Posts tagged journalism

Since 2006, there have been more than 200 mass killings in the United States.

Well-known images from Newtown, Aurora and Virginia Tech capture the nation’s attention, but similar bloody scenes happen with alarming frequency and much less scrutiny.

We examined FBI data — which defines a mass killing as four or more victims — as well as local police records and media reports to understand mass killings in America. They happen far more often than the government reports, and the circumstances of those killings — the people who commit them, the weapons they use and the forces that motivate them — are far more predictable than many might think.

Yet no one is keeping track.

A USA TODAY special report — learn more: http://usat.ly/1kiRW4F

Emerson College is changing the name of its journalism school to the Ron Burgundy School of Communication (for one day only). It’s kind of a big deal. 

(Photo by Frank Masi, Paramount via AP)

Emerson College is changing the name of its journalism school to the Ron Burgundy School of Communication (for one day only). It’s kind of a big deal.

(Photo by Frank Masi, Paramount via AP)

The ATF has locked up more than 1,000 people using controversial sting operations that entice suspects to rob nonexistent drug stash houses, a USA TODAY investigation has found. 

The ploy has quietly become a key part of the ATF’s crime-fighting arsenal, but also a controversial one: The stings are so aggressive and costly that some prosecutors have refused to allow them. They skirt the boundaries of entrapment, and in the past decade they have left at least seven suspects dead.

Learn more: http://usat.ly/16D6VRN

Poetry offers a different way into stories

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Poetry and journalism seem to be opposite forms of writing — one is creative and fabricated; the other sticks to facts. But there is some cross over between the two.

Ezra Pound wrote, “Poetry is news that stays news.” So can language remain newsworthy?

Here are a few interesting examples of news and poetry overlapping:

  • Times Haiku: The New York Times has developed an algorithm that automatically detects poetry hidden in the paper’s front page. The best ones are published on this Tumblr.
  • L.A. Times Haiku: This Twitter handle offers L.A. Times headlines in haiku form.
  • American Life in Poetry: While not necessarily haikus, this project by Ted Kooser, the U.S. poet laureate from 2004-2006, offered newspapers a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems.

These news haikus and Kooser’s project highlight great literary moments with articles and offer readers a different way into stories. And some of them are just beautiful.

Journalists and poets can learn from each other. Some poets write documentary-style poems about world events and the human condition, and journalists often use stylistic techniques to convey emotion, perspective and details to a reader, according to an article on the intersection of poetry and journalism in The Huffington Post. Ultimately, both rely on having someone on the other end read their words.

—Marlena Chertock

…readers not only want to know what we know, they also want to know how we’ve come to know it, and the practical limits of our knowledge.

Roy Peter Clark, in an essay about transparency in narrative journalism, on Poynter today.  (via poynterinstitute)

Dig this.

Pizza is the currency of newsrooms. Very classy, Chicago Tribune.

More than a dozen times a day, doctors sew up patients with sponges and other supplies mistakenly left inside. The mistake costs some victims their lives.
A USA TODAY review of government data, academic studies and legal records suggests that far more people may be victims of lost surgical objects than federal statistics suggest. And the medical community’s inaction comes at a high price.
There’s no federal reporting requirement when hospitals leave sponges or other items in patients, but research studies and government data suggest it happens between 4,500 and 6,000 times a year. That’s up to twice government estimates, which run closer to 3,000 cases, and sponges account for more than two-thirds of all incidents.
Read more of our special report: When health care makes you sick: http://usat.ly/15C6Cq7

More than a dozen times a day, doctors sew up patients with sponges and other supplies mistakenly left inside. The mistake costs some victims their lives.

A USA TODAY review of government data, academic studies and legal records suggests that far more people may be victims of lost surgical objects than federal statistics suggest. And the medical community’s inaction comes at a high price.

There’s no federal reporting requirement when hospitals leave sponges or other items in patients, but research studies and government data suggest it happens between 4,500 and 6,000 times a year. That’s up to twice government estimates, which run closer to 3,000 cases, and sponges account for more than two-thirds of all incidents.

Read more of our special report: When health care makes you sickhttp://usat.ly/15C6Cq7

merlin:


Gene Sloan oversees cruise coverage at USA TODAY and also is executive editor of USA TODAY-owned review site VacationCruisesInfo.com. An admitted travel junkie, he has sailed on nearly 100 ships.

Don’t you tell me there aren’t interesting jobs out there.

Newsroom jobs for the win!

merlin:

Gene Sloan oversees cruise coverage at USA TODAY and also is executive editor of USA TODAY-owned review site VacationCruisesInfo.com. An admitted travel junkie, he has sailed on nearly 100 ships.

Don’t you tell me there aren’t interesting jobs out there.

Newsroom jobs for the win!

'It's comforting to write that way'

One of my favorite regular features is the Times’ Modern Love column, and the curator has lately been sharing submission tips and archived columns via the Facebook page. I really enjoyed this entire tip today, which also explains in part why I like the columns so much:

Ideally, writing a personal essay is a process of discovery. You only understand the point of your essay after you’ve spent a lot of time and effort working on it. When you come up with a “pitch” for an essay, however, you must figure out that point at the start. The ensuing writing process often then becomes less about discovery than execution. You feel you must hew to that point. Any detours into new and unexpected terrain might threaten to derail or even undermine your point, so better not go there. Better snuff out that idea before it takes over the whole thing. Better not acknowledge that wayward truth or you may have to start all over.

I don’t accept pitches because with personal essays I feel almost anything can work or not work, and nearly every pitch sounds shallow and overly familiar to me anyway, even if it would make for a great essay in its particulars. But I still end up reading many essays that read as though they were written with a pitch mentality. They don’t seem to have grown organically or stumbled into surprising places or reached a place of heightened awareness. Instead, they feel constricted and workmanlike, hemmed in by a need to execute a pre-conceived point. Often this leads to an essay that consists of a series of examples in support of the controlling idea, like: Why our marriage is a study in contrasts but still works (or something along those lines).


It’s comforting to write that way, to not let yourself get lost, to write by following the essayist’s equivalent of a pre-set GPS device. And it can be scary and inefficient to careen off the road into the deep woods. You might waste all kinds of time and energy and still wind up totally lost. But you also might discover a place that can’t be boiled down into a two-sentence pitch. It just can’t. If someone wants to understand, they’re going to have to read the whole thing. And if you’ve done your job well, they’re going to want to.

Fact-checking the debate

We take a look at:

  • private-sector job gains
  • tax cuts
  • the middle class
  • taxes for the wealthy
  • energy independence
  • Medicare cuts

Full fact-check: http://usat.ly/QRIo64