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Updated: 1 hour 46 min ago

Snowden's Lawyer Says He's in Talks to Return to U.S.

5 hours 45 min ago
Jessca RoyMarch 3, 2015New York Magazine

New York Magazine reports, in brief, that "Anatoly Kucherena, the Russian lawyer representing Edward Snowden, said the infamous NSA leaker is in talks with American and German lawyers to return to the U.S. 'I won't keep it secret that he ... wants to return back home,' Kucherena said at a news conference.And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue.' Snowden's been living in Russia since 2013, where he currently holds a three-year residency permit."

Atlantic on HRC: 'Willful, Flagrant' Disdain for Records Rules

9 hours 20 min ago
Conor FriedersdorfMarch 3, 2015The Atlantic

On January 13, 2009, Hillary Clinton attended her first confirmation hearing as a Secretary of State nominee. The same day, with Bush officials still under fire for using private email accounts to circumvent public records laws, someone registered Clintonemail.com, a domain that now appears to be at the center of a scandal. "Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department," The New York Times reported in a story published late Monday. "Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act." This was willful, flagrant disregard for public records rules.

Man Arrested in Slaying of American Blogger in Bangladesh

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:32am
Serajul QuadirMarch 2, 2015Huffington Post

Bangladesh's anti-terrorism unit said it had arrested on Monday the main suspect in the killing of a U.S. blogger who was hacked to death in Dhaka last week in the latest attack on critics of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority nation. Forces from the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Farabi Shafiur Rahman, who was previously jailed for his ties to the extremist Hizbut Tahrir Islamist group, at a bus stop in Dhaka, a RAB spokesman told reporters. Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was killed by machete-wielding assailants on Thursday while returning from a book fair. His wife and fellow blogger Rafida Ahmed suffered head injuries and lost a finger. She remains hospitalized. 

Iran Allows Lawyer for Jailed WashPost Reporter Rezaian

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 10:03am
Lydia DePillisMarch 2, 2015The Washington Post

A Washington Post reporter imprisoned in Iran has been granted access to an attorney — but not the one of his choosing. Jason Rezaian, who has been the paper’s Tehran correspondent since 2012 and holds U.S. and Iranian citizenship, has spent 222 days in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Family members say that their preferred attorney was blocked by the country’s Revolutionary Court, which last week had given them a deadline of March 2 to present one that was “acceptable.” The Iranian government has not publicly identified the nature of the charges against Rezaian, 38, other than to accuse him in a statement of participating in activities outside the scope of journalism. Although a trial date has not been scheduled, Rezaian’s case has been assigned to Abolghassem Salavati, a hard-line judge who heads a branch of the court that specializes in sensitive cases. Salavati is known for delivering harsh sentences, including lashings and execution, and has been sanctioned by the European Union since 2011. Photo: Rezaian and his wife, who was also jailed but has been released on bail.

Fifteen Guild Members Take Buyouts at Chicago Sun-Times

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 9:52am
Michael MinerMarch 2, 2015Chicago Reader

The Chicago Reader (recently organized by the Guild) reports that 15 members of the Chicago Newspaper Guild have taken buyouts from the Chicago Sun-Times. Among those leaving are TV critic Lori Rackl, feature writer Mike Thomas, reporters Francine Knowles and Art Golab, who's chair of the Guild's Sun-Times unit, sportswriter Seth Gruen, and five photographers. The choice many faced was between the Sun-Times's bleak prospects and the unknown. Thomas posted on Facebook, "What's next? Not sure. But if you know someone who needs a wordslinger, give a shout."

American-Bangladeshi Blogger Hacked to Death in Dhaka

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 9:32am
Justin MoyerFebruary 27, 2015The Washington Post

An American atheist blogger who vocally opposed religious extremism has been hacked to death in a street in Bangladesh. Avijit Roy was a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen who proved a prominent critic of ideological hatred in his native country. He and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, were attacked as they returned from a book fair at Dhaka University in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, as the Associated Press reported. Some outlets reported that the weapons used were machetes; others reported cleavers. Roy died at a hospital after the attack. His wife was seriously injured, losing a finger, but survived. Roy, reported to be in his 40s, founded a blog called “Mukto-Mona,” or “free mind.” He had received threats from extremists before. His books — with titles such as “The Virus of Faith” sure to inflame fundamentalists — were banned from at least one popular Bangladeshi online retailer.

