From Vanity Fair about Washington Post Protocols

In a memo to the newsroom on Wednesday morning, executive editor Marty Baron outlined five “principles for covering potential hacked or leaked material ahead of the election.” 

First principle: “Before reporting on the release of hacked or leaked information, there should be a conversation with senior editors about the newsworthiness of the information, its authenticity and whether we can determine its provenance. Our emphasis should be on making a sound and well-considered decision—not on speed. We should resist the instinct to post a story simply because a competitor has done so.”

Second principle: “Beware the echo: The fact that politicians or other organizations are reporting or commenting on hacked or leaked information does not automatically make it reportable by us.”

Third: “If a decision is made to publish a story about hacked or leaked information, our coverage should emphasize what we know—or don’t know—about the source of the information and how that may fit into a foreign or domestic influence operation. Our stories should prominently explain what we know about the full context of the information we are presenting, including its origins and the motivations of the source, including whether it appears to be an effort to distract from another development. Headlines need to be carefully vetted to make sure they do not echo propaganda.” 

Fourth: “We should avoid linking to hacked material or potential disinformation, which could amplify such material online without context. Also, while such material may be authentic, it may be part of a release that also includes doctored or falsified material.”

And last but not least: “Connect the dots: Our ongoing coverage should help readers understand how political lines of attack fit into disinformation operations. If a candidate amplifies a critique of an opponent that is also being promoted by foreign actors or domestic conspiracy theorists, we should make that clear in our stories.”

Welcome to election season 2020.

Stories to Read

Photo New York City Mayor’s Office

The New York Daily News

Mayor de Blasio pushed back in-person school re-openings Thursday over concerns raised by union leaders.

In-person learning will now start on Sept. 29 for kids in grades kindergarten through eight. Middle schools and high schools will now re-open in-person learning on Oct. 1.

Pre-k and 3-k students will still re-open on Sept. 21, the original in-person start date.

“There are some blanks that we need to fill in,” teachers union leader Michael Mulgrew said Thursday at a press conference with de Blasio. “We must make sure we get this right.”

De Blasio said teacher staffing levels are the biggest concern and announced Thursday that the city will bring in another 2,500 teachers, in addition to the 2,000 he previously announced, bringing the total to 4,500 additional teachers.

This is breaking news – more to follow.

Photo New York City Mayor’s Office

The Wall Street Journal

By Leslie Brody and Katie Honan Updated Sept. 17, 2020 11:00 am ET

New York City schools will delay in-person instruction for a second time, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday, after growing complaints from teachers over classrooms being understaffed and unsafe due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For coverage of how students and parents are navigating education during Covid-19, please see WSJ’s Coronavirus & Education

The nation’s largest school district offered its 1 million students the option of fully remote learning or a hybrid of some in-person instruction and remote learning. In-person instruction was scheduled to begin on Monday.

Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference that in-person instruction will instead begin in phases, with the youngest students returning to classrooms first.

Read more

New York Daily News

Heart attack patient dies, 11 people injured, after FDNY truck crashes into ambulance in Brooklyn

Two life-saving efforts ended in tragedy when an FDNY truck headed to a Brooklyn fire slammed into an ambulance rushing a heart attack victim to the hospital, with the patient killed early Thursday and another 11 people injured, police said.

The lights were flashing on both vehicles when the collision occurred at a Bedford-Stuyvesant intersection, leaving a woman critically injured inside the ambulance as she rode along with the victim, officials said.

Six firefighters and two paramedics were also hospitalized, along with two people struck inside a nearby car while stopped at a traffic light, cops said.

The patient, identified by family as Jamil Almansouri, 59, was headed to Woodhull Medical Center when the ambulance was T-boned by a fire truck from Ladder 102 at the corner of Myrtle and Throop Aves. at 12:51 a.m., police said.

