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Latest AP Stylebook has Hundreds of New or Revised Entries

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 11:29am
Benjamin MullinMay 27, 2015Poynter

The annual revision of the AP Stylebook, released today, contains more than 300 new or revised entries, the news cooperative announced Wednesday. We covered some of the changes when they were announced at the annual American Copy Editors Society conference earlier this year. Some notable differences between this year’s edition and last year’s: 1) You can write “BLT” on first reference. 2) The capital of Nepal — which has been in the news frequently lately — is now spelled “Kathmandu.” 3) “Favorite” and “meme” are now in the stylebook. 4) There’s now an entry on suicide.

Buffalo Members 'Chalk' Their Feelings on Building's Sidewalk

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 9:46am
StaffMay 27, 2015Buffalo Newspaper Guild

Buffalo Guild members took to the sidewalks outside One News Plaza earlier this month for a job action that involved some creative self-expression. Over a two-hour period, members were encouraged to grab a stick of chalk and make their feelings about the state of contract negotiations known to News management. Members also enjoyed ice cream treats as a reward for their participation.

Featured Title: Buffalo Members 'Chalk' Their Feelings on Building's Sidewalk

Russia Plans to Use Prison Labor for 2018 World Cup

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 1:28pm
Associated PressMay 26, 2015The New York Times

Russian authorities want to use prison labor to drive down the costs of holding the 2018 World Cup. The Russian prison service is backing a bid by Alexander Khinshtein, a lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party, to allow prisoners to be taken from their camps to work at factories, with a focus on driving down the costs of building materials for World Cup projects. Workers' rights are a hot-button issue for World Cup organizer FIFA, which is under pressure over the high rate of deaths among migrant workers in 2022 host nation Qatar.

Reporter's "Espionage' Trial Begins Behind Closed Doors in Iran

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 10:15am
Carol MorelloMay 26, 2015The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian went on trial Tuesday on espionage charges in a closed-door session held more than 10 months after he was detained, Iran’s official news agency reported. The proceedings were adjourned after about two hours, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said, but it gave no details on the charges or any actions in the Revolutionary Court trial. No family members or independent observers were permitted inside the courtroom — bringing denunciations from press freedom groups and others. “No evidence has ever been produced by prosecutors or the court to support these absurd charges,” his lawyer, Leila Ahsan said, noting that the trial date was only disclosed last week. "And now, unsurprisingly but unforgivably, it turns out the trial will be closed.” Photo: Rezaian and his wife, who is also facing charges but is not currently in custody.

Friend: Rezaian Wanted to Write About Everyday Life in Iran

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 10:36am
Zahir JanmohamedMay 21, 2015PRI

Jason (Rezaian) has been in jail for over 300 days and his trial begins in Iran’s Revolution Court next week. When we met, Jason had just been offered the position at the Post. I spent four years covering the Middle East for Amnesty International in Washington and I suggested possible human rights related stories for Jason to cover. He had other ideas. “I know about those stories and they are important but I also want to show everyday Iranian life,” he said. He became animated when he described wanting to write a piece about Tehran residents who love the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a San Francisco Giants fan, I said it was a lousy idea, but I understood his point: Jason saw his new position as a chance to add texture and complexity to how Americans understand Iran.

First of Five Parts: A Mental Health Epidemic in the Newsroom

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 11:49am
Gabriel AranaMay 19, 2015The Huffington Post

As much as journalists may fancy themselves superhuman observers of history, the truth is that we are as susceptible to trauma as the victims whose stories we tell. Those covering natural disasters or war are not the only ones who suffer. “It turns out that almost all journalists are exposed to traumatic-stress experiences,” said Elana Newman, a professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa who studies journalism and trauma. That includes reporters who show up along with the first responders when a car crashes, a train derails or someone is shot; the photo and video editors who must sift through footage from terrorist attacks, experiencing trauma secondhand; and freelancers who weather the hazards of the profession without traditional organizational supports.

