Spring 2013

The Signal and the Noise

One tweeter boasted of a "game-changing victory" for crowdsourcing in the early hours of the Boston area manhunt. But what began as a low-grade fever on social media spiked with the wrongful naming of a bombing suspect. All the while, Nieman Visiting Fellow Hong Qu was testing his new tool Keepr as a screen for credibility and posting early results on Nieman Reports as the story unfolded. Qu and journalist Seth Mnookin, who tweeted live from the manhunt, write about how smartphones and their unprecedented power to publish require new journalistic tools and practices, while other Nieman Fellows consider the intersection of social media and journalism in the aftermath of the attack.

From the Curator
Signal vs. Noise in Coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings
By Ann Marie Lipinski
Cover Story
Organize the Noise: Tweeting Live from the Boston Manhunt
A reporter and a programmer on what social media coverage of the Boston bombings means for journalism
By Seth Mnookin and Hong Qu
Mapping the Twitterverse (1 comment)
MIT researcher Todd Mostak visualizes tweets about the Boston Marathon Bombings
Reporting on Radicalization (7 comments)
After the Boston bombings, 2013 Nieman fellow Souad Mekhennet argues for more Muslim voices and faces in the U.S. media
By Souad Mekhennet
New Challenges, New Rewards for Journalists on Social Media (1 comment)
In the age of crowdsourced reporting, we need professional journalists more than ever
By Borja Echevarría de la Gándara
Curation Is the Key to Bringing Social Media and Journalism Together
How journalists can curate social media streams
By Ludovic Blecher
The (New) Industry Standard: Making Citizen Broadcasters into Citizen Journalists (1 comment)
When everyone is a publisher, everyone should be a journalist, too
By Betsy O’Donovan
"A Marathon Without a Finish" (1 comment)
Boston Globe reporter David Abel, NF '13, talks to Nieman Reports about covering the marathon bombings—and why the race will never be the same
By David Abel
“The Story of a Lifetime” (2 comments)
Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory on paywalls, misinformation, and social media
Interview by David L. Marcus
Social Media and the Boston Bombings (2 comments)
Nieman Visiting Fellow Hong Qu analyzes the role social media played in breaking the news of the Boston Marathon attack
By Hong Qu
Journalism & the Boston Marathon Bombings
Journalists, technologists and public officials come together at the Nieman Foundation to discuss coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings
By Jonathan Seitz
Niemans Cover the Boston Marathon Bombs (1 comment)
By Jan Gardner
Terror at Home, Abroad
Nieman Fellows both domestic and international reported on the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect
Starting Arguments: A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Political Cartoonist on the Right to be Offensive
Why political cartoons have the power to engage and enrage
By Mark Fiore
Grave New World: Evgeny Morozov's Dire Warnings on the Reach of Google and Facebook
The dark side of digital solutions
By David L. Marcus
The Year of Living Safely, Away from the Drug Wars of Mexico
Alfredo Corchado, NF ’09, on writing a personal narrative of Mexico’s drug wars
By Alfredo Corchado
The Year of Living Safely, Away from the Drug Wars of Mexico (Video Interview)
A video interview with Alfredo Corchado, NF ’09, about writing a personal narrative of Mexico’s drug wars
Putting the Pieces Together: An E-Book Memoir of a Bus Accident in Israel
Joshua Prager, NF ’11, on going back to Jerusalem to write about his life-changing accident
By Joshua Prager
Heard @ Lippmann House
The Associated Press's Kathleen Carroll: “You can have it all if you define what it is you want”
The Associated Press’s executive editor Kathleen Carroll on the agency’s business model, work-life balance, and managing people
By Kathleen Carroll
Niemans @ Work
Photojournalists on Covering the Bosnian War
A book collaboration brings Gary Knight, NF ’10, and other Niemans together, again
By Gary Knight
Rediscovering Latin American Jewry, From Peru to Israel (1 comment)
In Peru, Graciela Mochkofsky, NF ’09, tells a dramatic tale of truth and faith
By Graciela Mochkofsky
Latin American Journalism on the Transnational Express (1 comment)
