Subscribe to In the news

In the news

Is the hacking scandal an investigative reporting triumph?

Yes, says Dean Starkman, in the Columbia Journalism Review. "The seasoned investigative reporter was the linchpin, the indispensable man. Plus, he had the institutional resources, the investigative culture, and the good name of the Guardian behind him. Among other things, the paper was able to provide [reporter Nick] Davies with journalism’s most precious resource — time." Also: a Reuters report on the nightmare that was NOTW's newsroom.

Why does the British press misbehave?

There's irony in the scandal sweeping Rupert Murdoch's empire, the New Republic notes: "It's especially curious when you consider that U.S. newspapers enjoy sweeping First Amendment freedoms, while the British press has to operate under some of the strictest defamation and libel laws on the planet," Bradford Plumer writes. "Is it possible that Britain's stricter press laws actually encourage bad behavior?" His essay includes an entertaining list of past transgressions.

Tips for hacker-proofing your passwords

Mysterious groups like LulzSec and Anonymous have dominated the news recently by breaking into thousands of Internet accounts and, in some cases, publishing lists of email addresses and passwords. This article in the Los Angeles Times lists some tips for making your passwords less "crackable." They include: Avoid using words and personal details, don't use the same password on multiple sites, and be careful about using public wi-fi networks.

About that disappointing FCC media report

Even at 475 pages, the Federal Communications Commission report "Information Needs of Communities" fell short of expectations, according to a reaction roundup in the Columbia Journalism Review. "Our own initial thoughts ... were that its recommendations seemed too light when weighed against the heavy problems that it outlined," CJR said. More from CJR and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Why CERN's antimatter results matter

© CERN : Untrapped antihydrogen atoms annihilating on the inner surface of the ALPHA trap.

Few fields of science are more mysterious to the average reader – and maybe many science writers – than subatomic physics. So when scientists at CERN announced they had trapped antimatter for more than 16 minutes, the news may have elicited more yawns than cheers. Tom Chivers in The Telegraph explains its importance. More from Discovery News, NPR, and ArsTechnica.

Not much news in the latest on cell phones and cancer

© Kurtbas

It sounded important Tuesday when the World Health Organization classified cell phone use as “possibly carcinogenic.” But was it? “The researchers acknowledged that the evidence linking wireless phones with brain tumors was ‘limited.’ For other kinds of cancer, the evidence was ‘inadequate,’” NASW member Emily Sohn writes for Discovery News. More from Covering Health and the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

Critiquing coverage of the new personal genomics reports

© Photography

Geneticist Daniel MacArthur doesn't like what newspapers are writing about a pair of upcoming presentations at the European Society of Human Genetics annual meeting. "In neither case (as far as I can tell) has the actual research been published," MacArthur writes on "That hasn’t stopped the release being trumpeted by media as a blow against the personal genomics industry" and companies like 23andMe and deCODEme.

Critics weigh in about the "arsenic bacteria"

© Sauerwein

Eight comments and responses were posted Friday on a Science magazine site addressing the December report that bacteria from Mono Lake can live on arsenic. The blogosphere quickly reacted: Rosie Redfield soon posted three critiques, and David Dobbs added some history and reaction. Carl Zimmer's account told how the debate evolved under the Twitter hashtag #arseniclife.

Goodbye Gutenberg. Hello to the Kindle

© Boscariol

This week brought news from Amazon that it now sells more eBooks for the Kindle and other devices than print books. The milestone comes just three years after the device's debut. "We never imagined it would happen this quickly," CEO Jeff Bezos said. Some thoughts on what this means for different types of books from Alex Knapp at Forbes, plus a skeptic's take from John C. Dvorak at

The "wrong man" breaks his silence

Dr. Steven J. Hatfill and the experts who first linked him to the 2001 anthrax attacks are profiled in the Atlantic and the news media takes a beating. Hatfill's lawyer describes “the two most powerful institutions in the United States, the government and the press, ganging up on an innocent man. It’s Kafka.” Says the erstwhile suspect: “The thing was, I couldn’t understand why it was happening to me. I mean, I was one of the good guys.”