David Folkenflik

Geraldo Rivera of the Fox News Channel once described David Folkenflik as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, gave him a "laurel" for his reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.

Folkenflik is NPR's media correspondent based in New York City. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines and shows, including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation. His reports offer insight into the operation of the media amid tectonic shifts in the industry and cast light on figures who help shape the way the news business works. NPR's listeners were first to learn how the corporate owners of the glossy magazine GQ sought to smother distribution of its provocative story about Russian Premier Vladimir Putin. They also found out, amid the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church, how a small, liberal Catholic weekly based in Kansas City had been documenting allegations of abuse by priests for a generation. Folkenflik provides media criticism on the air and at NPR.org on coverage of a broad array of issues — from the war in Afghanistan, to the financial crisis, to the saga of the "Balloon Boy."

Before joining NPR in 2004, Folkenflik spent more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun, where he covered higher education, Congress, and the media. He started his career at the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun. In 1991, Folkenflik graduted with a bachelor's degree in history from Cornell University, where he served as editor-in-chief of The Cornell Daily Sun.

A three-time winner of the Arthur Rowse Awards for Press Criticism from the National Press Club, Folkenflik won the inaugural 2002 Mongerson Award for Investigative Reporting on the News, presented by the Center for Media and Public Affairs and the University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies. Folkenflik's work has also been recognized with top honors from the National Headliners Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. He was the first Irik Sevin Visiting Fellow at Cornell and speaks frequently at colleges across the country. He has served as a media analyst on such television programs as CNN's Reliable Sources, ABC News' Nightline, Fox News' O'Reilly Factor, and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

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2:55pm

Tue March 25, 2014
Media

Resignation Revives Doubts About Bloomberg China Coverage

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:28 pm

Bloomberg News finds itself under unwelcome scrutiny once again, as its parent company's chairman suggests that reporting on the corruption of China ruling elites isn't part of its core mission. A key China editor also revealed this week that he had quit Bloomberg in protest of a decision not to publish a subsequent investigation.

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2:12pm

Tue March 11, 2014
Remembrances

Joe McGinniss, Headline-Grabbing Author, Dies At 71

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:38 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Journalist and bestselling author Joe McGinness has died. The author of classic books about politics and true crime was 71 years old. He suffered from complications due to inoperable prostate cancer. As NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik recalls, McGinness courted controversy throughout his career.

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2:07pm

Thu February 27, 2014
Media

Out Of Portland, A Digital Ripple Hits U.S. News Media

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:57 pm

Owners of The Oregonian are shedding the identity of a daily print newspaper and emphasizing digital content instead. The shift has been received with both cheers and outrage nationwide.

2:09pm

Mon February 24, 2014
Media

Piers Morgan Shown The Door, While CNN Weighs Its Next Step

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

CNN has announced that it's canceling "Piers Morgan Live." The primetime show has suffered from weak ratings and controversy. Piers Morgan is British and a former tabloid editor and reality show judge. He was named three years ago to replace Larry King as CNN's most prominent interviewer. NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us from our New York bureau to sort through this. And first, David, why ultimately did Morgan fail? How would you characterize his approach?

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2:12pm

Thu February 13, 2014
Media

Consumer Advocates Alarmed By $45 Billion Deal

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:58 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Comcast is already the nation's biggest cable TV and Internet service provider. And now, it's trying to get a whole lot bigger. The company struck a deal to buy its top cable rival, Time Warner Cable. The price tag, $45 billion. NPR's David Folkenflik reports that critics say if the sale is approved, Comcast will be too dominant.

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4:14pm

Wed January 8, 2014
Business

News Or Ad? Online Advertisers Hope You'll Click To Find Out

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:11 am

pages almost indiscernible from a typical Buzzfeed page." href="/post/news-or-ad-online-advertisers-hope-youll-click-find-out" class="noexit lightbox">
Buzzfeed is among a growing number of outlets using native advertising online. The ads mimic the site's look and style, and some link to pages almost indiscernible from a typical Buzzfeed page.
screengrab/Buzzfeed.com

The New York Times unveiled a major redesign of its digital offerings Wednesday. With a new scroll feature, readers will never again have to click to read the second half of a story, and the site is crafted to appeal to a mobile audience.

But the redesign has also embraced a controversial shift in journalism: Some posts on the site that look like articles are reported and written by people working for the paper's advertisers.

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1:04am

Wed December 4, 2013
Media

OMG, BuzzFeed Is Investing In Serious News Coverage! Is It FTW?

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:01 am

BuzzFeed's content is created by both paid staff members and users of the site.
Matt Haughey Flickr

Anyone who has hankered for a list of 10 of the most life-affirming dog rescue stories ever can rely on the social media site BuzzFeed.

That list of 11 classic horror films that should never have been remade? That's from BuzzFeed too.

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6:00am

Sun October 27, 2013
Europe

Hacking Trial Puts U.K. Press, Politicos, Police On Defense

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 12:10 pm

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has pleaded not guilty to five charges related to the phone hacking scandal.
Sang Tan AP

Journalists who were once among the most powerful in the United Kingdom go on trial in London on Monday. The trial is the result of a 2011 hacking scandal that electrified the media on both sides of the Atlantic and sank Rupert Murdoch's News of the World.

The trial is expected to reveal details of the uncomfortably cozy relationship between the media and political elites, says former Murdoch executive Ken Chandler.

