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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Media
4:34 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 8:02 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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Media
4:42 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Consumer Advocates Alarmed By $45 Billion Deal

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:58 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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Business
5:27 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Cable Deal: Comcast To Buy Time Warner

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:29 am

Comcast has confirmed it is buying Time Warner. The merger would combine the country's two largest cable companies and likely draw scrutiny from regulators.

Media
4:55 am
Tue February 11, 2014

eBay Co-Founder's Media Company Launches Digital Magazine

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:28 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

In the coming weeks, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik will tell us about media outlets grappling with how to report and present the news, and how to pay for that reporting amid major changes in the industry. In this, his first story, David reports on a new news organization called First Look Media, which made its debut yesterday.

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Media
4:41 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Abuse Allegations Revive Woody Allen's Trial By Media

Director and actor Woody Allen poses on the red carpet in Rome in 2012. A debate is raging in the media and social media over allegations that Allen sexually abused his daughter two decades ago.
Andrew Medichini AP

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 10:33 am

The comedian and movie director Woody Allen responded vigorously late Friday to allegations that he had sexually abused his daughter more than two decades ago.

The story of why Allen chose to address these once-dormant allegations again involves celebrity, trauma and a battle newly joined in the press and on social media.

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Business
4:55 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Former Wonkblog Team To Create New Site For Vox Media

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:25 am

Ezra Klein and the team behind the Wonkblog at The Washington Post have found a new home. They are joining Vox Media, a digital outfit with sites serving sports fans, foodies and gamers — but little in the way of news about politics. The creation of the new site, tentatively called Project X, demonstrates the pull of digital media for entrepreneurial journalists.

Media
5:19 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Biography Argues Roger Ailes Uses Fox To Divide Nation

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 8:04 am

Roger Ailes is a hero to the political right and a boogeyman to the left for leading the Fox News Channel to become the top-rated force in cable news --- the competition is not even close. Ailes and Fox refused to cooperate with author Gabriel Sherman.

Media
5:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

How Will NBC Cover Gay Issues During Sochi Olympics?

Russian police officers detain a gay-rights activist during a protest outside the Winter Olympics organizing committee office in Moscow. Clashes over gay rights put NBC in a difficult position: Olympic officials insist that the games should not be politicized, while activists push the network to report on the issue as a journalistic enterprise.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 12:47 pm

The Winter Olympics next month, held in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, Russia, should provide mesmerizing athletic spectacle on ice and snow. But each Olympics also affords a brief global platform for dissidents in host countries to get the attention of the world — primarily through the media. And the exclusive American broadcaster, NBC, is coming under pressure to do more on behalf of gay rights and journalists there.

A 'Last Chance' To Shape Russian Attitudes

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Business
6:14 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

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

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

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

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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Media
3:04 am
Wed December 4, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 8:01 am

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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Europe
7:46 am
Sun October 27, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 2:10 pm

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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Media
5:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Monitoring For Signs Of Bias In Media's Shutdown Reporting

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:36 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The partial shutdown of the federal government involves real lives, people out of work and also politics, the blame game. It's a wide-ranging story that forces news outlets to confront a familiar question. How do you present the story, remain even-handed and explain accurately what's happening? Here's NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV NEWS BROADCASTS)

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: A lot of headlines and coverage has sounded something like this.

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Media
5:13 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Media Weighs Competition, Collaboration In Snowden Coverage

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. News organizations pursuing the secrets leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have seesawed between rivalry and collaboration, resentment and achievement. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, each outlet sought to tame a story larger than any of them.

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Television
5:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Al Jazeera Offers Americans An Alternative For News

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Among the news organizations following every development in Egypt is Al Jazeera. And now they are making a bit of news of their own. Al Jazeera America went on air yesterday afternoon, entering the crowded and competitive world of cable TV news in the United States. The new network is available in about 45 million households.

But as NPR's David Folkenflik reports, there are many people inside the industry skeptical that its promise of thoughtful and serious news coverage will woo American audiences.

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It's All Politics
6:02 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 8:40 am

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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Media
5:06 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

NPR, Ombudsman Differ On S. Dakota Indian Foster Care Series

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 7:14 am

After an extensive investigation lasting well over a year, NPR's ombudsman has concluded the network's series on South Dakota's efforts to put Native American children in foster care was fundamentally flawed.

The network and the ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, who is paid to critique NPR's news coverage, have split sharply over his findings.

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Business
6:26 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 8:20 pm

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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Media
4:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 6:05 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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Television
5:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 8:59 pm

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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Media
4:53 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Cable News Coverage Of Zimmerman Trial Widely Criticized

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 5:55 pm

The George Zimmerman trial has received a lot of attention and time on cable news. In many ways it resembles the sprawling coverage of earlier sensational trials. But the Zimmerman trial also has important social and cultural questions swirling around it.

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