The Morning: Our journalism

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2024-05-12 13:32

Plus, the Israel-Hamas war, Elon Musk’s diplomacy and Mother’s Day.
The Morning

May 12, 2024

Good morning. Today, Joe Kahn, The Times’s executive editor, reflects on some of our most probing recent journalism. We’re also covering the Israel-Hamas war, Elon Musk’s diplomacy and Mother’s Day. —David Leonhardt

Three women crying, two cover their faces.
At a funeral for a family killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks. Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times

Journalism with impact

Author Headshot

By Joseph Kahn

Executive editor of The New York Times

When Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, it ignited not only one of the worst conflicts in recent Middle East history, but also an ideological firestorm around the world. Some viewed the war through the prism of the Hamas attack on Israel, which killed 1,200 people and took an estimated 240 hostages. On the other side, Israel’s retaliatory bombing and occupation of Gaza, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, galvanized a global movement against the actions of the Jewish state.

The intensity of the conflict and the emotions it set off has made this an especially challenging war to cover. Our commitment is to provide probing, independent journalism about the biggest stories, however strong the partisan feelings about them may be. This has been the most divisive story I’ve experienced in my more than three decades in journalism.

Two children, covered in soot, sit on a stretcher inside a hospital.
After an Israeli bombardment in Gaza. Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

So it was especially gratifying that our team of reporters, photographers and video journalists on Monday won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for their coverage of the war. We had earlier won similar honors from the George Polk Awards and the Overseas Press Club, which are among the most prestigious prizes in journalism.

Our team is living through this conflict as well as covering it. Some of those reporting on it are Muslim, others Jewish. Some speak Arabic, others Hebrew. Some know people killed or captured on Oct. 7. Others were born and raised in Gaza, with relatives killed and scattered by the bombardment. We worked together to use our best visual storytelling tools to capture the horrors Hamas inflicted on Israel and the devastating toll of Israel’s assault on Gaza. We also revealed astounding Israeli intelligence failures and deadly miscalculations that allowed the Oct. 7 attack to happen.

This is what we really mean when we talk about independent journalism: Coverage that commands attention, whatever your background, experience or perspective.

Prize-winning work

I wanted to use today’s Morning newsletter to highlight not only our coverage of this war, but also some other recent Times journalism that has received recognition. The Pulitzer juries awarded The Times with two other prizes, for investigative reporting and feature writing. We had six finalists as well, showcasing the breadth and depth of the journalism we bring to you every day.

No series we published last year had more impact than Hannah Dreier’s “Alone and Exploited.” Hannah won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for her unflinching look into how child migrants are being exploited for their labor in all 50 states, often working illegally for big name brands. She spent two years reporting the series and worked with a team to assemble a definitive database of child labor injuries and deaths that we made easily accessible to the public.

Our third winner was a story that appeared in our Sunday Magazine called “The Mother Who Changed.” The writer, Katie Engelhart, tells the story of Diane Norelius, a woman with dementia whose daughters worried the man she fell in love with was exploiting her disease and her money. The piece, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, explores how we respect the desires of people when they experience cognitive decline. Katie navigates the many perspectives with empathy and nuance and skillfully guides readers through the ethical and medical complications.

Young people smiling and playing on a beach.
In Dakar, Senegal. Hannah Reyes Morales for The New York Times

Our six Pulitzer finalists ranged from the revelatory work on the mysterious symptoms experienced by U.S. soldiers sustained from firing their own weapons to the stories of migrants who journey through the dangerous Darién Gap. Photos of youth in Africa and inside Vladimir Putin’s Russia were finalists in feature photography. An intriguing story on the popularity of the game Dungeons & Dragons among inmates on death row and a deep look at decades of wrongdoing by a Mississippi sheriff’s department were also cited.

And in audio, we are thrilled that a series from Serial Productions, “The Retrievals,” won a Peabody Award. “The Retrievals” told the story of the Yale Fertility Center nurse who replaced painkilling solution for saline, and the women who had their procedures without this medication.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to take time to experience this journalism. I am deeply proud of this prizewinning work, and of the journalism we produce every day.

I also want to say thank you. We are able to do this work because of our subscribers. These prizes are yours to celebrate, too.


Israel-Hamas War

  • About 300,000 people have fled Rafah, in southern Gaza, over the past week, the U.N. said. International officials have expressed alarm, saying there is nowhere safe for Gazans to go.
  • The Israeli military ordered the evacuation of Jabaliya, in northern Gaza, as it increased its attacks there. The military said that Hamas was trying to reassemble in the area.
  • For Israeli and Western officials, Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, has emerged as an adversary and a deft political operator in cease-fire negotiations.
  • Republicans accused President Biden of criticizing Israel more harshly than Hamas, Politico noted. Senator Jim Risch of Idaho said Biden was “attempting to placate voters on the far left at the expense of a close ally.”

More International News


  • Donald Trump used an accounting maneuver to claim improper tax breaks from his Chicago tower and may owe more than $100 million, according to an I.R.S. inquiry uncovered by The Times and ProPublica.
  • Senator Robert Menendez will go on trial in Manhattan tomorrow. He is charged with taking part in an elaborate bribery scheme. Here is what to know.

Other Big Stories

The northern lights over a farmhouse.
In Maine.  Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press
  • Over the weekend, residents in several European countries and parts of the U.S. reported unusual sightings of the northern lights. See photos.
  • Ahead of the Paris Olympics, concerns are growing that the World Anti-Doping Agency is failing at its mission to keep sports free of illegal drugs.


Does the U.S. decision to pause some weapons shipments betray Israel?

