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.

Pages

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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)

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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

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.

Read more

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."

Read more

2:04am

Fri March 8, 2013
Technology

News Corp. Education Tablet: For The Love Of Learning?

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 1:32 pm

Joel Klein, former New York City schools chief, left to run News Corp.'s education division. On Thursday, Amplify announced a specially designed education tablet.
Richard Drew AP

The educational division of the media conglomerate News Corp., called Amplify, unveiled a new digital tablet this week at the SXSW tech conference in Austin, Texas, intended to serve millions of schoolchildren and their teachers across the country.

Amplify promises the tablet will simplify administrative chores for teachers, enable shy children to participate more readily in discussions, and allow students to complete coursework at their own pace while drawing upon carefully selected online research resources.

Read more

4:56pm

Fri March 1, 2013
Politics

Media Circus: Ah, The President's Mean

The Washington Post's Bob Woodward, shown in June 2012, has been in the spotlight this week because of a tussle with the White House.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

The week's developments include a pope emeritus for the first time in six centuries, federal budget cuts seemingly designed by Sweeney Todd, and the visit by one of the NBA's all-time rebounders (Dennis Rodman) to the son of one of the world's greatest sportsmen (that would be North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, whose late father claimed to have shot five holes-in-one on his very first golf outing).

Read more

7:17pm

Thu February 21, 2013
Media

CNBC Adopts Tougher Tactic In Booking Wars

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 10:26 am

Morning rush hour commuters pass by a CNBC crew in front of the New York Stock Exchange in September 2006. The channel has adopted a policy that prohibits guests from appearing on rival channels amid breaking news.
Mary Altaffer AP

CNBC is far and away the television ratings leader in the financial cable news business. Now, evidence arrives that its executives, producers and reporters are going to great lengths to maintain its status.

The channel has adopted a policy that prohibits guests from appearing on rival channels amid breaking news if they want to be seen by CNBC's larger audience.

Read more

5:12pm

Wed February 20, 2013
Media

New York Times Plans To Sell 'Boston Globe'

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:11 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

The Grey Lady is shedding more of its assets. This afternoon, The New York Times Company announced that it intends to sell The Boston Globe and other properties it owns in New England.

For more on this, NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik joins me from our bureau in New York. And, David, what can you tell us? Why this sale, and why now?

Read more

5:47am

Fri January 18, 2013
Media

Media Circus: The Football Star And The Will To Believe

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 10:05 am

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o speaks Nov. 29 after he received a sportsmanship award from the Awards and Recognition Association in South Bend, Ind.
Joe Raymond AP

One of the top collegiate football players in the country, Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, was lionized by the media amid stories of his perseverance on the field after both his grandmother and his girlfriend died.

Thanks to an expose by Deadspin, the girlfriend's very existence is now believed to be a hoax, throwing the Heisman runner-up and his university on the defensive.

Read more

4:26am

Tue December 18, 2012
Shootings In Newtown, Conn.

Coverage Rapid, And Often Wrong, In Tragedy's Early Hours

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 2:09 pm

Flowers, candles and stuffed animals make up a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn., on Monday. Much of the initial news coverage of Friday's events was later found to be inaccurate.
Eric Thayer Reuters/Landov

Nearly everyone reported so many things wrong in the first 24 hours after the Sandy Hook shootings that it's hard to single out any one news organization or reporter for criticism.

Read more

6:17pm

Mon November 12, 2012
Media

Conservative Media Caught in the Blame Game

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 7:08 am

In the wake of last Tuesday's elections, a lively debate has erupted into the open over whether conservatives and the Republican Party were well-served by their favorite media outlets.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney was reported to have been so certain of a victory on Tuesday night that he cast aside tradition and did not draft a concession speech. But conservatives now say his misplaced confidence — and theirs — were bolstered by the predictions of many like-minded pundits, which were broadcast and posted online around the clock by sympathetic news outlets.

