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Uncertain Future for NY Times Reporter Protecting Confidential Source

New York Times reporter James Risen

New York Times reporter James Risen, photo via Alex Menendez, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

It’s been more than three months since the Supreme Court turned down an appeal from Pulitzer-winning New York Times investigative reporter James Risen, who continues to face the looming threat of jail over his refusal to reveal a confidential source.

Back in June, the Supreme Court basically sided with the government by turning down Risen’s appeal related to a case whereby prosecutors are attempting to secure evidence in what they say is a national security prosecution.

In turn, journalists contend the government is infringing upon Risen’s press freedom by demanding he turn over a confidential source from a chapter in his 2006 book, State of War. Read more

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Grading the Media on Ferguson Coverage

Now that the Ferguson protests are slowly beginning to wind down, it’s likely a good time to assess how the media handled the coverage of the recent unrest, triggered by the police shooting of unarmed teen, Michael Brown.

From the coverage I’ve seen myself, I would have to grade the media a C to C-, mainly for coverage that I thought was uneven, at best, with some national reporters even crossing journalistic lines to become advocates, rather than unbiased, objective third-parties. Read more

Journalism Under Attack

journalist post picMost journalists can agree that the profession has for years now been under financial attack by way of newsroom layoffs, the decline of newspapers/ad revenues and media consolidation, among other factors.

But now, both around the world and across the nation, journalists have been coming under increasing physical attack from a combination of hostile governments, overly militarized police forces and international terror organizations. Read more

How Should Publishers Assign Value to Writers?

SIAmong all the highly complicated questions media companies are grappling with, Time Inc. is still in a seriously unique transitional period. But when Gawker reported that the publisher — more specifically, Sports Illustrated magazine — scores its editorial writers based on how much they benefit the respective magazine’s advertiser relationships, it was a bit hard for me to feel sorry for them.

To be fair, that’s not the only thing they’re applying a numerical value to. “Quality of Writing,” “Impact of Stories/Newsworthiness,” “Productivity/Tenacity,” “Audience/Traffic,” “Video,” “Social” and “Enthusiasm/Approach to Work” are all categories that appear on the writers’ scorecards. But “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship” is still there.

Wrote Gawker watchdog reporter Hamilton Nolan:

“(Time Inc. provided this document to the Newspaper Guild, which represents some of their employees, and the union provided it to us.)  These editorial employees were all ranked in this way, with their scores ranging from 2 to 10.”

TimeInc Read more

$5,000 Top Prize for Gannett Foundation’s Al Neuharth Award for Investigative Journalism

Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today.  Photo via mije.org

Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today. Photo via mije.org

The Gannett Foundation’s Al Neuharth Award for Investigative Journalism is seeking investigative reporters who broke ground in the past year. Read more

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