Recent Journalism-related Articles

Sunday, February 12, 2012
I haven't done this in a while but I am mentioning two articles that I read in today's edition of the New York Times due to their ties to my current field of study.

The first reviews the current struggles at the Washington Post, the Times' true competitor for the the title of "America's paper of record," as they contend with the financial issues surrounding all traditional news outlets in the wake of the Internet's intrusion upon previously successful business models. 

February 11, 2012
A Newspaper, and a Legacy, Reordered


ON a Sunday in early December, Marcus Brauchli, the executive editor of The Washington Post, summoned some of the newspaper’s most celebrated journalists to a lunch at his home, a red brick arts-and-crafts style in the suburb of Bethesda, Md.

He asked his guests, who included the Pulitzer Prize winners Bob Woodward, Dana Priest, David Maraniss and Rick Atkinson, along with Dan Balz, the paper’s chief correspondent, and Robert G. Kaiser, a senior writer and editor who has been with the paper since 1963, to help him — and The Post.

He wanted to know how they thought The Post was covering the 2012 election and what might be improved. The paper, they told him, needed to strike a better balance between the ferocious 24/7 news cycle and more ambitious longer-term projects. Newsroom morale was suffering and needed his attention.

The meeting was an unusual gesture from Mr. Brauchli. In the nearly three and a half years since he became the first outsider to run the paper in seven decades, he has often fought perceptions that he is inattentive to concerns of his staff members.

But Mr. Brauchli is acutely aware of the tension that lies at the heart of his mission — a tension being faced not just by newspapers but by media companies in music, film, books, magazines and television. He is charged with maintaining the standards and legacy of a great institution — in this case, the newspaper of Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee and Mr. Woodward and Carl Bernstein — while confronting the harsh reality that in the digital age, the grandeur is gone.

(the rest can be read at this link)

The second story had to do with the leaking of confidential or classified information to the media and how advances in surveillance techniques and tactics will make this a riskier proposition for the leaker as well as the journalist he/she decides to entrust with that data.

February 11, 2012
A High-Tech War on Leaks


BACK in 2006, before the Obama administration made leak prosecutions routine, a panel of three federal appeals court judges in New York struggled to decide whether a prosecutor should be allowed to see the phone records of two New York Times reporters, Judith Miller and Philip Shenon, in an effort to determine their sources for articles about Islamic charities.

“I’ve been thinking about the scene in ‘All the President’s Men,’ ” said Judge Robert D. Sack, citing the leading cinematic precedent. He meant the part where Bob Woodward, in the process of unraveling the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post, meets his source in an underground parking garage.

“First of all,” Judge Sack asked, “do you really have to meet in a garage to maintain your confidentiality? Second of all, can the government go and subpoena the surveillance camera?”

Six years and six prosecutions later, those questions seem as naïve as their answers are obvious: yes and yes.

It used to be that journalists had a sporting chance of protecting their sources. The best and sometimes only way to identify a leaker was to pressure the reporter or news organization that received the leak, but even subpoenas tended to be resisted. Today, advances in surveillance technology allow the government to keep a perpetual eye on those with security clearances, and give prosecutors the ability to punish officials for disclosing secrets without provoking a clash with the press.

(the rest can be read at this link)

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