Nieman Reports

A journal presenting information concerning media issues for the academic audience.

Articles from Vol. 47, No. 1, Spring

A Guide to Resources for Better Reporting of Child Abuse
Newspaper Series Kent Pollock, "The Child Protectors," Sacramento Bee, August, 1986. This is the first series I know of to examine the excesses of the child protective system and still one of the best. Jim Okerblom and John Wilkens, "In We...
A Voice for Children
In the mid-1980's Alex Kotlowitz, now a journalist with The Wall Street Journal, befriended Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, brothers who were trying to live through their childhood by ducking bullets and avoiding the lure of the gangs who ruled the macadam...
A Weekly Editor Looks Back
* When you write an editorial, write it clear, concise and to the point. Always try to stir the thoughts of your readers. Don't ever get personal, try to offer a solution to a problem, and always try to provide leadership. * Newspaper reporters...
Black Columnists Speak Up
Black columnists are special voices in a time of change in American journalism. At the suggestion Jackson of The Boston Glohe, the Nieman Foundation sponsored a two-day conference of24 black columni across the country to provide a forum to discuss...
Child Abuse - the Wrong Message
"In her previous life, the little girl suffered abuse so horrendous that it was the stuff of tabloid headlines for days. But in [her foster mother's) loving arms, the past seems so far away.--The Associated Press, Dec. 5, 1989. "The cases of 8-year-old...
Children - an Opportunity for the Media
A century that began with the women of the United States struggling for the right to vote is closing with national political foundations shifting to reflect the growing political and economic strength of women. In no area are these shifts thrown...
Family Life: The Last Taboo
In the mid-1980's, when I began writing my column for The San Diego Union (now, after a merger, The San Diego Union-Tribune), children were not yet on the cultural radar screen. At that point, we were still in the Exorcist era, when children were to...
How Sacred Is off the Record?
As all good journalists know, one of the sacrosanct rules of interviewing is that ground rules are to be respected. Background is background, sources are protected and off the record is off the record. But are there cases where the rules can or...
New CIA Wine, Old CIA Bottles
Less than four weeks after the August 1991 coup sounded the death knell of the Soviet Union, an American bureaucrat sat before a Senate committee and tried to answer a barrage of questions. Robert Gates had risen steadily through the ranks in Langley,...
Shaping Values
Last December, as newspapers ran articles on hot games to buy for the holiday season, I wandered the aisle of Toys R Us, another story in mind. What kinds of messages, subtle and not-so-subtle, were Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers and toymakers sending...
Special Pages Just for Young People
Hoping to tap the fountain of youth, a number of newspapers are devoting increased space to new sections created expressly for children and teenagers. The fountain of youth, in this case, is a proposed solution to the young reader problem that has...
Students Get Short Shrift
When Bill and Hillary Clinton decided to send their daughter, Chelsea, to Sidwell Friends, an expensive private school in Washington, DC, rather than to a public school, the story was on the front page for days. Most newspapers treated the decision...
Television's Opportunity
This could well be We Yen of We Child. The Clintons have spent much of their political lives advocating policies to help children. if campaign promises are fulfilled there will be renewed interest in the welfare of children at the highest policy levels....
The Local Beat
The children's beat originated at the Denver Post in 1987, the brain child of Jane Marshall, then feature editor, who had just had her first baby. One of her rationales was that many baby boomers like herself were having boomlets. They would be wanting...
The Ombudsmen Report
Carl Jensen at Sonoma State University in California has invented an interesting (and self-promoting) publicity operation underwritten by the taxpayers. He puts out through the university's PR office a list of the year's 10 "most-underreported stories"...
The Ones We Miss
On January 9, 1993, members of the Investigative Reporters & Editors organization met with the National Press Club in Washington to discuss the media's failure to unearth big stories. The moderator was Christopher Georges, Editor, The Washington...
The Swamp Root Chronicle
Robert Manning's memoir, "The Swamp Root Chronicle," covers a half century in journalism. Manning was one of the stars who came out of United Press in the 1930@and 1940's. He covered the White House and the State Department, then took a year off to...
Understanding Child Abuse Numbers
In October, 1981, John Walsh, whose son Adam had been kidnapped and murdered a few months before, testified before a United States Senate committee. "We were told not to come here without some statistics," Walsh said at one point. So he gave them some....
What Third-World Press Really Needs
Some Americans seeking to help the press in the Third World mat be approaching the task backwards. In several different settings I have had a chance to participate as a former American newspaper publisher in exchanges with the press in underdeveloped...
Why Youths Kill Themselves
Earlier this year The Montreal Gazette made a controversial decision. The paper carried a long article on the suicides of two local teenage girls, Katia Arpage, 15, and Genevieve Poirier, 14. The article included interviews with the girls' friends...