Washington Journalism Review

Articles

Vol. 15, No. 1, January-February

A Newspaper Confesses: We Missed the Story
When the Washington Post reported on November 22 that 10 women had accused Republican Sen. Bob Packwood of sexual harassment, the lawmaker's reputation wasn't the only one to suffer. His state's largest newspaper, the Oregonian in Portland, also took...
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CBS Buckles Down over Seat Belts
During the last few months, CBS News, U.S. automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been waging a public battle over a simple act: smacking the back of a seat belt buckle to make it open. Washington correspondent Roberta...
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An Editor Lands in the Rough
When Editor Henry Freeman of Delaware's Wilmington News Journal applied to join the prestigious Wilmington Country Club last year, he received recommendations from two powerful Republicans, U.S. Sen. William Roth and then-Gov. Michael Castle. Critics...
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An Open Letter
Mr. Pete Williams Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Washington, D.C. Dear Pete, Thanks for asking for comment on the Defense Department's proposed rules for members of the national press pool, although I feel jilted after almost 10...
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Going the Distance
To journalists accustomed to dealing with inverted pyramid and delayed-lead stories, the long piece can be daunting. The biggest hurdle is the idea that there is something unnatural about the long story. There isn't. In fact, the current fashion in...
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Tilt? Did the Media Favor Bill Clinton or Did George Bush Earn His Negative Coverage?
The aftermath of the second presidential debate in mid-October seemed to produce a coast-to-coast journalistic consensus. A full two weeks before Americans voted, the news media declared Bill Clinton the winner. "Little Time Left For Any October...
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No Trespassing
After being arrested while trying to do a television stand-up on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, correspondent Todd Smith can cite by heart the regulation allowing camera Is crews on the premises. "It's General Order 402.1," says Smith, who works...
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Activist Groups Hope for FCC Change
No constituency is more elated about a Clinton presidency than the public interest groups that monitor the television industry. These organizations, shunned by the Reagan and Bush administrations, argue that their lack of influence during the last...
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How Being Careful Can Hurt You in Court
The reasoning used by judges in libel decisions is sometimes truly wondrous to behold. A current example: A celebrated libel case being readied for trial will proceed on a court's astonishing conclusion that the use of a fact-checker may cause more,...
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The New Meaning of News Competition
Now that traditional editorial competition between daily newspapers, including joint-operating agencies, is down to 29 markets and falling, it is time to reevaluate what newspaper competition really means. Too many journalists are trapped in the...
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Going Long in a No-Jump World
After a year and a half of searching, Oregonian reporter Tom Hallman Jr. finally found the ideal family to illustrate his story on tracing family roots. His first thought was, This will make a great series. His next thought was, No, it will make...
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Pilloried Clinton: Where the Women Who Covered Hillary Clinton during the Campaign Guilty of Sexism?
Does attorney James Schroeder, spouse of U.S. Rep. Patricia Schroeder, pay enough attention to his family? Does investment banker Richard Blum gaze adoringly when his wife, newly elected U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, makes a speech? Does developer John...
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Asian Media Range from Free to Tightly Controlled
The second day of China's 14th Party Congress was in full swing when General Party Secretary Qiang Ze Min delivered the key-note speech. The Chinese people, and much of the world, were watching closely. At the congress in mid-October, reporters...
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Bad Medicine: How the Media Helped the Medical Establishment Cast Doubt on Innovative Approaches to Fighting AIDS
In his new book, "Acceptable Risks," Jonathan Kwitny chronicles the story of two men, Martin Delaney and Jim Corti, who sacrificed their careers to help find life-extending drugs for AIDS patients. In the process, they waged a citizens' revolt against...
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Vol. 14, No. 10, December

When Newspapers Abandon a City
Traveling around the country, it is easy to get angry about how a lot of the newspaper industry is blighting its future--and selling out its communities--for short-term profits. Where I live on the outskirts of Washington, sameday home delivery...
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Can Dean Singleton Save the Oakland Trib?
The financially troubled Oakland Tribune has a new owner, but it's understandable if staffers aren't dancing in the streets. William Dean Singleton says he plans to slash costs and eliminate about 400 of 650 jobs at the 118-year-old daily when he takes...
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All over the Press Down Under
Australian journalists have come to dread Monday evenings, when they could well find their reporting scrutinized on "Media Watch: The Last Word," a much-feared 15-minute television program produced by the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation...
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Youngstown, Ohio: Media Hub
If television, radio, newspapers and magazines were lasagna, Youngstown would be full. Or so you'd think, since residents of the eastern Ohio metropolis spend more time with broadcast and print media than anyone in the country. This according to...
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Tracking Congress with an Afternoon Fax
Word now spreads faster through the Capitol Hill grapevine thanks to CongressDaily, a weekday fax that tracks legislation and gossip for infomaniacal politicians and lobbyists. Launched 18 months ago, the newsletter has attracted 642 subscribers with...
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Plundering the Newsroom
HOW THE CULT OF HIGH PROFITS TRIUMPHED AT THE EXPENSE OF QUALITY, STAFFING AND THE PUBLIC TRUST. The 24-story Gothic monolith Col. Robert McCormick constructed to house his beloved Chicago Tribune on Michigan Avenue was built from the winning plans...
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Generals Fighting the Last War
The mainstream media did a lot of responsible reporting yet often seemed clueless in dealing with a new kind of campaign. It's always hard to tell whether some set of phenomena constitutes a trend or an aberration, but we as a nation have just completed...
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The Debates: A Winning Miniseries
Whether it was the timing, the breakout from the press conference format or just the year of the voter, more people watched the televised presidential debates in 1992 than any other political event in American history. Even though only two of the...
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Welcome to the Gay '90S
Closet doors are swinging open in newsrooms everywhere. Gay and lesbian journalists say they've kept quiet long enough. To reporter Lily Eng, being Asian American and a woman were obstacles enough in the white, male-dominated world of journalism....
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The Pulitzer Jinx
After winning the premier prize, many journalists' lives are irrevocably changed--and not always for the better. Deborah Blum, a science reporter at the Sacramento Bee, had the dream of virtually every American newspaper journalist come true for...
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When Your Paper Dies
For the aggressive Tulsa Tribune, a sad end to an exhilarating run. On July 31, the World Publishing Co., owner of the morning Tulsa World (circulation 131,000), announced it would not renew its 51-year-old joint operating agreement with the Tulsa...
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A Light Dims in San Antonio
The San Antonio Light may soon join the list of the dead--the result of a new twist in the old game of buying and selling newspapers. The Hearst Co., which owns the Light, the second paper in a two-newspaper market, purchased the San Antonio Express-News...
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Stifling Free Expression to "Protect" Jurors
The myopia that sometimes causes judges to focus only on what is directly in front of them in court was on display recently in Harris County, Texas. Open discussion of important legal questions has suffered as a result. State courts in Harris County...
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Cashing in on the Syndication Bonanza
Many local television news staffers dream of becoming rich and famous like network anchors. Even those who aren't "on-air talent" envision making an impact beyond their viewing area. Changes in the industry have made it much harder to jump from...
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Breaking Up Is Not That Hard to Do
A company that publishes one daily newspaper generally makes a lot more money than one that publishes two in the same town. This truism has sunk a lot of afternoon papers owned by morning newspaper companies, and it is starting to sink newspapers...
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