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If there’s one thing the crazy summer of 2017 has made abundantly clear, it’s that print journalism remains enormously important, both for its vital role in informing the citizenry, and for its continuing strength as a business model. The last clause of that lede may be shocking. More about that later. First, the part about informing the citizenry. Ever since President Trump took office, the news media in general, and newspapers in particular, have been tasked with correcting the record any time what some have called our “liar in chief” lets loose with another whopper. More specifically, it’s clear to anyone who has been followingRead More →

Reporters covering the slayings

It was the kind of case one might expect to find in Philadelphia to the south or New York to the north, but the slayings of four young men over a few sweltering days in July became one of the biggest and most tragic stories to come out of the bucolic Bucks County suburbs in years. It began when Thomas Meo, 21, Mark Sturgis, 22, and Jimi Patrick and Dean Finocchiaro, both 19, vanished seemingly without a trace in early July. Cops arrested Cosmo DiNardo, a hulking 20-year-old with a history of bizarre behavior, and searchers started combing a tract of farmland owned by DiNardo’sRead More →

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

These are relatively good times for the nation’s top two newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post. As I wrote recently, both have snagged a series of scoops on the Trump administration in what is shaping up as an old-school newspaper war. Some are calling it a new golden age of journalism. This journalistic excellence has paid off in more ways than one. Both papers were awarded hard-news Pulitzers for 2017: the Times for tough reporting on Vladimir Putin, the Post for digging into Trump’s charitable giving. And the aggressive newsgathering is also boosting the bottom line. Both papers reported spikes in digitalRead More →

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

For many, the steady drumbeat of news about the scandal-plagued Trump White House is downright depressing. Indeed, a Google search of the phrase “Trump depressing” turns up nearly 800,000 results, from Jane Goodall lamenting the president’s climate change policies to Alec Baldwin threatening to ditch his hilarious Trump impersonation next season on “Saturday Night Live” because it’s too, well, you know. (“If everything stays the same in the country as it is now, I don’t think people will be in the mood to laugh about it come September,” Baldwin says.) The Atlantic calls this “the great liberal depression,” and it’s prompted one satirist to createRead More →

Stock photo

The other day, I went on a road trip. Not too far, just a couple of hours across a stretch of the vast east-west expanse we call Pennsylvania, a journey from the burbs north of Philly to Hershey, where my students, journalism majors at Bucks County Community College, would attend a luncheon to receive the awards they’d won, in a statewide competition, for their work on the college newspaper. On the drive, I got a chance to catch up with a student I hadn’t seen in a few months, one who had transferred recently to Temple University. James, I’ll call him, has one of thoseRead More →