Posts tagged with ‘newsrooms’

Report: US Surveillance Harming Journalism, Law and Society
Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union released a report this week outlining the effect the US surveillance state is having on journalism, law and society. In particular, the two groups interviewed “50 journalists covering intelligence, national security, and law enforcement for outlets including the New York Times, the Associated Press, ABC, and NPR.”
Via Human Rights Watch:

[The report] documents how national security journalists and lawyers are adopting elaborate steps or otherwise modifying their practices to keep communications, sources, and other confidential information secure in light of revelations of unprecedented US government surveillance of electronic communications and transactions. The report finds that government surveillance and secrecy are undermining press freedom, the public’s right to information, and the right to counsel, all human rights essential to a healthy democracy…
…Surveillance has magnified existing concerns among journalists and their sources over the administration’s crackdown on leaks. The crackdown includes new restrictions on contact between intelligence officials and the media, an increase in leak prosecutions, and the Insider Threat Program, which requires federal officials to report one another for “suspicious” behavior that might betray an intention to leak information.
Journalists interviewed for the report said that surveillance intimidates sources, making them more hesitant to discuss even unclassified issues of public concern. The sources fear they could lose their security clearances, be fired, or – in the worst case – come under criminal investigation.
"People are increasingly scared to talk about anything," observed one Pulitzer Prize winner, including unclassified matters that are of legitimate public concern.

The report, With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy, can be downloaded here (PDF). The online Executive Summary is here.
Meantime, via The New York Times: “An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program.”
Image: Anonymous quote from a journalist interviewed for the report. Via Human Rights Watch.

Report: US Surveillance Harming Journalism, Law and Society

Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union released a report this week outlining the effect the US surveillance state is having on journalism, law and society. In particular, the two groups interviewed “50 journalists covering intelligence, national security, and law enforcement for outlets including the New York Times, the Associated Press, ABC, and NPR.”

Via Human Rights Watch:

[The report] documents how national security journalists and lawyers are adopting elaborate steps or otherwise modifying their practices to keep communications, sources, and other confidential information secure in light of revelations of unprecedented US government surveillance of electronic communications and transactions. The report finds that government surveillance and secrecy are undermining press freedom, the public’s right to information, and the right to counsel, all human rights essential to a healthy democracy…

…Surveillance has magnified existing concerns among journalists and their sources over the administration’s crackdown on leaks. The crackdown includes new restrictions on contact between intelligence officials and the media, an increase in leak prosecutions, and the Insider Threat Program, which requires federal officials to report one another for “suspicious” behavior that might betray an intention to leak information.

Journalists interviewed for the report said that surveillance intimidates sources, making them more hesitant to discuss even unclassified issues of public concern. The sources fear they could lose their security clearances, be fired, or – in the worst case – come under criminal investigation.

"People are increasingly scared to talk about anything," observed one Pulitzer Prize winner, including unclassified matters that are of legitimate public concern.

The report, With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy, can be downloaded here (PDF). The online Executive Summary is here.

Meantime, via The New York Times: “An internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency has found that its officers improperly penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program.”

Image: Anonymous quote from a journalist interviewed for the report. Via Human Rights Watch.

[T]o be honest, there aren’t a lot of jobs that are cooler than being a reporter. I mean, that’s what Superman was.

— John Horton, former columnist for The Plain Dealer, to Poynter, before adding, “I miss the daily challenge that you had, the feeling that you were doing something larger that made a big difference, fighting that fight every day. I think journalism is one of the few jobs that really has that aspect to it.” How mass layoffs in 2013 changed the lives of former Plain Dealer staffers.

On this, the 100th anniversary of the day the first world war began, it is sobering to look back at the way that conflict was so badly reported. The catalogue of journalistic misdeeds is a matter of record: the willingness to publish propaganda as fact, the apparently tame acceptance of censorship and the failure to hold power to account.

Roy Greenslade, The Guardian. First world war: how state and press kept truth off the front page.

FJP: The more things change…

Wanted: One Qualified Lebron Stalker
The Northeast Ohio Media Group has a “Lebron James Beat.” Here’s its job listing:

Bring your sports, news and investigative reporting experience to one of the most challenging reporting jobs in the country, covering the sports performance, business dealings and community leadership of basketball star LeBron James. You’ll cover all aspects of his roles in Northeast Ohio and nationally as he returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers, writing, creating videos, and posting across multiple platforms including all relevant types of social media. You’ll also participate in broadcasts where you discuss James, working closely with reporters assigned to cover the Cavaliers and the NBA.

