French journalists kidnapped in Syria released

Al Jazeera | RFI English | Committee to Protect Journalists Four French journalists kidnapped in Syria 10 months ago by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were found by Turkish soldiers. Al Jazeera reported Nicolas Henin, Pierre Torres, Edouard Elias and Didier Francois were discovered on the Turkish-Syrian border Saturday, their hands and eyes bound. They were taken to a police station in Akcakale. Authorities later released them. The four, captured in two separate events in June, were reported in good health, RFI English reported. Two other French journalists remain in captivity in the Sahel. At least 61 journalists were kidnapped in Syria last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists; 63 have been killed in the country since 1992. The group has added Syria to its list of countries where journalists' murders are most likely to go unpunished. In a report Wednesday, CPJ said Syria's fifth-place ranking on its "Global Impunity Index" list "highlights the rising number of targeted killings there, a recent threat to journalists operating in the country." Related: Spanish journalists held in Syria for six months have been freed | Swedish journalists missing in Syria are freed | Photographer kidnapped in Syria is released | News organizations ask Syrian rebels to halt journalist kidnappings

Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 unveils responsive redesign as it begins competing with the Globe has freshened up for the spring, making it better prepared to compete across all platforms against its paywalled big brother, a responsive pioneer. The free news source's responsive site is now in beta on both mobile and desktop, according to a press release. (Baseball fans will get a kick out of's new error page.) Last year, Globe editor Brian McGrory told Poynter about his plan to "untangle" the company's two websites, saying the difference between them wasn't clear to “many people in this community and people in this newsroom.” Last month, McGrory said in a memo that “will remain a news site at its core, but with a sharper voice that better captures the sensibilities of Boston.” He said the two sites "will live happily and healthily apart. And yes, they’ll even compete with each other." is the premium site, but the Globe recently announced it would loosen its hard paywall and have a 10-article-per-month meter instead. The only content the two sites will share going forward, Nieman Lab reported in March, is video.

Journalist whose own mother died in Afghanistan maintains connection with AP’s Kathy Gannon

The Washington Post
On Friday, freelance writer Tracee Herbaugh wrote about the death of her mother for The Washington Post. Sharon Herbaugh, an Associated Press bureau chief, died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 1993. Herbaugh wrote about learning of the April 4 shooting of two AP staff in Afghanistan. Photographer Anja Niedringhaus died in that shooting, and reporter Kathy Gannon was injured.
Hearing of the attack on Kathy, who was seriously wounded and remains hospitalized in Germany, felt like my life had come full circle in a single moment. In 1993, my mother, Sharon Herbaugh, was the first woman bureau chief for the Associated Press to die while on assignment. In the days following the crash, the phone at my grandparents’ home in Colorado rang nonstop with calls from State Department officials, friends and journalists from all over the world. Kathy took charge of maintaining communication between my family and the AP. She also oversaw the return of Sharon’s body back home, to a farming town on the dusty plains of southeast Colorado.
Gannon has been hospitalized in Germany since the shooting.

"Kathy continues to undergo hospital treatment as part of her recovery," Paul Colford, director of AP Media Relations, told Poynter in an e-mail.

In her story, Herbaugh wrote about her own complicated relationship with her mother, becoming a journalist herself, and her continuing relationship with Gannon.
In the two decades that have followed Sharon’s death, Kathy has maintained a regular presence in my life. I exchanged e-mails with her only two days before she was attacked on the eve of Afghanistan’s elections. Much of what I know about my mother I’ve learned from Kathy. And she was often a source of support as my grandmother and I navigated the grieving process.

TLDR finds the guy who shared his passwords in the comments section

On The Media
On The Media's Alex Goldman went out in search of that guy who posted his passwords in the comments section of a Washington Post story about the Heartbleed bug. Naturally, his accounts were then hijacked.

Goldman started with Twitter, he explained on Friday on TLDR's episode called "What Happens When You Tell The Whole Internet Your Password." Goldman found the woman who gained access to Y. Woodman Brown's account, and she talked to him. That led him to the man himself, who, it turns out, isn't really that much of a risk taker.

"You won't find me bungee jumping," he said. (more...)

Photojournalist Maggie Steber’s first job was with the Galveston Daily News. She spoke about her career with Jim Colton in an April 15 piece for the National Press Photographers Association. The work wasn’t that interesting, she told Colton, but how she got the job was.

I went to apply for the job of photographer-reporter at the paper. The managing editor told me it was a night position and better suited for a man in case my car broke down or I got attacked. They were already considering two men for the job.

I asked the editor to wait 24 hours before hiring anyone. Then I went out and found a story that, by accident, was rather controversial; concerning a historic operating theater that was about to be torn down at the UT Medical School in Galveston. I photographed the theater; it was a beautiful old wooden theater in the round with sunlight pouring in through the slatted windows. I interviewed students and townsfolk about the theater’s fate, stayed up all night writing and printing photos, and slapped the whole thing on the managing editor’s desk the next morning at 9am.

