Adam Hochberg, Bill Krueger, Steve Myers and Latoya Peterson explain the emerging ways that information is created and consumed, from the Fourth Estate to the Fifth Estate.

Would you snap a picture or pull the man to safety?

The Internet blew up with righteous criticism of the New York Post for publishing a photo of a man about to be crushed by a subway train and the photographer who took that picture.

Any one of us could be that photographer, standing on that subway platform, forced to make a choice between taking a picture and trying to help the man.

On several occasions I’ve counseled photographers and reporters working in war zones, natural disasters, and the Third World. They often are troubled by this question of when to put the camera down.

Here’s what I tell them: We are all morally obligated to help our fellow human beings, when death or serious injury is imminent and when we are the most competent person available to help.… Read more


Sunday, Dec. 02, 2012

NY newspapers follow story of cop, boots and barefoot man

(Updated Monday morning with NYT interview of the homeless man.)

Some stories break. Others, as legendary editor Gene Roberts famously observed, ooze. The story of a New York City police officer’s kindness to a homeless man broke last week, went viral on social media and attracted widespread coverage from the established media. It began oozing on Friday.

[<a href="//" target="_blank">View the story "Next chapter in story of cop, boots and barefoot man" on Storify</a>]<br /> <h1>Next chapter in story of cop, boots and barefoot man</h1> <h2>Some stories break. Others, as legendary editor Gene Roberts famously observed, ooze. The story of a New York City police officer’s kindness to a homeless man broke last week, went viral on social media and attracted widespread coverage from the established media.… Read more

Friday, Nov. 30, 2012


How a photo spread of NYPD officer helping homeless man

During a visit to New York’s Times Square this week, tourist Jennifer Foster snapped a cell phone photo of a police officer helping a homeless man. That photo became a story that unfolded for me like this.… Read more


Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012

New website helps viewers see how news is skewed

With 60 percent of Americans saying they do not trust mainstream media to fully, accurately or fairly report the news, Colleen Bradford Krantz launched, a project that she hopes will help the public identify why a news story seems biased.

Still in its early stages, the project launched last week and targets high school, middle school and college students, Bradford Krantz told Poynter by phone.

“Teachers have told us that these are the groups who are really bad at critical news viewing,” she said. “But it’s not just limited to young viewers. A lot of people think that most journalists are out to slant news.”

The site focuses on video for now. “That’s what young people are using more and more,” Bradford Krantz said.… Read more


Thursday, Nov. 08, 2012


What Nate Silver’s success says about the 4th and 5th estates

Many are declaring the 2012 presidential election a victory for Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight blog. His success this political season — in both predicting the electoral college vote and in driving traffic to the New York Times — is a validation for the independent Fifth Estate, as well as the reassertion of journalism as a discipline of verification.

It might seem a bit heretical to link those two ideas — the rise of independent voices and the rebirth of verification — in the same sentence. After all, the spread of unfettered opinion seemed to coincide with an escalation in the amount of suspect information populating the marketplace of ideas. But they are, in fact, related.

Silver’s rise fits neatly with the other big trend of this election: fact checking.… Read more


Why pundits will continue arguing about whether Obama won a mandate

One of the most heated post-election memes revolved about a simple question with a complicated answer: Did the President win a mandate Tuesday?

Factually, no.

That’s because an electoral mandate is a claim; there’s no clear or quantifiable definition. It’s a term that presidents and other politicians embrace because it’s a potent weapon in arguing that there’s clear support for his or her policies.

And so it was that pundits contended that President Obama’s re-election means that a majority of Americans supports the president’s economic policies, the Affordable Health Care Act, same-sex marriage, and many of his other priorities.

Others insisted that the president’s ability to stitch together support from a range of Americans is the practical definition of a mandate. (He won the female vote by 12 points, the Latino vote by 40 points, and the African-American vote by 80 points.)

In fact, the meaning of an electoral mandate is malleable.… Read more

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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 to his car in Warsaw.

The governor didn’t answer, but the question highlighted the focus of much of the media’s day-to-day narrative. Journalists, bloggers, pundits — and sometimes the campaigns themselves — gleefully piled on after either candidate committed a perceived misstep or uttered an inelegant statement.

From President Obama’s declaration that “the private sector is doing fine” (labeled as an “economic gaffe” by ABC News) to Gov. Romney’s admission that “I’m not concerned about the very poor” (a possible “monster gaffe,” declared The Week), the campaign narrative often centered more on the candidates’ offhand ad libs than their platforms or policy records.… Read more


Monday, Oct. 29, 2012

Hello, Deadspin was duped by AT&T

On Friday morning, Deadspin posted an article and a link to a high school scrimmage of “The Most Athletic Football Play of the Year.” Deadspin pushed it out via Facebook, where I saw it and followed the link to a video of a running back on a practice field doing a flip over a defender and running into the endzone.

Deadspin pointed out that it didn’t know anything about the video and wasn’t really going to try to find out. Here’s the entire post:

If you care about things like “context” and “names,” this highlight isn’t for you. We don’t know who’s the running back who executes this flawless 180° flip, we don’t even know what school this is. We contacted the uploader for more info, but got no response.

Read more

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012


As 4 stations cancel his show, is Tavis Smiley’s advocacy journalism too political for public radio?

One week after Tavis Smiley was yanked off the air by Chicago Public Media for being too much of an advocate, the veteran broadcaster slammed President Barack Obama in a New York Times story published over the weekend.

“Tragically, it seems the president feels boxed in by his blackness. It has, at times, been painful to watch this particular president’s calibrated, cautious and sometimes callous treatment of his most loyal constituency,” Smiley told Jodi Kantor of the Times by email. “African Americans will have lost ground in the Obama era.”

That’s the kind of talk that a week ago led Torey Malatia, President and CEO of Chicago Public Media to cancel “Smiley & West,” a public affairs show hosted by Smiley and Princeton Professor Cornel West.… Read more

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Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012


Five things we’re watching for in tonight’s Vice Presidential debate

Normally, the vice presidential debate hardly matters, but in light of the close polls following last week’s debate between the two presidential candidates, the spotlight will likely be brighter than usual on Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Rep. Paul Ryan when the two square off at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky tonight.

Here are five things we’ll be watching for in tonight’s vice presidential debate.

1. It’s the questions, stupid. Last week moderator Jim Lehrer said he ran out of time before he could ask about several issues important to Americans. This week, ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz will moderate the 90-minute vice presidential debate that will cover international and domestic policies. It will be divided into nine segments of about 10 minutes each.… Read more

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