May 22, 2018

Facing death threats in Mexico, will detained journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto be freed from U.S. detention and allowed to attend a distinguished mid-career fellowship at the University of Michigan?

His supporters and his lawyer, Eduardo Beckett, say that possibility seems brighter after a new hearing was awarded to the award-winning Mexican journalist and longtime U.S. resident, who has spent the last 168 days in an El Paso detention facility with his son.

The ruling for a new hearing prevents U.S. officials from deporting Gutiérrez Soto, who ran afoul of senior Mexican military officials for his reporting on corruption.

Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service reported on the violence against Mexico’s journalists. Ten reporters have been assassinated in the past year, the latest last week in Villahermosa.

Among those pressing for his release: The National Press Club, the Rutgers University Law School International Human Rights Clinic and the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowships at the University of Michigan.

"We are ready and eager to welcome Emilio to the University of Michigan campus," said Lynette Clemetson, Knight-Wallace’s executive director. "We want to give him the opportunity to resume the journalistic work that challenges corruption and makes communities safer — on both sides of the border."

Quick hits

BEYOND FACEBOOK: With its Facebook Live video views falling, BuzzFeed is turning to Amazon-owned Twitch, which earned its name by livestreaming video games. “It feels like the time is right,” BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kimmel told Digiday. Kimmel's team livestreamed Saturday’s royal wedding on Twitch.

HOW THE DIGGER DID IT: The digital news site VTDigger has grown to 19 staffers and has a balanced revenue stream that is the envy of other news publishers. How did this Vermont nonprofit do it? Nieman Lab’s Shan Wang boils a study down to this: 1) Know how to sell; 2) have a board that can support you with finance, fundraising and philanthropy, too; 3) Focus. On. Emails; 4) Use Google Grants — up to $10,000 a month — to help build search; 5) Keep the site speedy. Here’s the full study, from Harvard's Shorenstein Center and the Institute for Nonprofit News.

NOW THEY’RE ‘THE MEDIA’: Barack and Michelle’s multiyear deal to produce projects for Netflix.

‘COURAGE AND STEADFASTNESS’: Those are the terms the National Association of Black Journalists used to describe ESPN senior correspondent and columnist Jemele Hill, named NABJ’s Journalist of the Year. Hill withstood a barrage of criticism from Trump supporters when she supported athletes’ rights to take a knee to protest police brutality — and said Trump’s rise was “the direct result of White supremacy.”

INVESTIGATIVE PODCASTING: Two regional outlets have launched podcasts as a way to tell profound stories about their communities. In southwestern Virginia, two Roanoke Times reporters put together a seven-part scripted series about a 5-year-old who died in a septic tank and a community’s rush to judgment. Listen to “Septic” here. In Charlotte, WFAE has been working nearly a year on "She Says," an eight-episode look from host Sarah Delia at a sexual assault survivor in Charlotte and her journey to find justice.

TWO SOCIETIES, TWO NEWSROOMS?: A half-century after the Kerner Commission's report on racial divides in America, the effort to make U.S. newsrooms represent all of America has stalled, Farai Chideya writes in a paper for the Shorenstein Center.

NAMED: Associated Press Baghdad correspondent Susannah George is moving to the news agency’s Washington bureau to become the intelligence reporter on its national security team.

FOLDED: Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, founded in 1969, has closed, the Observer reports. The news follows the departures last month of longtime editorial director Fabien Baron and creative director Karl Templer. According to the Cut, Templer was previously accused by 10 women of sexual misconduct, a charge he denies.

BEFORE HE WAS FAMOUS: Tom Wolfe worked from 1959 to 1962 as a cops and a features reporter for The Washington Post. The paper unearthed 315 bylined Wolfe articles, and one included this gem: "At a Washington party, it is not enough that the guests feel drunk; they must feel drunk and important." (h/t Paul Stevens)

BEHIND SCHEDULE: Pulitzer-winning journalist Paul Salopek planned to walk the routes on which civilization developed from 2013 to 2020. Five years in, Salopek now thinks he won’t hit Tierra del Fuego, the tip of South America, until 2023. Part of the delay: Man-made borders. He delivered this insight from the road for GQ: “The worst prisons we inhabit are self-made.”

DEAR GOOGLE: These two journalists tried something like your new Bulletin project back in 2004. Here’s what it needs to work: A focus on the community and “their” interests, strong moderators and people who will actually do the reporting and writing (offer numerous ways to contribute). By Amedeo Tumolillo and Rich Gordon.

WE START THE SAME: An ex-journalist now is doing medical internships — and finds many similarities. By John Biemer for Poynter.