2012 NY Times Guild Contract Pays Off, Again, for Members

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 11:26am
StaffFebruary 26, 2015The Newspaper Guild of New York

Under the Guild contract ratified at The New York Times in late 2012, members will see additional money in their bank accounts and retirement plans over the next few weeks. First comes the second annual payout for Guild members under the Times’s Incentive Bonus Plan, this year equaling 1.2 percent of each member’s base salary. “Guild members, whose work affects the company’s performance more than any other single factor, are getting to share in the company’s success because we were able to include them in the Incentive Bonus Plan in the last round of contract talks,” local President Bill O’Meara said. Then, for the second consecutive year, the company’s matching contributions to Guild members’ 401(k) accounts will double – from 25 percent to 50 percent – thanks to a contractual provision that requires a match increase in years when Times Company stock rises. 

Albany Makes New Settlement Offer, Ninth Proposal Since 2010

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 10:25am
LeadershipFebruary 24, 2015Albany Newspaper Guild

The Albany Guild has reached out yet again to the Time Union owners Hearst with an offer designed to settle the contract and give workers long-deserved raises. It's the Guild's ninth settlement offer since 2010; workers haven't had a raise in seven years. The Guild proposal calls for 2 percent raises retroactive to Aug. 1, 2011 and on Aug. 1 in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. "That means that by 2018, 11 years since our last raise, a person in Class C would be paid about $100 more per week or less than $10 per week per year. It is a perfectly reasonable proposal based on the number of years involved," Guild leaders said in a message to members. So far, the company hasn't budged from its 2009 proposal, which would allow the company "which would allow the company to lay off any employee and outsource any and all work." 

Snowden Says He Regrets Not Leaking Information Sooner

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 9:51am
Will OremusFebruary 24, 2015Slate

A day after Citizenfour won the Oscar for best documentary feature, its subject, Edward Snowden, appeared on Reddit for an "Ask Me Anything" question-and-answer session. One question was, "Mr. Snowden, if you had a chance to do things over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?” "I would have come forward sooner," Snowden responded. "I talked to Daniel Ellsberg about this at length, who has explained why more eloquently than I can. Had I come forward a little sooner, these programs would have been a little less entrenched, and those abusing them would have felt a little less familiar with and accustomed to the exercise of those powers. … Once you grant the government some new power or authority, it becomes exponentially more difficult to roll it back."

Did Al Jazeera Do Enough for Journalists Jailed in Egypt?

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 9:43am
Matthew KeysFebruary 24, 2015The Blot

Mohamed Fahmy, one of three Al Jazeera journalists who spent more than 400 days in an Egyptian jail, has criticized his employer for not doing enough to secure his immediate release. In an interview with the CBC News investigative program “The Fifth Estate” on Friday, Fahmy said Al Jazeera’s “epic incompetence” led him and two colleagues — Al Jazeera English correspondent Peter Greste and producer Baher Mohamed — to be sentenced to prison for more than seven years in a terrorism case that many human-rights organizations called a sham.

How Far Should Journalists Go in Press Freedom Activism?

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 2:40pm
David A. GrahamFebruary 23, 2015The Atlantic

The Atlantic explores how far journalists' activism should go when fighting for press freedoms, highlighting James Risen "one-man crusade against (Eric) Holder and the Obama administration. Risen escalated that this week with a series of angry tweets replying to a speech Holder gave the National Press Club, in which the reporter blasted the current White House as the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation and accused the attorney general of shredding the First Amendment. Critics called it a rant; Risen said it was merely a fact-check. That divided response shows the dangers for reporters debating press freedom. It's the one area that can turn otherwise impartial journalists into fierce advocates. While many in the media see that as an essential risk, it is no doubt a risk. It's also unclear whether the public is on the press' side, and how it might react to that advocacy." Pictured: Risen accepted the Guild's Herbert Block Freedom Award, October 2014.

Anatomy of a Name Change: Brief Debate Leads to ‘NewsGuild’

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 12:58pm
Janelle HartmanFebruary 23, 2015The NewsGuild-CWA

In the end, changing the Guild’s official name went far more smoothly than President Bernie Lunzer anticipated.

Just prior to a voice vote in which the “ayes” had it, Lunzer told the 2015 delegates how long he’d wanted the change.

 “In 1995, when there was the World Wide Web and the information super highway was coming our way, one of my first actions as secretary-treasurer was to reserve two URLs,” he said. He had no doubt that after the Guild met a couple of months later, the union would be using NewsGuild.org or MediaGuild.org.

He was wrong then, and wrong again several other times the past two decades. This year, he was pretty sure it would pass. Still, he expected more impassioned debate – and not necessarily about the name change itself.

