Monthly Archives: October 2013

‘Blogging and public intellectuals’ follow-up questions

The panel. Photo borrowed from @Arendt_Center

The panel. Photo by @Arendt_Center

This post is a response to “Blogging and public intellectuals,” a panel discussion featuring NYU’s Jay Rosen and The Atlantic’s Megan Garber. I considered asking these questions by email, but I’m placing them here instead, in the spirit of the event.

Dear Dr. Rosen and Ms. Garber,

I attended your panel at Bard College on Sunday and found it challenging in the best way. Thank you for volunteering your time for it.

Two sets of questions have stuck with me since then. If you ever have the time and interest to respond to them on your blogs or another outlet, I would enjoy reading it.

The questions:

  1. Who are some of today’s public intellectuals you think are worth following? What do they do that you admire, and how can journalists apply those things to their work?
  2. In your work as bloggers and public intellectuals, how do you decide what to read day-to-day? What intellectual habits are you striving to improve? Dr. Rosen, has your routine changed since you were featured in “What I Read” in 2010?

Thanks again,


Recommended: ‘Investigative Storytelling Gone Awry’

The NPR ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, produced an extraordinary investigation-of-an-investigation earlier this year:

My finding is that the series was deeply flawed and should not have been aired as it was.

The series committed five sins that violate NPR’s code of standards and ethics. They were:

  1. No proof for its main allegations of wrongdoing;
  2. Unfair tone in communicating these unproven allegations;
  3. Factual errors, shaky anecdotes and misleading use of data by quietly switching what was being measured;
  4. Incomplete reporting and lack of critical context;
  5. No response from the state on many key points.

I was convinced after the first couple of chapters that Schumacher-Matos was worth reading for those who are invested in the issue covered by the original report. I found his writing to be fair, cautious, and reflective.

To me, his report is a model of critical thinking applied to journalism, and I was disappointed that NPR responded with only a defensive memo.