"The copy desk nightmare is when you wake up and you realize I made a mistake. You know, it's a fact, it's a figure, you did something wrong, you wrote a backward sentence. And you call the copy desk in your nightmare, and you realize the slot man has left. And usually, you see the presses rolling. I started having these in my twenties, and I still have them."
ProPublica's Justin Elliott took a look at Michael Bloomberg and Ray Kelly's often-cited statistic that the New York Police Department stopped 14 terrorist attacks on New York City, and concluded that it's too high.
Columbia University, which administers the annual journalism awards, announced today that Stephen Engelberg, managing editor of ProPublica, has joined the board. ProPublica, a non-profit investigative outfit that collaborates on coverage with traditional news organizations, has been awarded two Pulitzers since its inception in 2008, and was the first non-print outlet to win one (although much of ProPublica's work does ultimately appear in print, it's second Pulitzer-winning story did not).
"The great failure of the press was to completely miss the rise of the shadow banking system," ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger told the crowd. "All the unregulated lending and leverage that was in the system. That was a terrible failure of my colleagues at the Journal, me. I was getting a little bit of a glimmer of it as a reporter, and some others were, but we just didn't understand it. It was way too sophisticated for us. We weren’t asking the right questions. We weren’t examining the banks enough to understand how they were really making money, and that was a big problem."
Recently, New Yorker editor David Remnick was talking to one of his writers about "this three-dimensional notion" of the magazine story enabled by the iPad—a promise very much on the minds of his fellow editors in the Condé Nast tower in Times Square these days.
The writer was Roger Angell, the 90-year old fixture at the magazine who for years had served as its fiction editor and who is now widely known for his essays on baseball (and whose institutional connection to the magazine stretches back to his mother, an editor for the magazine, and his stepfather, the writer E.B. White.)
Remnick was reconstructing his memory of Angell's reaction. “‘I work very hard to describe metaphorically or directly how a screw-ball, which is a highly complex piece of mechanical business, works,’” Remnick said, channeling his writer. “I don’t want the reader to press a hyperlink on the word screwball and all of a sudden showing you how, as in an instructional video.'"