International reporting

Chinese police officers, paramilitary policemen and plainclothes security personnel prepare to clear Tiananmen Square ahead of an official ceremony in Beijing, China, on May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

On eve of Tiananmen anniversary, early optimism pushed aside by press, speech crackdown

Chinese police officers, paramilitary policemen and plainclothes security personnel prepare to clear Tiananmen Square ahead of an official ceremony in Beijing, China, on May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Two years ago in China, during the run-up to the Communist Party’s ritual changing of the guard, there was a heady mood of expectation that the country’s new top leaders might revive long-stalled political reform and maybe, just maybe, reopen the history books on one topic considered taboo: the June 4, 1989 massacre of hundreds of unarmed pro-democracy students in the streets around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The reasons for the early optimism were sound enough.

Xi Jinping, the incoming president, and Li Keqiang, who would become prime minister, were new generation leaders. Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary hero, was widely believed to have opposed the Tiananmen crackdown. Read more


Letter from Poynter India’s Workshop Team

Kochi, India, Workshop Participants. March 25, 2014 — One of the nicest traditions at The Poynter Institute is the seminar photograph. This is a record of a special time with colleagues and faculty and of new friends made.

When I first thought about the idea of bringing a group of faculty members to India to conduct a series of workshops, I had that moment of self doubt that affects most of my new or innovative projects. That pesky inner voice of doubt whispered: What could we teach that would be relevant? What will the participants want from our teaching? Would we have an impact?

After three workshops and traveling more than 500 miles within India (not counting the 8,000 miles to get here), I found my answers (and doubt silencer) in a participant’s tweet:

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Journalists to follow on Twitter as Ukraine military moves escalate

Russian soldiers and Kremlin-backed armed forces assumed control in the Crimean peninsula and other sections of Ukraine Saturday, according to major media reports, prompting stern comments from President Obama and heightening concerns for Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Here are journalists and other news sources to track on Twitter as events develop. Suggest others to follow in the comments box below.

• Shaun Walker, The Guardian, @shaunwalker7


• Mark MacKinnon, The Globe and Mail, @MarkMacKinnon


• Alexander Marquardt, ABC News, @MarquardtA

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Lebanese journalists and activists use tape to cover their mouths as they hold placards to show their solidarity with detained journalists by Egyptian authorities during a sit-in protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. In January, Egypt's chief prosecutor referred 20 journalists, including four foreigners from the Al Jazeera TV network, to trial on charges of allegedly joining or assisting a terrorist group and spreading false news that endangers national security. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Journalists in Egypt plead not guilty to terrorist charges, trial postponed

Bloomberg | Al-Jazeera | BBC

A Cairo court on Thursday postponed the trial of Al-Jazeera journalists who are facing accusations of aiding Egyptians belonging to “a terrorist organization.”

Eight journalists including, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges that include aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and endangering national security. Read more

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Anti-government protesters clash with riot police in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, in Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. Thousands of angry anti-government protesters clashed with police in a new eruption of violence following new maneuvering by Russia and the European Union to gain influence over this former Soviet republic. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

1 journalist dead, many injured in Ukraine violence

Reporters Without Borders | Agence France-Presse | Vesti

Vyacheslav Veremyi was “dragged out of his taxi by unknown assailants” in Kiev early Wednesday morning, Reporters Without Borders reports. The reporter for Ukrainian newspaper Vesti “was violently beaten up, and according to witness accounts, he was shot in the stomach after he showed his press card.”

At least 27 other journalists were injured in the escalating violence, RWB writes. More than 167 journalists have been injured in Ukraine since November.

Anti-government protesters clash with riot police in Kiev’s Independence Square on Wednesday (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Vesti has set up a Russian-language page for anyone who wants to help out Veremyi’s family.

