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Arizona House gives initial approval to post public notices online

The Arizona House has taken steps to pass a bill that would allow businesses to post public notices on the Arizona Corporation Commission website rather than in newspapers. The proposal that received initial approval Monday is part of an annual effort for the Legislature to end a requirement for governments to publish public notices in newspapers. Republican Rep. Darin Mitchell of Litchfield Park says his bill would create a central location for posting that benefits both businesses and residents. Mitchell says the bill would fix a loophole where businesses shop around for the cheapest newspapers to file their notices. Opponents say the bill would negatively impact residents without access to internet and hurt small newspapers that rely on the ad revenue. House Bill 2016 awaits a formal vote.

Texas journalists back bill seeking more libel protection

Texas journalists asked legislators Monday to cement into law guarantees that they will be shielded from libel lawsuits if they accurately report a whistleblower's allegations that turn out to be false. They say that's been common practice in Texas for years, but that they want to see legislation passed particularly after a 2014 Texas Supreme Court ruling left state libel law unclear. Republican Sen. Joan Huffman said media groups asked her to push the bill, which she presented Monday to the Senate State Affairs Committee. Opponents say the measure is not necessary and that journalists in the state already have many protections. The bill would shield journalists from litigation when they report on allegations brought by a whistleblower, if the accusations were made and were accurately reported.

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Reporter jailed in Iran gets lawyer after more than 7 months

After more than seven months behind bars in an Iranian prison, detained Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian has for the first time been allowed to hire a defense lawyer, according to his family. It's just not the attorney Rezaian's family had hoped for. The Iranian-American journalist's family had been seeking to hire lawyer Masoud Shafiei, who has had experience dealing with sensitive cases involving foreigners and previously represented three American hikers arrested by Iran in 2009. Ali Rezaian, the reporter's brother, told The Associated Press in an interview last month that Shafiei had been prevented from dropping off paperwork that Rezaian must sign to enlist his services — effectively making him unable to formally defend him. The judge overseeing the case set a Monday deadline to present a defense attorney, giving the family little choice but to hire someone new.

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Icahn settles with Gannett, withdraws his board nominees

Activist investor Carl Icahn has withdrawn his nominees to Gannett's board, ending a proxy fight with the USA Today publisher ahead of its planned split of its print and broadcast divisions. Icahn, who owns a 6.6 percent stake in Gannett Co., said in January he was concerned that the separated companies might become targets of a takeover attempt. He said he wanted to make sure shareholders would be able to evaluate any offer. However, in a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Icahn said he had reached an agreement with Gannett over corporate governance rules and had withdrawn his nominees.

Icahn said he is "very pleased with the agreement we entered into with Gannett yesterday, which we believe yielded a great result for Gannett shareholders."

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Vega, Llamas to be weekend anchors for ABC

Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas are the new weekend anchors for ABC's "World News Tonight" broadcasts. The network said Monday that Vega, who has worked for ABC since 2011 after working in local news in San Francisco, will work on Saturdays. Llamas, who came to ABC from NBC's New York affiliate, will work Sunday night. They've been doing fill-in duty on the broadcasts since the previous weekend anchor, David Muir, took over on weekdays last September. ABC News President James Goldston also said Monday that Vega and Llamas will be part of ABC News' political team heading into the 2016 elections.

Prosecutors' website scandal revived in official's appeal

An online-posting scandal that led to the resignation of a once-popular U.S. attorney will be revived Tuesday in the appeal of a former Louisiana official serving prison time for bribery and payroll fraud. Aaron Broussard is the former president of Jefferson Parish, which borders New Orleans. He pleaded guilty to two criminal counts in 2012 and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison. In an appeal set for a hearing at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Broussard's defense claims he was denied effective counsel because his lawyer at the time was kept in the dark about the extent of prosecutors' misconduct. That misconduct included alleged leaks and anonymous comments prosecutors made about various cases — including Broussard's — on, the site of The Times-Picayune.

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Bill O'Reilly's partisan critics stepping up attack

Following several stories questioning Bill O'Reilly's past reporting, a liberal media watchdog has ordered its researchers to comb through years of the Fox News Channel host's writings, radio and television shows and public appearances to find examples of inconsistencies.

O'Reilly is squarely in the crosshairs of Media Matters for America, an illustration of how the media is subject to the same political campaigns as politicians. Fox is standing behind O'Reilly, but the extent to which cable news' most popular personality is damaged may depend on how many more stories come out.

