About this blog


Daily News editor Geoff Dougherty blabs about journalism, the Daily News and assorted other subjects

Recent posts


Only the finest in education coverage

The District 299 blog gave us a nice tip of the hat the other day, noting that we've got some of the city's best education coverage.

Of course, we're honored. But it's also concerning to look at our coverage of local schools vs. the Trib's in the context of this, which basically argues that America's newspapers are failing because they're run by buzzword-spouting blockheads who aren't focused on the fundamentals of journalism.

To that, I can only add this: The Chicago Tribune no longer regularly sends a reporter to the city's school board meetings.


Hot or not?

Times are tough at the Sun-Times, what with layoffs and a grim financial picture.

How's the paper deploying its limited reporting resources these days?

Writing and photographing hot Cubs fans. And hot White Sox fans.

Because... you know ... it's not like they could be covering actual news stories instead.

Layoffs abound

Another big newspaper publisher announced layoffs today. It's getting to the point where it's not even worth tracking this stuff -- best to just assume most newspapers will be skeletons of their former selves within five years or so.

Meet our newest editor

David McClendon, a journalist with nearly 20 years in the news business, will be joining us next month as an associate editor.

David McClendon. Photo by Vern Williams

David was most recently deputy metro editor of the Lansing State Journal in Michigan.

Before moving to Michigan, David served as city editor of the New Haven Register in Connecticut for four years, and spent another four as a bureau chief and deputy city editor there.

He's also got a decade of reporting experience, and won praise and awards for making sense of New Haven's...more

The turning tide

Over the past few weeks, I've been interviewing candidates for an associate editor's position at the Daily News.

Several things about that process convinced me that the tide has turned, both for our organization and for online news:

  • I've been explicit with our candidates about the risks involved. We're a start-up, and it's possible that our grant funding will go away within a year. More than one candidate has told me that, given the state of our industry, he considers working for us LESS risky than taking a job with a daily newspaper.
  • More than half of the...more

Lipinski's legacy

The only strong impression Ann Marie Lipinski made on me during the four years I spent at the Chicago Tribune came during a newsroom-wide meeting in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal.

Lipinski, who resigned as Tribune editor yesterday, took the podium to talk about accuracy. Immediately, she brought up the infamously inaccurate "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline the Trib published in 1948.

Since then, there's been a baton passed down through a succession of Tribune editors, she said. And that baton is engraved with the message: Never again.

In many ways, Lipinski's tenure at...more

How honest are we?

So honest that we got a nice plug today on the Columbia Journalism Review's website.

"The citizen journalists at places like Off the Bus and the Chi-Town Daily News strive for journalism that is intellectually honest-and that is a welcome change indeed," writes Brent Cunningham.

There's a lot of pundits these days arguing that citizen journalism means shoddy, opinionated reporting. Not here.

Over dere, in Europe

My favorite local media columnist, Mike Miner, has the inside dope on the impending Trib redesign. Word is, it's going to look European.

This scares me. It scares me a lot. We've all seen what happens when the Midwest does Europe, and it ain't pretty.

We're tax-exempt, baby

We just received some great news from the IRS.

The Daily News is now a tax-exempt public charity.

Which means that if you'd like to give us money (and yes, you do want to give us money!), you can deduct it from your taxes.

It also makes us eligible for a world of foundation funding that was previously off-limits to us.

Lastly, if you've given us money in the past, the exemption is retroactive. So you can go ahead and write that off, too.

Applications for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status take a year or more...more

Everything that's wrong with TV news

I've just stumbled across the website of the delightfully crotchety Mervin Block, who blogs about broadcast news writing.

In 200 words, he's managed to sum up everything that's wrong with TV news. Not an easy task.

No updates today

We're taking the day off to celebrate our nation's birthday. Woo hoo!

News coverage will resume Monday a.m.

If you're casting about for stuff to read on your day off, may we recommend the United States Constitution?

If you're a City of Chicago official, may we recommend that you read it several times over?

Cheap, but not free

A lot of the interest in citizen journalism over the past few years has been related to economics. Sign up a bunch of users on your site, get them to write stuff, sell ads along side the free content, retire early.

While some content that comes in this way is impeccably written and delightfully newsworthy, most is not. So news organizations interested in publishing quality content, and hoping to do it for free, are bound to be disappointed.

Partnering with citizen journalists to produce great neighborhood coverage involves money, and sometimes a lot of it. The journalists need...more

RIP, media reform?

Over the last several years, there's been tons of activism and money devoted to limiting consolidation of media companies, opening them to a broader range of voices, and making their leadership more ethnically and culturally diverse.

All of which was a fine idea when there were high barriers to entry in the media business. Absent the money to buy a television antenna or a printing press, people concerned about media consolidation were pretty much limited to activism and grant-writing.

But that time has passed. Now, advocating for media reform seems like campaigning against scurvy....more


Reading this post, I was reminded of how awful most of the job applications we receive are.

Here's the top couple of reasons that lead us to send someone's resume to the circular file:

  • Grammatical errors
  • Typos
  • Experience clearly not consistent with requirements stated in job ad
  • Applicant obviously has not read our website

The shame of it is that none of these things take much effort to fix.

Read the job ad carefully, and decide if you meet the minimum qualifications. Chances are, if the ad says we're looking for seven...more

Hiring an editor

We're hiring a web-savvy associate editor with solid local news experience.

The right person for this job will have the ability to lead and train reporters of all experience levels, from brand new citizen journalists to experienced beat writers.

You should have a deft hand with copy, enthusiasm for both breaking news and enterprise stories, and the ability to edit both to meet deadlines.

We're looking for someone with at least seven years of full-time, professional daily journalism experience, with at least three of those years spent as an assigning or line editor.

This is a...more