Journalism receives praise, criticism for 2015

Journalism is not a perfect science.

Exceptional journalism can be powerful—magnifying inequity, exposing indiscretions, and holding the powerful accountable. Examples of heroic journalism from 2015 include the vindication of Bill Cosby’s victims, the brave reporters in Roanoke, Virginia, continuing to practice their craft after experiencing violence and tragedy, and a local newspaper digging into the failings of its school system.

However, poor journalism can be damaging—resulting in negative consequences for those being covered and staining the reputation of the whole industry. This past year saw its fair share of journalism stumbles, including NBC’s once-beloved anchor Brian Williams becoming a butt of every joke about failed memories, reporters rushing to identify suspects, and Gawker’s misjudgment of what is considered newsworthy.

The examples above and more are featured in a comprehensive piece by David Uberti (@DavidUberti) for the Columbia Journalism Review titled, The best and worst journalism of 2015I highly recommended the article for those wishing to recall the year that was in journalism.

Here’s to 2016 and the ups and downs sure to come in the ever-evolving world of journalism.



Citizenfour claims Best Documentary at Oscars

The Edward Snowden-inspired Citizenfour took home “Best Documentary” honors at the Oscars on Feb. 22. Citizenfour, which was originally only shown in limited cities, details the high-risk exposure of the NSA and government surveillance by whistleblower Edward Snowden and how the revelations ignited a national conversation about privacy.

Director Laura Poitras, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills accepted the award. In her emotional acceptance speech, Poitras reiterated the message of Citizenfour:

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself. When the most important decisions being made, affecting all of us, are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden, for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.”

I recommend Citizenfour to those interested in learning more about Snowden and the process behind the sharing of his discoveries with the world. Below is the official trailer for Citizenfour followed by a Q&A with Director Laura Poitras by the Film Society of Lincoln Center:

Besides Citizenfour, Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place To Hide is another exceptional account of Snowden’s journey. No Place To Hide also provides specific details and technical aspects of the various NSA programs exposed by Snowden. Below is a Ted Talk on privacy by Greenwald: