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Poynter Institute to grow 'News University' platform with Knight Foundation funding

The Poynter Institute said it will remake its "News University" platform with $758,000 in new funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to build a mobile-friendly platform more responsive to the needs of its audiences. Poynter owns Times Publishing Co., the parent company of the Tampa Bay Times. The redesigned site will offer on-demand and mobile-tailored courses that will include the use of games, interactive hands-on practice and video. Poynter said it will also explore ways to integrate its News University with its news site, And Poynter plans to expand its teaching to non-journalists interested in learning more about writing, communication, leadership, critical thinking, audience development, social media and more.

Herald-Leader moving printing operation to Louisville

The Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader has announced it will move its printing and packaging operations to Louisville and will put the newspaper office and production and packaging facilities on the market. The McClatchy-owned newspaper ( ) published a statement from President and Publisher Rufus M. Friday that said the change will affect 25 full-time and four part-time jobs in Lexington. The statement said the newspaper is transferring printing and packaging to Gannett Publishing Services LLC in Louisville and said the move "will focus the Herald-Leader's resources on its rapidly growing digital news, information and advertising operations." Friday said the newspaper would look for "new space in downtown Lexington that better meets the needs of a 21st century media company." The statement said Gannett prints The Courier-Journal, The State Journal of Frankfort, LEO Weekly, USA Today and various printing for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Daily News publisher named group publisher

Daily News Publisher Ken Harty has been named group publisher for Wick Communications, based in Sierra Vista, Arizona. A second-generation newspaperman, Harty joined Wick in October 1992. He has worked in several departments of the Daily News in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and Breckenridge, Minnesota, including a five-year stint in the pressroom. "Ken Harty's talents and experience position him to do well with his added responsibilities," said Francis Wick, president and CEO of Wick Communications.

San Francisco's oldest LGBT newspaper turns 45, looks forward

The year San Francisco's oldest surviving LGBT newspaper printed its first issue, sodomy laws were abundant throughout the country, San Francisco public employees could be fired over their sexual orientation, and police harassment of gay, lesbian and bisexual people was just starting to abate. AIDS hadn't yet hit. Legendary gay rights activist and former San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk was still alive. And the idea that gay and lesbian couples would someday be able to legally marry - let alone print wedding announcements in the Bay Area Reporter - would have seemed preposterous. "It was a totally different time," said Terry Beswick, the executive director of the GLBT Historical Society who worked as an assistant editor at the Reporter in the 1990s. "[The newspaper] validated us and our community at a time when not much else did. It helped us speak amongst ourselves, but also proved that we're here, we exist. ... If you took the BAR out of the gay community, I don't know that it would function the same way. It's become like our coral reef." The Bay Area Reporter, which began as a community and culture publication, published its first issue on April 1, 1971. In the 45 years since, it has evolved to become an enduring local news source and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. One of the oldest LGBT newspapers in the nation, the Bay Area Reporter outlasted many that came after it.

Miranda Spivack coming to DPU as Pulliam Visiting Journalism Professor

Award-winning journalist, Miranda S. Spivack, who spent nearly 20 years at the Washington Post as an editor and reporter, is coming to DePauw University to serve as Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism for the 2016-17 academic year. Spivack has been a working journalist for four decades and has spent much of her career writing accountability stories about state and local governments. She is currently working on a journalism project about state and local government transparency and secrecy, which is being funded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, CUNYs Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program and Marquette University's O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism.





Pew Research: Newspaper declines accelerate

The 13th annual Pew Research State of the News Media Report documents another year of alarming declines for newspapers — the worst since the 2008-2009 recession, Poynter reports. Other sectors did much better, with revenues actually growing robustly both for cable channels (up 10 percent) and network news (up 6 percent for evening shows and 14 percent for mornings). Cobbling together newspaper data that is less current and available than it once was, Pew estimates that the industry lost 7 percent of daily circulation in 2015 and 8 percent of ad revenues. More up-to-date surveys of readership provide further cause for discouragement. Pew research in January 2016 found nearly everyone is following news of the presidential race. But only 5 percent said print newspaper coverage in the last week was their "most helpful" source (3 percent local papers and 2 percent national) — by far the lowest among available channels.

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Johnson Publishing announces sale of Jet, Ebony magazines

Ebony and Jet magazines, which have chronicled African-American life for the past 71 years, have been sold to an Austin, Texas-based private equity firm. Johnson Publishing Co. in Chicago announced that Ebony and digital-only Jet were sold to Clear View Group. The sale of the magazines was closed in May, and no sale price was disclosed. Johnson Publishing will retain its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business and Ebony photo archive, which is for sale, according to The Chicago Tribune ( Ebony magazine was founded by John Johnson in 1945, but had been affected by declining circulation and revenues in recent years as it tried to evolve from print to digital platforms.


Simons family selling Journal-World to Ogden Newspapers, Inc.

Nearly 125 years of Lawrence newspaper history will end later this year when the Simons family, owner of the Journal-World, completes the paper’s sale to Ogden Newspapers Inc., a family-owned company based in Wheeling, West Virginia. The pending transaction was announced to Journal-World department leaders by Dolph C. Simons Jr., editor of the Journal-World and chairman of The World Company, which owns the newspaper. His sons, Dan, president of World’s digital division, and Dolph III, president of its newspapers division, took part in the session, after which the three leaders met with all staff members to tell them of the company’s plan.


Aspen Times owner acquires papers in Craig and Steamboat

Colorado Mountain News Media Co, a subsidiary of Swift Communications Inc, the owner of The Aspen Times, will acquire the Steamboat Pilot & Today and Craig Daily Press from WorldWest LLC. The deal, whose terms were not disclosed by the privately held companies, is expected to be complete Aug. 1. The 131-year-old paid weekly Steamboat Pilot & Today publishes Sundays and is complemented by the free daily Steamboat Today, online news site and a number of glossy magazines. The Craig Daily Press has a paid circulation of 1,700 and publishes four days a week.


Harris Enterprises puts newspapers up for sale

Harris Enterprises has announced plans to sell its six newspapers. John Montgomery, vice president of Harris Enterprises and publisher of The Hutchinson News ( ), announced that the company's newspapers are up for sale. The Hutchinson, Kansas-based company said it has hired a firm to sell the chain. Bruce Buchanan, president of Harris Enterprises, said in a release that the owners hope to sell all six newspapers as a group, but that it may be necessary to deal with more than one buyer. Harris family involvement in the newspaper business began in 1907 when Ralph Harris bought The Ottawa Herald. In addition to the Herald and The Hutchinson News, the family-owned company also owns the Salina Journal, The Garden City Telegram, The Hays Daily News and The Burlington, Iowa, Hawk Eye.


It's official: LA Times owner Tribune changes name to Tronc

Don't call it Tribune anymore: The newspaper company has officially changed its name to Tronc. The company behind the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune is shedding its name to rebrand as a high-tech journalism company as it tries to avoid being bought by USA Today owner Gannett Co. Tronc stands for Tribune online content, the company says. The Chicago-based publisher will also get a new stock symbol. Tronc Inc. began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange Monday under the ticker symbol "TRNC." Previously, Tribune Publishing Co. was traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "TPUB."


2 Vermont newspapers cutting days of printed editions

The Vermont-based Rutland Herald and its sister newspaper, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus are eliminating print publication on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Rutland Herald reports ( ) the company will continue publishing an online edition seven days a week. But it's moving to a four-day-a-week schedule for print editions. The reduced printing schedule will result in expanded newsprint editions on Thursday through Sunday. News, sports, opinion, comics and obituaries will be part of the online editions.


New publisher announced for The Courier in Waterloo, Iowa

Lee Enterprises announced Roy D. Biondi has been named publisher of The Courier in Waterloo, Iowa, and The Globe Gazette in Mason City. He succeeds David Braton, who became publisher of The Bismarck Tribune in March. Biondi, 54, is currently vice president and group publisher for Consumer NewServices and ThisWeek Community News in central Ohio. He begins his new role July 5.


David Magee named publisher of The Oxford (Mississippi) Eagle

Oxford, Mississippi, native David Magee has been named publisher of The Oxford Eagle and president of Oxford Newsmedia LLC. The newspaper reports ( that Magee, 50, is a former city council member and business owner. He got his journalism start at The Eagle while a student at the University of Mississippi. Magee is currently publisher of Birmingham magazine and vice president at Alabama Media Group, which owns websites and newspapers including, The Birmingham News, The Mobile Press-Register and the Huntsville Times. Before joining Alabama Media Group, Magee was managing editor of The International Business Times.


New group publisher to lead The Daily Astorian in Oregon

Northwest newspaper executive David Pero has been named group publisher of The Daily Astorian and its companion publications on the Oregon Coast. He succeeds Steve Forrester, who is retiring as publisher after 28 years in Astoria. Pero, 59, will serve as editor and publisher of The Daily Astorian. As group publisher, he will oversee all operations on the coast for the Astorian, Seaside Signal, Cannon Beach Gazette, Coast River Business Journal and Chinook Observer. Pero most recently was chief operating officer for the Register-Guard in Eugene.





Vermont newspaper publisher holds essay contest to find new owner

As he approaches his 71st birthday, Ross Connelly is ready to retire as editor and publisher of the 127-year-old community newspaper in Vermont he and his late wife bought three decades ago. He was unsuccessful at selling the weekly Hardwick Gazette, so he came up with a novel way to find a new owner: an essay contest that kicks off on his birthday. If he gets at least 700 essays, he'll pick a winner from among them. He's looking for someone who can show they can handle the responsibility of providing strong local coverage at a time when people are increasingly relying on the internet and social media for their news. The newspaper is based in Hardwick, a community of about 3,000 residents in northern Vermont. The new owner also must be committed to the community.


AP on why it called delegate race for Clinton: 'That is news'

After being criticized for calling the Democratic nomination for Hillary Clinton hours before polls opened in the nation's most populous state, the Associated Press fired back, with a top official saying, "That is the news, and reporting the news is what we do." Kathleen Carroll, AP senior vice president and executive editor, said in a statement on the news service’s corporate blog that "AP concluded that Hillary Clinton had enough delegates to clinch the nomination after a painstaking but very straightforward exercise: We counted." By Monday evening, Carroll said, 571 superdelegates had "told us unequivocally that they intend to vote for Clinton at the convention. Adding that number to the delegates awarded to Clinton in the primary and caucus voting to date gave her the number needed to be the presumptive nominee. That is the news and reporting the news is what we do.” The blog post, quoted by the San Francisco Tribune, said Carroll emphasized that nothing in the report “discourages or prevents voters in six states from exercise their right to go to the polls.”


AP journalist Tom Kent appointed Radio Free Europe president

Associated Press journalist Tom Kent has been appointed president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Kent worked for the AP for more than four decades, serving as Moscow bureau chief, international editor, deputy managing editor and most recently as standards editor. In announcing the appointment, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty board chairman Jeff Shell praised Kent's "track record in digital news expansion and his collaborative leadership style." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is one of the five U.S.-funded broadcasters under the Broadcasting Board of Governors, whose mission is to support democracy and free speech around the world. It broadcasts in 26 languages to 23 countries.


Bob Hansen named publisher of Courier-Times in Indiana

Bob Hansen, a 35-year veteran of the newspaper business, has been named publisher at The Courier-Times in New Castle, Indiana. David Holgate, Indiana-Michigan Group President for Paxton Media Group, made the announcement. “I am very happy to announce Bob Hansen as the new publisher of The Courier-Times,” Holgate said. “Bob has been a valued member of our management team and is absolutely the right person to lead our team in New Castle.” He came to The Courier-Times after serving three years as editor of The News-Examiner in Connersville, Indiana.


RG Media Company hires new publisher

Logan Molen, formerly senior vice president and chief operating officer of The Bakersfield Californian, has been named publisher and chief executive officer of RG Media Company, based in Eugene, Oregon. In 28 years at the Californian, a 35,000-circulation daily about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, Molen held several executive and management positions, including assistant city editor; general manager of the company’s website,; managing editor; and vice president of interactive media before being named senior vice president and chief operating officer in 2009. Molen, 54, will assume duties at RG Media Company from interim Publisher and CEO Tony Baker. Baker, who served as editor and publisher and CEO for 28 years before retiring in 2015, returned to lead the company after the resignation of Editor and Publisher N. Christian Anderson III last December.


Gawker files for bankruptcy, to sell itself to Ziff Davis

Gawker Media is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and putting itself up for sale, strained by a jury's verdict that that it must pay $140 million to pro wrestler Hulk Hogan in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit. The filing by the 14-year-old website follows the revelation in May that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled Hogan's lawsuit as what he called a "deterrent" to Gawker's no-holds-barred and sometimes gonzo style of journalism. Thiel's secret role sparked anxiety over the possibility that more wealthy individuals might cow publications by covertly funding lawsuits against them. Gawker says it plans to sell itself to publishing company Ziff Davis, although other bidders could emerge during the bankruptcy court auction. The sale will help it fund its appeal against the Hogan judgment in a Florida state court.


John Temple named managing editor at Berkeley program

The Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism has named veteran journalist John Temple as its new managing editor. In his role, Temple will oversee all editorial projects at the IRP, which produces in-depth documentaries and investigative stories for major media outlets that include The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Univision and PBS Frontline. Temple will also teach courses in investigative reporting at the Journalism School. Temple will report to Lowell Bergman, the IRP’s longtime director and the Reva & David Logan Distinguished Chair in Investigative Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism. Temple was president of audience and products at First Look Media from 2014 to 2015. Before that, he was a senior fellow in the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships program at Stanford University. He has also served as managing editor of The Washington Post and editor and general manager of Honolulu Civil Beat, a news service launched by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. In addition, Temple was editor, president and publisher of the award-winning Rocky Mountain News and vice president of news of the newspaper division of the E.W. Scripps Co. before it closed the Denver paper in 2009.


The Oklahoman to close printing facility, lay off 130

The Oklahoman has announced plans to close its printing and packaging operations in Oklahoma City and lay off a total of 130 employees. Chris Reen, the publisher of The Oklahoman and the president of The Oklahoma Media Group, said printing and packaging operations will be outsourced to the Tulsa World starting in September. The newspaper said, with other manufacturing changes, the layoffs will include 65 full-time and 65 part-time jobs.







NPR journalist David Gilkey, translator killed on assignment

David Gilkey, a veteran news photographer and video editor for National Public Radio, and an Afghan translator, Zabihullah Tamanna, were killed while on assignment in southern Afghanistan, the network says. Gilkey and Tamanna were traveling with an Afghan army unit near Marjah in Helmand province when the convoy came under fire and their vehicle was struck, the network's spokeswoman, Isabel Lara, said in a statement. Two other NPR journalists, Tom Bowman and producer Monika Evstatieva, were traveling with them and were not hurt. Gilkey had covered conflict and war in Iraq and Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on Washington and New York and was committed to helping the public see the wars and the people caught up in them, NPR's senior vice president of news and editorial director, Michael Oreskes, said in a statement. Oreskes formerly worked as a vice president and senior managing editor for AP. "As a man and as a photojournalist, David brought out the humanity of all those around him. He let us see the world and each other through his eyes," Oreskes said. Tamanna, 37, was a freelancer who often worked for NPR.


Poet Elizabeth Alexander elected to Pulitzer Prize Board

Poet Elizabeth Alexander has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board, which selects the winners of the awards recognizing excellence in journalism, books, drama and music. New York's Columbia University made the announcement. Alexander has written six books of poetry, including one that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2005. She also wrote a memoir that was a Pulitzer finalist this year. Alexander recited one of her works at Democratic President Barack Obama's first inauguration. She also has taught at Yale University, New York University and the University of Chicago. She currently works at the Ford Foundation. She has been elected to a three-year term on the 19-member board. Columbia University manages the prizes, which are announced in April.

Venture capitalist new chair of Inquirer, Daily News parent

A cofounder of a venture capital firm has been named board chairman of the company that operates the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and their joint website, Josh Kopelman succeeds philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest as chair of Philadelphia Media Network. Lenfest bought the media company two years ago. But late last year he donated it to a nonprofit journalism institute, which can accept outside donations and help underwrite Philadelphia Media's operations. The 45-year-old Kopelman joined Philadelphia Media's board last year. He is cofounder of First Round Capital, which since 2004 has invested in over 300 technology startups.


Tribune renames itself 'Tronc' while Gannett weighs its bid

It is unclear if USA Today owner Gannett will continue its $864 million bid for Tribune Publishing, but it is clear that no one will have Tribune to kick around anymore. That's because it's changing its corporate name — to Tronc Inc., standing for "Tribune online content." It's also the former name of Tribune's new "content curation and monetization" technology, which it now calls TroncX. That's the backbone of Tribune's plan to squeeze more money out of digital ads and customize news articles for readers. Tribune Chairman Michael Ferro said the rebranding reflects the way the company will "pool our technology and content resources to execute on our strategy." The renaming is so far the only tangible change following a shareholder vote that ratified Tribune's slate of directors, although the company hasn't yet released official results. Gannett seized on the symbolic vote as a way for shareholders to signify approval for its takeover bid, hoping that a lackluster result could pressure Ferro into a deal.


New York Times: Jeff Bezos defends decision to buy Washington Post

Jeff Bezos built Amazon into an e-commerce and computing powerhouse. Now his ambitions are more sprawling as he takes on ever larger civic and business challenges. Those diverse interests were on display recently when Mr. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, spoke onstage at the Code technology conference here, where he commented on an array of topics, including workplace culture, privacy and his decision to buy The Washington Post in 2013. Mr. Bezos said he bought the newspaper because he wanted to make it into a more powerful national — and even global — publication, and that The Post was well situated to be a watchdog over the leaders of the world’s most powerful country.

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Bellevue Gazette newspaper closes after almost 149 years

A small northwestern Ohio newspaper has announced it is closing after nearly 149 years. The Bellevue Gazette, owned by Civitas Media-owned property, had been publishing only twice a week after switching from daily last fall. Its circulation was about 1,000, after peaking at about 4,300 in the 1970s. The statement on its website says recent cost-cutting measures weren't enough to keep the newspaper financially viable in the changing media landscape. The newspaper was founded in October 1867 and was owned by the Callaghan family until 2007. Jim Lawitz, Civitas' vice president of editorial, says a company-owned weekly newspaper in nearby Clyde also was shuttered.


Miniseries based on journalist David Carr's memoir planned

A TV miniseries based on the late journalist David Carr's best-selling memoir is in development. AMC and Sony Pictures Television said that "Better Call Saul" star Bob Odenkirk is set to play Carr. Carr, who was a media columnist for The New York Times, died last year. His 2008 memoir, "The Night of the Gun," details his path from drug addiction to respected journalist. The six-part miniseries will be written by Shawn Ryan, whose credits include "The Shield." The AMC debut date for the project was not announced.


Coalition of Asian organizations to host presidential town hall

The Asian American Journalists Association and Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote have announced a partnership with over 30 professional and community organizations to host a Town Hall event with the invited 2016 presidential candidates, taking place during the 2016 AAJA National Convention August 10 - 13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This gathering will be the largest of its kind, with Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander professionals and community leaders from across the nation converging in Las Vegas this summer.




INDUSTRY NEWS     MAY 31, 2016

New York Times: Billionaires’ growing control of news

At first blush, the secret support that the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel provided for Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker is a salacious yarn about money, power, gossip and revenge. But it is also about something more important: an aggressive bid by the very wealthy to control the American news media at a time when it is in a financially weakened state, struggling to maintain its footing on the electronic frontier’s unstable terrain. Speaking with Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times, Mr. Thiel said he had financed the Hogan lawsuit — which resulted in a $140 million verdict against Gawker — not only because Gawker Media wrote in 2007, against his wishes, that he was gay, but also because he had determined the gossip site had too often operated with “no connection to the public interest.” His verdict rendered, Mr. Thiel had the resources to swap his judge’s gavel for an executioner’s sword. Should the $140 million verdict stand up to appeal, Gawker Media will most likely cease to exist as we know it. And if too much of Gawker survives, Mr. Thiel, with an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion, indicates he will keep financing anti-Gawker lawsuits to kill off whatever is left. Mr. Thiel’s campaign is in keeping with the pledge his favored candidate for president, Donald J. Trump, made to ease barriers to lawsuits against journalists. But it is actually the flip side of the media realm’s new coin. Many of his fellow billionaires have gained control of news organizations by buying them or starting them.

The most striking example can be found in Nevada, where the conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson bought The Las Vegas Review-Journal last year. Mr. Adelson is not shy about using his money to influence the politics of his state and country. And the sale was followed by reports of editors suddenly altering articles about Mr. Adelson’s business dealings to put them in a more flattering light, or holding from publication articles about him altogether.

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Now Gawker has its own billionaire backer, sort of

The courtroom fight between former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and news-and-gossip site Gawker is becoming a battleground of sorts for Silicon Valley tycoons as well. First Look Media, a news organization financed by Pierre Omidyar, philanthropist and the co-founder of eBay, says it is reaching out to other media outlets to file supportive briefs about Gawker. The briefs could be used for the site's appeal of a $140 million invasion-of-privacy verdict Hogan won two months ago because Gawker posted a sex tape of him. There's no indication that Omidyar might fund Gawker's defense. "The possibility that Gawker may have to post a bond for $50 million or more just to be able to pursue its right to appeal the jury's verdict raises serious concerns about press freedom," First Look wrote in a statement explaining its move. 

Gawker may be looking to sell after losing Hulk Hogan case

The embattled online media company Gawker Media has hired an investment banker to explore its options, including a possible sale. Gawker says it expects to prevail in an appeal of the Hogan verdict and that it's always said it is exploring contingency plans. The company would not say when the banker, Mark Patricof of Houlihan Lokey, was hired, other than to say "recently." The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post earlier reported that Gawker was interested in a sale. Gawker hasn't said whether it could afford to pay the $140 million verdict. During the trial in Florida in March, Hogan's lawyer said Gawker Media's gross revenue in 2015 was $48.7 million. Lawyers said the company was worth $83 million.

New York Times offers buyouts to staff

In a bid to continue aggressive digital expansion while controlling costs, The New York Times will offer voluntary buyout packages to members of the newsroom and several business departments at the end of the month, the company announced. Members of The Times’s executive committee, including Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the newspaper’s publisher, and Dean Baquet, its executive editor, said in a memo to employees that the buyouts were a part of the company’s larger mandate to build a more digitally focused newsroom and to reach its stated goal of doubling digital revenue by the year 2020. Mr. Baquet said that The Times’s news operation, which employs 1,300 people, would need to shift to accommodate more people with skills in visual journalism and more people from diverse backgrounds, while continuing its focus on deep reporting.

Missouri Publisher Gary Berblinger to retire

Gary Berblinger, who has led the Park Hills Daily Journal, Farmington Press and Democrat News in Missouri as publisher since 2008, has announced that he will retire after 43 years in the publishing industry. His retirement is effective July 1. "Gary has been a strong advocate for local community news throughout his career," said Ron Peterson, Lee Enterprises group publisher. "We will all miss Gary, but we wish him a long and happy retirement." Berblinger is 67.

Paul Huntsman to become publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune

Paul Huntsman will take over as publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune when his deal to purchase the newspaper becomes official, he recently told the newsroom. Terry Orme will continue as the newspaper's top editor but cede his title as publisher, The Salt Lake Tribune reports ( ). Orme said he's excited about the new ownership and flattered the Huntsmans trust him. During the meeting, Paul Huntsman and his father, wealthy industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr., once again tried to assuage fears that their ownership would change the newspaper's role as an independent watchdog. The Huntsmans, who are predominantly Mormon and Republican, are one of the most influential families in Utah.






Tribune rejects second Gannett bid; sets the stage for talks

Tribune Publishing rejected a second takeover bid from USA Today owner Gannett, but did say that it was open to further talks. Gannett last week raised its per-share bid for the owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers to $15 from $12.25. Gannett, based in McLean, Virginia, put the total value of the revised offer at about $864 million, which includes some $385 million in debt. Tribune also revealed a $70.5 million investment from Nant Capital. Nant's acquisition of 4.7 million shares makes it Tribune's second-biggest institutional shareholder with a 12.9 percent stake. Nant's founder, Patrick Soon-Shiong, will become vice chairman of the board. The rejection from the Tribune arrived three days after Gannett sent an excoriating letter to Tribune shareholders questioning the motives of the company board and Michael W. Ferro Jr., the publisher's non-executive chairman 

Court orders arbitration in Vegas newspapers profits dispute

The Nevada Supreme Court says a profit-sharing dispute between the owners of the Las Vegas Sun and crosstown rival Las Vegas Review-Journal newspapers belongs before a third-party arbitrator. The state high court sided with the larger Review-Journal, which argued that a 2005 amendment to a 1989 joint-operating agreement specifies such a case should go to an arbitrator. Sun owner Brian Greenspun contends the Review-Journal improperly deducted editorial costs before paying monthly profit shares to Greenspun Media Group. The Sun argues it's due at least $6 million over 10 years of business with former Review-Journal owner Stephens Media. The Review-Journal is now owned by the family of billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson.

Facebook drops news outlet input in 'trending topics' review

Facebook says it is dropping its reliance on news outlets to help determine what gets posted as a "trending topic" on the giant social network, a move adopted after a backlash over a report saying it suppressed conservative views. Facebook's General Counsel Colin Stretch outlined the change in a 12-page letter sent to Republican Sen. John Thune, chairman of the commerce committee, which oversees the Internet and consumer protections. The move comes less than a week after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Glenn Beck and more than a dozen other conservative commentators to address concerns stemming from a report in the tech blog Gizmodo. The Gizmodo report, which relied on a single anonymous former Facebook worker with self-described conservative leanings, claimed that Facebook downplays conservative news subjects on its trending feature. As part of the changes, Facebook will stop looking to news outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Drudge Report to automatically nominate topics for its trending feature.

Provo’s Daily Herald legacy continuing at new location

The Daily Herald is changing locations in Provo, Utah. For more than 45 years the Herald has called a building on Freedom Blvd. home. Now the staff will have a new home on University Ave. “With today’s technology, and utilizing the same presses that print the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, it allowed us to relocate to a more visible office space,” said Publisher Bob Williams. “Locating in downtown Provo, especially with the completion of the historic Provo City Center Temple, gives us the visibility in a thriving location.” On August 1, 1873, four journalists and printers from Salt Lake City published the first edition of what was then called the Provo Daily Times. For 143 years, sans a few bumps and kick starts, the Daily Herald has distributed local, state and international news from eight locations in Provo and under a handful of owners.




Gannett raises offer for Tribune Publishing by 22 percent

USA Today owner Gannett has boosted its takeover bid for Tribune Publishing Co. by about 22 percent one week after the owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers adopted a "poison pill" plan to thwart the unsolicited offer. Gannett Co. announced that it was raising its bid to $15 per Tribune share, up from the $12.25 per share it previously offered. Gannett said that the total value of the revised offer is approximately $864 million, which includes the assumption of certain Tribune liabilities, such as about $385 million in outstanding debt. The Chicago company had rejected Gannett's prior per-share bid of $12.25, saying the price was too low.

New York Times: Capitol Hill newspapers redefine themselves

The New York Times reports that when Neetzan Zimmerman arrived at The Hill as its first director of audience development in January 2015, he found a publication largely unchanged since its heyday as a scrappy weekly for Washington’s deal makers. “I don’t know if struggling is the right word because that would imply they had been trying, and they really had not,” he said recently, referring to the paper’s efforts to compete in a digital ecosystem. “They did not have any reasons to think they needed to exist in any meaningful way in this world.” It has been the job of Mr. Zimmerman, a former editor at Gawker and Whisper, the anonymous messaging app, to help change that. And the challenge is daunting. Capitol Hill publications such as The Hill, Roll Call and National Journal were for decades a Beltway staple, strewn across desks on K Street and in Congress. With a captive audience and a strong advertising base, they were protected from broader economic forces and less concerned about competition from more nationally focused newspapers. Now these publications are scrambling to find their footing in a political landscape that is more competitive and almost unrecognizable from the one they chronicled for decades. Advertisers have fled, in part, these publications say, because of congressional inaction, which has sapped the special interest advertising that once padded their balance sheets.

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Huntsman Sr.: Salt Lake Tribune will maintain independence

The pending sale of The Salt Lake Tribune to a member of the Huntsman family won't mean the end of the newspaper's role as an important independent voice in the state, said patriarch Jon Huntsman Sr. in the family's first interview since the deal was announced last month. The wealthy industrialist said his son, Paul Huntsman, may join the editorial board when he becomes owner but he doesn't plan any to make any drastic changes or meddle with day-to-day newsroom decisions. Paul Huntsman has great confidence in Tribune editor and publisher Terry Orme, Huntsman Sr. told The Salt Lake Tribune ( "He's going to listen carefully and let the people who are doing a great job at The Tribune keep doing it," Huntsman said of his son. "He isn't a man to come in and make changes or do anything like that. If it isn't broken, you don't fix it." The announcement that Paul Huntsman had reached an agreement to buy the newspaper was widely viewed a positive development. The Tribune was struggling after a recently revised joint operating agreement with the Deseret News cut its share of profits nearly in half in exchange for an undisclosed, one-time lump sum to the company that runs the Tribune, Digital First Media.