"It's a moving target," said Bradley Beychok, Media Matters president, on Friday. "It's too early to tell what the end of this is."

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Tennessee public television stations to air legislative show

Tennessee public television stations are airing a new show about the happenings in the state Legislature. The first of four 30-minute episodes of the "Tennessee Capitol Report" are scheduled to air Sunday morning, March 1,  on public TV stations in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Lexington-Jackson and Cookeville. The next episodes are scheduled to air on March 29, April 26 and May 31. The program is hosted Chip Hoback and produced by Tim Weeks. The first episode features interviews with Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell.Topics include the failure of Gov. Bill Haslam's Insure Tennessee proposal and the winter weather that has wreaked havoc across the state. Weeks says the aim of the program is to offer in-depth looks at the personalities shaping the issues at the Capitol.

Parents of slain journalist: Next 'Jihadi John' is on way

The parents of an American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State group say they are surprised a college-educated, London-raised man is the masked militant known as "Jihadi John" from the video of their son's slaying but also realize stopping him won't end the bloodshed. "The point is if we capture him and bring him to justice, what does that do? ISIS is still doing its thing. It's a very narrow approach. We will be happy when ISIS is defeated," John Foley, father of slain freelance journalist James Foley, said during an interview with reporters Thursday in Tucson, Arizona. "The next 'Jihadi John' is on the way." The Foleys spoke about the front man for IS murder videos with reporters before they participated in a forum at the University of Arizona on the growing dangers journalists face in conflict areas. James Foley was captured by the Islamic State group in November 2012 and killed last August.

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Providence Journal names Janet Hasson its new publisher

A veteran newspaper executive credited with increasing online readership and digital advertising has been named publisher of The Providence Journal. Janet Hasson will be the second female publisher in the 185-year history of Rhode Island's largest newspaper. Hasson has been serving as the president and publisher of the Gannett-owned Journal News Media Group in White Plains, New York, since June 2011. She replaces Bernie Szachara, who was named interim publisher when the paper was purchased by Gatehouse Media and longtime publisher Howard Sutton retired after 15 years at the helm. The 55-year-old Hasson was previously senior vice president of audience development at the Detroit Media Partnership.

Lawyer for Al-Jazeera journalist blasts Canadian government

The lawyer for a Canadian Al-Jazeera journalist criticized the Canadian government Thursday, Feb. 26, for not doing enough to secure his release from Egypt. Mohamed Fahmy is out on bail awaiting retrial after more than a year behind bars in Egypt on terrorism-related charges. Fahmy, a dual Canadian-Egyptian citizen, was asked to give up his Egyptian nationality in order to qualify for deportation. He complied with the demand but Egyptian authorities are not deporting him for reasons that remain unclear.

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New York Daily News, tabloid NYC paper, may be up for sale

The New York Daily News may be up for sale. Mort Zuckerman, the owner and publisher of the New York City tabloid newspaper, sent a memo to employees on Thursday that said he was approached about a potential sale a few weeks ago. The memo was sent to The Associated Press. "Although there were no immediate plans to consider a sale, we thought it would be prudent to explore the possibility and talk to potential buyers and/or investors," Zuckerman wrote in the memo. He has hired the financial advisory firm Lazard to help with the process.

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ABC's Sawyer does prime-time prison special

For her first big assignment after leaving as ABC "World News Tonight" anchor, Diane Sawyer went behind bars. The veteran journalist traveled to four prisons across the country for a special, "A Nation of Women Behind Bars," that will air on ABC on Friday, Feb. 27. Sawyer examines mental health in a prison system where so many prisoners are ill, how prisoners acquire contraband and issues involving sentencing. She visited prisons in Tennessee, Maryland, Florida and Washington over eight months for the show. Prison life is a story she has returned to for ABC, spending two nights in an Atlanta prison in 2004 for a first-person look and doing a 1996 show on life inside a maximum security prison. The veteran journalist gave up her nightly role in the evening news last summer to David Muir.

Ex-governor's fiancée sues newspaper to block email release

Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber's fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, has launched a legal fight to keep her private emails out of the public eye. Hayes filed a lawsuit against The Oregonian on Thursday, Feb. 26, asking a judge to rule that she is not required to turn over her emails to the newspaper. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum found earlier this month that emails on Hayes' private accounts that concern state business must be provided to The Oregonian under the state's public records law. Hayes is at the center of an ethics scandal that led to Kitzhaber's resignation last week. Her lawyer says in the lawsuit that releasing the emails would violate her privacy and her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Journalist to face court after Paris drone incident

An Al-Jazeera journalist will face court for illegally flying a drone in Paris, amid a spate of drone flyovers that have confounded French authorities amid heightened security concerns.