Image: Lebron James GIF via cagrialkan.

Wanted: One Qualified Lebron Stalker

The Northeast Ohio Media Group has a “Lebron James Beat.” Here’s its job listing:

Bring your sports, news and investigative reporting experience to one of the most challenging reporting jobs in the country, covering the sports performance, business dealings and community leadership of basketball star LeBron James. You’ll cover all aspects of his roles in Northeast Ohio and nationally as he returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers, writing, creating videos, and posting across multiple platforms including all relevant types of social media. You’ll also participate in broadcasts where you discuss James, working closely with reporters assigned to cover the Cavaliers and the NBA.

Image: Lebron James GIF via cagrialkan.

Al Jazeera’s Looking for Six Global Fellows
Al Jazeera’s AJ+ is launching this fall. With it, they’re hiring six global fellows. Some basic details:

We’re on the hunt for six seriously stellar young people from around the globe to make up our first class of AJ+ Fellows.
It’s a one-year gig, it’s paid, and it’s an opportunity unlike anything else, an opportunity to be at the heart of the next generation of storytellers. Throughout the year, you’ll work with and learn from our core AJ+ team. You’ll join us in our adventure as we introduce AJ+ to the world, and you’ll be a valuable part of making sure this introduction unfolds with fireworks.

The fellowship begins with a 2-3 week stint in San Francisco before heading back to your home region.
Major Qualification: You “have to be downright obsessed with the news and trends in your region and — just as importantly — with the pursuit of unearthing untold stories.”
Deadline to Apply: August 1. Details and application here.

Al Jazeera’s Looking for Six Global Fellows

Al Jazeera’s AJ+ is launching this fall. With it, they’re hiring six global fellows. Some basic details:

We’re on the hunt for six seriously stellar young people from around the globe to make up our first class of AJ+ Fellows.

It’s a one-year gig, it’s paid, and it’s an opportunity unlike anything else, an opportunity to be at the heart of the next generation of storytellers. Throughout the year, you’ll work with and learn from our core AJ+ team. You’ll join us in our adventure as we introduce AJ+ to the world, and you’ll be a valuable part of making sure this introduction unfolds with fireworks.

The fellowship begins with a 2-3 week stint in San Francisco before heading back to your home region.

Major Qualification: You “have to be downright obsessed with the news and trends in your region and — just as importantly — with the pursuit of unearthing untold stories.”

Deadline to Apply: August 1. Details and application here.

Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.

Ira Glass to Lifehacker. I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work.

Quick tip for things to do immediately post-interview:

When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.

Read through for the gear This American Life uses and its editing process.

I regret being scared. I regret wasting time thinking I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t deserve a seat at the table. You do belong and your voice is worthy. Say it to yourself in the mirror every morning if you have to, but don’t ever forget it.

Jenna Wortham, reporter, New York Times, to Buzzfeed. 39 Pieces Of Advice For Journalists And Writers Of Color.

Buzzfeed asks twenty established writers what advice they’d give to those breaking into the industry.

Here are the questions:

  • What piece of advice would you, as a writer of color, give to burgeoning writers/journalists of color?
  • What do you know now about being a writer of color that you wish you’d known when you first started?
  • Is there anything you did as a writer starting out that you now regret?

Read through for the answers.

#Propaganda
Via The New York Times:

Propaganda wars have unfolded alongside the battlefield for generations. But analysts said the latest flare-up between Israel and the Gaza Strip has brought a new level of dehumanizing, hateful language and a muddying of official talking points with incendiary threats, as social media broadcast an explosion of voices, an onslaught of unreliable information, and creative mash-ups of pop-culture icons with war imagery.

