Pete Hamill courtesy Wikipedia

The one and only time I worked with an honest-to-god legend in my career as an ink-stained wretch was when, for a brief period in the 1990s, Pete Hamill was editor in chief of the New York Daily News, and I was an editor on the national desk. I didn’t interact with Pete much; he was, understandably, primarily focused on coverage of the city, the tabloid’s raison d’etre. I do recall coming in late to work one morning at the paper’s old West 33rd Street headquarters. Speed-walking down the corridor lined with famous Daily News front pages, I suddenly found Pete next to me, headedRead More →

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Every few years, an old debate re-emerges in journalism: Is objectivity a good thing? The debate goes something like this: Objectivity opponents argue that journalism at its best should be about the pursuit of truth. Traditional he said-she said reporting, which requires that journos document both sides of every argument and refrain from making their own judgments, may be objective but does nothing to reveal the truth, they say. Journalist Wesley Lowery recently summed up this view in a tweet: American view-from-nowhere, “objectivity”-obsessed, both-sides journalism is a failed experiment. We need to fundamentally reset the norms of our field. The old way must go. WeRead More →

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Town governments and school boards deal with a wide range of issues. Some are important and interesting, some are mundane and, frankly, dull. So the reporter covering these meetings must quickly learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s say you’re covering the Centerville City Council. At the start of the meeting the council agrees to purchase more paper clips for the town secretary. At the end of the meeting councilors vote to raise property taxes 5 percent. Which issue should come first in your story? Obviously the tax hike is bigger news. It affects far more of your readers, and in a fairlyRead More →

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In the early days of the Internet, long before Facebook and Snapchat and cat videos, blogs were the hottest thing online. Everyone, it seemed, was starting a blog, lured by dreams of making big bucks (which hardly anyone did) or at least having the chance to publicly proclaim their opinions (which everyone did). Those days are long gone, but blogs can still be a way for aspiring writers and journalists to build their skills. And while few people ever make much money from blogging, bloggers can get satisfaction from doing good work and attracting loyal readers. So what are the keys to a successful blog?Read More →

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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 →