Previously: Dozens of journalists injured in Kiev during protests, five people killed Read more

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Creators of documentary that highlights photojournalism in Afghanistan raises more than $70,000

Kickstarter | Medium

Frame By Frame, a documentary that originated as a Kickstarter project, aimed to raise $40,000 by Aug. 28. As of today, it has raised $70,301.

The documentary, which started production last year, follows four Afghans who talk about how photojournalism in Afghanistan has changed throughout the years, and where it’s headed. The Frame by Frame Kickstarter page explains:

In 1996, the Taliban banned photography in Afghanistan. Taking a photo was considered a crime. When the regime was removed from Kabul in 2001, their suppression of free speech and press disappeared. Since then, photography has become an outlet for Afghans determined to show the hidden stories of their country.

The money will enable creators Mo Scarpelli and Alexandria Bombach to return to Kabul this fall and finish producing the documentary. Read more


Report: HuffPost Live lays off L.A. staffers, moves operations to New York

The Verge

HuffPost Live will “essentially shutter” its Los Angeles studio, Ben Popper reports. “Some of those losing their positions on the West Coast will be offered the opportunity to move east and join the HuffPost Live team in New York,” Popper writes.

The Huffington Post launched HuffPost Live, an online TV channel, last August. At the time, Brian Stelter called it “one of the most ambitious attempts yet to rethink what television should look and feel like when streamed over the Internet.” The initiative also has a studio in Washington, Stelter wrote.

The channel announced Wednesday it would focus on “world coverage, including a daily hour-long look at the stories sparking conversations around the globe — featuring contributions from editors and reporters from HuffPost’s 7 (soon to be 10) international editions,” Kara Swisher wrote. Read more


Journalists say they’re staying in Egypt despite attacks

The New York Times | The Atlantic Wire | The Huffington Post | The Root | The New Yorker

Supporters of Egypt’s ruling Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi “have attacked or detained at least a dozen foreign journalists, a vast majority on the same day that an adviser to the president delivered the first diatribe against Western news coverage,” David D. Kirkpatrick writes.

Egypt’s State Information Service complained in a press release about the negative press it received after government forces killed more than 600 people while clearing protester camps last week. At least three journalists were killed in that violence, and Egyptian forces “raided and shut down the Cairo offices of Al-Jazeera Arabic,” the Committee to Protect Journalists noted.

Officials have said “no visiting journalists would be issued press identifications without prior approval from the intelligence services, a break from long-standing practice,” Joshua Hersh writes. Read more

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Javier Manzano first freelance photographer to win Pulitzer in 17 years

Javier Manzano was “shocked” when he found out he had won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.

“To be honest, I am still having a bit of trouble processing the magnitude of the recognition,” Manzano, a freelancer for Agence France-Presse, said by email Tuesday morning. “I feel privileged to be [in] the company of my colleagues who also work as freelancers in some of the most challenging environments with little or no outside support.”

Freelancers have won Pulitzer prizes in the past, but not nearly as often as full-time journalists have. Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler told Poynter that it’s been 17 years since a freelance photographer won a Pulitzer. (Two freelance photographers — Charles Porter IV and Stephanie Welsh — won in 1996.)

Manzano won for a photo of two rebel soldiers guarding their sniper’s nest in Aleppo, as light streams through bullet holes in the wall behind them. Read more

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Syria coverage honored by 2013 duPont Awards

CBS and NPR’s coverage of the Syrian uprising were recognized by the 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, whose winners were announced Wednesday morning by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

CBS reporter Clarissa Ward “bravely reported on what was happening inside Syria’s dangerous and largely inaccessible insurgent strongholds despite government efforts to keep foreign journalists away,” the awards say.

To report this extraordinary series of nine stories, Ward entered Syria posing as a tourist carrying only a small camera. She gave viewers the rare opportunity to meet the people behind the shaky cell phone videos posted on YouTube. With deliberate and straightforward reporting, Ward provided riveting details about activists and regular citizens as their struggle brought Syria to the brink of civil war.

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