The fire truck was heading west on Myrtle Ave., responding to a blaze three blocks away, when it struck the driver’s side of the ambulance going north on Throop Ave., authorities said. The force of the impact sent the ambulance into a Honda CRV stopped at a traffic light with a driver and one passenger inside.

Responding medics rushed Almansouri and the 35-year-old woman riding with him to Woodhull, where he was pronounced dead. The woman remained in critical condition Thursday as authorities began their investigation into the bizarre crash.

According to police, the FDNY truck responded at 12:43 a.m. to a fire on the fifth floor of an eight-story building at 721 Willoughby Ave. to help search for people reportedly trapped inside the burning residence.

Six minutes later, the ambulance picked up the heart attack victim — already in critical condition — and took off for Woodhull.

The fire truck slammed into the ambulance near the rear axle two minutes after that, with the medical vehicle then crashing into a Honda CRV stopped at the traffic light with two adults inside, police said.

Six firefighters and two EMTs involved in the crash were taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries. One of the EMTs suffered a leg injury, cops said. The two people in the Honda were also taken to nearby hospitals with minor injuries.



The Story Behind a Misunderstood Satanic Monument

When Confederate memorials began to be toppled in June, far-right organizations called for the destruction of the Satanic Temple’s bronze statue of Baphomet. Here’s why that doesn’t make sense.

“Satanic Panic” never really ended; it just fell out of fashion in mainstream media. With the rise of QAnon in Trump’s America, however, Satanism has received renewed interest across the conservative media spectrum. When the Black Lives Matter protests started bringing down Confederate memorials in June, far-right publications and organizations like The Washington Times and Turning Point USA called for the destruction of the Satanic Temple’s bronze statue of Baphomet, its patron deity with the head of a goat and angel wings.

Read more

Pyramid Style Stories

The New York Times

By Sydney EmberKatie Glueck and Thomas Kaplan

Sept. 17, 2020, 5:00 a.m.In July, as the coronavirus pandemic raged, Joseph R. Biden Jr. made one trip to a battleground state. In August, he again visited just one swing state. And on the second weekend in September, less than eight weeks before Election Day, Mr. Biden’s only activity was going to church near his Delaware home.

Mr. Biden’s restraint has spilled over into his campaign operation, which was late to appoint top leaders in key states and embraced a far more cautious approach to in-person engagement than President Trump, and even some other Democratic candidates. While the Trump campaign claims it is knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors a day, the Biden team is relying heavily on TV ads and contacting voters largely through phone calls, text messaging programs and other digital outreach.

That guarded strategy reflects the bet Mr. Biden’s campaign has made for months: that American voters will reward a sober, responsible approach that mirrors the ways the pandemic has upended their own lives, and follows scientific guidance that Mr. Trump almost gleefully flouts.

Read more.

Assignment September 10, 2020

Coronavirus and Your Community

Assignment due Tuesday, September 15 at 5 p.m.

Write 300 to 500 words about the way coronavirus affects your community. Interview at least two people. Please try to interview people outside of your own family.

Use the active voice.

The subject does the action. 

  1. Write in a Word document or put it in the Google Drive folder.
  2. The copy goes flush left.
  3. If you include a photo put it at the top of the piece.
  4. Remember that this is a news story and not a term paper.  

a. You want to write a lead, or lede.

  1. You can choose to write in the traditional inverted pyramid style. That means you give us the most important facts first.


 2. Or you can choose the pyramid style where you begin with a small detail, or quote.

If you need examples of these, look on our website under Stories To Read:

If it is still confusing, get in touch with me.

b.  After the lede, you write the nut graf. Tell us what the story is about.

c. Then continue to tell the story.

d. Remember that one idea should logically lead to the next.

e. When you finish what you have to say don’t try to wrap it up neatly. Just finish. You can finish with a quote. But don’t tell us what you have told us. You can move the story forward. So if you are doing a story about people unable to pay their rent, you might give information about where people can go to get help in a situation like that. 




