On the ethics of family obit writing

When I finished the first draft of Uncle Bob’s obit last week, I shared it as a Google Doc with family members and invited their “edits, trims or additions.” Although I failed to realize it at the time, I was making a fundamental declaration of my loyalties, the sort of critical ethical distinction addressed so precisely by Tom … Read More

New York Times apologizes for using 'slave mistress' in obit

The New York Times Margaret Sullivan, public editor of The New York Times, has been busy of late, especially with criticism of the paper's weekend expose of Amazon's work culture. The flap included her mild dueling with the newspaper's executive editor over the piece (she thought it had flaws, he didn't). Well, they are in sync Thursday with the … Read More

The Journalist and the Activist: the legacies of Julian Bond and Gene Patterson

Julian Bond of the Georgia state legislature and civil rights leader is seen in 1968. (AP Photo)A half century ago, Julian Bond fought for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. Bond is now dead, but his legacy lives on. So does that of the former newspaper editor and Poynter chairman Gene Patterson, who became Bond’s … Read More

The Hollywood Reporter drafted its story about Amy Pascal's departure in December

On Thursday, Amy Pascal announced she was stepping down as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, ending one chapter of the ongoing saga sparked by the hacking of the company in November. The Hollywood press jumped on the story. Deadline got there early with a brief (since updated) timestamped at 8:56 a.m. The Hollywood Reporter responded minutes later with … Read More

11 years later, Idi Amin's son objects to Guardian obit for his father

Ugandan dictator Idi Amin died over a decade ago, in August of 2003. Like news organizations all over the world, The Guardian published an obituary that told the story of how Amin grew up, came to power and then led with a bloody, iron fist. (As noted in the obit, the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva estimated the death toll … Read More

1940-2014: Michael Janeway, former editor of The Boston Globe, The Atlantic Monthly

The Boston Globe | The Atlantic Michael Janeway, former editor of The Boston Globe and executive editor of The Atlantic Monthly, died Thursday at his home in Lakeville, Conn., at age 73. The Globe's Joseph P. Kahn quoted author Todd Gitlin on Janeway's career: “When Mike saw journalism slipping off the edge into inconsequence or superficiality, he was on the case,” Gitlin said. “He recognized it was a matter of moment to the political life of democracy. I see him as a standard-bearer for professional journalism, a connoisseur of the nobility of intellectual life and journalism’s responsibility to honor it.” Read More

Joe McGinniss, scourge of politicos and chronicler of crime, dies at 71

Associated Press | Los Angeles Times  Stories about author-journalist Joe McGinniss are re-emerging in the wake of news that he died Monday in a Worcester, Mass., hospital from complications of prostate cancer. He once moved next door to Sarah Palin to gather material for his unauthorized biography about her, according to the … Read More

New York Observer's Peter Kaplan dies at 59

The New York Times | The New York Observer | The Huffington Post Peter Kaplan, The New York Observer's editor from 1994 to 2009, died Friday of cancer, The New York Times and Observer reported. He was 59. The New York Observer described Kaplan as "an outsized figure at the newspaper and across … Read More

'Power of voices': Inspiring last words from journalist Raul Ramirez

Raul Ramirez, KQED's executive director of news and public affairs, died Nov. 15, 2013. (KQED Photo) Editor's note: Raul Ramirez, KQED Public Radio's executive director of news and public affairs and former Poynter Ethics Fellow, died Nov. 15 at age 67. He was scheduled to receive the 2013 Distinguished Service to Journalism Award from the … Read More