Nieman Watchdog

James Risen’s First Amendment Battle

By Watchdog February 13, 2014

For six years, New York Times national security reporter James Risen has been fighting to keep his promise of anonymity to a source who told him about a failed CIA initiative. The latest round started last month when Risen asked the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize his First Amendment right to protect his source. If the justices don’t accept his case or rule against Risen, he’ll have to take the stand or risk going to jail. Read more

Clear and Present Danger

By Watchdog February 10, 2014

In the fall of 2013, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) quietly began booting up its Utah Data Center, a sprawling 1.5 million-square-foot facility designed to store and analyze the vast amounts of electronic data the spy agency gathers … Read more

Cold, Hard Facts to Cold, Hard Cash

By Watchdog January 29, 2014

inewsource grew out of the desperation that was sweeping newsrooms across the country in 2009. I was a senior editor for metro and investigations at The San Diego Union-Tribune, and I’d spent way too much time discussing potential layoffs. Read more

Nimble with Numbers

By Watchdog January 29, 2014

John A. McDermott founded The Chicago Reporter in 1972. Despite his best intentions, the Reporter is still around today. A civil rights activist who stood with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during his 1966 fair housing campaign in … Read more

The Too-Many Prisoners Dilemma

By Watchdog October 16, 2013

With society potentially poised to turn the corner on mass incarceration, will news organizations rise to the challenge and increase their coverage? Or do limited resources and a lack of interest mean criminal justice issues—and the poignant underlying human-interest stories—continue to go largely unaddressed? Read more

Two E-books about Investigative Journalism in the U.S. and Around the World

By Watchdog October 16, 2013

"Muckraking Goes Global: The Future of Cross-Border Investigative Journalism" examines the achievements and challenges of investigative journalists reporting stories on subjects of global interest and impact. Journalists from Latin America, Romania, and the U.S. contributed. Published in Spanish and English on the occasion of three major investigative journalism conferences held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the fall of 2013, the e-book includes original content as well as articles published in the Spring 2013 issue of Nieman Reports. .epub | .mobi | .pdf "Investigative Reporting: Perils and Promise" focuses on post-Communist realities for journalists, government pushback on press freedoms, and strategies for moving forward. With contributions by journalists from Europe, Latin America, Russia, and South Africa, the e-book is a compilation of articles published in the Spring 2011 issue of Nieman Reports and in Kiev, Ukraine, in concert with a global investigative journalism conference held in the fall of 2011. .epub | .mobi | .pdf Read more

How to Keep Sources Secure from Surveillance

By Watchdog September 18, 2013

In an encrypted Q&A with The New York Times Magazine, National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden warned that journalists have been slow to properly respond to the threat of government surveillance. "I was surprised to realize that there were people in news organizations who didn’t recognize any unencrypted message sent over the Internet is being delivered to every intelligence service in the world," he wrote to Peter Maass about his initial attempts to communicate with Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald. "In the wake of this year’s disclosures, it should be clear that unencrypted journalist-source communication is unforgivably reckless." Revelations over the last few months have made it clear that the U.S. government is willing and able to use telephone and Internet records to pursue sources who leak secrets to the media, and to do so by targeting reporters, if necessary. Read more