Columbia Journalism Review

magazine Summer 2020 · Columbia Journalism Review

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Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) encourages and stimulates excellence in journalism in the service of a free society. Published by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, CJR examines press performance as well as the forces that affect it. The bimonthly magazine offers a deliberative mix of reporting, analysis, criticism, and commentary.

Columbia Journalism Review


A Time of Opportunity • Good riddance to the political coverage that was.

Unmasking Certainty

Our Polling Trauma

Stories Worth Sharing

Elections Everywhere

When the Pundits Paused • “Life has punctured the bubble of political bullshit in Washington.”

Zach Montellaro • Politico

Publishing Power • In 2018, Michelle Wolf appeared at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner—and she may have been the last comedian to do so under President Trump. “You pretend like you hate him,” she told reporters. “But he has helped you. He has helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you are profiting off of him.” She wasn’t kidding. The publishing industry has produced more material on Trump than any president before, with books selling in the millions.

THE POLICE BRUTALITY CRISIS • Police abolition has entered the 2020 campaign. Reporters have some homework to do.

“This Is a Moment for Imagination” • Mychal Denzel Smith, Josie Duffy Rice, and Alex Vitale on the limits and opportunities of considering police abolition in an election year.

YouTube’s Psychic Wounds • Seeking political news, Nicholson Baker ventures to the wrong clip and back again

YouTube’s Playbook

Sabrina Siddiqui • Wall Street Journal

The Essentials • How Univision has guided Latinos through a historic election cycle

Jonathan Oosting • Bridge magazine, Michigan

Outside In • At work in an election season marked by a pandemic and an anti-racist uprising.

The Lurker • How Joanne McNeil copes with the inundation of news online

Allen Devlin • WYFF News 4, South Carolina

Layoff Season

Tuned Out • Identity crisis at MSNBC

Cast and Crew • The people who have made—and remade—MSNBC

Edward-Isaac Dovere • The Atlantic

Brianne Pfannenstiel • Des Moines Register

Staring Contest • How election reporters see us, and how we view them

Dave Weigel • Washington Post

Chaos Theory • Amanda Darrach talks to a political scientist about how nihilism affects the media landscape.

End Note

Columbia Journalism Review