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Lucas Graves, a misinformation researcher based at the University of Washington—Madison, has won the 2019 Bob Franklin Journal Article Award for his 2018 article “Boundaries Not Drawn: Mapping the institutional roots of the global fact-checking movement.” The study is the first of its kind, offering a systematic analysis of international fact-checking organizations and their institutional […]
The post Misinformation researcher awarded for article on the roots of fact-checking appeared first on Poynter.
A CBS News poll showing that most Americans want to tackle the climate crisis right away. A PBS interview with Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist from Sweden who recently arrived in the US on an emissions-free yacht. A story in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, in West Virginia, mapping the growing conversation about climate change in the coal-rich state. A whole issue of Lapham’s Quarterly. A video by The Intercept in which Naomi Klein, the writer and activist, explains how the plastic straws hawked by the Trump campaign help explain wrongheaded conservative—and liberal—responses to the climate crisis. (“What we are witnessing is a temper tantrum against the mere suggestion that there are limits to what we can consume,” Klein says.) A Variety interview with Javier Bardem.
These are among the stories published as part of Covering Climate Now, a major new initiative from CJR and The Nation, in partnership with The Guardian, that aims to increase the visibility of the climate crisis in our media. Covering Climate Now’s debut project—eight days of dedicated climate coverage by partner news organizations—launched yesterday and will end a week from today, to coincide with the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations in New York. The initiative isn’t limited to the US: in total, more than 250 outlets from around the world signed on, throwing a combined audience of more than 1 billion people behind the project. Our partners include Bloomberg; Agence France-Presse; the Toronto Star; La Repubblica, in Italy; Asahi Shimbun, in Japan; El País, in Spain; News18, in India; Daily Maverick, in South Africa, and the Daily Mirror, in the UK. (You can find a full list here.)
In a piece out this morning, Mark Hertsgaard, environment correspondent at The Nation, and Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of CJR, who are leading the initiative, write that the global response has been “amazing, and gratifying.” It is heartening, they write, “that the press may at last be waking up to the defining story of our time… We had a hunch that there was a critical mass of reporters and news outlets that wanted to do more climate coverage, and hoped that by highlighting that critical mass, we could also help to grow it. That’s exactly what has happened.”
Still, roadblocks remain. Some outlets hesitated before signing on to Covering Climate Now, or decided not to take part. Some said they were already pulling their weight, and declined to collaborate beyond their existing output. Others, Hertsgaard and Pope write, find the sheer scale of the climate story daunting. Some news organizations have no idea how or where to make a start on it. Others have taken a defeatist posture—it’s too late for the press to make any difference, they say, and in any case, news consumers find climate stories depressing, and click away.
This latter concern is not (or at least need not be) true: as Hertsgaard and Pope point out, “News organizations that have embraced climate coverage find that audiences—particularly younger viewers, listeners, and readers—are, in fact, enormously engaged in the coverage. They may get angry or energized or organized by climate stories, but they don’t tune them out.” And besides, not covering a topic because it might be depressing or challenging is an odd logic for newsrooms to adopt. Another common concern among reporters and editors holds that climate coverage smacks of activism. But this logic, too, is flawed: it’s journalists’ job to shine an undimmed light on unvarnished truths, wherever that may take us.
As we have seen repeatedly in the Trump era, such attitudes aren’t limited to climate coverage—but when it comes to the climate, the stakes are higher than they are anywhere else. Going forward, Covering Climate Now will try to overcome these doubts, while working with partners to identify the challenges they face in their climate coverage—a lack of expertise, for example, or a lack of reporting resources in an industry stretched to breaking point.
“This week of coverage we really see as the beginning of this conversation. What we want to do is have people commit to this, do this intense week of coverage, and then come back to us and say: here’s what we learned,” Pope told CNN’s Brian Stelter on Stelter’s podcast last week. “What we’re hoping to get out of this week is some great coverage, we’re hoping to sort of connect people. But we’re really hoping to get people to start thinking about what they have to do different.” Pope added, “I just think that we’re going to look back on this in a few years and shake our heads and wonder, like, where we were?”
Below, more on Covering Climate Now:
- A reading list: Bloomberg, The Daily Beast, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, The Oklahoman, Yale Climate Connections, Redaccion, Stuff, Newsroom, and DeSmog have all also published stories under the Covering Climate Now umbrella. For more, check out our project website, or the hashtag #CoveringClimateNow on Twitter.
- A burning case: The Guardian, our lead media partner on Covering Climate Now, has an interview with Klein about her new book, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal. “I still feel that the way that we talk about climate change is too compartmentalised, too siloed from the other crises we face,” Klein says.
