Art of the Interview

People smoking marijuana in Washington Square Park

Some people want to talk and others don’t. You must try your best to get people to talk to you and tell you what you want to know.

All interviews require the same basic skills. You need to prepare. You want to research and find out everything you can about the subject before you ask a question.

Breaking News Challenge

NYFD responds to a fire in Manhattan on April 21, 2021

If you head to a breaking news story, you want to find out whatever facts are available before you get there. When you arrive at the scene of the story, you want to quickly assess the situation and decide who can give you the best information.

You want to pause for a minute or two to think about what you learned and decide who you need to interview.

NYFD at the scene of a fire on April 19, 2021

Then you want to calmly approach the person, introduce yourself and try to make a human connection. That will help you talk to the interview subject and get the best answers.

  1. Remember to ask open-ended questions instead of questions that give you a yes or no answer.
  2. Listen to the answers. Look into the interview subjects’ eyes and pay attention to the cues they give you.
  3. Ask follow-up questions based on their answers.
  4. Remember to be a fellow human being instead of a reporter on a mission.
President Biden discusses his 100 days in office interview with Craig Melvin on MSNBC.

Sit-down Interviews

In a sit-down interview preparation is key. You want to make sure that you know everything about your subject. Celebrities, politicians and athletes will tell you what they want to tell you. So you must think about what you and your readers, viewers or listeners want to know. Look for the unusual, something others haven’t covered before.

Reporting Basics



Journalism means more than taking handouts or reporting what’s said in news releases. Good journalism rests on a set of principles. Solid stories require accurate information and balance in reporting it.

Think about answering a story’s basic questions:

  • who
  • what
  • when
  • where
  • why



Then examine how the story happened.

How do we connect the dots to tell a good story with a beginning, middle and end?

The inverted pyramid.

Traditionally journalists use the model of the inverted pyramid construct a story.Inverted Pyramid


But increasingly, news organizations encourage reporters to use better storytelling techniques, using characters and interesting details to get the reader, viewer or listener interested. Television stories often start with small details, or personal stories and we see that more and more in print, digital and radio.



Only report what you know was said, and by whom.  This means attributing statements to specific people:

  1. The mayor says…
  2. The district attorney says…
  3. The neighbor says…
  4. According to the Associated Press…
  5. According to The New York Times…
  6. According to the website….



Wikipedia and many other websites aren’t always reliable sources.  If a site quotes another source, it’s important to go to the primary source to make sure that you have accurate information.

Just because somebody says something doesn’t mean it’s true.  Even high-ranking public officials may be misinformed, or may have an agenda that obscures the truth.  Even when you’re under deadline pressure, try to confirm everything that you’re told with additional sources.  It’s a good idea to have at least two sources.  Remember:  truth is an absolute defense against libel.


Elements of a Good Story

Ancient Greek writers developed a basic storytelling formula and they understood the importance of characters:

  • villains
  • victims
  • heroes

You’ll find victims, villains and heroes at the center of every good drama.  Audiences recognize the victim’s pain, hiss at the villain, and cheer for the hero. Most of what we cover will not be as dramatic as a classic Greek tale, and news coverage demands that we balance two sides of a story. Until the jury returns a guilty verdict, it’s unfair to characterize the accused as a villain. But if the actions of the accused are villainous, you report the facts and the audience, like the jury decides.

Highlight Characters

In daily news reporting, we don’t always have the luxury of a developing a story around a character. We do have to report the facts. But where we can, we want to highlight characters.

Often they reveal themselves in what they say, how they act, and through the expressions on their faces.

Readers, viewers and listeners want to engage with the real drama in real people’s lives. We feel their pain, their anger, their frustration and their triumph. We cheer them, get angry, or feel their pain. We’re indignant or inspired.

Characters drive stories and make them memorable.


Whether you begin with just the facts, an engaging character or an interesting detail, you   need to let your reader, viewer or listener in on the point of the story pretty quickly.

Journalism uses the nut graf , or paragraph, to explain the heart of the story. The nut graf should come pretty close to the top of the report. It helps to tie everything together.  It helps you keep the focus and continue to the ideas in your story.

Once you explain the point of the story, you can move on flesh it out with facts and details.



The First Amendment

Protestors in Washington Square Park, Photo by

The Bill of RightsThe First Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, guarantees freedom of religion and speech, the press and the right of people to gather to protest and complain to the government.

In its own words:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to freely assemble, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

After the founders of the United States wrote the U.S. Constitution, some of them realized they had left out critical guarantees to safeguard the type of nation, free of tyranny, they and others wanted.

The newly minted senators and congressmen debated about whether “checks and balances” would protect the rights of the people, or whether they needed to write amendments to the Constitution.

Freedom of the press was one of the priorities for Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson wrote a letter to another lawmaker saying,

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Some wanted to rewrite the Constitution but worried that people would think that they intended to tear up what they wanted to protect. They turned to U.S. Virginia Representative James Madison, a good thinker and a good writer.

