This person has it worse than you. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Newspaper reporter: Now better than being a lumberjack

CareerCast | The Wall Street Journal
CareerCast's annual report of the "Top 200 Jobs of 2014" has "newspaper reporter" at No. 199 -- one slot better than lumberjack, which beat it last year. Some of the jobs better than newspaper reporter, per CareerCast: enlisted military personnel (198), butcher (179), actor (151), security guard (134). "Publication editor" comes in at 139 (I've known some who would have made great butchers) and photojournalist comes in at 186, just below welder and just above police officer.

This person has it worse than you. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)


In its blurb about newspaper reporting, CareerCast says it's a "job that has lost its luster dramatically over the past five years is expected to plummet even further by 2022 as more and more print publications abandon operations." It even found someone at the nexus of journalism and logging: Eric Johnson, the executive editor of Northern Logger magazine. “The two industries have changed dramatically since I started,” Johnson said.

Writing about last year's report, Will Oremus noted it "ignores intangibles like autonomy, excitement, or fulfillment."
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Nate Silver: Pulitzer-winning newspapers aren’t immune to circulation losses

FiveThirtyEight
A newspaper's Pulitzer Prize count has very little effect on its circulation losses, Nate Silver found after a spin through some data:
Does that mean that newspapers might as well forget about quality as an economic strategy? That’s not what this data says. There is a relationship between Pulitzer Prizes and circulation (the correlation is .53 among the 50 newspapers listed here). It’s just that this relationship hasn’t changed much from 10 years ago. The vast majority of newspapers have seen their circulations decline; the ones that win a lot of Pulitzers have suffered about as much as the ones that don’t. You could spin this result as a negative for high-quality journalism — newspapers that win Pulitzers are doing no better at retaining their readers — or as a positive — almost all newspapers are struggling, but the ones that win Pulitzers continue to have more readers.
Silver looked at daily circulation figures, which led to some strangeness: The Times-Picayune dropped 100 percent by his count, for example, because it no longer publishes daily.

Increasingly, though, it's nearly impossible to wrest any meaning from the circulation figures publishers report to the Alliance for Audited Media. The data are, as Silver might say, very, very noisy.

Some papers count average daily circulation as Monday through Friday. Some do Monday through Saturday. Others, like the Times-Picayune, break out circulation data by individual day. At any rate, Sunday is "by far the most valuable audience for advertisers," Rick Edmonds wrote in 2012.

Here's what I wrote last October about circulation in Louisiana in September 2013: (more...)
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New award named for AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus

The International Women's Media Foundation Tuesday announced a new award named in honor of the late Anja Niedringhaus, who died Friday, April 4, while working in Afghanistan.
The Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award will honor women photojournalists who "set themselves apart by their extraordinary bravery."
Created with a $1 million endowment gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Award will be given annually to a woman photojournalist whose work follows in the footsteps of Anja Niedringhaus.

Niedringhaus who won the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award in 2005, spent her life documenting wars and the effects of conflict on people in war-torn regions. “I could have stayed out of trouble most of my life but always have been drawn to the people who suffer in difficult situations,” she told the audience at the 2005 Courage Awards ceremony.
On Saturday, the Associated Press honored Niedringhaus' life and work at her funeral in Germany.
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Jordan Stead, a photojournalist with SeattlePI.com, wrote Monday in PetaPixel about photographing the Oso mudslide in Washington.

The photographs I made while covering the Oso tragedy are not for me. They weren’t made for my portfolio, to win awards or to sensationalize. Those first two days, I made pictures with an effort to humanize the victims of the tragedy — not to belabor the damage or to scoop other news outlets.

For green photojournalists, the ‘opportunity’ of a disaster like the mudslide may appear exciting, posing as a chance to make that iconic picture we all strive for. While the visuals may be awe-inspiring, a place like the Oso debris field is far from a journalistic proving ground. Citizens of the community will go on living, long after the news trucks and cameras have left the scene. They will live in the shadow of your coverage.

Jordan Stead, PetaPixel

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Eli Saslow thanks his sources for their ‘huge act of courage’

The Washington Post
Speaking to The Washington Post newsroom after he won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting Monday, reporter Eli Saslow said that a friend had told him, "Oh Pulitzer Prize winner, now I know the first three words of your obituary."

Saslow saluted colleagues, editors and the Post itself. Referring to former owner Don Graham, Saslow said he's excited about its new ownership but is "so, so grateful that if I was ever going to get lucky enough to win one of these things that some of the stories were published when it was Don's paper." Saslow also talked about the people "I owe the most to": His sources.
They're the ones who take the huge risk. It's a huge act of courage to have somebody call, who you don't know, from out of town, and say that they want to come be with you constantly in sort of, you know, every corner of your life in this moment where things are usually not going well and there's a lot at stake. That's an incredible thing to ask of people, and yet they say yes, and I wonder a lot about that because I'm not sure I'd be the person who said yes. And I think it's because people are so -- they really crave to be understood and they want to know that what they're dealing with matters. And I think our journalism should validate that and it should take good care of the trust they're giving us to come into their lives.
He likened the prize to the experience of having a nice sandwich after reporting on a family without food security.

