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Obama honors journalists who have fought powerful forces

President Barack Obama, flanked by Dieu Cay from Vietnam, left, and Simegnish "Lily" Mengesha of Ethiopia, speaks with persecuted journalists to mark World Press Freedom Day. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Barack Obama, flanked by Dieu Cay from Vietnam, left, and Simegnish “Lily” Mengesha of Ethiopia, speaks with persecuted journalists to mark World Press Freedom Day. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The world’s most powerful man on Friday praised journalists who have fought power.

President Barack Obama marked Sunday’s World Press Freedom day by inviting three international journalists who have been persecuted as a result of their work, according to the White House.

In addition, he reiterated calls for the release of Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post, who is imprisoned in Iran on what officials have called bogus espionage charges.

The trio with whom he spoke consisted of Fatima Tlisova of Russia, Dieu Cay of Vietnam and Simegnish “Lily” Mengesha of Ethiopia.

Tlisova reported on the Chechen insurgency, including corruption and disappearances of individuals in the North Caucasus. Read more


Amy Austin to leave Washington City Paper

Washington City Paper

Amy Austin, the longtime publisher of Washington, D.C. alt-weekly Washington City Paper, is leaving the publication after 30 years, the newspaper reported Friday. Austin announced her departure to the newsroom, reading from a letter excerpted below.

I leave with mixed emotions, including tremendous sadness to not see you everyday. But I also leave with jump- up-and-down-joy at the quality of work, journalism and marketing, accomplished during the time I have had the privilege of working for Washington City Paper.

City Paper notes that the paper’s parent company, Southcomm, was recently purchased by Cygnus Business Media.

Austin’s departure comes shortly after the alt-weekly lost another masthead presence. Editor Mike Madden recently left the paper for The Washington Post to become deputy editor of Outlook and PostEverything. Read more


Goodbye Meow York Times, we hardly knew you

A replica of The New York Times’ homepage seasoned liberally with cat GIFs has been taken down and replaced with a picture of a cease-and-desist letter apparently sent to the creator from the newspaper’s legal department.

It has come to our attention that you have registered the domain name, intentionally copied all of the copyright-protected content (including text and photos), code and the logo from our home page, for the purpose of creating your own ‘version’ of our world famous website. As you know, you never received permission to use The Times’s intellectual property for this or any other purpose.

The website is registered to Brian Abelson, a former Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow at The New York Times. When I emailed him for comment Thursday, he replied with a string of cat-themed text generated by the website Read more


Indemnity clauses leave freelancers open to lawsuits

Forbes contributor Dolia Estevez is on her own.

Two years ago, Estevez identified a former spokesperson for Mexican president Felipe Calderon as one of the “10 most corrupt Mexicans of 2013” in a story she wrote on the Forbes website.  The spokesperson sued Forbes and Estevez under New York law.

The claims were various: one for defamation, against Forbes and Estevez together; one for intentional infliction of emotional distress, against Estevez only; and two for interference with business relations, against Estevez only. The spokesperson demanded money damages.

Instead of defending its contributor, as it would have if she were a staff writer, Forbes told Estevez she was on her own, invoking a provision of its standard freelance contract stating that web writers are “responsible for any legal claims arising” from their work. Read more


Landlord says Cleveland TV station sent a dead mouse in the mail

This winter, a Cleveland landlord says WOIO sent a dead mouse to the company that owns its building, Michael McIntyre reported for on Friday.

“My assistant opened it and she just about fainted,” said Doug Price, CEO of the K&D Group, which owns the Reserve Square building where the WOIO-TV Channel 19 and and WUAB-TV Channel 43 stations are headquartered.

McIntyre reports that the staff in the building say it has mice and bugs. The station’s vice president and general manager, Dominic Mancuso, “the man who directs an operation whose reporters are dispatched to ask questions of people every day,” refused to offer comment.

(Source: Giphy)

In 2010, David Brauer wrote for MinnPost about a mouse problem at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that led to a Facebook page called “S.t. Read more


Why “Louie, Louie” should be an anthem for journalists

The song I have sung most often in my life is “Louie, Louie.”

I don’t know the words. Really.

There are two sets of lyrics – maybe three.

The original lyrics, written and performed by Richard Berry in 1955, describe a sweet island romance.

In 1963, The Kingsmen covered the song.  The lead singer, Jack Ely, slurred the words.  The production values sucked.  Because of those things, “Louie, Louie” became one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

Oh, by the way, we are writing this in part because Ely just died at the age of 71.

By 1964, rumors spread through my high school: The lyrics of “Louie, Louie” were filthy.

“I promise I’ll never leave her again,” a sailor’s lament, became “I promise I’ll never lay her again.”  Which made no sense.  Read more

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Despite media request, Baltimore police haven’t released Freddie Gray report

Baltimore police have not yet responded to a letter filed on behalf of multiple news organizations seeking disclosure of a report summarizing the results of an investigation into Freddie Gray’s death.

The letter, which was emailed to the Baltimore City Police Department last night from an attorney representing a coalition of news organizations including The New York Times, The Associated Press, BuzzFeed, Bloomberg and others, has so far been met by silence, said Nathan Siegel, the lawyer who emailed the letter. As of Friday afternoon, the department hadn’t confirmed receipt of the request.