- An invitation: If you’re in the New York City area, you’re invited to join us tonight, from 6:30–8:30pm, at the Foley Gallery at 59 Orchard Street, where we’ll be featuring artwork that explores the looming impact of climate change on journalism. You can RSVP at email@example.com.
- A primer: For more on Covering Climate Now, you can read Hertsgaard and Pope’s introductory essay, published in April, or watch the climate town hall we held at Columbia Journalism School the same month. For more stories at the intersection of climate and media, visit CJR’s Covering Climate Now landing page.
Other notable stories:
- A new book by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, reporters at The New York Times, reveals a new allegation of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh; a college classmate recalled Kavanaugh pushing his penis into a female student’s hand at a party and told the FBI about it, but the bureau did not investigate. (Full disclosure: Kelly is married to Pope, CJR’s editor and publisher.) Over the weekend, the Times was criticized for publishing the allegation in its opinion section, and for promoting an article containing it in a tweet that began: “Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun…” The Times pointed out that the piece ran in its Sunday Review section, which frequently publishes excerpts of books by the paper’s reporters; it conceded that the tweet was “clearly inappropriate and offensive.” In light of the new claim, five Democratic presidential candidates called for Kavanaugh to be impeached.
- Edward Snowden also has a book out: in Permanent Record, Snowden opens up about his life, and what led him to leak details of the NSA’s mass-surveillance operations to the press. The book, the Times’s Jennifer Szalai writes, “is unlikely to change anyone’s mind about Snowden”—but Snowden tells The Guardian that he thinks public hostility toward him has softened in the US. Today, Snowden is slated to join CBS This Morning and The 11th Hour With Brian Williams from Russia, where he still lives in exile.
- David Cameron, the former prime minister of Britain who resigned following the country’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016, is also part of the new-book club; Cameron uses his memoir, in part, to express his regrets over Brexit, and to slam his eventual successor Boris Johnson for behaving “appallingly” in campaigning for it. The Guardian was criticized for writing, in an editorial, that Cameron has only known “privileged pain”; his son died in 2009, aged six. The paper apologized. (Also in the UK, Johnson used an interview to compare himself to the Hulk; Mark Ruffalo, who played the Hulk, shot back.)
- Yesterday, Slate launched “Who counts?”, a new project that seeks to center questions around voter suppression and distrust in our electoral processes, among other issues of representation. “Far too often, voting rights are a dormant topic up until the week before a general election,” Dahlia Lithwick writes. “But if you still believe that democracy matters—as I want to—then we must be focused on the right to vote, right now.”
- New York’s Reeves Wiedeman assesses what be might next for Vice, as the company grapples with declining revenue and web traffic, and reported cash-flow issues. “The lawlessness that characterized an earlier era of Vice, which remains a key component of the brand’s appeal, has also given way behind the scenes to the kind of rigid human-resources apparatus of a company looking to be taken seriously.”
- Last year, Elon Musk emailed Ryan Mac, a reporter at BuzzFeed, doubling down on his claim that a cave diver who helped rescue a trapped Thai soccer team was a pedophile. Mac published the email; the diver sued Musk for defamation. On Friday, BuzzFeed pushed back on Musk’s efforts to force Mac to testify in the case: Musk, it said, “clearly harbors personal animosity against Mac,” and is trying to retaliate against his reporting.
- Late last week, the singer Sam Smith, who came out as nonbinary in March, said on social media that they will use the pronouns “they/them” going forward. The Associated Press detailed the announcement in a story—but used he/him pronouns throughout when referring to Smith. The article was subsequently corrected.
- For CJR, Karen K. Ho reports from the Toronto International Film Festival, which pledged to give a fifth of its press passes to journalists from under-represented backgrounds. “But to walk the red carpet at TIFF with critics of color is to see how, even with new diversity programs in place, there are still gates closed,” Ho writes.
- And an appeals court in Turkey ordered five staffers for the newspaper Cumhuriyet released from jail. Turkey is the world’s most prolific jailer of journalists. Last year, Shawn Carrié and Asmaa Omar profiled Cumhuriyet, “the last independent newsroom in Turkey,” for CJR.
New York Times grapples with Brett Kavanaugh allegations, while ‘She Said’ authors continue to shine and Rush Limbaugh gets judgy
This is the Poynter Institute’s daily newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Monday morning. A new book about Brett Kavanaugh will be released Tuesday, and it’s already at the center of a controversy. Burying the lead? The allegations are new and shocking. New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly […]
The post Reporters who show bias fail their sources — and their profession appeared first on Poynter.
ABC wins the Democratic debates, plus a sportswriter’s troubling Twitter rant and a media critic’s mea culpa
This is the Poynter Institute’s daily newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Friday morning. Another Democratic debate is in the books and it might have been the most productive of this year’s sessions. ABC had something to do with that. Plenty of interesting media news today, including a what-was-he-thinking tweet […]
The post ABC wins the Democratic debates, plus a sportswriter’s troubling Twitter rant and a media critic’s mea culpa appeared first on Poynter.