"In some ways this moment is a little bit like eating a sandwich," he said. "It's like, it's great. It feels really, really good. I hope some of the attention goes to the people who are letting us into their lives." Related: Saslow's author page at the Post.
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Boston Globe gathers people touched by bombing at marathon finish line

The Boston Globe | The New York Times
"Nobody wanted to leave," the Globe writes about a photo shoot that gathered "survivors, police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, runners, political figures, store owners, the Boston Athletic Association, Red Sox and Bruins players" for a photo -- with an interactive presentation -- at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

A year ago today, two bombs went off at the finish line. The Globe won a Pulitzer Prize Monday for its breaking news coverage of the bombings and the manhunt that followed -- "Nobody in this room wanted to cover this story, and we hope nothing like this ever occurs again on our watch," Globe Editor Brian McGrory told the newsroom. (more...)
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Afghan guards of honor carry wreaths with photographs of Agence France-Press journalist Sardar Ahmad, his wife Humaira and their children Nilofar and Omar during their funeral ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Sardar and his family were killed when four gunmen attacked the Serena hotel in Kabul during New Year's celebrations on March 20, 214. Nine people, including four foreigners were killed during the attack. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Afghanistan journalists attempt a boycott after death of reporter

On Thursday, March 20, at a celebration of the Persian New Year in Kabul’s posh Serena Hotel, four young men attacked partygoers with small handguns they had smuggled through security, murdering nine civilians before they were killed by security forces.… Read more

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Pulitzer board’s no-award in feature writing goes unexplained

International Business Times When the Pulitzer board on Monday announced the 2014 recipients of journalism's highest honor, a major category lacked a winner. No one had won for feature writing.

Since three finalists were chosen by the nominating jury for that category, why was one not selected by the board? Pulitzer Prizes administrator Sig Gissler told IBT's Christopher Zara:
“It’s not a statement on the quality of feature writing in America,” he said in a phone interview. “They were thoroughly discussed and carefully considered.”
But that doesn't explain the reason for the decision not to award the prize, and Gissler was not providing an answer: “We don’t get into explaining what the deliberations entail,” he said. (more...)
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Monday, Apr. 14, 2014

siers-small

Cartoonist brings the Charlotte Observer its first win in 26 years

Siers' self-drawn Twitter picture.
Kevin Siers daydreamed and drew through school, doodling as he listened. Then, in the fifth grade, he and his teacher had a talk.

"And he just took me aside and said, look, I want you to make me some comic books," Siers said in a phone interview with Poynter.

So Siers created a superhero knockoff. The winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning didn't launch into the local newspaper from there, though. Siers went to work in the ore mines after high school in Biwabik, Minn. But while there, Mark Washburn wrote on Monday for the Observer, he submitted a cartoon to The Biwabik Times. From the Observer:
“So I said, I guess I could do this,” Siers said. When he returned to the university, he began doing editorial cartoons for the campus newspaper, the Minnesota Daily. He got to know Steve Sack, political cartoonist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and last year’s Pulitzer winner for editorial cartoons. “Sack was my mentor,” Siers said. “He’d take me out to lunch and show me grown-up cartoonist tricks.”


Siers has been with the Observer since 1987, said Taylor Batten, editorial page editor, in a phone interview with Poynter. Batten said Siers is a voracious reader who doesn't just read headlines and throw something together, but he approaches his work with knowledge and background.

"He's a journalist first and a journalist who expresses his ideas through cartoons," Batten said. (more...)
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Pulitzers

Gellman: Baron’s editing ‘made me feel like it was still The Washington Post I’d grown up with’

Bart Gellman is by no means done with reporting on the NSA. His stories for The Washington Post won a Public Service Pulitzer today, a prize he and collaborators, including Ashkan Soltani and Laura Poitras, shared with The Guardian for their reporting on Edward Snowden's revelations. "Look, there are more great stories to do, and I have a book to write, so I will be on this subject for time to come," Gellman said by phone.
Gellman speaks to The Washington Post newsroom after the Pulitzer announcement Monday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Gellman speaks to The Washington Post newsroom after the Pulitzer announcement Monday. Asked whether he'd changed his methodology in the course of reporting these stories, Gellman said "I've had to become much more careful to protect my reporting materials and my confidential sources." Whereas he used to worry about keeping stuff only from the U.S. government, "Now I have to worry about foreign intelligence services."

Gellman said he's "even more conscious than I was before about putting sources at risk." At times, he's worried about asking even "fairly innocent questions" he feared might put sources under scrutiny. "There are times I don't make the call or don't make the visit I want to make" because of such concerns, he said.

Post Executive Editor Marty Baron "did not know me from Adam when I came to him with a really high risk" story, Gellman said, saying he's "genuinely, no bullshit, immensely grateful to this paper and its leadership." Baron "made every decision with guts and good judgment," he said. "It made me feel like it was still The Washington Post I'd grown up with."

"We are enormously grateful that Bart Gellman brought this story to the Post, where he had worked for so many years," Baron said in an email to Poynter. "His experience and expertise in the realm of national security and intelligence are unequaled. That allowed him to navigate some especially sensitive and difficult terrain. Throughout this story, he showed persistence, great care, and no small measure of wisdom."
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