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A professor from another college recently sought my advice about how to rejuvenate his school’s journalism program. He asked me two questions, one easy, the other not so much. First, the easy one: What skills will be the most critical for a student who hopes to enter the journalism job market in the next five years? I’m old-school. I still believe the most important skills to teach journalism students are solid, dogged reporting and clear, lucid writing. That’s the primary focus of the classes I teach. So how do we make this exciting for students born in the 21st century? Well, we have this old-schoolRead More →

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For aspiring journalists, the news about the news business can be pretty depressing. Each week seems to bring fresh stories about print or online news outlets laying off reporters and editors in order to cut costs. This was brought home to me recently when the New York Daily News, the once-mighty Big Apple tabloid where I toiled as a reporter and editor years ago, cut its newsroom staff in half, leaving a skeleton crew to cover the nation’s largest city. Statistics tell the story. The Pew Research Center recently reported that at least 36 percent of the largest newspapers in the U.S. – as wellRead 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 →

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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 →

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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 →