic. “Ultimately it’s about the care that you take with a piece.”

Rolzhausen first interned at The Atlantic during her senior year of college and started as a proofreader there in 1993. Early in her career, she had to head to the Boston Public Library to go through microfiche for her work.

“It wasn’t pre-Internet, but it wasn’t too far off,” she said.

We spoke about the work of fact-checkers and lessons the rest of us can learn from them.

1. It’s about the details.

The only way you can look at any piece, whether it’s a paragraph or a 20,000-word story, is in detail — every word, every phrase, every connection. Read more


Gawker’s New Year’s resolution: Make some sub-blogs


On Friday, Gawker’s Editor-in-Chief Max Read posted a memo about his plans for 2015 at Gawker. The way Gawker’s homepage is set up has been frustrating, Read wrote. And so they’re going diagonal.

The basic structure is simple. Rather than publish everything directly to the home page, we’ll publish our stories to a set of beat-focused sub-blogs, some of which already exist and some of which will be launched in January. From those “diagonals”, the best and most representative work—original stories, reported news, personal writing, smart arguments, breakout viral, breaking news—will be shared to the front page, which will update at a somewhat slower rate than it currently does. Everything will be pushed to Facebook and Twitter, as well as to a comprehensive Gawker “news feed.”

The sub-blogs include and will include Valleywag, Defamer, and ones on the Internet, media and justice. Those larger topics could be spun off into more specific ones, Read wrote. Read more


Buy the journalist in your life a drone. Or a selfie stick

Good morning. Thanks for hanging in there with me this week. We’re taking a newsletter break for the holidays but will return on Monday, Jan. 5, brimming with news and probably an extra five pounds from all that day drinking. In the meantime, Poynter has a lot of great stories lined up for your holiday reading pleasure. For now, here are 10 media stories.

  1. What to buy your journalist friends, because they’re probably not getting a bonus this year

    How about an "Is it plagiarism?" pillow? Or a cassette recorder for when digital devices fail us? (Poynter) | A bandolier for your iPhone? A picture-taking aerial robot that's not really a drone? (Mashable) | Buzz Bissinger's Gucci schwag? (New York) | Grammar dessert plates? A Superman lunchbox? (AJR) | A studded USB necklace? (TechCrunch)

  2. Now Cuba needs to take care of its journalists

    Cuba is 10 countries away from the bottom of Reporters Without Borders' 2014 Press Freedom Index, and on Thursday, RWB called for the release of jailed Cuban journalists and bloggers.

Read more

Goodbye, Stephen Colbert, love, NYT

The New York Times

“I think it’s gonna leave a hole in my night,” The New York Times’ David Carr says in this farewell video the Times published Thursday. “I really liked getting tucked in by Stephen Colbert.”

In the video, the Times’ Bill Carter, Nicholas Confessore, William Rhoden, Mark Leibovich, and Carr all talk about Colbert’s show.

More goodbyes:

Mashable has a walking goodbye with Google Map Street View studio tour.

Vulture has lots of famous people saying goodbye.

And Time has four enemies of Colbert’s saying goodbye, including Suey Park. Read more


Journalist on Cuba: ‘My mom has been waiting and waiting and waiting’

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. A more personal look at the Cuba story

    On Wednesday, Maria Carrillo, a senior editor at the Houston Chronicle, spent a lot of time on the phone with her mother, a Cuban exile. "I am an American, born here, raised here, never been to the island where my parents were born. But those are my people, as surely as if I'd toddled into the surf at Varadero or spent summer nights along the Malecón. And this has all been painful to watch. We are separated — by that embargo, by politics, by distance, by time. We've been waiting and waiting and waiting." (Houston Chronicle) | CNN's Patrick Oppmann is based in Havana. "Church bells ringing in Havana. Covering history..." (@CNN_Oppmann)

  2. ProPublica is watching you, China

    Since mid-November, ProPublica has been monitoring accessibility to international news sites in China. "Of the 18 in our test, 9 are currently blocked." (ProPublica) | It's getting even harder to report there.

Read more
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This j school has a pretty great Christmas card

UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism has mailed out its Christmas card, and it’s a good one.