Tampa Media Group files notice of layoffs with state of Florida

Tampa Media Group, the former owners of the Tampa Tribune and its affiliates, has filed a notice with the state of Florida announcing it will lay off 300 Tribune employees, according to public records. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Notice was made public on a state website. The job losses will occur July 3, the notice states. The WARN Act requires employers of a certain size to give notice to the state for mass layoffs. The Tampa Bay Times, which purchased Tampa Media Group, is offering jobs to some Tribune staffers but acknowledged at least 100 or more of those were in jobs duplicated by the Times and would not be offered positions. Tribune documents show the company had about 265 full-time workers and additional part-time staff.

Facebook publishes editorial guidelines

Facebook, the largest social media network, published internal editorial guidelines in the company’s latest attempt to rebut accusations that it is politically biased in the news content it shows on the pages of its 1.6 billion users, The New York Times reported. The 28-page document details how editors and computer algorithms play roles in the process of picking what should appear in the “Trending Topics” section of users’ Facebook pages. Facebook describes a list of processes it uses to display some of the most popular content across the network, including relying on algorithms to detect up-and-coming news trends as well as a team of editors who, much like a newsroom, direct how those topics are presented and decide what should be displayed to people who regularly use the service. As the guidelines make clear, at practically every point in the process, a human editor is given the leeway to exercise his or her editorial influence. 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel president will retire next month

A president who led the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel through the economic challenges of a recession and a shift in advertising revenue while maintaining prize-winning journalism plans to retire next month. Elizabeth "Betsy" Brenner told her staff she will leave her job as president June 30. The 61-year-old Brenner says she's leaving on her terms after a "terrific run." The Journal Sentinel was purchased last month by Gannett Co. Inc. When Brenner arrived at the company in 2004, the Journal Sentinel was in transition. Parent company Journal Communications had recently become publicly traded after decades of employee ownership. The economic challenges forced Brenner to cut staff, which she says was "incredibly painful." Yet, under her watch the newspaper and its journalists won three Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other awards.

'60 Minutes' honors correspondent Morley Safer as he retires

"60 Minutes" said goodbye to Morley Safer, honoring the newsman who has been a fixture at the CBS newsmagazine for all but two of its 48 years. The tribute marked the close of a 61-year career for Safer, who, according to the program, has had the longest-ever run on prime-time television. During the hourlong show, Safer was described as tough, funny, intrepid, curious and courageous, with reporting that ranged from the Cold War to cyberspace, from the Muppets to the Orient Express. "He's asking a question on behalf of all of us," said "60 Minutes" Executive Producer Jeff Fager. Safer's first report on "60 Minutes" in 1970 was about the training of U.S. Sky Marshals. His 919th and last, a profile of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, was broadcast in March. At 84 and dealing with health issues, Safer had cut back on work in recent years. The Toronto-born Safer was the first Saigon bureau chief for CBSNews.

Free Press publisher Joyce Jenereaux to retire this summer

Detroit Free Press President and Publisher Joyce Jenereaux has announced her retirement. The newspaper reported ( ) that the 62-year-old Jenereaux will step down this summer, ending a 26-year career with parent company Gannett Co. Inc. Jenereaux, named publisher last year after the retirement of Paul Anger, became president in 2013. In 2011, she became president of, which runs the business operations for the Free Press and The Detroit News. Jenereaux says she's proud of boosting the Free Press' digital audience as the newspaper has emphasized digital publishing.





Tribune adopts shareholder rights plan to fend off Gannett

In an attempt to fend off a takeover by USA Today owner Gannett, Tribune Publishing says it adopted a one-year shareholder rights plan. Known as a "poison pill," these types of plans are used to fight off hostile takeovers. Gannett Co. offered to buy Tribune Publishing last month for more than $388 million. Chicago-based Tribune Publishing Co. rejected the deal last week, saying that Gannett's offer was not enough for the company, which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing's new rights plan allows existing shareholders to buy preferred stock if a person or group acquires at least 20 percent of its stock. Gannett is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.

Tampa Bay Times buys Tampa Tribune, ends decades-old rivalry

Florida's largest newspaper, The Tampa Bay Times, has purchased its main competitor, the Tampa Tribune, ending a decades-long newspaper rivalry. The acquisition means that the Tribune printed its final newspaper, ending its 123-year-old run as a stand-alone paper. The Times will become the fifth-largest Sunday circulation newspaper in the nation. Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash said he intends to create one financially secure, locally owned daily newspaper in the Tampa Bay region. Tash did not disclose the purchase price. The Times bought the paper from Revolution Capital Group, which purchased the Tribune in 2012 for $9.5 million.

Paxton Media Group purchases The Elkhart Truth

The Paxton Media Group, a fifth-generation family-owned company that owns more than 30 daily newspapers, announced that it has purchased The Elkhart Truth in Elkhart, Indiana, from Federated Media. “We are gratified for the opportunity to assume stewardship of The Elkhart Truth,” said David Paxton, president and CEO of Paxton Media Group, which owns 10 newspapers in Indiana including the Vincennes Sun-Commercial. “It is an award-winning newspaper with a proud history of serving Elkhart County.” Paxton said The Truth will be in a better position to serve readers and advertisers by combining its strengths with those of other Paxton newspapers, including the La Porte County Herald-Argus, The Michigan City News-Dispatch and The Herald-Palladium in St. Joseph, Michigan.

Dozens charged in subscription renewal scam that defrauded Denver Post subscribers

The Denver Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission has charged the operators of dozens of companies with defrauding consumers by pretending to handle subscription renewals for publications including The Denver Post. More than 375 publications, including The Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal told the companies to stop and have tried to warn their customers about the fraud. The scam has been going on since at least 2010 and involves a byzantine web of shell companies owned by people who went by multiple names, the FTC said in its complaint. In 2014, some Denver Post subscribers were sent renewal notices from companies such as Publisher's Billing Exchange, Reader's Payment Service, Associated Publishers Network and Platinum Subscription Services charging $489.95 for a one-year subscription and promising the lowest price available. In reality, the price was about $200 more than the actual cost of a seven-day print subscription.

Katy Culver new director of UW Center for Journalism Ethics

UW-Madison Assistant Professor Kathleen (Katy) Culver has been named the director of the Center for Journalism Ethics in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Culver replaces Robert Drechsel, who is retiring after serving as director of the center since 2013. "I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to lead the center at such an important time in journalism," Culver said. "The industry faces many pressures, yet the journalism itself has never been stronger."UW-Madison alumnus James Burgess, former publisher of the Wisconsin State Journal, provided the funds to set up an endowment for a journalism ethics professorship and in turn, the development of the center in 2005, the university said.





INDUSTRY NEWS    May 3, 2016

Rich newspaper owners: Industry saviors or foes? 

The Salt Lake Tribune's pending sale to the wealthy Huntsman family unshackles the newspaper from cost-cutting corporate owners and resolves crippling financial uncertainty — but it also raises concerns about whether the influential family will meddle in the paper's coverage. The same question has come up after other recent newspaper purchases by millionaires — an emerging trend in a struggling industry. Experts say it's too early to draw any definite conclusions about what the movement may mean for the future of U.S. newspapers. But early reviews are encouraging at three other major newspapers now owned by rich power brokers: the Washington Post ( founder Jeff Bezos), Boston Globe (Boston Red Sox owner John Henry) and Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor). These owners have refrained from interfering in coverage decisions while investing in the search for new audiences and revenue streams, said media analyst Ken Doctor.

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Gannett tells Tribune shareholders not to vote for board

Gannett is escalating its pursuit of rival newspaper company Tribune, telling shareholders of Tribune not to vote for its board member nominees up for election in June. Gannett, the publisher of USA Today and other newspapers, said Monday that withholding a vote at Tribune's annual meeting next month will send a message to the management team that it needs to engage in takeover talks. Tribune said in a statement Monday that it expects to hold its annual meeting as planned and that it will have the votes needed for its nominees to be elected to the board. "This latest ploy to encourage Tribune Publishing shareholders to withhold their votes at the 2016 annual meeting is a distraction from the real issue, which is whether the Gannett proposal is credible," Tribune said.

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Tribune calls Gannett 'erratic,' but still reviewing deal

Tribune Publishing said in a letter April 26 that USA Today owner Gannett was "erratic" and "unreliable" as the two newspaper companies tried to discuss a possible tie-up. Nonetheless, Tribune said it is still considering the $388 million takeover offer from Gannett. Tribune's letter comes a day after Gannett made public its bid to buy the owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Gannett Co., based in McLean, Virginia, said April 25 that Tribune refused to have meaningful discussions about a deal. In its letter April 26, Tribune said Gannett executives cancelled a meeting without reason and once asked it to make a decision about the proposal within 90 minutes. "Gannett has been playing games," Tribune said in the letter, which was signed by Tribune CEO Justin Dearborn. Gannett responded with its own letter Tuesday, saying that the meeting was cancelled because a person from Tribune's team who did not know about the offer would be there.

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Obama out: President closes out his run as comedian-in-chief 

President Barack Obama performed his brand of sharp-tongued comedy at the White House Correspondents' Dinner for the last time — wrapping up with "Obama out" and dropping the mic while the crowd cheered. Obama's performance April 30 proved he hasn't lost a step. "If this material works well, I'm going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year," Obama quipped. "Earn me some serious Tubmans." Obama drew plenty of laughs with his barbed remarks to a ballroom filled with journalists, politicians, and movie and television stars. It was his eighth appearance at the event and his last as president and he kidded about the pains of being a lame duck. The president also waxed nostalgic at times. "Eight years ago I said it was time to change the tone of our politics. In hindsight, I clearly should have been more specific." And he acknowledged that the years had taken their toll. "I'm gray, grizzled ... counting down the days to my death panel."

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Oldest Japanese-American newspaper faces possible closure

The oldest Japanese-American newspaper could close in December unless it doubles its subscribers or raise about $500,000 in revenue. The Los Angeles Times reports ( ) the Rafu Shimpo has been struggling to adjust to the changing media landscape and with declining readership. The newspaper that has chronicled the story of the Japanese American community in Southern California has a print circulation of about 7,800, down from a peak of 23,000 subscribers in the late 1980s. The Rafu Shimpo is one of the last English-Japanese dailies in the country. It started in 1903, survived World War II when writers and editors were shipped off to internment camps and resumed publishing in Los Angeles in 1946. The Hawaii Hochi is believed to be the only other English-Japanese daily in the nation.

Rochester newspaper moving out of longtime downtown home

The Democrat and Chronicle is ending its nearly 90-year run at its downtown Rochester, New York, office building. The newspaper this weekend is leaving its longtime home at 55 Exchange Blvd. and moving a few blocks away to a building on East Main Street. The Gannett newspaper's soon-to-be former home is being sold to two Rochester-area property development companies. The original structure was built in 1928 by newspaper publisher Frank Gannett to house the now-defunct Rochester Times-Union. The Democrat and Chronicle moved to 55 Exchange in 1959. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985. It was once headquarters for the Gannett Co., the media group's parent company. Democrat and Chronicle employees start working at their new office on Monday morning.

Rutgers reporter asks Obama for interview _ and gets it 

A college reporter spending time at the White House has landed what many beat reporters long for: an interview with President Barack Obama. Obama interrupted a question-and-answer session that his press secretary, Josh Earnest, held April 28 for visiting college students. After some opening remarks about a new federal resource to help with student loan payments and criticism of Senate Republicans for blocking his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Obama began taking questions himself. The first student he called on at random was Dan Corey editor-in-chief of The Daily Targum at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Obama is scheduled to deliver one of his final college commencement addresses as president there on May 15.

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FBI: 'Argument can be made' fake AP story broke rules 

FBI officials say there's no clear evidence the agency violated its own rules when it posed as The Associated Press to unmask a criminal, according to a report obtained through a public records lawsuit. However, the internal FBI report being made public by the AP and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says "an argument can be made" that field agents bucked protocol by not informing senior brass in Washington of the 2007 operation. The sting was aimed at identifying the hoaxer behind a series of bomb threats to Timberline High School in the suburban town of Lacey, Washington. Agents crafted a fake AP article, digitally booby-trapped it and sent it to the suspect's MySpace account. Pretending to be an AP reporter, they asked him to review the piece before it was published. When the hoaxer opened what he thought was a story about his exploits, the digital trap was sprung, his location was revealed and he was swiftly arrested.

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Reporter jailed in Iran to spend year as Harvard fellow

The Washington Post reporter who was detained for more than 18 months in Iran after being accused of espionage will spend the coming year at Harvard University as a Nieman journalism fellow. The Boston Globe reports ( ) Jason Rezaian will study "what the new arc of US-Iran relations means for American foreign policy in the Middle East" while at Harvard. Rezaian was arrested in July 2014. He remained jailed until January, when he was released as part of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran. Iranian officials never specified why Rezaian was targeted. He denied the charges. The Nieman Fellowship program each year selects several mid-career journalists to spend two semesters at Harvard participating in campus events, collaborating with peers and auditing classes.

NY judge rejects Cosby's request to get journalists' notes 

A judge on April 26 rejected what he called Bill Cosby's "fishing expedition" to get journalists' notes, film and audio to fight a defamation lawsuit filed against him by seven women. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan ruled against the 78-year-old comedian, finding his request for notes, unedited scripts, video and audio from interviews that New York Magazine conducted with six women bordered on the frivolous. The interviews came as the magazine was preparing a July 2015 award-winning piece titled "I'm No Longer Afraid." The article featured 35 women who described being sexually assaulted over the years by Cosby, who denies the allegations. The comic, who became known as "America's Dad" with his work on "The Cosby Show," has been married to his wife, Camille, for more than 50 years.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects newspapers' email appeal

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and several other newspapers seeking to force state government to store employee emails. The newspaper ( ) says the one-line ruling April 25 upholds a Commonwealth Court ruling in July that allowed 47 state agencies to continue letting employees decide whether emails can be permanently deleted. The news organizations contend that violates Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law and wanted state government emails to be stored on a server for two years. The Commonwealth Court ruled the Right-to-Know Law doesn't address records retention requirements or outlaw the destruction of records. The Patriot News of Harrisburg; the York Daily Record/Sunday News; the Chambersburg Public Opinion; The (Hanover) Evening Sun; the Lebanon Daily News; and LNP Media Group joined in the lawsuit.






Capitol Hill Buzz: News media barred from cheetah briefing 

Cheated out of a cheetah.The House Foreign Affairs Committee brought a live cheetah to the Capitol on Monday, but news reporters and photographers were initially denied access to the big cat — the fastest land mammal in the world. At the end of the hourlong briefing, the committee opened the doors. A cheetah named Adaeze (pronounced ah-DAY'-zah) was lying on a table. The big cat was born in captivity and lives at the Leo Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, Connecticut. The event was held in conjunction with the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a Virginia-based group that works to save cheetahs from hunters, trappers and other threats. There are fewer than 10,000 wild cheetahs left worldwide, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, a 90 percent decrease since 1900.

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Megyn Kelly to interview Donald Trump for Fox TV special

Megyn Kelly is going to interview Donald Trump for a Fox TV special. It will mark Kelly's first interview with Trump since the fallout from their encounter during a Fox News Channel debate in August. Trump began criticizing Kelly on Twitter following the first Republican debate on Fox. He was angered by moderator Kelly's question about statements he had made about women. The GOP presidential contender will be a guest on "Megyn Kelly Presents," a prime-time special airing May 17 on Fox TV, the network said Monday. In a statement, Kelly said she asked Trump for the interview when they had a private meeting earlier this month. She said she looks forward to a "fascinating exchange."

USA Today owner Gannett bids for LA Times publisher Tribune 

Newspaper publisher Gannett wants to buy Tribune Publishing for more than $388 million, a deal that would give the owner of USA Today control of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers. But Gannett said Monday that Tribune has refused to start "constructive discussions" since it first offered to buy its rival earlier this month. Tribune confirmed Monday that it received the unsolicited offer and said it "will respond to Gannett as quickly as feasible." Gannett wants Tribune so that it can expand its USA Today Network, an effort it launched late last year to unite USA Today with its more than 100 local daily newspapers. The network helps the company share stories more easily between USA Today and its smaller papers, such as the Detroit Free Press and The Des Moines Register. Earlier this year, the company remade the logos on all its local newspaper front pages and websites to say that they are "a part of the USA Today Network." Buying Tribune would give Gannett 11 more major daily newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel, The Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant.

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Fox's Sean Hannity at center of bitter campaign competition 

Sean Hannity is getting a bruising reminder that this year's presidential campaign defies traditional political rules.The Fox News Channel and radio host had a nasty spat with Sen. Ted Cruz this past week, following criticism from both the left and right about his interviews with Donald Trump. Fox also aired the odd spectacle of Hannity sitting onstage with Trump as an audience booed lustily at the mention of Fox colleague Megyn Kelly's name. In an election year when cable news networks are enjoying a bump in viewership, Hannity is a key man for Fox, and his audience is growing more quickly than Kelly's and Bill O'Reilly's. They precede Hannity in Fox's prime-time lineup. Fox declined to make Hannity available for an interview for this story. Trump had been a guest on Hannity's Fox show 32 times before last week's town hall in Pittsburgh, according to the host's records. Hannity has said on his radio show that he does not support one Republican over another.

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Police officer charged with stealing newspaper coupons

A Providence, Rhode Island, police officer has been arrested and suspended without pay after being accused of stealing bundles of coupons and inserts that go in the Sunday newspaper. Police say they arrested Jesse Ferrell on Friday after officers witnessed him trying to break into a company that distributes The Providence Journal. Ferrell did not immediately return a call for comment. Police say they began investigating Ferrell after the internal affairs bureau received a complaint around two weeks ago. The company said bundles of inserts were disappearing. Oates said there is a market for the inserts but didn't say what Ferrell was doing with them. Ferrell was charged with breaking and entering and larceny and was released on $10,000 personal recognizance. The 49-year-old officer has been on the force for 19 years.

Media company restructures Wyoming papers' leadership

A major media company in Wyoming says it has reorganized its executive team and eliminated the top three positions in the state. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports ( ) that APG Media of the Rockies LLC cut the positions of Wyoming Tribune Eagle Publisher Scott Walker and Executive Editor D. Reed Eckhardt. It also removed the position filled by Holly Dabb, publisher of the Rawlins Daily Times and Rock Springs Rocket-Miner. Laramie Boomerang Publisher Jeff Robertson will be publisher of the four daily Wyoming newspapers owned by APG, as well as WyoSports. Robertson said it's unfortunate that Eckhardt, Walker and Dabb's positions have been eliminated and said they all did a great job. Managing Editor Brian Martin has assumed leadership of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. 

Journalist group won't help criminal probe of Panama Papers

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says it will not be taking part in any official investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office into the documents known as the Panama Papers. The consortium was responding to a letter sent by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara asking to discuss the papers, which show how the world's richest use shell companies and other tactics to avoid tax obligations. They were leaked from the Mossack Fonseca & Co. law firm. The consortium oversaw an effort from investigative reporters around the world to delve into the documents. In a statement, the ICIJ said it told prosecutors April 21 that it would not turn over unpublished data, saying it is a media organization shielded by legal protections "from becoming an arm of law enforcement."

Media company selling New England Newspapers to investors

A Massachusetts-based group of investors has purchased The Berkshire Eagle newspaper and three Vermont papers. The Berkshire Eagle reported April 21 that Digital First Media is selling New England Newspapers Inc. to Birdland Acquisition LLC on May 2. The group includes The Eagle, Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and the Brattleboro Reformer. The investors say they plan to grow the newspaper and improve its quality. There are 154 employees among the four papers. Publisher Edward Woods estimates that at least 20 to 25 jobs will be brought back to the Eagle. Co-investor John Morris says the new owners have a number of conceptual improvements planned, including new sections and features. Woods say the three Vermont papers will reap the same benefits and investments. 

Song released by musician honors slain Virginia journalists

A new song performed by Miss Virginia 2014 honors the memory of a reporter and videographer who were fatally shot during a live broadcast. The Roanoke Times reports that Salem-based musician and songwriter Tommy Holcomb recently released a song he wrote in honor of WDBJ's Alison Parker and Adam Ward. The song titled "Forever On The Air" is performed by Miss Virginia 2014 Courtney Garrett. The proceeds from the sale of the song will go to a foundation established in Parker's memory that supports the arts in southern Virginia. The proceeds will also support a scholarship fund established in Ward's name. Parker and Ward were killed by former co-worker Vester Lee Flanagan in August. Flanagan later killed himself after a police chase.

McClatchy Co. reports smaller first-quarter loss

The McClatchy Co. reported a narrower first-quarter loss Wednesday, April 20, although the owner of The Sacramento Bee continued to struggle with declining revenue. Sacramento-based McClatchy said it lost $7.9 million in the quarter, excluding certain one-time adjustments. That compared with a loss of $8.7 million a year earlier. McClatchy revenue fell 7.5 percent in the quarter, to $238 million, continuing a decade-long trend as newspaper publishers and other traditional media work to transition from print to digital advertising and subscriptions. Advertising revenue was down 9.9 percent from a year earlier, largely because of the ongoing slippage in print advertising. But the decline in print was slower than a year ago, and was partly offset by growth in McClatchy’s digital ad sales.

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The Salt Lake Tribune sold to wealthy industrialist family 

A son of wealthy industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr. has agreed to buy The Salt Lake Tribune, ending uncertainty about the future of Utah's largest newspaper that has long been an independent watchdog in a state where the Mormon church wields significant power. Digital First Media, which runs major publications in Colorado and California, reached an agreement to sell the newspaper to Paul Huntsman, the company said April 20. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Huntsmans, who run a major cancer research center and whose name adorns university arenas and college programs, are one of the most influential families in Utah. They are Mormon, but Paul Huntsman said the Tribune's role in the community won't change.

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Add another Pulitzer winner: Writer left off editorial entry

A name has been added to this year's list of Pulitzer Prize winners. John Hackworth, editor of Sun Newspapers in Charlotte Harbor, Florida, was initially named the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. On Wednesday, April 20, the Pulitzer office in New York said Brian Gleason wrote three of the eight editorials and had also won the prize. The newspaper's executive editor, Chris Porter, submitted the original entry letter citing only Hackworth. He said it was an honest mistake. Gleason was with the Sun for 26 years and left the newspaper in August. He now works as the communications manager for Florida's Charlotte County government. He contacted the newspaper after the awards were announced Monday and said he had written some of the pieces, which were about a deadly assault of an inmate by guards and did not run with a byline.

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Journalist who helped reveal Panama Papers is writing a book

A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who helped bring the Panama Papers to light is working on a book about his findings. Henry Holt and Company told The Associated Press April 20 that Jake Bernstein's "Secrecy World" will come out in 2017. According to Holt, Bernstein will offer "the first full picture" behind the millions of leaked records that show how the world's richest use shell companies and other tactics to avoid tax obligations. Bernstein was a key part of the team assembled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which led the yearlong probe into the documents. In a statement issued through Holt, Bernstein said, "The Panama Papers herald a new dawn of collaborative journalism whose impact is only beginning."

Feds say Panama Papers relevant to criminal probe

Millions of leaked documents showing how the world's richest avoid tax obligations are "relevant" to a criminal investigation, a top federal prosecutor in Manhattan said in a letter to the journalism consortium that has overseen investigative reporting on the so-called Panama Papers. In the letter sent to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists asking to discuss the papers, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wrote that his office had "opened a criminal investigation regarding matters to which the Panama Papers are relevant." Bharara's office didn't comment. The consortium confirmed the letter had been received, and had no comment on any response. The consortium oversaw an effort from investigative reporters around the world to delve into 11.5 million leaked documents leaked by Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca & Co. The stories have created a global firestorm since they started being released earlier this month, and detailed how politicians, businesses and celebrities hide their wealth through the use of shell companies and offshore accounts.

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Daily Mail says it has not submitted bid for Yahoo

The owner of Britain's Daily Mail newspaper says it has not submitted a bid to purchase the U.S. internet company Yahoo. The Daily Mail and General Trust PLC says that it remains in discussions with parties "who may potentially be interested in Yahoo." Yahoo is under intense pressure to revive its fortunes even as advertisers pour money into digital marketing, with much of the business flowing to competitors like Google and Facebook. Yahoo's shares have spiked nearly 30 percent since the company announced two months that it had formed a committee to consider a sale of its Internet operations. The Daily Mail is one of the 10 most visited newspaper websites in the world according to the Pew Research Center.

Study: Fox, CNN spent more time on GOP candidates than Dems 

Anyone who used Fox News Channel's prime-time lineup as their main source of campaign news over the past month may be forgiven for thinking there was only one presidential nomination contest. Fox spent 666 minutes interviewing Republican candidates for president or their surrogates, with 13 minutes on Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, according to the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog. The group tallied the number of minutes guests spoke or were questioned weeknights from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET on March 21 through April 15. During the same period, CNN spent 729 minutes with remaining Republicans Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich or their representatives. Democrats had 326 minutes, including the March 14 debate in Brooklyn, the group said March 19.

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Family of journalist slain by Islamic State sues Syria 

The family of slain journalist Steven Sotloff is suing Syria in U.S. court, claiming the government of President Bashar Assad provided support to Islamic State militants who carried out the gruesome beheading. The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Washington seeks $90 million in compensatory damages plus up to three times that in punitive damages from Syria for Sotloff's 2014 killing. It's far from certain, however, that Sotloff's South Florida-based family would be able to collect money from a foreign government if they win the case. Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 after crossing into Syria from Turkey, according to the lawsuit. He was killed on Sept. 2, 2014, and a video was distributed around the world documenting his death. Another American journalist, James Foley, had been killed a month earlier by the Islamic State.

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AP wins Pulitzer for stories on enslaved fishermen in Asia 

The Associated Press won the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for documenting the use of slave labor in Southeast Asia to supply seafood to American tables — an investigation that spurred the release of more than 2,000 captive workers. The Los Angeles Times was awarded the breaking news prize for its coverage of the shooting rampage by husband-and-wife extremists that left 14 people dead in San Bernardino, California, and The Washington Post received the national reporting award for an examination of killings by police in the U.S. Besides recognizing some of the biggest national and international stories of the year, the awards also spotlighted deep dives into a chilling rape case, the long arc of school segregation, and the mistreatment of psychiatric patients. The New Yorker was honored in the criticism and feature writing categories, which only recently were opened to magazines.

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How 4 AP reporters got the story 'Seafood from Slaves' 

An expose of slavery in Southeast Asia's fishing industry, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in public service Monday, was born from a painstaking, yearlong investigation by four Associated Press reporters who documented the harsh treatment of fishermen held captive on a remote island and traced their catch to U.S. supermarkets and restaurants. The stories, accompanied by photos and video showing caged men and a man weeping when reunited with the family he hadn't seen in 22 years, led to the release of more than 2,000 enslaved fishermen and other laborers. It came with substantial risk to the journalists, while posing thorny questions about how to spotlight the abuse without further endangering the captives. The series, "Seafood from Slaves," encompassed reporting across four countries by AP journalists Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan.

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List of 2016 Pulitzer winners and finalists in journalism and arts 

The list of  2016 Pulitzer Prize winners:

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UN rights expert sees threats to press independence in Japan 

A U.N. rights expert warned Tuesday of "serious threats" to the independence of the press in Japan, including laws meant to protect coverage fairness and national security that he said could work as censorship. U.N. Special Rapporteur David Kaye, finishing a weeklong visit to Japan in which he interviewed journalists and government officials, said many Japanese journalists were feeling pressured to avoid sensitive topics, and that some told of being sidelined because of complaints from politicians. "The independence of the press is facing serious threats — a weak system of legal protection, persistent government exploitation of a media lacking in professional solidarity," Kaye told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo. He said he was taken aback by a widespread fear among journalists in Japan, many of whom requested anonymity to talk to him, fearing repercussions.

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Officer cleared in apparent shoving of Trump rally reporter

Pittsburgh city officials say they found no wrongdoing by a police officer who was captured on video appearing to shove a newspaper reporter outside a Donald Trump rally. The municipal office that investigates alleged misconduct by city employees said Monday that it made its decision after reviewing videos of the incident. It also said the reporter had stated repeatedly she did not wish to file a complaint. The incident occurred last Wednesday after anti-Trump protesters and his supporters squared off and initially refused to leave until police in riot gear separated the two sides.