He envisioned a room filled with journalists spending hours arguing the merits of “The” or no “The,” and “NewsGuild” as one word or two.

Ultimately, only Washington-Baltimore’s Mark Pattison raised one of those points, saying the “copy editor in me” would “really prefer a space between ‘News’ and ‘Guild.’”

Of the other six delegates who weighed in, four supported the change and two didn’t – both of them younger members.

Norma Ruth Ryan (pictured), a Denver Guild member working for the Denver Area Labor Federation, said that as “one of the millennials” the Guild talks about reaching, the traditional name has heft.

The Newspaper Guild “is a valued and recognized brand,” she said, reading off a list of more generic, modern names – News Corp, New Media, Media News that she pays little attention to. “What I listen to are the traditional and recognized respectable brands.”

Another young Denver delegate, Robert Lindgren, said his generation values authenticity and “I feel like that authenticity comes from a name like ‘The Newspaper Guild.’” He argued that non-traditional Guild units – translators, social workers, staff at unions and non-profits – are better served by a union with strong name recognition.

But a third younger delegate, Beth Kramer of Chicago, disagreed. NewsGuild “reflects the evolving industry we’re in while being close enough that we’re holding onto our wonderful brand and our history,” she said.

Three longer-serving Guild leaders, all local presidents, also gave the change strong support.

“The most important thing is we maintain our TNG acronym,” said Ron Carroll of Montreal. “We can’t put our heads in the sand. Our industry has changed. We’re no longer just newspapers. We’re all kinds of media.”

The United Media Guild’s Jeff Gordon reminded delegates that his local went through a major name change in 2011. As the local expanded far outside its city and state, and organized units other than papers, leaders realized that “St. Louis Newspaper Guild” was no longer accurate.

“We’ve had the argument locally and there was life after ‘newspaper’ was taken out of our name,” Gordon said, citing UMG’s members in social justice, television, digital media and more. The new name “has been helpful going forward to reach a broader audience.”

John Hill of Providence noted last October’s Heywood Broun Award ceremony, when ABC’s Brian Ross told the audience he’d been surprised to learn he’d won.

“He was astounded that we gave it to him,” Hill said. “He said, ‘I thought you guys were just newspapers.’ He didn’t realize that isn’t all we do.”

Hill agreed with others that the new name will boost organizing, without taking anything away from the Guild’s legacy.

“Just because we take ‘newspaper’ out of our name, we don’t take it out of our history,” he said.

CBC-Radio Canada Unions Shocked By Harper's Remarks

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 3:59pm
StaffFebruary 17, 2015Canadian Media Guild

Leaders of the unions representing CBC/Radio-Canada workers, including the Canadian Media Guild, say they "are shocked by prime minister Stephen Harper’s inappropriate remarks targeting thousands of people who work for Canada’s national broadcaster. The prime minister’s public accusation that “many Radio-Canada employees detest conservative values” is absurd and unfounded. Thousands of people work at the CBC/SRC across Canada, and their political opinions are as varied and as private as every other Canadian. For the prime minister to single out and disparage a group of workers for not supporting his values, is tantamount to schoolyard bullying, in our view, unbecoming of the office. We expect an apology, and an assurance our prime minister respects our right and the right of every Canadian to a personal and private political view, without being lambasted in the press.

Erin Carr at Wake: 'Good Lord, He Would Have Loved This!'

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:12am
Lloyd GroveFebruary 17, 2015The Daily Beast

Judging by the boldface names in attendance—HBO star Lena Dunham, comedian Tom Arnold, CNN personalities Anthony Bourdain, Jake Tapper and Brian Stelter; Watergate sleuth Carl Bernstein, and the last three executive editors of The New York Times—one might have mistaken David Carr’s wake for a solemn state occasion. Instead, Monday night’s celebration of the Times media columnist—who died last Thursday night at a mere 58, collapsing in the Times newsroom an hour or so after expertly moderating a panel on national security journalism—was a down-to-earth and often hilarious farewell by an overflow crowd of friends, family and admirers who, despite their frequent bursts of laughter, were clearly shattered by Carr’s abrupt departure.

