When Trump attacks: a surreal moment for American journalists

At a campaign rally in Montana on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump openly praised a politician who assaulted a journalist. There is not a single word in that sentence that could be described as fake news. Trump was in Montana. There was a campaign rally. And video and audio reports, including this one from Fox …

Publisher’s note

GJR readers in its print magazine, newsletter and online forms will be seeing improvements resulting from the arrival of Midwest Editor Jackie Spinner. On all platforms there is more Midwest content, particularly additional Chicago and Illinois news. In today’s newsletter, Spinner writes about the frustratingly slow response of the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor …

Illinois’ Public Access Counselor frustratingly slow; AG candidates promise changes

The public ambulance service in the small northwestern Illinois village of Hanover was used to working in private. When Galena Gazette reporter Dan Burke asked its governing board for meeting agendas and minutes, it refused. When citizens asked for a budget, personnel qualifications and a list of purchases, it also refused. Citizens’ rights to demand …

‘Are you with us or against us?’ A journalist reflects

Essay Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1968, I was working on my hometown newspaper, the Rock Island Argus. Smithsonian magazine called it a year “that shattered America.” The Kerner Commission, after months of research, declared “white racism,” not black agitators, the primary cause of widespread urban violence the year before. On March 31, …

The Press: Not at war, at work

A century ago, the First Amendment was taking its first, tentative breaths of life.  The protection of speech, protest, religion and the press had been in the Constitution for 120 years, but no one had won a First Amendment claim in the Supreme Court. It was a nasty time.  Americans exited World War I shell-shocked …

Q and A with Angie Muhs, a new leader with APME

Angie Muhs, executive editor of the State-Journal Register in Springfield, is the new president of the Associated Press Media Editors.  APME and the American Society of News Editors agreed to merge this fall, creating the News Leaders Association. The merger of the two powerful journalism organizations comes at a time when the news media are …

Reporter’s interview with Chicago cop accused of murder prompts social media criticism

Christy Gutowski waited three years to speak with the white Chicago police officer accused of gunning down black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014, a killing that exposed the police department’s fraught relationship with the community it is sworn to protect. But when Gutowski, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune, finally landed the scoop, the critical …