Access to the full report would be welcome for news organizations, which have so far only reported snatches of the investigation. On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported on a document “written by a Baltimore police investigator” that said a prisoner in the van with Gray indicated he was deliberately injuring himself. Read more


How AJ+ reported from Baltimore using only mobile phones

AJ+ producer Damu Bobb uses a mobile rig to report from Baltimore. (Submitted photo)

AJ+ producer Damu Bobb uses a mobile rig to report from Baltimore. Photo by Devin Allen)

I came to AJ+, Al Jazeera’s new social media and app-first unit, last summer after spending several years reporting on the revolution in Egypt. In Cairo, mobile phones were the primary method of sharing news from the street. At protests you’d see dozens of hands in the air, recording on everything from flip phones to iPhones. Soon after joining AJ+, I was deployed to Ferguson, where tweets and Vines by protestors scooped media on social platforms. We joined in.

This past week, as protests first erupted into clashes in Baltimore, we replicated our “mobile army” model with a two-person mobile reporting team that my co-producer Katrine Dermody and I directed from our San Francisco office. Read more

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Here’s how 10 news home pages showed the homicide charges for Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore

News broke Friday that six Baltimore police officers were being charged with the death of Freddie Gray. Here are screenshots taken mid-morning on Friday that show how 10 news organizations broke that news on their home pages.

The Baltimore Sun:

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BuzzFeed News:

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Fox News:

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The Guardian US:

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Previously: You can find our Baltimore coverage here.

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Maryland prosecutor condemns leaks to the press

Think Progress

In an announcement Friday morning that the state attorney’s office had cause to file homicide charges against police officers in Freddie Gray’s death, Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby condemned leaks to the press. Think Progress, a site by the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund, reported:

“While I am committed to transparency, what I have revealed here today is now a matter of public record. However, the evidence that we have collected and continue to collect cannot ethically be released to the public,” Mosby said. ‘I strongly condemn anyone in law enforcement with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior to the resolution of this case. You are only damaging our ability to conduct a fair and impartial process for all parties involved.

Read more
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Networks use drones to cover Nepal quake

(Screen shot from NBC's drone coverage of Nepal.)

(Screen shot from NBC’s drone coverage of Nepal.)

NBC News’ Miguel Almaguer used dramatic video captured by a drone in his reporting from Nepal this week.

The images soaring above the ruins of destroyed temples in Kathmandu are a demonstration of how valuable these drones can be in adding context and scale, even while they are currently banned for commercial use in the U.S. It is the third time in recent months, NBC News has used unmanned drones to report a story.

NBC included the images in NBC Nightly News and Today. It also included a version just for online. NBC also used the video to show the damage of some of Nepal’s towering historic temples.

“NBC has been interested in drones for some time so we brought the drone into Nepal and worked with local contacts there to be sure we stayed out of the way of authorities and rescue workers.” said NBC Senior Vice President Editorial Janelle Rodriguez. Read more


Heavyweight news outlets demand Freddie Gray report

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. 911 tapes, call logs, arrest records also requested

    A coalition of several news organizations, including The Associated Press, BuzzFeed, NPR, Bloomberg and The Baltimore Sun are represented in a letter requesting that the Baltimore City Police Department release the results of the investigation into the treatment of Freddie Gray. "This is a matter for which no review should be required because there is enormous public interest in and an expectation of transparency with regard to this matter, and release of the document would therefore only serve the public interest. In this particular situation any effort to withhold the report, even temporarily, would itself be manifestly contrary to the public interest." (The Associated Press)

  2. NPR ombud: Breast cancer story 'missing some science'

    Elizabeth Jensen, the ombudsman for NPR, highlighted some deficiencies from a "Morning Edition" story that covered the political back-and-forth over breast cancer screenings.

Read more

Career Beat: Bryan Monroe named Verizon Chair at Temple University

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Bryan Monroe will be Verizon Chair professor at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication. Previously, he was Washington editor of opinion and commentary at CNN. (Temple University)
  • Charles Duhigg is now senior editor at The New York Times’ live events business. Previously, he was a reporter there. (The New York Times)
  • Janko Roettgers will be Silicon Valley correspondent for Variety. Previously, he was a senior writer at Gigaom. (Fishbowl NY)
  • Mark Tapscott will lead The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group. He is executive editor at The Washington Examiner. (Politico)

Job of the day: Salon Media Group is looking for a video editor. Get your résumés in! Read more

P-bin Laden

Today in Media History: In 2011, Twitter broke the news of Osama bin Laden’s death

Were you following Twitter four years ago today?

On May 1, select journalists received simple, three-word e-mails from the White House: “Get to work.” The President had an announcement to make, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said. Almost immediately, speculation of the news erupted on Twitter, and many zeroed in on a possible Osama bin Laden announcement. At 10:25 p.m. E.T., Keith Urbahn (@keithurbahn), chief of staff for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was the first who seemed to confirm the suspicions. President Obama confirmed bin Laden’s death himself during a live broadcast announcement at 11:35 p.m.

Time Magazine

CNN reported:

(CNN) — As U.S.

Read more

Thursday, Apr. 30, 2015

New Media Investment Group ups revenues and plans to buy more papers

new-media-investment-group-logoNew Media Investment Group reported a 76 percent growth in first quarter revenues compared to the period a year ago on the strength of its buying binge of media companies.

But even leaving the new properties out, the company was able to keep revenues roughly even on a “same store” basis — a good showing for the industry where declines are more common, reflecting its tilt toward small and mid-sized papers.

The company did book a $6 million loss on revenues of $251 million.  However it again raised its dividend, now $1.32 on an annualized basis on a stock trading in the low $20s.

The high dividend and revenue growth have made the stock a favorite of investors. Shares were trading up 4 percent late afternoon, though the stock has declined in the last several months after its hot performance in 2014. Read more