Washington Post

Iran’s Revolutionary Court will review case of detained Post reporter

Washington Post | al Arabiya English

The case of detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian will be handled by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, a move that sets the stage for further review, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The Revolutionary Court, which “handles the country’s most sensitive cases” has the power to subject Rezaian’s case to further scrutiny before scheduling a trial, according to The Washington Post.

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, told al Arabiya English Wednesday that Rezaian’s case was “a judicial matter,” and that the government was “doing its best” to intervene on his behalf.

Rezaian, who was arrested with his wife in July, was formally charged in December, although the court has not made the charges public. He has not been told what he’s charged with, but the accusations relate to “activities outside the bounds of journalism,” according to The Washington Post.

Renizan was arrested with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, along with another photojournalist and her husbamd. Salehi was freed in October, more than a month after the photojournalist and her husband.

In a statement Wednesday, Post editor Martin Baron called the update in Renizan’s case “a step forward” toward his prompt release:

We still do not know what charges the Iranian authorities have brought against our correspondent Jason Rezaian, but we hope the referral of his case to a Revolutionary Court represents a step forward toward Jason’s prompt release. This step gives Iran’s judiciary an opportunity to demonstrate its fairness and independence by determining that the charges are baseless. We call on Iran to make these charges public, to allow Jason access to a lawyer and to bring a swift and just resolution of a six-month-long nightmare that has been extremely difficult for Jason and his family.

Thirty-three journalists were jailed in Iran during 2014, the second-most of any country worldwide, according to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Read more


Justice Department won’t ask James Risen to testify

New York Times | The Washington Post

New York Times reporter James Risen, who has waged a protracted and public battle with the Justice Department over the identity of a confidential source, will not be compelled to testify in a leak trial, Matt Apuzzo reported for The New York Times Monday.

The news effectively ends “a seven-year legal fight” between Risen and prosecutors, who first called Risen to testify in 2008 in the case of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, The Times reports. Sterling is accused of feeding Risen information about a botched U.S. attempt to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program for his book “State of War,” according to The Washington Post.

During the tumult of Risen’s legal battle, the embattled reporter publicly decried the Obama administration, calling it “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” In December, The Washington Post reported that Attorney General Eric Holder would not compel Risen to reveal his source.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider a request made by Risen and other news organizations to grant journalists legal protection when asked to reveal confidential sources. After the court’s decision, Risen told Poynter in a statement he wasn’t giving up.

“I will continue to fight,” he said. Read more


Career Beat: Kimberly Wyatt is news director for WEAR-TV

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

  • Kimberly Wyatt is now a news director at WEAR in Pensacola, Florida. Previously, she was news director for KGBT in Harlingen, Texas. (Rick Gevers)
  • Thomas Ghareeb is now vice president and controller of Hearst Magazines. Previously, he was assistant controller of budget and forecasting there. (Fishbowl NY)
  • Laura McGann is now political editor at Vox Media. Previously, she was deputy managing editor at Politico. (Fishbowl DC)
  • Sam Kirkland is joining BuzzFeed’s news apps team. Previously, he was a digital media fellow at Poynter (‏@samkirkla)
  • Perry Stein will be a local blogger for The Washington Post. She’s a staff writer and blogger for Washington City Paper. Sarah Pulliam Bailey will be a religion blogger and writer for The Washington Post. She is a national correspondent for Religion News Service in New York. (Washington Post)

Job of the day: BuzzFeed is looking for a humor writer. Get your résumés in! (Gary’s Guide)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Career Beat: Andy Wiedlin leaves BuzzFeed

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

  • Andy Wiedlin will be an entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz. He’s currently chief revenue officer at BuzzFeed. (Re/Code)
  • Salvador Rodríguez is a Silicon Valley correspondent for International Business Times. Previously, he was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. (Media Moves)
  • Peter Bale will be CEO at the Center for Public Integrity. Previously, he was vice president and general manager of digital operations at CNN International. (Center for Public Integrity)
  • Jed Hartman will be chief revenue officer at The Washington Post. Previously, he was group publisher for Time, time.com, Fortune, fortune.com, Money, and money.com. (Washington Post)

Job of the day: The San Antonio Express-News is looking for an online producer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Career Beat: Cara Buckley is an Oscars blogger at The New York Times