He read the story, looked at the photos, and looked up at me and said, ‘The job is yours! Neither of those other male candidates would have gone to this much trouble and find a story I can use on the front page in tomorrow’s paper.’ It was published the next morning.

Maggie Steber


NYT abides by Israeli gag order, draws questions from public editor

The New York Times
The New York Times delayed publication of a story this week about a young journalist and Palestinian rights advocate held by Israeli authorities, abiding by a court gag order, the Times' public editor wrote Friday.

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren told Public Editor Margaret Sullivan that the paper is bound by the gag orders:
She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land, and that two of her predecessors in the bureau chief position affirmed to her this week that The Times has been subject to gag orders in the past.
The newspaper's newsroom lawyer told Sullivan “the general understanding among legal counsel in other countries is that local law would apply to foreign media,” but said the Times hasn't challenged the restriction in Israel.

Sullivan said holding the story for a few days "may have done no great harm," but she said she found it "troubling" that the Times should have to wait for the government's approval before deciding to run a story.

If the situation is unavoidable, she said, a "little transparency would go a long way" and that the story should include a sentence or two telling readers what is occurring.

‘Gracias, Gabo’: Newspapers remember Gabriel García Márquez

Here's how newspapers around the world remembered Gabriel García Márquez on Friday, a day after the writer's death.

El Territorio, Posadas, Argentina:

Correio Braziliense, Brasilia, Brazil:


Gallery of good ledes, recommendation edition

"When they heard the screams, no one suspected the rooster," Kelley Benham French wrote in the St. Petersburg Times in 2002. "Dechardonae Gaines, 2, was toddling down the sidewalk Monday lugging her Easy Bake Oven when she became the victim in one of the weirder animal attack cases police can recall."
It's one of my all-time favorite ledes and a refreshing read after the last few days of sharing bad ledes, which I requested and a lot of people shared. Luckily, the same thing happened with the good stuff. While pulling this post together on Thursday, we learned of the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Vox memorialized the writer with a look at the opening sentence of "100 Years of Solitude." Like that one, some of these are a sentence. Some are a paragraph, even two or three. But in whatever form they take, good ledes are hard to forget.

Especially this next one.

Denise Zapata, senior editor at EdSource, sent it in.

One warm spring night in 2011, a young man named Travis Hughes stood on the back deck of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at Marshall University, in West Virginia, and was struck by what seemed to him—under the influence of powerful inebriants, not least among them the clear ether of youth itself—to be an excellent idea: he would shove a bottle rocket up his ass and blast it into the sweet night air. And perhaps it was an excellent idea. What was not an excellent idea, however, was to misjudge the relative tightness of a 20-year-old sphincter and the propulsive reliability of a 20-cent bottle rocket. What followed ignition was not the bright report of a successful blastoff, but the muffled thud of fire in the hole. -- Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic (more...)

Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014


Newseum relents, will display weeklies after protest by editors

Front pages from the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Biloxi Sun Herald are seen on display at the Newseum in Washington for their exhibit on press coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
A daylong protest by weekly newspaper editors from around the U.S. against the Newseum’s snubbing of community journalism resulted in the Washington, D.C., museum changing its policy to include weeklies in its Today’s Front Pages exhibit.

For years, the Newseum has featured a daily roundup of front pages, both electronically and along its Pennsylvania Avenue exterior. The electronic archive includes PDFs sent in each day by hundreds of newspapers, both U.S. and international. The ground-floor exhibit, visible to passersby, includes a newspaper from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and a dozen other countries. (more...)
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Media organizations challenge order to take down anti-Muslim video

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Major news organizations have filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Google and YouTube in their effort to overturn a takedown order for an anti-Muslim video that inflamed Islamic communities worldwide.

"Innocence of Muslims," a badly produced 14-minute video insulting to the Islamic faithful, prompted protests in 2012 after it was uploaded to YouTube and translated into Arabic. Some have blamed the video for the attack on a U.S. temporary diplomatic office in Benghazi, Libya, and death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (more...)

Denver Post strengthens sponsored content designation on energy section

Center for Western Priorities | ThinkProgress | Wonkette
Following articles that said a Denver Post-sponsored energy section wasn't marked clearly enough, Post President and CEO Mac Tully told Poynter in an email the paper decided to "strengthen the sponsored content designation and included a definition of custom content." Tully said he hadn't "seen one complaint that misunderstood the content to be Denver Post generated."

The change comes after reports in several publications about the "Energy and Environment" section, which is sponsored content from Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, a group formed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy "to provide scientifically sound information about fracking."