Museum explores Chapman's photojournalism for Miami Herald

The legacy of longtime Miami Herald photojournalist Tim Chapman is being explored in a new museum exhibit at HistoryMiami. Chapman worked for the Herald from 1972 through 2012. His assignments included the Jonestown Massacre, the Mariel Boatlift, Hurricane Andrew and Miami's "cocaine cowboys" era. Chapman donated his work to the museum in 2013. The exhibit "Newsman" opened Friday with images curated by Chapman's Herald colleague Al Diaz. The displays also include cameras, press passes, notebooks and other items from Chapman's career. In a statement, museum officials note that another Herald colleague, Carl Hiaasen, once wrote that Chapman was sent to the toughest assignments and the reporters who accompanied him "cherish every harrowing memory." "Newsman" is part of the HistoryMiami Center for Photography and runs through Aug. 14.

McClatchy, three other major media companies form advertising network

The McClatchy Co. and three other major media companies announced April 14 the formation of Nucleus Marketing Solutions, which aims to connect national advertisers to audiences across multiple digital platforms. Sacramento-based McClatchy joined Gannett Co., Hearst and Tribune Publishing Co. in announcing the creation of the New York-based advertising network. Seth Rogin, the former chief revenue officer of Mashable, the multiplatform media and entertainment company, was named CEO of Nucleus. In addition to the news organizations owned by the founding companies, the network expects to include as many as 11 affiliate partners across the top U.S. advertising markets. Officials said Nucleus will reach more than 70 percent of consumers in the top 30 U.S. advertising markets. They said the network will reach 168 million unique visitors on the media companies’ digital platforms. 

UNLV student newspaper to change name from Rebel Yell

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas's student newspaper is changing its name amid claims that the school's "Rebel" moniker is racist since it refers to Confederate soldiers. In an editorial published Monday, April 11, the staff of the Rebel Yell announced it would change the name of the newspaper by next spring no matter what the university choses to do. The editorial says the paper's name is racist and advocates institutionalized racism.Some have called for the university's mascot to be changed, saying the "Hey Reb!" character appears to be a Confederate soldier. The Rebel Yell, which was founded in 1955, was a homage to a Confederate battle cry during the Civil War. The newspaper's name has changed several times, switching back to the Rebel Yell in 1992.

Aberdeen publisher named regional publisher in Indiana

The Aberdeen (South Dakota) News Co. Publisher Cory Bollinger has been named regional publisher of a group of Indiana newspapers owned by the parent company of the American News and the Farm Forum. Bollinger's last day as publisher in South Dakota is June 23. The Indiana papers are owned by Schurz Communications Inc. of Mishawaka, Indiana, which also owns the American News ( ) and the Farm Forum. In addition to his publishing duties in Indiana, Bollinger will retain his title of vice president of publishing for Schurz. That means he'll continue to have direct responsibilities for all of the company's papers, including the American News and Farm Forum. The five Indiana papers are the South Bend Tribune, Bloomington Herald-Times, Bedford Times-Mail, Martinsville Reporter-Times and Mooresville-Decatur Times.

Journalist sentenced to 2 years in LA Times hacking case 

A well-known social media journalist was sentenced to two years in federal prison April 13 after he was convicted of conspiring with the hacking group Anonymous to break into the Los Angeles Times' website and alter a story. Despite his role in the news media, federal prosecutors in Sacramento say Matthew Keys, 29, of Vacaville was simply a disgruntled employee striking back at his former employer. U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller sentenced him after he was convicted in October of providing login credentials to The Tribune Co.'s computer system. His attorneys said they plan to appeal. The company owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other media companies including FOX affiliate KTXL-TV in Sacramento.

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End of House media ban means all eyes on budget 

Arizona House Speaker David Gowan's decision to lift a ban on journalists covering proceedings from the House floor means all eyes are again focused on stalled negotiations on a nearly $10 billion state budget package. Lawmakers have been slow-walking budget negotiations for the past couple of weeks, despite Gov. Doug Ducey's call for lawmakers to stop sending him legislation before a budget. The ban, which was put in place by Gowan last week because of purported security concerns, was lifted Tuesday after becoming a major distraction.

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Hearst acquires The Hour newspaper of Norwalk

Hearst is adding to its properties in southwestern Connecticut with the acquisition of The Hour newspaper in Norwalk and the Wilton Villager. The newspapers will become part of the Hearst Newspapers' Connecticut Media Group, which now includes five daily and six weekly newspapers. Group Publisher Paul Barbetta said April 13 13 it is an opportunity to strengthen coverage across Fairfield County. Brett Whitton is president of The Hour Publishing Company. He said it has been the company's privilege to be part of Norwalk for more than a century and he expects Hearst will continue its commitment to the city. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Other Hearst Connecticut properties include the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, The News-Times in Danbury, The Advocate in Stamford, and the Greenwich Time.

Travel Oregon is advertising in The Onion. Seriously.

Travel Oregon's latest advertising campaign is in The Onion, but you should take it seriously. The Oregonian reports ( ) that the commission's communications director Linea Gagliano says the voice of Oregonians -- which she describes as "nonchalant, fun and confident, but not overly confident" -- fits right in with The Onion, a satirical news website. She says the idea came from advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. The commission launched the $75,000 campaign in March. It includes the usual elements like banner ads and social media promotion, but Travel Oregon is also paying for The Onion staffers to write satirical articles about tourism in the state. The first article, "Tips For Setting Up A Campsite," appeared March 21. It offers helpful advice, such as making sure nearby bears sign a non-aggression pact.

US: Forced labor continues on Thai fishing vessels

The State Department says forced labor on Thai fishing vessels has continued in the past year despite legal reforms and arrests following an Associated Press investigation into the country's seafood industry. The department made the assessment in its annual global review of human rights practices, released April 13 by Secretary of State John Kerry. The report covers the 2015 calendar year. The report finds that the Thai government has reaffirmed its "zero tolerance" policy for human trafficking and updated many laws, but a lack of legal clarity on what constitutes forced labor has undermined efforts to identify trafficking victims and prosecute abuses. The department cites the AP investigative series on slavery in the seafood industry that resulted in the rescue of 2,000 men, a dozen arrests and millions of dollars' worth of seizures.

U.S. Holocaust museum seeks newspaper accounts

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., is searching for newspaper articles to learn how American journalists covered the Nazi persecution and killing of Jews. “History Unfolded: U.S. Newspapers and the Holocaust” is a nationwide crowdsourcing project that invites students, teachers and others to contribute to ongoing research on how events from the Holocaust period were first reported. The project will be anchored by a new special exhibition opening in April 2018. Contributors across the country have submitted more than 900 articles have so far, coming from newspapers including the Youngstown Vindicator, Bangor Daily News in Maine, the Baltimore Afro American, the Sanford Herald in Florida and the Santa Cruz Sentinel in California.

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Associated Press, Guardian among top Headliner Award winners 

The Associated Press, The Guardian US, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV have won top honors as "best of show" winners in the 82nd National Headliner Awards. For The Associated Press, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan won first place in the newspaper category for "Seafood from Slaves." The AP's Santi Palacios received top honors in photography for "Coming Ashore." At the Guardian US, Jon Swaine, Oliver Laughland and the Guardian US staff were awarded the top spot in online for "The Counted." In radio, G.W. Schulz, Michael Montgomery and Michael Corey from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting won for "Inside America's Coldest Cases." Paul Van Osdol, Sally Wiggin and Michael Lazorko of WTAE-TV took the grand award in television for "CHRONICLE: Burning Questions. The awards were founded in 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City.

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Story of minister and dominatrix sparks UK debate over media 

Have you heard the one about the British politician and the dominatrix? Probably not until now — and critics of the government and the press say that is a problem. Opposition politicians called April 13 for a Cabinet minister to give up authority over press regulation after he acknowledged that he had a relationship with a sex worker several years ago — and that several newspapers knew about it but kept quiet. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale says he had a relationship in 2013-14 with a woman he met online and later learned was a sex worker. He says he ended the liaison when he learned someone was trying to sell the story to a tabloid newspaper. No laws were broken, and the government is standing by Whittingdale, saying he is entitled to a private life.

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Miami Herald settles lawsuit with former US Senate candidate

The Miami Herald has settled a libel lawsuit brought against the newspaper by former U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene. The Herald ( reports that a notice of dismissal was filed April 11 in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. An agreement was signed last week by Greene and Alexandra Villoch, president and publisher of the Miami Herald Media Co. Green filed the suit six years ago after losing the Democratic primary to former U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek by 26 percentage points. Greene also sued the parent company of the Tampa Bay Times, then the St. Petersburg Times. The Palm Beach billionaire argued three reports about his real-estate dealings and yacht parties cost him the primary and defamed his reputation. He sought $500 million in damages. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.

Delaware judge: Newspaper must turn over interview video clips

A Delaware judge has ruled that The News Journal must turn over previously unpublished video clips of an interview with a man before he was charged with murder. The News Journal reports ( ) that Superior Court Judge Charles Butler determined April 12 that the public interest in a fair trial for Christopher Rivers outweighed the newspaper's need for confidentiality. Authorities say Rivers arranged the 2013 slayings of his auto repair shop partner, Joseph Connell, and Connell's wife, Olga. He is charged with first-degree murder and criminal solicitation. An attorney for the newspaper argued that turning over the clips would hurt the paper's ability to develop and maintain sources. A state prosecutor says the videos are key to showing inconsistencies between what Rivers told police and what he told a reporter.

Arizona lawmaker drops ban on journalists who refuse checks 

The speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives allowed journalists who refused to submit to extensive background checks back on the floor of the chamber April 12 amid pressure from lawmakers and the public over the sudden shift in decades-old policy. Republican House Speaker David Gowan banned reporters last week who refused to comply with new security rules requiring extensive criminal and civil background checks. He said the checks were needed after several disruptions in public areas in the House and the Capitol. Media organizations criticized the move, saying it could hinder the ability to hold lawmakers accountable. Journalists were forced to cover House sessions from the public gallery area and lost access to legislators.

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Al-Jazeera America network shuts down Tuesday 

chighlight its work since a 2013 launch. The farewell begins at 6 p.m. EDT and will be repeated immediately before Al-Jazeera America goes dark. Local cable and satellite operators will decide what replaces the channel in their markets. The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network announced in January that it was shutting down the U.S.-based offshoot, calling it an economic decision. Backed by a deep-pocketed parent company, Al-Jazeera America began with lofty goals of offering serious-minded news and won some awards for its work. But when few people watched and oil prices plummeted, there was a limit to how much the company would spend.

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'Comprehensive' Washington Post bio of Trump set for Aug. 23 

A "comprehensive" Washington Post book about Donald Trump and his incredible run for the presidency will come out Aug. 23, whether or not he is the GOP nominee. Scribner told The Associated Press on Monday that "Trump Revealed" will draw on more than two dozen Post reporters and researchers and will be co-authored by investigative reporter Michael Kranish and senior editor Marc Fisher. The effort will be headed by executive editor Martin Baron. "Donald Trump is a presidential candidate unlike any we've ever seen before. His candidacy and his positions have defied all conventions and upended the political landscape," Baron said in a statement. The Republican convention will have been held a month before the Post book is scheduled for release, but Baron told the AP in a statement that a book was planned no matter what because Trump had become a "major political figure and is expected to remain one."

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UK's Daily Mail in early talks over bid for Yahoo 

The owner of Britain's Daily Mail newspaper and media group is in early talks over a bid for the ailing U.S. internet company Yahoo. A spokesman for the said Sunday that, given the success of its site and Elite Daily, it has "been in discussions with a number of parties who are potential bidders." He said the talks are in a very early stage and there is no certainty any transaction will take place. Yahoo did not respond to a request for comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the Daily Mail was speaking with private equity firms about an offer. Yahoo is under intense pressure to revive its revenue growth and activist investor Starboard Value, a big stakeholder, is pushing for a change in leadership.

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News & Observer publisher announces plans to retire in June

Orage Quarles III, who led The News & Observer of Raleigh through turbulent times in the industry and guided efforts to diversify its business, says he is retiring as president and publisher. The newspaper reported on its website March March 8 ( that McClatchy, its corporate parent, announced that the 65-year-old Quarles is retiring as of June 3. Quarles called his 16 years in his post "a heck of a ride." Under his leadership, The News & Observer doubled its roster of free community newspapers, launched Walter Magazine and expanded its online presence. During that time, the newspaper was hurt by economic forces that reduced advertising revenue and triggered major reductions in personnel at newspapers nationwide.

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US cites Chinese Internet filters as trade barrier 

The American government has cited Chinese Internet controls as a trade barrier in a report that comes as Beijing tries to block its public from seeing news online about the finances of leaders' families. Chinese filters, which block access to websites including the Google search engine and social media such as Twitter, are a "significant burden" on businesses, the U.S. Trade Representative said in an annual report on trade conditions. It gave no indication Washington plans to take action but highlights the economic cost of pervasive Chinese censorship that also draws criticism from human rights and pro-democracy activists. On such issues, Washington is at odds with Beijing, which sees strict control over information as essential to protecting the Communist Party's monopoly on power.

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Arizona rule restricts reporters who reject background check 

The Arizona House of Representatives has imposed new security policies that restrict access for journalists who refuse to submit to extensive background checks, drawing objections from news organizations that the new rules stifle the democratic process. The Associated Press and other media organizations objected to the sudden imposition of background checks for reporters well-known to the lawmakers at the state Capitol. As a result, they were denied access to the House floor March 7 and covered the day's debate from the public gallery area. Lawmakers argued over the new changes for the first hour of the session as Democrats blasted the policy and Republicans stood by their decision to require more rigorous security screening, putting journalists in the unusual position of becoming part of the legislative debate. The new rules were imposed by House Speaker David Gowan, a Republican.

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Feds approve Gannett $280M purchase of Journal Media Group

Federal regulators have approved media company Gannett's purchase of newspaper company Journal Media Group for $280 million. The two companies said March 7 that the U.S. Department of Justice has approved the purchase. The deal is expected to close March 8. Journal Media publications dot the Midwest and South, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee. Industry experts say the publications are a natural fit for Gannett's strategy of maximizing short-term profits through centralization and managing the decline of publications in less competitive markets. McLean, Virginia-based Gannett moved all of its television companies into a separate company, Tegna, last summer. Gannett's flagship publication is USA Today. In February, Gannett said the Journal Media Group purchase would add approximately $450 million in annual revenue.

Lindbeck to challenge longest-serving Republican congressman

A longtime Alaska journalist and former media executive will challenge the longest serving Republican in the U.S. House. Steve Lindbeck announced in a release March 7 he will run for Alaska's lone House seat as a Democrat. U.S. Rep. Don Young has been in office since 1973 and is seeking re-election. Lindbeck is a former sports editor at the defunct Anchorage Times and an associated editor at the former Anchorage Daily News. He worked at the Alaska Humanities Forum from 1991 to 2000, before becoming chief executive officer of Alaska Public Media. He says it's time for a different style of leadership and a new direction that brings Alaskans together to address problems. He plans his first appearance as a candidate March 8 in Fairbanks.

Sen. Jim Dabakis is one of the people trying to buy The Salt Lake Tribune

A prominent Utah state senator confirmed that he’s part of a group that wants to buy The Salt Lake Tribune. Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, is one of five people in the group pursuing the purchase. He declined to say who the others are, but he has described the group in the past as “prominent, civic-minded Utah community leaders.” “My motivation really is to make sure that the newspaper is independent and is fiscally sound for the foreseeable future,” Dabakis said Tuesday. He added that while The Tribune’s news reporting should remain independent, he thinks it’s “incredibly important for this community and this state to have a strong, progressive viewpoint, editorially.” Dabakis has been among the high-profile critics of a renegotiation in fall 2013 of The Tribune’s longstanding business partnership with its chief rival, the LDS Church-owned Deseret News.

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Gawker seeks new trial in privacy case over sex video

News website Gawker Media is seeking a new trial in the Hulk Hogan invasion of privacy case, in which the former pro wrestler sued over a video posted of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife. In court filings filed in Florida, lawyers for Gawker asked for a new trial or for the total of $140.1 million in damages awarded to Hogan be vacated or drastically reduced. "Gawker is now beginning the process of challenging the jury's verdict in a trial where key evidence was wrongly withheld and the jury was not properly instructed on the constitutional standards for newsworthiness," Gawker wrote in a statement. "So we expect to be fully vindicated. And even if the verdict were to stand, there is no justification for awarding tens of millions of dollars never seen by victims of death and serious injuries."

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9-year-old reporter defends homicide coverage after backlash 

A 9-year-old reporter who wrote about a suspected murder in her small Pennsylvania town is defending herself after some locals lashed out about a young girl covering violent crimes. Hilde Kate Lysiak got a tip April 2 about something untoward happening on 9th street in Selinsgrove, about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia. She went to the scene to get the details and posted a story and video clip on her website the "Orange Street News" later that day. Soon after, her Facebook page and YouTube channel were clogged with negative comments urging her to "play with dolls" and have a tea party, and questioning her parents' judgment in letting her do such work. "It kind of gets me angry because, just because I'm 9 doesn't mean I can't do a great story," she said April 5. "It doesn't mean I can't be a reporter."

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Trove of data on offshore accounts prompts probe, questions 

The release of a vast trove of documents and data on offshore financial dealings of wealthy, famous and powerful people around the world is raising questions over the widespread use of such tactics to avoid taxes and skirt financial oversight. Reports by an international coalition of media outlets on an investigation with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists brought to light details of offshore assets and services of politicians, businesses and celebrities, based on a cache of 11.5 million records. Among the countries with past or present political figures named in the reports are Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina. Vladimir Putin's spokesman claimed that the Russian president was the "main target" of the investigation, which he suggested was the result of "Putinophobia" and aimed at smearing the country in a parliamentary election year.

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Oakland Tribune name about to disappear

The Oakland Tribune has escaped death before, from the era in the 1980s when its then-owner Gannett renamed the newspaper "EastBay Today," to the years when it dropped the city's name from its regal Old English-style nameplate and styled itself "The Tribune." But to longtime Oaklanders and media watchers, the latest reimagining of the storied 142-year-old paper feels like the final gasp. On Monday, April 4, the Bay Area News Group's last daily Oakland Tribune hit the streets, and replaced Tuesday morning by the East Bay Times, a consolidation of the Tribune with the Contra Costa Times, the Daily Review in Hayward, and the Argus, which serves Fremont. The San Jose Mercury News will similarly absorb the San Mateo County Times and drop "San Jose." Meanwhile, subscribers in Oakland, Hayward and Fremont will receive news inserts bearing the old local dailies' names each Friday.

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Fox's Kelly: O'Reilly, CNN should have done more for me

Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly is taking notes on who she feels has been supportive when she was attacked by Donald Trump, and colleague Bill O'Reilly and CNN are both on her list. Kelly, in an interview with Charlie Rose to air on CBS' "Sunday Morning" this weekend, said she wished O'Reilly had done more to defend her when he interviewed Trump before a January debate that the Republican skipped because he wanted Kelly removed as a moderator. She also wishes CNN hadn't aired portions of a Trump rally on the night of that debate. Her remarks laid bare tension between Fox's two top personalities. O'Reilly's prime-time show has been the most-watched on cable news for many years, but has been challenged recently in the ratings by Kelly, whose show airs directly after his.

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Digital First Media buys the Orange County Register

A lawyer says the owner of the Los Angeles Daily News has bought the Orange County Register and another Southern California newspaper. Freedom Communications' attorney Alan Friedman said Denver-based Digital First Media closed the deal March 31 to buy the Register and the Press-Enterprise of Riverside for $49.8 million in cash. Digital First was runner up to purchase Freedom's newspapers at a bankruptcy auction, but the Justice Department got a court order blocking lead bidder Tribune Publishing from buying the papers over antitrust issues. With the purchase, Digital First owns 11 daily newspapers in Southern California. Freedom filed for federal bankruptcy protection in November after an aggressive expansion in print journalism. 

Turkish security manhandles journalists at Washington event

It was a tense start for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit March 31 to Washington for a nuclear security summit, as his security guards tussled with several journalists covering a speech. Turkish security officials tried to remove journalist Adem Yavuz Arslan from the Brookings Institution, the venue for Erdogan's speech. The policy institute's security guards intervened, asking the Turkish officials to leave the room. Earlier, the officials had stopped the journalist — who works for opposition media — from entering. A second Turkish journalist said Erdogan's bodyguards kicked him in the leg, injuring him outside the event and prevented him from attending. He said he was left bloodied by the kick to his leg and could not get by security to attend, although he was on the guest list.

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Butler Eagle owner buys alternative Pittsburgh City Paper

The publisher of western Pennsylvania's Butler Eagle daily newspaper is buying the alternative weekly Pittsburgh City Paper. Eagle Media Corp. president Vernon Wise III announced the deal March 31. The City Paper has provided entertainment and cultural news for 25 years. Steel City Media is selling the weekly to focus attention on the Pittsburgh radio stations it owns, including 92.9 FM and BOB FM 96.9. Vance Smith, a fifth-generation member of the Wise family, was named publisher of City Paper, which has been printed in Butler for about 10 years. Butler is about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. Smith says no personnel changes are expected at City Paper. Eagle Media Corp. also owns the twice-weekly Cranberry Eagle, Harmony Outdoor billboard company and the Butler Color Press, which produces advertising circulars.

TV station 'ends relationship' with anchor after online post

Pittsburgh television station WTAE says it has ended its relationship with anchorwoman Wendy Bell over racial comments she posted on Facebook about an ambush shooting at a cookout that left five people and an unborn baby dead. In a statement March 30, parent company Hearst Television said Bell's comments were "inconsistent with the company's ethics and journalistic standards." Bell, who is white, speculated about the identities of the two men who fatally shot five black people in the poor Pittsburgh suburb of Willkinsburg on March 9. In her March 21 post on her anchor Facebook page, she said in part: "You needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. ... They are young black men, likely in their teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They've grown up there. They know the police. They've been arrested."

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Charge against Trump campaign manager eclipses Wis. Race 

The 2016 presidential race may have descended on Wisconsin — but most of the campaign buzz surrounds an incident that happened nearly a month ago in Florida. Police there charged Donald Trump's campaign manager with simple battery Tuesday, March 28, as a videotaped altercation with a reporter transformed what was another messy campaign sideshow into a criminal court summons. Trump decried the charges. Jupiter, Florida, police determined that probable cause existed to file a criminal complaint against the Republican front-runner's most trusted political adviser, Corey Lewandowski, for an altercation that took place after a campaign appearance earlier in the month. Police on Tuesday morning issued Lewandowski a notice to appear before a judge on May 4 for the misdemeanor charge, which carries up to a year in jail.

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Obama crystallizes criticism of 2016 campaign coverage

President Barack Obama's turn as a media critic this week may not have thrilled many journalists, but it has forced a new look at how a media-saturated presidential campaign is being covered. Obama's challenge to reporters to be more probing comes at a time the media is facing two seemingly contradictory strains of criticism for its treatment of Republican front-runner Donald Trump: that it has covered him too much, or not done enough to look into his background and promises. Obama, speaking Monday night at a Syracuse University awards ceremony honoring the late political journalist Robin Toner, said he's not the only one dismayed by the tone of the campaign to succeed him. "I was going to call it a 'carnival atmosphere,' but that implies fun," he said. He said he always believed there was a price to pay if a politician said one thing and did another and wondered "in the current atmosphere, is that still true?"

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NFL demands retraction of New York Times concussion story

The NFL has demanded The New York Times retract a story that called the league's concussion research flawed and likened the NFL's handling of head trauma to the tobacco industry's response to the dangers of cigarettes. In a letter from its law firm to the general counsels of the newspaper and obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, the league said it was defamed by the Times. The NFL added the story published last Thursday did not "present a shred of evidence to support its thesis that the NFL intentionally concealed concussion research data." The NFL also said it will "more broadly reserve all of the league's rights and remedies," a veiled threat of legal action. Times sports editor Jason Stallman said, "We see no reason to retract anything."

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Pele sues Samsung over improper use of image in New York Times ad

Brazilian soccer legend Pele is suing Samsung in Chicago federal court, claiming the electronics company improperly used his identity in The New York Times. The lawsuit was filed in March by attorney Fred Sperling on behalf of Pele, 75, claiming Samsung used a Pele look-alike in an October advertisement for televisions. The ad's wording doesn't mention Pele, but claims the elderly black man pictured in it "very closely resembles" Pele with a white soccer player performing a "modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pele." The lawsuit says the ad will confuse consumers and hurt the value of his endorsement rights. It seeks $30 million in damages. Pele has endorsement deals with other companies, including Volkswagen, Subway, Emirates and Procter and Gamble.

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Obama calls on journalists to hold candidates accountable 

President Barack Obama on Monday again bemoaned the political environment surrounding this year's presidential elections and called on journalists to hold candidates and themselves to a higher standard. Obama spoke at the presentation of the Toner Prize, named for Robin Toner, the first woman to be national political correspondent for The New York Times. During her nearly 25 years at the newspaper, Toner covered five presidential campaigns. She passed away in 2008. Obama said the No. 1 question he gets when traveling the world is "What is happening in America?" He said it's because people abroad understand America is the place where you "can't afford completely crazy politics," and they care about the most powerful nation on earth functioning effectively.

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CBS anchor Scott Pelley to receive Walter Cronkite Award

"CBS Evening News" Anchor and Managing Editor Scott Pelley will receive the 2016 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The university announced Monday that Pelley will receive the award during a Nov. 21 luncheon in Phoenix. The newscast will be broadcast that day live from the Cronkite School on the university's downtown Phoenix campus. Pelley said in a statement released by the university that he's humbled to receive the award because it's named after Cronkite, whom Pelley said he knew, admired and loved. Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan said Pelley represents Cronkite's values of accuracy, objectivity and integrity. Pelley joined CBS News in 1989 and he became anchor in 2011.

David Gregory joins CNN as political analyst

Former NBC "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory is joining CNN as a Washington-based political analyst. CNN said Monday that Gregory will appear primarily on "New Day," the network's morning news show. Gregory left NBC News after 20 years in 2014. The network's management, concerned about fading ratings on a show that dominated Sunday-morning political television for years, replaced him with Chuck Todd. Gregory is also the author of "How's Your Faith," which discusses his spiritual and religious background. CNN said it has also hired political consultant Angela Rye as an analyst. The Washington-based Rye is former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

Virginia prosecutor to oversee dispute involving slain reporter's dad

A special Virginia prosecutor will determine if charges are warranted in a dispute involving the father of a TV reporter who was fatally shot during a live broadcast. The Roanoke Times ( ) reports that Franklin County state Sen. Bill Stanley told police he had been threatened by Andy Parker, the father of Roanoke reporter Alison Parker. Danville Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Newman has been appointed special prosecutor to oversee the investigation. Sen. Stanley told police that Parker had threatened him via a Facebook message in October. He says the message also accused Stanley of failing to offer condolences after the shooting. Parker has become a gun control advocate in Virginia following his daughter's death. He says he "spoke regrettably" and has apologized to Stanley. Newman says the investigation is still ongoing.

Publisher-executive editor leaving South Jersey Times

A veteran newsman who served as the publisher and executive editor of a southern New Jersey newspaper will be leaving at month's end. The South Jersey Times says both of Joseph Owens' positions were eliminated as part of a restructuring this month. He'd held the posts since May 2013. Owens has worked as an editor and reporter for more than 30 years, winning numerous awards. He previously was editor and vice president of content at The Express-Times in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he helped lead the launch of its website. Before that, he served in various positions at the Times Herald in Norristown, Pennsylvania, including managing editor, reporter, sports editor and columnist. A Philadelphia native, Owens started his newspaper career in 1978 as a 15-year-old copy boy at the now-defunct Philadelphia Bulletin.

Wrong number? Trump's TV telephone interviews in spotlight 

In television news, a telephone interview is typically frowned upon. Donald Trump's fondness for them is changing habits and causing consternation in newsrooms, while challenging political traditions. Two organizations are circulating petitions to encourage Sunday morning political shows to hang up on Trump. Some prominent holdouts, like Fox's Chris Wallace, refuse to do on-air phoners. Others argue that a phone interview is better than no interview at all. Except in news emergencies, producers usually avoid phoners because television is a visual medium — a face-to-face discussion between a newsmaker and questioner is preferable to a picture of an anchor listening to a disembodied voice. It's easy to see why Trump likes them. There's no travel or TV makeup involved; if he wishes to, Trump can talk to Matt Lauer without changing out of his pajamas. They often put an interviewer at a disadvantage, since it's harder to interrupt or ask follow-up questions, and impossible to tell if a subject is being coached.

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Al-Jazeera to slash 500 jobs, many in its Qatar headquarters 

Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based broadcaster, said Sunday it is slashing about 500 jobs a little more than two months after announcing the closure of its U.S. offshoot. The cutbacks come as 2022 World Cup host Qatar refocuses its spending priorities amid a steep drop in prices for oil and gas, the backbone of the OPEC nation's economy. The Al-Jazeera Media Network described the cuts as part of a "workforce optimization initiative" tied to an evolving media landscape. They will enable Al-Jazeera to "maintain a leading position and continue our recognized commitment to high quality, independent and hard-hitting journalism around the world," acting Director General Mostefa Souag said in a statement. The network did not make officials available for comment, but confirmed it currently employs about 4,500 people. Most of those losing their jobs are based in Qatar.

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Inquirer, five other newspapers, oppose AG’s bid for secrecy

Five news organizations, including the parent company of the Inquirer, the Daily News, and, on Friday, March 25, urged the judge in Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane's upcoming criminal trial to reject her request to file a key defense argument in secret. Kane has asked Montgomery County Court Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy to permit her to file under seal a brief contending that she is the victim of a "selective and vindictive" prosecution. If her request is granted, her argument could be read only by the judge and Kane's prosecutors, not by the public. Joining Philadelphia Media Network in its request were the Allentown Morning Call, the Harrisburg Patriot-News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Legal Intelligencer.

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Mississipi’s Sun Herald names its first woman publisher 

Shannon Wall has been named president and publisher of the Gulfport, Mississippi, Sun Herald and will assume her new role on April 1. The newspaper reports ( ) Wall is the first woman publisher of the Sun Herald and succeeds Glen Nardi, who announced his retirement in February. Wall, 45, has been the Sun Herald's advertising director since joining the company in 2008, overseeing multi-media sales and revenue development. During her tenure, she has been key to the media company's digital sales transformation and instrumental to the launch of the Sun Herald's highly-acclaimed Velocity Digital Agency.

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Greatest show on Earth: The 2016 presidential campaign 

Jon Casey, a 28-year-old technician from Scranton, Pennsylvania, spends hours absorbed in delegate counts and debate strategy instead of his usual winter evening routine of watching college basketball. For Casey and tens of thousands of other Americans now, the presidential campaign is their preferred form of entertainment. Debates routinely surpass the most popular prime-time shows in audience size. The most-watched cable network for eight of the past nine weeks has been either Fox News Channel or CNN rather than perennials ESPN and HBO. The news stations air countdown clocks until the next debate, town hall or poll closing — anything to let viewers know that more politics is on the way. Casey usually watches CNN, although he'll switch to MSNBC or Fox for more action. Lisamarie Vana, a symphony violinist who lives north of Dallas, rarely strays from Fox.

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Will Americans like Blendle, the iTunes for news? 

Americans pay to download music. They pay for TV episodes. Will they pay a few cents for news articles to escape ads and bypass subscription requirements? The news service Blendle launche March 23 in the U.S. with 20 news outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek. You pay 9 cents to 49 cents to read a story (with a refund if you don't like it). For news outlets, it means a new source of revenue and a potentially younger audience. Readers can cut through the sludge of online content and get higher-quality stories from human editors and software formulas. Although Blendle has more than 100,000 paying, active users in the Netherlands and Germany, it could be a hard sell for Americans used to free stories online.

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Mason City publisher leaving to lead North Dakota newspaper

The publisher of the Mason City Globe Gazette and Courier Communications in Iowa has been named publisher of The Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota. The Globe Gazette reports ( ) that David Braton also will oversee operations of Lee Agri-Media. All of the publications are owned by Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises. Braton succeeds Brian Kroshus, who resigned in October to seek the Republican nomination for state auditor. Braton joined Lee in 1999 as sales director at The Tribune. Later he became publisher of the Beatrice Daily Sun in Nebraska before moving to Waterloo, Iowa, in 2004 as adverting director of The Courier. Braton was named publisher of Courier Communications in March 2008 and became publisher of the Globe Gazette and its affiliated publications this past December, succeeding the late Howard Query.

Baltimore Sun's building for sale

The owner of The Baltimore Sun's office building and parking garage wants to sell the property. Tribune Media Co., which spun off newspapers in 2014, has said it plans to sell newspaper properties, which include signature buildings in Los Angeles and Chicago. Tribune sold the property that housed The Sun's printing press to Sagamore Development for $46.5 million in 2014. The Baltimore Sun ( ) reports that the firm is working with real estate agency CBRE on the sale of the Calvert Street building, but there's no firm timeline for a sale. The state values the 452,000-square-foot building at about $12.5 million for tax purposes. Part of the building is empty. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Trif Alatzas said in an email to staff that a sale wouldn't affect the paper's lease.

Republican Party settles with Roanoke publisher

The publisher of a news site has settled a lawsuit she filed against the Republican Party of Virginia over an alleged copyright infringement. Roanoke Free Press publisher Valerie Garner reached a settlement last week with the GOP for $9,000 over the party's use of a picture she took of a Democratic politician that was used on political mailers. The Roanoke Times reports ( ) that Garner has also settled a similar case with a political blogger for $6,000, according to her attorney. Both lawsuits involved the alleged unauthorized use of a picture Garner posted on her website of Democratic Del. Ram Rasoul.

Hulk Hogan sex-video verdict could have limited impact 

Hulk Hogan's $140 million courtroom victory against Gawker for posting a sex tape of the former pro wrestler was many things, including a lurid inside look at the business of celebrity gossip and a dispute over what constitutes newsworthiness. But legal experts generally agree on what it wasn't: a serious threat to the First Amendment. At this point, it is only a jury verdict, and an appeals court could reduce it or throw it out altogether. Even if it is upheld, its effects could be narrow, because in running the video, the sex-and-gossip site did something most media organizations wouldn't even consider doing, legal experts said.

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Must-see TV: Cubans marvel at rare questioning of Castro

Cubans were glued to their televisions on Monday, many watching in a state of shock as President Raul Castro faced tough questions from American journalists who challenged him to defend Cuba's record on human rights and political prisoners. In a country where publicly questioning the authority of Castro and his brother and predecessor Fidel is unthinkable for most, and where the docile state-run media almost always toe the party line, the live broadcast was must-see TV. Some also marveled at tough questioning of President Barack Obama, simply unaccustomed to seeing any leader challenged in such a way. "This is pure history and I never thought I'd see something like this," said Marlene Pino, a 47-year-old engineer. "It's difficult to quickly assimilate what's happening here. For me it's extraordinary to see this."

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Judge approves sale of 2 Southern California newspapers 

A federal bankruptcy judge approved Digital First Media's $52.3 million purchase of the Orange County Register and another Southern California newspaper Monday after antitrust concerns scuttled plans for Tribune Publishing Co. to take over the papers. Freedom Communications decided over the weekend to sell the Register and Press-Enterprise of Riverside to Digital First after another judge blocked a higher bid by the owner of the Los Angeles Times. The move will give Denver-based Digital First, which publishes the Los Angeles Daily News, 11 daily newspapers and more than a dozen community weeklies in the greater Los Angeles area.

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Gannett investing in Billy Penn news site, allowing growth

Gannett Co. Inc. has taken a minority stake in the company that owns Billy Penn, a digital news and information site in Philadelphia. The McLean, Va.-based newspaper publisher said Monday that its investment will allow Spirited Media to expand its mobile-first approach in Philadelphia and to enter new local markets. Billy Penn says the investment will allow it to add several positions. It says the locations of Spirited Media's new markets have not yet been determined. The news site describes its business model as a blending of original and curated content, a heavy social media presence, an active voice and a focus on events. Billy Penn launched its website in October 2014. Gannett's flagship publication is USA Today. The amount of its investment was not disclosed.

Next in Hulk Hogan sex tape suit: punitive damages, appeals 

The eye-popping $115 million award for former pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan isn't the final round in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media. Next up, the jury will return to court Monday, March 21, to award punitive damages in the case that's been closely watched by First Amendment experts, media lawyers and privacy advocates. And even when the jury's done, there will be appeals. "Given the key evidence and the most important witness in this case were withheld from the jury, we all knew the appeals court would need to resolve this case," said Gawker founder Nick Denton. The jurors reached their decision March 18. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, sued Gawker for $100 million for posting a video of him having sex with his former best friend's wife. Hogan contended the 2012 post violated his privacy.

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To preserve language, South Dakota website posts news in Lakota 

A new website created with a primarily Native American audience in mind is posting news, features, sports and weather entirely in Lakota — the first of its kind to do so — in an attempt to help preserve a language that after forced assimilation policies is now spoken by fewer than 2,000 people. The site was developed by partners who have been involved in several initiatives to embed the Lakota language in various aspects of life. Their goal with — which translates to "dream" — is to get the language out of the classroom. Other media outlets provide news of interest to the community, but in English.’s local news content comes from two area weeklies that mostly focus on Native American issues. The site has an agreement with those weeklies to translate stories into Lakota, with links back to the original articles.

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Wrongful death suit filed over Massachusetts plane crash

The family of the philanthropist and Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner killed in a Massachusetts plane crash has filed a lawsuit against the aircraft's manufacturer and seven other parties. The Boston Globe ( ) reports that the wrongful death suit filed in Boston this week by the children of Lewis Katz seeks unspecified damages. Katz was one of seven people who died when the Gulfstream IV overshot a runway during takeoff at Hanscom Field in Bedford in May 2014, crashed and burst into flames. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed pilot error and aircraft design faults. The suit says the defendants caused the crash by "their negligence" and "by manufacturing and/or designing a defective product." A Gulfstream spokesman refused comment. A spokesman for the state agency that runs Hanscom referred to the NTSB report.

Chinese-language newspaper settles pay suit for $7.8 million 

The Chinese Daily News will pay $7.8 million to settle a decade-old lawsuit that claimed it cheated more than 200 workers out of overtime pay, it was announced March 18. The 2004 lawsuit said that the largest-circulating Chinese-language paper in the United States forced reporters, sales and production staff and even delivery drivers to work long hours and six-day weeks without overtime pay, meals or rest breaks. The lawsuit said the paper also denied workers proper vacation pay. The Chinese Daily News has a readership of about 120,000 and is based in Monterey Park, an eastern Los Angeles suburb with a large Asian-American population that swelled in the 1980s with an influx of immigrants from Taiwan. The paper is one of several that serve a large and diverse Asian population throughout the San Gabriel Valley that also includes immigrants from China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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Court: Media can't access police files during criminal case 

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that the public is not entitled to access police records while a criminal case is being prosecuted or during an appeal. In a sweeping opinion written by Justice Sharon Lee, the state's highest court found that state law does not allow access to information contained in police investigative files. The opinion said a state rule of criminal procedure known as Rule 16 exempts those files from the Public Records Act. Only criminal defendants in some instances, and not the media or interested citizens, are allowed access to the files. The opinion stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a statewide media coalition led by The Tennessean and including The Associated Press. It began after a Tennessean reporter was denied records in a case involving four former Vanderbilt football players accused in the rape of a student in a campus dorm in June 2013.

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PBS to launch weekly series for 'civil' debate of issues

PBS says it's launching a weekly series as a forum for what it called "spirited and civil" discussion of national issues. The series, "Point Taken," will be hosted by journalist Carlos Watson, PBS said Thursday, March 17. Each half-hour episode will focus on a single topic, with guests including reporters, artists and experts exploring it from different sides. The public will be invited to take part through polling and social media, PBS said, calling such participation a core part of the series. "Point Taken" arrives during a raucous political year. PBS said it's intended to help Americans find common ground through thoughtful dialogue, with Watson citing the election and the Oscars diversity controversy as examples of issues ripe for debate. "Point Taken" is produced by public TV station WGBH Boston's Studio Six. The series will air at 11 p.m. EDT beginning April 5. 

CBS plans to sell its radio business

CBS Corporation is looking to sell its continued ownership of its radio assets — including its six stattions in Detroit — over the next year, CEO Les Moonves said Tuesday, March 15, at CBS's Investor Day in New York City. "We will begin to officially explore strategic options for radio as a whole," Moonves said. "Just as we did (when CBS spun off its outdoor advertising in 2014), the aim here is to unlock value for our shareholders. There are a number of different options for doing this, and we'll be looking at all of them. ...When we're through, we'll have done something that's right for shareholders of CBS and for the CBS Radio business, too." Moonves's announcement comes less than a year after CBS Radio Detroit laid off more than a dozen staffers, including on-air talent, producers and salespeople.

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Missouri House passes limits on student reporter censorship

The Missouri House has passed a bill giving student journalists more leeway over their publications. Lawmakers voted 131-12 Tuesday, March 15, to limit the power of public schools to censor student media, including publications financed by the school. Administrators would still be able to block content that is slanderous, libelous or otherwise breaks laws. Rep. Elijah Haahr said his bill would give students similar protections to professional journalists. He added that Missouri should make it clear free speech is valued after the state drew national attention for confrontations between University of Missouri faculty and student journalists. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Report: Texts, bold proposition led to coach's firing 

Alleged sexual harassment that led to the firing of a University of California, Berkeley assistant basketball coach involved a female journalist who was sent sexual innuendo-filled text messages and whom the coach acknowledged "trying to trick" into his apartment after a game, according to an investigative report released Tuesday, March 15. Written findings from the university's seven-month investigation of former assistant men's basketball coach Yann Hufnagel show the inquiry was opened after the reporter sent an email detailing the unwelcome advances to head coach Cuonzo Martin, with whom she had communicated her concerns by phone six weeks earlier. The allegations included an encounter with Hufnagel in the parking garage of his apartment building a year ago. The names of the reporter and the news organization she worked for were blacked-out from the report.

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Town calls for demolition of abandoned newspaper building

The City of Beckley, West Virginia, is calling for the demolition of the old Beckley Newspapers building, which sits empty inside the city's downtown historic district. The Register-Herald of Beckley reports that the city has submitted a demolition proposal to the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. Mayor Bill O'Brien called the building, which had once been home to The Raleigh Register and Beckley Post-Herald, an eyesore and a hazard. Preservation Office Director Susan Pierce says the 1950s building may be architecturally significant and may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. County officials say there have not been any estimates for how much renovation or demolition would cost. An adjacent building that also held the newspapers is occupied by a law firm and is not in danger of being demolished.

Proposal to end sales tax exemption for newspapers stalls

The sponsor of a proposal to end a Tennessee sales tax exemption for newspapers has removed the bill from consideration for the year. State Sen. Todd Gardenhire said he introduced the bill because of questions about whether the exemption "was justified in today's environment." The Chattanooga Republican said there are too many exemptions in state law, and that he wants to re-examine the issue next year. According to a legislative analysis, the state forgoes about $11 million a year because periodicals aren't subject to the tax. Local governments miss out on another $3.9 million. Gardenhire also sponsored a bill to allow legal notices to be published online instead of in printed newspapers. That measure failed to receive a motion in the State and Local Government Committee last month.








Group bids $45.5 million for Southern California newspapers

A media group has submitted a $45.5 million bid for the Orange County Register and Press-Enterprise newspapers ahead of the planned auction of Freedom Communications' assets. Digital First Media, which owns nine newspapers and websites in Southern California, made the so-called stalking-horse bid, the Los Angeles Daily News, one of the group's papers, reported Monday ( The bid comes ahead of Wednesday's planned auction and is expected to be joined by offers from Tribune Publishing, which owns the Los Angeles Times, and an investor group led by Freedom's current management team. A hearing to approve the newspapers' sale is scheduled for next Monday in federal bankruptcy court.

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Breitbart reporter involved in Donald Trump incident resigns 

The Breitbart News reporter allegedly roughed up last week at a Donald Trump press conference has resigned from the conservative website, saying that she can't work for an organization that doesn't support her, and three other news employees followed her out the door. Michelle Fields, who said that she was grabbed by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as she attempted to question the candidate last Tuesday in Florida, was joined in her resignation by Breitbart editors Ben Shapiro and Jarrett Stepman, along with national security correspondent Jordan Schachtel. Police in Jupiter, Florida, said Monday their investigation of the incident is ongoing. No charges have been filed. Lewandowski has denied the allegation. Trump told CNN that the incident, also witnessed by a reporter from The Washington Post, was probably "made up."

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Reporter tells police she was battered at Trump event 

A reporter for a conservative news website filed a police report Friday in Fort Lauderdale alleging that she was battered at a Donald Trump press conference in Florida. Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields filed the report with the Jupiter, Florida, police department. Police spokesman Officer Adam Brown released a heavily redacted copy of the report, saying specific details are confidential as part of an ongoing investigation. On the Breitbart website, Fields has said she was grabbed by the arm and yanked as she tried to interview Trump after a Tuesday, March 8,  press conference while the Republican front-runner mingled with reporters. She posted photos of her bruised arm.

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Reporter ordered to share notes connected to priest attacks

A judge has ordered a reporter to hand over all his records from interviews with a Catholic priest who was assaulted during a 2014 robbery and murder in Phoenix. The Arizona Republic reports ( ) that the judge ruled that editor and sometimes writer John D'Anna's First Amendment protections are overshadowed by the fair-trial rights of homicide suspect Gary Michael Moran. Moran has pleaded not guilty to charges that he badly beat the Rev. Joseph Terra and fatally shot the Rev. Kenneth Walker in the June 2014 attack at the Mother of Mercy Mission. D'Anna's notes and subsequent articles from last year contain recollections of the crime by Terra, information about the gun the priest owned that was used in the attack and Terra's comments about forgiveness.

Lufkin News circulation director Ricks to become publisher

Southern Newspapers Inc. has announced that Jenniffer Ricks, circulation director of The Lufkin News, has been promoted to become the paper's publisher. The announcement Wednesday ( ) says Ricks will assume her new duties July 1 and will succeed Neice Bell, who's been tapped to be publisher of The Kerrville Daily Times. Ricks has been circulation director of The Lufkin News, and also the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel, since 2003. She previously worked for Thompson Newspapers as a customer service manager and has served as circulation director at several newspapers in Ohio. Southern Newspapers is the Houston-based parent company of the News, Daily Sentinel, Daily Times and other newspapers in Texas and Alabama.

Gawker lawyer cross-examines media professor in Hogan trial 

A lawyer for the Gawker gossip website grilled a journalism professor March 10 about news articles that are covered under the First Amendment, even though they contain lurid content.  As testimony continued for a fourth day in wrestler Hulk Hogan's lawsuit over a sex video, attorney Michael Sullivan cross-examined University of Florida journalism professor Mike Foley, about multiple news articles — many of them with racy content about strippers, nudity and at one point, toe-sucking. Although some publications don't meet Foley's standards for "good" journalism, he asked, "Are all of those publishers guaranteed the rights of the First Amendment?" Foley said that in his mind, if a publication were to focus on, say, child pornography, then no. Otherwise, he said, "I believe they all operate under the freedom of the press."

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Brokaw to deliver Ole Miss commencement address

NBC's Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw returns to Oxford, Mississippi, to deliver the 163rd Ole Miss commencement address. Brokaw, the only person to host all three major NBC News programs: "Today," ''Nightly News" and "Meet the Press," will speak to graduating students at 9 a.m. on May 14 in the Grove. WMC-TV reports Brokaw also served as a guest lecturer for the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media in 2010. Chancellor Jeff Vitter says they're looking forward to Brokaw's insights. Vitter describes Brokaw as "one of the most astute observers of our culture and its evolution over the past half-century" who has "enjoyed a front-row seat at some of the most significant events of our time, and his discernments on American politics and life are remarkable."

Mother accepts rotary award on behalf of slain journalist

A New Hampshire journalist who was executed more than a year and a half ago after being held hostage by the Islamic State in Syria has been posthumously recognized by a local rotary club. Foster's Daily Democrat reports the Rochester Rotary gave the Paul Harris Fellow Award to James Foley. The award recognizes people who contribute or have contributions made in their name of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Foley's mother Diane accepted the award on Monday. She says James deserves the award because he loved the community and helping others. Foley says her son's death continues to impact people touched by James and through the James W. Foley Foundation, a group dedicated to helping American hostages, their families, freelance journalists and disadvantaged children.

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Hearst Connecticut Media Group names new publisher

Hearst Connecticut Media Group has a new publisher. Paul Barbetta officially began his new job Tuesday, March 8. Barbetta has served as senior vice president of circulation for Hearst Newspapers since 2012, a role he will continue to hold. Before joining Hearst, Barbetta served as senior vice president of operations and logistics for CBA Industries, where he was responsible for the packaging, production and distribution of advertising inserts to 12 million homes weekly. He has also worked for Newsday Inc., The Baltimore Sun and USA Today. The Hearst Connecticut Media Group is a network of nine daily and weekly newspapers and their associated websites. It includes the daily newspapers the Connecticut Post, The News-Times, The Advocate and the Greenwich Time. Barbetta succeeds Henry Haitz.

AP journalists recall scenes from Japan's 3-fold disaster

As Japan's triple disaster — quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis — unfolded after March 11, 2011, Associated Press journalists fanned out across the northern region of Tohoku to report and record what had happened in pictures, stories and video footage. Here, some of them recall memories and scenes that haunt them to this day, including cars atop three-story buildings, the chirp of radiation scanners, despondent survivors searching for loved ones and a village saved by a mayor’s persistence.

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Publication that came out of newspaper strike digitized

A weekly publication that came out of a Detroit newspaper strike has been digitized by the Wayne State University Libraries. The Detroit Sunday Journal was produced by newspaper union workers who went on strike from The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press in 1995. The recently launched digital collection contains all issues of the Sunday Journal, which last published in November 1999. The university says the newspaper strike ended in 1997 but the Sunday Journal continued to run as workers were rehired and ongoing disputes were settled. The weekly tabloid newspaper was available through mail, in stores and at corner boxes in southeastern Michigan.

Missouri Senate to delay media move, citing cost concerns

Missouri Senate leaders have decided to delay moving the news media off the chamber floor because of cost concerns. Senators had voted earlier this year to remove reporters from their longtime seats near the dais effective March 29. Media members were to instead work from a renovated section of a visitors' gallery overlooking the chamber. To complete the project by then would have added more than $44,000 in overtime costs to the price of $127,000. A Senate panel cited those costs Monday while deciding to delay the move until after the session ends in mid-May. The postponement will require a formal rule change to be approved by the chamber. Senators who originally supported the move had raised concerns about reporters overhearing their private conversations and posting details on social media.

Harvard awards journalism prize to The Associated Press

Journalists from The Associated Press who uncovered extensive slave labor in the Thai seafood industry won an investigative reporting prize from Harvard University's Shorenstein Center. The media and public policy research center bestowed the $25,000 Goldsmith Prize to Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan this week for their work on "Seafood from Slaves." An expose by The Associated Press last year found Thai companies ship seafood to the U.S. that was caught and processed by trapped and enslaved workers. As a result of the reports, more than 2,000 trapped fishermen have been rescued, more than a dozen alleged traffickers arrested and millions of dollars' worth of seafood and vessels seized. Thomas E. Patterson, the center's interim director, called the series "investigative journalism at its best."

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Fox earns fans with its own debate performances 

Fox News Channel has emerged a winner of this raucous and impactful debate season with its sharp, detailed questioning of the candidates, not allowing itself to be distracted by the Megyn Kelly-Donald Trump feud or the candidates' increased vitriol. More than civic exercises, the debates are television entertainment spectacles that have forced moderators to become referees as much as interrogators. After the first GOP match last summer on Fox drew 24 million viewers, the audience for only one of the 10 to follow has dipped below 12 million — on par with the top prime-time entertainment series. The March 3 debate averaged just under 17 million viewers. Fox has used the same moderating team of Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace for all three of its debates.

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Fox's Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump largely civil in debate

Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trumptraded pleasantries Thursday, March 3, in their first exchange since igniting a feud last summer then later had a tough back-and-forth over a legal case surrounding the Trump University educational venture. They clashed last summer during the first presidential debate, leaving Trump so steamed he attacked Kelly on social media and skipped a January debate in Iowa because Fox wouldn't remove Kelly as a moderator. Thursday night's 11th GOP debate in Detroit was their first time together on TV since then. Fellow moderator Chris Wallace was the first Fox personality to question Trump. It wasn't until 30 minutes had gone by that Kelly addressed him. "Hi! How are you doing?" Kelly began. Trump replied that it was nice to be with her and that "you're looking well."

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Musicians and media figures celebrate Murdoch-Hall wedding 

Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall celebrated their marriage Saturday, March 5, alongside family members, media executives and music stars in a church considered the spiritual home of British journalism. The media mogul groom and model-actress bride emerged from St. Bride's church in Fleet Street after the service beaming in the London drizzle. Murdoch wore a dark blue suit, Hall an ice-blue silk Vivienne Westwood dress accompanied by silver shoes and a small bouquet of cream flowers. Among some 100 guests at the service were actor Michael Caine, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, artist Tracey Emin, playwright Tom Stoppard, Live Aid founder Bob Geldof and former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, as well as newspaper editors and executives, including Rebekah Brooks, chief of Murdoch's British newspapers. Also attending were the couple's 10 children. Murdoch, 84, has six children from three previous marriages, while 59-year-old Hall has four with her ex-partner Mick Jagger.

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Jury selected in Hulk Hogan-Gawker civil trial

A jury in St Peterburg, Florida, has been selected in the civil trial between pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and a popular news website. Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker for $100 million for publishing a sex tape of him and the wife of a Tampa radio personality. Opening statements were to begin Monday, March 7. The six-member jury will determine if Gawker violated Hogan's right to privacy when it published the video of the former professional wrestler having sex with his best friend's wife. Hogan's attorneys say it garnered 7 million views. Gawker says the publication was a legitimate scoop because Hogan had talked openly about his sex life before, in forums such as Howard Stern's radio show. According to Hogan, the video was made without his knowledge.

Jacob Riis exhibit coming to Library of Congress in April

An exhibition on newspaper reporter and photographer Jacob Riis is coming to The Library of Congress in April. "Jacob Riis: Revealing 'How the Other Half Lives'" opens April 14. The exhibit is a retrospective of Riis' work, which illuminated the conditions in New York City's tenements and led to reform. The free exhibition will be on the second level of the library's Thomas Jefferson Building. It will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It closes Sept. 5. The exhibit combines items from the Library of Congress' collection of Riis' papers and the Museum of the City of New York's collection of his photographs. The exhibit is on display at the Museum of the City of New York through March 20.

Melissa Harris-Perry exit puts focus on MSNBC record 

MSNBC's facelift over the past two years has cut the airtime of some of its most prominent minority personalities — and it is starting to be noticed. The National Association of Black Journalists expressed concerns about MSNBC's record in the wake of the noisy exit of weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry. The network said Thursday, March 3, that it is proud of its diversity effort and noted that people of all ethnicities have seen their roles reduced or eliminated as part of a transition to more breaking news coverage. Harris-Perry, who is black, had been proud of bringing new voices to television on her weekend MSNBC shows. The Wake Forest University professor questioned her future at the network after her show had been pre-empted for several weeks due to weekend political coverage.

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New Jersey's largest newspaper says Christie should resign

New Jersey's largest news organization has joined in the chorus against Republican Gov. Chris Christie and is urging him to resign. The Star-Ledger said in an editorial March 3  that Christie should resign after making it clear that governing the state is a "distant second priority" that comes in behind his personal ambition. Christie's office didn't immediately comment. He scheduled a 1 p.m. news conference to discuss jobs and the economy. Christie ended his Republican presidential campaign last month and has endorsed front-runner Donald Trump. The Star-Ledger says Christie proved in his first term that he has political talent but has shown a lack of character in his second term. Six New Jersey papers published by Gannett have already called on Christie to resign.

3 Kansas newspapers change hands in deal between families 

A group that publishes the Kansas newspaper once edited by late journalism icon William Allen White has bought two family-owned newspapers and a weekly in the state. John Montgomery, Montgomery Communications' 75-year-old president, said March 1 he plans to retire and has sold the Junction City Daily Union, Abilene Reflector-Chronicle and the weekly Wamego Smoke Signal to Chris Walker's White Corp., publisher of the Emporia Gazette. The financial terms of the deal, which took effect March 1, were not disclosed. Montgomery, a fourth-generation newspaperman in a family that has been in publishing for 134 years, said that he plans to keep a Daily Union office and remain in an advisory capacity and "still be involved to the extent Chris wants me to be."

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Neuharth Award to live on, but with different format 

With the death of media mogul Al Neuharth, the award named for the University of South Dakota alumnus will continue but in a different format, a USD official says. Neuharth, who founded USA TODAY, died in 2013 at the age of 89. This year, ESPN sports broadcaster Chris Berman will become the 30th person — and the first sports journalist — to receive the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media. Berman will receive the honor June 21 at the Newseum in Washington, founded by Neuharth. The event was formerly held on the USD campus during Dakota Days homecoming weekend, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported. Neuharth and the award recipient(s) would offer remarks and take questions during an afternoon press conference and an evening awards ceremony. The change in dates and venue represent the start of a new format following Neuharth's death, said Michelle Van Maanen, chair of the USD Media and Journalism Department.