Even by the standards of such events, the reaction to the third Democratic presidential primary debate, on ABC and Univision last night, has been tired. There was nothing unusual in the clichéd post-game chyrons (“GLOVES COME OFF IN THIRD DEMOCRATIC DEBATE”) or the contradictory accounts of who won and lost. Major outlets seemed to be grasping for anything exciting. “Biden fails to step up or fall down,” Politico’s banner headline screamed this morning (is that news?). The debate “was the best of Biden, and the Biden of Biden,” The New York Times wrote, cryptically. We saw the Democratic candidates “clash over how far to push their ideas” (per the Times); “argue over core issues—and the direction of the party” (per The Washington Post); “spar over health care” (per The Wall Street Journal). In other words, we saw them do exactly what they did in the first and second rounds of debates.
Debate fatigue is real: much of what the candidates said on stage was predictable and repetitive. Journalists didn’t help by playing up expectations. Readers were told to look out for fireworks: between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; between Joe Biden and everyone else. But we hardly saw that. The night’s most conflictual moment—in which Julián Castro made repeated, thinly veiled jabs at Biden’s age—was poorly reviewed by members of the press. “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked him during an exchange on healthcare. (Later, Castro said he wasn’t insinuating senility, but his denial wasn’t convincing.) On ABC, after the main event, Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago, called Castro mean. “The debates are set up to stoke conflict,” The Daily Beast’s Maxwell Tani tweeted, “but when a candidate actually bites many pundits lose it.”
ABC repeated some of the mistakes of earlier debates: climate change was way down on the agenda again. Given that the debate was held in Houston, which was battered by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, it felt like a sorely missed opportunity. But the hosts also seemed to have heard the criticisms thrown at CNN, in July; this time, candidates were given more time to answer and rebut each other. There were some nice touches to the production, too, including a pop-up definition of “filibuster” to aid viewers at home. And the moderators—Jorge Ramos, Linsey Davis, George Stephanopoulos, and David Muir—mostly performed their roles judiciously. Ramos, in particular, won praise for his sharp interrogation of Biden’s immigration record and distinctive questions on Venezuela and veganism. The Nation’s John Nichols wrote afterward, “¡Viva Jorge Ramos!”
As a result, the debate was reasonably substantive. And that, it seems, is what media outlets are least equipped to react to. If it didn’t really move the horse race and it wasn’t conventionally “entertaining,” what’s a pundit to say? ABC, for all the credit it deserves, isn’t innocent here: the minute the debate ended, the network jumped into a breathless post-game that hyped the Castro-Biden moment: “It looks like they might not be shaking hands!”
Still, there were a lot of candidates to cover. Ideally, we’d have fewer on stage, to allow for more intimate, substantive exchanges. We might see what that looks like next month: as things stand, 11 candidates have qualified for the fourth debate; thus far, no single debate night has featured more than 10 candidates, so a 5-6 split looks likely. In that context, moderators should take the opportunity to focus more deeply on a few key subjects—most pressingly, the climate crisis. If the candidates are asked roughly the same questions every few weeks, it shouldn’t be surprising when they give the press the same old answers to chew on.
Below, more on the third debate:
- The good news: The New Yorker’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells argues that last night’s event shows the debates are working. “The Democratic candidates turned out to have some more interesting, and idiosyncratic, ideas than they’d aired,” he writes. “By around 9pm Central, you could look at the field and think that they were, as a group, somewhat enjoying themselves, for the first time in months.”
- Beto on guns: One of the most significant moments of the debate was Beto O’Rourke’s answer on gun laws: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said. Commentators credited O’Rourke with shifting the conversation on guns; Carlos Maza praised him for flipping the script on a “gotcha” question. While the debate was ongoing, Briscoe Cain, a state representative in Texas, tweeted, “My AR is ready for you” at O’Rourke, who later called the tweet a death threat, and said he would report it to the FBI.
- “Life is weird”: Also during the debate, ABC aired an ad, cut by a convervative PAC, showing Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s face burning away to reveal skulls. “Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren’t racist,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Life is weird!”
- Avoiding the subject: As the Times points out, the debate featured no questions at all about women’s health or finance: “abortion and the gender pay gap never came up.” Irin Carmon, of New York magazine, tweeted, “I assume they haven’t asked about abortion because of an assumption that there aren’t contrasts there, but I assure you that’s wrong!”