James Madison

Madison argued that, “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

In 1789 Madison drafted amendments and presented them to the House of Representatives. The House approved 17 amendments. The Senate approved 12 and the states ratified 10 in December, 1791 as the Bill of Rights.

Thomas Jefferson became the third President of the United States and James Madison became the fourth.

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.

Easy to Make Mistakes, So Verify

The Parkland shooting shows us how easily you can make a mistake and report things that are untrue in the rush to get a story out quickly.

Two things stand out:

  1. The false report that Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who killed 17 and wounded 14 others at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, was connected to a white supremacist group.
  2. There have been 18 school shootings since January 1st, 2018.

Let’s tackle the first false report.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization that follows hate groups, wrote on its blog the day after the shooting that Cruz was associated with a Jacksonville, Florida, white supremacist group, Republic of Florida (ROF). The ADL had previously been contacted by someone who described himself as the leader of the group.

The ADL told Politico it picked up the information on 4chan, a bulletin board where self-described ROF members claimed Cruz was one of them.  News organizations picked the story up and people on 4chan kept it going. One of the users described it as “prime trolling opportunity,” and the discussions involved fooling reporters and feeding them the story that Cruz was with ROF.

The same kinds of conversations between these trolls about the false connection showed up on Discord, a gamers’ app that attracts neo-Nazis, about a concerted effort to fool reporters.

Politico posted these exchanges from the bulletin boards:

“On the Discord chat, a user called Curbstomp suggested sharing generic photos of ROF and claiming they depicted Cruz.

“I have an idea . . . We can just take a pic of masked ROF members and claim one of them is Cruz,” Curbstomp wrote.

Members of the Discord chat swapped potential photos.

Others joined the chorus on 4chan, interspersing jokes with purported confirmations.

“I can confirm this guy was trying to enact a race war and got kicked out of ROF,” wrote another poster.”

Reporters from AP and ABC contacted the trolls and supposed members of the group and went with the story.

But shortly after the first report, on Thursday, February 15, 2018, the Broward County sheriff said it wasn’t true.

How do you verify a claim that someone is in a hate group?

The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups. Contact them and ask.

The FBI monitors hate crimes. Some local law enforcement agencies do too. Contact them and ask.

ProPublica, a non-profit news organization, began Documenting Hate, a project that collects data from journalists from more than 130 news organizations as well as independent journalists, local law enforcement, community groups and civil rights groups to try to get a clear picture of what is happening in America

The Anti-Defamation League has been a reliable source in the past.

The bottom line is that Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter are good sources for leads and ways to connect with people. But you have to be extremely careful, because we know that people in chat rooms, on social media, and trolls are determined to spread false information and use reporters to to do it.  Take your time. Report only what you know.



2. Mistaken numbers about school shootings.

PolitiFact traced the first error to surface to a tweet from ABC reporter Jeff Greenfield.

In the rest of the world, there have been 18 school shootings in the last twenty years. In the U.S., there have been 18 school shootings since January 1.

It picked up 130,000 likes on Twitter.

Greenfield apparently picked up the statistic from Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The number of 18 does not mean that there were 18 incidents of someone going into a school and shooting students, as Cruz allegedly did.

Instead the number includes a man committing suicide in a school parking lot and a student unintentionally firing an instructor’s gun. You can see the full list here.

If we use careful language, we would not classify many as school shootings.

Checking Facts:

PolitiFact checks claims of politicians, reporters and others in the news., a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center was founded in 1994 to research urban legends. It has become a go-to source for checking out internet rumors.

Open, part of The Center for Responsive Politics, follows political contributions and money spent on lobbying. It followed where the National Rifle Association (NRA)  money went in the 2016 election.


Sunlight Foundation shines the light on government and government officials using public records, technology and information from civic groups and journalists,

See Through New York, a project of the Empire Center, shows you salaries of every public employee in New York State as well as pension information.


Language We Use

What do we call people in prison or jail?

Said and Stated

From the Associated Press Style Guide


In general, spell out one through nine: The Yankees finished second. He had nine months to go. Use figures for 10 or above and whenever preceding a unit of measure or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things. Also in all tabular matter, and in statistical and sequential forms.

Use figures for:ACADEMIC COURSE NUMBERS: History 6, Philosophy 209.

ADDRESSES210 Main St. Spell out numbered streets nine and under: 5 Sixth Ave.3012 50th St.No. 10 Downing St. Use the abbreviations Ave.Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Spell them out and capitalize without a number: Pennsylvania Avenue.See addresses.

AGESa 6-year-old girlan 8-year-old lawthe 7-year-old house. Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun. A 5-year-old boy, but the boy is 5 years oldThe boy, 5, has a sister, 10. The race is for 3-year-olds. The woman is in her 30s. 30-something, but Thirty-something to start a sentence.