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Trump wants to weaken libel laws amid feuds with reporters 

Donald Trump is threatening to weaken constitutional protections for reporters as president, making it easier for him to sue them. The celebrity businessman turned Republican presidential front-runner told a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, Feb. 27, that he wants to "open up" libel laws. The changes envisioned by Trump would mean that "when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money," he said. Trump added that, should he be elected, news organizations that have criticized him will "have problems." He specifically mentioned The New York Times and The Washington Post. Trump last month threatened to sue the Post after the newspaper wrote an article about the bankruptcy of his Atlantic City casino. On Twitter, Trump has routinely criticized reporters who cover him and their news organizations, including The Associated Press. First Amendment advocates condemned Trump's suggestions.

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Report: Former New York Times reporter took her own life

A former New York Times reporter and UW-Madison graduate living in the Dominican Republic took her own life, The New York Times reported Friday, Feb. 26. Sarah Kershaw's body was found Monday morning in her home in the northern beach town of Sosua near the beach town of Puerto Plata. An initial report from the Dominican National Police indicated that Kershaw was strangled and that her husband, former Capital Times reporter William Paul Norton, was being held for questioning. But the Times, quoting Puerto Plata prosecutor Osvaldo Bonilla, reported that Norton has been released without charges.

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Media: Government has no reason to shield bridge case list

Federal prosecutors are disregarding law in favor of the suggestion the "government knows best" in their request to keep private a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal, a group of media organizations including The Associated Press argued on Friday, Feb. 26. The media organizations went to court last month seeking the list of people prosecutors believe were involved but weren't charged in a conspiracy by aides to Republican Gov. Chris Christie to close traffic lanes for political retribution against a Democratic mayor. Federal prosecutors asked a judge to deny the request to release the list, which had been submitted by prosecutors to defense lawyers and the judge.

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UK police shut probe into journalists paying for data

London's Metropolitan Police have closed their investigation into allegations that journalists were paying police and other public officials for information. The investigation, Operation Elveden, ended with 34 convictions, including nine police officers and 21 public officials. Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan said Friday the officials "breached the trust of the public by leaking confidential information for nothing other than financial gain." The inquiry ran alongside investigations into phone and computer hacking sparked by revelations that reporters at Rupert Murdoch's now-shuttered News of the World tabloid regularly intercepted voicemails. Gallan defended the decision to arrest journalists for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. She says it was necessary to investigate all suspected crimes from evidence provided by News International, parent company of the News of the World.

Univ. of Missouri fires instructor after student run-ins 

The University of Missouri on Thursday, Feb. 25, fired an assistant professor who had been suspended after run-ins with student journalists during protests last year, including a videotaped confrontation where she called for "some muscle" to remove a videographer from the Columbia campus. Melissa Click's actions were "not compatible with university policies and did not meet expectations for a university faculty member," Pam Henrickson, chairwoman of the university system's governing board of curators, said during a conference call with other top administrators. Henrickson said Click's conduct demanded "serious action." More than 100 state lawmakers had called for the dismissal of the 45-year-old assistant communications professor, who last October also was recorded telling police to get their hands off students during a protest, then hugging the students and cursing at an officer who grabbed her.

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Editor sues Missoulian, owner claiming wrongful discharge

The former editor of the Missoulian has sued the publisher of the newspaper and its owner, Lee Enterprises Inc., claiming wrongful discharge. Sherry Devlin's lawsuit says she was demoted in April; her pay was cut nearly in half; she was replaced by a younger and less experienced man; and her work conditions were made so intolerable that she was forced to resign in November after 30 years at the paper. She is seeking unspecified actual damages, unpaid overtime, punitive damages and attorney's costs. Current editor Matt Bunk declined comment in an email due to the legal nature of the matter. Publisher Mark Heintzelman did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.

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Bill to end newspaper notice requirement fails in Tennessee Senate

A proposal in Tennessee to allow legal notices to be published online instead of in printed newspapers has failed in a Senate committee. The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga did not receive a motion in the State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Gardenhire said the measure was brought to him by city and county mayors. It would have given the electronic notice the same legal effect as one published in a newspaper. Open government groups and newspapers have opposed the proposed change in the past over concerns that the notices would be harder to find and because not everyone has access to the Internet.

News anchor leaves job as trial of congressman-spouse looms

Philadelphia news anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah is leaving her job as her congressman-husband prepares for his federal racketeering trial. Chenault-Fattah is referenced in the July indictment but was not charged over the alleged sham sale of her Porsche. Federal prosecutors say a lobbyist paid $18,000 for the car without it ever changing hands. They call the transaction a bribe. Chenault-Fattah says the sale was legitimate. She has been on leave from WCAU-TV for six months. She announced her departure in a Facebook post Feb. 23 but said she is "excited ... about the opportunities that await." U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah Sr. goes on trial May 2. The 11-term Philadelphia Democrat vows to clear his name. The station tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that Chenault-Fattah remains "a friend and valued colleague" after 24 years.

Former reporter of the Munster, Ind., Times subject of new Tina Fey movie

As a reporter for the Times of Munster, Indiana, in the mid-1990s, Kim Barker wrote more than 100 stories each about Hobart's annexation of Southlake Mall and Merrillville's sewer problems. It was a long way from there to being portrayed in a movie by Tina Fey. But a lot happened in Barker's life in the meantime, namely spending five years reporting for the Chicago Tribune from Afghanistan and Pakistan and turning the experience into a memoir, " The Taliban Shuffle," on which the film is based. "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," produced by Lorne Michaels and also starring Billy Bob Thornton, is in theaters March 4. "I'm just trying to keep my feet on the ground," said Barker, who now does metro investigations for The New York Times. "In three weeks, I'm going back to being a print reporter. I'm going to do print stories. That's what I love to do."

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Tribune Publishing Co. replaces Jack Griffin as CEO

Tribune Publishing Co. is replacing Jack Griffin as CEO less than two years after he joined the company. Tribune Publishing on Tuesday named Justin Dearborn to be its new CEO. He most recently was CEO of Merge, a publicly traded health care technology company that IBM acquired in October. Griffin joined Tribune Publishing in April 2014. The company said Griffin was instrumental in the spin-off that created Tribune Publishing. Griffin said in a printed statement that the "timing is right for a new leader to come on board and lead Tribune Publishing through its next phase of transformation." Tribune Publishing owns 11 major daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, along with other digital and print media.

AP withdraws photos awarded a 3rd place in World Press Photo

The Associated Press has withdrawn a series of eight photographs showing raindrop-covered pictures of victims of the November 2015 Paris attacks that were awarded third prize in the People Stories category of the World Press Photo competition. The news cooperative said in a statement Feb. 19 that the photos, by Spanish photographer Daniel Ochoa de Olza, were submitted to the competition in error. They were never distributed by the AP, the company's criteria for entering work in contests, because the originating photographers of the images had not given written permission for their use. Ochoa de Olza also won second place Feb. 18 in the same category for portraits of young Spanish girls sitting in decorated altars as part of a spring festival.  The Amsterdam-based World Press Photo Foundation said that third place would now be awarded to Magnus Wennman for his series of photos titled "Where the Children Sleep," documenting the vulnerable situation of refugee children.

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Kansas editor Tommy Felts named editor and publisher of Ottawa Herald.

A Kansas editor who helped The Ottawa Herald achieve acclaim as one of the top newspapers in the state has been chosen to lead the nearly 150-year-old media company. Tommy Felts, now managing editor, is set to become The Herald’s editor and publisher March 7. He will succeed departing publisher Jeanny Sharp, who has been named advertising director of The Hutchinson News, a sister company of The Herald.  Felts, 33, has been in The Herald’s newsroom since 2005, serving as managing editor since 2009, as well as becoming a fixture on the newspaper’s opinion page.

Casino and newspaper owner Adelson facing 49 hours of pretrial questions 

A Las Vegas judge says billionaire casino magnate and newspaper owner Sheldon Adelson can be questioned for up to 49 hours beginning next week by lawyers for a former Macau casino executive who claims he was wrongly fired in 2010. A lawyer for former Sands China chief executive Steven Jacobs said in court that he expects an attempt by Adelson and his lawyers to disrupt the deposition, in an effort to scuttle plans to begin the long-awaited civil trial June 27. "We will start with Mr. Adelson, and then there will be a blow-up in an attempt to obstruct this deposition so it cannot be done," Jacobs' attorney, Todd Bice, told Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. Outside court, Bice said he believes it's clear that Adelson and lawyers for Las Vegas Sands and Sands China Ltd. want a delay.

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AP's Mstyslav Chernov wins Royal Television Society award

Associated Press journalist Mstyslav Chernov has been named camera operator of the year at the Royal Television Society awards in London. Chernov, based in Ukraine, has covered the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, the aftermath of the deadly terror attacks in Paris in November and Europe's refugee crisis. He picked up the prize Feb. 17 after being honored at last year's awards in the young talent of the year category. Organizers said Chernov, 30, had an "exceptional eye for detail," adding that his work captured emotion and conveyed "the fear and sometimes panic that was at the heart of so many news events last year."

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Australian wins World Press Photo award for migrants image 

A haunting image of migrants passing a baby underneath a razor-wire fence on the Serbian-Hungarian border won the prestigious World Press Photo award for 2015 in Amsterdam Sept 18 — even though it had never been published. Australian freelance photographer Warren Richardson made the moonlit image on Aug. 28 and said he offered it to two news organizations, neither of which responded. Jury members, however, saw something special in the black-and-white image. Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor for Al Jazeera America, said the image is "incredibly powerful visually, but it's also very nuanced." The photo, he said, "causes you to stop and consider the man's face, consider the child. You see the sharpness of the barbed wire and the hands reaching out from the darkness."

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LSU's student newspaper to consider cutting print frequency

Louisiana State University’s more than 100-year-old, student-run newspaper, The Daily Reveille, will continue to publish for five days a week -- for now. The Advocate reports Director of Student Media Steve Buttry announced Sept. 17 that student media leaders are planning extensive research this spring and summer on the issue of print frequency. He said there would be opportunities for public input in the early fall. Last year, Buttry made waves on campus when he initiated a discussion about reducing print frequency as a means of saving money and catching up with the digital age.

Maureen Ater named general manager of GateHouse Ohio Media

GateHouse Ohio Media named Maureen Ater the general manager of the media group on Feb. 17.  GateHouse Ohio Media is the parent company of The Repository, The Independent and The Times-Reporter. Ater, 39, has been general manager of The Independent since 2013. She also was GateHouse Ohio's director of marketing and chairperson of The Repository Bicentennial. As general manager, Ater will oversee the business operations of GateHouse Ohio Media, which reaches more than 250,000 readers and online users daily.

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ESPN's Berman to receive Al Neuharth journalism award

Veteran ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman is this year's recipient of the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media. Berman has hosted a variety of ESPN studio shows since 1979. He also has covered 34 Super Bowls, 30 Major League Baseball All-Star Games and 29 World Series. Berman also has hosted ESPN's NFL Draft telecast since 1987, and has served as emcee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony 16 times. He has covered golf's U.S. Open for nearly three decades. The annual award for lifetime achievement in media is named for the late USA Today and Freedom Forum/Newseum founder Al Neuharth, a South Dakota native and 1950 University of South Dakota graduate. USD co-sponsors the award. A presentation is scheduled June 21 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Gannett Co. posts disappointing 4Q as revenue slides

The Gannett Co. reported Wednesday, Feb. 17, lower-than-expected sales and income due to declining advertising and circulation. The McLean, Virginia-based newspaper publisher said it had net income of $20.4 million, or 17 cents per share for the final quarter of 2015. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 53 cents per share. That missed the 54 cents earnings per share predicted by Wall Street analysts, according to FactSet. Gannett said revenue declined 9.7 percent to $739 million due to lower advertising demand, negative foreign currency rates and other factors. Analysts were looking for $756 million in sales. The company said it expects advertising revenue to decline between 5 and 7 percent in the coming year, with circulation revenue falling 2 percent to 4 percent. The owner of USA Today and other newspapers, Gannett is expected to complete its acquisition of Journal Media Group Inc. in the first quarter of 2016. Gannett said the purchase of the publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel would add approximately $450 million in annual revenue to the company's balance sheet.

Feds want judge to deny media request for bridge case filing

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge in Newark, New Jersey, to deny a request by media organizations including The Associated Press to make public a list of unindicted coconspirators in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case. The media organizations went to court last month seeking the list of people prosecutors believe were involved, but not charged, in the conspiracy to close traffic lanes for political retribution in New Jersey. The list had been submitted by prosecutors to defense lawyers and the judge. Prosecutors said in a filing Feb. 16 that the government often doesn't charge every individual whom there is evidence to suggest was involved, including if there isn't enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Newsman Stefan Holt joining dad Lester Holt at NBC's 30 Rock

It's about to be a family affair at 30 Rock for NBC News anchor Lester Holt and his son, Stefan Holt, who soon will be anchoring a weekday newscast on the network's New York station, it was announced Tuesday, Feb. 16. Holt, 29, will start at WNBC in April, co-anchoring a newly launched afternoon newscast aired from 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the storied NBC headquarters from where "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt" originates. Stefan Holt comes from NBC-owned Chicago outlet WMAQ, where he has been a reporter and anchor for five years. Before that, he spent three years at the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida. Lester Holt joined NBC News in 2000 after 14 years in Chicago anchoring for CBS-owned WBBM. He took over "Nightly News" anchor duties from Brian Williams last year.

Massachusetts newspaper box washes up on shore in Wales

A cleanup crew on a beach in Wales has discovered a delivery box from a Massachusetts newspaper. The Salem News reports volunteers found the Salem Evening News box washed up on the shores of the Irish Sea. Tidy Towns project officer Lee Oliver says he determined the box was from Salem, Massachusetts, when he saw a witch, the newspaper's logo, on it. Oliver says Wales does not have such newspaper delivery boxes. The name "Salem Evening News" was partly worn away. The newspaper hasn't used that name in about a decade. Experts say the box couldn't have been in the water for more than a few months. They say it could've ended up in the water after being inadvertently picked up with the snow last winter.

Lawyer: 4 US journalists charged in Bahrain leave country

Four U.S. journalists arrested in Bahrain while covering the anniversary of the island nation's 2011 uprising were charged, released and flew out of the country Tuesday, Feb. 16, a lawyer said. Despite charging them, Bahraini officials allowed them to head for the airport, apparently after the intervention of the U.S. Embassy in Manama. Bahrain is the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which patrols the Persian Gulf and surrounding waterways crucial to the global oil trade. But their arrest and charges highlight the sensitivity the kingdom still feels five years after the uprising, as low-level unrest and protests continue. The journalists left a police station after meeting with prosecutors and headed straight for Bahrain International Airport, which they flew out of Tuesday night, lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi told The Associated Press. Authorities kept their cameras and computers, al-Jishi said. The reporters had been held since their arrests Sunday while covering protests in Sitra, a Shiite community outside of the capital, Manama.

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AP reporters win Polk award for seafood slavery probe

Four journalists from The Associated Press are among the winners of the 67th annual George Polk Awards in Journalism for a series of articles documenting the use of slave labor in the commercial seafood industry in Indonesia and Thailand. The AP reporters, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan, will share the award for foreign reporting with Ian Urbina of The New York Times, for a separate series portraying widespread lawlessness at sea. The awards were announced Sunday by Long Island University. Journalists who wrote about segregated schools, killings by police officers and Bill Cosby's accusers were also honored for their work in 2015.

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Bahrain charges, then releases 4 US journalists 

Bahraini prosecutors on Tuesday charged four U.S. journalists detained while covering the anniversary of the country's 2011 unrest with illegally assembling with the intent to commit a crime. The four were released after they were charged, though it wasn't immediately clear from the prosecutors' statement whether they could leave the country off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Bahrain police said they detained the four Americans on Sunday for providing "false information that they were tourists" and also alleged that one took part in an attack on Bahraini officers. In a statement, Manama's chief prosecutor Nawaf al-Awadi said the journalists' possession of cameras and computers sparked their investigation. It said the journalists were freed "pending the completion of the investigation."

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Israel briefly detains Washington Post journalists

The Washington Post's bureau chief in Jerusalem says he was briefly detained by Israeli border police while reporting in east Jerusalem. William Booth says he was interviewing Palestinians at Damascus Gate, an entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, when he and his translator were arrested Tuesday. The area has been the scene of violence in recent days. Booth says after presenting government-issued press cards to an officer, he and his colleague were taken to a police station and held for half an hour before they were released. He says an officer told them they had been suspected of "incitement." Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the journalists were questioned in connection to an unspecified "incident" and quickly released after it was clear they were not involved.

China forbids Great Famine author from taking Harvard prize 

A former journalist with China's official news agency says he has been blocked from traveling to the United States to accept a Harvard University prize for a 2008 book uncovering the devastating toll of the Great Chinese Famine of 1958-1961. Harvard's Nieman Fellows in December awarded Yang Jisheng for "Tombstone," a 1,200-page account of the famine — which he estimated claimed at least 36 million Chinese lives — and a decades-long government effort to whitewash one of the worst man-made disasters. Although more recent leaders have permitted, sometimes encouraged, re-evaluation of Mao-era policies, any substantial discussion of national traumas like the Great Famine can be highly sensitive. "Tombstone," for which Yang gained unprecedented access to restricted government archives, has been banned in Mainland China.

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University reassigns dean after newspaper questions spending

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has reassigned one of its deans after a newspaper questioned more than $35,000 in spending linked to him. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Mark Correia will move from dean of the university's College of Health and Human Services to "special assistant to the provost for curriculum development." That will happen Feb. 19. The move comes two months after the newspaper questioned a $32,000 consulting contract for Correia's wife and more than $3,400 Correia spent traveling with a female instructor to Washington state in April.

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Britain's Independent newspaper to cease print editions

Britain's Independent newspaper will publish its last print edition next month as it makes a "historic transition" to digital-only format, its owner said Jan. 12. ESI Media said The Independent's final paper edition will appear March 26. Sister paper the Independent on Sunday will end with the March 20 issue. Owner Evgeny Lebedev said The Independent brand will continue online. "We faced a choice: manage the continued decline of print, or convert the digital foundation we've built into a sustainable, profitable future," he said in an email to the staff. Lebedev said there would be layoffs, but it was not immediately clear how many.

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Publisher of Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., announces retirement

The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Mississippi, is looking for a new president and publisher. After 36 years in the news industry, Glen Nardi on Feb. 11 announced his retirement, effective March 31. The Sun Herald reports Nardi arrived at the newspaper six years ago as South Mississippi was building back from Hurricane Katrina. He led the transformation of the newspaper into a digitally focused media company and launched Velocity, a digital advertising agency focused on providing digital advertising solutions to local advertisers and businesses.

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Trump settles lawsuit against Univision

Donald Trump and Univision said Thursday they have resolved the lawsuit that the Republican presidential contender filed after the company decided last summer not to broadcast the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. Trump owned the pageants at the time, but has since sold them. Univision dropped plans to televise the contests following remarks Trump made about Mexicans during the announcement of his presidential candidacy. The New York developer, making a promise to build a wall on the nation's Southern border, had said that Mexicans had sent some criminals illegally into the U.S. Univision claimed Trump had "offended millions" with his comments. Trump fired back with a $500 million lawsuit claiming the Spanish-language broadcaster unjustly broke a contract. Trump said the two sides had amicably resolved their differences, and neither side gave details about the settlement.

Reno mayor honors longtime journalist with Guy Clifton Day

The city of Reno is honoring longtime Nevada journalist and author Guy Clifton. Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve declared Wednesday Guy Clifton Day in recognition of his more than two decades of work at the Reno Gazette-Journal before he was let go last month in another round of staff reductions. She issued a proclamation describing him as a "renown and respected journalist who has dedicated his entire career to covering Nevada and Nevada history." Clifton was born in the tiny town of Gabbs and got his journalism degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. He worked for The Record Courier in Gardnerville, and the Tahoe Bonanza and Tahoe World before joining the Reno newspaper, where he covered sports and human interest stories and became a nationally recognized rodeo writer. 

Psychiatric hospital workers await firing appeals hearings

A group of 11 people in Michigan have appealed their firings by the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital over the treatment of a patient. State of Michigan Freedom of Information Act assistant coordinator Rick Hamm tells the Kalamazoo Gazette in a FOIA request that the ex-employees are waiting to have their cases heard. An investigation found dozens of staff members either abused the patient or witnessed the abuse that led up to the man's arm being broken in June 2014 as staff struggled to restrain him. The hospital is one of five state-owned facilities for mental patients. The group's former union president is to return to work this month to his job as a residential care aide. His firing was changed to a 20-day suspension.

Man waves gun behind TV reporter during live broadcast

Police say they're investigating after a man appeared to wave a handgun behind a television news reporter during a live broadcast in New York City. It happened shortly after noon Feb. 10 as a WNBC-TV reporter stood in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court. The man appeared to wave the gun behind reporter Michael George as he spoke about the trial of a police officer charged with fatally shooting a man in a Brooklyn housing complex. A police spokesman said it's being investigated as a menacing incident. Officials planned to release additional video of the suspect later in the day. A WNBC spokesman didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment. In August, reporter Alison Parker and video journalist Adam Ward, of Roanoke, Virginia, TV station WDBJ, were fatally shot during a live broadcast.

Sports costs at ESPN weigh down Disney's Force-ful quarter

ESPN, the sports network that drives Disney's profit engine, has hit a soft patch. Subscribers have fallen by about 7.2 million over the last three years, according to Nielsen, and it's coming off a round of layoffs. As more people cut the cord to watch programming online, its perch on top of the pay TV empire is looking unsteady at best. The network's troubles are a bellwether for one of TV's biggest challenges: the ever-increasing cost of sports rights and whether consumers want to keep footing the bill. The conundrum was reflected Feb. 9 in Disney's quarterly earnings. Even though "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" helped Disney's earnings soar 32 percent to a record $2.9 billion, its television profits slumped by 6 percent, in part due to increases in the cost of sports-broadcast rights. It was Disney's second profit decline in the TV segment in the last four quarters.

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New publisher named at Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic

Bob Crider has been named publisher of the Yakima Herald-Republic, the newspaper’s parent company, The Seattle Times, announced Jan. 9. He replaces Sharon J. Prill, who been named as a vice president at The Seattle Times. Crider has been editor at the Herald-Republic, where he has overseen newsroom operations, since 2009. He was previously the newspaper’s managing editor and has worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Washington, Oregon and Maine. As publisher, he will be responsible for the strategic direction of the Herald-Republic and will oversee day-to-day operations. Prill, who has been publisher for five years, has been named The Seattle Times’ vice president of strategic initiatives. She will lead a yearlong “Reimagine the Newspaper” initiative that will focus on the news, information and entertainment needs of three generational segments: millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers.

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Francis Wick named CEO of family newspaper chain

Wick Communications has named the grandson of the newspaper chain's co-founder as its new president and CEO. Francis Wick takes over the Arizona-based newspaper publisher from outgoing CEO Tom Yunt, who is leaving the company to take a chief operating officer position in Wisconsin. Wick currently serves as publisher of the Sierra Vista Herald along with other Arizona publications. He is the grandson of Milton Wick, who co-founded the company 90 years ago. The Sierra Vista-based company publishes newspapers in 11 states. Wick previously worked at company papers in Montrose, Colorado, and New Iberia, Louisiana.

Kansas student newspaper sues administrators

The student newspaper at the University of Kansas has filed a lawsuit accusing university administrators of approving funding cuts to the newspaper that were enacted after an editorial critical of the student Senate. The University Daily Kansan's leadership filed the lawsuit Jan. 5 in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas. The lawsuit accuses University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tammara Durham of approving funding cuts to the newspaper made by the student Senate in violation of the newspaper's freedom of speech protections.

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Adelson family announces new Las Vegas Review-Journal editor

The family of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson says the Las Vegas Review-Journal has a new editor. Review-Journal publisher Craig A. Moon said in a statement Feb. 5 that J. Keith Moyer takes over immediately as editor-in-chief and senior vice president for content of Nevada's largest newspaper. Moyer is a former publisher of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and former editor of newspapers including the Fresno Bee in California, the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York, and the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock. Since 2010, Moyer has been a fellow at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Moon arrived last week, replacing Jason Taylor, who works for Gatehouse Media LLC. Gatehouse sold the newspaper to the Adelson family in December, but still has a management contract.

Media leaders urge tougher protection for journalists

World media executives are urging governments to stop looking at journalists as the enemy, and to better protect reporters covering wars, crime and corruption. Describing growing impunity for those who arrest or attack journalists, news leaders meeting Feb. 5 in Paris argued for more public outcry and pressure on governments when a reporter is targeted — whether in a war zone or in peacetime. Freelancers are under extra risk, they warned, especially local reporters in countries where journalists have little recourse against violence or government pressure. "Whether by murder, violence, arrest or intimidation, the crimes taking place against journalists have become far too common. In fact, they've become normalized," John Daniszewski, vice president of international news at The Associated Press, said at a conference on journalist safety at the headquarters of UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency.

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Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has book deal

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has a book deal. HarperCollins Publishers announced Feb. 4 that it has acquired world rights to Kelly's first book. It will be published by the Harper imprint this fall. Kelly currently anchors Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File." Before joining Fox, she was a general assignment reporter for WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. Prior to her career in television news, Kelly practiced law for nine years. The book was acquired by Lisa Sharkey, who is the senior vice president director of creative development at HarperCollins. Sharkey says Kelly is "among the most interesting and influential people in America today." The book will be edited by HarperCollins executive editor Matt Harper. HarperCollins and Fox News are both subsidiaries of News Corp.

Tribune Publishing gets $44.4M from Chicago investor

Tribune Publishing, the troubled owner of the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers around the country, said it received a $44.4 million cash infusion from a Chicago investor who has a stake in its rival newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times. The company also suspended its quarterly dividend Feb. 4 to free up more money in the aftermath of a difficult year. Revenue has slumped as readers and advertisers continue to migrate online and the company has trimmed staff to cut costs. Its stock has plummeted 68 percent in the last year. Tribune said that it plans to use the cash for digital initiatives and for possible acquisitions. The company has expressed interest in bidding for some assets of Freedom Communications, the bankrupt publisher of the Orange County Register and several other California newspapers and magazines.

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Chicago cameraman covering Super Bowl 50 robbed at gunpoint

A Chicago television cameraman in San Francisco to cover Super Bowl 50 was robbed of his camera at gunpoint earlier this week, the latest in a string of robberies targeting journalists and their pricey equipment in the San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Feb. 3 that Marcus Richardson was taking scenic background pictures on Feb. 2 at Lombard and Hyde streets when he was robbed around 9:15 p.m. The two unidentified gunmen struck while he was putting equipment back into his car. Richardson was not injured. The robberies in recent years have led some TV stations to hire guards to protect their reporters.

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New York Times beats Street 4Q forecasts

The New York Times Co. (NYT) reported on Feb. 4 fourth-quarter earnings of $51.7 million. The New York-based company said it had net income of 31 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and severance costs, came to 37 cents per share. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 29 cents per share. The newspaper publisher posted revenue of $444.7 million in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $439 million. New York Times shares have declined nearly 5 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has dropped 7 percent in the last 12 months.

Facebook shuts down medical marijuana pages in New Jersey 

Three of New Jersey's five medical marijuana dispensaries have had their business pages shutdown by Facebook, cutting off what advocates call an integral place for customers to learn about which plant strains best treat their illness and where to find discounts. Compassionate Sciences in Bellmawr, Garden State in Woodbridge, and Breakwater Treatment and Wellness in Cranbury had their pages shut down this week. Facebook's advertising policy bans promotion of selling drugs — as well as tobacco and guns — and the medical marijuana pages weren't spared even though they have been legally allowed to operate in New Jersey since 2011. The shutdowns reflect similar measures taken by the social media giant in other parts of the country.

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Newspaper sells property to raise money for new press

The owner of the Portland Press Herald in Maine has sold and then leased back the building that houses a printing plant to raise money for a new press. MaineToday Media plans to use proceeds from the sale of the South Portland property to purchase a press for the facility that'll be less expensive to operate. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Publisher Lisa DeSisto says the initial lease with the new owner, a property management company, is for 10 years, renewable for up to 40 years. MaineToday plans to move most of the remaining staff including reporters and editors from Portland's One City Center to the South Portland building in the future.

Greg Orear named publisher of The Journal of New Ulm, Minn.

