This Week in #Journalism: Leaking Classified Information . . . Journalism or Espionage?


How is the government reacting to journalism in the wake of Snowden?  What does good journalism smell like?  Can it smell like a non-profit?

War on Journalism?

“This belief that leaks to the media are akin to leaks to an enemy state helps explain recent incursions on press freedom by the Obama Justice Department. These have included secret subpoenas of journalists’ phone records and their characterization of Fox News journalist James Rosen as aiding and abetting in the leaks that he eventually published. In these cases, journalists have not yet been charged with anything but the Justice Department’s actions have already had a chilling effect on journalists and their sources.” “If you add up the pulling of news organization phone records (The Associated Press), the tracking of individual reporters (Fox News), and the effort by the current administration to go after sources (seven instances and counting in which a government official has been criminally charged with leaking classified information to the news media), suggesting that there is a war on the press is less hyperbole than simple math.”

Good Journalism

“During one of the most climatic moments in Texas political history, The Texas Tribune owned the story, buoyed by its live YouTube stream of the Texas Senate in a tense countdown to the midnight end of a special session that included a 10-hour filibuster by new social media darling Sen. Wendy Davis and the debate about a controversial abortion bill.”  “As newspapers were struggling with print deadlines, the cable news networks were running prime-time repeats, Dallas-Fort Worth TV stations were in late night shows and the Associated Press prematurely tweeted plainly that the abortion measure passed the Texas Senate, The Texas Tribune held legislators accountable and reported the vote occurred after the midnight deadline.”  “The Texas Tribune is one of the new(ish) breed of public accountability journalism organizations that have found a niche covering issues that often have been forgotten by traditional media. Others include Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica, the Voice of San Diego and the stalwart Center for Public Integrity, which turns 25 next year.”

The perfume of a successful story

“A successful reportage is like a delicate perfume. Finding the perfect combination of jasmine, musk, rose and others takes time; it is precise, abstract but also concrete. It can also involve various unknown ingredients and methods, but always requires dedication and patience. And if successful, the final synesthetic result is a pleasurable experience for the creator’s and for the audience’s senses.”

Twitter and journalism

“On Wendy Davis’ filibuster (and, in a way, on DOMA), social media showed mainstream news what it couldn’t ignore.”  “None of the major news networks, not one, carried or covered the last hours of the filibuster. The gap between old and new media yawned ever wider.”  “Good journalism takes time that social media, which advances at a breathtaking pace, rarely affords. Good journalists need to verify information before they can report it. They need this time because, in the best of all worlds, we’re supposed to trust that they are offering us accurate, unbiased information. But even after they’ve applied the necessary rigor to their profession, journalists from major news outlets still seem like they can’t keep up — or, perhaps, it’s that they won’t keep up.”

Facebook and news

“Facebook’s natural rival in the overall scheme of things is Google, but Yahoo’s market in news represents a juicy, perhaps winnable, target.  News aggregation, curation, and presentation is Yahoo’s thing, and its front page, section heads, and certain specialty pages have remained highly profitable properties. ”


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