David Remnick and Ben Smith on how the media should cover the president


One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is “The New Yorker: Politics and More,” which is put on by the staff at The New Yorker and discusses one relevant topic during each 20-30 minute episodes.

In a recent episode, David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker and one of my favorite journalists, discussed the very important and widely debated topic of how the media should be covering President Trump with Buzzfeed’s editor, Ben Smith.

Remnick starts off by asking Smith about Buzzfeed’s decision to publish the Russian dossier, a set of documents filed with unverified allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia, and the disclaimer put out asking readers to form their own opinion about the allegations.

They talked about the reporting process and how a handful of Buzzfeed reporters had tried to and struggled with verifying the claims put forth in the documents.

Smith explained that publishing the documents was a mix of competitive, moral and journalistic decisions when CNN shared reported that the dossier had been shared with then President Obama and then President-elect Trump.

They went on to ponder the differences between the choices they both make as editors for two different publications.

They talk about a “generational difference,” meaning that while they both produce good journalism, The New Yorker has been around much longer and is considered a member of the legacy media, while Buzzfeed is a child of the internet and acts and treats news in a different way.

Smith argues that as the times have changed and society has evolved, the media needs to change alongside it.

For example, Smith explains that unverified tips should never be published without there being an attempt at proving if they’re true. However, in the case of the dossier, Buzzfeed reporters worked for months on trying to verify the allegations and didn’t succeed. But, their decision to publish them anyways came when CNN shared that the president had been briefed on the dossier, making their content something the public should know about and form their own opinions about their content.

Smith talks about how covering the White House has gone beyond just writing about what the administration shares and says at press conference, but always remain skeptical of what they say and present it in a way that

But at the end of the day, Smith explains that we are in uncharted waters with Trump’s administration, and must be vigilant about the falsehoods they try to present as fact.

I found their discussion to be incredibly insightful and I saw it as something that aspiring journalists like myself need to listen to and understand the points they put forward.



Stop praising dads for taking care of their own kids


A New York Times story came out after the Jan. 21 Women’s March that focused on a town in New Jersey and how many dads were left to take care of their kids while their wives went out to march.

The story, “How Vital Are Women? This Town Found Out as They Left to March,” details the fathers’ “struggle” to keep up with the usual weekend routines of sports practices, birthday parties and play dates.

They were left to handle the various weekend chores that needed attention, all while juggling the family’s schedule.

In a country where there are many households where dads are either stay-at-home while their wives are the breadwinners, are single parents themselves, or share the family responsibilities with their spouses, this story is both not newsworthy and an archaic perspective on familial roles.

Slate had a similar reaction to mine in their story: “Dads, Who are Parents, Do Not Deserve Praise for Parenting While Moms Marched.”

The story mocked the Times’ piece by praising dads for spending time with their own children.

North neighborhood community meeting


Last Thursday, I attended a meeting in Columbia’s north neighborhood that focused on ways to improve life in the community. Columbia city officials determined that three neighborhoods, north, central and east, experienced higher rates of crime, poverty and unemployment than the rest of the city.

So, a three-year strategic plan that started in 2016 aims to address and fix these disparities by first hearing from the residents themselves about the issues they face in their community.

As I am relatively new to this story and the situation in this neighborhood, I had parachuted in on this meeting and these people’s lives without a lot of background on what really went on.

While I did read previous Missourian stories to have some grasp on the story, I feel like there is more for me to find and a deeper level to the reporting I can do on this community.

Jan. 17 City Council Meeting

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For my first assignment at the Missourian, I covered a Columbia city council meeting agenda item on a rezoning 43-acre plot of land to be built into apartment complexes and single-family homes.

To the current residents next to the parcel, which is named “Kelly Farms,” this proposal will take from Columbia’s natural forestry and add traffic to the quiet neighborhood.

The neighborhood association wanted more time to discuss their position, and the city council agreed and tabled the item.

The last time I covered a municipal meeting was for my summer internship at Voice of OC, a non-profit politics and government newsroom in Orange County, Calif.

While still new to the issue and the politics of Columbia, I look forward to broadening my reporting, being able to go deeper into such discussions and understand people’s motivations and positions.

Here’s a link to my story:

Greetings and Salutations

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Greetings and salutations,

My name is Kaitlin Washburn and I am an investigative journalism student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This semester, I am a public life reporter for the Columbia Missourian, a daily morning newspaper for the city of Columbia and the University of Missouri and is run by journalism school’s faculty.

My beat focuses on covering city and county government for the city of Columbia and Boone County. I cover municipal meetings, public policy and community issues. It’s an important beat that serves to keep residents informed about their government’s practices and encourages them to get involved in local politics.