September 13, 2021

Poynter Report author Tom Jones is on vacation and will return Wednesday. Today’s Poynter Report was compiled by Kristen Hare, Angela Fu, Rick Edmonds and Ren LaForme.

Journalists in Afghanistan beaten while covering protests

At least 14 journalists were detained by the Taliban while covering protests in Kabul last week, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Of those journalists, at least nine experienced violence while detained.

Two video journalists from the Afghan news outlet EtilaatRoz, Nemat Naqdi and Taqi Daryabi, described brutal beatings that left them bloodied and severely bruised. Naqdi told CNN that the attack impaired his hearing in his left ear and that he thought he was going to die.

In the past 20 years, a number of independent news outlets have sprung up in Afghanistan. When the Taliban took over last month, they said they would allow those outlets to continue to operate as long as they don’t broadcast anything that contradicts Islamic values or goes against the
“national interest.”

In recent weeks, however, media workers have fled the country, and some outlets have reduced or stopped their operations. Several journalists who have continued their work report being harassed or detained while covering protests against the Taliban.

“The Taliban is quickly proving that earlier promises to allow Afghanistan’s independent media to continue operating freely and safely are worthless,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, in a CPJ report on the attacks.

Dan Barry on the day we can’t forget

The New York Times’ Dan Barry wrote about the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the science and strangeness of how and what we remember. It’s a piece that, for anyone who clearly remembers that day, will make you question your own memories. Barry shared some of his own from covering that day.

I remember camping out with the National Guard in Battery Park several days after the terrorist attacks. I remember wearing a construction helmet, carrying a clipboard and walking around as if I belonged at the restricted World Trade Center site, then known as “the Pile” and as much a burial ground as a crime scene.

I remember the messages of grief, anger and faint hope scrawled in the dust that had settled on the surrounding buildings. Scrawled with the tips of fingers. I remember being determined to chronicle these messages before the power washers came.

“The Towers Will Rise Again”

“Vernon Cherry Call Home”

“God Be With You Dana — Love, Mom”

I remember not wanting to think too hard about what comprised the dust, and not thinking at all about how harmful the dust might be for rescue and recovery workers to inhale.


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Gannett Labor Day

Gannett’s 250-plus regional newspapers had a holiday surprise for print subscribers — no paper on their doorstep on Labor Day. Instead, that Sunday’s edition was labeled Sunday-Monday. Readers were directed to go to local digital sites instead for breaking news on Monday.

The explanation, where one was offered, was to give the newspapers’ employees more time to be with their families.

Gannett has stuck with a seven-day a week print schedule, while other chains like McClatchy have dropped at least one day of print a week. So a possible agenda for the move was to nudge print-plus-digital readers to register for the free digital access to which they are entitled (many do not). Or to test the waters for dropping print on other holidays or on a regular basis.

Gannett has amped up its digital transformation strategy in 2021, among other things erecting a paywall to view certain premium articles on the USA Today site, which had been free. The company has also formed a partnership with betting service Tipico, so that paying digital readers at pilot regional papers can check the odds and place a bet directly.

Poynter to honor Lesley Stahl

Lesley Stahl, the award-winning broadcast journalist and “60 Minutes” correspondent for CBS News, will be the 2021 recipient of the Poynter Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism.

Poynter presents the award each year to an accomplished journalist whose career has made a significant impact on democracy and its institutions. Stahl has produced more than five decades of tough but fair reporting marked by political scoops, investigations, surprising features and foreign reporting.

Previous recipients include Chris Wallace, broadcast journalist, best-selling author and anchor of “Fox News Sunday;” Katie Couric, broadcast journalist, best-selling author and media entrepreneur; Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and “Dateline NBC;” Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour;” Tom Brokaw, former anchor of “NBC Nightly News;” and Bob Schieffer, former CBS News anchor and host of “Face the Nation.”

Poynter will present Stahl with the award during its virtual Celebration of Journalism on Nov. 10.

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

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