Shaken by Attack, Charlie Hebdo Cartoonist Leaving Magazine

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 11:43am
Dan BilefskyMay 19, 2015The New York Times

The cartoonist known as Luz, who drew the polarizing cover of a weeping Prophet Muhammad for the first issue of Charlie Hebdo after the January attack on its office in Paris, is leaving the satirical French newspaper, saying the pressure had become “too much to bear.” In an interview with the newspaper Libération published on Monday, the cartoonist, Renald Luzier, said he could no longer face the trauma of working without the colleagues who were killed in the attack. “Each issue is torture, because the others are gone,” Mr. Luzier said. “Spending sleepless nights summoning the dead, wondering what Charb, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous would have done is exhausting,” he added, referring to cartoonists who were killed by two Islamist brothers by their pseudonyms.

How Journalists Can Avoid the Online Danger of Getting Doxxed

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 11:39am
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the PressMay 19, 2015Poynter

Threatening journalists over their reporting is not a new concept, but the age of electronic media has brought a new method of intimidation and harassment known as doxxing. Doxxing – named for docs or documents and also called doxing or d0xing – starts with publishing someone’s personal information in an environment that implies or encourages intimidation. Typically done online, the information then is used by others in a campaign of harassment, threats and pranks. Journalists targeted by doxxing attacks, which are usually based on something they’ve written, find their personal and professional lives disrupted and sometimes turned completely upside down.

Should Paper Have Told Authorities About Gyrocopter Stunt?

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 4:00pm
Lena WilliamsMay 18, 2015Right to Report

The Guild's Right to Report columnist, retired NY Times reporter Lena Williams, says the Tampa Bay Times should have told authorities in advance about the gyrocopter stunt that took place April 15. Williams says she's hesitant, like many journalists are, to second-guess other journalists' decisions and believes the reporter and editors "would not have condoned Hughes’ actions if they felt it would have endangered public lives or, for that matter, Hughes’ life. But the paper could not have known the outcome in advance. Hughes’ could have been shot down, a fear he himself considered and one that motivated him to contact the paper in the first place." Photo: video screen shot.

Featured Title: Should Paper Have Warned Authorities About Gyrocopter?

Strong Open-Government Reform Bills Pending in Kansas

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:23am
Deron LeeMay 18, 2015Columbia Journalism Review

Open-government reforms in Kansas are starting to become a regular thing—and the media can claim a good chunk of the credit. Last year, some inspired coverage by reporter Karen Dillon played a key role in changing state law to open up police records to the public. Now, Republican state Sen. Molly Baumgardner has introduced a bill, modeled on recommendations from state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, that would make emails by public officials about public business subject to the state’s open-records law, even if they are sent from private accounts. The proposal to close the email loophole comes after a separate bill giving the state attorney general expanded powers to enforce the open-records and open-meetings laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the legislature late last week.

Speak No Evil: Japanese Government Strong-Arming the Media

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 10:18am
StaffMay 18, 2015The Economist

With a weak opposition, an election in the bag and buoyant approval ratings, the government of Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, would hardly seem to have much to fight against. Yet it is waging an increasingly heavy-handed campaign to intimidate the media. Even pro-government journalists are crying foul. Discreet interventions by politicians have long been customary. But bullying recently broke into the open when a bureaucrat turned political gadfly, Shigeaki Koga, accused the government on a television show of strong-arming the media by securing his removal from “Hodo Station”, a news show owned by TV Asahi, a liberal broadcaster. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) promptly proved Mr Koga’s point by grilling the programme’s producers over the outburst under the auspices of Japan’s broadcast law.

AP to Use Computers to Cover College Baseball Games

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 9:50am
Ed ShermanMay 14, 2015Poynter

On the surface, this lede hardly is memorable: “North Carolina grabbed the lead in the top of the 10th inning as a wild pitch by Clark Labitan allowed Colin Moran to score the go-ahead run. The Tar Heels held on to defeat Virginia Tech 9-8.” Jim Murray, it is not, but dig a bit deeper and the significance of this lede comes into clear focus. It wasn’t written by a reporter who covered a game. Instead, it was composed by a computer. Later this month, the Associated Press will be churning out similar computer-generated ledes and stories on college baseball in a new deal with the NCAA. The pact calls for AP to employ “automation technology” to cover college sports beyond big-time football and basketball, including those at the Division II and III level, that traditionally don’t receive coverage.