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

  • Cara Buckley is now an Oscars blogger for The New York Times. Previously used alloy wheels, she was a culture reporter there. (New York Times)
  • Adam Kushner will be editor of the Outlook section at The Washington Post. Previously, he was the editor of PostEverything there. (Email)
  • Michelle Nicolosi is now director of digital operations at The Oregonian and OregonLive. She was the managing editor of the Los Angeles Register. Benjamin Sherman is now director of sports and multimedia at The Oregonian and OregonLive. Previously, he was director of digital operations there. Fedor Zarkhin is now a data reporter at The Oregonian and OregonLive. Previously, he was a reporter at the Palm Beach Post. Carli Brousseau is now a data reporter at The Oregonian and OregonLive. She previously worked at the Arizona Daily Star. Tony Hernandez now covers Multnomah County government for The Oregonian and OregonLive. Previously, he worked at the Knoxville (Tennessee) News Sentinel. Kristyna Wentz-Graff is now a photographer at The Oregonian and OregonLive. She previously worked at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Jessica Greif is now a broadcast reporter at The Oregonian and OregonLive. Previously, she was the weekend anchor at KEZI 9 News in Eugene, Oregon. (Poynter)
  • Daniel Kibblesmith is now a staff writer at BuzzFeed. Previously, he was an associate editor at Clickhole. (Poynter)
  • Jackie Kucinich will be senior politics editor at The Daily Beast. She is a politics reporter for The Washington Post. (@JFKucinich)

Job of the day: The Granite Falls Advocate Tribune is looking for a reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org
Read more


The Washington Post adds depth and reach to features coverage

It’s been widely reported that The Washington Post is on a hiring spree. As David Carr noted in his Oct. 5 column, The Post has added more than 100 staffers this year with runway provided by new owner Jeff Bezos.

Several of those hires were made for The Post’s features desk, which is striking out into new beats and growing its existing coverage in print and online. So far in 2014, the features department has added at least eight staffers, including a national arts reporter, an Internet culture blogger and a fashion critic:

  • Geoff Edgers, formerly of The Boston Globe, joined The Post as a national arts reporter.
  • Peggy McGlone, previously a features writer at the (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger, now covers local arts — including the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center — for The Post.
  • Caitlin Dewey joined the features staff as an Internet culture blogger in February.
  • Robin Givhan rejoined The Post as a fashion critic after leaving for The Daily Beast in 2012.
  • Karen Heller joined The Post as a general assignment features reporter. She was previously a metro columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Jessica Contrera and Sarah Kaplan, who both started as summer interns, now work on the features desk. Contrera is a full-time general assignment reporter and Kaplan divides her time between general assignment duties and Kids Post.
  • Nora Krug joined The Post in June as Book World Editor.

The Post, which former publisher Katharine Weymouth once wrote should be “for, and about Washington” seems to have grown beyond that mandate, at least in its features coverage. With the addition of Edgers to cover the national arts beat and an emphasis on covering pop culture, The Post appears to be reaching out to readers within and beyond the D.C. Metropolitan area.

The features strategy aligns with the paper’s broader ambitions to reach outside The Beltway with its journalism. When The Post debuted its new Kindle app last month, executive editor Marty Baron told Ravi Somaiya he’d hired many national reporters with an eye toward serving up content for the app. Baron also said Bezos had prescribed a “broad strategy shift toward” expanding The Post’s “national and international audience.”

Liz Seymour, executive features editor at The Post, tells Poynter in an email that the paper is bolstering an already strong tradition of quality local and national culture writing.

“What we are doing now is beefing up our arts reporters to collaborate with our critics and strengthen our arts journalism even more,” Seymour wrote.

The hires have coincided with a reorganization of The Post’s features desk, Seymour said. Rather than being organized around a single print section, reporters are now assigned teams based on broad areas of coverage, including pop culture or general assignment. This enables reporters covering similar topics to communicate and coordinate their coverage better, she said.

Although she didn’t make specific numbers available, Seymour says The Post’s features coverage has garnered “massive” month-over-month growth in both pageviews and unique visitors. The traffic growth has not been confined to one area of features coverage, she said.

When top Post editors lauded the paper’s record traffic month in September, they cited several features desk initiatives, including The Intersect, the Style Blog and On Parenting.

The Post has also expanded its features coverage in print by merging Sunday Arts and Sunday Style into a larger section for fine arts and pop culture, Seymour said. The Post also redesigned and grew the Sunday Washington Post Magazine for its April debut and added two pages to its weekly Food section.

The uptick in pages, traffic, and staffers has lifted spirits on the features staff, Seymour wrote in an email to Poynter.

“We’re all energized and enthusiastic about the added investment in staff,” Seymour wrote. “Who wouldn’t be? And it’s great to see, through metrics, our readership grow and grow.” Read more


How David Beard plans to promote PRI.org’s ‘journalistic city states’

David Beard’s first task as executive editor of PRI.org will be to promote the public media organization’s “journalistic city states,” he said in an interview.

That won’t be a small task. PRI is a Minnesota-based digital media company perhaps best known for “The World,” a show put together in Boston. Its newsroom operates out of WGBH, a PBS affiliate. It has partnerships with “Frontline,” “Nova,” GlobalPost and Global Voices. Beard will be its first executive editor.