The section looks too much like regular Denver Post content, Erin Moriarty writes for the Center for Western Priorities: "Advertising is, of course, crucial to newspapers’ existence, but there is a line that has been crossed."

A "former Denver Post staffer who asked not to be named" told ThinkProgress' Katie Valentine, “If I weren’t a journalist, I’m not sure I could tell the difference here.”

(As long as we're discussing the Post's decisions, why on earth did ThinkProgress let a former employee zing his former employer under cover of anonymity? "​​The source was concerned about the impact of commenting publicly on his current employment," TP Editor-in-Chief Judd Legum told Poynter in an email. "We wanted to try to get various perspectives in the piece and thought it was valuable to include." Here's more of me spouting off about anonymity.)

Tully said the paper's "goal is to be just as clear online as we have been in the print editions by clearly designating the custom content as advertiser sponsored. We feel that's the key to maintaining the separation of news and paid content."

In a funny post about the section, Wonkette's Doktor Zoom made a discovery about the section: "If you have Adblock Plus turned on, everything but 'The Denver Post: Energy and Environment' is blocked out."

OK, now let’s read some good ledes

That was fun. Thanks for sharing your bad ledes, and I hope you enjoyed a few of ours.
Let's take this thing one step further now and talk about good ledes. Luckily, Poynter faculty and staff have done good work gathering some now and then. If you're particularly proud of a good lede of your own, or you've seen one that's memorable, send it to me at or @kristenhare on Twitter (with links if possible), and I'll start a collection.

-- In 2012, Poynter's Roy Peter Clark shared tips for writing a good lede. As part of a live chat with that piece, Clark points out several good ledes, including this: (more...)
Sean Combs and Wale are seen performing at “Revolt’s Music Revolution Party” on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Donald Traill/Invision /AP)

Newspapers mentioned in rap songs: A brief history

I love rap music, and I love first-person narrative journalism, for some of the same reasons. Rappers, like writers, tell stories -- about the places they've been, the things they've done, and the people and institutions (newspapers included) that have shaped them.

And while print newspapers certainly face a precarious future, they're still seen as a totem of success. Make the newspaper, and you've made it. (Though it could be for the wrong reasons -- in the crime blotter or the obituaries instead of A1.) They also play a vital role in framing how our society views certain people and cultural phenomena.

But instead of think-piecing about how rap and journalism intersect, I decided to go back 20 years and put together a list of almost every instance in which newspapers have been mentioned in rap songs.
DJ Clue and DMX pose with a newspaper featuring DMX (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Paul Wall, "Break 'Em Off" Chasin' paper in the mornin', call me Houston Chronicle

Whoopi Goldberg launches column for Denver Post pot site

The Cannabist | Digital First Media
Goldberg at the 2008 Tony Awards (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Whoopi Goldberg loves her vape pen: "her ability to help me live comfortably with glaucoma makes her one of the more important figures in my day to day," the actor and TV host writes in The Cannabist, the Denver Post's weed-focused breakout site. "What kind of kush is in my vape pen at the moment?" she writes. "The indica-dominant Platinum OG, of course." Goldberg will write a column about every two months, Post owner Digital First Media says in a press release. In the release, Cannabist Editor Ricardo Baca says he and Goldberg "instantly connected" when he appeared on "The View." Goldberg's "curiosity and desire to discuss the issues surrounding America’s ever-changing marijuana laws immediately reminded me of my colleagues back in Denver,” Baca says.

Baca on Monday teased a new celebrity columnist. Goldberg was among nine other "possible candidates" he wrote might be a good fit, including Michelle Malkin, Miley Cyrus and Sanjay Gupta.
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Businessman touching Delete button on a virtual screen.

And now for some really bad ledes

These bad ledes don't need another one introducing them, so let's keep it simple. We asked for your bad ledes. You sent them. Enjoy.
"My worst lede was my first lede," Jim Morrison, a reporter with Wicked Local Newton in Massachusetts, wrote in an email.

The meeting began when a quorum was reached.

When he was a freshman sportswriter for the student newspaper, "I wrote this horrible lede in a story about a javelin thrower being behind the curve from the rest of the track team because she couldn't compete during indoor season," wrote Robby Korth, a journalism student at the University of Nebraska and an intern at the Lincoln Journal Star.

Mrs. Brady told her children not to play ball in the house. In the winter, the NCAA tells its competitors not to throw javelins.

This one's from Andy Boyle, a news applications developer at the Chicago Tribune.

The house on 53rd Street and Huntington Avenue stood motionless. From the south side of the building, nothing looked out of the ordinary except for the police barricades that were set up.

"How does a house stand other than motionless, Andy?" Boyle wrote in his e-mail. "Can it dance? Perhaps sit at a funny angle?" (more...)
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