3 to Read: Reexamining objectivity | Local news desertification | Blackface & Backlash

Reexamining objectivity: For many journalists, objectivity is seen as a fundamental part of our work. However, in a New York Times op-ed published last week, CBS journalist Wesley Lowery challenged those notions of objectivity, arguing that the standards for neutrality and objectivity in journalism are based on the perspective of white reporters, editors and readers, and that they don’t necessarily reflect the realities of people of color. His piece details his experiences working as a black journalist and examines whether the media’s pursuit of neutrality is preventing journalists from holding powerful figures to account.

Local news desertification: A new report from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced a grave forecast for local publications: almost a quarter of newspapers in the U.S. have failed over the past 15 years. News deserts, or areas without any local news coverage, have also been growing, and now encompass more than 200 counties. However, there has also been a bigger emphasis on saving local news with the launch of programs like the Journalism Crisis Project. Writing for Poynter, Tom Stites takes a look at what the future may hold for local news.

Blackface & Backlash: A week after then-NBC morning talk show host Megyn Kelly defended the use of blackface on air, a woman named Sue Schafer showed up to a halloween party at a friend’s house, wearing blackface and a Megyn Kelly nametag. Two weeks ago, a 3,000-word story about the incident appeared in The Washington Post’s Style section. However, the piece has received pushback from journalists questioning the piece’s newsworthiness, given that the subject was not a public figure and the incident occurred two years prior. Writing for New York Magazine, Josh Barro and Olivia Nuzzi dissect the piece and the series of events that led to its publication.

By Maya Homan & Matt Carroll


3 to Read: Mapping extremist attacks | Who pays for online news? | Student journalists take a stand

Mapping extremist attacks: Following the 2019 terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, The New York Times released a series of graphics detailing the global rise of white supremacist violence over the past several years through interactive timelines, maps and charts. Storybench writer Mihir Patil sat down with Weiyi Cai of the New York Times to discuss the evolution of the piece from its initial concept to the finished visuals.

Who pays for online news?: A report from the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford shed some new light on online news subscriptions. Using data from three different countries with three very different media landscapes, senior research fellow Richard Fletcher delves into the rationale behind paying for online news. The data outlines who pays for online news, what drives them to subscribe to news sites, what they expect out of their news coverage, and what causes them to cancel their subscriptions.

Student journalists take a stand: Over 400 people have signed a petition urging Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun to agree to an interview with Northeastern’s student paper, The Huntington News. Despite making appearances in many major news outlets, President Aoun has not agreed to an interview with student journalists since 2013, Diti Kohli writes for The Boston Globe. The petition began after The Huntington News published a letter with signatures from over 50 alumni and former staff calling for greater transparency from the administration. Current staff members say they hope to secure an interview at least once a semester going forward.

Conflict Alert: Maya was the opinion editor at The Huntington News last semester.

By Maya Homan & Matt Carroll

3 to Read: Profits vs. the press | Moderating journalists’ social media | Bon Appétit backlash

Profits vs. the press: Alden Global Capital hedge fund manager Heath Freeman says he set out to save local news. However, the journalists who work for Alden’s nearly 200 publications tell a very different story. Journalists have taken to protesting his office, and over 20 senators have approached him about their concerns over his methods. Writing for The Washington Post, Sarah Ellison explores how Freeman’s business model, which includes aggressive budget cuts and sweeping layoffs, ultimately bleeds local publications dry.

Moderating journalists’ social media: A report detailing The Washington Post’s social media policy was leaked to New York Times media columnist Ben Smith last week. Smith, on Twitter, wrote that the memo says women and people of color were more likely to be disciplined for their social media usage than their white, male counterparts. Writing for NiemanLab, Laura Hazard Owen examines the major problems highlighted in the report, and a few potential solutions.

Bon Appétit backlash: Adam Rapoport, top editor at Bon Appétit, resigned last Monday following two separate scandals that generated intense online backlash, Emily Heil writes for The Washington Post. The public outcry started when assistant editor Sohla El-Waylly revealed that Bon Appétit only paid their white staffers for on-camera appearances. Food writer Tammie Teclemariam also found a photo of Rapoport and his wife dressed in racist Halloween costumes. Former Bon Appétit contributors have also called on food writers to boycott the magazine.

By Maya Homan & Matt Carroll

3 to Read: Why Bennet is out at NYT | Publishing protesters’ faces | Free summer news program

Why Bennet is out at NYT: The turmoil caused by rolling protests ignited by the murder of George Floyd have spilled into newsrooms, particularly the New York Times. James Bennet, the Times’ editorial page editor, resigned after days of controversy stemming from a controversial op-ed written by Senator Tom Cotton. Ben Smith of the New York Times writes about revolts sweeping big newsrooms. The controversy blew up quickly. Though the Times initially defended their decision to publish the piece, executives later backtracked, saying that the op-ed did not meet their standards. On Thursday, Bennet revealed that he had not read the piece before it was published, and on Sunday, Bennet resigned. Writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, Gabriel Snyder breaks down the controversy behind the piece, and explains why much of the public criticism has come from the Times’ own reporters.

Publishing protesters’ faces: With waves of protests occurring throughout the U.S., photojournalists are faced with a pressing ethical dilemma: should they publish pictures of demonstrators faces? While legally, photographers are in the clear, many worry about the impact their photos could have on the subjects they capture. Eliana Miller and Nicole Asbury unpack both sides of the issue for Poynter.

Free summer news program: Starting July 7, The Information is launching a free news summer camp over Zoom, writes Laura Hazard Owen for NiemanLab. The program, which includes guest speakers from The New York Times, Politico, Gimlet, Insider, and other publications, was designed for journalism students whose internships were cancelled due to Covid-19. The program is scheduled to run for eight weeks, and already has over 800 people registered. Interested parties can sign up here.

By Maya Homan & Matt Carroll