Last week The Nation, and our friends at Campus Progress, hosted theFourth Annual National Youth Student Journalism conference, a gathering ofstudents and award-winning journalists. Much of the conversation focusedon the survival of journalism. But more than any panel, it was theold-fashioned shoe-leather reporting of Michael Tracey, a 20-year-oldconference attendee from West Caldwell, New Jersey, that made the casefor continued faith in journalism and reporting.

Tracey found himself face to face with former President Bill Clinton atthe Campus Progress National Conference, held the day before our studentsymposium. With an opportunity in front of him, Tracey did what anygood, veteran journalist would do. He spoke up and asked a goodquestion. Did the former President personally support same sex marriage?With a brief “Yeah” from President Clinton, Tracey had a big story:Bill Clinton supports same-sex marriage. The story has been leadingThe Nation‘s website, and picked up everywhere from Politico and the San Francisco Chronicle to Queerty, Towleroad and a host ofgay-focused blogs.

It was dogged, tireless reporting by A.C. Thompson that pushed anotherstory forward this week, as local television stations into New Orleanslaunched an investigation into alleged vigilante shootings in the wakeof Hurricane Katrina, prodded by Thompson’s report from TheNation in December. Thompson, now reporting for the non-profit ProPublica, fileda followup on his investigation: Television news reports areuncovering new evidence in the case, building on Thompson’s originalreporting and keeping the pressure on local law enforcement. The TVreports, and Thompson’s continuing work, hold out the promise of justicefor victims of these disturbing incidents.

Three more items to note in this week’s Around the Nation:

1) I’ll be hosting a conversation at The Strand on July 21 withStephen Cohen [Full disclosure, he is my husband] about hisnew book, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, and about PresidentObama’s next steps forward with Russia. Steve was front and center inthe debate last week about US-Russia relations; you can read around-up of his media appearances including video from Charlie Rose andaudio from NPR here.

2) As Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings move forward, we’revery glad to have Slate.com‘s DahliaLithwick for some analysis. In this video, Lithwick previewed thehearings, but also looked ahead to what kind of Justice Sotomayor wouldbe:

3) I was on MSNBC’s The Ed Show last night discussing Dick Cheney,secrecy and the CIA. Here’s a segment from the program.

Visitmsnbc.com for BreakingNews, World News, and News about the Economy

Thanks for reading. As always, comments and feedback welcome in thecomments.