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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Around the Nation
4:47 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

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

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

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

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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Technology
2:04 am
Fri March 8, 2013

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

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

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

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.

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Media
7:17 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

CNBC Adopts Tougher Tactic In Booking Wars

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

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

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.

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Media
5:12 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

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?

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Media
5:30 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Media Circus: The Football Star And The Will To Believe

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

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

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.

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Business
4:59 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Tribune Co. Moves Toward Entertainment, Cable TV

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 9:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Chicago-based Tribune Company, the corporate owner of the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and 23 local TV stations, emerged from bankruptcy yesterday after a messy four-year process.

As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, Tribune's future may look very different from its newsy past.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
4:26 am
Tue December 18, 2012

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

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

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

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.

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Media
6:17 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

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.

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Election 2012
4:54 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Statistician Nate Silver Scores Big On Election Night

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 5:50 pm

We profile the year's "it" prognosticator, Nate Silver, the baseball guru turned electoral college whiz.

Election 2012
5:10 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Media Circus: Fox Struggles With Obama's Win

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

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

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."

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Media
5:22 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Voters Have Myriad Of Options To Track Returns

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

There's a principle in marketing that if you have too many similar products to choose from, you can become paralyzed; so, too, in news, as the number of outlets and media platforms explode. On a day when millions of people will be following election results, we asked NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik to give us a sense of the many ways you can find information.

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Media
5:41 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Campaigns Use Local Media As A Form Of 'Free Press'

In battleground states like Ohio, distant national figures running for the White House show up in person to capture the local news cycle again and again and again. The campaigns' desire to get "free media" simply by appearing is a source of excitement and exhaustion for local news organizations, which know they're being used but can't help themselves.

Around the Nation
5:21 am
Wed October 31, 2012

N.J. Residents Recount Experiences During Storm

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 8:52 am

Superstorm Sandy devastated much of New Jersey, with massive power outages, crippled mass transit routes, and an astonishing tidal surge. NPR's David Folkenflik spent time Tuesday with people from two small New Jersey towns covered — for a few hours — by seemingly biblical waters.

Media
11:18 am
Sat October 27, 2012

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.

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Media
5:53 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Newspaper Endorsements: Prized, But Often Ignored

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

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

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.

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