Features

Behind the Story: Kate Newman on “Book Publishing, Not Fact-Checking”

Somaly Man after the of her memoir, The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine.  Photograph by Kate Newman

By Kate Newman My final project grew directly from our seminars in Germany and Poland. I was struck by the case we discussed of Binjamin Wilkomirski, who claimed to be a Holocaust survivor. Survivors were hesitant to question him when he published his account because they feared it would hurt their own credibility, and yet […]


Book Publishing, Not Fact-Checking

Somaly Man after the of her memoir, The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine.  Photograph by Kate Newman

By Kate Newman [Note: This was originally published by The Atlantic on September 3, 2014] On the cover of her memoir, The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine, Somaly Mam sits in a field, surrounded by laughing children. “I came to know Somaly Mam, who was enslaved herself but managed to escape […]


Behind the Story: Stav Ziv on “Can the Right Coverage Prevent Wrongful Conviction?”

Antonio Yarbough, right, in Brooklyn last February after the hearing that led to his release.  Credit Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times

By Stav Ziv Not long before embarking on the FASPE trip, I had the opportunity to interview a man who had recently been released from prison. He was not paroled or finished with his sentence—of 75 years to life—but exonerated, his conviction wiped off his record like spilled juice off a countertop. I knew from […]


Can the Right Coverage Prevent Wrongful Conviction?

Antonio Yarbough, right, in Brooklyn last February after the hearing that led to his release.  Credit Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times

By Stav Ziv Antonio Yarbough had spent the night of June 17, 1992 out with his buddy Sharrif Wilson and some other friends. He says that he came home in the morning to find three bodies. His mother, Annie, along with his sister, Chavonn Barnes, and another 12-year-old girl, Latasha Knox, had been strangled and […]


Behind the Story: Graham Stecklein on “Big Noses, Little Impact”

Dwane "Mr. Fish" Booth has recently been made the subject of a feature length documentary titled "Cartooning From The Deep End."  Drawing by Graham Clark.

By Graham Clark Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Stop me even if you haven’t heard it, actually. Because it’s an inappropriate joke, and I can hardly be said to have the right to tell it. But it speaks to bigger issues, so I’ll tell it anywhere. A rabbi is sitting in a café […]


Behind the Story: Dustin Volz on Sitting with Journalism’s Diversity Problem

Volz - Dustin - Image of diversity

By Dustin Volz Toward the end of our second day exploring Auschwitz, I found myself alone amid a row of barracks, unsure where the rest of the group had wandered. Closing time at the memorial was near. The dirt path was empty of other visitors, and the setting sun cast a deep shadow on the […]


Sitting with Journalism’s Diversity Problem

Volz - Dustin - Image of diversity

By Dustin Volz A silent journalist is as about as useful as a blind surgeon. And so I talk and write about people and events and ideas, all the while worrying that all of it is beyond my depth. I worry not because of an insufficiency of factual knowledge. My inability to empathize with the […]


In the Crossfire of the Media Wars: Bias, Propaganda, and the Role of the Journalist

Credit: CC flickr user woodleywonderworks

By Alison Sargent When Sreenivasan Jain of the New Delhi-based network NDTV and his crew filmed a rocket being assembled and fired outside their Gaza hotel room during the renewed conflict between Israel and the Palestinian armed resistance group Hamas in the summer of 2014, they knew they had an exclusive video. They also knew […]


Big Noses, Little Impact

Dwane "Mr. Fish" Booth has recently been made the subject of a feature length documentary titled "Cartooning From The Deep End."  Drawing by Graham Clark.

By Graham Clark Traditional political cartoons have slipped between the cracks of mass media. Now few fight for the art form. -Graham Clark Cartoons and caricatures are creative, transparent and highly sharable forms of news media in an industry championing exactly those traits. They’ve skewered tyrants and fostered democracy for centuries. So why don’t they […]


Exploiter of victims?

James Nachtwey, March 24, 2011.  Credit: Victor 'rdfr' Morozov.

By Anna Siatka “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” The phrase by Robert Capa, which also begins Christian Frei’s documentary about James Nachtwey, “War Photographer,” seems to be the motto of Nachtwey’s professional work. The well-known war photographer and photojournalist has devoted himself entirely to his professional career. According to the […]


Behind the Story: Anna Siatka on “Exploiter of Victims?”

James Nachtwey, March 24, 2011.  Credit: Victor 'rdfr' Morozov.