CENTURIES: Use figures for numbers 10 or higher: 21st century. Spell out for numbers nine and lower: fifth century. (Note lowercase.) For proper names, follow the organization’s usage.

COURT DECISIONS: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4, a 5-4 decision. The word to is not needed, except in quotations: “The court ruled 5 to 4.”

DATES, YEARS AND DECADES: Feb. 8, 2007, Class of ’66, the 1950s. For the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 9/11 is acceptable in all references. (Note comma to set off the year when the phrase refers to a month, date and year.)

MILLIONS, BILLIONS, TRILLIONS: Use a figure-word combination. 1 million people; $2 billion, NOT one million/two billion. (Also note no hyphen linking numerals and the word millionbillion or trillion.)See millions, billions, trillionsdollars.MONETARY UNITS: 5 cents, $5 bill, 8 euros, 4 pounds.

SCHOOL GRADES: Use figures for grades 10 and above: 10th grade. Spell out for first through ninth grades: fourth grade, fifth grader.

SEQUENTIAL DESIGNATIONS: Page 1, Page 20A. They were out of sizes 4 and 5; magnitude 6 earthquake; Rooms 3 and 4; Chapter 2; line 1 but first line; Act 3, Scene 4, but third act, fourth scene; Game 1, but best of seven.See act numberschaptersearthquakesline numberspage numbersscene numbers.

POLITICAL DISTRICTSWard 9, 9th Precinct, 3rd Congressional District.See congressional districtspolitical divisions.–

Recipes2 tablespoons of sugar to 1 cup of milk.See recipes.SPEEDS: 7 mph, winds of 5 to 10 mph, winds of 7 to 9 knots.

(Read More)

AOC Earth Day Event

View this email in your browser
April 22, 2021

Contact: Justin Perez 
Phone:  312.282.5618    E-mail:

(Astoria, NY) –  This Saturday, April 24, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will host an Earth Day celebration in Astoria Park for families in the community. The event will include socially distanced games, arts and crafts, and activities with a focus on the Green New Deal and the environment. Participating community organizations include Sunrise Movement, New York Communities for Change, Food & Water Watch, Sane Energy, NYPIRG, DSA, and Queens Climate Project. Attendees are required to wear a mask.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will be joined by State Senator Jessica Ramos, State Senator Mike Gianaris, and Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani for remarks about the NRG Energy, Inc proposal for the Astoria power plant. The Congresswoman opposes NRG’s effort to replace their 50-year old turbine at the Astoria ‘peaker’ plant with a generator that burns fossil fuels extracted by fracking. 

WHAT: Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez hosts community event in Astoria Park on Earth Day, will be joined by Assemblymember Mamdani, State Senator Ramos, and State Senator Gianaris

WHEN: Saturday, April 24
Event: 12 – 3pm
Remarks: 1 – 2pm

WHERE: Astoria Park 
Near entrance at 24th Avenue and 19th Street, closer to Shore Blvd RSVP by replying to this email or contacting
 All press who attend must comply with current New York COVID-19
mitigation measures, including wearing masks during interviews and recording of B-roll.

AOC Townhall

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR Friday, April 23, 2021


FRIDAY: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Hosts Town Hall on Green New Deal

The Bronx, NY (April 23, 2021) – Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) will host her monthly town hall for NY-14 constituents on Friday, April 23, at 5:30PM ET. At the virtual event, she will discuss the Green New Deal, which she reintroduced alongside other climate legislation this week. She will also discuss how to get up to $9,000 reimbursed through the FEMA funeral assistance program if you lost a loved one to COVID-19. Additionally, the Congresswoman will take questions from the audience.

There will be a press gaggle at the conclusion of the event, at approximately 6:30 PM ET. You must sign up here to receive log-in information.

WHO: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)

WHAT: 14th Congressional District Virtual Town Hall

WHEN: 5:30 PM EST, Friday, April 23, 2021

WHERE: This is a virtual event. You must sign up here to receive log-in information.

***Spanish translation will be available***

***CART open captions can be accessed HERE***

Opinion Writing

Opinion writers use their own experiences to offer insight, historical information, factual information and, or, a specific point of view.

Before you start out think about whether what you have say will resonate with other people. Who cares?

  1. Your lede should clearly state the point.
  2. The rest of the opinion piece should back up your claim.
  3. You need more than opinion. You need facts.
  4. Statistics and links to studies help.
  5. Write 500 to 700 words.

Here’s what The New York Times says about submitting an opinion piece.

The New York Times accepts opinion essays on any topic for both the daily print page and online section as well as the Sunday Review, the International edition (which is edited out of London and Hong Kong), and other themed series. Published pieces typically run from 400 to 1,200 words, but drafts of any length within the bounds of reason will be considered.

We ask that everyone include a one-sentence author ID at the top or bottom of the submission. Please do not assume we are going to know who you are. Also, be sure to include annotations for all assertions and attributions made in your essay.

