Janet Cooke is 66

April 15, 1981

“Jimmy’s World” was in essence a fabrication. I never encountered or interviewed an 8-year-old heroin addict…I apologize to my newspaper, my profession, the Pulitzer board and all seekers of the truth. Today, in facing up to the truth, I have submitted my resignation.

Janet Cooke

In the spring of 1981, Janet Cooke received journalism’s ultimate accolade, a Pulitzer for “Jimmy’s World” which had been a front-page feature in The Washington Post the previous September. It was beautifully written at over 2000 words. It caused D.C. …


On Sunday, June 13, 1971, the front-page splash in The Washington Post was the White House wedding the evening before of President Nixon’s daughter Tricia to Edward Cox. The Post played the event especially big because its reporter, Judith Martin, had not been allowed to attend and the story was therefore an act of journalistic brio.

The New York Times’s front page that same Sunday morning was dominated by a different story: the first installment in its planned series on the contents of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history compiled by the Department of Defense detailing what became known as…


Notwithstanding “The Big Lie” about the results of the 2020 election or the recent ascendency of Elise Stefanik to GOP stardom by embracing it, Donald J. Trump’s presidency is now history, which is not the same thing as historic.

In any event, what exactly was it? In March, a group of seventeen historians, organized by Princeton University’s Julian E. Zelizer, convened to do what The New York Times described as “taking a first cut at writing a scholarly history of the administration.” The members submitted chapters on topics including immigration, foreign policy, race, party politics, disinformation and impeachment. The book…


Human Rights Watch: Israel Commits Crimes Against Humanity

This piece appeared on April 27, 2021in The Forward. I am posting it here to reach what I expect is another readership. It raises questions that only will be answered over time. I say without reservation that I am a supporter of Israel, not what it is, but what I would like it to be. And, I feel the same way about the United States.

Human Rights Watch, the world’s preeminent monitor of how governments treat people within their borders, has found that Israelis are guilty of apartheid.

This is far more…


Walter Mondale who died yesterday at 93 achieved a remarkable goal for a career in politics. He made it through untarnished from his time in the Senate, as an influential Vice-President to Jimmy Carter, as a singularly unsuccessful presidential candidate against Ronald Reagan in 1984, who still made history by choosing Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, as Ambassador to Japan and Elder Statesman. I watched Carter and Mondale at an event at the Carter Center two years ago. Their bodies had aged, but their minds and wits were on display. Mondale, in his final note to staff over the…


The (Glorious) Story of Magazines

It is routine now to declare legacy institutions as in irreversible decline or already dead. I could have called this piece some variant of “The End of Magazines” because so many of them have been eviscerated as readers and advertisers abandoned the printed pages for the internet versions.

A decade ago, I wrote about finding the first issue of Esquire from 1933 in an attic box at home. I praised its glossy elegant look, and its contributors, among others, Hemingway, Ring Lardner, Dashiell Hammett, and cartoons, I wrote, with “shapely showgirls in lingerie.” It was…


April 15, 1981

“Jimmy’s World” was in essence a fabrication. I never encountered or interviewed an 8-year-old heroin addict…I apologize to my newspaper, my profession, the Pulitzer board and all seekers of the truth. Today, in facing up to the truth, I have submitted my resignation.

Janet Cooke

In the spring of 1981, Janet Cooke received journalism’s ultimate accolade, a Pulitzer for “Jimmy’s World” which had been a front-page feature in The Washington Post the previous September. It was beautifully written at over 2000 words. It caused D.C. …


April 15, 1981

“Jimmy’s World” was in essence a fabrication. I never encountered or interviewed an 8-year-old heroin addict…I apologize to my newspaper, my profession, the Pulitzer board and all seekers of the truth. Today, in facing up to the truth, I have submitted my resignation.

Janet Cooke

In the spring of 1981, Janet Cooke received journalism’s ultimate accolade, a Pulitzer for “Jimmy’s World” which had been a front-page feature in The Washington Post the previous September. It was beautifully written at over 2000 words. It caused D.C. …


It Was “The World’s Greatest Newspaper”

It is now May 26 and this saga has ended with the worst possible outcome. The competing bid fell apart. Patrick Soon-Shiong bobbed and weaved with his shares and they were counted as a yes for Alden, which then took on expensive debt well over $200 million including from one of its own companies. It has now offered paltry “voluntary” buyouts to staff at all Tribune papers. …


It Was The “Worlds Greatest Newspaper”

The Chicago Tribune aka WGN or the “voice of the Midwest” is now in the hands of Alden Capital, the outfit that has been buying newspapers across the country essentially to destroy them.

Their profit motive is reprehensible. There are better ways to get rich than diminishing an essential piece of democracy, accountability, and sports coverage, for instance.

Now that Alden has secured full control of the Tribune Company, the depleted descendent of a once formidable enterprise, it will have its way with newspapers like the Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Orlando…

Peter Osnos

Founder in 1997 of PublicAffairs, he is the author of “An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen” to be published in June.

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