With CONNECTAS, Carlos Eduardo Huertas, NF ’12, links the Americas through journalism
By Carlos Eduardo Huertas
Half a Revolution: The Future of Feminism is About Men (2 comments)
Women have entered the world of men. Now men need to enter the world of women
By Katrin Bennhold
Writing Naked: Donald Hall on Poetry and Metaphor in Journalism (2 comments)
Former poet laureate Donald Hall talks to Mike Pride, NF ’85, about what journalists can learn from poetry
Interview by Mike Pride
Writing Naked: Donald Hall on Poetry and Metaphor in Journalism (Extended Transcript)
An extended transcript of the conversation between former poet laureate Donald Hall and Mike Pride, NF ’85, about what journalists can learn from poetry
Interview by Mike Pride
Writing Naked: Donald Hall on Poetry and Metaphor in Journalism (Video)
Video of a discussion between former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall and former Concord Monitor editor Mike Pride, NF '85
Interview by Mike Pride
Poetry: The News that Stays News
Poet and Harvard English professor Stephen Burt explores how familiar stories are made fresh again by the way we put them into words
By Stephen Burt
Staggering Drunks and Fiscal Cliffs: How Bloomberg Businessweek Uses Metaphors in the News
Why journalists need to be masters of metaphor
By Peter Coy
Face to Face with the Enemy: Photos from the World's Wars
Photojournalist Karim Ben Khelifa, NF ’13, describes “Portraits of the Enemies,” which places viewers in the emotional crossfire of longstanding conflicts
By Karim Ben Khelifa
Stop the Press: Rupert Murdoch, the Leveson Inquiry, and Press Freedom in the U.K.
Backlash against tab excesses causes U.K. media chaos
By Katie King
Small Pieces, Loosely Joined: Nicco Mele on the End of Big News (4 comments)
Harvard Kennedy School lecturer and “The End of Big” author Nicco Mele on why the future of news is necessarily small
By Nicco Mele
Change Starts Small: The Texas Tribune Chooses Efficiency Over Size
Fewer reporters means more efficiency
By Kate Galbraith
Calm at the Kitchen Table: A Start-up Tracks Murder in Washington, D.C.
How small newsrooms can have big impacts
By Laura Amico
Playing Big: From the Chicago Tribune to Bloomberg News, Big Organziations Can Do Big Work
To remain viable, legacy news organizations need to do classic investigative reporting
By Robert Blau
Nieman Watchdog Project
From Shoe Leather to Big Data: ProPublica and the Future of Watchdog Journalism
Digital tools are reinvigorating watchdog reporting
By Robin Fields
Ask The Right Questions: MuckRock Makes FOIA Requests Easy
How to use the Internet to build a new investigative tradition
By Michael Morisy
Truth or Consequences: Where is Watchdog Journalism Today? (2 comments)
Despite budget cuts and shrinking newsrooms, watchdog reporters are finding new ways to fulfill an old mission—holding those in power to account
By Dan Froomkin
No Profession for Lone Wolves: Watchdog Reporters Need to Work Together
The social nature of investigative reporting
By Stuart Watson
Cross-Border Collaboration in Watchdog Journalism
Lessons learned from the ICIJ’s massive “Secrecy for Sale” investigation
By Stefan Candea
Let the Readers Know: How Journalists and the Public Can Work Together
An informed public is a powerful ally
By Ken Armstrong
In Korea, Watchdog Journalism Worth Watching on Television
In South Korea, innovation is helping viewers better understand important social issues
By Chong-ae Lee
Do the Right Thing: Watchdog Reporters Handle a Bombing in Philadelphia
For news outlets, watchdog journalism has to be the top priority
By William Marimow
Our Communities Crave Watchdog Journalism
Without watchdogs, democracy is in jeopardy
By Raquel Rutledge
Nieman Notes
Class Notes
Grady Clay on the Future of Journalism and Cities: "No One Can Stay in the Center"
The late Grady Clay, NF ’49, on the shifting locus of power in American cities and the consequences for the journalists who cover them
By Grady Clay
Murrey Marder, Pathfinder
By Bill Kovach
The Legacy of Pulitzer Prize Winner Anthony Lewis, covering "a Dark and Ominous Time"
South African journalist Allister Sparks, NF ’63, reflects on the legacy of Anthony Lewis, NF ’57, longtime New York Times reporter and columnist
By Allister Sparks
Pulitzer Prize Winner Stanley Forman on Covering Fires in Boston from "the Other Side of the Tape"
By Stanley Forman