All submissions must be original, exclusive to The Times and, as a matter of security, embedded in the text of an email, not as an attachment.

Submissions may be sent to

Due to the large volume of messages we receive, we have to pass on much material of value and interest. If you do not hear from us within three business days, you should feel free to offer it elsewhere.

What, exactly, is an Op-Ed?

As Trish Hall, the former Op-Ed and Sunday Review editor has written, “Anything can be an Op-Ed.” Personal or explanatory essays, commentary on news events, reflections on cultural trends and more are all welcome. We’re interested in anything well-written with a fact-based viewpoint we believe readers will find worthwhile.

Examples of good opinion writing.


I Met a Taliban Leader and Lost Hope for My Country

By Farahnaz Forotan

Ms. Forotan is an Afghan journalist who fled her country after her life was threatened.

  • April 21, 2021

As men continue to bicker over the future and control of Afghanistan, I have already lost my home and my country. I worked in Kabul as a television journalist for 12 years, and finally left in November after threats to my life.

I know how the Taliban plan to shape the future of my country, and their vision of my country has no space for me.

For what turned out to be one of my last assignments, I traveled from Kabul to Doha, Qatar, in October to report on the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Like many Afghans, I was somewhat hopeful that the talks might help end the long, pitiless war in our country.

In Doha, I had the opportunity to interview members of the Taliban negotiating team at the conference hall where the talks were being held. The experience reinforced my sense that postwar Afghanistan, dominated by the Taliban, was bound to be a bleak place for Afghan women.

Read more.

Fixing policing is a long, hard slog


The conviction of Derek Chauvin for the cold, calculated murder of George Floyd was about as simple and straightforward as a court case of its kind could be. But of course the case was about more than just one killing.

We’ll know true change has arrived when it doesn’t take the protest of more than 15 million people to get justice in a case with a damning video showing credible witnesses begging a cop — in vain — not to wantonly kill a subdued, handcuffed and obviously incapacitated man.

Read more.

Ramadan in the age of COVID: A personal snapshot


I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. My alarm never misses a beat. My husband and I leap out of bed. Got to get a meal ready, eat, savor that steaming cup of latte, all before the call to prayer at 4:40 a.m.

We bump into one another in our narrow kitchen. He heats the tawwa (hot plate) over the stove flipping the frozen parathas.Ever had a paratha? It’s a flat bread, oily and flaky, and as yummy as it sounds. I microwave the chicken curry, chopping cilantro for garnish. If you haven’t had the experience of fresh chopped cilantro, you haven’t done justice to your nostrils. Tear off a piece of paratha, scoop up the curry, and take that aroma-filled bite.

After meals, I curl up with the Koran and my cup of coffee. Knowing that this will be my only cup for the next 24 hours makes me savor every freshly ground frothy sip. This Koran was a wedding gift from my grandfather. It is 12 x 16, hardcover and heavy. The script of black on pale gold invites me to caress the page. I recite the Koran in Arabic and hope to complete it in its entirety by the end of Ramadan. It is dark outside, with just a few checkered boxes of light in the buildings around. The streets below are quiet and empty. It is still. After coffee, I make myself drink water, lots of it. Can’t get dehydrated.

Read more.

Finding Data

Data graphic

Johns Hopkins University

New York State Covid-19 Tracker

Covid-19 Modeling University of Washington

911 Response Time

Nassau County Health Data

Suffolk County Health Data Questionnaires

HPD Violation look up

Construction accident look up

Data & Statistics

Source and The Investigative Reporter

From the Intercept

The Journalist and the Whistleblower

As the government attacks press freedom, reporters must consider their responsibility to sources — and each other.James Risen
April 13 2021, 10:38 a.m.DONATE29


The Federal Bureau of Investigations headquarters is seen in Washington, D.C., on October 24, 2019.

Photo: Elise Swain/The Intercept

WHEN I BECAME a reporter, I was surprised to discover a trait that I had never before recognized in myself.

People liked to talk to me. They liked to talk to me so much that they often revealed things they weren’t supposed to share. They did so voluntarily.

I noticed this when I was 23 and working in my first job as a reporter at the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana. One day, I was meeting with the director of the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, the most pro-business man in town, when he suddenly told me to get into his car and drove me to a factory with no signs or exterior identification. He explained that the building I was looking at was the secret plant of a company trying to hide from regulators and labor unions. A few months later, I was standing in a large crowd of reporters covering a strike at International Harvester, then Fort Wayne’s largest employer, when someone who worked there walked up to me and whispered that I should follow him. When we got to his car, he opened the trunk to reveal boxloads of secret International Harvester documents — and told me to take all of them.Join Our NewsletterOriginal reporting. Fearless journalism. Delivered to you.I’m in

Things like that have continued to happen throughout my career, and I’ve been surprised every time. While I was working on a book about the anti-abortion movement, Joseph Scheidler, one of the nation’s leading anti-abortion extremists, gave me the keys to his Chicago office and told my co-author and me that we could spend an entire weekend going through his personal files by ourselves, with no one else around. We found lots of documents that made him look bad, and I never understood why he let us do it.