Stories to Read

People wearing masks on a NYC subway train. Photo by

From the New York Times


Journalists Aren’t the Enemy of the People. But We’re Not Your Friends.

President Trump will try to put the media on the ballot, and reporters face the increasing temptation to posture for those most eager to oust him.




The worst thing about being a reporter in the age of Donald Trump is, of course, the president’s concerted attacks on the free press. The second-worst thing is well-meaning readers who say things like, “Thank you for what you do.”

I mean, I appreciate it. Last week, on assignment in Cape Cod — hardship travel, I know — I thanked myself for what I do with a dip in the Atlantic and a buttery lobster roll. Some of my more frontline colleagues, from Elmhurst, Queens, to Wuhan, China, take physical and psychological risks to deliver information that deserve true gratitude.

But when some of you who are alarmed by the rise of Mr. Trump thank a political journalist or a television pundit, you’re feeding our worst instincts — toward self-importance, toward making ourselves the story and toward telling you exactly what you want to hear. And you’re leading us into a dangerous temptation at a time of maximum pressure on the free press.

“The many mainstream journalists who have been charting Trump’s ceaseless outrages for four long years, myself included, inevitably risk becoming performance artists for appreciative readers who already agree with us,” said Frank Rich, the executive producer of the HBO shows “Veep” and “Succession” and a former New York Times columnist. “You have to wonder if any of it has swayed a single Trump voter.”

Read more


From the Washington Post

Damage in Oregon alone may add up to more than 1,000 homes.

A table stands outside the destroyed Cressman's General Store after the Creek Fire burned through Fresno County, Calif. on Tuesday. (Noah Berger/AP)
A table stands outside the destroyed Cressman’s General Store after the Creek Fire burned through Fresno County, Calif. on Tuesday. (Noah Berger/AP)

From the New York Daily News

Teen, 18, dies after he’s stabbed and set ablaze in Bronx apartment building

Investigators at the scene of a teenager's death in a fifth-floor hallway on Woodycrest Ave. at W. 165th St. in Highbridge.
Investigators at the scene of a teenager’s death in a fifth-floor hallway on Woodycrest Ave. at W. 165th St. in Highbridge. (Sam Costanza/for New York Daily News)

A teenager died after he was stabbed and set on fire in a gruesome attack in a Bronx apartment hallway Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Winston Ortiz, 18, had been in an argument with the assailant sometime before the brutal assault at 3:10 p.m. in a fifth-floor hallway on Woodycrest Ave. at W. 165th St. in Highbridge, police said.

He was stabbed three times in the chest before his assailant poured accelerant on him and lit him ablaze, cops said. Responding cops found him semi-conscious, with extensive burns on his body.

Medics rushed Ortiz to Harlem Hospital in critical condition, but he couldn’t be saved. There were no immediate arrests in the case.


Residents of the fifth floor rushed to the teen’s aid after hearing a girl screaming nearby.

A girl was screaming and I thought her apartment was on fire. When I got there, I saw a kid on the floor. He was on fire,” said one woman, a 34-year-old mom who lives down the hell. She asked her name not be used because the attacker is still at large.

“I started screaming. I was panicked. I screamed to my daughter to call 911,” she said. “I grabbed a bucket and filled it with water. Another woman came and got a bucket.”

She added, “We passed the buckets to other people, and they put him out. I couldn’t recognize him. He was too badly burned.”

The building’s super, Evaristo Rodriguez, 59, said he didn’t recognize the victim.

“When they called us, we thought the apartment was on fire,” he said. He was eating lunch with his adult daughter at the time.

“But when we got up there it was a different story. Somebody had burned somebody else,” Rodriguez said.

“He doesn’t live here. We didn’t recognize this guy. We have no idea what he was doing here.”

The attack happened on the same block where two men were shot outside a bodega Tuesday night. One victim, 21, was shot seven times, while the second, 37, was hit twice. Both survived their wounds.