Greg Orear has been named publisher of The Journal, of New Ulm, Minnesota, replacing long-time publisher Bruce Fenske who retired at the end of October in 2015. Orear, who started his duties Feb. 1, comes to New Ulm from Red Oak, Iowa, where he was publisher and editor of a weekly paper, the Red Oak Express. He also served as publisher of the neighboring Glenwood Opinion Tribune. Orear, 44, has a strong reporting background. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he attended college at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, graduating with a degree in communications and journalism. In September 1993 he started working as a reporter with the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune. A few months later he was named managing editor of the Brookfield Daily News, a position he held until 2005, when he transferred to Iowa.

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Missouri bill aimed at blocking censorship of student reporters 

A Missouri lawmaker is touting a bill he said will protect the state's student journalists from censorship, written in part as a response to a recent confrontation between a University of Missouri assistant professor and a student videographer during protests on campus. The measure by Republican Rep. Elijah Haahr of Springfield would prohibit public K-12 schools and colleges from blocking articles or other content created by students, with some standard exceptions — content that's slanderous, libelous, breaks laws or is an invasion of privacy. "I think it's time that Missouri becomes known as a state that values free speech, especially for student journalists," Haahr said before a Monday House hearing on the legislation.

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McCollum expands his media career while inspiring kids

While many athletes figure they'll pursue media careers after their playing days are over, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum sees no reason why he can't have it all now. McCollum is a media mogul in the making, with a radio show along with a series of articles to his name. He's also mentoring aspiring young journalists through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the NBA. Portland's second-leading scorer rattles off the names of sports writers and broadcasters he admires as adeptly as he lists the players he looks up to, including Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons. He looks at Michael Strahan and thinks, "Why not me?" "I envision myself entering in a similar world where I can maybe do a talk show and something of that nature and still be able to focus on basketball as well," he said.

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Wisconsin activists push student free-press protections 

When student reporters at Wisconsin’s Fond Du Lac High School published an article on sexual assault two years ago, they expected to ignite a conversation about rape, not free speech. But when worried administrators responded with a policy enabling censorship, the magazine joined a decades-long debate over free speech in school-sponsored media. Though school officials ultimately backed down, the magazine's adviser, Matthew Smith, is now leading a push for legislation to protect student speech statewide. "I think that kind of opened my eyes to how harmful things can be if the rules aren't clear and students aren't specifically protected," said Smith, who is now a coordinator for New Voices Wisconsin.

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Report counts some 2,300 journalists killed in past 25 years 

In the last quarter century, at least 2,297 journalists and media staff have been killed for doing nothing more than trying to inform the world on war, revolution, crime and corruption. And killers continue to act with impunity, the International Federation of Journalists announced in a new report. The annual total stood at 40 in the federation's first year of counting, 1990, but has not dipped under the 100-mark since 2010. "The last 10 years were the most dangerous," said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger in an interview, with 2006 the worst year of all with 155 killed. And despite vows of protection from as high as the United Nations, the IFJ said it produced the report "25 years of contribution towards safer journalism" to underscore a worsening climate of impunity which has helped killers get away with murder and turn journalists into soft targets.

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NY Press Club objects to commission's take on lobbying

The New York Press Club of Albany, N.Y., objected Jan. 29 to an advisory opinion from the state ethics commission that public relations professionals should file lobbying reports if they contact media seeking editorials to advance a client's position. Club President Steve Scott said the opinion undermines a basic tenet of journalism, endangering the ability to keep private the names of informed sources. "Sources would, in essence, be 'outing' themselves, if required to identify journalists with whom they've had private conversations," he said. The commission moved to address those concerns by removing a reference to media consultants contacting reporters to push a client's message before voting 10-3 for the opinion on Tuesday.

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Virginia Senate allows reporters back on floor 

Reporters in Virginia will once again be able to get an up-close look at how the state Senate is operating, while plans proceed in Missouri to move reporters away from the action. GOP Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment said Jan. 29 that he plans next week to allow reporters back on the floor of the Virginia Senate, where they had worked for decades until banned earlier this month at the beginning of the 2016 session. Norment said he had reached an agreement with members of the Capitol press corps on new procedures for reporting from the floor, which include having reporters sit at desks instead of tables and spell out specific punishments for reporters who violate the Senate's established rules of conduct.

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James Murdoch becomes chairman of Sky, renewing buyout talk 

James Murdoch will become chairman of European broadcaster Sky, a move that will renew speculation that his family's media empire will try to take over the company, in which it already has a stake. The 43-year-old is the second son of tycoon Rupert Murdoch, whose family assets include The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and the 20th Century Fox movie studios. James Murdoch will succeed Nicholas Ferguson four years after resigning from what was then known as BSkyB amid the phone-hacking scandal. James Murdoch served as CEO from 2003 to 2007 before holding the position of chairman from 2007 to 2012. But while briefly in charge of British newspapers for Murdoch family interests, he was tainted by the phone-hacking scandal that forced the closure of the tabloid News of the World in 2011.

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Fox draws 12.5 million viewers to Trump-less GOP debate 

The seventh Republican presidential debate — and the first one without drawing card Donald Trump — was seen by 12.5 million viewers on Fox News Channel. The Jan. 28 debate ranked sixth among the seven GOP debates so far in viewership. Only the debate two weeks ago that was shown on the relatively little-watched Fox Business Network had fewer, with 11.1 million viewers. Trump did not participate because of a feud with Fox News Channel and instead held a fundraiser for veterans nearby in Iowa. Fox's rivals at CNN and MSNBC covered Trump's fundraiser, where the candidate made a brief speech. CNN was watched by 2 million viewers and MSNBC by 1.1 million during the hour in which Trump talked.

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Fox News attempts to end feud with Trump fall short 

Last-minute attempts by Fox News Channel to end its feud with Donald Trump failed and the Jan. 28 presidential debate went on without him, creating the odd spectacle of competing television networks covering a Trump rally at the same time as the other Republican candidates talked. Trump said Fox News Channel apologized to him for the network's role in the conflict that led the presidential front-runner to back out of the debate, but it was too late for him to change his plans. Fox said its chairman, Roger Ailes, "acknowledged (Trump's) concerns" in three phone conversations with the candidate Jan. 28, but wouldn't agree to Trump's conditions for coming to the debate. Trump had started things, tweeting last weekend that Fox should replace Megyn Kelly as a moderator for the debate. He's been unhappy with her since last August because of Kelly's tough questioning in the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 6.

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Fox says Trump demanded $5 million donation

Fox News Channel says Donald Trump demanded a $5 million contribution to his charities in order to appear in The Jan. 28 debate, which the network rejected. Fox News says Chairman Roger Ailes, in conversations with Trump, "acknowledged his concerns" about a statement the network had made in the days leading up to the debate. The network and the presidential contender had been feuding since Trump demanded Megyn Kelly be removed as a debate moderator. Trump was holding a competing event in Iowa.

Debate feud injects fresh chaos into GOP primary

An explosive feud between Donald Trump and Fox News Channel is overshadowing the final sprint to Iowa's presidential caucuses, injecting a new sense of chaos into the 2016 Republican contest. On the eve of the final debate before Iowa voters weigh in, Trump refused to back off his decision to boycott Thursday's prime-time faceoff. His campaign insisted that debate host Fox News crossed a line with a sarcastic statement mocking him and continued to criticize moderator Megyn Kelly. In turn, Fox accused Trump's camp of trying to terrorize its employees. "They think they can toy with Mr. Trump," campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." ''Mr. Trump doesn't play games."

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Report: US and UK spied on Israeli drones for years 

U.S and British intelligence cracked the codes of Israeli drones operating in the Middle East and monitored their surveillance feeds for almost 20 years, according to documents leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in international media on Jan. 29. Reports by the German news website Der Spiegel and the investigative website The Intercept said the details emerged from documents leaked by the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked millions of documents about U.S. government surveillance in 2013. The reports said the intelligence agencies were able to watch information that the drones and other aircraft broadcast back to their handlers. The project codenamed "Anarchist" has operated since 1998 and was based near the highest point in Cyprus.

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Casino mogul hires new Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has a new publisher recruited and hired by the family of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who secretly bought the newspaper last fall in a sale that has been heavily scrutinized over transparency concerns. The owners said Jan. 28 in a statement that Craig A. Moon has been appointed publisher of Nevada's largest newspaper, effective immediately. Moon was the publisher of USA Today from 2003 to 2009. A career executive with Gannett publishing, he also led newspapers in Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida. No reason was given for the sudden replacement of Jason Taylor, who was publisher for just six months. Taylor works for Gatehouse Media LLC, which sold the newspaper at a markup to the Adelsons but was kept on a contract to manage the newspaper.

Group acquires East Valley Tribune, Ahwatukee Foothills News

Arizona’s Times Media Group has announced Jan. 28 that it has acquired the East Valley Tribune and Ahwatukee Foothills News from 10/13 Communications. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Times Media Group will immediately assume day-to-day operations of both publications. The publishing company already owns a number of locally focused community newspapers, websites and magazines in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The East Valley Tribune was acquired by 10/13 Communications in 2009 after Freedom Communications filed for bankruptcy. Ahwatukee Foothills News, a bi-weekly paper, had been owned by 10/13 Communications since 2010. Its website,, also joins Times Media Group in the transaction.

Nexstar to buy Media General as Meredith bows out

Nexstar said it is buying rival TV station operator Media General after Meredith agreed to allow Media General to get out of a takeover bid for Meredith. Media General had offered to buy media company Meredith in September. About two months later, Nexstar offered to buy Media General. On Wednesday, Meredith said it agreed to allow Media General to get out of the deal. As a result, Media General will have to pay $60 million in cash to Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corp. Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. of Irving, Texas said Wednesday that it will pay about $2.2 billion in a mix of stock and cash for Richmond, Virginia-based Media General Inc. Nexstar said the deal is worth $4.6 billion when debt is included.

Newspaper ads set off campaign spending investigation

Tammy Holland says she just wanted to get her rural Colorado neighbors to read up on a school board election when she took out newspaper ads last September that listed the candidates and criticized some of the board's votes. But that swept Holland into Colorado's unusual system for investigating campaign spending violations. Unlike most states, where campaign finance regulators decide whether to prosecute alleged violations, Colorado's constitution requires every complaint to be referred to an administrative law judge, who can then convene a trial-like process. So when a school board member complained that Holland's ads violated prohibitions against undisclosed campaign spending, the rules triggered a formal case against her, which has cost her $3,500 in legal expenses.

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Journalism group behind Chicago police misconduct database honored

A nonprofit journalism group that helped create an interactive database that lists thousands of complaints alleging misconduct by Chicago Police officers has been awarded $400,000. The Invisible Institute and the Experimental Station was awarded the grant by the Knight News Challenge on Data to expand its Citizens Police Data Project. The database was launched last year after a long legal battle to force the city to make public the misconduct records. The Knight News Challenge praised the group for an "online toolkit" it says will serve as national model for others reporting and tracking allegations of police misconduct. The Invisible Institute also played a key role in last November's release of the video of a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald. 

Missouri bill would require free speech class in college

Missouri college students would need to take a class on freedom of speech in order to graduate under a bill a lawmaker says is in response to a confrontation between educators and student journalists during protests at the University of Missouri last year. Republican Rep. Dean Dohrman, of La Monte, told a House panel on Jan. 26 that his proposal is a solution to the national attention the Columbia campus has received in response to a run-in between educators and reporters during protests over what some students said was indifference to racial issues on campus by administrators. "We, and I include ourselves as elected officials, are failing in one of our most fundamental charges in passing on liberty to the next generation," Dohrman said.

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Gould named publisher of The Meridian Star

The Meridian Star reported Jan. 25 that Alexander Gould has been appointed publisher of the Mississippi paper. Gould will replace Tim Holder, who left the company last August. Gould comes to Meridian from Texas, where he served as integrated sales director for M. Roberts Media, which includes the Longview News-Journal and Victoria Advocate. Steve McPhaul, chief operating officer of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., says Gould is a "great match" for the newspaper. He says they're confident Gould's extensive print, digital, management and leadership experience will be an asset to the newspaper and its market. A graduate of Waynesburg University, Gould began his career in Pennsylvania with Berks-Mont Newspapers. He later served as a regional general manager in Kentucky for Civitas Media, before moving to Texas.

NY ethics board says some media consultant tasks are lobbying

New York's ethics commission says certain activities by media consultants constitute lobbying under state law and should be reported. In an advisory opinion Jan. 26, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics says media relations and communications services don't necessarily cross the line, though particular activities are covered. They include getting paid to introduce a client to a public official to facilitate advocacy, as well as direct communication with or attendance at a meeting with an official in connection with an advocacy campaign. The commission says grass-roots communications constitute lobbying if they take a clear position on an issue and urge the public to contact a public official about it. The definition also applies to public relations consultants contacting a media outlet trying to advance a client's message in an editorial.







Lawmaker: Backlash on reporter registry bill made point 

The South Carolina legislator whose journalism registry proposal touched off a media firestorm said Monday he never actually wanted to require reporters to register with the state, but the instant backlash made his point. By "immediately screaming First Amendment," the media reacted to his bill exactly as he expected, Rep. Mike Pitts told The Associated Press. The retired law enforcement officer said he mirrored the state's concealed weapon permit law in proposing a "responsible journalism registry," substituting language he found in journalistic associations' ethics codes. "Do I really want to register reporters? No. I don't want to register guns or pens. I'd prefer to have a lot less government," said Pitts, R-Laurens.

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2 Sundance films explore a journalist's on-air suicide 

When two movies are released at about the same time on the same subject, the topic is often something silly or spectacular, such as "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact" or "White House Down" and "Olympus Has Fallen." But this year at the Sundance Film Festival, audiences found themselves with an unusual double feature. The Festival hosted the premieres of two films exploring the largely forgotten story of Christine Chubbuck, a 29-year-old on-air journalist in Sarasota, Florida, who shot and killed herself during a live broadcast on July 15, 1974. One, "Christine," is a fictionalized, narrative depiction of her life before the suicide. It stars Rebecca Hall. The other is an experimental documentary about an actress, indie mainstay Kate Lyn Sheil, preparing to portray Chubbuck. It is called "Kate Plays Christine."

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Publisher of National Catholic Reporter retires

Tom Fox, publisher of the National Catholic Reporter, has announced his retirement after a long career with the independent newsweekly that covered the clergy sex abuse scandal in the 1980s and later called for the removal of a bishop convicted of failing to report abuse. Fox, who started work for the Kansas City-based National Catholic Reporter as editor in 1980, announced his retirement Monday, Jan. 18, in the newspaper's online edition. He said in an email Jan. 21 he was "quite proud" of NCR's coverage, beginning in June 1985, of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

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Judge agrees to narrow order over leaked information 

A federal judge on Friday agreed to narrow his order that required scores of people involved in a corporate bankruptcy to disclose under oath whether they had talked to reporters for the Bloomberg news service who were covering the case. Following a hearing on Bloomberg's challenge to the order, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi agreed that the order involving the leaking of nonpublic information in mining company Molycorp Inc.'s Chapter 11 case was overly broad. Bloomberg, supported by The Associated Press, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other media organizations, had challenged the order as a threat to the First Amendment protections of journalists and their sources.

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Prosecutor ordered to pay Ohio newspaper $25K in legal fees

A southwest Ohio prosecutor has been ordered to pay more than $25,000 to a newspaper for its legal costs in challenging his decision to withhold a 911 dispatcher's recorded call to a murder suspect. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser must pay the fees after the state Supreme Court ruled his office "stymied a significant public benefit" by withholding the recordings. The order was issued last week. The decision stems from the case of Michael Ray, who was convicted of killing his stepfather in 2012. The county sheriff's office released an incoming 911 call, but Gmoser denied a request for a recording of an outgoing call a dispatcher made to the home.

Post reporter released by Iran flying back to US

The Washington Post says owner Jeff Bezos has flown Post reporter Jason Rezaian back to the United States after his release from Iranian custody. The Post says Bezos met Thursday with Rezaian and his family at the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where the reporter was treated after his release. They then returned to the U.S. on Bezos' private jet. Rezaian was born in California and holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenship. He had been detained by Iran since July 2014. He was released last week with three other Americans as part of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran. Bezos is the founder of the online retail giant Amazon and bought the Post in 2013.

Mother of slain journalist: Hostages' return gives hope 

The mother of slain journalist James Foley said Wednesday, Jan. 20, the family was "delighted" to see the return of four Iranian-American citizens freed by Iran in a prisoner swap with the United States and is hopeful that the U.S. government will make hostages more of a priority. Foley, 40, went to Syria in 2012. He was captured that November and was beheaded by Islamic State militants in a video released in August 2014. Diane Foley, of Rochester, told The Associated Press on Wednesday the prisoner release gives her hope that what happened to her son and others in Syria won't be repeated.

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ABC names Raddatz co-host of 'This Week'

ABC News is appointing Martha Raddatz as co-anchor of the Sunday morning public affairs show "This Week," where she alternates hosting weeks with George Stephanopoulos. ABC News President James Goldston's announcement on Friday made formal what has been the practice over the past few months. Stephanopoulos has cut back on his weekend schedule since he co-hosts "Good Morning America" during the week. Raddatz is also ABC News' chief global affairs correspondent, and her work in that job is often seen on "This Week" on weeks where she's not the host. The ABC anchors have moved to take the show's segments on the road more often. Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl will be the substitute host on weeks that the other two aren't available.

Judge OKs court cameras for officer accused in McDonald case

A Cook County judge will let news media use cameras during routine hearings for a Chicago police officer accused of fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times. The Chicago Tribune reports  that Judge Vincent Gaughan made the ruling Wednesday, Jan. 20, in Officer Jason Van Dyke's case. Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Laquan McDonald. Stephen Brandt of the chief judge's office says Gaughan will decide later if he will allow cameras during Van Dyke's trial or during hearings when lawyers argue motions or witnesses testify. Van Dyke's attorney, Daniel Herbert, didn't object to cameras at status hearings. Prosecutors didn't either. Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty. He is due in court Jan. 29 for a status hearing, when cameras will be allowed.

Getting in on the joke, Univision buys stake in The Onion 

The Spanish-language broadcaster Univision is buying a stake in the owner of satirical website The Onion, in what may be considered a serious grab for younger viewers. "I'm happy to announce that we've just finished a deal with what might at first seem like an unusual partner: Univision," wrote Onion Inc. CEO Mike McAvoy in a memo to employees. He said Univision has acquired "a good chunk" of Onion Inc. as of today, and may acquire the remainder down the line. Once solely comedic enterprises have earned younger audiences who rely on them as a news source. The Pew Research Center found that 12 percent of Americans cited "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central as the place where they got their news, with that number skewing heavily toward younger viewers.

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Oregon's former first lady Cylvia Hayes gets journalism job 

In a continued return to the public eye after leaving Salem under federal investigation, Oregon's former first lady Cylvia Hayes announced she's landed a new gig: freelance journalist. Hayes was engaged to former Gov. John Kitzhaber when the two attracted a federal investigation into Hayes' landing private contracts as an environmental consultant while simultaneously advising Kitzhaber on public environmental policies. After Kitzhaber resigned, the two headed to Bend and kept a low profile as public attention on their case died down. That low profile continued until recently, when Hayes and Kitzhaber began re-emerging in the public eye with statements to the media. Hayes also announced last fall she would continue working with clients through her consulting firm: 3E Strategies.

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INDUSTRY NEWS   1-19-16 

US Congressmen in Germany to meet Americans released by Iran 

Three U.S. congressmen traveled Monday to the medical center in Germany where three Americans, released by Iran as part of a prisoner swap, are being treated. Former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and pastor Saeed Abedini arrived late Sunday at the U.S. military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Rezaian, who was freed Saturday after almost 18 months of incarceration in an Iranian prison, met with Washington Post editors on Monday for the first time since his release, the Post reported. "I want people to know that physically I'm feeling good," said Rezaian, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans provided to him on board the plane that flew the released prisoners to freedom. "I know people are eager to hear from me, but I want to process this for some time."

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Omaha World-Herald dropping afternoon edition

The Omaha World-Herald has announced it will eliminate its daily afternoon newspaper edition on March 7. The newspaper said in a news release Monday that home delivery will be in the morning for all subscribers, seven days a week. About a third of the newspaper's subscribers have been taking the afternoon edition. Publisher Terry Kroeger says that with more readers turning to the morning print edition and to the newspaper's website, , "We can produce better results for our readers and advertisers by focusing efforts there." Kroeger said on while announcing the change that a dozen circulation jobs will be lost. World-Herald spokesman Rick Thornton says the latest paid weekday circulation is 104,000 and the latest Sunday paid circulation is 132,000.

UK court: Police who held journalist's partner not at fault

A British court says police acted lawfully when they used anti-terrorism powers to detain the partner of a journalist who worked with National Security Agency secret-spiller Edward Snowden. David Miranda was held under the Terrorism Act for nine hours at Heathrow Airport in August 2013 while he was traveling from Germany to Brazil. He was carrying documents for his partner, Glenn Greenwald, including encrypted intelligence files leaked by Snowden. Civil liberties groups criticized the use of anti-terror legislation, accusing the authorities of attempting to intimidate journalists. The High Court ruled in 2014 that police acted properly. Three appeals court judges agreed on Tuesday, saying police "exercised the power for a permitted purpose." But the judges also said there should be stronger legal safeguards when that power is used against journalists.

Iran releases US journalist Rezaian, 3 others in swap

Iran will release four detained Americans in exchange for seven Iranians held or charged in the United States, U.S. and Iranian officials said Saturday in a diplomatic breakthrough announced as implementation of a landmark nuclear deal appeared imminent. A fifth American detained in Iran, a student, was released in a move unrelated to the swap, U.S. officials said. Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, whose name had not been previously made public, were to be flown from Iran to Switzerland aboard a Swiss aircraft and then transported to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, for medical treatment, U.S. officials said. Rezaian's wife and mother were expected to be on the plane.

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UK's Duchess of Cambridge to guest-edit Huffington Post

Britain's Duchess of Cambridge will temporarily swap royal duties for an editor's chair to raise awareness of children's mental-health issues. Kensington Palace says Kate will guest-edit The Huffington Post news website for a day next month, focusing on articles related to childhood mental illness. The 34-year-old, who is married to Prince William, is patron of several children's charities. The palace said Friday that Kate "has made the mental health of young children a key focus of her work in recent years. She is delighted that The Huffington Post will help put a spotlight on this important issue." Huffington Post U.K. editor Stephen Hull said staff were thrilled to welcome the duchess. Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, has also tried her hand at journalism, writing articles for Vanity Fair and The Spectator.

Sean Penn tells '60 Minutes' his 'El Chapo' mission 'failed' 

Sean Penn says his article on Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman "failed" in its mission. Speaking to CBS' "60 Minutes," the actor said his intention in tracking down the escaped drug kingpin and writing about him for "Rolling Stone" was to kick-start a discussion of the U.S. government's policy on the War on Drugs. But the public's attention has instead been focused on the fact that Penn found and met with Guzman for seven hours in a mountain hideout last October while he was still evading Mexican officials. He was apprehended only last week after six months on the run.

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Virginia, Missouri limit media access at state Capitols 

For decades, reporters in Virginia have been allowed to sit on the Senate floor so they could fully see the arm-twisting and other interactions between lawmakers. That suddenly changed this week: Media arrived to find their work tables removed, with security guards telling them they would be relegated to an upstairs visitors' gallery. That gallery offers only a partial view of what's happening, farther away from the conversations that typically take place. Routine access has been blocked in a similar manner in Missouri, and now media groups are condemning the moves and asking lawmakers to reconsider.

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Journalism groups decry lack of access to Virginia Senate

Media groups and others are urging the top Republican in the Virginia Senate to reverse course and allow journalists access to the Senate floor. The groups issued a statement Jan. 14 expressing disappointment that Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment has barred reporters from working on the floor and instead designating they sit in a visitor's gallery with a limited view. Journalists have worked for decades directly on the floor, but Norment suddenly had them barred Jan. 13, the first day of the 2016 legislative session. He declined to say what prompted the move The Society of Professional Journalists and its state chapter, as well as the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, and the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association have asked Norment to change his mind.

Media companies seek access to bridge lane closure case list

A group of news organizations on Jan. 13 asked a federal judge to release a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the George Washington Bridge lane closure case. The filing, by The Associated Press and eight other organizations in federal court in Newark, seeks the list of people prosecutors believe were involved but not charged in the conspiracy to close traffic lanes for political retribution in New Jersey. The list had been submitted by prosecutors to defense lawyers and the judge. Aides to Republican Gov. Chris Christie were accused of engineering the traffic jams at one of the world's busiest bridges in September 2013 by ordering lane closings in Fort Lee to punish its mayor, a Democrat who didn't support Christie for re-election. The lane closures caused four days of massive traffic jams.

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Cable news network Al Jazeera America to shut down 

The Al Jazeera America cable news network said Jan. 13 it will shut down two and a half years after its launch, a victim of a rough business environment and political headwinds it could not conquer. The channel, an offshoot of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera cable network, had trouble persuading cable and satellite companies to carry it, and viewers to watch. It failed despite a promise to offer serious-minded journalism and some award-winning work. The cable network will shut down on April 30. It launched in October 2013. Al Anstey, CEO of Al Jazeera America, said the economic climate for media forced the decision. "Al Jazeera America is committed to conducting this process in a way that is consistent with its respect for colleagues," Anstey said.

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EU opens case against Poland over new media, court laws

The European Union has escalated its standoff with Poland's new government, deciding on Jan. 13 to open a case over new laws affecting the country's constitutional court and media that have been criticized as running counter to the bloc's fundamental principle of the rule of law. In December, Poland's ruling Law and Justice party, which has a parliamentary majority, took steps to gain influence in the constitutional tribunal, which is supposed to be an independent arbiter with the power to block the government's legislation. It is currently dominated by judges linked to the opposition. In addition, Poland's president signed a law last week that heads toward giving the government full control of state radio and television, a move critics see as undermining free speech.

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New Media investment Group closes deal for Erie Times-News

One of Pennsylvania's oldest family-owned newspapers is no longer family-owned. The Erie Times-News reports New Media Investment Group Inc. closed Jan. 12 on its deal to buy the newspaper. The Times Publishing Co., which owns the newspaper and, announced the sale to New Media and its subsidiary, GateHouse Media Inc., last month. New Media Investment Group is the holding company of GateHouse Media of Fairport, New York, which controls 575 publications in 32 states. The Mead family had completely owned or controlled The Times Publishing Co. for 127 years. Publisher Ken Nelson says the deal will enable the newspaper and website to remain Erie's "dominant provider of news and its best platform for advertising."

Philadelphia newspapers, website handed off to new nonprofit 

The owner of Philadelphia's two largest newspapers and their joint website,, has handed them off to a nonprofit created to help them survive the digital age with help from foundation grants, university partnerships and other boosters. Local philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, who bought the media company 19 months ago, will give the struggling properties to the new Institute for Journalism in New Media and donate $20 million to endow the enterprise. Lenfest pledged the newsroom would continue to produce "independent public service journalism and investigative reporting that positively impacts the community, while also creating innovative multimedia content."

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Appeal seeks mental exam of media mogul Sumner Redstone

Attorneys for Sumner Redstone's longtime companion are asking a California appeals court to order a mental examination of the ailing media mogul. The petition filed with the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles also requests an order allowing Redstone to be deposed in a dispute over his health. Redstone controls CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. A lower court judge has denied attempts by attorneys for Manuela Herzer to obtain their own mental examination of the 92-year-old. The judge cited Redstone's privacy rights in rejecting the requests. Redstone's publicist declined comment on the filing. Herzer was in control of Redstone's care until late last year, when she was thrown out of his home. She has said she is only interested in the billionaire's care, not his fortune.






News executives urge Kerry to push Iran to release reporter

Executives from 25 news organizations, including The Associated Press, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to press Iran to release jailed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. The letter said Iran should recognize that independent journalism is "a fundamental human right" and free Rezaian. "The United States has considerable leverage with Iran right now to press that point, and we urge you to continue to do so," the executives wrote. Rezaian, 39, was born in California and holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenships. He was convicted in closed proceedings last year after being charged with espionage and related allegations. The length of his sentence has not been disclosed publicly. "Iran has never offered any evidence that even makes a pretense of justifying this imprisonment," the news executives wrote. They noted: "Many of our organizations employ journalists who, like Jason, operate in countries, like Iran, that do not always hold a high regard for the free flow of information. We understand the risks involved." ... Media organizations represented in the letter included the AP, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN. The State Department responded that it was "working very hard to get our citizens back home and we call again on Iran to release them.”


