David Folkenflik

David Folkenflik was described by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, once gave him a "laurel" for reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.

Based in New York City, Folkenflik serves as NPR's media correspondent.

His stories and analyses are broadcast on the network's newsmagazines, such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Here & Now, and are featured on NPR's website and mobile platforms. Folkenflik's reports cast light on the stories of our age, the figures who shape journalism, and the tectonic shifts affecting the news industry. Folkenflik has reported intently on the relationship between the press, politicians, and the general public, as well as the fight over the flow of information in the age of Trump. Folkenflik brought listeners the profile of a Las Vegas columnist who went bankrupt fending off a libel lawsuit from his newspaper's new owner; conducted the first interview with New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet after his appointment; and repeatedly broke news involving the troubled Tronc company, which owns some of the most important regional newspapers in the country. In early 2018, Folkenflik's exposé about the past workplace behavior of the CEO of the Los Angeles Times forced the executive's immediate ouster from that job and helped inspire the sale of the newspaper.

Folkenflik is the author of Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. The Los Angeles Times called Murdoch's World "meaty reading... laced with delicious anecdotes" and the Huffington Post described it as "the gift that keeps on giving." Folkenflik is also editor of Page One: Inside the New York Times and the Future of Journalism. His work has appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, Politico Magazine, Newsweek International, the National Post of Canada, and the Australian Financial Review. Business Insider has called Folkenflik one of the 50 most influential people in American media.

Folkenflik joined NPR in 2004 after more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun, where he covered higher education, national politics, and the media. He started his professional career at the Durham Herald-Sun in North Carolina. Folkenflik served as editor-in-chief at the Cornell Daily Sun and graduated from Cornell with a bachelor's degree in history.

A five-time winner of the Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism from the National Press Club, Folkenflik has received numerous other recognitions, including the inaugural 2002 Mongerson Award for Investigative Reporting on the News and top honors from the National Headliners. In 2018, the Society of Professional Journalists recognized Folkenflik with its 2018 Ethics in Journalism Award. In 2017, Penn State University named Folkenflik as the nation's leading media critic with the Bart Richards Award. He also served as the inaugural Irik Sevin Fellow at Cornell. Folkenflik frequently lectures at college campuses and civic organizations across the country and often appears as a media analyst for television and radio programs in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Ireland.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

A group of disheartened former Denver Post editors and reporters launched an upstart news site 2 1/2 years ago, called it The Colorado Sun, and hoped it could rescue local news coverage from the dictates of hedge fund owners and Wall Street investors.

On Monday morning, The Sun announced had acquired and would operate a family-owned chain of 24 suburban newspapers around Denver in partnership with a new foundation focused on local journalism.

Conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, who entertained millions and propelled waves of Republican politicians, has died at age 70. He had announced to listeners last year that he had stage four lung cancer.

Limbaugh's death Wednesday morning was confirmed by his wife, Kathryn, at the start of his radio program.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Election technology company Smartmatic filed a massive lawsuit Thursday against Fox News, saying the network and some of its biggest on-air personalities made it into a villain and perpetuated false claims about the recent election.

The suit names Fox stars Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, as well as Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Updated at 9:37 p.m. ET

Michael Pack resigned Wednesday as the CEO of the federal agency over the Voice of America and other federally funded international broadcasters after a turbulent seven-month tenure. He leaves the U.S. Agency for Global Media with a Trumpian legacy of ideological strife, lawsuits and scandal, his departure effective just two hours after the swearing-in of President Biden, who requested him to leave.

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Updated at 12:08 a.m. ET on Wednesday

The Trump appointee who runs the government's overseas broadcasters reassigned the head of the Voice of America on Tuesday as part of a broad effort to install supporters of the president before the Biden administration comes to power.

U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack is intending to name as VOA director Robert Reilly, an outspoken conservative ally who briefly served in the job under President George W. Bush nearly two decades ago.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal watchdog, disclosed Wednesday that it had found "a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing" at the parent agency of the Voice of America under the leadership of the CEO appointed by President Trump.

Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, is proposing new legislation to outlaw political pressure on journalists at the Voice of America and other U.S. government-funded networks.

The acting director of the Voice of America said Monday night that he would reject any outside or political pressure on his newsroom's coverage following news reports that two pro-Trump political appointees at the VOA's parent agency had investigated the news service's White House bureau chief and accused him of anti-Trump bias.

