Tom Robbins is the second distinguished journalist to occupy the post at Hunter College, established to honor Newfield. Robbins, a former colleague of Newfield's at both the Voice and the Daily News, will teach a course entitled "Urban Investigative Reporting" and will also assist students in researching and writing a lengthy article or series of articles focused on an aspect of city life. "Whether tomorrow's journalists are writing online or on paper, we need more of them who understand and share Jack Newfield's passion for justice and the city he lived in," Robbins says in a press release.

Continue ReadingVillage Voice Reporter Named Jack Newfield Visiting Professor

The upcoming AAN regional conferences will each include a "Better Watchdog Workshop" organized by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). The AAN West workshop on Jan. 28 will be led by Brant Houston, executive director of IRE, professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and author of "Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide." The AAN East workshop on Feb. 18 will be led by Ron Nixon, projects editor on the New York Times computer-assisted reporting team. Nixon led an IRE session at AAN West two years ago, when he was computer-assisted reporting editor for The Minneapolis Star Tribune, and attendees described it as "worth repeating." Both workshops will cover effective searches on the Internet, cultivation of sources and interviewing, getting the most out of open records laws, and quickly providing context and depth with easily accessible databases.

Continue ReadingBrant Houston and Ron Nixon To Lead IRE Sessions at AAN Conferences

The most-viewed story on AAN's collaborative news site,, is "Porn, Hypocrisy, Plagiarism: The Dark Side of Jacksonville's Daily," which appeared in the Oct. 12, 2004, edition of Folio Weekly. Written by freelancer Billee Bussard, it accused Florida Times-Union's then-editorial page editor Lloyd Brown of -- among other things -- staring at porn in the workplace and plagiarism. Brown came under fire and stepped down from the daily, only to be hired as a speechwriter by Gov. Jeb Bush (the day after Bush fired a top official over sexual harassment allegations). Now the St. Petersburg Times reports that Brown has stepped down from that post as well.

Continue ReadingLloyd Brown’s Post-Folio Downward Spiral Continues

In May 2004, Willamette Week staff writer Nigel Jaquiss called Oregon State Senator Vicki Walker. He wanted to talk to her about the business dealings of Neil Goldschmidt, a prominent Oregonian and former governor. Instead, she tipped the reporter to what would become a major scandal. Portland Monthly tells the story of how Jaquiss, through months of tireless investigation, revealed the long-buried truth that Goldschmidt had sexually abused a 14-year-old girl; and how one reporter's efforts led the alt-weekly to scoop The Oregonian, a major daily with a staff of 300.

Continue ReadingThe Story (and Reporter) Behind Willamette Week’s Big Scoop

Lloyd Brown, editorial page editor at the Florida Times-Union since 1993, has resigned after a task force established by the paper found three instances of plagiarism and many other instances of lack of complete attribution. The task force was formed in the wake of Folio Weekly's Oct. 12 cover story, written by a former Times-Union staffer, which accused Brown of publishing editorials with portions lifted directly from documents produced by right-wing groups. In a letter that appears in the Times-Union's Nov. 2 edition, publisher Carl Cannon writes, "I have a high level of respect for [Brown's] philosophy."

Continue ReadingTimes-Union Editor Accused of Plagiarism by Folio Weekly Resigns

Folio Weekly's Oct. 12 cover story accuses the Florida Times-Union -- and editorial page editor Lloyd Brown, in particular -- of publishing editorials with portions lifted directly from documents produced by right-wing groups. The article, penned by former Times-Union editorial writer Billee Bussard, has prompted the Jacksonville daily to launch an internal investigation, reports Editor & Publisher. Times-Union publisher Carl Cannon says, "I would never expect to find plagiarism at our paper, and I would be surprised if we did in this case." Brown tells reporter Joe Strupp: "I think we try to base our editorials on fact, and we have to get them from somewhere."

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Article Spurs Plagiarism Probe at Large Daily

New Times writer John Dougherty has filed 17 public records requests with Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Maricopa County, Ariz., Office -- and received nothing in return. So, when Dougherty ran into Lisa Allen MacPherson, public information officer for the sheriff's office, he asked her when the records would be produced. "Never," she replied, adding that her office did not recognize New Times as a legitimate paper. When Dougherty reminded her that all citizens have the right to review public records, MacPherson quipped, "So sue us!" The weekly filed suit in Superior Court on Sept. 23, asking that Arpaio and his office be ordered under Arizona law to produce requested documents.

Continue ReadingPhoenix New Times Files Suit Against Sheriff for Public Records

In the Sept. 8 issue of The New York Times, columnist Nicholas D. Kristof casts doubt upon President Bush's fulfillment of his Air National Guard duties in 1972. He produces a "compelling witness" named Bob Mintz, who served at the same Alabama base where Bush claims to have been. Mintz remembers actively searching for Bush to no avail. Kristof asks Mintz, "Why speak out now?" The honest answer is that Mintz first spoke out on the matter to The Memphis Flyer, an AAN-member paper, many months ago. Jackson Baker quoted Mintz in a groundbreaking story posted to The Flyer's Web site on Feb. 12 and updated four days later. Kenneth Neill, publisher of The Flyer, has written a letter to the editor of The New York Times to point that out.

Continue ReadingNew York Times Catches Up to Flyer After Seven Months

When an attorney for Newsday advertisers filed a federal racketeering suit against the daily paper last February, alleging circulation fraud, the AAN-member newsweekly, Long Island Press, jumped on the story. Reporter Christopher Twarowski found evidence of undelivered papers dumped in landfills, wooded lots and recycling bins, and interviewed former distributors and retailers who supported some of the lawsuit's claims. This week Newsday publisher Raymond Jansen announced his early retirement, and Twarowski reports that a grand jury has been impaneled in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to hear testimony on the alleged fraud.

Continue ReadingLong Island Press’s Dogged Coverage Exposed Newsday Scandal

The story was percolating for some 20 years. Reporters pursued it but not far enough. And then, Jill Rosen reports in American Journalism Review, a feisty Oregon alt-weekly made a stunning revelation on its Web site May 6. Former governor Neil Goldschmidt, when he was mayor of Portland, had had sexual relations with a girl who was only 14. A lead from a state senator, followed by intensive records searches and interviews, helped Willamette Week's Nigel Jaquiss pull the story together.

Continue ReadingHow Willamette Week Broke Big Story on Oregon Ex-Governor