Pulitzer Prizes begin 2016 centennial anniversary; marquee events will be in Florida, California, Texas and Massachusetts

The Pulitzer Prize Board is launching a series of events all across the United States to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the prizes. Grassroots Pulitzer-themed programs are scheduled throughout 2016. Larger marquee events will be held in four major U.S. cities: St. Petersburg, Dallas, Los Angeles and Cambridge. The prizes’ website,, has been redesigned to reach new generations of followers and interact with the public through social media platforms. Joseph Pulitzer’s 1904 will enumerated three journalism prizes and four letters prizes. During the last century, as journalism and the arts have changed, the board that oversees the prizes has modified the plan of award. There are now 21 prizes given annually, 14 in journalism, five for books, one for drama and one for music composition. The centennial celebration focuses on former Pulitzer winners, their prize-winning work and the journalistic and cultural values that the prizes represent. “We are excited about the more than 100 events planned for 2016, organized by communities from Guam to Bar Harbor, Anchorage to Miami,” said Keven Ann Willey, editorial page editor and vice president of The Dallas Morning News and chair of the Pulitzer centennial committee. “And the four marquee events have great potential to inspire new audiences around the best of American journalism, letters, drama and music.”


Philadelphia newspapers donated to newly created nonprofit

The owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia DailyNews and has turned over the media company to a nonprofit institute in the hope that a new business model will help them survive the digital age and stanch years of layoffs and losses. Local philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, who bought the media company 19 months ago, will give the struggling properties to the newly formed Institute for Journalism in New Media and donate $20 million to endow the enterprise. "My goal is to ensure that the journalism traditionally provided by the printed newspapers is given a new life and prolonged, while new media formats for its distribution are being developed," Lenfest said in a statement. He pledged the new endeavor would continue to produce "independent public service journalism and investigative reporting that positively impacts the community, while also creating innovative multimedia content." The broadsheet Inquirer has won 20 Pulitzer Prizes for excellence in journalism, and the tabloid Daily News has garnered an additional three. ... Late last year, Philadelphia Media Network announced a consolidation of its newsrooms in a cost-cutting move following a decade of cutbacks and management upheaval. The move to a single newsroom was expected to save $5 million to $6 million annually. Earlier, the Philadelphia Media Network tapped one of its vice presidents to be the top editor of the consolidated newsroom. Stan Wischnowski will move into the newsroom as executive editor and be responsible for leading the combined staff. Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow, Daily News Editor Michael Days and Ulken had already been reporting to Wischnowski and will continue doing so.


New Republic again for sale

The New York Times reports that Chris Hughes, the Facebook co-founder who bought The New Republic in 2012 and prompted a revolt among staff members and contributors when he tried to remake it, said this week that he had decided to put the magazine up for sale. “I bought this company nearly four years ago to ensure its survival and give it the financial runway to experiment with new business models in a time of immense change in media,” he said in a letter to his staff. “After investing a great deal of time, energy, and over $20 million, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for new leadership and vision at The New Republic.” When Mr. Hughes bought the magazine in 2012, many were optimistic about his Silicon Valley experience combining with the publication’s reputation.


Trump, Union Leader feud grows as paper dropped from debate

Donald Trump continued his war of words with New Hampshire's largest newspaper and claimed credit for ABC's decision to drop the paper as a co-sponsor of its upcoming Republican primary debate. Trump's campaign and the Union Leader have been engaged in a mudslinging contest since the paper's publisher, Joseph McQuaid, wrote a series of front-page editorials criticizing Trump. In one, McQuaid called Trump a "crude blowhard." Trump, in turn, said the paper is failing and that McQuaid begged him to buy advertising space. At a recent campaign rally, Trump read from an advertising letter sent to his campaign from the paper. "Does anybody want the back cover of a newspaper that's lost all credibility?" Trump asked the crowd. ABC is hosting a GOP debate in New Hampshire on Feb. 6. The network cited the ongoing feud between the Union Leader and Trump, as well as the paper's endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as reasons for severing the partnership.


Rupert Murdoch announces engagement to Jerry Hall

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has announced his engagement to Texan Jerry Hall, the American actress and former supermodel who had a long-time relationship with Mick Jagger. Murdoch, 84, and Hall, 59, placed a classified ad in the Births, Marriages and Deaths section of the Times newspaper, which is owned by Murdoch's News Corporation. Murdoch, the executive chairman of News Corporation, and Hall have been dating since late summer after being introduced by one of Murdoch's sisters and his niece in his native Australia, the Times reported in a story posted online. They made their relationship public in October when they appeared together at the Rugby World Cup Final in London and got engaged last weekend while attending the Golden Globes awards in Los Angeles. Murdoch has six children from his three previous marriages.


New publisher named for Ohio newspapers

APG Media of Ohio, the parent company of The Athens Messenger, has named James Shine publisher of sister newspapers Logan Daily News and Perry County Tribune. Shine will be leading operations in the Logan and Perry markets. The two newspapers are part of the Ohio region of Adams Publishing Group. APGMedia of Ohio is based in Athens and has newspaper and digital operations in Athens, Jackson, Logan, Circleville, Defiance and Perry, Pike and Vinton Counties in Ohio and a weekly newspaper in Gladwin, Michigan. Most recently Shine was the publisher of the Lima News in Lima, Ohio.


Tom Wiley named publisher of Hartford Courant

Tom Wiley has been announced as the new publisher and CEO of the Hartford Courant Media Group. He succeeds Richard Daniels, who is leaving to lead Tribune Publishing media companies in Baltimore and Allentown, Pennsylvania. Daniels has been serving the role on an interim basis since September, when Tim Ryan was named CEO and publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Daniels previously worked for The Boston Globe and as CEO of GateHouse Media New England. Wiley served most recently as a sales executive for Digital First Media, where his responsibilities included oversight of publications including the New Haven Register, Torrington Register Citizen, Middletown Press and Connecticut Magazine. The Courant ( ) reports the appointments were announced by Denise Warren, CEO of East Coast Publishing at Tribune.


McClatchy names Berg as Kansas City Star's new publisher

The McClatchy Co. has promoted Tony Berg, 38, to president and publisher of The Kansas City Star. Berg joined the Star in April 2015 as vice president for advertising after holding a similar job at the Wichita Eagle. Under his leadership, both newspapers restructured their sales forces, launched new products and services and posted double-digit growth in digital sales. Before moving to Wichita, Berg worked at the Arizona Republic and the Lawrence Journal-World. He replaces Mi-Ai Parrish, who became president and publisher of the Arizona Republic last September.


Robertson Barrett Named President of Digital Media for Hearst Newspapers

Robertson (Rob) Barrett has been named president of digital media for Hearst Newspapers. Most recently, Barrett served as vice president of media strategy and operations at Yahoo, where he managed content strategy and development across all Yahoo Media properties. The announcement was made by Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz and Hearst Newspapers President Mark Aldam, to whom Barrett will report. In this new role, Barrett will have responsibility for all digital development and product innovation of the next wave of news, information and entertainment across Hearst Newspapers' local markets. Barrett is based at Hearst Tower in New York City.


News service in Maine selects new publisher

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting has named veteran journalist and new media entrepreneur Jack Beaudoin as its new publisher, according to a news release. Beaudoin, a Brunswick resident, took over as the new publisher and senior reporter. The two co-founders of the award-winning nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news service will remain in key roles at the center. Naomi Schalit will stay on as a senior reporter and John Christie will remain with the center as senior editor. “We’re pleased to have found an experienced Maine journalist to take over the reins of the center,” said the center’s board president, Nick Mills.


NPPA/University of Georgia Plan First Amendment Rights Symposium

First Amendment rights of citizens and journalists when news breaks on campuses and other public spaces will be the focus of a Jan. 22 program hosted at the University of Georgia by the National Press Photographers Association and the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. There is no charge to attend the one-day symposium, sponsored by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sessions led by Dean Charles Davis will examine what happened at the University of Missouri and why, and how schools and others can better educate and communicate with students and the community. Lunch speaker will be CNN Senior White House Correspondent Joe Johns.

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CPJ Report: 69 journalists died on the job in 2015

Sixty-nine journalists were killed around the world on the job in 2015. Twenty-eight were slain by Islamic militant groups, including al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The New York-based organization says Syria again was the deadliest place for journalists, though the number of deaths there in 2015 — 13 — was lower than in previous years of the conflict. "These journalists are the most vulnerable," Joel Simon, the committee's executive director said of reporters and broadcasters working in Syria and other areas inundated with Islamic extremists. "This is, clearly based on the data, an incredible risk for journalists." Those killed by Islamic extremist groups this year included eight journalists killed in an attack in Paris in January at the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack in which two gunmen massacred 12 people. They said it was in "revenge for the prophet."


Lee Enterprises prepares leadership transition

A planned leadership transition will begin at the annual meeting on Feb. 17 for Lee Enterprises, which has its headquarters in Davenport, Iowa, and is a leading digital and print provider of local news, information and advertising in 50 markets. Mary E. Junck, chairman, president and chief executive officer, will become executive chairman, continuing to guide Lee’s overall strategy and direction. Kevin D. Mowbray, a 29-year veteran of Lee, will advance from executive vice president and chief operating officer to president and chief executive officer. "Mary has been an outstanding CEO for 15 years. During that time Lee has been recognized as a leader in local news and information, producer of consistent results, and an innovator in its industry. The board, shareholders and employees are all thankful for her many contributions," said Herb Moloney, lead independent director. "It is also fortunate for Lee that Mary has developed and identified Kevin as her successor. Like Mary, Kevin is an extraordinary leader with a deep understanding of our markets, customers, operations and people."


Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary purchases Virginia newspaper

Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary BH Media Group has purchased The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia, adding to its newspaper holdings in Virginia. The purchase announced increases the Omaha-based BH Media’s daily newspaper count to 32, most of them across the South and Midwest. The company has 10 daily papers in Virginia, including The Richmond Times-Dispatch and dailies in Charlottesville, Roanoke and Danville, plus nearly 20 weeklies in the state. BH Media also owns the Omaha World-Herald. Sandton Capital Partners had acquired the Fredericksburg newspaper and its affiliates during bankruptcy proceedings in June 2014.


Las Vegas newspaper sold to GOP supporter Adelson

The New York Times reports that until a few weeks ago, Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul and Republican party benefactor, was better known for suing newspapers than owning them. Adelson, the chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., has sued the Daily Mail, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for defamation. Now, Adelson controls the Review-Journal. His family secretly bought it this month through a shell company headed by an executive, Michael Schroeder, who declined to identify its owners when the deal was announced. It took just days for the Review-Journal reporters to unravel the mystery of the paper's ownership, but the revelation has spawned a new round of mysteries and raised concerns about Adelson's motivations in buying Nevada's largest paper. ... Billionaires buying newspapers is nothing new. In recent years, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, acquired the Washington Post and John Henry, a former commodities trader, purchased the Boston Globe. Media watchdogs routinely question whether new owners will use papers to advance their personal agendas, but both of those transactions have been beneficial for the publications. Shortly after Adelson’s purchase, the editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mike Hengel, announced that he was leaving after accepting a voluntary buyout.


Four Kentucky newspapers being sold next month

Four Kentucky newspapers owned by Schurz Communications Inc. are to be sold. Schurz said in a news release that the newspapers are The Advocate-Messenger in Danville, The Winchester Sun, The Jessamine Journal and The Interior Journal in Stanford. Publisher Larry Hensley said the transaction is expected to be completed in early January. Hensley will remain as publisher of all four papers. The buyer is new Kentucky company Bluegrass Newsmedia LLC, managed by Boone Newspapers Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Boone acquired The State Journal in Frankfort in October and also manages newspapers in Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Michigan.


Trib Total Media closing 2 western Pennsylvania newspapers

Trib Total Media is closing two of its western Pennsylvania newspapers after failing to sell them, leaving 87 employees out of work. The company says in a statement  that The Valley Independent in Monessen and The Daily News in McKeesport were to be shut down on Dec. 31. Jennifer Bertetto, the company's president and CEO, says they've been trying to sell the papers since August but "nothing ever came to fruition." Trib Total Media will instead publish three regional editions of its flagship newspaper, the Tribune-Review:


Jim Perry named publisher at Harrison (Arkansas) Daily Times

Phillips Media Group president Jim Holland announced that long-time community newspaper Publisher Jim Perry has been named publisher of the Harrison (Arkansas) Daily Times. Perry moved to the Ozarks in July to oversee the acquisition of the West Plains Daily Quill by Phillips Media. He launched a new weekend edition there and moved the Quill into its new building. He will continue to supervise the Quill operations as well as serve as publisher in Harrison.


Braton named publisher of Globe Gazette, North Iowa papers

A new publisher will take the helm of the Globe Gazette in Mason City, Iowa.. David Braton, 64, publisher of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, will add publishing duties at the Globe Gazette, Lee Enterprises group Publisher Chris White announced. Braton will also supervise the North Iowa Media Group's weekly publications -- Mitchell County Press News, Forest City Summit and Britt News Tribune. He served as interim publisher of the North Iowa Media Group after the death of long-time publisher Howard Query on Sept. 22.


Publisher of family owned Vermont newspapers stepping down

The publisher of two family owned Vermont newspapers is stepping down. The Rutland Herald reports ( ) that R. John Mitchell announced he is stepping down as publisher of the paper and The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. He will stay on as president and chairman of the board of directors. Catherine Nelson will succeed Mitchell as publisher. She had been vice president and CEO of the newspapers. His son, Rob Mitchell, was named editor-in-chief. The Herald has been in the Mitchell family since 1947. The Times Argus has been in the family since 1964.


Henderson named publisher of the Las Cruces Sun-News

Veteran media executive Rynni Henderson has been named publisher of the Las Cruces (New Mexico) Sun-News and she has plans to expand the audience of the paper. Henderson's appointment was announced ( ) by Sergio H. Salinas, president and chief executive officer of the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership, which publishes the Sun-News and other newspapers. Henderson replaces Frank Leto, who left the Sun-News to become a publisher in Pennsylvania. In her new role, Henderson also will oversee the Deming Headlight and Silver City Sun-News.


Two Alaska newspapers sold to foundation

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and another Alaska newspaper are being sold. The News-Miner ( ) announced that the newspaper and the Kodiak Daily Mirror are being purchased by the Fairbanks-based Helen E. Snedden Foundation, which was created by the late wife of former News-Miner publisher Charles W. Snedden. The deal is expected to close early next year. The sales price was not immediately disclosed. The current owner, William Dean Singleton, and late business partner Richard B. Scudder bought the Fairbanks paper from Snedden heirs in 1992. The Snedden family owned the News-Miner between 1950 and 1992. In announcing the deal, Singleton said the "Singleton and Scudder families grew to love these newspapers and the Alaska communities they served during our 24 years of stewardship.”







Journalists behind bars: 2015 report highlights China, Egypt

China, Egypt and Iran top the list of the world's leading jailers of journalists in a new annual report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Eritrea, Ethiopia and Turkey also figured prominently on the list. The report released early Tuesday says a quarter of the 199 journalists worldwide who were in prison as of Dec. 1 because of their work were in China. The Communist Party-run country under President Xi Jinping had 49 journalists behind bars, the highest number for China since the CPJ began its annual survey in 1990. The report also singled out three jailed Chinese who were not included on its annual list: the three brothers of a U.S.-based journalist with Radio Free Asia who covers China's treatment of his ethnic group, the Muslim Uighurs. CPJ calls the jailing of Shohret Hoshur's brothers an act of retaliation for his reporting and an example of "the lengths to which China is willing to go to silence its critics." Egypt was second on the list with 23 journalists in prison, up from a dozen a year ago and zero in 2012.

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Free Press parent opens D.C. bureau

Free Press parent company Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., a leading publisher of local newspapers and websites, has announced the opening of a Washington, D.C., bureau to serve its markets in 23 states. Kery Murakami, an investigative and politics reporter, was appointed the bureau chief. Bill Ketter, CNHI’s senior vice president of news, said Murakami will provide localized coverage and analysis of federal government issues affecting the cities and towns where the company owns and operates news outlets. “What happens in Washington affects readers across the CNHI landscape,” Ketter said. “The Washington bureau will drill down into issues and policies that matter to our markets, and also diligently scrutinize the activities of the congressmen and senators who represent those markets.”

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Publisher of Erie Times-News, website selling to New Media

The family-owned Pennsylvania company that publishes the Erie Times-News and is selling to New Media Investment Group Inc. The Times-News reported the deal Monday. The newspaper says New Media expects to close the purchase early next year, subject to approval by shareholders of The Times Publishing Co., the Erie-based parent company. New Media Investment Group is the holding company of GateHouse Media of Fairport, New York, which controls 490 publications in 31 states. The Mead family has completely owned or controlled The Times Publishing Co. for 127 years. Erie's publisher, Ken Nelson, says, "The industry, and this newspaper, have evolved to the point where family-owned, independent newspapers face too many hurdles to survive long-term without help." Nelson expects the newspaper to remain Erie's "dominant source for news for years to come."


China's Alibaba pays $266M for influential HK newspaper

E-commerce company Alibaba is buying Hong Kong's South China Morning Post for 2.06 billion Hong Kong dollars ($266 million), it said Monday, in a deal that's stirred concern the English-language paper's reporting may be softened under new Chinese owners. The Chinese e-commerce giant is paying cash for the newspaper and the SCMP Group's other media assets, including magazines, outdoor advertising and digital media, the company said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The deal was announced on Friday but no amount was given for the transaction. The sale of the 112-year paper, which has a wide international following for its China coverage, has raised fears that its reporting would be watered down under the ownership of a mainland Chinese company. The Post, whose current owner is Malaysian sugar tycoon Robert Kuok and his family, has won awards for coverage of political scandals and human rights in China, topics that are off-limits to mainland media.

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Las Vegas Review-Journal owner: Paper sold for $140 million

The owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal says it sold Nevada's largest newspaper for $140 million and will continue managing it. New Media Investment Group paid $102.5 million earlier this year for the newspaper and several Stephens Media publications in other states. Its sale to News + Media Capital Group LLC involves just the Review-Journal and affiliated publications in Nevada. The purchase was first announced late Thursday without a sale price. Little is being revealed about News + Media, which incorporated in September in Delaware. Review-Journal Publisher Jason Taylor says he isn't at liberty to identify the group's backers. He doesn't expect the group to be involved in news or editorial decisions. The newspaper reports the group's manager Michael Schroeder leads Central Connecticut Publishing and worked at Newsday, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Orange County Register.


Rupert Murdoch's UK papers won't face phone hacking charges

More than four years after revelations of tabloid phone hacking shocked Britain, prosecutors said Friday, Dec. 11, that the criminal investigation is over, ruling out corporate prosecution of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers or charges against individuals including former CNN host Piers Morgan. Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said there was "insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction" over corporate liability by Murdoch's News Group Newspapers. She said 10 individuals under investigation at the rival Mirror Group — including former Daily Mirror editor Morgan — also will not face charges.

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Newspaper columnist injured when Iowa State fans storm court

Des Moines Register columnist Randy Peterson suffered what the newspaper said was a broken leg when Iowa State fans stormed the court after a win over Iowa.The fourth-ranked Cyclones rallied from 20 down to beat their in-state rivals 83-82 Thursday night on a winning shot with nine seconds left. Fans rushed the floor at Hilton Coliseum and Peterson was injured while heading to the postgame press conference. Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard told the Register that he believes Peterson suffered a compound leg fracture.

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Newspaper finds 85 dental patient deaths in Texas since 2010

At least 85 dental patients have died in Texas since 2010 and the number of similar deaths nationwide is likely much higher, according to a new investigation by The Dallas Morning News. The newspaper listed several potential risks of bad dental care, including oversedation, inhaling objects, bleeding and facial fires. Other concerns included monitoring and emergency-response failures, accidental or deliberate violence, unsterilized equipment and intoxicated dentists. Texas is the only state in the nation that requires dentists to report all deaths that might be treatment-related and produces a detailed accounting of those reports, the paper found. It said that many states refused to release death reports that dentists have submitted, making it impossible to have a complete picture of why patients die and how many cases are related to treatment errors.

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Globo secures Olympic TV rights in Brazil through 2032

Globo has secured broadcast rights in Brazil to the Olympics through 2032, the latest long-term, multi-games TV deal for the IOC. The International Olympic Committee said Thursday, Dec. 11, that Globo, Brazil's dominant media company, was awarded the rights on a non-exclusive basis for free television and on an exclusive basis for subscription TV, internet and mobile platforms. Terms of the deal were not announced. The agreement comes at a time when Brazil is mired in deep recession, and less than eight months before the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In 2009, Globo and two other Brazilian media companies, Banderiantes and Rede Record, secured the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. The rights fee for those deals was put at $150 million, plus $40 million in media promotional packages.

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Trump's Muslim proposal makes for electric TV moments

Among Chris Cuomo, Joe Scarborough and George Stephanopoulos, it was tough to tell which television host became more exasperated talking to Donald Trump about his proposal to block Muslims from entering the United States. Trump made himself as available to the news media as he always does, despite espousing a plan more polarizing than any in a campaign that has thrived on confrontation. The stakes had perceptibly changed, though, and that made for electric if not always informative television moments Tuesday. The call-in telephone interview with Trump has become a staple of TV news programs the past few months. News producers hate such interviews — nothing's more boring than a disembodied voice speaking over a still photograph on the screen — but can't resist Trump's ratings catnip. He's a favorite of "Morning Joe," and on Tuesday was also interviewed by Cuomo on CNN and Stephanopoulos on ABC's "Good Morning America."

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Lawmakers want social media companies to report terrorists

Responding to the San Bernadino shootings, lawmakers introduced legislation Tuesday, Dec. 8, to require social media companies to report any online terrorist activity they become aware of to law enforcement. The bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., matches language that was dropped from the Senate's annual intelligence authorization bill earlier this year. Companies would be required to report to law enforcement if they became aware of terrorist activity such as attack planning, recruiting or distribution of terrorist material.


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World Trade Center incentives mulled for News Corp., Fox

The government agency rebuilding the World Trade Center is considering giving millions in incentives to News Corp. and 21st Century Fox. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's agenda for a meeting Thursday, Dec. 10, included a proposal to provide the incentives to the companies, which are effectively controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch's family. They would be tenants at the planned 2 World Trade Center building, which is expected to be built by developer Larry Silverstein. Negotiations on a lease are ongoing. Representatives of Silverstein, News Corp. and 21st Century Fox all declined comment. The two media companies are presently based in midtown Manhattan.

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INDUSTRY NEWS  12-9-15  

Social media, the new megaphone for violent perpetrators

Tashfeen Malik, the woman involved in Southern California’s mass shooting, has another claim to notoriety: She's the latest in a growing line of extremists and disturbed killers who have used social media to punctuate their horrific violence. A Facebook official said Friday, Dec. 4, that Malik, using an alias, praised the Islamic State group in a Facebook post shortly before — or during — the attack. Malik's posting echoes similar bids for attention by violent perpetrators, including a disgruntled Virginia broadcaster who recorded himself shooting two co-workers and then posted the video online and a Florida man who killed his wife and shared a photo of her body on social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media companies do their best to block or remove posts that glorify violence but experts say it's an uphill battle.

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Thai printer of Int'l NY Times blocks stories for third time

The New York Times decried limits on media freedom in Thailand on Friday, Dec. 4, after its local printer refused to publish articles about the Southeast Asian country for a third time. The printer removed a column from the opinion page of Friday's edition of the International New York Times about Thailand's Crown Property Bureau, which manages the financial affairs of the royal family. The column said the bureau was not publicly accountable and its assets may total as much as $53 billion. Discussion of Thailand's monarchy is highly sensitive, and criticism can be punished by up to 15 years in prison. Instead of the column, the newspaper ran a blank space, with a notice in the middle saying "The article in this space was removed by our printer in Thailand. The International New York Times and its editorial staff had no role in its removal."

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Paper: Reporter's case should give US pause in Iran dealings

The publisher of The Washington Post says the United States, other governments and businesses should keep the newspaper's detained reporter in mind when considering improved relations with Iran. Thursday marks the 500th day of journalist Jason Rezaian's detention, and publisher Frederick J. Ryan Jr. says the case should give everyone pause. Ryan says in a statement that "if the callous regime in Tehran imprisons and abuses a fully accredited and innocent journalist, what might they do to a visiting delegation?" He also wonders "how would they treat employees stationed in Iran?" Ryan says Rezaian should be released immediately. The 39-year-old Rezaian has dual American and Iranian citizenship. Iranian TV reports he's been sentenced to prison on charges that include espionage.


Brother of Iran-held reporter delivers petition for release

The brother of a Washington Post reporter detained in Iran since July 2014 delivered a petition to Iran's United Nations mission on Thursday, Dec. 3, demanding the journalist's release. "They need to know that folks around the world are concerned about this," Ali Rezaian said before handing over the petition seeking the release of his brother Jason Rezaian. Thursday marked 500 days since Jason Rezaian's arrest on July 22, 2014. Rezaian was detained with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists. The others were released, but Rezaian went on trial in four closed-door court hearings at Tehran's Revolutionary Court.

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Washington Post: Iran-held reporter is in 'immediate danger'

The Washington Post reported Wednesday, Dec. 2, that its journalist detained in Iran is in "immediate danger" as his health deteriorates and mistreatment of him intensifies. Thursday, Dec. 4, will mark 500 days since Jason Rezaian was arrested, the newspaper noted, with executive editor Martin Baron calling it the "grimmest" of milestones. The newspaper said Rezaian's brother, Ali, will deliver a petition to Iran's mission to the United Nations with more than 500,000 signatures asking for his immediate release. The Post also said it has submitted new information about Rezaian to a U.N. working group on arbitrary detention. Earlier this year, it appealed to the group to intervene in the case. The 39-year-old Rezaian, who grew up in northern California, has dual American and Iranian citizenship.

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Postal service warns Oregon newspaper about pot ads

The U.S. Postal Service office in Portland, Ore., delivered some potentially bad news last week to Northwest newspapers: If news outlets run ads for the region's booming marijuana industry, they might be violating federal law. The memo pointed out it was illegal "to place an ad in any publication with the purpose of seeking or offering illegally to receive, buy, or distribute a Schedule I controlled substance," according to a copy sent to the editor-publisher of the Chinook Observer in Long Beach, Washington. "If an advertisement advocates the purchase of clinical marijuana through a Medical Marijuana Dispensary, it does not comply with" the law.

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Int'l NY Times' Thai printer refuses to run front-page story

The printer of the International New York Times in Thailand refused to print an article portraying a gloomy outlook for the country, leaving in its place a large blank space at the center of Tuesday's front page. The printing company called the story too "sensitive" but declined to specify the offending material. The article, titled "Thai spirits sagging with the economy" in the paper's other Asian editions, described a moribund economy, pessimism after years of political turmoil and concern about the royal succession.

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Swift Communications buys Park City newspaper in Utah

Swift Communications is buying The Park Record newspaper in Utah. The acquisition of the publication in Park City, Utah adds another mountain town newspaper to the Nevada-based company's collection. The company already owns the Snowmass Sun, Aspen Times, Summit Daily News and Vail Daily in Colorado and the Tahoe Daily Tribune and Sierra Sun in California. Swift is based in Carson City, Nevada and owns more than 20 publications in Nevada, California, Colorado and Nebraska. It also owns a publications group in Wisconsin that produces farming magazines. The Park Record reported the sale Tuesday, Dec. 1. The company did not disclose how much it paid. The Park Record publishes twice a week in Park City east of Salt Lake City. The resort city is home to several major ski resorts and hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival.


INDUSTRY NEWS    12-1-15

Network veteran, Nick News chief Linda Ellerbee retiring 

Linda Ellerbee, a veteran newswoman who wrote an irreverent best-seller about her time on television and built a second career at Nickelodeon explaining tough stories to youngsters, says that she's signing off the air for good. Ellerbee, 71, said Tuesday she's retiring from TV after Nickelodeon airs a one-hour retrospective of her work on Dec. 15. The outspoken Texan and multiple award-winner was among the first prominent women in TV news and a model for the sitcom character Murphy Brown after actress Candice Bergen studied her work. Ellerbee — and later Murphy Brown — survived breast cancer. Ellerbee began a television news career after being fired by The Associated Press in 1972. On the night desk in Dallas, she wrote a gossipy letter to a friend that was inadvertently sent on the wire to three states. A news director at Houston's KHOU-TV saw it, thought Ellerbee was a funny writer, and hired her.

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'Spotlight' tops Gotham Independent Film Awards 

The investigative journalism procedural "Spotlight" won best feature at the 25th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, landing the first of what could be a string of awards for Tom McCarthy's acclaimed newsroom drama. The film, about the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on sex abuse by Catholic priests, also was honored for its screenplay by McCarthy and Josh Singer, and it was given a special award for its ensemble cast that includes Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams. The Globe reporters who inspired the film were in attendance, too, Monday night at the dinner held at Cipriani's Wall Street in lower Manhattan.

