The Weekly Illumination – Issue 2

Welcome to the The Weekly Illumination, a JTM newsletter offering a quick look at the week in journalism with a focus on what’s working in today’s news ecology. The Illumination is a curated collection of stories about journalism innovation, notable job opportunities, grants and updates about Journalism that Matters.

The newsletter is distributed to e-mail subscribers, through the JTM Google Group, and posted to the Illuminations blog. In this week’s Illumination we’ll explore the future of journalism education, federal shield laws and the continuing evolution of social media.

On disclosure

In this week’s blog entry, we looked at when a reporter is obligated to disclose his or her relationship to the subject of the article. In the Aug. 30 edition of the New York Times the profile of a white nationalist is written by a black staffer. The writer, John Eligon, shared his thoughts on the experience over Facebookreports Jim Romenesko. Should the Times have disclosed Eligon’s race in the story?

Re-Imagining Journalism, two years later

Tom Grubisich interviewed JTM Board Member Mike Fancher for The New News, a column in Steet Fight Magazine. Fancher published the white paper Re-Imagining Journalism: Local News for a Networked World in 2011. Two years later, Grubisich caught up with Fancher to ask how things have changed.

Woodward and Bernstein go to J-School

Carl Bernstein is headed to Stony Brook University in the Fall, and Bob Woodward will be at Yale this Spring, reports Jim Romenesko.


Columbia University is launching a program to breed unicorns at its Tow Center for Digital Journalism, reports the Nieman Lab. Nieman’s Adrienne LaFrance has coined the term to describe another mythical creature: a journalist who can code. Although the program sounds exciting, will journalism be able to hold onto these newly trained programmers or will they head to other industries where they can bring home enough money to live comfortably while paying of their student loans?


PBS Media Shift continues to report on the state of journalism education as part of its Back to J-School series. This week two journalism professors wrote about how journalism schools must adapt to our digital environment. Cindy Royal, a digital media professor at Texas State University and a member of the 2013-2014 Knight Journalism Fellowship class at Stanford, writes about how schools must adopt a digital-first curriculum. And Gary Kebbel, a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, suggests that j-schools embrace a nimble approach focused on the latest developments and new experimentation.

Dianne, look what you did

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s move to only protect some journalists under a proposed federal shield law, which I reported about in a recent blog post, has generated quite a reaction. The Society of Professional Journalists is now considering changing its name to the Society for Professional Journalism, a move that’s partly in response to Feinstein’s actions, reports Jim Romenesko. Numerous reporters, publications and press organizations have spoken out against the California senator’s proposal, including a compelling argument by Dell Cameron in Vice.

News organizations join citizens to open access

The Honolulu Civil Beat, an investigative news site co-founded by E-bay founder Pierre Omidyar, has launched the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest to help groups and individuals access government records, reports Nieman Lab. The program is somewhat similar to the Center for Investigative Reporting’s initiative to create FOIA Machine, an automated tool that will assist people making public records requests. FOIA Machine is currently under development after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised more than $50,000, well beyond its $17,500 goal.

The Medium is the message

What is Medium? Hamish McKenzie suggests in Pandodaily that Medium, a new Web site from Ev Williams who helped create both Blogger and Twitter, has an identity crisis. Medium, and Buzzfeed, are trying to straddle the line between being a publication and an open-platform like Twitter. It’s time for these companies to make up their mind, says McKenzie.


Meanwhile Twitter is becoming more conversational. A move that Om Malik says will translate into dollars and put the tech company one step closer to an IPO.


The news that the Huffington Post would no longer allow anonymous comments generated headlines when it was announced last week. Details about the plan have since revealed that existing users will be grandfathered in and that an astonishing 75% of comments on the site are removed because they are spam or violate the company’s requirement for civil discourse.

Postmortem analysis

ESPN pulled out of its partnership with Frontline to produce a documentary on the numerous brain injuries that have resulted from football players careers in the NFL last week. Poynter’s Kelly Mcbride has now examined the articles leading up to the break-up to analyze why the collaboration fell apartLeague of Denial, the PBS documentary, is scheduled to premiere Oct. 8.

Job(s) of the Week

The Commercial Appeal is looking for an investigative reporter. “If you can drop into City Hall for a records-driven weekender on spending abuses while juggling an ambitious, long-term investigative project, we should talk,” says the job listing.

Each week, The Illumination will include links to jobs, grants and fellowship opportunities. If you are hiring or know someone who is, send me an e-mail and I’ll gladly list it here. If you’re looking for a job, let me know what kind of work you are looking for and I’ll try to post anything I come across that could be a good fit.

Hangout Sept. 12 to Discuss Future of JTM

For over a decade JTM has hosted unconferences around the country.  We are now looking toward how we can grow as an organization.

Should we continue to focus on hosting physical gatherings? Should we move into online gatherings? Or should we take our energy and nonprofit status and launch a whole new initiative?

Please join usThursday Sept. 12 at 1PM Pacific Time (4PM Eastern) for a Hangout discussion on the future of JTM.