Childhood Friends of Rezaian Speak Out: He Is Not a Spy

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 8:58am
Alex KeownMay 8, 2015Chicago Tribune

Brian Stetler and Matt Brandseth, graduates of Wheaton South High School, were stunned when they learned a long-time friend was imprisoned and accused of espionage by the Iranian government. During their first two years of high school, Stetler and Brandseth became fast friends with Jason Rezaian, who had just moved to Warrenville from San Francisco. "He is a great guy, just the nicest, sweetest man" Stetler said. Rezaian, now a Washington Post reporter, was arrested July 22, 2014, by the Iranian government and charged with espionage and three other crimes. Brandseth and Stetler, who still live in the Chicago suburbs, scoffed at the notion their childhood friend would engage in espionage. "He is not a spy. He is a reporter who wants to find ways to tell the stories of the people he meets in Iran and to find common ways to bring Iran and the United States together," Brandseth said.

Tribune Publishing Buys U-T San Diego for $85 Million

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 8:54am
Dan McSwainMay 8, 2015U-T San Diego

The owner of the Los Angeles Times has agreed to buy U-T San Diego, combining two of Southern California’s oldest and most recognizable media companies, executives announced Thursday. Tribune Publishing, which owns nine other daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun, said it will pay $85 million for the U-T operation, a sum that doesn’t include its Mission Valley headquarters. Austin Beutner, the Times publisher and chief executive, will hold those posts at both companies after the deal closes in coming weeks. Employing about 500 journalists in the Times newsroom and 175 at the U-T, the combined companies would offer subject-matter expertise that no competitor can match, he said.

Deadline Friday, May 15, for Guild Service Award Nominations

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 10:28am
StaffMay 7, 2015NewsGuild-CWA

Lindsay Connors of the Albany Guild gets a standing ovation as she is announced the Service Award winner for 2014.

Nominations are open through Friday, May 15, for the Charles B. Dale Guild Service Award, TNG-CWA's annual recognition of excellence in local leadership. The nominations must be received at TNG headquarters by that date in order to be judged by the Executive Council.
Given annually for outstanding service to the Guild at the local union level, the Charles B. Dale Guild Service Award is open to local members who serve in an unpaid capacity as local officers or in other responsible local positions.
Its purpose is to recognize and encourage the development of local Guild leadership, and it may be viewed as a counterpart to the Guild's Heywood Broun Award for journalistic achievement. Although both awards are premised on the principle of recognition by one's peers, the procedure for the Charles B. Dale Guild Service Award is somewhat different in that individuals may not nominate themselves.  They must be sponsored by their locals and nominated by the local executive board or representative assembly or a general membership meeting.  This authority may not be delegated--to units, for example--as some locals have sought to do in the past.  Nor may one local nominate a member of another local.
The importance attached to the award by the Guild is second to no other award.  TNG-CWA's Sector Executive Council has urged: "every local to give serious consideration to the possibility of nominating someone from its ranks who has demonstrated that quality for which the Award is given--outstanding Guild service on the local level--in order to make the contest a meaningful competition among deserving local leaders."  Emphasizing the same theme, the judges and Guild conventions have specifically urged more small locals to consider submitting nominations for the Award.
The award is a scholarship of up to $2,000 for a course in trade union education "appropriate to the winner."  Typically, there are no fees, or minimal ones, for short courses; basically, the scholarship is applied to the costs of room, meals and travel, plus lost time.  In some cases, locals have supplemented the scholarship with funds of their own to cover expenses, particularly for a longer course.  Recent winners have attended residential courses lasting a week at the AFL-CIO's National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md. just outside Washington, but arrangements can be made for the winner to attend other appropriate labor-education courses in his or her area when available.  Note that "up to $2,000" means that the cost of instruction, room, meals, lost time, etc., up to that amount will be covered by the scholarship.  Any lesser costs will not result in a stipend to the winner of the balance.
Judges will be selected from among TNG-CWA Vice Presidents.
Among the rules:
*          Eligibility is reserved to local Guild members who, during the past year, have held office or other responsible positions such as unit officer, steward or committee member.  In special circumstances, consideration may also be given to persons who can reasonably be expected to assume such office or positions upon completion of their studies.  Paid local officials and employees of locals are not eligible.
*          There are no academic requirements.
*          Nominations must include--or be accompanied by--a detailed description of the achievements and qualifications of the candidate.  In the past, some locals have neglected to provide the information, with the result that judges had insufficient data on which to evaluate the candidate.

