Why The Plain Dealer will miss having Thom Fladung around

The set of all great managers and the set of all newsroom managers have a fairly small area of intersection, in my experience. One of the great ones is leaving, so that intersection is getting even smaller. Thom Fladung returned home to Northeast Ohio as managing editor of The Plain Dealer in 2011. I worked

Snopes.com deserves a Pulitzer: True

Last week was a great time for news — fake news, that is. Misinformation is spreading faster than measles in a colony of anti-vaccine nudists, so the time has come for something long overdue: a Pulitzer for Snopes.com. This weekend Jim Romenesko pointed to nytimes.com.co, which had several of my Facebook friends fooled with claims

This is how easily visual data can mislead

After the Supreme Court decision declaring bans on gay marriage unconstitutional, Bloomberg Business dusted off a pretty example of visual data journalism. Which sucks. Data journalism done well is powerful. Intelligent visual display of that data often can tell a story better than plain words. As with any form of journalism, though, decisions about what

Personal Outrage journalism and the cost of cognitive dissonance

Stories of Personal Outrage (PO) are quite the rage on social media. Old media dip their ladles into the same deep pool. Reporters who try to balance the clickworthiness of a PO’d person’s claim with old-school values such as, you know, reporting, must suffer horribly from cognitive dissonance. Take this story from The Telegraph: “United

Rolling Stone’s problems are journalism’s problems, too

Like many other journalist, I read the Columbia Journalism School’s report on the Rolling Stone rape story and was appalled. But even as thorough an analysis of it as Jay Rosen’s on his PressThink blog leaves me thinking the reaction is missing the point. Yes, Rolling Stone screwed up. Yes, the errors its reporter and

‘Why bother’ reporting sets journalism gold standard

Brayden Olson is a real person who has many similarities with one of the main characters in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Or not. Business Insider, an operation I know mostly from the frequency with which its posts show up in the news feed on Yahoo’s homepage, says that Brayden Olson says he’s just like Christian

Let’s say goodbye to the man on the street

The voice of the people is the voice of God, says the proverb — in Latin, vox populi vox Dei. Hence the term “vox pop” used by some in broadcasting for a reporting method also known as man-on-the-street (MOS) or man-in-the-street. Balderdash, says I. Vox populi vox ignorantiae: The voice of the people is the

5 questions about Rolling Stone’s gang-rape reporting (updated twice)

Last month, Rolling Stone published a frustrating story by Sabrina Rubin Erdely about a young woman who said she was gang-raped on the campus of the University of Virginia. The story was, at first, frustrating because it depicted a university stuck in the Stone Age, unwilling to deal properly with sexual assault, and a campus

Death to the inverted pyramid; life to alternative story forms

I have a hate/hate relationship with the inverted pyramid. I hate the fact that this artifice, created to deal with ancient mechanical issues, is still being justified to journalism students today based on ex post facto reasoning. And I hate the way alternative forms, often based on actual reader habits, are so often derided as

What’s a nice girl like you doing in a comment section like this?

I have much respect for every woman who dares to use her real name when posting online. As a comment moderator for several years, I saw just how dangerous that can be. What women can expect online was highlighted recently when women who work at Jezebel, a blog aimed at women, complained publicly that the