And so we learn that the Israel Defense Forces has a  social media team of 40 that publishes on 30 platforms in six different languages while a team of 400 Israeli students volunteer to counter “false representation(s) of Israel in international and social media through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Across the way, Hamas offers a list of do’s and don’ts: Don’t post images or videos of missiles fired from cities, avoid close-ups of masked gunmen and where possible begin your missives with something along the lines of, “In response to the cruel Israeli assault.”
All of which makes for a tidy trove of photos, videos and graphics prepackaged for the rest of us to share across our networks.
To which Andy Carvin, formerly of NPR, told CNET earlier this year, “I don’t know if that’s going to change the hearts and minds of people who already support you or already hate you. There aren’t exactly undecided voters in this particular conflict.”
Somewhat related, Part 01: The Verification Handbook, released by the European Journalism Centre earlier this year, guides readers through verifying “digital content” during emergency situations.
Somewhat related, Part 02: A 1985 study explored a concept called the hostile media effect where people with opposing views are exposed to the same news programming and each side comes away claiming that the same show is biased against them (PDF).
Somewhat related, Part 03: In 2009, the BBC published an “Israel-Palestine” glossary with entries ranging from “cycle of violence” to “outpost” to “assassinations” in order to explain how the BBC uses them.
For those keeping social score at home: On Twitter, #GazaUnderAttack has been used over 4.5 million times in the last month; #IsraelUnderFire about 216,000 times.
Image: Because Hitler, via The New York Times. In Gaza, Epithets Are Fired and Euphemisms Give Shelter.

#Propaganda

Via The New York Times:

Propaganda wars have unfolded alongside the battlefield for generations. But analysts said the latest flare-up between Israel and the Gaza Strip has brought a new level of dehumanizing, hateful language and a muddying of official talking points with incendiary threats, as social media broadcast an explosion of voices, an onslaught of unreliable information, and creative mash-ups of pop-culture icons with war imagery.

And so we learn that the Israel Defense Forces has a social media team of 40 that publishes on 30 platforms in six different languages while a team of 400 Israeli students volunteer to counter “false representation(s) of Israel in international and social media through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Across the way, Hamas offers a list of do’s and don’ts: Don’t post images or videos of missiles fired from cities, avoid close-ups of masked gunmen and where possible begin your missives with something along the lines of, “In response to the cruel Israeli assault.”

All of which makes for a tidy trove of photos, videos and graphics prepackaged for the rest of us to share across our networks.

To which Andy Carvin, formerly of NPR, told CNET earlier this year, “I don’t know if that’s going to change the hearts and minds of people who already support you or already hate you. There aren’t exactly undecided voters in this particular conflict.”

Somewhat related, Part 01: The Verification Handbook, released by the European Journalism Centre earlier this year, guides readers through verifying “digital content” during emergency situations.

Somewhat related, Part 02: A 1985 study explored a concept called the hostile media effect where people with opposing views are exposed to the same news programming and each side comes away claiming that the same show is biased against them (PDF).

Somewhat related, Part 03: In 2009, the BBC published an “Israel-Palestine” glossary with entries ranging from “cycle of violence” to “outpost” to “assassinations” in order to explain how the BBC uses them.

For those keeping social score at home: On Twitter, #GazaUnderAttack has been used over 4.5 million times in the last month; #IsraelUnderFire about 216,000 times.

Image: Because Hitler, via The New York Times. In Gaza, Epithets Are Fired and Euphemisms Give Shelter.

The Russian Public Has a Totally Different Understanding of What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 →

Via The New Republic:

Did you know Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was full of corpses when it took off from Amsterdam? Did you know that, for some darkly inexplicable reason, on July 17, MH17 moved off the standard flight path that it had taken every time before, and moved north, toward rebel-held areas outside Donetsk? Or that the dispatchers summoned the plane lower just before the crash? Or that the plane had been recently reinsured? Or that the Ukrainian army has air defense systems in the area? Or that it was the result of the Ukrainian military mistaking MH17 for Putin’s presidential plane, which looks strangely similar?

Did you know that the crash of MH17 was all part of an American conspiracy to provoke a big war with Russia?

Well, it’s all true — at least if you live in Russia, because this is the Malaysia Airlines crash story that you’d be seeing

…And, mind you, this is not part of a larger debate of could they, or couldn’t they; this is all of Russian television and state-friendly papers pushing one line: The pro-Russian separatists we’ve been supporting all these months couldn’t have done this. Watching some of these Russian newscasts, one comes away with the impression of a desperate defense attorney scrounging for experts and angles, or a bad kid caught red-handed by the principal, trying to twist his way out of a situation in which he has no chance.

About those corpses: The conspiracy goes that what really blew up was the Malaysian flight that disappeared into the Indian Ocean back in March. In this telling, the US had the plane (and the bodies!) and flew it over Ukraine to “dispose” of the evidence. 

Read through for Julia Ioffe’s take on Russian media and what it means for the country’s domestic politics and international relations.

Yes There is a Chrome Extension That Makes Reading the News More Fun 
The extension’s here. The code is here.
The original xkcd comic is here.