I’ve always thought of this strange capability as a trait rather than a skill, because I don’t recall ever doing anything to make it happen. In most fields, such a trait would be modestly helpful. But for an investigative reporter, it is all-important.

Yet for today’s investigative reporters, particularly in the field of national security reporting, being good at getting people to talk can seem like a curse.

In the 21st century, hatred of the press has become bipartisan, and government leak investigations under both Republican and Democratic administrations have altered the landscape for national security reporting. Starting with the George W. Bush administration in the years after 9/11, the federal government has brought criminal charges in nearly 20 cases related to leaks to the press, virtually all of them involving national security matters. In almost all of those cases, it is the sources who have faced criminal charges, not the reporters who published what the sources told them.The fate of modern investigative reporting is now on a collision course with high-tech government leak investigations.

As a result, the fate of modern investigative reporting is now on a collision course with high-tech government leak investigations. Being really good at getting people to tell you government secrets — the key to career success as a national security reporter — now brings great danger to a reporter’s sources.

The arrest and prosecution of a source can lead to a silent sense of guilt and shame. Silent because the reporter cannot publicly acknowledge the source for fear of confirming the government’s case; guilt and shame because the reporter’s news organization rarely does anything to help a source facing federal prosecution. At major newspapers and television networks, there is an unspoken gulf between the reporter, who has a personal relationship with the source, and top managers, who don’t.

The Department of Justice and the FBI consistently exploit this guilt and shame by pointing out, in official court documents in virtually every leak case, the supposed mistakes reporters have made that government agents claim somehow helped them identify the sources of information.

The truth is that the federal government doesn’t need a reporter to make a mistake in order to track down a whistleblower. The government has immense surveillance powers, and those powers are at their most robust when it comes to tracking someone with a security clearance and access to classified information.

Most people who go to work for the government, or even for a government contractor, have only a vague understanding of how much of their privacy and civil rights they are signing away when they get a security clearance. Once the government launches a leak investigation, there are few limits on its ability to track the digital footprint of a suspect working in the national security apparatus.

Most reporters think hard and work tirelessly to protect confidential sources and now widely use encrypted electronic communications. But government leak hunters have the National Security Agency on their side, and reporters don’t.Government leak hunters have the National Security Agency on their side, and reporters don’t.

Yet arresting and prosecuting a source isn’t enough for the Justice Department and the FBI; they also want to make the reporter look bad. That underscores the real goal of leak investigations: They are designed to have a chilling effect on the press, to stop reporters from investigating the government. Embarrass enough investigative reporters and maybe they will stop embarrassing the government.

To their disgrace, the rest of the media often plays along with this governmental shaming project. Rather than recognizing that a source is a whistleblower performing a public service, the press invariably buys into the FBI’s propaganda that the bureau’s agents are investigating a crime and tracking down a traitor.

Press coverage of leak investigations and prosecutions follows a depressingly predictable narrative arc. The whistleblower who is a source for a story is depicted as a criminal who has been cornered and arrested by the heroic FBI, while the investigative reporter who broke the story is described as an accessory to a crime. The press unquestioningly plays up any supposed evidence presented by the government that the reporter made mistakes that were somehow the reason for the whistleblower’s arrest and prosecution.

This professional censure, along with the constant anxiety of knowing that the government is using all its vast power to locate sources, has led many investigative reporters into a period of second-guessing and introspection. Should a reporter who has the natural gift of getting people to tell them secrets keep using that gift if it can put people in prison?

The argument to continue reporting is powerful. Almost everything we know about the conduct of our 20-year forever wars has been made public thanks to aggressive national security reporting. People forget that something as basic as the very existence of the armed Predator drone was classified until legendary journalist Sy Hersh reported that it was being used to kill people in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the government’s leak crackdown has made the counterargument — not to keep developing sources and uncovering secrets for fear of putting people at risk — compelling as well. For national security reporters today, being good at your job can make it hard to sleep at night.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 14:  New York Times reporter James Risen participates in a news conference, where he and other journalists and journalism advocates talked about the Justice Department's pursuit of Risen's confidential sources, at the National Press Club August 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. Risen could face jail or punshing fines for not revealing his source of classified information for his 2006 book that detailed the CIA's efforts against Iran's nuclear program.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

James Risen participates in a news conference where press freedom advocates speak about the Justice Department’s pursuit of Risen’s confidential sources at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 14, 2014.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

I HAVE BEEN thinking a lot about this dilemma recently because of several new developments in the government’s war over leaks.

