CNN’s incredible Taliban scoop; KKK editorial writer replaced; AP’s #MeToo focus

February 26, 2019
Category: Newsletters

CNN’s exclusive on the Taliban

There are times when you’re in awe of what media outlets can do. This is one of those times.

After months of negotiations, CNN was given 36 hours of unprecedented access to a world rarely scene by Westerners. In an extraordinary piece by chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward and field producer Salma Abdelaziz, viewers are able to see what life is like in some of the Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan.

It starts off with these chilling words by Ward:

“This is what the Taliban wants you to know: Their moment is coming and they are ready for victory.”

What follows is a detailed look at the Taliban as the United States prepares to pull its troops from Afghanistan after 17 years of war. It includes how women and children are treated and interviews with Taliban leaders, as they discuss their philosophies and future plans.

In a companion piece, Ward and Abdelaziz reported how they were able to gain access to the Taliban.

“(The Taliban said) we don’t like you,” Ward said. “We don’t love you being here. But we recognize that in this moment in time, it is politically expedient for us to do this.”

The Taliban wanted to show that between 60 and 70 percent of the country is either contested or under Taliban control. Ward and Abdelaziz were accompanied by Afghan filmmaker Najibullah Quraishi.

“He was really the one with the stellar reputation,” Ward said, “that allowed him to bring myself and Salma into the Taliban territory.”

Ward said the fact that she and Abdelaziz were women helped report the story.

“I fundamentally believe that this story could not have been done by a man,” Ward said. “No one would ask your name. No one would really ask where you were from because you were a woman with an Afghan man and it would be rude in a sense to that Afghan man to ask personal questions about who you were and where you were from.”

Editor resigns over editorial

Remember the Goodloe Sutton story? He was the publisher and editor of the Alabama newspaper who wrote an editorial last week urging the Ku Klux Klan to “night ride again” to clean up Washington D.C. Well, he’s now out as publisher and editor of the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama, resigning after blowback from what he wrote.

He has been replaced by an African-American woman. Elecia R. Dexter, who is described by the paper as a “strategic leader with expertise in human resources, operations and change management,” is the new publisher and editor. Sutton, who turned 80 last month, remains the paper’s owner.

AP duo to focus on #MeToo

The Associated Press announced Monday that it will have two of its journalists focus on #MeToo and gender politics in 2019. The reporters will be Philadelphia-based Maryclaire Dale, who covered the Bill Cosby sexual assault case, and culture and feature writer Jocelyn Noveck, who has covered #MeToo issues since their inception. AP said the goal will be to “uncover stories about gender in law, Hollywood, work and culture, and move beyond the #MeToo movement and its reverberations.”

Jamal Khashoggi Fellowship

The Washington Post has launched the Jamal Khashoggi Fellowship to honor the Post columnist who was allegedly killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October. The Post said the fellowship will provide an “independent platform for journalists and writers to offer their perspectives from parts of the world where freedom of expression is threatened or suppressed.”

Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor of the Post said, “We are  honored to pay tribute to Jamal’s life and work and to the values he cared most about, including human rights and freedom of expression.”

Hala Al-Dosari, an activist, scholar and writer from Saudi Arabia, will be the first Jamal Khashoggi fellow.

Check it out

The Athletic’s top-notch media writer Richard Deitsch started a new series Monday, asking sportswriters to recall the greatest game they ever covered. It started Monday with a baseball writers and will continue this week with writers of other sports.

New York Times Magazine’s Mark Leibovich on How Lindsey Graham Went From Trump Skeptic To Trump Sidekick.

Axios’ Amy Harder on why (and how) she covers climate change.

Upcoming Poynter training:

Want to get this briefing in your inbox? Sign up here.
Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Read more