Read more

5:10am

Wed November 7, 2012
Election 2012

Media Circus: Fox Struggles With Obama's Win

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 3:10 pm

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly walked down the hallway to ask the Fox decision team to explain the reasoning behind its Ohio call, which contradicted Rove's analysis. Click here to watch the interview.
Fox News

Imagine a ballot Tuesday that confronted you not with a choice between candidates named OBAMA and ROMNEY, but that looked more like this:

How much do you support the REPUBLICAN?

Pick only one.

Utterly _____

More than that ____

For much of Election Day, that was what viewers encountered in watching Fox News' coverage. President Obama was, in the words of Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy at the outset of the day, a guy who "promised hope and change — a lot of stuff — and he didn't deliver."

Read more

11:18am

Sat October 27, 2012
Media

Sexual Abuse Scandal Rocks U.K.'s BBC Network

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The BBC, one of the world's most prominent broadcasters, is in an uproar over allegations that one of its most famous TV personalities was a pedophile who preyed upon youths who appeared on his shows. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the BBC is both investigating the actions of the late Jimmy Savile and fielding sharp questions about why it killed a documentary exploring such accusations late last year.

Read more

5:53pm

Wed October 24, 2012
Media

Newspaper Endorsements: Prized, But Often Ignored

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 9:02 pm

The power of newspaper endorsements has faded, but candidates still compete for them.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

This weekend, a slew of newspapers in key swing states including Ohio are expected to release their endorsements for the presidency and other elected positions.

Such external validation is highly prized by candidates, but it's no longer entirely clear why.

Read more

12:47am

Tue October 23, 2012
It's All Politics

Media Circus: Tone Trumps Content In Final Debate

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 12:55 am

President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney walk away after they greet each other at the end of the third presidential debate in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

For most American viewers, including this one, much of Monday night's presidential debate on foreign policy was conducted as though it were in a foreign language.

References to Mali, to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, missile shields in Poland, "status of forces" agreements — could only have befuddled the voting public.

It's not that the candidates invoked unimportant issues. And it's not that the two held so elevated a conversation mere mortals could not understand. It's that they were debating almost entirely in tone rather than content.

Read more

4:59pm

Thu October 18, 2012
Media

After 80 Years In Print, 'Newsweek' To Go All Digital

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 8:00 pm

Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of Newsweek, announced Thursday that the 80-year-old newsmagazine will publish its final print edition on Dec. 31 and shift to an all-digital format in early 2013.
John Moore Getty Images

Newsweek editor Tina Brown announced Thursday she would embrace a fully digital future as she revealed that the magazine's final print edition would be published at the end of the year.

Her announcement was a bow to gravity, as her unique blend of buzz and brio proved incapable of counteracting Newsweek's plummeting circulation and advertising amid an accelerating news cycle. Brown said there would be an unspecified number of layoffs as well.

Read more

12:56am

Wed October 17, 2012
It's All Politics

Media Circus: Candidates Brawl, Pundits Reverse Course Yet Again

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:57 pm

CNN's Candy Crowley moderates the second presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Pundits fretted that the town hall format for Tuesday's presidential exchange would yield tepid results: undecided voters posing questions over 90 minutes with little more than a passing touch from the moderator, CNN's Candy Crowley.

Boy, was that a misplaced fear. "So much for the analysis this would not be confrontational," Fox News anchor Bret Baier said in the moments after the debate.

Read more

12:34am

Fri October 12, 2012
It's All Politics

Media Circus: Who Won? The Moderator

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 12:51 pm

Vice President Joe Biden speaks as Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and moderator Martha Raddatz listen during the vice presidential debate at Centre College on Thursday in Danville, Ky.
Michael Reynolds Pool/Getty Images

Atmospherically, the vice presidential debate pitted old versus new. Vice President Joe Biden lives in a world where no lily goes ungilded, and every 'lative is super. Rep. Paul Ryan speeds through campaigning energetically, like the heroic train in the new movie Atlas Got Cut Using the P90X Workout.

And the moderator Martha Raddatz? She came out guns blazing. No avuncular, passive Jim Lehrer she.

Read more

Pages