International media


5 Tips for staying safe in conflict zones

A young Kurdish YPG fighter runs past sniper fire in the contested zone in Kobani, Syria. The role of freelancers, who make a living by selling individual stories to multiple outlets, has expanded across conflict zones in recent years with the spread of technology and social media. While some are cautious and well-trained, others take major risks in hopes of getting a picture or story that no one else has, and thus is more valuable. And they often lack the institutional support staff writers receive if they get into trouble in a conflict zone.  (AP Photo/Jake, Simkin)

A young Kurdish YPG fighter runs past sniper fire in the contested zone in Kobani, Syria. The role of freelancers, who make a living by selling individual stories to multiple outlets, has expanded across conflict zones in recent years. While some are cautious and well-trained, others take major risks in hopes of getting a picture or story that no one else has. (AP Photo/Jake, Simkin)

The world isn’t getting any safer for members of the media: According to Reporters Without Borders’ annual “roundup of violence against journalists” 66 were killed, 119 kidnapped, and 853 arrested in 2014.

At the same time, difficult and dangerous stories still need telling, and there will always be those drawn to covering conflicts. The big players’ budgets are shrinking but the ways in which information is spread have become more mobile and immediate. Read more


MediaWireWorld: Anchor shot in Pakistan, Greste trial continues in Egypt

Posts on MediaWire tend to focus on what’s happening with journalists in the U.S., but every day I see headlines about what’s happening with journalists around the world. That news is often disturbing, sometimes encouraging and, if it involves Rob Ford, probably kind of funny. Today I’m starting a daily post of links with news about journalists and journalism outside the U.S. If you come across something I’ve missed, please pass it along to me through Twitter, @kristenhare, or email,


On Tuesday, Mohamed Lotfy reported in The Guardian that Australian journalist Peter Greste goes back on trial in Cairo today. Greste and two of his Al Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, face terrorism charges. According to The Guardian, Lotfy is observing the trial on behalf of Amnesty International. Read more

USA vs. CHN Curling

Sochi photo coverage takes ‘patience, planning, logistics’

Harry Walker, photo director at McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, has a unique vantage point overseeing MCT’s visual coverage of the Olympic Games.

Raised in Savannah, Ga., Walker graduated from Morehouse College in 1980. He started his photojournalism career at The Columbus Dispatch, where he worked from 1988 until 1992. Before joining MCT, he worked as features and weekend photo editor at the Kansas City Star. He has served numerous organizations, with stints as a member of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Visual Task Force and as chairperson of the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism contest.

What follows is an edited version of our conversation about MCT’s ongoing Olympics photo coverage:

Me: So, Harry, you are nine hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. How is that an advantage or disadvantage for your MCT photographic reports? Read more

China Citizens Movement Trial

Covering China: for foreign and domestic press, self-censorship’s the threat

A plainclothes policeman, center, tries to block a foreign journalist filming while police detain the supporters of Xu Zhiyong near the No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing Wednesday. Xu, a legal scholar and founder of the New Citizens movement, is on trial facing a charge organzing a crowd to disrupt public order. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

It’s not easy being a journalist in China these days.

Chinese reporters are facing new government restrictions, including forced training in Marxism and a new written “ideology” exam. Some, pushing the investigative envelope, have been detained, demoted and fired. Bloggers have been arrested under a new law that forbids rumor-mongering.

Meanwhile, foreign journalists have had visa renewals held up by the government, with the threat of expulsion. The standoff grew so contentious that Vice President Joe Biden had to make a personal appeal to China’s president before last-minute visas were issued earlier this month. Read more


Another journalist killed in Indian state

The Hindu | Times of India

Local protests in India this week follow the killing last Friday of India journalist Sai Reddy in the Bijapur district in south Chhattisgarh, The Hindu reported.

The 51-year-old journalist was attacked at a weekly market. Maoists are suspected in the killing, although none have taken responsibility, the newspaper said. Read more


Why censorship looks like ‘harmony’ inside Chinese media

The first time I got in trouble at China Radio International was for saying it’s OK to drive over the speed limit as long as that’s  the speed of traffic.

I was hosting a show called “China Now,” which aired live in Beijing from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, on a weak AM signal that no one could actually pick up.

The show was also recorded and sent to CRI partner stations in far-flung places like Port Vila, Vanuatu and Monrovia, Liberia. The primary purpose of the show seemed to be to fill three hours of airtime. It was roughly half music, mostly Top 40. My Chinese co-host had a thing for Lady Gaga.

We ran one or two pre-recorded reports per hour, including a seven-minute snoozer about Mahjong filed by a British reporter, and a much shorter and more entertaining piece by a Canadian reporter who visited a prominent Revolution-era Red Army base and asked his interpreter if she had ever wanted to shoot a raccoon with a machine gun. Read more

In this photo taken and released by a protester, a local university student, left, a supporter of the Southern Weekly, is interviewed by a foreign media before being taken away by plainclothes policemen outside the newspaper headquarters in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Police attempted Thursday to prevent more of protests outside the compound housing the Southern Weekly and its parent company, the Nanfang Media Group, in Guangzhou, a city long at the forefront of reforms. About 30 police officers guarded the area and ordered reporters and any loiterers to move away, saying there had been complaints about obstructing traffic. The influential weekly newspaper whose staff rebelled to protest heavy-handed censorship by China's government officials published as normal Thursday after a compromise that called for relaxing some intrusive controls but left lingering ill-will among some reporters and editors. (AP Photo)

What China press censorship protests say about digital shift and democracy

It is telling that the protests in China this week over government control involve a newspaper and censorship — not a military tank in a public square.

China has walked the fragile road of modernism and capitalism without democracy. But history keeps repeating one message about trying to balance economic advances without freedom. Information by its nature is democratizing.

In China, the information box is already open. Half of the Chinese public is online, according to the data from fall of 2012 by the Pew Research Center. Fully 93 percent of Chinese have cell phones; 62 percent engage in social networking. And half the Chinese public, according to Pew’s data, share their personal views on social networks. (I was founding director of Center’s Project for Excellence Journalism for 16 years until December.)

What the Chinese are willing to share in these spaces is equally fascinating. Read more

1 Comment

4 media shifts to watch for in China

I was honored to represent the U.S., the Poynter Institute and KING Broadcasting Co. at the Colloquium on Future Global Communication and Journalism Education held Dec. 15-16 at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The first session featured five international speakers — including me — who presented in English.

Here are four key takeaways from the conference and from my conversations with professors and students there.

Journalism education is flourishing in China

Professor Shi Anbin, who invited me to speak at the conference, told me there are 1,000 journalism schools in China. While the government continues to control the news media there, state-run news agencies are growing fast (much like the country’s economy for the past 20 years). There is also an increasing presence of foreign media in China to report out to the rest of the world. Read more

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Journalism students from Hong Kong view profession differently after U.S. visit

For two weeks I played host to six college students, all journalism majors, as we flew from Hong Kong to Washington, D.C., to cover the U.S. Presidential Elections. I packed the agenda with numerous newsroom visits to show them what journalism in the U.S. was all about. We were going to meet and greet senior news executives, I told them. Their job was to interview them and write up short reports. “This is a work trip,” I reminded them.

Little did I realize that the visits would ignite a passion and perspective in these young people and re-ignite my passion for the profession.

“That’s the executive editor, next to him the managing editor, next to him the deputy,” said our tour guide going down the newsroom hierarchy as we stood inside The Washington Post.
Read more
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