Center for Public Integrity

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Federal Election Commission refuses to release computer security study

Flaws in election regulator’s systems highlighted in Center for Public Integrity story

This Story is being republished with permission from the Center for Public Integrity.

Federal Election Commission

Federal Election Commission

Next to the Federal Election Commission’s front door is a quotation from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

But the agency is refusing to uncloak a pricey, taxpayer-funded study that details decay in the security and management of its computer systems and networks, which the Center for Public Integrity revealed had beensuccessfully infiltrated by Chinese hackers in October 2013.

The report — known within the FEC as the “NIST study” — also provides recommendations on how to fix the FEC’s problems and bring its computer systems in line with specific National Institute of Standards and Technology computer security protocols. Read more

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Michael J. Hollis, creator of the Freelancers and Micro-Entrepreneurs PAC, a federal super PAC, via LinkedIn

A super PAC for journalists? Texas freelancer forms political committee aimed at representing reporters

This Story is being republished with permission from the Center for Public Integrity.

Aligning with a political committee: most news reporters consider it a cardinal sin.

But dogma isn’t dogging Michael J. Hollis, a freelance writer and adjunct journalism professor from Texas who on Wednesday registered a federal super PAC aimed at representing the interests of work-a-day scribes, particularly contract writers.

Struggling journalists, he said, shouldn’t fear prodding politicians to heed their economic concerns.

Michael J. Hollis, creator of the Freelancers and Micro-Entrepreneurs PAC, a federal super PAC, via LinkedIn

Michael J. Hollis, creator of the Freelancers and Micro-Entrepreneurs PAC, a federal super PAC, via LinkedIn

“If we allow real journalism to get devalued though and allow journalists to simply become ‘content providers,’ we are participating in the death of our own industry,” said Hollis, who most recently taught courses at Park University and Concordia University Texas. Read more

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Career Beat: Molly Wood will be a host and reporter at Marketplace

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Molly Wood will be a host and reporter at Marketplace. Previously, she was deputy technology editor at The New York Times. (Email)
  • Felicia Sonmez will edit the China Real Time blog for The Wall Street Journal. She is a China correspondent for Agence France-Presse. (@feliciasonmez)
  • Daniel Wagner will join BuzzFeed News’ investigative team. He is an investigative reporter at the Center for Public Integrity. (@wagnerreports)
  • Lizette Carbajal is now vice president of community relations at KVEA in Los Angeles. Previously, she was manager of community education and outreach at Southern California Gas Company. (Media Moves)
  • Jay Yarow has been named executive editor at Business Insider. Previously, he was a deputy editor there.
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Career Beat: Andy Wiedlin leaves BuzzFeed

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Andy Wiedlin will be an entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz. He’s currently chief revenue officer at BuzzFeed. (Re/Code)
  • Salvador Rodríguez is a Silicon Valley correspondent for International Business Times. Previously, he was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. (Media Moves)
  • Peter Bale will be CEO at the Center for Public Integrity. Previously, he was vice president and general manager of digital operations at CNN International. (Center for Public Integrity)
  • Jed Hartman will be chief revenue officer at The Washington Post. Previously, he was group publisher for Time, time.com, Fortune, fortune.com, Money, and money.com. (Washington Post)

Job of the day: The San Antonio Express-News is looking for an online producer. Read more

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It matters how Rolling Stone reported its UVA rape story

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Rolling Stone story causes the wrong kind of unease

    Sabrina Rubin Erdely's story finally got UVA's administration to deal with campus sexual assault. But if it "turns out to be a hoax, it is going to turn the clock back on their thinking 30 years,” Caitlin Flanagan tells Allison Benedikt and Hanna Rosin. They found Jackie, the main character of Erdely's story, who "had already been interviewed by the Washington Post for a story that has not yet run." (Slate) | If the men Jackie accuses of rape "were being cited in the story for mere drunkenness, boorish frat-boy behavior or similar collegiate misdemeanors, then there’d be no harm in failing to secure their input," Erik Wemple writes.

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Center for Public Integrity will hire 50 freelancers to probe statehouse corruption

Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity is launching a nationwide investigation into indicators of statehouse corruption, and it’s looking for 50 freelancers to help get it done.

The State Integrity Investigation, conducted first in 2011, is a deep-dive look at factors that cause corruption in each of America’s 50 capitols, Nicholas Kusnetz, the initiative’s project manager, told Poynter in an email.

The last project resulted in more than 1,100 stories and led to reform measures passed in seven states, according to the the Center for Public Integrity. It was a 2013 finalist for Harvard’s Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize.

Participants will work part-time starting in fall and through early 2016 and will be expected to answer 200-300 questions using data during the first two months of the project. Read more

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Center for Public Integrity chief will step down

Center for Public Integrity

Bill Buzenberg will step down as executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, the organization announced Friday. Buzenberg was named to the post in 2007 after a long tenure at NPR. He’s helped raise more than $50 million for CPI, the organization says, and he’ll stay on until a replacement is named.

CPI just won its first Pulitzer Prize, for a series about black lung. ABC News contested the Pulitzer, saying its partnership with CPI on the story entitled it to part of the award.

Buzenberg replied to ABC News with a letter that said CPI reporter Chris Hamby “lived and breathed this investigation almost exclusively for a year.” (Hamby recently left CPI for BuzzFeed.) ABC News “has a very very inflated idea of their role in this investigation,” Buzenberg told Poynter at the time. Read more

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Gordon Witkin named top editor at Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity has named Gordon Witkin as its executive editor.

Witkin has been serving as the center’s top editor in an acting capacity. He also manages the center’s coverage of health care and juvenile justice and its state integrity project.

Gordon Witkin (The Center for Public Integrity photo)

The appointment comes just weeks after the center’s Chris Hamby won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism honoring his stories on black-lung disease among coal miners. The announcement on the prize was followed by a dispute between the center and ABC News, which felt it should be given credit for its part in the investigation. Hamby has since moved to BuzzFeed.

The center announced Witkin’s appointment on its website:

“I am extremely pleased to confirm the solid editorial structure we have been operating under for more than a year,” [Executive Director William E.] Buzenberg said Friday. 

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Despite ABC News/CPI blowup, here’s how news partnerships can work

Journalism organizations might get discouraged about joining partnerships after the public meltdown of the partnership between ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity this week.

CPI’s reporter Chris Hamby won a Pulitzer Prize for stories that exposed how coal miners who were dying from black-lung disease were being unfairly denied health benefits. ABC wanted to get some of the credit for the investigation. What followed was a nasty exchange that played out here on Poynter Online all week.

But let’s not forget the upside to great investigative journalists from different organizations working together. ABC and CPI did affect lives, expose wrongdoing and reach a national audience that neither could have done alone.

Some of the most important journalism in recent years has been the product of partnerships. Read more

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CORRECTION Nobel Peace Prize Auction

Contest entries from ABC, Center for Public Integrity highlight their division

On the same day that ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity won yet another national journalism award for exposing how coal miners were being unjustly denied black-lung benefits, the spat between the two venerable newsrooms heated up. And now you can read the letters that have been flying back and forth between former colleagues who in recent months shared some of journalism’s highest honors for their work.

Wednesday, ABC and CPI won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for online investigative reporting (affiliated category).

On March 5, ABC and CPI accepted the coveted Harvard Goldsmith Prize. The Goldsmith judges gushed about how they believed the joint investigation was a model for other newsrooms to follow.

 

The White House Correspondents’ Association also honored the joint project with its Edgar A. Read more

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