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
5:06 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

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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Remembrances
4:53 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

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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Media
4:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

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.

Media
4:00 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
4:55 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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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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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
4:39 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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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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Business
6:15 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
6:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

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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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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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Sun May 26, 2013

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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Media
5:52 am
Tue May 21, 2013

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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Media
5:13 am
Sat May 18, 2013

Media Covers Itself In Privacy Debacles

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 7:23 am

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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Media
5:11 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

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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NPR Story
5:03 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

In Newsrooms, Some Immigration Terms Are Going Out Of Style

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

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

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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Politics
8:45 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Koch Brothers' Newspaper Takeover Could Spark 'Culture Clash'

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

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 6:59 pm

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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Media
4:06 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Great Long-Form Journalism, Just Clicks Away

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

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

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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Media
10:50 am
Fri March 29, 2013

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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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Fri March 29, 2013

NPR To Discontinue 'Talk Of The Nation'

Robin Young.
WBUR

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

  • 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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Around the Nation
4:58 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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Politics
4:56 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

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).

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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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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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