In January, in the closing days of Donald Trump’s presidency, there was a campaign to convince Trump to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. That campaign failed; hopeful Assange supporters seemed to ignore the fact that it was the Trump administration that had indicted Assange in the first place.

That was followed by a decision in February by the incoming Biden administration to appeal a ruling by a British court rejecting Assange’s extradition to the United States. For now, Assange remains imprisoned in Britain, but if the Biden administration follows through with his prosecution, it would once again underscore the bipartisan nature of the government’s crackdown on the press.RelatedThe Biden Administration’s Continued Push for Julian Assange’s Extradition Is Bad News for Journalism

The Assange case is particularly troubling because the charges focus on the interactions between Assange and Chelsea Manning, the source of the U.S. military and diplomatic documents that WikiLeaks published a decade ago. If successful, the Assange prosecution could lead the government to prosecute investigative journalists based on the means by which they seek to obtain information from their sources.

In March, meanwhile, Daniel Hale, a former intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty in federal court to disclosing classified information about U.S. drone warfare programs. Arrested in 2019, Hale has been hounded by the government because he helped reveal the truth about the vicious and secretive processes used by the United States to target and kill people around the world with drone strikes.

In addition, a new documentary film was recently released about Reality Winner, a whistleblower who was arrested after revealing classified information showing that Russian intelligence sought to hack into U.S. voting systems during the 2016 presidential election. Her disclosure showed that the U.S. intelligence community knew about the Russian hacking attempts but had not warned the American people or even state election officials. Its significance was detailed in a 2018 Senate report, which revealed that state election officials learned of the Russian hacking threat from press coverage, not the federal government. The Senate report was issued even as the Justice Department was prosecuting Winner for sharing the information.


Film still of Daniel Hale from the documentary “National Bird.”

Still: Torsten Lapp/Ten Forward Films

Types of News Stories

People on the grass in Washington Square Park in early spring


Hard News- Breaking News

It is has happened, or is happening now.

From the New York Daily News 

A woman unleashed a hateful racist diatribe against Asian workers in a lower Manhattan salon — before focusing her ire on an Asian plainclothes cop, who quickly arrested her, authorities said Wednesday.

Sharon Williams stepped into the Good Choice for Nails salon on Madison St. near James St. near Chinatown about 5 p.m. on Tuesday and started cursing out workers, according to cops

“You brought coronavirus to this country!” she allegedly screamed.

Williams, 50, was harassing another Asian pedestrian on the block when an Asian plainclothes cop began to question her.

Outraged, Williams called the cop a “monkey,” authorities said. “You’re a Chinese motherf—er who brought COVID to this country!” she screamed as she was taken into custody, according to police.

NYPD Crest web stock webstock

Williams was charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal trespass.

From The New York Times
Jonah E. Bromwich

By Jonah E. BromwichApril 6, 2021

The lobby staff members who closed the door to a Manhattan apartment building last week without taking immediate action after a Filipino-American woman was brutally attacked on the street outside have been fired, the building’s owners told residents in an email on Tuesday.

Rick Mason, the executive director of management at the Brodsky Organization, which owns the luxury apartment building in Midtown, told residents of all the organization’s buildings in an email that two staff members who were inside the building lobby at the time had not followed “required emergency and safety protocols.”

“For this reason, their employment has been terminated, effective immediately,” Mr. Mason’s email said.

He did not identify the employees by name, and a spokeswoman did not specify the protocols that staff members had not followed.

Read more.

From The Guardian

Day 8 of Derek Chauvin trial testimony concludes

The eighth day of testimony in the Derek Chauvin murder trial has come to a close.

Two major themes have solidified during Wednesday’s testimony. The prosecution has tried to convey through their witnesses that Chauvin’s use-of-force wasn’t necessary. On cross examination, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, has attempted to argue that this is a situational assessment.

During his cross examination, Nelson has also continued to lay the groundwork for his position that Floyd died from an overdose – not Chauvin’s knee against his neck for more than nine minutes.

Here are some key takeaways from today’s proceedings:

  • Sgt Jody Stiger, whom prosecutors called as an expert witness on use-of-force, has said that, “No force should have been used once [Floyd] was in that position.” Stiger has said on 


Feature Stories

Feature stories cover everything from arts, to human interest, to trends and anything that is fun.

From the Wall Street Journal

Could You Go for a Month Without Coffee?

Ramadan challenges Muslims who have become especially addicted to caffeine this past year

He’s now down to one daily cup of coffee and is trying to cut back on his soda consumption as well.

Khadijah Fasetire, an 18-year-old high-school student in Dublin, picked up a daily coffee habit in lockdown.  

A fan of cooking and baking shows, Ms. Fasetire started seeing TikTok videos about a whipped coffee drink that became popular early in the pandemic and decided she had to try it. Soon she was hooked and realized she had become dependent on a daily dose of coffee.

