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Diane McGurgan retires from CASW

Diane McGurgan

Former NASW executive director Diane McGurgan is retiring as CASW administrator this week after 40 years of combined service to science writing.

Journalism's decline in flyover country

Iowa farmland

Why didn't reporters sense a Trump surge in the Rust Belt? Maybe because they weren't there, Jean Friedman-Rudovsky writes: "The digital age, rather than fostering a new era of remote work, actually increased our profession’s geographic concentration. One out of every five media jobs was located in New York City, Washington, D.C., or Los Angeles in 2014, up from one in eight 10 years prior, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data crunched by the Washington Post."

Can journalists be protesters too?

Boston women's march

From women's rights to immigration to science, protests aimed at the Trump administration have become commonplace. But should journalists be allowed to take part? Katie Hawkins-Gaar says their employers' policies may be obsolete: "It’s incumbent on U.S. news organizations to take a fresh look at their codes of ethics and provide clear and updated guidance to their journalists." More from Hawkins-Gaar, and Margaret Sullivan on a Marketplace reporter's dismissal.

Guidelines for nonprofit journalism

Reporter cartoon figure

The American Press Institute has followed its report on nonprofit journalism ethics with a set of proposed standards to address the issues it found, April Simpson writes: "Both nonprofit media and foundation funders are advised to uphold editorial independence by prohibiting pre-publication editorial review and any effort to influence conclusions or outcomes. Funders should also avoid being the sole underwriters of specific stories or series."

Journalism's rebirth in the Trump era


In the wake of Donald Trump's odd first press conference as president-elect, Jack Shafer calls on reporters to abandon the White House press room: "If Trump’s idea of a news conference is to spank the press, if his lieutenants believe the press needs shutting down, if his chief of staff wants to speculate about moving the White House press scrum off the premises, perhaps reporters ought to take the hint and prepare to cover his administration on their own terms."

A bigger problem than fake news?

David Uberti discusses the "fake news panic," arguing that a few cases of sloppy reporting by major news outlets can warp public debate just as much as calculated hoaxes and distortions: "Left out of most critiques of fake news is mainstream outlets’ own role in misinforming the public, and how we should compare the end effects of well-intentioned journalistic misfires to legitimate hoaxes produced to affect politics or make a few bucks off of programmatic digital ads."

Newspapers ask Trump for help

Trump with flag background

He may insult reporters and advocate weakening their libel protection, but President-elect Trump may not be a lost cause to the News Media Alliance (formerly the Newspaper Association of America), which is asking for his transition team's help on several issues, Ricardo Bilton writes: "Some of the most significant are FCC rules about media cross-ownership, which generally prevent companies from owning both broadcast stations and daily newspapers in the same market."

A plea for investigative journalism

Church interior

Journalism professor Matt Carroll, a former Boston Globe Spotlight team member, publishes his TED talk about the stakes as investigative reporting suffers in the media's decline: "In 1990, there were 57,000 journalists covering school boards, crime and doing investigations. Now there’s a few more than 30,000 reporters out there. Think about that. Half as many reporters as back in 1990. That makes it tough to cover high school football, never mind do investigations."

Fake news sites and the election

Poster reading

Communications professor Melissa Zimdars made fake news a trending story last week by posting a list (now unpublished) of fake news sites. Ken Doctor discusses how such sites may have influenced the election: "The stunning realization that some voters made their choices based on lies, and that the slim margin in this presidential vote may have profoundly changed the direction of the country and the globe, hit home." Also, why Facebook is to blame, a former Facebook news curator speaks, and a Q&A with Zimdars.

Let's not blame the fact checkers

Pinocchio in a parade

Journalists are humbled by the Trump surprise but Alexios Mantzarlis writes that fact checkers aren't at fault: "While we know that fact-checking changes readers' minds, we also know that humans are prone to the confirmation bias (looking for information that supports our views) and motivated reasoning (explaining away information that doesn't). With so many people having such strong negative feelings about these candidates, these unsavory psychological traits kick in."