Beard told Poynter his primary goal is to grow PRI’s reach by making potential audience members aware of the “treasures” the company has to offer, including Radio Ambulante host Daniel Alarcón, “Studio 360″ and “The Takeaway with John Hockenberry”.

“I think its audience, like so much of journalism, is just a tiny fraction in the universe of people who want to see and hear it,” Beard said. “My job will be to make that a bigger fraction.”

Over the summer, PRI’s website attracted an average of 1 million unique visitors, compared to 390,000 over the same period the previous year, said Michael Skoler, general manager of PRI. Most of the traffic came through social media; more than half of it was from mobile users. And the audience is young. 66 percent of users are under the age of 45 and 50 percent are under 35.

Beard said growing PRI’s audience will likely mean thinking up new traffic drivers rather than rely on “hour-by-hour obeisance to Facebook.” He wants to embark on a listening tour of the newsroom before finalizing his plan, but says it will likely involve tweaking the existing newsletter strategy and coming up with new ways to interact with PRI’s audience.

Beard will work out of PRI’s “The World” newsroom at WGBH in Boston, where he’ll supervise a staff of 10 editors, producers and social media managers.

It won’t be Beard’s first job in Boston. He was previously the editor of Boston.com and assistant managing editor of The Boston Globe. He also did a hitch as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press in the Caribbean and Latin America, which Skoler said makes him a good fit for the internationally focused PRI.

“David is pretty darn close to what our ideal was,” Skoler said.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the relationship between PRI and “The World”. The two are not separate organizations. The story also misidentified the “treasures” incoming executive editor David Beard plans to highlight. They include “Studio 360″ and “The Takeaway with John Hockenberry”. Read more


Career Beat: Former White House chief of staff to Vice Media

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

  • Alyssa Mastromonaco will be chief operating officer at Vice Media. Previously, she was deputy chief of staff for operations for the Obama administration. (New York Times)
  • Adam Kilgore will be a national sports reporter at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a Nationals beat writer there. (Washington Post)
  • Eric Eldon is now editor-in-chief of Hoodline. Previously, he was co-editor at TechCrunch. (Otherwise E)
  • Alyssa Danigelis will be head of media and storytelling at Flip Labs. She was an editor at Muck Rack. (Muck Rack)
  • Sandra Kotzambasis is now news director at KPNX in Phoenix, Arizona. Previously, she was senior executive producer there. (Arizona Republic)
  • Andy Fishman is now news director at WJW in Cleveland. Previously, he was interim news director there. (Cleveland.com)
  • Sean McGarvy will be managing editor of WXIN in Indianapolis. Previously, he was an assistant manager for Fox News. Jeff Benscoter is now assistant news director of content at KMBC in Kansas City, Missouri. Previously, he was senior executive producer at WTHR. Ken Ritchie is now general manager of KIVI in Boise, Idaho. Previously, he was interim general manager there. (Rick Gevers)

Job of the day: IBT Media is looking for a deputy social media editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Hysteria or proper precaution — a conversation with Michel du Cille

Michel Du Cille

Michel du Cille (Photo by: Julia Ewan/TWP)

Kenny Irby interviewed Washington Post photographer Michel du Cille about his work in Liberia covering the Ebola virus, but before we get into his work, we will address Syracuse University’s decision to disinvite the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner from its S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Fall Workshop.

Each side stands firm that they were considering what would be best for the students on the campus of Syracuse University.

Last Thursday, du Cille had “cleared the 21-day monitoring window for Ebola and was symptom free,” when Syracuse officials told him not to come to the journalism workshop.

It is “pandering to the hysteria of ignorance,” said du Cille. “The most disappointing part of this bad decision is the disservice to the fine journalism students at Syracuse’s Newhouse School. What a missed opportunity to teach future media professionals how to seek out accurate hard facts; backed up with full details about the Ebola crisis,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

RELATED: “Covering Ebola: A Poynter Conversation”

Lorraine Branham, Dean of S.I. Newhouse, told Poynter via email that what du Cille “has not made clear in his criticism of us is that he was not coming to Syracuse to show his work from Liberia or discuss the Ebola crisis. If he were, I might acknowledge that my students missed something — that would have indeed have been a missed opportunity. But this workshop had nothing to do with Liberia or Ebola. He would have critiqued portfolios and reviewed student work.”

For Branham, the decision was more about the general greater good of the university then her personal position. Branham told local media on Friday that if it were just about her she would welcome him into her home for dinner and not fear for her safety.

“This was a tough call but I still believe it was the right one for us,” said Branham. “We did not make this decision lightly. We did so after talking with health officials and local medical doctors who suggested we exercise ‘an abundance of caution.’  A primary concern for us was the issue of the incubation period. While du Cille had not shown any signs of infection by the 21st day — the same day he was schedule to visit Syracuse — we knew that some people have a longer incubation period.”