“I always need a cup before studying as it gives me a boost,” she said. “I have important exams in June and as Ramadan is between April and May I will be studying a lot…I’m trying to prepare my body and mind for this.”


Has your caffeine consumption increased during the pandemic? Join the conversation below.

She’s trying a mix of weaning techniques, switching to decaf coffee some days and putting off her first morning cup of Joe for as long as she can.

Pre-Ramadan decaffeinating regimens appear to be more common in the West or non-Muslim countries where lifestyles don’t adapt to the side effects of fasting. In the Middle East, for instance, coffee plays a prominent role in Ramadan night culture. In normal times, friends and families enjoy large group iftaar dinners to break the fast at sundown, then often stay up for much of the night and sleep in during the day.

Muslims aren’t the only ones who suffer headaches as a result of religious fasting.

Dr. Michael Drescher, chief of emergency medicine at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel, conducted studies to test if rofecoxib, a long-lasting anti-inflammatory drug, could combat not only the Ramadan headaches but also the “Yom Kippur Headache” suffered by many Jews when they fast for 25 hours during the Day of Atonement.

Read more.


From the New York Daily News

Copy of 1938 Superman comic sells for record-setting $3.25 million

APR 07, 2021  5:22 PM


An old Superman comic book sold for a super-duper price tag.

A copy of the 1938 “Action Comics #1” brought in $3.25 million in a private sale, according to a Tuesday announcement from online auction and consignment company

The record-setting price, narrowly bested the previous record for the comic, sold in the auction of another copy in 2014 for slightly over $3.2 million, the Associated Press reported.

New York City-based company’s chief operating officer Vincent Zurzolo said the comic book that introduced Superman to the world is considered “is the beginning of the superhero genre.”

Read more.


From The New York Times

Profile, A Look at a Person

Ian Austen

By Ian AustenFeb. 5, 2021

OTTAWA — For Murray Sinclair, being a bridge between Indigenous people and the rest of Canada has sometimes been a struggle. After he graduated from law school in 1979, a step that felt like “joining the dark side,” he was frustrated by courts where he heard racist comments flow and saw the justice system work repeatedly against Indigenous people.

“This is killing me, literally, to do this,” Mr. Sinclair, who is Anishinaabe, recalled telling his wife, Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair. “I’m not really helping anybody, but I’m also being seen as one of them.”

Ms. Morrisseau-Sinclair persuaded him to visit Angus Merrick, an elder from the Long Plain Indian band and an Aboriginal court worker.

The two men met in Mr. Merrick’s tepee, the elder smoking cigarettes and both of them drinking pots of tea until 6 in the evening, at which point Mr. Merrick became direct.

Read more.

From The New York Times

She Never Dreamed of Acting. Now She’s an Oscar Nominee for ‘Minari.’

The veteran Korean star Yuh-Jung Youn has had a thriving career for five decades — all because of a choice she made when she failed her college entrance exam.

By Carlos AguilarPublished April 2, 2021Updated April 7, 2021, 4:39 p.m. ET

For her 60th birthday, the veteran Korean star Yuh-Jung Youn made herself a promise. She would collaborate only with those she trusts. Even if their ventures fell short, as long as she personally appreciated the people making them, the result wouldn’t much concern her.

That late-life philosophy, born of decades of limited choices and professional trauma, brought her to “Minari,” the director Lee Isaac Chung’s semi-autobiographical story about a Korean family putting down roots in Arkansas. Youn’s bittersweet performance as the grandmother, Soonja, in the tenderhearted immigrant drama has earned her an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress, the first for a Korean actress.

“Me, a 73-year-old Asian woman could have never even dreamed about being nominated for an Oscar,” Youn said via video call from her home in Seoul. “‘Minari’ brought me a lot of gifts.”

As she recounted this triumph and the many pitfalls that preceded it, her pensive expression often broke into an affable smile, cheerful laughter even. Dressed in a demure black top and long necklace, there was an effortless grace to her serene presence. She came off unhurried and welcoming but determined to make her ideas understood. Occasionally she asked a friend off-camera for help with certain English words to hit each point more precisely.

Read more.

Sports Stories 

They break down into categories of breaking news and those stories cover games and scores. Great sport stories also involve features and profiles.

From The New York Daily News

Alize Johnson occupies the NBA’s most valuable roster spot and the Nets should keep him there

Alize Johnson has given the Nets a jolt off the bench so the Nets may want to consider keeping him around for remainder of the season.


Alize Johnson is a workhorse, and on a championship contender, you can’t have too many.

For that reason, and that reason alone, the Nets should guarantee his contract for the remainder of the season. Even if it means they can’t add depth at the point guard position.

The latter would not be a long trip: Other teams are monitoring Johnson’s situation, and the Nets don’t want to let him go. It’s no surprise: Johnson adds to general manager Sean Marks’ track record of finding needles in NBA haystacks. Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen each became local household names thanks to Marks providing an opportunity, not to mention second-year forward Nic Claxton, a second-round pick who has been playing key minutes on a presumptive championship contender.

