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
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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Media
3:13 am
Sat May 18, 2013

Media Covers Itself In Privacy Debacles

Originally published on Sat May 18, 2013 5:23 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
3:11 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Bloomberg News Apologizes For Tracking Subscribers

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 3:42 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
3:03 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 3:41 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
3:17 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 4:59 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
3:15 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

China's CCTV America Walks The Line Between 2 Media Traditions

Before joining CCTV America, Phillip T.K. Yin was an anchor and reporter for Bloomberg Television.
CCTV America

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 6:16 pm

At a time when so many major American news organizations are cutting back, foreign news agencies are beefing up their presence abroad and in the U.S. One of the biggest new players arrives from China and, more likely than not, can be found on a television set near you.

CCTV, or China Central Television, is owned by the Chinese government. With more than 40 channels in China and an offshoot in the U.S., the broadcaster has been highly profitable for the country's ruling Communist Party, which is liking profits a lot these days.

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Media
2:29 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 9:12 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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Television
3:26 am
Thu April 4, 2013

NBC Has More Problems Than Just 'Tonight Show' Hosts

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. So Frommer's guidebooks will stay the same. "The Tonight Show" is changing. This is a long-running television network drama - the saga of NBC easing Jay Leno out of the chair. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, Leno will be replaced next year by Jimmy Fallon, in a show based in New York City.

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Media
8:50 am
Fri March 29, 2013

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

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 9:14 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
7:49 am
Fri March 29, 2013

NPR To Discontinue 'Talk Of The Nation'

Robin Young.
WBUR

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 12:26 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
2:58 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 10:06 am

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
12:04 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 11:32 am

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
2:56 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
5:17 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 8:26 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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NPR Story
3:12 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

New York Times Plans To Sell 'Boston Globe'

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 4:11 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
3:30 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 8:05 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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Media
4:26 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Oprah Interview Adds To Armstrong's Complicated Media History

Lance Armstrong speaks at a press conference of the 100th Milan-San Remo Cycle Race on March 20, 2009.
Vittorio Zunino Celotto Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 5:16 am

After a career of alternately charming, manipulating and strong-arming the media, former cycling champion Lance Armstrong is turning for redemption to a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Winfrey has said viewers of her talk show on her cable channel OWN on Thursday and Friday nights will witness Armstrong confess that he cheated. But, she warned that people will be surprised in the way in which he confesses.

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Business
3:08 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Tribune Co. Moves Toward Entertainment, Cable TV

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 7:44 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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