- Biden to nothing?: Ahead of the debate, Politico’s Ryan Lizza reported frustrations inside Biden’s camp that the press “just doesn’t get” his campaign. “For a team in command of the Democratic primary, at least for now, they’re awfully resentful of how their man is being covered,” Lizza wrote. “And yet supremely confident that they, not the woke press that pounces on Biden’s every seeming error and blight in his record, has a vastly superior understanding of the Democratic electorate.”
Other notable stories:
- Time magazine is out with a special issue dedicated to climate change. The cover story, by Bill McKibben, is an imagined dispatch from 2050 on how the world avoided the worst effects of the climate crisis. “Human nature, like journalism, is deadline-oriented,” Edward Felsenthal, Time’s editor in chief, writes. “Our intent with this issue—only the fifth time in our history that we have turned over every page of a regular issue, front to back, to a single topic—is to send a clear message: we need to act fast, and we can.”
- Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, is suing CBS for defamation; the lawsuit relates to Gayle King’s interviews, earlier this year, with Meredith Watson and Vanessa Tyson, who respectively accused Fairfax of rape and sexual assault. The allegations surfaced in February after Ralph Northam, Virginia’s governor, was accused of wearing blackface; it looked like Fairfax might replace Northam as governor, but Northam held on. Fairfax claims CBS did not do due diligence around the interviews.
- Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing talk-radio host, slimed Krystal Ball, a progressive host on The Hill’s digital TV channel, with a false claim that Ball posed nude as a teenager. On Twitter, Ball said she considered ignoring the attack, but that she “won’t stand by when slut-shaming is being used to undermine yet another woman.” Limbaugh conceded his claim “wasn’t quite true,” then referred to Ball as an “infobabe” formerly with “PMSNBC.”
- CJR’s Zainab Sultan assesses coverage of the crisis in Newark, New Jersey, which has had dangerous levels of lead in its water. “Might there be an advantage to joining Newark’s water crisis to Flint’s in news reports?” Sultan asks. “Overlapping water crises could enable newsrooms to learn from each other, and provide more journalists with examples of what it looks like in practice to hold officials accountable.”
- A report from Define American and Media Cloud found a recent uptick in dehumanizing language about immigrants in the Times, the Post, the LA Times, and USA Today, coinciding with Trump’s rise. The same outlets often cited the Center for Immigration Studies, which was founded by a white nationalist, without noting its “extremist nature” and ties to the Trump administration. The Intercept’s Maryam Saleh has more.
- Lawmakers in California passed a bill that will turn contractors across the state’s economy into employees with better rights at work. Newspapers including the LA Times argued that their carriers should be exempt under the law, citing the burdensome costs of compliance; lawmakers eventually granted the newspaper industry an extra year to comply. (For CJR last year, I explored the precarity of some contract carriers’ work.)
- And Twitter refused a judge’s request that it identify the users behind Devin Nunes’s Mom and Devin Nunes’s Cow, anonymous accounts that Nunes, a pro-Trump California Congressman, is suing for defamation. Kate Irby has more for The Sacramento Bee.
Every time President Donald Trump talks about 9/11, U.S fact-checkers raise their pens. The story of what he did in 2001 right after two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York often changes. And fact-checkers always feel like pointing out the lack of evidence around this topic. 2019 was no different. On Wednesday, […]
The post Trump’s 9/11 memories aren’t fact-based — and fact-checkers wrote about them again this year appeared first on Poynter.
This summer, three young journalists went to work in local newsrooms. But they weren’t there to report, photograph, video or edit — they did it for the gram. University of Missouri Journalism School graduates Emily Dunn, Grace Lett and Magdaline Duncan worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Boston Globe and the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune […]
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Dems will face off while fact-checkers listen in, plus Washington Post’s The Express hits the end of the line
This is the Poynter Institute’s daily newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Thursday morning. We start today by getting you ready for tonight’s Democratic presidential debate. Just the facts, please, in tonight’s debate The Democratic presidential hopefuls will take part in another debate tonight. Most of us will watch and […]
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Maarten Schenk has studied fake news and hoaxes so exactingly that he managed to predict a group of trolls’ next post. The co-founder of the fact-checking site Lead Stories in Belgium keeps several Twitter columns open whenever tragedy strikes so he can study which claims are getting more attention than just a handful of likes […]
The post A fact-checker predicted which hoax would resurface — and beat it by an hour appeared first on Poynter.
The post Here are 4 new terms to describe online deception and misinformation appeared first on Poynter.
Meet the impact editor: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is now paying someone to ensure its journalism makes a difference
Fewer people of color are employed in America’s newsrooms than organizers of a well-known newsroom diversity survey had hoped. Unveiled Tuesday in New Orleans, the American Society of News Editors’ 41st annual Newsroom Diversity Survey showed legacy print newsrooms’ diversity numbers have held steady since last year, still trailing the U.S. population with 22% of […]
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