USA Today, The Seattle Times and The Chicago Tribune have been named winners of the 2009 Philip Meyer Journalism Award for investigative reporting using social science research methods.
USA Today took first place with “The Smokestack Effect: Toxic Air and America’s Schools.” The Seattle Times project investigated Washington hostpitals and the drug resistent germ MRSA, while the Tribune team looked into new dangers facint elderly patients in Illinois nursing homes.
An honorable mention went to the Arizona Republic, whose reporters used social network analysis tools to examine a system in which 22 charities and dozens of affiliates moved millions of dollars among themselves while often performing little charitable work.
If February’s weather kept you away from New York and the Future of Journalism Education conference at the Paley Center for Media, you weren’t alone. But you can still visit the center’s website to see some seven hours of streaming video about the needs of 21st century journalists, including entrepreneurial ideas, new relationships with their audiences, new online tools — and, in the words of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative, “an in-depth understanding of the context and complexity of issues facing the modern world.”
“By the end of the day, I think we can stop worrying,” Andrew Heyward, former president of CBS News, told his panel, his tongue firmly in cheek, noting that the event title was “Solving the Challenges of the News Frontier.”
Deans, faculty and students from 14 graduate schools of journalism participated in the Carnegie-funded event which, whether it solved anything or not, certainly featured well-informed and thought-provoking discussions.
From a newspaper perspective, panelists included executives and journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The St. Petersburg Times, the Associated Press and The Guardian, whose New York bureau chief described a contemporary reporting position — his own — in which he can write a 2,000-word analysis in the morning and “tweet” his way through an afternoon typing 140-character online Twitter updates from another news event.
The Future of Journalism Education event (well-Tweeted itself by @paleycenter and others as #paleynews), included an hour-long discussion by Alberto Ibargüen and Vartan Gregorian of the Knight and Carnegie foundations, respectively, and a roundtable on the Carnegie-Knight Initiative‘s News 21 journalism education project. Read more
A Web developer has created a clever anonymous source tracker. It looks for various phrases (e.g., “a source close to” or “a person familiar with”) and posts the offending passage. It also tallies the number of unnamed sourcing in various news outlets. The No. 1 offender? BusinessWeek. That outlet has used unnamed sourcing 100 times in the past few days — fully three times more than the next offender, Reuters, with 31 instances. The numbers update continuously, so it will be interesting to watch them over time. Impressive bit of software coding.
After BusinessWeek and Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Associated Press, and the Washington Post led the industry. What surprised me somewhat was the comparatively low ranking of several high-profile organizations, including the Politico.com. The site is run by one Mark Schaver, by day an assistant metro editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal.
I asked Schaver what his motivation for the site was, and he wrote back this email:
I didn’t start out with any special fascination with anonymous sources. I was just looking for a way to exercise my Web development skills and thought this would be an interesting subject to shed some light on. It really is a very simple app. It just leverages Google News and Google Reader to do the searching and parses and displays the results.
Where I work (The Courier-Journal) we aren’t allowed to use anonymous sources except under extremely limited circumstances. I’d say what I find is surprising is how often they’re used and how often they’re used in situations where it’s more a convenience than a necessity.
In just the last 10 days, Schaver’s little app has found (allowing for a few duplicates and false matches) almost 2,000 examples of anonymous sourcing. That’s a lot of news from the great unknown.
The Society for News Design has declared the German papers der Freitag of Berlin and Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, and The New York Times, to be the World’s Best-Designed in this year’s “The Best of News Design” Creative Competition.
Meeting at Syracuse University in New York, an international panel of judges selected the papers from among hundreds of entries worldwide. The judges evaluated issues published in 2009.
Full details here:
“The reality of distress in our business is obvious. There are many signs of
reduced resources, including smaller news holes with crowded words, less
local news, an abundance of feature stories on the front page, a continued
shortage of good photojournalism and more use of stock illustration. An
overall feeling of looking a little confused and perhaps a bit stuck,
“But wait. The good news is that far from going away or giving up, we saw
much earnest effort towards reinvention.” — the judges
SND’s 31st Annual Creative Competition drew more than 10,000 entries and had more than 1,000 winners.
Database of all results: http://office.snd.org/competitions/contest31.lasso
From AEJMC Hot Topics blog and Newspaper Research Journal:
While newspapers and news Web sites cover generally the same topics, newspapers offer stories with more breadth and depth than their online counterparts, according to a study published recently in Newspaper Research Journal.
Related, via AEJMC on Facebook:
The study’s researcher Scott Maier, journalism professor at the University of Oregon, will lead a LIVE online chat 12 p.m. EST Thursday, February 18 on the future of online journalism.
Panelists include: Kathy Best, managing editor of Digital News and Innovation at The Seattle Times; Melissa Ludtke, editor of Harvard University’s Nieman Reports; and Jane Singer, a University of Iowa professor and internationally renown scholar on digital journalism.
To participate in the LIVE event:
type your name and chat.