Strib Buys City Pages; Extends Contract to Alt-Weekly Workers

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 9:58am
Evan RamstadMay 7, 2015Minneapolis Star Tribune

Here’s a story of one newspaper changing hands that’s good news for workers and the Guild. In buying Minneapolis City Pages, the Star Tribune is extending the Strib’s Guild contract to 10 City Pages employees. Some details from Guild rep Darren Carroll: pluses are all the various good benefits. Negative is they will be paid at niche publication pay - but that is something that can be improved over time. City Pages will continue as a separate publication. There will be no layoffs at the Strib as a result either.

Featured Title: Strib Extends Guild Contact to Alt-Weekly's Workers

Does Financial Collapse Loom for Cable TV News Networks?

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 9:40am
Paul FarhiMay 7, 2015The Washington Post

The general drift for cable news’ Big Three — or Big Two and a Half, given MSNBC’s precipitous recent decline — has been downward. Cable audiences peaked during the 2008 election and have been eroding since. The 2012 election was something of a watershed; news audiences typically perk up during election years, but in 2012 they failed to come around. Even Fox News, long the king of cable news, is no longer booming. It lost 2 percent of its overall audience last year, according to Pew, and is off 19 percent from its prime-time peak in 2009. The increasingly cloudy picture suggests that cable news has seen its best days.

Reporter Spends 49 Hours Jailed in Baltimore Without Charges

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 12:58pm
Shawn CarrieMay 5, 2015The Guardian

As a working member of the press, I was arrested on 27 April, just as Baltimore began to erupt, and detained for 49 hours before being released without charge. A flurry of legal maneuvering, coupled with the fog of a state of emergency, meant that I and several others were deprived of our constitutional protections under the first, fourth, sixth, and eighth amendments. In jail, your constitutional rights are worth about as much as the food they feed you. Asking to see a lawyer when it took four hours to get water was like asking for caviar. When I cited the fourth and sixth amendment protecting due process, and Maryland state law banning detainment beyond 24 hours without a charge and statement of probable cause, the COs told us that the state of emergency meant that “24 hours is out the window”. We pleaded to talk to someone, anyone. When I asked one of the higher-ups, a lieutenant, what he was doing to ensure that the law was being followed, he told me bluntly: “They are violating your rights. And everyone here knows it.”

Harsh Laws, Violence Drive Global Decline in Press Freedom

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 10:06am
Freedom of the Press 2015 ReportApril 30, 2015Freedom House

Conditions for the media deteriorated sharply in 2014, as journalists around the world faced mounting restrictions on the free flow of news and information—including grave threats to their own lives. Those are findings of Freedom of the Press 2015, the latest edition of an annual report published by Freedom House since 1980. It found that global press freedom declined in 2014 to its lowest point in more than 10 years. The rate of decline also accelerated drastically, with the global average score suffering its largest one-year drop in a decade. The share of the world’s population that enjoys a Free press stood at 14 percent, meaning only one in seven people live in countries where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.

Featured Title: Study: Global Press Freedom at Lowest Point in 10 Years

After Quake, Nepal Editor Moves Newsroom to His Living Room

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 9:52am
James WarrenApril 30, 2015Poynter

A prominent Nepalese newspaper editor turned his home into a newsroom after Saturday's earthquake. “With no electricity, we couldn’t work, or sleep, in the office due to the aftershocks,” Kunda Dixit said by phone late Wednesday. “So we moved the whole operation to my living room.” Dixit is a Nepal native and 1985 graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He’s the much-respected editor of both a Nepalese magazine and English language paper, the Nepali Times. And he’s now, rather unequivocally, battle-tested under the most extreme of operational challenges. Dixit’s two media outlets, including sales and marketing staff, occupy a three-story building in Kathmandu. But that edifice wasn’t secure in the immediate aftermath, so he moved as many of his folks as possible to his house, which has solar power and didn’t depend on the crippled local electricity grid.