Meet the Oregon Journalist Who's Taken Down Two Governors

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 12:17pm
Anthony Effinger & Joel WeberFebruary 16, 2015Bloomberg

John Kitzhaber and Neil Goldschmidt have something in common: they ended up on the wrong side of Nigel Jaquiss's reporting. Formerly a Goldman Sachs oil trader, Jaquiss, 52, works at Willamette Week, the free alternative weekly in Portland where he reported on allegations of Gov. John Kitzhaber's influence peddling. From that modest perch, Jaquiss also won a Pulitzer Prize, in 2005, for exposing long-hidden sexual assault by former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt, the godfather of Oregon politics. And in 2009, Jaquiss's reporting revealed an improper sexual relationship between then-Portland Mayor Sam Adams and a legislative intern, which Adams initially denied. "It's pretty astonishing," Jaquiss wrote in an e-mail. "Goldschmidt was no longer in office. Adams stayed in office. So from that perspective, this story had more impact than the other two."

David Carr's Death a Shock in Week Full of Them for the Media

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 9:49am
Lloyd GroveFebruary 13, 2015The Daily Beast

In yet another shocking development capping a week full of seismic shocks to the news business, New York Times media critic David Carr died Thursday night. “He collapsed in the newsroom, and I met the ambulance and a bunch of us went to the hospital,” said a shaken Dean Baquet, the Times executive editor. “He was the best media writer of his generation, he really was. We loved him. He was a terrific human being and important to us. Just a truly unique talent.” Carr's passing was greeted by disbelief, then tears, by colleagues in journalism and beyond. Twitter, for one, was flooded with tributes, both from people who knew him and those who didn’t.

Gannett in UK Plans to Charge Students to Write for Its Titles

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 4:06pm
StaffFebruary 12, 2015The Guardian

Apparently asking journalists to write for free, for the privilege of a byline, isn't miserly enough for the Gannett-owned UK publisher Newsquest. The publisher is proposing to charge student journalists a £120 fee for the opportunity to have their stories published. Colleges with journalism courses have received letters inviting students to write articles, for free, in what it calls “an exciting and unique chance to experience working for a local paper”. The initiative has drawn fire from the National Union of Journalists, which says it has received complaints from colleges about the letter. "While Newsquest is sacking professional staff on its titles, it is charging journalist students for writing articles for them. The unpaid intern has become the scourge of the media profession - now Newsquest is asking for journalist students to actually pay for a byline. The company’s cynicism beggars belief and preys on young people desperate to get a break in a competitive industry”.

Egyptian Court Orders Release of Two Al-Jazeera Journalists

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 11:27am
StaffFebruary 12, 2015Al Jazeera

An Egyptian court has ordered the release of detained Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy on bail. The retrial was ordered by the country's Court of Cassation last month, overturning a lower court verdict that had found them guilty of helping the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group. "Bail is a small step in the right direction, and allows Baher and Mohamed to spend time with their families after 411 days apart," an Al Jazeera spokesman said on Thursday. "The focus though is still on the court reaching the correct verdict at the next hearing by dismissing this absurd case and releasing both these fine journalists unconditionally." A third Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, who was also to be retried, was deported on February 1 under a presidential decree after spending 400 days in prison. He has since returned to his home in Australia.

Journalists, Viewers Mourn Death of CBS News' Bob Simon

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 11:11am
StaffFebruary 12, 2015CBS News

Bob Simon, the longtime "60 Minutes" correspondent and legendary CBS News foreign reporter died suddenly Wednesday night in a car accident in New York City. He was 73. "It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times," 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager said. "Bob was a reporter's reporter. He was driven by a natural curiosity that took him all over the world covering every kind of story imaginable. There is no one else like Bob Simon." Simon was riding in the backseat of a livery cab around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday on New York City's West Side Highway when the car rear-ended another vehicle and crashed into barriers separating north- and southbound traffic, the New York Police Department said.

Once Again, Lee Execs Rake in Millions in Income, Bonuses

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 3:32pm
Jeff GordonFebruary 10, 2015United Media Guild


Life is good at the top for Lee Enterprises executives. With the company’s debt somewhat under control after successful refinancing efforts, CEO Mary Junck got a hefty increase in total compensation in 2014.

She earned a shade under $3 million — $2,827,705, according to the company’s proxy statement. That included a $1,150,000 bonus.

Chief Financial Officer Carl Schmidt received a total of $1,267,840, up from just $728,310 in 2013. He collected a $533,000 bonus.

Thus enriched, Schmidt announced his retirement as of July 1.

“Lee is in a very good place,” Schmidt said in a statement released by Lee. “Our long-term financing is set through 2022, and we have built a solid foundation for the future. As a result, it allows me an opportunity to spend more time closer to, and with, my growing family, give something back through volunteering and otherwise accomplish a few of the things on my must do list.”

The United Media Guild wishes Carl nothing but the best. And if for some reason Lee Enterprises reneges on his retirement package, the UMG will be glad to assist his recovery efforts.

We know a pretty good lawyer.