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Reporter mocked by Trump says the 2 knew each other well

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he couldn't have been making fun of a reporter's disability because he doesn't know the man. Not so, says the reporter. Serge Kovaleski of The New York Times says he has met the real estate mogul repeatedly, interviewing him in his office and talking to him at news conferences, when he worked for the New York Daily News in the late 1980s. "Donald and I were on a first-name basis for years," he said in a Times story about Trump's behavior at a rally in South Carolina last week. Onstage Tuesday, a mocking Trump flailed his arms in an apparent attempt to imitate mannerisms of the "poor guy." He accused Kovaleski of backing off a story from a week after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that said authorities in New Jersey detained and questioned "a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks."

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Ohio Wesleyan faculty bans student newspaper from its meetings

When Ohio Wesleyan’s student newspaper agreed last year to exchange news stories with the Delaware Gazette, the city’s newspaper, neither thought much about it. But stories about budget tightening, student housing and other issues suddenly were being shared with thousands of readers instead of just the private college’s community. In recent weeks, the sharing idea has come under fire, culminating with a Nov. 16 vote by faculty members to ban five students from faculty meetings, a move that has riled some students and the chairman of the journalism program. The vote bans Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs student representatives, as well as the student newspaper, The Transcript, from future meetings. Unlike public universities, the private school of about 2,000 students isn’t subject to Ohio’s public-records or open-meeting laws.

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Norman Rockwell's view of Missouri newspaper hits auction

After a long delay, art critics now recognize paintings such as "Norman Rockwell Visits a Country Editor" as treasures. At auction Thursday, Nov. 26, it fetched $11.5 million from an anonymous bidder. The irony, though, is priceless. The St. Louis-Post Dispatch reports that its value has soared while the newspaper industry it was intended to depict has faded. To capture the life of a small-town newspaper editor in the 1940s, Rockwell, working as an illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post, ended up at the Monroe County Appeal in tiny Paris, Missouri. There, he found Jack Blanton, an editor of more than 50 years who not only had ink in his veins, but whose fingers were shortened by a printing press accident when he was a boy learning the craft from his father. The painting captured the idealistic spirit for which Rockwell is known.

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Brian Williams settles into new job at MSNBC

Coming out of a commercial break shortly before 11:20 a.m., Brian Williams had slipped into the anchor chair on MSNBC Tuesday, Nov. 23, as President Barack Obama met with French President Francois Hollande. "We have an eye on the East Room of the White House," Williams said, where reporters waited to question the two leaders. Williams set the scene and talked about the day's news for 40 minutes before the two men emerged, and he was off the air after the news conference and analysis. The appearance was consistent with how Williams has been used on the news network since he started the new assignment two months ago. He had been off the air since February and lost his job as NBC's "Nightly News" anchor for misleading viewers about his role in news stories.

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AP staffers win prestigious Indian journalism awards

Two Associated Press journalists are among the winners of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards, India's most prestigious, for work exposing the public health and environmental damage done by the country's asbestos industry and capturing the devastation of last year's floods in the Kashmir region. New Delhi-based Correspondent Katy Daigle, who manages the AP's text report in South Asia, received the foreign correspondent award for her 2014 series on asbestos. Srinagar-based photographer Yasin Dar won the photojournalism award for his work capturing the floods that swamped large parts of Kashmir. The awards were presented to Daigle and Dar by India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on Monday, Nov. 23.

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Research shows women far from equality with men in the media

New research supported by the United Nations agency promoting women's rights has found that women make up only 24 percent of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news — exactly the same percentage as in 2010. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka called the research "a wake-up call to media houses and newsrooms." The Global Media Monitoring Project, conducted at five years intervals by the advocacy group World Association for Christian Communication has been supported in 2010 and 2015 by UN Women. The project's global coordinator, Sarah Macharia, said the report released Monday. Nov. 23, examined the visibility, voice and mention of women and men in the news media in 114 countries "and finds a sexism that has endured across decades and geographical boundaries."

Valley Metro CEO resigns amid newspaper's investigation

The chief executive officer of the Phoenix metropolitan area's bus and light-rail systems announced his resignation Tuesday, Nov. 24, amid a newspaper's investigation into his expense reports. Valley Metro officials announced Steve Banta will be leaving the company in January, but they didn't immediately give a reason for his departure. "I will be leaving Valley Metro after the first of the year to pursue other and unique challenges in the transit industry," Banta said in a statement. The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday that it had been investigating the expenses incurred by Banta, who has been Valley Metro's CEO since January 2010 and reportedly has an annual salary of almost $265,000. The newspaper said it gathered hundreds of pages of documents through the state's public records law.

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Fox's Elisabeth Hasselbeck quitting morning show

Elisabeth Hasselbeck said Monday, Nov. 23,  that she's leaving as one of the three co-hosts on the "Fox & Friends" morning show to spend more time with her three children. Hasselbeck was the conservative voice on "The View" before joining Fox News Channel in September 2013. Her co-hosts, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, have been on the morning chat show since it launched in 1998. It is the top-rated morning news show on cable. She said in a statement Monday that she wants to start the day with her children first. She and her husband, former pro football quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, have two boys and a girl between ages 6 and 10.

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Vatican court rejects journalist's bid to drop leaks charges

A Vatican tribunal on Tuesday, Nov. 24, rejected a journalist's request to dismiss charges against him for publishing confidential documents as a trial opened in the Holy See's latest leaks scandal. Journalists Emiliano Fittipaldi and Gianluigi Nuzzi are accused of having published books about Vatican waste, greed and mismanagement that were based in part on confidential Holy See documents. Alongside them in the courtroom Tuesday were three people, including a high-ranking Vatican monsignor, accused of leaking them the information. The trial opened despite appeals by media watchdog groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the OSCE, for the Vatican to drop the charges against the reporters on the grounds that a free press is a fundamental human right.

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Iran sentences US journalist to prison

Iran has sentenced detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian to an unspecified prison term following his conviction last month on charges that include espionage, Iranian state TV reported Sunday. Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, the spokesman for Iran's judiciary, announced the punishment in a statement on the TV station's website. "In brief, it is a prison sentence," he said. The verdict is "not finalized," he added, referring to an expected appeal. Ejehi was responding to a question from a local reporter at a weekly news conference. He said the verdict has not been officially communicated to Rezaian or his lawyer. 

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Ball State weighs putting TV frequency up for auction

Officials at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., are considering whether to take part in a federal auction of broadcast frequencies that could lead to its public television station going off the air. The Federal Communications Commission is planning an auction process to free up frequencies for use by wireless broadband companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, and giving them more capacity for mobile data services and easing congested networks. The agency set a maximum of $277 million that the government would pay Ball State to give up WIPB-TV's license, although experts say it is unlikely the university would receive that much, The (Muncie) Star Press reported (

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Lawyers for Winston, Kinsman unhappy on eve of documentary

The back and forth between the representatives of Jameis Winston and Erica Kinsman has ramped up on the eve of CNN's airing of the film "The Hunting Ground." The cable news station is scheduled to show documentary about sexual assault on American college campuses Nov. 22. The film aired at the Sundance Film Festival and features Kinsman, who accused Winston of sexual assault while the two were students at Florida State. The Hollywood Reporter said Nov. 20 that a Winston lawyer sent CNN a letter cautioning the station about airing the documentary because it is defamatory toward Winston and threatened to sue.

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New publisher, ad director for Williston, Sidney newspapers

The Williston Herald in North Dakota and the Sidney Herald in Montana have a new publisher. Wick Communications Regional Publisher Randy Rickman says Karen Brown will fill the position, along with serving as advertising director. The Herald reports ( ) that Brown has more than 30 years of experience in the newspaper industry. She most recently was general manager and media director for the Sidney Daily News in Sidney, Ohio. Her first day in Williston will be Dec. 7.

College defends decision to restrict media at student sit-in

Smith College has defended its decision to ban media from a recent student sit-in unless reporters declared solidarity with the protesters. The Northampton, Massachusetts, college said in a statement Nov. 20 it wasn't notified in advance of the students' request. The demonstration, held at Smith's campus center, joined dozens across the U.S. calling for better treatment of minority students. Staff members at the private women's school "were forced to make a decision in the moment," the statement said. "On balance, as strongly as the college prefers to err on the side of a campus open to media, the students' opposition to it at their own event — which they had created and were hosting — was honored," according to the statement from Smith, a private, liberal-arts college of about 3,000 students.

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Media asked to leave Emporia State diversity forum

Emporia State University excluded media from a public forum on race but later allowed reporters back into the event. The Emporia Gazette reports ( ) that reporters on Nov. 21 were asked to leave the forum, which the university had announced earlier in a press release. Emporia State officials allowed reporters back into the event after discussing the issue with the university's general counsel. Emporia State's Interim President Jackie Vietti said the reporters were asked to leave the event because students thought the forum would not be open to the media. She said the university would work to avoid that confusion in the future. The Kansas Press Association says denying media access to a public meeting would be a violation of the state's open meetings law.

Museum puts 1840 newspapers edited by Abraham Lincoln online

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is making copies of a campaign newspaper edited by Lincoln and other politicians available online for the first time. In a news release, museum officials say The Old Soldier was published between February and October 1840 to support William Henry Harrison's presidential campaign. It was published from the Springfield offices of the Sangamo Journal. The 18 copies of the newspaper were split between four libraries and museums. But the Lincoln museum's Center for Digital Initiatives was able to compile a complete set from those collections and put them online. Daniel Stowell is the center's director. He says: "The Old Soldier is a unique resource for the study of Abraham Lincoln as a young political operative."

Decades of hosts return for 'GMA' anniversary 

ABC's "Good Morning America" celebrated its 40th anniversary Nov. 19 with a studio jammed with the men and women who hosted the wake-up broadcast through its long history. "Every one of your favorite faces from 'GMA' is back," host Robin Roberts told viewers at the top of the alumni-packed telecast. Starting with original hosts David Hartman and Nancy Dussault, producers cleverly moved through the hosts chronologically as they raised coffee mugs and looked into the camera with the show's signature greeting, "Good Morning, America!"

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International NY Times to end print edition in Thailand 

The International New York Times says it will cease printing and distributing its print edition in Thailand at the end of the year, attributing the decision to the rising cost of operating in the Southeast Asian country. The newspaper, known until 2013 as the International Herald Tribune, announced the move in a letter to subscribers. It was confirmed Nov. 19 in an email from Charlotte Gordon, its vice president for international marketing. Gordon said the print edition will still be available in six other Southeast Asian nations: Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar.

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Post-Gazette president leaving, parent firm exec taking over

The company that owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says it is eliminating the position of president at the newspaper in a move to centralize executive functions. As a result, the company said Nov. 17 that Joseph Pepe is leaving. He had been the Post-Gazette's president and general manager since October 2012. Pepe's responsibilities will be assumed by Joseph Zerbey. He is vice president of Block Newspaper operations and president and general manager of The Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Post-Gazette's sister newspaper. Zerbey has been an executive with Block since 2004. Company officials say Post-Gazette operations director Lisa Hurm will assume the added role of interim general manager.

Mom of journalist killed by IS: Hostage policy not effective 

The mother of American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants last year, demanded proof on Tuesday that U.S. policy not to negotiate with terrorists is saving American lives and decreasing the rate U.S. citizens are being captured. "I recognize that it is complex because we certainly don't want to fund terrorists," Diane Foley told a House subcommittee. "But is it wise to not even engage these people? ... Then we don't know what's going on. Then we don't know what they want. We don't know who they are. I just think we need to be a lot shrewder."

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Reporter appears for Vatican summons, but refuses to answer 

An Italian journalist who is under criminal investigation by the Vatican for publishing a book about scandals at the Holy See said Nov. 17 he refused to answer the Vatican prosecutor's questions during an interrogation this week, citing his right under Italian law to protect his sources. Emiliano Fittipaldi, author of the new book "Avarice," based on leaked Vatican documents, said he agreed to go to the Vatican on Nov. 16 after being formally summoned because he wanted to understand exactly what he was accused of. But he told reporters the next day that he refused to answer the prosecutors' questions, citing the protections journalists enjoy in Italy to shield their sources — protections which don't exist in the Vatican legal code.

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INDUSTRY NEWS   11-17-15 

Quincy Il. Newspapers Inc. acquires four TV stations

Quincy Newspapers Inc., parent company of The Herald-Whig and WGEM-TV and Radio, took ownership of four television stations on Monday. The acquisitions mean QNI now owns television stations in 14 markets that provide a total of 47 program signals. Three stations acquired from Granite Broadcasting are WEEK-TV, serving Peoria and Bloomington in Illinois; KBJR-TV, serving Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wis.; and WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y. QNI also acquired WPTA-TV in Fort Wayne, Ind., from Malara Broadcasting.

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Media General rejects Nexstar bid, but willing to talk

The television company Media General rejected a $1.9 billion buyout offer from Nexstar Broadcasting on Monday, but said that it's still willing to talk. The Nexstar bid comes in the wake of a $2.4 billion bid from Media General Inc. for Meredith Corp., which owns television stations and publishes about 20 magazines. Media General said in September that a deal with Meredith would create a company with almost 90 television stations in 54 markets and magazines including Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Living.  Some see the bid from Nexstar, which owns, operates, programs or provides services to more than 100 television stations in 58 markets, as an attempt to drive a wedge between Meredith and Media General.

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Journalist snubs Vatican magistrates seeking to question him

One of the Italian journalists whose expose of Vatican mismanagement has made headlines is refusing to appear before Vatican magistrates to be questioned in a criminal case over leaked confidential documents. Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of "Merchants in the Temple," received an official summons from the office of the Vatican prosecutor to appear Tuesday to be interrogated in the case against a Vatican monsignor accused in the leaks probe. Nuzzi, who has been placed under investigation in the case, said Monday he wouldn't appear for questioning. In a statement, he accused the Vatican legal system of punishing journalists and criminalizing the publishing of news, and noted that there are no norms in the Vatican legal code allowing journalists to protect their sources.

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CBS hopes debate coverage will boost streaming service

CBS News sees its coverage of Saturday's Democratic presidential debate as a key moment in helping to establish CBSN, the streaming service that just celebrated its first birthday. Political reporter Major Garrett will host a preview of the debate an hour before it begins on CBSN. The free service will stream the debate live, accompanied by data and tweets provided by Twitter, with Garrett stepping in with reactions during commercial breaks of the televised contest. It is also being shown on the broadcast television network. CBSN, which launched on Nov. 6, 2014, provides a continuous newscast and also allows users to click on streams of individual stories. It is available on the CBS News website, on the network's mobile apps and through services like Apple TV, Roku and Android TV. Starting this week, it can also be seen on Xbox One.

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Slain journalist Foley's family: Drone strike small solace

The family of a journalist beheaded by an Islamic State group fighter known as Jihadi John said Friday, Nov. 13, that a U.S. drone strike targeting the extremist provides little comfort. Diane and John Foley, of Rochester, the parents of James Foley, said the U.S. should put more effort into finding and rescuing hostages. "It is a very small solace to learn that Jihadi John may have been killed by the U.S. government," the statement said. "His death does not bring Jim back. If only so much effort had been given to finding and rescuing Jim and the other hostages who were subsequently murdered by ISIS, they might be alive today."


UW-Madison paper cutting print production

One of the oldest student newspapers in the country is cutting production of its print edition from four to two days a week. The Daily Cardinal at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will print Mondays and Thursdays next semester. Editor-in-chief Jim Dayton says the 123-year-old paper will shift its focus to web and mobile products. Just a few years ago, the university had two daily student newspapers. The other paper, The Badger Herald, now prints weekly and focuses on online reporting. UW-Madison journalism professor Katy Culver tells the State Journal that college papers once had a captive audience of students, but that's no longer the case. Advertisers can now reach young consumers directly through social media. The student newspapers do not receive revenue from the university.


Public radio station KUOW announces plans to purchase KPLU

Seattle-based public radio station KUOW announced plans on Thursday, Nov. 12, to buy KPLU in an $8 million deal. The University of Washington station, known for National Public Radio content, will buy the KPLU broadcasting licenses from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Pacific Lutheran University spokeswoman Donna Gibbs said Thursday the deal came from more than a decade of talks about how to better serve public radio listeners in the Puget Sound region.

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Man convicted of stalking Philadelphia TV anchor

A suburban Philadelphia man has been convicted of stalking a television anchor after she broke up with him in 2011. The Philadelphia Inquirer ( ) reports a Philadelphia jury convicted 39-year-old John Hart of Havertown of stalking and harassing Erika von Tiehl of KYW-TV. Von Tiehl was not in court for Thursday's verdict, but released a statement expressing relief. She says, "It was important to me to speak up, not only for myself, but also for all of the women he has victimized in the past who didn't have their day in court." Hart has several arrests and convictions for similar crimes. He'll be sentenced in January.


Prosecutors sue AG Kane, claim retaliation, misuse of office

Five former Pennsylvania prosecutors and investigators sued Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Thursday, Nov. 12, saying she illegally used the power of her office to retaliate against them after they criticized her public statements and handling of high-profile cases. The federal lawsuit also names the Philadelphia Daily News and a reporter, and claims the plaintiffs' free speech rights were violated and their reputations sullied by the embattled attorney general. The allegations relate to a series of episodes that have kept Kane — and the plaintiffs — in headlines since she took office in early 2013, including a leaked story the newspaper published last year that prompted criminal charges against Kane, the state's top prosecutor.

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Owner of LA Times, Chicago Tribune expects to cut jobs

The owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers says it expects a buyout offer to cut its staff by 7 percent. Tribune Publishing employees had to apply by Oct. 23. The company said in October that layoffs could follow the buyouts. Spokeswoman Dana Meyer said Thursday that CEO Jack Griffin had said last week on the company earnings call that "initial results indicate that the company will reach its internal targets" for buyouts. Meyer declined to comment on how many employees took a buyout or how many employees Tribune Publishing has. As of the end of 2014, it had 7,595 full- and part-time employees.

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UF journalism school gets $1M for watchdog reporting

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications will receive a $1 million boost to advance the teaching of watchdog journalism. Sarasota homebuilder Lee Wetherington said in a news release he is giving the school the funds “to provide the means to help our next generation of journalists continue the tradition of being on the front lines of making sure our government and leaders do not take advantage of the trust we have put in them.’’ “Investigative journalism is one of the best means to do this,” he said in the release on Thursday, Nov. 12.

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Missouri protesters welcome media, day after shunning it

Protesters credited with helping oust the University of Missouri System's president and the head of its flagship campus welcomed reporters to cover their demonstrations Tuesday, Nov. 11, a day after a videotaped clash between some protesters and a student photographer drew media condemnation as an affront to the free press. Activists removed yard signs warning the media to stay away from a grassy area of campus that has served as an impromptu campsite for the protesters in recent days. Concerned Student 1950, a group which led the protests, put out fliers titled "Teachable Moment" that encouraged demonstrators to cooperate with the media.

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Trib Total cutting 153 jobs, merging Pittsburgh metro papers

Trib Total Media will lay off more than 150 employees at year's end and consolidate its three main daily newspapers in the Pittsburgh metro area as part of an ongoing reorganization intended to bolster its digital delivery of news, the company announced Tuesday, Nov. 11. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Tribune-Review in Greensburg and the Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum will become a single paper, the Tribune-Review, the company said. The two suburban papers will become locally zoned editions. The company also is closing its printing operation in Greensburg and reducing its home delivery footprint, eliminating unprofitable routes.

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Jury overturns Little Rock housing director's FOI conviction

A jury has overturned the conviction of Little Rock's housing director for violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports ( ) the Pulaski County jury deliberated for about 2½ hours Friday before finding Metropolitan Housing Alliance Executive Director Rodney Forte not guilty of violating the FOI Act. Forte had appealed his June misdemeanor conviction of failing to respond to FOI requests from the newspaper within three working days — as required by state law. He was sentenced to pay a $100 fine and $140 in court costs. A reporter for the newspaper started submitting requests after learning the organization hired a deputy executive director at a $92,000 salary. The reporter and an editor asked several times for information that included employee documents, work orders and tenant complaints.

Carson defends West Point story, calls news media 'unfair' 

Criticizing the news media as unfair, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is defending his past descriptions of receiving a scholarship offer for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point even though it does not offer scholarships and he never applied for admission. Questions about Carson's assertions about his personal history, including his claim that he was a troubled youth beset at times by violent behavior, and his inaccurate pronouncements about historical events have gained attention as he has risen to the top of some national polls.

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News Corp. misses Street 1Q forecasts

News Corp. (NWSA) on Nov. 5 reported fiscal first-quarter profit of $175 million. On a per-share basis, the New York-based company said it had profit of 30 cents. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains and to account for discontinued operations, were 5 cents per share. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 7 cents per share. The publishing company whose flagship is The Wall Street Journal posted revenue of $2.01 billion in the period, which also fell short of Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.11 billion. News Corp. shares have declined 2 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed 2 percent.

Iranian president criticizes recent arrests of journalists

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized in remarks published Thursday the recent arrests of journalists amid an ongoing crackdown on expression by the country's hard-liners. According to a report in the state-owned daily IRAN, Rouhani said hard-liners "misuse" remarks by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the possible spread of U.S. influence in Iran as an excuse for the detentions. The president was referring to Khamenei's statements this week that reflect deep suspicions of the United States and prevailing views among hard-liners in Iran that U.S. policies are a threat to the country.

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Media outlets sue Kansas governor in open records lawsuit

Three media organizations are suing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and two others in his administration under the Kansas Open Records Act, seeking the public disclosure of documents related to the appointment of a magistrate judge to replace another who retired before the end of his term. The lawsuit filed late Wednesday, Nov. 4, by The Associated Press, The Hutchinson News and the Kansas Press Association, follows a flurry of media requests for more transparency in the appointment to a usually elected position. The administration has repeatedly refused to release application documents, saying the material is exempt under the Kansas Open Records Act. The lawsuit filed in Shawnee County District Court names Brownback, his spokeswoman Eileen Hawley and his director of appointments Kim Borchers. It asks the court to order the disclosure of the requested records and seeks costs and attorney fees.

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Ex-LA Times columnist awarded $7.1M in discrimination suit

A jury on Wednesday, Nov. 4, awarded $7.13 million to former Los Angeles Times sports columnist T.J. Simers, who claimed he was forced out of his $234,000-a-year job by age and health discrimination. The Superior Court jury made the lawsuit award after a six-week trial, the Times reported. Simers had sought more than $12 million. The newspaper believes Simers made unfounded allegations and will appeal, spokeswoman Hillary Manning said. Simers, 65, was a Times columnist for a decade but left two years ago to work for the Orange County Register.

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LA Times owner offers $3M loan during Freedom bankruptcy

Chicago-based Tribune Publishing told a federal bankruptcy judge that it's willing to loan Freedom Communications the money for day-to-day operations — with the money counting in any bid Tribune might make for Freedom's assets. Freedom, which owns the Orange County Register and the Riverside Press-Enterprise, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday. It lost more than $40 million in two years during a rapid expansion under former CEO Aaron Kushner, who started newspapers in Los Angeles and Long Beach that were later closed.

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Newspaper: Corker failed to disclose Chattanooga earnings

Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee made profitable short-term trades in a Chattanooga real estate firm, but didn't properly disclose the deals until challenged by the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reports Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor who is now chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, bought between $1 million and $5 million in shares of CBL & Associates Properties Inc. 2011, and sold them again five months later at a 42 percent gain. Earlier purchases in the names of his daughters in 2009 likely netted more than $1 million, though the paper says the exact gain isn't possible to calculate. Corker in a written statement to the Wall Street Journal blamed the lack of disclosure required by congressional ethics rules on "filing errors" by his accounting firm.

One hundred international journalists visit St. Petersburg

One hundred journalists from more than 80 countries have gathered in St. Petersburg, Fla., this week to "examine the role of independent media in fostering and protecting freedom of expression and democracy around the world," according to a news release. Nonprofit World Partnerships, based in the Tampa Bay area, hosts the 10th anniversary of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists. The program, part of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, has brought thousands of international journalists to the U.S. This year's group, comprised of journalists from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, will spend two days at the Poynter Institute (which owns the Tampa Bay Times) for an advanced training symposium and visit print and broadcast media outlets in the area. 

GMA anchor Lara Spencer posts photo hugging Donald Trump

An Instagram photo of ABC News' "Good Morning America" co-anchor Lara Spencer hugging presidential hopeful Donald Trump is drawing a mix of responses on social media and in real life. In the photo posted Tuesday, Nov. 3, Spencer has one arm around Trump's shoulder and the other across his midsection. Trump's hand is on her waist. They are both smiling. Spencer's message that initially accompanied the photo: "Can't beat having the REAL DonaldJTrump on," with a smiley face. The photo, snapped Tuesday morning on the "GMA" set, triggered comments on Instagram that ranged from support for Spencer and Trump to attacks on her professionalism. After a number of critical comments were posted, Spencer clarified in the Instagram post that she was not seated in his lap, as it appeared to some observers, but "standing next to Donald Trump. Said a quick hello and welcomed him to the GMA studio for first time since he announced his candidacy."

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Sports, political contests dominate TV ratings  

Nothing beats athletes clashing on the field for impressive TV ratings, but the skirmishes of CNBC's Republican debate came close. NFL programming and baseball's World Series dominated last week's ratings, taking seven of the top 20 spots, the Nielsen company said Tuesday, Viewers also were drawn to the debate with leading GOP presidential candidates. It was the week's top-ranked cable show with an audience of 14 million — a record for CNBC — and was among TV's top 10 overall despite competition from Game 2 between the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets. As impressive as the debate viewership was compared to previous years, it was down sharply from the 24 million who saw the first GOP contest on Fox News Channel in February and the 23 million viewers who tuned in to CNN's event.

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FCC probing US radio firm said to be backed by Chinese govt 

A spokesman for the Federal Communications Commission confirmed Tuesday, Nov. 3, that the agency will open a probe into G&E Studio Inc., a Los Angeles-based company reportedly owned by James Su, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Shanghai. The company leases stations and air time, and broadcasts in more than 10 cities across the U.S., including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Its operations were disclosed in a report Monday by Reuters.

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Owner: Over 40 layoffs at Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News

The owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer and its tabloid partner, the Philadelphia Daily News, plan to lay off more than 40 members of the news staff, but won't comment on how many managers might lose their jobs. Philadelphia Media Network said in a message to Guild members Monday, November 2, that the 46 newsroom layoffs will be effective Dec. 4. The company also says cutbacks are expected for management and other areas. Publisher Terrance Egger on Friday told staff its digital operation,, would also be part of a consolidation to move to a single newsroom. He said the Network will save $5 million to $6 million annually. The newspaper owners are to meet with Guild leadership Wednesday to further discuss the layoffs. Egger took over as publisher on Oct. 1.






Blogger's widow urges safe houses for writers on death lists 

The widow of a Bangladeshi-American atheist blogger killed earlier this year decried the Bangladesh government's failure to prosecute the perpetrators of deadly attacks on writers Monday and urged countries to provide safe houses for dozens more on death lists. Rafida Ahmed, who was hacked four times in the head and had her thumb sliced off in the Feb. 26 attack in Dhaka that killed her husband Avijit Roy, was the surprise speaker at a panel Monday to mark the second International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. They lived in Atlanta and were visiting Bangladesh where he spoke at a book fair just before the attack. Ahmed, who helped her husband with his writings, said there is a death list of 84 bloggers given to the government by "Islamic terrorists," adding that they are also killing people outside the list and she has also been threatened.

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On trail of reporters, film puts 'Spotlight' on journalism

A group of Boston Globe reporters and editors recently gathered in New York to celebrate the premiere of Tom McCarthy's drama about their Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting of the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal. When asked why "Spotlight" — the film named after their investigative team — has earned their respect, they respond in an eager chorus. "They got it right," echoes around the table of Walter Robinson, who headed Spotlight, former deputy managing editor Ben Bradlee Jr., and two reporters from the team: Sacha Pfeiffer (now a columnist) and Mike Renzendes, who remains a part of Spotlight. In the film, they're played, respectively, by Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo. Usually, the gulf between fiction and reality, Hollywood and the newsroom (or anywhere else), is too wide to engender the kind of enthusiasm shared among the veteran journalists.

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Some Ohio prosecutors use social media to explain law, cases

Some prosecutors in Ohio are turning to social media to help update the public on court cases and the legal system. Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville in Mount Vernon said he has been working since January to find ways to use Facebook and other social media to help the public, The Columbus Dispatch reported Sunday. Online comments about the case of a man charged in the fatal shootings of his mother and girlfriend made McConville realize people don't always understand the legal process, he said. So he made a short video and posted it on Facebook to help explain the process. "Ordinary people do not understand beca

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