As has Johnson, who has impressed teammates and coaches alike, in his minimal time in Brooklyn.“I think we’re pretty comfortable in what we have with Alize. He’s been outstanding, works hard, plays with incredible energy, he’s a great teammate,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “So he’s been really productive in the minutes he’s gotten so we feel confident in him as a player.”

Read more.

A Morning in the Kitchen With the Grandmother Who Cooks for Major League Baseball Players

Altagracia Alvino is used to cooking large meals for her family, teammates and visiting players. I sampled her (very tasty) goat stew.

Credit…Tara Walton for The New York Times

The first words out of Altagracia Alvino’s mouth after opening the door to the apartment and hearing my hello were abrupt. “Shh,” she said. “El nene está durmiendo.” The kid is sleeping. Whoops.

Alvino was referring to her grandson, Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., one of baseball’s brightest young stars. He was still slumbering in the other room. Normally, she cooks without an audience after she wakes up at 7 a.m. But on this recent morning, photographer Tara Walton and I were in attendance.

We slipped inside and quietly watched as Alvino prepared a feast of white rice with stewed goat meat and beans. Alvino, 66, has been doing this for nearly two decades: cooking food for her baseball-playing kin — notably her son, Vladimir Sr., who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, and his son, Vladimir Jr. — plus their teammates and visiting players.

Read more.


Coronavirus in the U.S.:
Latest Map and Case Count

Cases 30.9 million 73,200 +14%
Deaths 558,580 2,564* –31%
Hospitalized 43,044 +5%

Day with reporting anomaly.


Hospitalization data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 14-day change trends use 7-day averages.


* Includes many deaths from unspecified days. Read more here.

At least 2,564 new coronavirus deaths and 73,200 new cases were reported in the United States on April 7. Over the past week, there has been an average of 65,556 cases per day, an increase of 14 percent from the average two weeks earlier. As of Thursday morning, more than 30,944,100 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus according to a New York Times database. See vaccinations by state on our U.S. tracker page.

Average daily cases per 100,000 people in past week



Gianluigi Colalucci, Who Showed Michelangelo’s True Colors, Dies at 91

The chief restorer of the Vatican Museums, he led the cleaning of the Sistine Chapel, a 14-year effort that revealed a new vision of Michelangelo’s complex work.

Credit…Gianni Giansanti/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images

Gianluigi Colalucci, who led what was known as the restoration of the century — the cleaning of the Sistine Chapel — and in so doing revealed a new vision of Michelangelo’s storied, complex masterpieces there, died on March 28 in Rome. He was 91.

The Vatican Museums, where he was the chief restorer for many years, announced his death but did not specify a cause.

It took Michelangelo four years to create the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling frescoes and six more to paint his roiling, swirling Last Judgment on the altar wall, and almost immediately both works were under assault.

Soot, smoke and dust in what was always a working chapel began to darken the once-vivid colors. And starting in 1565, after years of criticism that deemed the naked figures of the Last Judgment obscene, decorous draperies were painted over their genitals. (Michelangelo refused to do that work, declaring of Pope Pius IV, “Let him make the world a suitable place, and the painting will fit in.”)

Continue reading the main story












New Opportunities


Thursday, April 8th Graduation: What now? 

Every Summer a new class of graduates is thrust into the world – having to make the nerve-wracking transition from academic life to professional life. The global pandemic has added a new wrinkle to the job hunt. Our experts in talent acquisition along with some of our journalists will walk through the do’s and don’ts of the virtual job hunt. Our experts will focus on tips and tricks for how to successfully get what you need from others when networking and creating a “sticky” message. What are the key elements of a compelling personal narrative? How do you make your own story compelling and relevant to the opportunity at hand? How can you best position yourself when you have so little real-world experience? Register HERE.


The Dow Jones News Fund invites college students studying journalism or working for student media at community colleges and four-year universities to apply for free registration to attend journalism conventions this summer.


The Society of Professional Journalists is looking for students who want to strengthen their leadership skills with a cohort of SPJ peers. Do you know an SPJ student member who has a drive to succeed in journalism? Who would want to build their emotional intelligence to improve their teams and colleagues? Who would benefit from learning alongside SPJ coaches who can help fine tune their skills? Then encourage them to apply for the Student Leadership Institute, sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation. Deadline to apply is 5 p.m. EDT April 15.

More details:
Individuals who choose to step up, with a willingness to learn and grow as leaders, are the ideal candidates. No minimum time of membership is required, and acceptance as a program participant is contingent on current membership in SPJ.

Participants will be chosen by a committee of journalism educators and professional journalists. They will focus on your drive and passion to succeed in journalism.

Preference will be given to applicants who have at least one full year of student membership in SPJ to complete after the 2021 SLI dates. However, any student member in good standing as of the application deadline may apply.