Fall 2012

Be the Disruptor

Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation provides a framework to understand how businesses grow, become successful, and falter as nimble start-ups muscle in on their customers. It’s a familiar story, one that has played out in the steel and auto industries, among others. Now Christensen, in collaboration with 2012 Nieman Fellow David Skok, has applied his analysis to the news industry. Their goal in this issue's cover story, “Breaking News,” is to encourage news executives to apply the lessons of disruption to the media industry as a means of charting new paths to survival and success.

Cover Story: Be the Disruptor
From the Curator: Rising to the Challenge
By Ann Marie Lipinski
Finding a Way Forward
A Nieman Fellow engages the Harvard Business School’s master of innovation in a mission to save the news industry.
By David Skok
Breaking News (18 comments)
Mastering the art of disruptive innovation in journalism
By Clayton M. Christensen, David Skok, and James Allworth
Breaking News (En Español) (3 comments)
Cómo dominar el arte de la disrupción en el Periodismo
Por Clayton M. Christensen, David Skok, y James Allworth
Download the Cover Story
Available in PDF and EPUB formats
Lessons From Fukushima
‘More than a year after the accident, we still do not have any serious investigative reporting on [Japanese nuclear power plant owner] Tepco…’
Interview by Peter Behr
Truth and Consequences
Reflecting on presidential campaign coverage before and after ‘The Boys on the Bus’
By Adrienne LaFrance
On the Outside Looking In
By Jonathan Seitz
Inside the Rings
‘The first rule of Olympic journalism is that no one should ever feel sorry for anyone assigned to cover the games.’
By Howard Berkes
An Ode to Readers’ Quirks (2 comments)
Being one click away from anyone who wants to weigh in on your looks or any number of subjects has its ups and downs.
By Kate Galbraith
Developing Notions
Chronicling a family’s life for 35 years holds many lessons about what does and does not change over time.
By Pam Spaulding
Watchdog Project
The Big Chill (3 comments)
The Obama administration is operating amid unprecedented secrecy—while attacking journalists trying to tell the public what they need to know.
By Dan Froomkin
The Magician’s Daughter (6 comments)
Her childhood secrets are nothing like yours.
By Maggie Jones
Defying Gravity (4 comments)
A gripping history of the 40 years since wealth started falling up
By Dan Froomkin
Waving, Not Drowning
Thoughts on the future of the magazine
By James Geary
The Fighter
An impassioned believer in the battle for Algerian independence had a few blind spots.
By Aboubakr Jamai
Good Girls Don’t
After suing Newsweek for sex discrimination, some women ran up against their own timidity.
By Shirley Christian
Un-American Activities (4 comments)
‘The record of the FBI’s obsession [with student radicals] and meddling is overwhelming.’
By Todd Gitlin
Nieman Notes
Class Notes
Heard at Lippmann House
Public Works
ProPublica’s Stephen Engelberg on what makes his year and the perils of philanthropy
By Stephen Engelberg