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4:41pm

Wed August 14, 2013
It's All Politics

A Lover Of Horse Races, And Horses: Remembering Jack Germond

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 6:40 am

Jack Germond, who died Wednesday at 85, was one of the legendary "boys on the bus" covering presidential politics.
David Burnett/Random House AP

Political reporter Jack Germond smoked and loved martinis and red wine and fine food and betting on horses — he lived life large and didn't suffer phonies.

But here's the thing about Germond, who died Wednesday at age 85: He liked politicians. That's something you don't find much among reporters today.

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4:26pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Business

With An Industry In Turmoil, Why Buy A Newspaper Company?

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 6:20 pm

The Washington Post is now in its seventh straight year of declining revenues, says the paper's chairman, Donald Graham. Rather than continue to watch the paper struggle, Graham and Publisher Katharine Weymouth decided to look for a buyer.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Donald Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Co., is the son and grandson of its leaders for the past 80 years. And along with his niece, publisher Katharine Weymouth, Graham admitted in a video on The Post's website that the family simply didn't have the answers to questions about the paper's future.

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2:52pm

Wed July 31, 2013
Media

Local Kentucky TV Station Wants To 'Un-Hype' The News

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 4:05 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

In local TV news, one of the most basic ways to appeal to viewers is to constantly promise breaking news, but one station in Louisville, Kentucky, is taking a different approach. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik tells us more.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: The spot is for WDRB television in Louisville.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV BROADCAST)

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10:25am

Sat July 20, 2013
Remembrances

Veteran Journalist Helen Thomas Leaves An Outspoken Legacy

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 1:09 pm

Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas broke barriers and became a White House fixture, but her famous bluntness caused her downfall in the end.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

3:03pm

Tue July 16, 2013
Television

McCarthy's Vaccination Stance Complicates Job On 'The View'

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 6:59 pm

Jenny McCarthy, a regular guest host on The View, has been selected as a permanent co-host beginning in September. The appointment has sparked controversy because of McCarthy's anti-vaccination advocacy.
Donna Svennevik ABC via Getty Images

The newest co-host for Barbara Walters' chatfest The View is a vivacious and outspoken model, actor and activist for children, seemingly a perfect person to have at the table of the successful network talk show.

But Jenny McCarthy is also one of the nation's leading skeptics about the safety of vaccines. And in that role, ABC's newest star has stirred consternation.

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2:51am

Fri July 5, 2013
Media

Louisville TV Station Promises Not To Hype Breaking News

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 3:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In local television news, one of the most basic ways to appeal to viewers is the constant promise of breaking news. As NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik reports, one station in Louisville, Kentucky is taking a different approach and it's beginning to win attention for it.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: The spot is for WDRB television in Louisville.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SPOT)

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10:26am

Sun May 26, 2013
The Two-Way

Justice Department Told News Corp. About Fox Subpoena In 2010

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 5:29 pm

Fox News officials professed indignation and surprise last week over the search of reporter James Rosen's records amid a federal leak investigation

But prosecutors told Fox's parent company of a subpoena nearly three years ago.

Prosecutors issued a subpoena for Rosen's phone records and got a judge to sign off on a sealed warrant for his emails back in May 2010.

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3:52am

Tue May 21, 2013
Media

Fox News Reporter James Rosen Caught Up In Federal Probe

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The White House is defending itself - again - against charges that it's trampling on the First Amendment. The Justice Department obtained a portfolio of information about a Fox News reporter's conversations and visits. Obtaining this information was part of an investigation into a possible leak. A federal prosecutor said the reporter, James Rosen, had conspired in the commission of a crime. We have more from NPR's David Folkenflik.

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3:11pm

Mon May 13, 2013
Media

Bloomberg News Apologizes For Tracking Subscribers

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 3:42 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News is apologizing. That's after admitting his reporters tracked how subscribers use the company's famous financial data terminals. The disclosure has caused an uproar in the financial services world. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the episode has roots both in Bloomberg's innovations in data management, and its corporate culture.

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3:03pm

Thu May 9, 2013
NPR Story

In Newsrooms, Some Immigration Terms Are Going Out Of Style

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 3:41 pm

Protesters demonstrate in downtown Orlando, Fla., on May 1, 2006. Most news outlets have long abandoned the use of the term "illegals."
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Journalists make choices all the time that influence our understanding of the news — the choice of what stories to cover, which people to interview, which words to use. And major news organizations have been reconsidering how best to describe a group of people whose very presence in this country breaks immigration law.

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1:45pm

Fri April 26, 2013
Media

Koch Brothers' Newspaper Takeover Could Spark 'Culture Clash'

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:59 pm

The Tribune Co. is considering the sale of all of its daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and the Los Angeles Times, whose building is pictured above.
David McNew Getty Images

The Tribune Co., emerging from bankruptcy and looking to reshape itself, is now considering the sale of all its newspapers — including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and five other regional newspapers. It's still very early in the sale process; although the newspaper unit has been valued at $623 million, significant debts are also attached, and Tribune has signaled that it reserves the right not to sell if there isn't a worthy bid.

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2:29pm

Fri April 12, 2013
Media

Great Long-Form Journalism, Just Clicks Away

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 9:12 am

As newspapers around the country struggle with declining subscription rates and smaller staffs, passionate, long-form digital storytelling is creating new ways of delivering richly detailed reporting.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

In the age of hundreds of cable channels, millions of 140-character bulletins and an untold number of cat videos, a fear has been growing among journalists and readers that long-form storytelling may be getting lost.

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