The Paris prosecutor's office says three journalists for Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera were released Thursday, Feb. 26, a day after they were detained. Al-Jazeera said the reporters for the network's English channel were filming a report on the recent, unexplained sightings of drones over the city.

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Gannett Louisiana appoints New Jersey newsman top editor

Gannett Louisiana has named a longtime New Jersey newsman as its vice president of news and the executive editor of the Daily Advertiser. James Flachsenhaar's appointment was announced on Wednesday, Feb. 25,  ( He now serves as director of consumer engagement for Gannett New Jersey. Judi Terzotis, president and publisher of The Daily Advertiser and president of Gannett Louisiana, says Flachsenhaar understands the vital role of community journalism and will be critical to the news organization's transformation.

Gannett Louisiana's sites include The Daily Advertiser, Opelousas Daily World, Monroe News-Star, Alexandria Town Talk and the Shreveport Times. He previously served as managing director for content and audience development for Gannett New Jersey, executive editor of The Daily Record and executive editor of the Bridgewater News.

Former NYT executive editor Jill Abramson has book deal

Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson has a book deal for a work on the "creative disruption" caused by the rise of digital media. Simon & Schuster announced Thursday that Abramson will write about the struggles of "legacy" companies as they compete with "net-native" organizations. The book is currently untitled and has no release date. It's Abramson's first book since she was fired last May by the Times, where she had been the paper's first female executive editor. Asked if she would write about her departure, Simon & Schuster spokesman Cary Goldstein said the book was not a "memoir," but a "reported look" at the "evolving media landscape." Abramson's previous books include "The Puppy Diaries" and, with Jane Mayer, "Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas."

Williams and O'Reilly cases diverge

Two prominent television personalities are accused within weeks of each other of misrepresenting their wartime reporting experiences in ways that made those experiences seem more dangerous than they actually were. That's what Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly have in common as each man is besieged with questions about his credibility. Most everything else about their episodes diverge, from the responses to the consequences. NBC News suspended Williams for incorrectly saying he rode in a helicopter hit by an enemy grenade while reporting in Iraq in 2003. O'Reilly, Fox News Channel's prime-time star, is accused of claiming he had reported in a combat zone for CBS News during the 1982 Falklands War when he was more than a thousand miles from the front.

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CBS News releases video referenced in O'Reilly dispute

CBS News on Monday, Feb. 23, released video from four stories it aired about the Falklands War in 1982, all part of a dispute involving Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly and his subsequent statements about covering the war. None of the stories mentions O'Reilly, then a young CBS reporter, or makes any specific reference to a CBS crew member being hurt. The television time travel was prompted by a Mother Jones article last week calling into question O'Reilly's claims he reported in a "war zone" or "combat zone" during the brief conflict between Britain and Argentina. Few reporters made it to the front of the war, some 1,000 miles from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

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Battle Born Media acquires Sparks Tribune

A Nevada-based newspaper chain that owns publications in Ely and Mesquite has acquired the Sparks Tribune. Officials for Battle Born Media announced Monday they have purchased the more than century-old newspaper from Sparks Tribune LLC. Battle Born Media is owned by Sherman Frederick, the former president of Stephens Media and ex-publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal; and Tim Dahlberg, a national sports writer for The Associated Press based in Las Vegas. The company also owns and operates The Ely Times, Mineral County Independent-News, Lincoln County Record, Eureka Sentinel and Mesquite Local News. 

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Egypt postpones retrial of 2 Al-Jazeera English journalists to March 8

The retrial of two Al-Jazeera English journalists arrested in December 2013 in Egypt has been postponed two weeks. The decision Monday comes after a brief hearing in Cairo for acting bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed. Both have been out on bail since earlier this month.The two face charges accusing them of being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage intended to damage Egyptian national security. Their cases have been globally criticized. Their colleague Peter Greste, an Australian, was deported to Australia on Feb. 1 under a new law allowing foreigners accused of crimes to be deported. Fahmy, a dual Egyptian-Canadian national, dropped his Egyptian citizenship after Egyptian security officials who told him it was the only way he would benefit from the new law.


