LBY3
The continuing adventures of Beau Yarbrough

Sheriff: Not pro-actively pursuing immigration cases makes San Bernardino County safer

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 18:13
Section: Journalism

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon discusses the department's approach to immigration issues and recent in-custody deaths with reporters and editors of the San Bernardino Sun and Riverside Press-Enterprise. ?? #journalism

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Full story here.



A year after San Bernardino woman’s jailhouse death, family seeks answers

Saturday, February 25, 2017, 18:16
Section: Journalism

Photo taken with an iPhone 7 Plus in Portrait mode, which fakes a shortened focal length.

The story on the protest is located here.



In Other News: Reporters on Reporting

Friday, August 5, 2016, 7:48
Section: Arts & Entertainment,Journalism

Originally published on Goodreads:

In Other News: Reporters on ReportingIn Other News: Reporters on Reporting by Stephanie Forshee and Rosie Downey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note: Turn to the last page of the book, and there I am, a Kickstarter backer of this book.

“In Other News: Reporters on Reporting” fills a valuable role for new or prospective journalists, particularly reporters, looking for some career guidance. As newsrooms have shrunk, which nearly all of them have, so to have the number of available mentors, in part because even would-be mentors often find themselves too busy to help out, even when they want to.

So this book fills that gap, with interviews with a dozen journalists from across the United States, and at a mix of print, online and broadcast outlets. Stephanie Forshee and Rosie Downey also interviewed a good number of female journalists and journalists of color, the latter of whom are still in woefully small supply across most outlets, and whose voices are especially needed by new journalists looking for advice.

The interviews tend to be about their career paths, and include other voices from the journalists’ paths, although in the cases of particularly interesting pieces they’ve worked on, the interviews may end up focusing on a particular story or series instead.

The book’s not perfect. It could use at least one more good edit, for one thing: The first interview uses “self-admittedly,” which would cause most copy editors I’ve known in the past 25 years to scream, and the last piece includes quotes from a former co-worker of the subject, but never gives their first name or an explanation why it’s not included. But those errors are a lesson for new reporters, as well.

And despite the fact that the two authors both work for smaller outfits themselves, the book is entirely focused on larger, more famous publications — I think all of the newspapers mentioned in the book are in the top 25 in the nation by circulation, despite the fact that there are more than 1,200 newspapers being published today. That gives the unfortunate impression that these larger market publications are what “real” journalism is about and that it’s what new journalists should aspire to, despite the fact that most of the journalists at those publications aren’t going to be leaving any time soon (and if they are, there often won’t be a job opening left when they do), and that there isn’t any good work being done at small publications. (Daniel Gilbert of the 39,000-circulation Herald Courier in Bristol, Virginia, won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, and my colleagues won the Pulitzer for Local Reporting in 2015 while at the 57,000-circulation Daily Breeze in Torrance.)

But those, honestly, are quibbles, and maybe something to be addressed in a second edition. Because this is a book that new and aspiring journalists should be reading, especially those who weren’t born with a passion to become a journalist or who didn’t take the route through a prestigious undergraduate journalism program and an expensive graduate degree program. There are journalists in this book, some of them household names, who didn’t decide on journalism until decades into adulthood and many others who took circuitous paths to get to where they are today. The big lesson of this book — that there’s no one “right” way to make it in journalism — is one I think every journalist at the start of what is still an immensely satisfying, if challenging, career path ought to hear.

View all my reviews

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Los Angeles News Group breaking news coverage of the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino

Friday, January 15, 2016, 16:06
Section: Journalism

Initially created for internal use, but probably interesting to others. It was a pretty grim exercise reliving all of this over the course of two hours or so.

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My most-read stories of 2014

Monday, January 5, 2015, 18:22
Section: Journalism

This is my last 2014 round-up story, I swear.

Rialto Unified logoThese are based on our internal measurements, so I can’t reveal exact numbers without getting my fingers broken, but here’s my most-read stories from last year. (They pale in comparison to the reads crime, sports and photo galleries get, of course.) Although the stories you expect to be here are, they’re not in the spots I would have predicted, personally:

1. San Bernardino teacher accused of racist slur in classroom

Far and away my most-read story of the year, even putting together all the reads of my Rialto Unified Holocaust assignment coverage from the Sun, Daily Bulletin and Daily News.

On Friday, Sept. 12, I was at the Sun, writing up my court coverage of another story (one of the seemingly endless follow-ups to the California Charter Academy indictments) when LaRue Bell’s family came in, and asked to speak to a reporter. The district responded quickly to my inquiry about Bell’s assertions about his teacher and I thought that was that. But the story attracted a great deal of attention, emails from supporters of the teacher and several additional weeks of coverage. I intend to follow up on her job status now that the school year has started up again in January.

2. San Bernardino teacher arrested for alleged sex with minors

The second most-read story of the year was, again, a fairly simple one from our standpoint: The police reported that a teacher had been arrested for sex crimes with children. In the interest of finding other possible victims, the police put the news out, along with her picture, and we did the same, for similar reasons. But from the very beginning, her defenders proclaimed her innocence in numbers we typically don’t see and suggested there was more to the story. This fall, the district attorney ended up dropping all charges against the teacher, citing an “insufficiency of evidence.”

3. Holocaust denied by students in Rialto school assignment

This is the story I thought would be the top one of the year, as it made international headlines, changed the curriculum for Rialto Unified’s ninth grade students this year and led to numerous shakeups in the district. It was my top story at the Los Angeles Daily News, but only came in third place, trailing the two stories about San Bernardino City Unified teachers. I’m happy that my editors backed me up on my desire to post all 2,000 student essays online, via DocumentCloud, although I feel sympathy for anyone else who reads through all 2,000 hand-written essays.

4. Rialto Unified defends writing assignment on confirming or denying Holocaust

This was the big story that dropped in May, sending ripples across the nation and overseas. Within minutes of this being posted online, the district began getting emails from around the world, according to documents released under the California Public Records Act. One of the immediate impacts was that news sites across the country did their own versions of the story, sometimes crediting the Sun or me, sometimes not. Still, the story was the second-biggest for me on DailyNews.com and did well overall for the year.

5. Hundreds mourn Chino car crash victims at tearful vigil in Eastvale

This story, written with Greg Cappis, who was covering breaking news that Saturday night, was by a large margin the most-read story in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin this year, ahead of the initial story about the car crash I worked on earlier that Saturday morning and Rialto Unified Holocaust follow-up stories. Both likely got additional views from a grim coincidence: There was not one, but two Southern California three-car crashes that killed multiple teenagers that night. We received comments, tweets and emails from people scolding us for getting the facts wrong, when they thought they were reading about the Irvine crash, rather than the Chino one.

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