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At the Voice of America, staffers say the Trump appointee leading their parent agency is threatening to wash away legal protections intended to insulate their news reports from political meddling.

"What we're seeing now is the step-by-step and wholescale dismantling of the institutions that protect the independence and the integrity of our journalism," says Shawn Powers, until recently the chief strategy officer for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees VOA.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Journalists write, as the maxim has it, the first draft of history. And Kamala Harris is seeking to make history.

As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's running mate, she is the first Black woman on a major party ticket for national office. She is also the first South Asian. She'll become just the fourth woman to be nominated for one of the two top slots from a major political party.

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The legendary newspaper columnist Pete Hamill has died. He was 85. He was a New York City tabloid crusader, and that made him one of the most influential figures in the city for decades. In 2011, Pete Hamill spoke with WHYY's Fresh Air.

James Murdoch resigned Friday from the board of directors of News Corp., the publishing arm of his family's media empire, in a very public sign of dissent that typically plays out behind closed doors.

The rupture capped a period of intensifying criticism of the coverage and views offered by the news empire created by his father Rupert Murdoch. Those include News Corp.'s publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post and a sister Murdoch company, the Fox News Channel.

Broadcast ratings for nearly all of NPR's radio shows took a steep dive in major markets this spring, as the coronavirus pandemic kept many Americans from commuting to work and school. The network's shows lost roughly a quarter of their audience between the second quarter of 2019 and the same months in 2020.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Dozens of foreign nationals working as journalists in the U.S. for Voice of America, the federal government's international broadcaster, will not have their visas extended once they expire, according to three people with knowledge of the decision.

Those people — each with current or past ties to the agency — said the new CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Michael Pack, signaled he will not approve the visa extensions.

Updated 5:29 PM ET

The Los Angeles Times is moving to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by six Black, Hispanic and female journalists at the paper contending that the under-representation of people of color there is a result of longstanding discriminatory pay practices.

New U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack swept into office like a man on a mission last week, firing the top executives and advisory boards of federally funded international broadcasters which weekly reach 340 million people abroad. A new lawsuit alleges he broke federal law in doing so.

Two of the nation's top newspapers on Thursday evening separately reached the same decision: They had to address diversity and equity in their newsrooms and their coverage.

In separate memos to staff, each outlined initiatives to address an issue that has roiled their newsrooms, as it has many others and many other institutions throughout society.

The Los Angeles Times' top editor is scrambling to placate journalists of color after years of often-unfulfilled promises by the paper to make grand progress in the diversity of the newsroom's ranks.

Some journalists have used terms such as "internal uprising" to describe their anger over racial inequity at the paper. Scores have participated in intense internal debates over the LA Times' coverage of recent protests and hiring practices, to the point that senior editors have weighed in, promising to listen and learn.

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There was news this afternoon of a major shakeup at the New York Times. The newspaper announced that James Bennet has resigned as the editorial page editor. His deputy is being given a different role in the newsroom.

NBC News chairman Andrew Lack was forced out Monday as part of a broader reorganization. The surprise wasn't in the announcement of Lack's departure, but that it had taken so long.

In his more than five years in charge of NBC News, Lack had overseen more than his share of disasters. There was the fiasco in 2017 by NBC News not to broadcast Ronan Farrow's #MeToo report on Harvey Weinstein, or even to pursue it further.

Updated at 4:41 p.m. ET

Fox News personalities have been cheerleading protesters across the U.S. gathering in defiance of state lockdown orders. This week, the situation became so extreme that a top executive at the network tried to rein in his stars.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the president's top advisers on how to tackle the coronavirus spread, so it's hard to imagine he has many free moments in his day. Yet he is spending a lot of time giving interviews.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

The email came in from the editor of a small newspaper in Seaside, Calif. And she wasn't the bearer of good news.

Instead, she offered a small data point in a larger and troubling dynamic: The pandemic threatening the nation's public health is swiftly jeopardizing the local journalism that keeps its citizens informed about what's happening in their own communities.

ESPN has gone from gearing up for March Madness to featuring marble racing.

As the coronavirus shuts down Broadway, bars, bowling alleys and more, consider the predicament of cable giant ESPN: The self-proclaimed "worldwide leader in sports" is now operating in a world where there are nearly no live sports.

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