Yes. The U.S. claims “ironclad” support of Israel, but it halted certain weapons shipments to the country over concerns about an invasion of Rafah. “Denying it U.S. arms is an invitation to its enemies to take advantage, in hostage talks and on the battlefield,” The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board writes.

No. The pause won’t affect the billions of dollars Congress has allocated to military aid for Israel, making it “the equivalent of giving somebody hundreds of dollars on a daily basis and then making a show of withholding 5 cents,” Al Jazeera’s Belén Fernández writes.


Our closeness was measured in tosses”: Learning how to play catch with her son taught Jessica Shattuck how to let him go as he got older.

Here are columns by Ross Douthat on the morality of the war in Gaza and Zeynep Tufekci on protest crackdowns.

A subscription to match the variety of your interests.

News. Games. Recipes. Product reviews. Sports reporting. A New York Times All Access subscription covers all of it and more. Subscribe today.


An animated image showing several illustrations of mother figures caring for children.
Monica Garwood

For Mother’s Day, Catherine Pearson collected stories from Times readers about the mother figures in their lives — grandmothers and aunts, teachers and neighbors, and, of course, moms.

  • Genevieve Geer wrote about Mrs. Dunn, her friend’s mother, who “taught me that when you can’t get in through the front door, there is always a side door, or a window, to slip into the places you wanted to go.”
  • Judith Shapiro wrote about Ruth, her childhood nanny, who “let me stay up late on Sunday nights, curled up next to her in an overstuffed chair, watching our favorite television shows.”
  • Marjorie George wrote about Miss Jordan, her fifth-grade teacher, who “was a powerful example of what a Black woman could be.”

You can read many more stories in Catherine’s article, “An Ode to Those Who Mother Us.”


A close-up image of an animatronic Chuck E. Cheese mouse.
Ready for retirement.  Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

A farewell: By the end of this year, only two Chuck E. Cheese locations will have the chain’s hallmark animatronic band.

Vows: The Broadway actress Lindsay Mendez got married on her day off. Jonathan Groff officiated, and Daniel Radcliffe was the ring bearer.

Lives Lived: Mary Wells Lawrence was the first woman to own and run a major national advertising agency. Her company, Wells Rich Greene, was best known for the “I ♥ NY” campaign. She died at 95.


A black-and-white portrait of Charlamagne Tha God.
Charlamagne Tha God  Devin Oktar Yalkin for The New York Times

This week’s subject for The Interview is the author, comedian and influential radio host Charlamagne Tha God. We talked about what he makes of polls showing the Democrats losing Black voter support, his personal politics and why he’s not endorsing anyone in the presidential election.

A lot has been made of polls showing Black support for the Democrats cratering. I’m wondering what you’re thinking as more and more of these polls keep showing the same thing.

I think you might see a slight uptick in Black people voting for Trump this year, but I think it’s overstated. I think the biggest thing that people are gonna have to fight against this year is the couch. And the couch is voter apathy. This is probably the most — and what I’m about to say is going to sound so cliché — this is probably the most consequential election of my lifetime. I’m not gonna say of all time. But it’s hard to get people to believe that, because we say that about every presidential election, because every Republican candidate has been demonized. So now that you really do have the wolf out there, you look like the party who cried wolf because you put everything on the same scale.

The thing that I’m hearing you say is that you believe that Trump is the wolf at the door, that democracy is under threat. And I’ve also heard you say, “I will not endorse President Biden and Kamala Harris.”

’Cause I just feel like I’ve been burned with that before. You put your name on the line, you endorse somebody, you tell your audience, This is who you should go out there and vote for, and your audience goes and does it. And then when they don’t see these things that they thought were going to get pushed through, they don’t understand civics. All they know is Charlamagne told me to vote for this person because this was gonna happen, and this didn’t happen.

Read more of the interview here.


Illustration by Alex Merto

Click the cover image above to read this week’s magazine.


In black-and-white image, a bloodied protester holds his head and stares at a one of two police officer flanking him.
At a protest in New York in 1975. Estate of Corky Lee

‘Photographic justice’: A new book from Corky Lee captures celebration and struggle over decades of Asian American life.

Our editors’ picks: “Reboot,” a satire of modern media and pop culture about a former child star, and five other books.

Times best sellers: Erik Larson’s “The Demon of Unrest” depicts the months between the election of Abraham Lincoln and the beginning of the Civil War. It is a No. 1 debut on the hardcover nonfiction list this week.


Make your own hot honey.

Try these mascaras.


What to Watch For

  • Today is Mother’s Day.
  • Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia hold presidential primaries on Tuesday.
  • The man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, in their home is expected to be sentenced on Friday.

Meal Plan

A plate of tofu noodles topped with greens.
Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews

In this week’s Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter, Mia Leimkuhler sings the praises of tofu cream — a pourable sauce made from blended tofu, miso and garlic. Use it to make creamy vegan tofu noodles, a dish that takes just 20 minutes and will win over everyone, vegan or not.


Here is today’s Spelling Bee. Yesterday’s pangram was adjacency.

Can you put eight historical events — including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the rule of Catherine the Great and the Rubik’s Cube — in chronological order? Take this week’s Flashback quiz.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle, Sudoku, Connections and Strands.

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times.

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Editor: David Leonhardt

Deputy Editor: Adam B. Kushner

News Editor: Tom Wright-Piersanti

Associate Editor: Lauren Jackson

News Staff: Desiree Ibekwe, Sean Kawasaki-Culligan, Brent Lewis, German Lopez, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Ashley Wu

News Assistant: Lyna Bentahar

Saturday Writer: Melissa Kirsch

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