Spring 2012

What Would You Change
If You Were Back in Charge?

Looking back what would they do differently? Six editors take a hard look at newspapers and what it will take for them to stay alive. More investigative journalism, more training, and an embrace of digital initiatives are among the priorities they’d have if they were back in charge. What resonates throughout their essays is the need for coverage that helps citizens and democracy thrive.

Cover Story: Moving Forward
From the Curator: Challenging Ideas
By Ann Marie Lipinski
Looking Back, Seeing Today
‘Our expectations were both too low and too high. We misread how radical the shift in technology would be and how broad our response would have to be.’
By Amanda Bennett
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Overlooked ‘People Piece’ (1 comment)
‘… the right kind of training will boost morale and reward the news organization with dedicated staffers itching to tackle groundbreaking assignments.’
By Skip Perez
The Ledger
Speak Loudly, Move Nimbly
‘Lead the community through the newspaper’s strong editorial voice. … Find out what works on the Web for your market, and exploit it.’
By Ronnie Agnew
The Clarion-Ledger
A Bridge to the Future (2 comments)
Instead of printing the paper every day, ‘we would provide to our subscribers an e-reader such as a Kindle or a Nook. This serves the dual purpose of strengthening our print editions on key days and building an e-reading habit …’
By Timothy A. Franklin
The Baltimore Sun
Turn the Newsroom Inside Out (7 comments)
‘The goal would be to enlist the public in expanding local sports and photography while reducing the role of professional journalists in these areas.’
By Mike Pride
Concord Monitor
Empty Nest Syndrome
By Mike Pride
Community Outreach (1 comment)
‘The Los Angeles Times is still uniquely positioned to fill a huge public need—aggressive coverage of California, a state with problems that equal its heft, a state hit particularly hard by the recession …’
By James O’Shea
Los Angeles Times
The Great Young Hope
By James O’Shea
‘Blowing Up the Newsroom’ (and Other Thoughts on Survival)
We invited members of the American Society of News Editors to say what one change they’d most like to make to their newspaper. Their answers ranged from a return to basics to breaking down the divide between editorial and advertising.
Features
Global Health: A Story Rarely Told (5 comments)
‘Today while billions of dollars [in aid] are lost to corruption and dysfunction — and billions more save many lives — both traditional and new media are too often missing this important story altogether.’
By Stefanie Friedhoff
‘What Gets Attention, Gets Funded’ (1 comment)
By Stefanie Friedhoff
Common Ground (1 comment)
Anja Niedringhaus has worked on the frontlines of many major conflicts over the past two decades. Here she reflects on work from her new book “At War.”
By Anja Niedringhaus
Gay Talese: The New York Observer (1 comment)
Gay Talese helped launch literary journalism in 1966 when Esquire published his profile “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.” He shares his thoughts on the craft.
Edited by Paige Williams
Books
To Kill a Story
After Chauncey Bailey was murdered, journalists banded together to finish his investigation.
By Steve Weinberg
Facing Putin (1 comment)
Masha Gessen on the Russian leader's totalitarian regime and the weaknesses of U.S. media coverage of her country.
Interviewed by Jonathan Seitz
Facing Putin (Extended Interview)
Interviewed by Jonathan Seitz
In Every Issue
The Jukebox in My Mind
The playlist in East Africa is full of surprises.
By Gwen Thompkins
Class Notes
Compiled by Jan Gardner
Honoring a Pioneering Journalist from Libya
By Jan Gardner
Ann Curry Speaks of Trauma and Promise in 31st Morris Lecture
By Jonathan Seitz
The Wide Web of Innovation
End Note: The Fine Art of Reinvention (2 comments)
An invitation to lead a photo tour of Venice is a turning point.
By Frank Van Riper
Drawing History Into Today's News
By Jonathan Seitz
Dispatches From a World of Opportunity
Two members of the current Nieman class share key moments of insight and transformation as they finish up their year at Harvard.