Al-Jazeera reporter in Egypt cites employer's 'negligence'

Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who is out awaiting retrial after more than a year behind bars in Egypt on terrorism-related charges, said his Qatar-funded employer is partially to blame for his grinding ordeal. Fahmy said it would be "naive" and "misleading" to see the case purely as a crackdown on press freedom, because it was complicated by Al-Jazeera's "negligence" and Qatar's use of the outlet to "wage a media war" against Cairo.

"I am not losing sight of who put me in prison," he said, referring to the Egyptian prosecutors, who failed to present any evidence related to the terror charges in a trial widely condemned by rights groups and major media outlets. "However, Al-Jazeera's epic negligence has made our situation harder, more difficult, and gave our captor more firepower," Fahmy said in an interview at his family home in a Cairo suburb. 

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O'Reilly contests 'Mother Jones' article about his reporting

Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly is contesting allegations that he embellished his past as a war correspondent. An article in Mother Jones magazine questions his accounts of his experiences as a CBS correspondent covering the 1982 Falklands War. The story compares O'Reilly to NBC's Brian Williams, who was suspended for six months for misrepresenting his experiences in Iraq. O'Reilly says the magazine is trying to "divert attention from the Williams situation." The article focuses on O'Reilly's use of the word "war zone" -- citing a passage from a book he wrote in which he said, "I've reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands." 

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Company that owns Las Vegas Review-Journal sold to New Media

New York-based New Media Investment Group Inc. says it has reached an agreement to purchase the company that owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal and daily newspapers in six other states. New Media President and CEO Michael E. Reed said in a statement Thursday that they will purchase Stephens Media LLC's assets for $102.5 million cash. New Media operates in more than 370 markets across 27 states, publishing 450 community publications.

Reed expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2015. He says Stephens' publications have a strong community focus, solid readership base and stable advertisers,' with daily papers in Arkansas, Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. In Nevada, Stephens also owns the Pahrump Valley Times, Tonopah Times-Bonanza and Boulder City Review.


Yahoo seeking to harvest ad revenue from other mobile apps

Yahoo is giving away a toolkit for managing mobile apps in a move aimed at reaping more revenue from smartphones and tablets as CEO Marissa Mayer scrambles to catch up to the Internet company's rivals. The strategy will enable Yahoo Inc. to distribute ads in other mobile apps besides its own. Besides that, Yahoo also is trying to plant its search engine inside other apps so it can display ads alongside the results. Although the technology is free, Yahoo would keep 40 percent of all ad sales made in other apps. Yahoo announced the expansion Thursday at its first conference for the makers of mobile applications. 

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Political journalist Jon Ralston returning to television

Nevada political pundit Jon Ralston is returning to statewide television. "Ralston Live" will begin airing on March 2 and will feature Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval as its first guest. The program is scheduled to air at 5:30 p.m. on weeknights on Vegas PBS and KNPB in Reno. The longtime political journalist said the new show will feature interviews, commentary and analysis similar to his previous television program, "Ralston Reports." Ralston's former show was canceled in December after 14 years on the air. Ralston previously wrote columns for the Las Vegas Sun and reported for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He currently contributes to Politico Magazine and the Reno Gazette-Journal in addition to maintaining a blog on Nevada politics.


NBC weatherman Al Roker to lead workshop on meteorology

NBC "Today Show" weatherman Al Roker plans to lead a free community workshop in New York on weather forecasting. The Saturday event is the second in the "Think Possible" workshop series inspired by the Don't Steal Possible movement, a grassroots effort on ending the education crisis that traps children in failing schools. Roker says New York's youth should have the right to a great education. Hip-hop photographer Jonathan Mannion kicked off the series with a workshop titled "How to Create a Photo Essay." For more information on the workshop series you can access their website at 


Horton new president of Brookhaven Newsmedia

Luke Horton has been named president of Brookhaven (Mississippi) Newsmedia — the Boone Newspapers Inc. affiliate in Brookhaven — and publisher of The Daily Leader, The Prentiss Headlight and affiliated publications. The announcement ( ) was made over the weekend by Kevin Cooper, vice president of Boone Newspapers. A native of Newton County, Horton most recently worked as publisher of The Newton County Appeal newspaper in his hometown. Cooper says Horton will begin his duties in Brookhaven in the coming weeks. Horton graduated from Mississippi State University and began his newspaper career at a weekly publication in Kosciusko soon after. He has served as news editor, editor and publisher at several newspapers in Mississippi and North Carolina. Horton and his wife, Lauren, have five children.

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