The issue of how long the incubation period lasts is an open question, said Branham, who sent articles to back up her claim, including one from The Washington Post.

Poynter: How and when were you informed that you were being disinvited to the Syracuse workshop?

Du Cille:  I flew in from Atlanta and headed up to Cap Hill to photograph Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Thomas Frieden at a noon hearing. Got a text from home to call Bruce Strong.

Poynter: Was Nikki, your wife, disinvited as well? (Nikki Kahn is also a photographer with the Washington Post)

Du Cille: By the time I received a phone call from Bruce Strong the SU University leadership had already been in direct meetings before directly discussing with me…It seemed they did not want hear debate from me. Both Nikki and I were disinvited.

Poynter: Why do you think that the hysteria around potential Ebola contamination is so high?

Du Cille: It is a number of things. The mistakes centered around early control of the virus; the mounting deaths in West Africa; the misinformation by some of our own media colleagues; an irrational hysterical public; And I’ll have to say there is a great deal of xenophobia especially, from political leaders.

Poynter:  What alternatives might you have offered if given a voice in the process?

Du Cille: I would have offered to speak publicly about what I saw; offered personal detailed accounts on how the disease spreads. I simply would have offered the University an option to present an informational public forum. There had to be better ways to deal with their fears.

Girl with Ebola

Pearlina stands at the screen door while others talk outside on Sunday, September 21, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. Pearlina’s mother died in an ambulance on the way to Redemption Hospital two weeks ago; the child was rescued by Katie Meyler and is being care for by the NGO called More than Me. Pearlina is under observation for signs of Ebola.
Photo by Michel duCille / TWP

Poynter:  How did you draw the Ebola assignment in Liberia?

Du Cille:   I volunteered. I love working in West Africa and thought the Ebola story was historic. I didn’t want to miss it.

Poynter: Tell me about your research and preparation for this assignment.

Du Cille: This was my fourth trip to Liberia. I had great familiarity with the people and region. I also read everything I could find about Ebola.

Poynter: What precautions were you able to take in advance of your journey?

Michel du Cille in his Tyvek suit.

Michel du Cille preps in Tyvek suit; Liberia Sept 29, 2014.
while on assignment covering the Ebola crisis in Liberia. (Photo By: Katie Meyler)

Du Cille: Beside the normal medical prevention vaccines and meds, I consulted with photojournalists who had recently been there: John Moore and David Gilkey, both had just finished rotations. They advised me to get Tyvek suits, good gloves and masks, rubber boots.  They warned that vigilance on washing hands and spraying was critical.  But I also read everything I could find on how to get out of the suits to prevent contamination.

Poynter: Tell me about your biggest challenge will covering this story. Was it physical or mental?

Du Cille:  It was mental … I believe that the world must see how horrible and dehumanizing are the effects of Ebola. After eight trips to the African continent, I never tire or complain about the harshness of life. To me each journey there is an almost spiritual experience. I guess partly because I relate so well to the West African way. Growing up in Jamaica was very much the same; the cadence, body language of the people are pretty very similar.

Poynter: Was there a similar story that prepared you for such a risk?

Du Cille: No, nothing in my 40 years as a photojournalist was ever like this.

Poynter: Were there other international journalists covering this story?

Du Cille: Yes, but not the usual hordes. It is expensive and dangerous.

Poynter: How did you care for yourself and your gear during this assignment?

Du Cille: Vigilant cleaning and spraying with chlorine solution. The new Liberian handshake is elbow-to- elbow bump and no touching of any kind.

Poynter: Tell me about the frame of mind of the people that you met at the church on that Sunday morning?.

Du Cille: Strangely they were upbeat and almost normal. I expected sadness and emotion. I think after years of war and struggle, Liberians just focus on survival.

Poynter: What’s your most vivid memory now that you are back in the U.S.?

Du Cille: Sadly, I photographed a very ill woman who I presumed was too far gone. She was bleeding from the mouth. That situation really touched me. Her family arrived with their arms, feet and torso wrapped in plastic. They seemed so desperate. (Du Cille wrote a piece about the photograph for News Photographer, which will appear in its next edition. )

Poynter: How did you prepare for the multimedia requirement and what gear did you use most?

Du Cille: I did Instagram as much as I could and a small amount of video with my Nikon gear.

Poynter: Do you have any advice based on your lessons learned for visual reporters as the coverage continues?

Du Cille: Yes. Don’t go if you are not prepared to take the risks. It is different from bullets and guns. A simple dab to wipe your eye could get you infected.

Correction: Previous versions of this story spelled du Cille’s last name inconsistently. Read more

1 Comment

Journalists reflect on Ben Bradlee’s life and career

The editor who presided over the rise of The Washington Post and the fall of a president died Tuesday at 93. Here’s what journalists are saying about Bradlee’s legendary life and career:


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