TONIGHT: Documentary filmmaker Lynn Novick, BuzzFeed’s Nabiha Syed, New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet and former NPR host Robert Siegel will receive awards from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Syed, BuzzFeed’s VP for legal and associate general counsel, is the inaugural winner of the group’s “rising star” award. "She talks, you understand, you want to be part of it," says David McCraw, a New York Times vice president and deputy general counsel.

What we’re reading

REMEMBRANCE: Karin Berry’s great-great-grandfather was a hard-working carpenter, father and husband. One day, he was taken from a cellar and hanged by a white mob in Mississippi in 1879. Berry, writing for ESPN's The Undefeated, discovered more to Charles Brown’s story — and took her mom and sister with her to see his name and death date recognized at the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice to lynching victims in Alabama.

THE AMBASSADOR WHO QUIT TRUMP: “He’s like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don’t show him deference he kills you,” said John D. Feeley, former ambassador to Panama, to the New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Feeley went further: Trump's policies, he wrote, are foolish, delusional and anti-American.

BYE-BYE, ONE CHILD POLICY?: China is considering a plan to scrap all limits on the number of children a family can have, perhaps by the end of the year. The notorious policies have existed for four decades. (h/t Mei Fong)

DISCOVERING XIAN: The farmers asked: What are these clay pieces? This archaeologist put the answer together: 8,000 terracotta soldiers defending the tomb of China’s first emperor. NPR’s Sasha Ingber has this remembrance of Zhao Kangmin.

On yesterday's note

We asked, you responded: Should Fox News be termed ‘conservative’ or ‘conservative leaning?’ Here is a selection of the many notes you sent my way — and thank you. 

From Kat Pixley: “When it comes to news there should not be any leanings."

From Walt Borton: “I have lots of conservative friends and acquaintances who are often upset by the Fox commentators and being lumped into their extreme positions and by the weighting of the selection of voices interpreting events in Fox news coverage. I wonder if ‘pro-Trump’ is not a more accurate description of the news division there. As a progressive, I feel ‘anti-Trump’ is a better description of MSNBC than ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive.’ The biases on both sides seem not so much policy based as predispositions toward the administration, even while I generally agree with both the voices and the news judgment of MSNBC commentators. My first thought was ‘right wing’ vs. ‘left wing’ but the deep populist components in both the Trumpian and Bernian movements have sort of undone those labels, too.”

From John Robinson, former editor of the Greensboro (NC) News & Record: “Conservative-leaning suggests that it considers all sides but is partial to the conservative viewpoint. I don't see much evidence that it considers other viewpoints. Its prominent voice is conservative. Its primetime lineup is conservative. Its one ‘moderate’ voice in that lineup — Colmes — was not replaced. There's a reason that the president only gives interviews to Fox — it reflects his conservative views.”

From Zane Sparling: “I would describe Fox as conservative, but only if you also describe CNN and MSNBC as liberal.”

From Michael Redmond: “Is Fox News ‘conservative’ or ‘conservative-leaning?’ Neither. Fox is the primary platform for a mix of radical right-wing populism, Trump apologetics, religious sectarianism and corporate spin. None of these things is ‘conservative’ by any serious and informed meaning of the word, or even by bare-bones dictionary definition. … One of the major failures of U.S. media is its apparent inability to make absolutely crucial distinctions in its political reporting and commentary.”

From Kath Stack: “It's counter-factual, or a purveyor of so-called alternate facts.”

From Stephen Barton: "I think Fox News is right to protest, but the caveat you describe is an important one – separating the news division from commentary. And since that distinction seems to be increasingly blurred for many viewers, the whole question may be moot. Perhaps we need to move toward a news model that more clearly delineates the journalistic and the editorial. The blending of the two doesn't seem to be doing anyone any favors." 

From David Rubien: "it's not conservative or conservative-leaning. It's GOP propaganda with some token straight-news reporting."

From Bob Nahas: “First, It seems we may need a new term to describe those labeled conservative today as they don’t fit the traditional mold of fiscal restraint, free trade, keep-government-out-of-personal-lives conservatives. Using conservative as the label for the voices on the right, Fox is certainly more conservative than conservative-leaning. What its commentators say seems to have farther and deeper reach among public and politicians, is quoted more and has a longer shelf life than what its news anchors say.”

From James Devitt: "Such determinations should be made by examining the breadth of its coverage, its daily framing of news events, and, perhaps overlooked, its exclusions (what happenings it ignores) — measures by which all news outlets should be assessed. …  I'm not sure FNC is ideological at all — its defense of the president, and incessant attacks on his predecessor, make clear that the network is simply partisan, in much the way UK and European newspapers have historically been."


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