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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Business
3:14 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Tech News Site Re/code Creates Buzz In Silicon Valley

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 6:17 am

Re/code is a new tech site that doesn't charge its readers or expect to make much from ads. Instead, it has a successful conference business. Other media also see potential profits in conferences.

Media
2:55 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Resignation Revives Doubts About Bloomberg China Coverage

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:28 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
2:12 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Joe McGinniss, Headline-Grabbing Author, Dies At 71

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:38 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
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

After Newsweek 'Outs' Purported Bitcoin Founder, Questions Follow

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:02 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. The past 36 hours have brought us a splashy cover story claiming to have found the figure behind a shadowy multi-billion dollar enterprise, also a media circus replete with an OJ Simpson-like car chase through the streets of Los Angeles and an army of online debunkers intent on proving the article false.

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Media
2:40 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:57 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
2:20 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:02 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
2:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Consumer Advocates Alarmed By $45 Billion Deal

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:58 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
3:09 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Cable Deal: Comcast To Buy Time Warner

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:29 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
2:55 am
Tue February 11, 2014

eBay Co-Founder's Media Company Launches Digital Magazine

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

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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Business
2:55 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Former Wonkblog Team To Create New Site For Vox Media

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 5:25 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
3:19 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Biography Argues Roger Ailes Uses Fox To Divide Nation

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:04 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.

Business
4:14 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

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

pages almost indiscernible from a typical Buzzfeed page." href="/post/news-or-ad-online-advertisers-hope-youll-click-find-out" class="noexit lightbox">
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 9:11 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
4:44 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Photojournalists Push White House For Better Access To Obama

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Reporters today gave White House press secretary Jay Carney a tough time over the way the administration controls President Obama's image, in this case literally by limiting the situations in which professional photojournalists get to take pictures of the president. News organizations have formally protested and NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us now to explain

Hey there, David.

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Media
1:04 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 6:01 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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Media
3:07 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

CBS Puts Lara Logan On Leave After Review Of Flawed Benghazi Report

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 6:42 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

An internal review of a report that aired on CBS' "60 Minutes" about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, reached damning conclusions. Now, Laura Logan, the CBS correspondent who reported that story, and her producer are taking leaves of absence at management's request.

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Media
3:18 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

In Reversal, CBS Retracts Account From '60 Minutes' Benghazi Source

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 6:08 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

CBS News has retracted a key segment of a "60 Minutes" report that aired in late October. The story chronicled the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. As NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik reports, CBS had defended its stories - its story for days. This was despite growing doubts about the credibility of a source, a British security contractor.

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Europe
6:00 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 12:10 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
2:59 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Why's eBay's Pierre Omidyar Bankrolling A Journalism Startup?

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 5:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

For years, predictions about the demise of the news business have been rampant. But lately, digital industry billionaires are entering the fray, bringing hope that those forecasts are wrong. Earlier this year, Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post.

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Media
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Why Outlets Often Get It Wrong In Breaking News Coverage

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:34 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

As news traveled about the mass shootings at the Navy Yard, there were some missteps by the media. At first, some news outlets reported there were up to three different gun men. So far, that's turned out not to be the case. There were reports that there was a second shooting at Bolling Air Force Base, that turned out not to be the case.

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Television
3:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Al Jazeera Offers Americans An Alternative For News

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:03 am

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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Media
3:36 am
Tue August 20, 2013

NPR CEO Knell To Leave After 2 years On The Job

CEO Gary Knell announced on Monday that he is leaving NPR to take the helm at National Geographic Society. The offer was too good to refuse, Knell told NPR staffers, giving him the chance to lead a larger educational and publishing and television organization on a "global stage."

It's All Politics
4:02 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 6:40 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
4:26 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 6:20 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
2:52 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

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

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 4:05 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
3:03 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 6:59 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
2:51 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Louisville TV Station Promises Not To Hype Breaking News

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 3:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In local television news, one of the most basic ways to appeal to viewers is the constant promise of breaking news. As NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik reports, one station in Louisville, Kentucky is taking a different approach and it's beginning to win attention for it.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: The spot is for WDRB television in Louisville.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SPOT)

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Television
2:45 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Local TV Stations Snapped Up In Buying Sprees

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 6:36 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.

The Chicago-based Tribune Company, newly out of bankruptcy, is trying to sell off its newspaper holdings. Yet even as the company withdraws from print media, it's making a big push into local television, following the lead of other major media players.

NPR's David Folkenflik reports

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Law
3:29 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Fox Dispute Justice Department's Stand On Subpoena

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When it was revealed recently that the Justice Department had secretly seized records belonging to journalists, part of an effort to end high-profile government leaks, it sparked a huge debate about press freedom. But in one of the cases involving Fox News, there is a disagreement. Justice officials say they told Fox they were about to obtain telephone records for one of its senior reporters. The man at the center of the story has a different version of events, as NPR's David Folkenflik reports.

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The Two-Way
10:26 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Justice Department Told News Corp. About Fox Subpoena In 2010

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 5:29 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
3:52 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Fox News Reporter James Rosen Caught Up In Federal Probe

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 9:13 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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