Tom Cotton vs. the 1619 Project: When it was first created, the 1619 Project was hailed as a revolutionary piece of journalism. It contained a series of essays, a broadsheet section and a podcast, all of which analyze slavery as a central part of American history. Though the project was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and has been incorporated into school lesson plans across the country, it has also received pushback from a few vocal opponents. Writing for the Washington Post, Teo Armus examines the pushback to the 1619 Project led by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, and the online debate that pushed the series further into the spotlight.
NYT pilots disability-friendly section: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the New York Times opinion section is piloting a series on living with disabilities, Sarah Scire writes for NiemanLab. In addition to publishing a wide variety of pieces from writers with disabilities, the section is also experimenting with production and design techniques to make the section more accessible to readers. The series includes audio versions of every article, improved alternative text for people with screen readers and a braille version that will be available through the New York Times store. The Times has also tweaked its style guide for the issue, allowing writers and sources to capitalize words like “blind” and “deaf” in their pieces.
DHS surveils journalists: In response to the waves of protests against police brutality in Portland, the Departland of Homeland Security (DHS) began compiling intelligence reports on journalists covering the unrest. The reports, normally reserved for individuals suspected of violence and terrorism, highlighted editors and reporters from the New York Times and Lawfare who published leaked documents about the DHS’s involvement in the Portland protests. After the story was released, acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf launched an investigation into the issue. Writing for the Washington Post, Shane Harris uncovers the story behind the intelligence reports and explores next steps for the DHS.
By Maya Homan & Matt Carroll
Growing influence of Asian publications: Asian publications are becoming a growing force in the media world, writes E. Tammy Kim in an essay for the Columbia Journalism Review. Kim focuses on three publications in her piece: New Naratif, New Bloom, and Lausan, based in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, respectively. However, these publications stand out from the crowd by examining issues in a more nuanced, contemplative way than more traditional American or Asian media outlets. Often written in both English and Chinese, the articles bridge cultural gaps and national borders, allowing protestors in Hong Kong to take inspiration from the American civil rights movement, and enabling them to pass on their strategies to Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Minneapolis.
NYT dives deeper into podcasts: Last week, the New York Times announced that it will be partnering with the prominent podcast “This American Life,” and acquired its spinoff studio, Serial Productions. This announcement comes a month after the Times took over the production of the Modern Love podcast, formerly produced by WBUR. For NiemanLab, Nicholas Quah writes about former C.E.O. Julie Snyder’s decision to sell Serial Productions, as well as other new developments in the Times’ audio department. The Times and Serial Productions’ upcoming project, “Nice White Parents,” is about the power that certain parents have to shape public education. It is expected to be released on July 30.
Journalism as gen-ed: Many journalists are apprehensive of phrases like “everyone is a reporter.” But in the age of declining local journalism, the ability of ordinary citizens to act as watchdogs is becoming increasingly important, Michael Bugeja writes for Poynter. With the proper training, civilians will be better equipped to hold those with power accountable, a skill that is even more necessary in light of the widespread protests against police brutality. Though journalism courses are often excluded from general education curriculum, having a proper understanding of how reporting works will provide students with an interdisciplinary skill set for real life issues.
By Maya Homan & Matt Carroll
Local news or hyperpartisan hoax?: Hyperpartisan sites have discovered a new approach to gaining readership: masquerading as local news. Over 400 of these sites have been identified across the country, many of them in swing states such as Iowa, Florida and North Carolina. While there are a few liberal-leaning sites on the list, the vast majority (421 out of 429) tilt conservative, and are often funded by government officials, politicians and super PACs. Jessica Mahone and Philip Napoli of NiemanLab take a deeper look at where these sites are coming from, and how they are contributing to political polarization within the U.S.
Revisiting Edna Buchanan: Former Miami Herald crime reporter Edna Buchanan has reached a level of acclaim that few reporters can hope to achieve. In addition to winning a Pulitzer prize for her reporting and writing a bestselling book, she was the subject of a famous New Yorker profile. However, as Diana Moskovitz writes in an essay for Popula, Buchanan’s tactics and style of reporting have not aged well, particularly in light of several prominent instances of police brutality against Black Americans. Writing as a former crime reporter at the paper where Buchanan once worked, Moskovitz examines the many ways in which Buchanan’s reporting set the tone for crime reporting, as well as how our understanding of crime and justice has changed.
NYT opinion writer resigns: Opinion writer Bari Weiss resigned from the New York Times Editorial department last week, citing a culture of bullying from colleagues who disagreed with her views. A resignation letter she posted on her website alleged that Twitter has become the Times’ “ultimate editor,” and that a culture of “new McCarthyism” is preventing other writers from speaking freely. The reaction from the journalism world has been mixed, according to Washington Post writers Elahe Izadi and Jeremy Barr. While many journalists and editors have condemned her treatment at the Times, others argue that those who disagree with her are exercising their right to free speech, an issue Weiss has highlighted in her columns.
Bonus Article: New Yorker editor Michael Luo delves into the history of the Hutchins Commission, a group of scholars and policymakers formed in the 1940s to reflect on the state of journalism in America. Luo reflects on the Commission’s goal of a “free and responsible press,” and ponders whether journalism in America has lost sight of its original purpose.
By Maya Homan & Matt Carroll