paper trail

The year's worst mistakes in journalism . . .

New York Magazine has a timeline describing Rolling Stone’s handling of the University of Virginia rape story. Most recently, Rolling Stone has asked the Columbia University journalism school to independently review the editorial process behind the article. The magazine will publish the report once it’s concluded.

The Columbia Journalism Review looks back at the past year’s worst mistakes in journalism. The UVA rape story tops the list, especially for the way Rolling Stone tried blame the report's inaccuracies on the subject of the story rather than on its own staff. CJR also includes Time for wanting to ban the word feminist, New York Magazine for a fabricated account of a seventeen-year-old millionaire investor, and Grantland for a January story’s gratuitous outing of its subject as transgender.

Responding to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s recent criticism of the New Republic’s treatment of race over the years, Andrew Sullivan gets defensive: “You’d think he were writing about a magazine filled with bigoted white Southerners, as opposed to an overwhelmingly Jewish set of writers and editors engaged in a long and internecine debate about what it means to be liberal.” Meanwhile, Gabriel Snyder, the magazine’s new editor in chief (installed during an exodus earlier this month in which most of the staff left), has said, in an editor’s letter describing his vision for the new New Republic, that the magazine will be more inclusive in the future: “We will reach out to talented journalists who might have previously felt unwelcome. . . . If this publication is to be influential, and not merely survive, it can no longer afford to represent the views of one privileged class, nor appeal solely to a small demographic of political elites.” In a tweet, he lists upcoming contributors: Batya Ungar-Sargon, Ann Friedman, Cathy Park Hong, Inga Saffron, Jazmine Hughes, Jeet Heer, Jeff Ball, Jen Doll, Thomas Rogers, and William Giraldi. Sounds nice, but it’s hard not to read the statement, and the list, somewhat cynically. Is this a bid to curry favor or a sincere effort? How long will it last?

In a note about its end-of-year coverage, The Awl dismally assesses the future: “Nothing ever gets better, especially, but not exclusively, on the Internet.”

The deputy managing editor at Politico, Laura McGann, will be joining Vox to lead its politics coverage. McGann is the third editor to leave Politico recently—Dan Berman went to National Journal and Gregg Birnbaum left for the New York Daily News.

The Internet in North Korea isn’t really working. Did we do it?