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 techtonic 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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9:47am

Tue June 24, 2014
Business

1 Editor Cleared, 1 Found Guilty In U.K. Phone-Hacking Trial

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A British jury has reached verdicts in a trial stemming from a scandal involving hacking by tabloids. Several former editors and executives of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers face charges. Former News of the World editor, Andrew Coulson, was found guilty. Other editors were not. NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik has been covering this story. Hi, David.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Hey, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK, so what are the verdicts here?

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5:10pm

Wed June 11, 2014
Media

To Defeat A Goliath, David Brat Got Help In Conservative Media

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 6:24 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In trying to reconstruct how Congressman Cantor was defeated, another partial explanation surfaced in the media. Perhaps, it was the media. Here's NPR's media correspondent, David Folkenflik.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: David Brat had a pretty clear idea of at least one of the keys to his victory. He identified it this morning on "The Laura Ingraham Show."

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE LAURA INGRAHAM SHOW")

LAURA INGRAHAM: Hey Dave, how are you?

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5:53pm

Thu June 5, 2014
Media

'New York Times' Editor: Losing Snowden Scoop 'Really Painful'

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 7:13 pm

Edward Snowden didn't trust The New York Times with his revelations about the National Security Agency because the newspaper had delayed publishing a story about NSA secrets a decade earlier.
Mario Tama Getty Images

When former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden made the fateful decision to share sensitive documents with reporters revealing secret and mass gathering of the metadata associated with the phone calls made by tens of millions of Americans, he had to figure out which news outfit to trust.

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4:32pm

Thu June 5, 2014
Europe

Judge Sums Phone-Hacking Details, As Jury Prepares To Decide Case

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 7:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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8:31pm

Fri May 30, 2014
Media

An Old-Fashioned Newspaperman Takes The Helm In A Digital World

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 4:49 pm

The Times is making headlines for more than just its change in leadership; an internal review, which leaked to the press earlier this month, was intensely critical about how the newspaper has adapted to the digital era.
AP

The New York Times' new executive editor, Dean Baquet, took over just two weeks ago, yet he appears perfectly comfortable in his perch atop the worlds of journalism and New York. He smokes fine cigars to relax, wears elegant loafers and excuses his decision to keep his suit coat on during our conversation by saying that's just who he is.

But Baquet's identity is wrapped up in a city and a different reality more than 1,000 miles away.

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12:34pm

Tue May 20, 2014
The Two-Way

NPR To End 'Tell Me More,' Eliminate 28 Positions

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 2:41 pm

NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Stephen Voss NPR

NPR announced Tuesday that it would cease broadcast of the weekday program Tell Me More on Aug. 1 and eliminate 28 positions as part of a larger effort to end the company's persistent budget deficits.

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4:11pm

Fri May 9, 2014
Media

Meet NPR's New Chief Executive: Jarl Mohn

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 8:45 pm

NPR announced the selection of a new CEO. His name is Jarl Mohn, a longtime radio disc jockey and former media executive, who's been a venture capitalist and corporate board member in recent years. The appointment of Mohn follows last year's departure of Gary Knell, who left NPR to run the National Geographic Society.

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4:00pm

Wed April 30, 2014
Sports

What About Donald Sterling's Right To Privacy?

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:46 am

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (center) has been banned by the NBA; he is seen here watching a Clippers game with V. Stiviano in 2011.
Danny Moloshok AP

You can't forget what you've heard with your own ears.

Thanks to the widespread broadcast of his beliefs on race, the disgrace of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is now cemented, and the NBA is seeking to force him to sell the team.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged as much at a news conference Tuesday, during which he announced that Sterling was banned from the league for life for his remarks on race.

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5:22pm

Fri April 25, 2014
Media

So Much For Scoops: Newspapers Turn To Data-Crunching And Context

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:15 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Verticals, context blogs, explainers, those are the buzzwords of the news business. From some of the nation's oldest papers to the newest digital news startups, there's a rush to create sites that emphasize context rather than good old-fashioned scoops. The focus now is to blend fresh writing, number crunching and striking graphics. NPR's David Folkenflik reports on this evolution.

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5:06pm

Tue March 25, 2014
Media

Resignation Revives Doubts About Bloomberg China Coverage

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:28 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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4:53pm

Tue March 11, 2014
Remembrances

Joe McGinniss, Headline-Grabbing Author, Dies At 71

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 9:38 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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4:07pm

Thu February 27, 2014
Media

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

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 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.

4:34pm

Mon February 24, 2014
Media

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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4:42pm

Thu February 13, 2014
Media

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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4:41pm

Fri February 7, 2014
Media

Abuse Allegations Revive Woody Allen's Trial By Media

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

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

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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3:04am

Wed December 4, 2013
Media

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

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 8:01 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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4:39pm

Wed September 11, 2013
NPR Story

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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6:02pm

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 8:40 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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6:15pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Business

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

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 8:20 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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6:05pm

Wed July 31, 2013
Media

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

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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5:03pm

Tue July 16, 2013
Television

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

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 8:59 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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12:08pm

Sun May 26, 2013
The Two-Way

Justice Department Told News Corp. About Fox Subpoena In 2010

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 7:29 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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5:52am

Tue May 21, 2013
Media

Fox News Reporter James Rosen Caught Up In Federal Probe

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 11:13 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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7:23am

Sat May 18, 2013
Media

Media Covers Itself In Privacy Debacles

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Pair of unrelated stories this week, both involving the news media, served to remind a lot of Americans of how little information that we may assume to be private, really is private. One story involves the U.S. Justice Department's efforts to find out who reporters are talking to; the other, reporters secretly monitoring their sources' activities.

We're joined now by NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, from New York. David, thanks for being with us.

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5:11pm

Mon May 13, 2013
Media

Bloomberg News Apologizes For Tracking Subscribers

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:42 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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5:03pm

Thu May 9, 2013
NPR Story

In Newsrooms, Some Immigration Terms Are Going Out Of Style

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 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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4:29pm

Fri April 12, 2013
Media

Great Long-Form Journalism, Just Clicks Away

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 11:12 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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10:50am

Fri March 29, 2013
Media

NPR To Drop Call-In Show 'Talk Of The Nation'

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. This morning we have news about our own network, word that TALK OF THE NATION, the daily call-in show broadcast by NPR for the last 21 years, will go off the air this summer. TALK OF THE NATION will be replaced by an expanded version of the news magazine HERE AND NOW. That's currently produced by member station WBUR in Boston, which will continue to produce it in partnership with NPR.

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9:33am

Fri March 29, 2013
The Two-Way

NPR To Discontinue 'Talk Of The Nation'

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 2:26 pm

Robin Young.
WBUR
  • On 'Morning Edition': David Folkenflik and Renee Montagne discuss the cancellation of 'Talk of the Nation'

NPR announced Friday morning that it will no longer produce the Monday-to-Thursday call-in show Talk of the Nation.

It will be replaced by Here and Now, a show produced in partnership with member station WBUR in Boston. Reported stories will be part of the show's format.

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4:58pm

Tue March 19, 2013
Around the Nation

With Headline Bus Tour, 'New York Post' Takes Manhattan

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 12:06 pm

The New York Post is notorious for topping its stories of scandal and gossip with brazen and pun-laden headlines.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

One of the joys of living in New York City is laughing at the giant screaming headlines in the New York Post. When the former secretary of state knocked back a beer on one of her trips abroad: "Swillary." When the Lance Armstrong doping scandal broke: "Drug Pedaller." And when CIA director David Petraeus admitted having an affair? "Cloak And Shag Her."

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