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The idea for the card came from the school’s new dean, Edward Wasserman, said Roia Ferrazares, assistant dean. It was designed by a student. The card’s free speech theme is a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, Ferrazares said. It’s meant to be fun, too, and to remind people that journalism is both an important area of study “and important to our democracy.”

Does your j school or your newsroom have a holiday card worth sharing? Read more


Directive: It’s OK to publish Rehtaeh Parsons’ name, just not ‘in a derogatory way’

Toronto Star | CBC

On Wednesday, a directive from the Justice/Public Service Commission of Nova Scotia clarified “the use of Rehtaeh Parsons’s name under the existing publication ban.”

The directive, issued to the Public Prosecution Service, says no breach of the ban identifying Rehtaeh Parsons as the victim in the recent high-profile child pornography case, by media, or in any forum, will be prosecuted, unless her name is used in a derogatory way.

Katherine DeClerq reported on the directive for The Toronto Star.

On Nov. 24, the Halifax Chronicle Herald broke the ban in a story about the second young man associated with the case pleading guilty to distributing child pornography.

“We’ve decided to publish the name of the victim in this story, despite a court-ordered ban. We believe it’s in the public interest in this unique case, given the widespread recognition of (the victim’s) name, and given the good that can come, and has already come, from free public debate over sexual consent and the other elements of her story,” read the editor’s note attached to the article.

Read more

It’s now harder to report in China, harder to get there and easier to get arrested

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Journalism had an awful year in China

    Two hundred and twenty journalists were jailed around the world, according to Committee to Protect Journalists' count. China was the country with the most arrests with 44. It's also harder to work there, now, thanks to rules about what journalists can cover, and harder for foreign journalists to get visas. (CPJ) | On Tuesday, Reporters Without Borders released its annual roundup of abuse toward journalists. That list puts the tally of arrests at 178 and also marks China as the country where the most journalists were arrested. (RWB) | RELATED: Nieman Reports' fall issue looks at "The Future of Foreign News." (Nieman Reports) | 2015 Nieman Fellows awarded Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal with the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. (Nieman)

  2. Prosecutors know what they won't ask Risen, at least

    The New York Times' James Risen will be subpoenaed, "though a Tuesday hearing indicated there was much confusion about what he might be asked to reveal." (The New York Times)

  3. Joe Arpaio thinks it's a good idea to get more coverage for immigration, and he sort of helped

    Proceeds from a settlement against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will go toward a new position at Arizona State University that will focus on immigration, as well as greater coverage of immigration.

Read more
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In 2014, 66 journalists were killed, 119 kidnapped, 853 arrested

Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders’ annual “roundup of violence against journalists” came out Tuesday, marking the deaths, kidnappings and arrests of journalists and citizen journalists around the world.

According to RWB’s tally, 66 journalists were murdered this year, bringing to 720 the number of journalists killed in connection with their work in the past 10 years.

A total of 119 journalists were kidnapped this year, an increase of more than 35% on last year’s figure. Forty journalists are currently being held hostage.

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Some details from the report:

– The killings of journalists, media workers and citizen journalists is down 7 percent from 2013.

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– Twice as many journalists have gone into exile.

Read more


Guild: 21 more layoffs coming to The New York Times this week

The Newspaper Guild of New York | Capital New York

Twenty one more people will be laid off from The New York Times starting this week, The Newspaper Guild of New York reported in a post Monday, ending what Executive Editor Dean Baquet called “a painful period for the newsroom,” in a memo to staff. From the guild:

Despite having announced its target of reducing newsroom staff by 100 – and accepting the buyout applications of 57 Guild members and nearly 30 excluded employees – The Times told the Guild on Monday that it would lay off another 21 Guild-represented employees this week. Whatever the total (the number of excluded employees to be laid off is not known at this time), the company clearly will exceed its stated goal of 100 job cuts.

Announcements on the cuts are expected Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the guild.

Management’s decision to exceed its announced goal of 100 newsroom job cuts comes after it turned down the buyout requests of three Guild-represented employees, hired numerous new employees over past six months and made no effort to retrain long-term employees.

Read more
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