May 26, 2021

Some personal news, as they say: The Lead is taking the summer off.

I’ve written a lot about burnout and mental health this past year, and I need to take the advice I’ve shared with you all. I’m hoping to use the time I’d normally spend on the newsletter to make the most of Washington state’s natural beauty, bake lots of pies and think about how to best serve student journalists when the fall semester starts. This newsletter won’t be published in June and July, but we’ll be back in your inbox and on poynter.org in August.

These resources will help you make the most of your summer, and you can always refer back to the 111 newsletter issues in The Lead’s archive. And my inbox is always open to your questions and ideas at blatchfordtaylor@gmail.com.

Getting ready for a summer internship?

Making plans for a summer without an internship?

Planning for your student publication’s future?

One story worth reading

Last week The Associated Press fired Emily Wilder, a 22-year-old news associate, saying she violated its social media policies. Wilder says management didn’t tell her what policies she violated. In a statement on Twitter, she said “The compassion that drove my activism is part of what led me to be a reporter committed to just, critical, fact-based coverage of under-told stories.” (Wilder had advocated for Palestinian human rights while studying at Stanford University; the Stanford College Republicans targeted her in a Twitter thread that quickly gained attention from right-wing media.)

The issue has brought to light the murky reinforcement of newsroom social media and conflict-of-interest policies, which are often weaponized against women and journalists of color. The same week Wilder was fired, Chris Cuomo was revealed to have advised his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on handling sexual harassment allegations. He has faced no public recriminations from CNN for his actions.

The two aren’t parallel, but they’re different situations with strikingly different results. “The whiplash between ‘Did I accidentally do something to ruin my career in journalism before I was even a journalist’ and ‘will this powerful man who has worked in the industry for decades be disciplined for a glaring ethical lapse’ is truly jarring,” investigative reporter Joshua Eaton tweeted.

What does all this mean for student journalists? Sarah Jones writes in New York Magazine:

“People don’t always enter college knowing they want to be journalists. Indeed, perhaps they shouldn’t. Any definition of objectivity that requires a journalist to pretend neutrality asks that person to lie. Journalists are not automatons. They have opinions, and if they are not male or white or rich or straight, those opinions make them vulnerable to the right-wing outrages that just cost Wilder her new job.”

Opportunities and trainings

💌 Last week’s newsletter: Remote internships make the journalism industry more accessible

📣 I want to hear from you. What would you like to see in the newsletter? Have a cool project to share? Email blatchfordtaylor@gmail.com.

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Taylor Blatchford is a journalist at The Seattle Times who independently writes The Lead, a newsletter for student journalists. She can be reached at blatchfordtaylor@gmail.com…
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