With Rocco Parascandola


From The New York Times

18-Year-Old Dies After He Is Stabbed and Set on Fire in the Bronx

The teenager was attacked in an apartment building near Yankee Stadium. The police later arrested the brother of his former girlfriend.

By Troy Closson and Edgar Sandoval

Published Aug. 13, 2020Updated Aug. 14, 20

Winston Ortiz was shy teenager who family members said had become depressed in recent days over a breakup with his first girlfriend. So, he was excited when he heard from her on Wednesday afternoon, they said, and he left his family’s Bronx apartment in high spirits.

He never returned.

About 3 p.m., Mr. Ortiz was stabbed in the chest, doused with a flammable liquid and then set on fire while he was still alive in the hallway of a nearby apartment building, the police said. He died hours later at a hospital in Harlem.

The next day, the police arrested his former girlfriend’s brother, Adones Betances, 22, on charges of manslaughter and murder. Detectives believed that the two men had argued about Mr. Ortiz’s relationship with Mr. Betances’ 15-year-old sister, said a law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation.

“We got a call from one of the police officers who was at the scene,” his father, who is also named Winston Ortiz, said. “They said his last words to them were his mother’s phone number.”

Read More:


Why Study Civics?

The word civics comes from the Latin word civicus, which means relating to citizens. In the Gettysburg Address in 1863, after the Union army defeated the Confederate army, President Abraham Lincoln stood on a battlefield in Pennsylvania and said, “…that these dead shall have not died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.

Government of the people, for the people is basic civics. It is a call to action for Americans to come together and participate. But we need knowledge to become informed citizens and participate. Journalists need to know the basic things about government to cover stories with context that provide people with the information they need to make informed decisions.

Maybe you already know the answer. But hey. Lots of people don’t.

Opinion vs. News

Photographers waiting in the rotunda of the Russell Building in the United States Capitol, Washington, DC. Photo by

What’s the difference between an opinion piece and a news story? 

An opinion piece gives you information from the point of view of the writer, or presenter. It may include facts, and reporting, but it differs from a news story in that it lays out an individual’s ideas and often their biases.  Opinion is, essentially, someone’s argument for a certain point of view about a specific topic.

When we read newspaper editorial pages, we see two types of opinion. We get the collective opinion of the editors and we also read, on the OpEd page — the page opposite the editorials — what individual columnists have to say in their byline pieces.

A news story reports the facts without the opinion of the reporter, writer, producer or presenter. It can contain attributed or quoted opinions of people interviewed. So a news story can contain opinion and tell a compelling story. But it should not include the opinion of the newsgatherer or the news organization.

A Pew Research Center poll, in 2018, found that younger people were better than older people at figuring out what’s factual and what’s opinion.

Pew said, “About a third of 18- to 49-year-olds (32 percent) correctly identified all five of the factual statements as factual, compared with two-in-ten among those ages 50 and older. A similar pattern emerges for the opinion statements. Among 18- to 49-year-olds, 44 percent correctly identified all five opinion statements as opinions, compared with 26 percent among those ages 50 and older.”

Pew Research Poll Opinion vs. Fact.png

You can take the quiz and see how you do.

Fact vs. Opinion Quiz Pew Research Center

CBS Reporter Weijia Jiang astounded at Trump's response during news conference



The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan research organization that conducts research, polls surveys, checks facts and analyzes media trends.

This video posted by The Guardian highlights Huffington Post’s White House correspondent S V Dáte asking a quesstion.


How Journalists Cover the News

Mayor Bill di Blasio in the Blue Room at City for a Press Conference

This is an excerpt from a talk in June 2020 sponsored by the Paley Center for Media hosted by Charles Whitaker, Dean of Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with CNN Correspondent Omar Jimenez, CBS Correspondent Weijia Jiang and critic Michael Eric Dyson. The clip was assembled for a journalism class at CCNY.