Yes There is a Chrome Extension That Makes Reading the News More Fun 

The extension’s here. The code is here.

The original xkcd comic is here.

A New York Times Explainer
Some learning moments in this graph from a New York Times article on Washington DC’s new marijuana rules. 
First, tucked away in a style guide up on 8th Avenue and 40th Street is an entry that tells copyeditors that it’s a “jay” and not a “j”. Fair enough.
Second, “marijuana cigarette”? Who says that? Ever?  ”Joint” is in the dictionary. Use it. — Michael

A New York Times Explainer

Some learning moments in this graph from a New York Times article on Washington DC’s new marijuana rules

First, tucked away in a style guide up on 8th Avenue and 40th Street is an entry that tells copyeditors that it’s a “jay” and not a “j”. Fair enough.

Second, “marijuana cigarette”? Who says that? Ever?  ”Joint” is in the dictionary. Use it. — Michael

The Grammar of Weird Al

Word nerds haven’t been so excited by a grammar song since way back in the days of School House Rocks’ Conjunction Junction

That said, what to make of Yankovic’s grammar rules? A better grammarian than I would have to answer. Thankfully, there’s one over at Slate.

"[A]pparently Mr. Yankovic is quite a prescriptivist," writes Forrest Wickman. “Let’s examine a few of Yankovic’s Rules of Usage.”

Slight aside: you still won’t convince me to use the Oxford Comma. Let’s agree to disagree. — Michael

Images: Stills from “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Word Crimes video. Select to embiggen.

Sometimes the CIA or the director of national intelligence or the NSA or the White House will call about a story. You hit the brakes, you hear the arguments, and it’s always a balancing act: the importance of the information to the public versus the claim of harming national security. Over time, the government too reflexively said to the Times, “you’re going to have blood on your hands if you publish X,” and because of the frequency of that, the government lost a little credibility. But you do listen and seriously worry. Editors are Americans too. We don’t want to help terrorists.

Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of The New York Times, to Cosmopolitan. I’m Not Ashamed of Being Fired

In a Q&A with Cosmo, Abramson talks about life after the Times and offers good advice to young journos. For example:

I taught at Yale for five years when I was managing editor and what I tried to stress for students interested in journalism, rather than picking a specialty, like blogging or being a videographer, was to master the basics of really good storytelling, have curiosity and a sense of how a topic is different than a story, and actually go out and witness and report. If you hone those skills, you will be in demand, as those talents are prized. There is too much journalism right now that is just based on people scraping the Internet and riffing off something else.

It all comes back to storytelling.

News You Like to Use?
The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism surveyed 18,000 online news consumers across ten countries on their news habits. The results are available in their 2014 Digital News Report.
Related, via Al Jazeera, American’s faith in the news is at an all time low:

The latest edition of a Gallup poll that tracks confidence in media follows a decades-long trend that shows a declining faith in television and print news. The percentage of Americans that have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the three media formats now hover around one-fifth.
Twenty-two percent of respondents trust newspapers, 19 percent trust web-based news sites, and 18 percent say they trust TV. All three of those numbers are within the polls 4-point margin of error. 

Somewhat Related, via The New Republic: Does Fox News Cause Ignorance, or Do Ignorant Viewers Prefer Fox News?
TL;DR: Yes, but give it a read. It’s a great analysis of bandwagon effects and confirmation bias no matter your political inclinations.
Image: Most Important Types of News Among US News Consumers, via Marketing Charts and based on data from the Reuters Institute. Select to embiggen.

News You Like to Use?

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism surveyed 18,000 online news consumers across ten countries on their news habits. The results are available in their 2014 Digital News Report.

Related, via Al Jazeera, American’s faith in the news is at an all time low:

The latest edition of a Gallup poll that tracks confidence in media follows a decades-long trend that shows a declining faith in television and print news. The percentage of Americans that have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the three media formats now hover around one-fifth.

Twenty-two percent of respondents trust newspapers, 19 percent trust web-based news sites, and 18 percent say they trust TV. All three of those numbers are within the polls 4-point margin of error. 

Somewhat Related, via The New Republic: Does Fox News Cause Ignorance, or Do Ignorant Viewers Prefer Fox News?

TL;DR: Yes, but give it a read. It’s a great analysis of bandwagon effects and confirmation bias no matter your political inclinations.

Image: Most Important Types of News Among US News Consumers, via Marketing Charts and based on data from the Reuters Institute. Select to embiggen.