By Anna Siatka Photography has always been one of my biggest interests, and during our FASPE program I always paid special attention to the pictures we saw and worked with. I wish we had more time to discuss ethics in photography! When thinking about photography studies, I must go back to my university course called […]


Do you fact-check a campus rape survivor?

On college campuses throughout America, sexual assault has become an increasingly high-profile topic of discussion and protest — and the issue has made headlines in national news outlets and campus newspapers alike.  Credit: Wolfram Burner

By Martine Powers In 2008 Kristen Lombardi, a journalist with the Center for Public Integrity, embarked on a series of interviews with one goal in mind: To reveal the wrongdoings of college campus administrators who failed to support rape victims and allowed their assailants to graduate with minor punishments. The seasoned investigative reporter interviewed dozens […]


Behind the Story: Martine Powers on “Do you fact-check a campus rape survivor?”

On college campuses throughout America, sexual assault has become an increasingly high-profile topic of discussion and protest — and the issue has made headlines in national news outlets and campus newspapers alike.  Credit: Wolfram Burner

We journalists will never know. So how do we tell? By Martine Powers It was a provocative title for a seminar discussion, especially one hashed out in the basement of a Berlin history museum: “Do you fact-check a Holocaust survivor?” Our conversation centered on the case of writer Bruno Dössekker, whose memoir about a childhood […]


The Ethics of Agenda Setting

Actress Anne Hathaway and her husband, Adam Shulman, joined a protest sponsored by Bring Back Our Girls in Los Angeles on May 8th.  This kind of celebrity involvement and the far-reaching influence of the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign prompted the press to give the Chibok kidnapping more attention than they initially had.

By Samantha Pickette On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist organization, kidnapped over 200 Nigerian girls who were taking final exams in a high school in Chibok, Nigeria. Western media paid little attention to the story. In fact, for weeks, American newspapers reported little or nothing about the fate of the Nigerian students. […]


Behind the Story: Samantha Pickette on “The Ethics of Agenda Setting”

Actress Anne Hathaway and her husband, Adam Shulman, joined a protest sponsored by Bring Back Our Girls in Los Angeles on May 8th.  This kind of celebrity involvement and the far-reaching influence of the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign prompted the press to give the Chibok kidnapping more attention than they initially had.

By Samantha Pickette When we went to the site of the Wannsee Conference, we spoke with Wolf Kaiser about German journalism before and during the war. Frankly, I was not surprised to learn about the blatant anti-Semitism of Der Stürmer or Das Reich — Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda machine was far too strong to allow for […]


The Wrong Questions: Learning from the Lara Logan Debacle

Lara Logan with CBS's "60 Minutes" March 18, 2013.  Photo by Spc. Steven Young.

By Karen Petree Joe Hagan missed a great opportunity. When Hagan decided to write about Lara Logan’s 60 Minutes Benghazi scandal, he had a chance to open a conversation with the public about how journalists navigate an increasingly corporatized and politicized media world while trying to hold true to the major tenets of journalism. That’s […]


Behind the Story: Karen Petree on “The Wrong Questions: Learning from the Lara Logan Debacle”

Lara Logan with CBS's "60 Minutes" March 18, 2013.  Photo by Spc. Steven Young.

By Karen Petree I always respected Lara Logan. A few years ago I found myself trapped in the myopic world of academia working on projects I really cared about, but I was unable to share them with anyone who didn’t speak my academic jargon. I had watched Lara Logan covering the wars in Afghanistan and […]


Built to be Photographed: Instagramming the 9/11 Memorial

A view of the fountain located within the site of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed on September 11, 2001. The two fountains, one for each fallen tower, is called "Reflecting Absence" and was designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker.  Photo by Kai Brinker.

By Leah Finnegan [This piece was first published in The Awl] On a recent afternoon, an older man and woman self-consciously configured themselves in front of the south reflecting pool at the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan. The man placed his hand on the woman’s hip in an awkward clasp and grinned broadly as another […]


Behind the Story: Leah Finnegan on “Built to be Photographed: Instagramming the 9/11 Memorial”

A view of the fountain located within the site of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed on September 11, 2001. The two fountains, one for each fallen tower, is called "Reflecting Absence" and was designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker.  Photo by Kai Brinker.

By Leah Finnegan I’ve never been a photography person, so my interest in the topic on this trip surprised me. What I love about social programs like Instagram and Twitter is how easy they make taking pictures and sharing them, and the instantaneousness of the feedback. That has become a regular part of my life […]