Nieman Watchdog

Summer 2000: Watchdog Conference Introduction

By Watchdog June 15, 2000

It’s the tendency to focus on the celebrity, the character, not serious character but personality traits of political figures that trivializes the political process. So the focus of this discussion will be on issues which might be overlooked or underreported in the 2000 campaigns. Issues like those that David Broder spoke of last May when he wrote in his column that it’s quite a trick for something to grow larger and at the same time become more invisible. Broder was talking about the health care issue then, but he might just as well have been talking about any one of a number of issues that loom ill-defined in the background of the campaign rhetoric that focuses on youthful indiscretions or political money. – Nieman Curator Bill Kovach opening the political Watchdog Journalism conference Read more

Impact of Investigative Stories

Watchdog September 15, 1999

Reporters sometimes devote months, if not years, to working with sources, researching and compiling information to prepare it for publication. Though what their stories reveal can be explosive and damaging to the parties involved and provide a basis upon which … Read more

The Roles Editors Play

Watchdog September 15, 1999

Reporters often mentioned the roles editors played in how they reported the story or how the story appeared in the paper. At times their input was helpful; other times it wasn’t. Loretta Tofani: “[When I began writing my story] it … Read more

Working With Key Sources

Watchdog September 15, 1999

In most reporting assignments—perhaps most often in journalists’ roles as watchdogs—following leads usually results in finding a key source, someone who can help to build the story’s foundation. How reporters work with these sources who often want, at least in … Read more

False Sources and Misleading Information

Watchdog September 15, 1999

Journalists put the public’s trust in peril when they publish stories in which a source has either given false leads or misleading information. Yet some journalists at the conference worried that this is happening more frequently. Roy Gutman: “The worst … Read more

Panel Members

Watchdog September 15, 1999

Byron V. Acohido: Investigative reporter, The Seattle Times. Since 1998, a specialist in covering the aerospace industry and aviation safety. His five-part series detailing problems with the 737’s rudder system won 11 journalism awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Beat … Read more