A Question of Credibility

September 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Journalism is more than thorough research and investigation. It also includes the open handling of sources.

How transparently do U.S. and German quality daily papers work? Access to information is easier than ever before. Journalists are supposed to provide readers with orientation by evaluating data and facts. But the more easily accessible sources there are both on the Web and otherwise, the more important it becomes to assess them. Coverage can only be considered fully transparent if articles provide information about the sources they are based upon. How important is transparency for quality daily newspapers? Do U.S. papers take transparency more seriously? Are differences in transpareny of newspaper articles an indication of different journalistic cultures? Read more

Lessons from Wikileaks

August 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Reflections on Wikileaks’ Afghan War Diary.

Swaying the media is much easier than academics and reporters are willing to admit. Knowing that 80 percent of the news comes from institutional sources, the transparency of information depends, above all, on the integrity of the people who work in such institutions.

If the government, or in this specific case the White House and Pentagon, select a line to follow and demand discipline from staff (avoiding unwelcome leaks), they are able to control not just a newspaper, but the media as a whole.

Unfortunately, as demonstrated in the book Gli Stregoni della Notizia (Witch Doctors of the News), scoops are often deceptive as they tend to be deliberately planted Read more

The New Journalism? Investigative and Digital

May 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Paul Steiger, Wall Street Journal icon and now editor-in-chief of Pulitzer-winning news site ProPublica, discusses the changing face of journalism.

Paul Steiger has dedicated much of his life to print journalism. The sixty-eight-year-old journalist worked as managing editor of the Wall Street Journal from 1991 to 2007, a period during which the business-oriented daily was awarded 16 Pulitzer prizes. Today, he’s editor-in-chief of ProPublica, a New York based investigative reporting nonprofit operating on an annual budget of $10 million.

ProPublica produces journalistic content in true American style: comprehensive, meticulous, transparent and with the public’s interest at the forefront. Yet not on paper as tradition would have it, but rather on the Web. More precisely, on www.propublica.org, where investigative reports are published and shared with not only readers, but with other media outlets which may access them for free. Read more