good journalism

Good news lede

Here’s a great lede from the archives of the New York Sun:

Chicago, Oct. 31: James Wilson lighted a cigarette while bathing his feet in benzine. He may live.

Told the whole story in two sentences.

— excerpted from “Newsman’s English,” Harold Evans, 1971
By | July 31st, 2009|Uncategorized|0 Comments

On Journalism

“With many young reporters the notion exists that a newspaper man is not at his best unless he is finding fault. They go out of their way to employ ridicule and sarcasm, and pride themselves on their ability to annoy and hurt. Some of them get so bad that they are always ready to stretch the truth for the sake of setting down what they think are particularly telling examples of their own smartness; and it must be confessed that occasionally experienced newspaper men who pose as fair judges are the worst offenders.”

— John L. Given, “Making a Newspaper,” 1907

By | July 27th, 2009|great quotes|0 Comments

Great journalism from my local paper:

Retired Fulton Superior Court Clerk Juanita Hicks won a controversial consulting contract from her handpicked successor last year in part to write a history of the clerk’s office.

“She is interested in history and so am I,” Clerk Cathlene “Tina” Robinson said in August while explaining the unusual assignment.

Now that Hicks’ contract has ended, no tangible work product exists.

In fact, Hicks left no written work behind as proof she completed any of the obscure duties that Robinson paid her $55 an hour to perform, said Willie Lovett, a county attorney who represents the clerk’s office.

The 10-month contract, which ended in December, allowed Hicks to bill up to $97,000. She came in under budget at $73,922, according to county figures.

In response to a recent open-record request from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Robinson was unable to produce any memos, e-mails, documents or correspondence on any topic by Hicks.

Hicks retires. Robinson replaces her. Robinson gives Hicks nearly $80,000. Hicks can’t prove that she did any work.

Incredible.

By | February 10th, 2008|AJC|0 Comments

Good journalism from the NY Times:

Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.

Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.

Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.

The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.

Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.

Hey, I know he got $31 million for charity — but do the ends always justify the means?

By | January 31st, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Here’s more good journalism:

The Clintons have also assailed Mr. Obama for praising President Ronald Reagan and remarking upon the Republican Party’s dominance in past policy debates — even though Mr. Obama was not endorsing those policies and was limiting his praise to Reagan’s communication abilities (something the Clintons have previously praised).

The parenthetical is just offering a little bit of fact to help straighten out the record. Always good to see public officials called on their crap.

By | January 23rd, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments