INDUSTRY NEWS 3-6-2014
Ann Rule lawsuit against Seattle Weekly tossed
A judge in Seattle has thrown out true-crime author Ann Rule's defamation lawsuit against a weekly Seattle newspaper, finding that an article accusing her of "sloppy storytelling" constitutes protected free speech. Rule, who has written dozens of best-selling books, sued the Seattle Weekly and freelance author Rick Swart over a piece published in 2011. The article criticized her book about Liysa Northon, an Oregon woman who served 12 years in prison after killing her husband. When it ran the story, the newspaper didn't realize that Swart, then a longtime Oregon journalist, was engaged to marry Northon.
Tribune, Scripps plan joint bureau in Tallahassee
E.W. Scripps Co. and The Tampa Tribune have announced a partnership and plans to operate a joint news bureau in Tallahassee, Fla. The bureau will be led by Scripps Tallahassee bureau chief Matt Dixon and Tribune political reporter James Rosica. The Tribune's senior political writer, William March, and reporters from the Naples Daily News and Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers also will contribute coverage during the upcoming legislative session.
Union: TV reporter fired over on-air handstand
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A TV reporter whose unusual report on bears went viral has been fired by her station after she did a handstand on the 11 p.m. news.
A union representative says Julie Tremmel was fired Feb. 11 by Rhode Island's NBC affiliate, WJAR-TV, because of the handstand.
Fletcher Fischer says they're fighting it, and that Tremmel was bullied by management.
WJAR's general manager said he doesn't comment on personnel issues.
Judge to decide who can bid for Philly newspapers
A judge presiding over the latest sale of Philadelphia's two largest newspapers has scheduled a March hearing to decide who can bid for the company. Interstate General Media is being sold as owners fight over control of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and the Philly.com website. Majority owner George Norcross wants an auction between the two feuding ownership groups, using incremental bids. Rival Lewis Katz wants a sealed-bid auction open to anyone.
Escobedo named publisher of The Brownsville Herald
Longtime newspaper executive Frank Escobedo has been appointed publisher of The Brownsville (Tex.) Herald. AIM Media Texas LLC announced the appointment Friday, Feb. 28, effective immediately. Current publisher Daniel Cavazos will step down. Since November, Escobedo has been general manager of Hispanic media for the Southern California region for Freedom Communications Inc., where he was responsible for the Spanish language publications La Prensa and Excelsior. Before that, Escobedo was La Prensa publisher and general manager of Hispanic media at the Riverside Press Enterprise.
New Media buys 2 California dailies, 4 weeklies
The Victorville (Calif.) Daily Press, Barstow Desert Dispatch and four Southern California weeklies have been purchased by New Media Investment Group, one of the largest owners of newspapers in the country. New Media bought the papers from Freedom Communications Inc. The sale was announced in the Daily Press on Sunday,March 2. Besides the two papers, New Media bought the Lucerne Valley Leader, Hesperia Star, Apple Valley Review and El Mojave.
INDUSTRY NEWS 2-27-2014
AP executive editor urges governments to support free press
The Associated Press' executive editor called on governments around the world to support an independent press, warning Monday, Feb. 24, that efforts to silence the media through intimidation and violence are "in effect an attack on a nation's people." Kathleen Carroll said the media can be a proxy for questions and concerns by citizens and the role of independent journalists is to ask questions on behalf of the people and bear witness.
Justice Department revises media rules
The Justice Department announced Friday, Feb. 21, it is revising its rules for obtaining records from the news media in leak investigations, promising that in most instances the government will notify news organizations beforehand of its intention to do so. The revised procedures are designed to give news organizations an opportunity to challenge any subpoenas or search warrants in federal court. News organizations are to be informed of an impending document demand unless the attorney general determines that notice would pose "a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation, risk grave harm to national security or present an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm," the new rule says.
Seattle mayor backtracks on officer's discipline
Mayor Ed Murray now says he was wrong to support a decision by Seattle's police chief to erase a misconduct finding against an officer who threatened a journalist. Officer John Marion was initially given a one-day suspension for threatening Dominic Holden, an editor at the Stranger, an alternative weekly newspaper, after Holden stopped to take photographs of police activity in a public area.
WVU journalism school to usher in new name July 1
In a sign of the times, West Virginia University's journalism school is changing its name.
The Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism will be known starting July 1 as Reed College of Media. The name change was presented Friday to the WVU Board of Governors meeting in Morgantown. The name change is intended to reflect the changing media landscape, which includes public relations as well as journalism. Dean Maryanne Reed says graduates must be able to engage with audiences across traditional and emerging media platforms. The school was founded in 1979 by Perley Isaac Reed, a professor.
Venezuela revokes CNN press credentials
Venezuela's government has revoked the press credentials of journalists from CNN after President Nicolas Maduro blasted the television network's coverage of political protests.
CNN says that four of its journalists were notified Friday by the Information Ministry that they are no longer allowed to report in the country. They include CNN en Espanol anchor Patricia Janiot. Maduro on Thursday, Feb. 20, threatened to expel CNN from Venezuela if it doesn't "rectify" its coverage of unrest that he says is part of a campaign to topple his socialist government. Colombian news channel NTN24 was suspended from Venezuelan cable TV packages a week ago. The government's near-complete control of domestic broadcasters has made CNN en Espanol a source of information for many Venezuelans trying to follow the unrest.
court backs detention of journalist's partner
Britain's High Court on Wednesday,
Feb.19, endorsed the decision by police to hold journalist Glenn Greenwald's
partner at a London airport on terrorism grounds last
summer. The ruling sent chills through free expression advocates and media
groups. The panel of three judges said London's Metropolitan Police officers
acted properly when they invoked Britain's Terrorism Act to stop David
Miranda at Heathrow Airport on Aug. 18, seizing encrypted devices and
questioning him for nearly nine hours. Writing on the panel's behalf, Lord
Justice John Laws said that the devices contained a large number of files
stolen by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, including
nearly 60,000 "highly classified UK intelligence documents."
Read more: www.sunherald.com/2014/02/19/5350276/british-court-to-rule-on-detention.html
detail investigation into Walker aides
The investigation into illegal
campaign activity by members of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's staff when he was working as a county executive
greatly expanded the day before Walker was elected governor if Wisconsin in
2010, previously secret documents released Wednesday, Feb. 19, show. The
transcript of a closed-door hearing before a judge overseeing the probe into
Walker's aides was among more than 27,000 pages of emails and other documents
released by a state appeals court. The Associated Press and other media
organizations pressed for them to be made public.
Read more: www.startribune.com/politics/national/246156581.html
trial: Blair offered to advise Murdoch
Former British Prime Minister Tony
Blair offered to work as an unofficial adviser to Rupert Murdoch as revelations
of illegal phone hacking engulfed the mogul's
media empire, according to an email made public Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the trial of several former Murdoch
lieutenants. Prosecutor Andrew Edis read aloud an email sent by Rebekah Brooks,
then chief executive of Murdoch's British newspapers, to Murdoch's son and
deputy James on July 11, 2011.
Read more: www.nydailynews.com/news/world/tony-blair-offered-advise-rupert-murdoch-phone-hacking-trial-article-1.1619496
named publisher of The Telegraph in NH
Jim S. Konig has been named the
publisher of The Telegraph of Nashua, N.H. He replaces Gregory Pohl, who has
sought another position with the newspaper's parent company, Ogden Newspapers
Inc. The Telegraph reports Konig, 50, comes to Nashua from Cape Coral, Fla.,
where he has been advertising director of the Cape Coral Breeze, another Ogden
Read more: bit.ly/1jQzMf2
newspaper tells Wyoming to butt out
Jersey's biggest newspaper has a message for the least populated state in the
nation: butt out. The Star-Ledger newspaper in Newark published an
editorial on Tuesday, Feb. 18, telling Wyoming to mind its own business. The
editorial came after Wyoming last week asked the U.S. Supreme Court for
permission to submit a brief on behalf of itself and 18 other states supporting
a New Jersey man who is challenging that state's
concealed weapons law.
Read more: www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/02/18/4705783/new-jersey-newspaper-tells-wyoming.html#.UwUGAbTLKnk
sues police who questioned drone use
A journalist filed a lawsuit
Tuesday, Feb. 18, alleging that Hartford, Conn., police officers violated his
free-speech rights by questioning his use of a remote-controlled aircraft to
record images of a car wreck. Pedro Rivera asked a federal court to weigh in on
the appropriate uses for aerial drones as policymakers try to catch up with
technology that has made them far more versatile.
Read more: www.ledger-enquirer.com/2014/02/18/2960134/journalist-sues-police-who-questioned.html
others seek access to Bieber arrest video
The Associated Press and other media outlets urged a judge Tuesday, Feb. 18, to
grant access to police videos made shortly after pop singer Justin Bieber's
arrest last month in Florida on driving under the influence and other charges.
The news organizations said in a motion filed in Miami-Dade County court that
the 19-year-old has no legal basis to prevent release of the videos,
taken at the Miami Beach police station after he was booked Jan. 23. Bieber's
attorneys have asked a judge to allow them to review the videos before their
Read more: www.naplesnews.com/news/2014/feb/18/ap-others-seek-access-justin-bieber-arrest-video/
News Herald's publisher retiring
publisher of The News Herald in Panama City, Fla., is retiring after a
newspaper career that spanned 48 years. The News Herald reported Monday, Feb.
17, that Roger Quinn will step down at the end of this month. Quinn became the
paper's publisher in August 2012 after it was purchased by Halifax Media Group. Read more:http://bit.ly/1eK7Ykj Arizona
judge tosses suit against Fox News NetworkAn
Arizona judge has thrown out a lawsuit against Fox News Network for airing live
video of a carjacking suspect who killed himself during a police chase
and not using a time delay that would have prevented the death from being
broadcast on national television. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Rea
dismissed the lawsuit Jan. 30. It alleged that the children of JoDon Romero,
33, suffered emotional distress from having seen video of their father fatally
shooting himself in September 2012 at the end of an 80-mile car chase.
Read more: www.miamiherald.com/2014/02/14/3935937/arizona-judge-tosses-suit-against.html
merger worries consumers
Cable subscribers don't give Comcast
and Time Warner Cable good grades when it comes to customer satisfaction. So
after Comcast announced its $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Thursday,
Feb. 13, it didn't take long for consumers to start venting their frustrations
over high prices, spotty service and fears of a monopoly. The pairing of the
nation's two biggest cable companies spurred a cascade of sarcastic tweets and
satirical memes in which people likened the new entity to the killer Death Star
battle station from "Star Wars" and the evil Eye of Sauron from
"The Lord of the Rings." Some people recalled a "South
Park" snippet in which character Eric Cartman and friends are tormented by
cable employees before a logo curiously similar to Time Warner Cable's own.
Read more: www.boston.com/business/technology/2014/02/14/comcast-twc-merger-worries-outrages-consumers/PggAiDoSptbvh930lEytAK/story.html
plans statue of WWII journalist Ernie Pyle
Indiana University officials are
planning to honor celebrated World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle with a
statue on the Bloomington campus. The life-size bronze statue will be modeled
after a wartime photograph of Pyle, an IU student in the 1920s, sitting on a
crate, working with his typewriter on a table, with goggles pushed above his
knit cap, Provost Lauren Robel told the school's Board of Trustees during a
meeting Thursday, Feb. 13. Read more:http://bit.ly/1eVQKqr Piers
Morgan interviewed by police in hacking caseProminent CNN talk show host Piers
Morgan confirmed Friday, Feb. 14, that he has been interviewed by British
police investigating the illegal interception of telephone voicemails.Morgan, formerly a tabloid newspaper
editor in Britain, was not arrested but was "interviewed under
caution" on Dec. 6 by British detectives investigating the long-running
phone hacking scandal."This was further to a full witness statement I had
already freely provided," Morgan said in a statement. "I attended
that interview as requested." He has consistently denied wrongdoing.
Read more: www.dailyamerican.com/entertainment/tv/piers-morgan-interviewed-by-police-in-hacking-case/article_7cd31652-1877-5608-bbed-6aedda4fc742.html
Idaho newspaper files suit over school records request
The Times-News of Twins Falls,
Idaho, has filed a lawsuit against the Gooding County School District after
officials denied two public records request. The newspaper reports that the
lawsuit filed Monday, Feb. 10, involves requests for copies of separation
agreements for Superintendent Heather Williams and Gooding High School
Principal Chris Comstock.
Read more: bit.ly/1jF5z2x
gender options for Facebook users
a click of a cursor, Jay Brown went from Male to Trans Male. A few states away,
Debon Garrigues switched from Male to Neutral. Marilyn Roxie, formerly Female,
chose three: Androgynous, Transgender and Genderqueer. Across the U.S.
Thursday, Feb. 13, news swept through the transgender community that social
media giant Facebook had added a customizable option with about 50
different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three
preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them. And one after another, they made
their changes in a quiet revolution of sorts.
Read more: www.columbiatribune.com/business/facebook-offers-gender-options/article_46faf0d8-95a2-11e3-aab7-10604b9ffe60.html
Sochi Scene: Myriad media members
are a lot of people in Sochi making sure you see, hear about and read about the
2014 Winter Games. As of Thursday, Feb.13, according to Olympics officials,
13,477 members of the media had been accredited for the Sochi Games. That's
enough people to fill the Iceberg, the Sochi Games' figure-skating venue,
completely to capacity.
Watchdog: Past 2 years 'atrocious' for journalists
past two years have seen an "absolutely atrocious" number of
journalists killed and imprisoned because of their work, with Syria the
deadliest country and Turkey the number one jailer, a press freedom advocacy
group said Wednesday, Feb. 12. The Committee to Protect Journalists'
annual report "Attacks on the Press" also takes sharp aim at
sprawling government surveillance by the U.S. and others as a growing threat.
"Journalists must hang together in holding our metastasizing surveillance
states accountable. If not, we shall all hang separately," the report
Read more: www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/watchdog-past-2-years-atrocious-for-journalists/2014/02/12/6926bca2-9447-11e3-9e13-770265cf4962_story.html
Carlson named publisher of Los Alamos Monitor
Carlson has been named the new publisher of The Los Alamos (N.M.) Monitor. He
joins the northern New Mexico newspaper after eight years with another Landmark
Media Enterprises property, The Anderson News in Lawrenceburg, Ky. The Monitor
reports that the 50-year-old Carlson replaces Kevin Todd, who resigned late
Read more: bit.ly/1bMS34M
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette leases new building
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has signed a lease to house its new printing and
distribution center at an area industrial park. The Post-Gazette announced the
deal Wednesday, Feb. 12,. The media company says it will occupy a
245,000-square-foot building in the Clinton Commerce Park. That's near the
Pittsburgh International Airport. Terms of the long-term lease weren't
Read more: bit.ly/1kCzVTu
hurt press freedom
efforts to protect national security have taken a toll on press freedom in the
last year, above all in the United States, a media watchdog said Wednesday,
Feb. 12.The United States ranked 46th among 180 countries in a press freedom
survey by Reporters Without Borders, falling 13 places from last year. Armed
conflict, a perennial problem, also plays a major role in restricting press
efforts: the Central African Republic, where a sectarian conflict has
erupted, plunged furthest of all countries — 43 places to the 109th spot.
Finland, the Netherlands and Norway continue to top the press freedom ranking.
Read more: wcfcourier.com/news/world/europe/watchdog-security-measures-hurt-press-freedom/article_72ceca6c-2325-5418-b125-8a8934eea6f6.html
posts US Rep. Stockman's 1977 mug shot
A newspaper has posted the 1977 mug
shot of U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, now trying to unseat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. The Dallas Morning News posted a photo obtained by the
Texas Tribune from Stockman's Oct. 5, 1977, arrest in Madison Heights, Mich.,
for felony possession of Valium. A Republican from suburban Houston, Stockman
had previously admitted to being briefly jailed, saying a then-girlfriend
slipped him pills.
INDUSTRY NEWS 2-13-2014
AP promotes Gwizdowski and Kaiser
The Associated Press named broadcast executive David Gwizdowski as its senior vice president responsible for revenue in the Americas and promoted Karen Kaiser to senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary.
Gwizdowski's appointment is part of a restructuring that centralizes all revenue-generating operations in the Americas under a single director. The AP's Americas region includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
All revenue units in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia already report to Daisy Veerasingham, the company's senior vice president for international revenue. Under the new structure, all of the AP's revenue-generating operations will report either to Gwizdowski or Veerasingham.
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the new structure will allow the AP to better serve its existing customers and find new business opportunities.
Gwizdowski has served as AP's vice president of broadcast markets since 2010 and recently oversaw the launch of AP Video-US, which provides local broadcasters with a daily selection of original video. He joined the company in 1997 as a regional TV executive and holds a journalism degree from Emerson College.
Kaiser joined AP as assistant general counsel in 2009 and was promoted to her current role of associate general counsel in 2011.
During her time at AP she has focused on First Amendment issues. Last year, she led AP's legal strategy against the Department of Justice after the agency revealed that it had secretly seized records of thousands of telephone calls to and from AP reporters as part of an investigation.
Before joining AP, Kaiser served as senior counsel at Tribune Co. She holds a law degree from Fordham Law School.
Attorney won't appeal Wisconsin records release
A former aide to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will not take any further action to block the release of thousands of emails and other documents uncovered during a secret investigation, her attorney said Monday, Feb. 10. The decision by Kelly Rindfleisch, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to doing campaign work at her government job, could result in the immediate release of the documents, which are likely to include communications with Walker and his campaign team about his 2010 gubernatorial race. The Associated Press and other news organizations asked the state appeals court to make the records public. The court last week ordered the documents released, but gave Rindfleisch 30 days to review the documents and request specific items containing private information be kept secret.
Read more: http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/244714571.html
NJ's largest newspaper regrets endorsing Christie
New Jersey's largest newspaper says it now regrets endorsing Republican Gov. Chris Christie for re-election. In a column posted Sunday, Feb. 9, on the Star-Ledger's website, editorial page editor Tom Moran writes, "We blew this one" and refers to Christie as the "most overrated politician in the country."
Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20140209_ap_0b2dd2b5aa684e30ab7c5a4785a1c2b2.html
Media sometimes try, fail to keep NSA's secrets
News organizations publishing leaked National Security Agency documents have inadvertently disclosed the names of at least six intelligence workers and other government secrets they never intended to give away, an Associated Press review has found. The accidental disclosures illustrate the risks of even well-intentioned, public-interest reporting on highly secret U.S. programs. In some cases, prominent newspapers including The New York Times quickly pulled down government records they published online and recensored them to hide information they accidentally exposed. On one occasion, the Guardian newspaper published an NSA document that appeared to identify an American intelligence target living abroad. Before the newspaper could fix its mistake, a curious software engineer, Ron Garret of Emerald Hills, Calif., tried to contact the man at his office. "I figured someone ought to give him the heads up," Garret told The Associated Press.
Read more: http://www.boston.com/business/technology/2014/02/08/media-sometimes-try-fail-keep-nsa-secrets/falQkLyFx3vf6TvfOWMiFK/story.html
Upstate NY newspaper publisher set to retire
The longtime publisher at a central New York newspaper has announced her retirement.The Utica Observer-Dispatch reports that Donna Donovan will step down at the end of March. She was named editor of The Daily Press and Observer-Dispatch in 1981 and went on to other top jobs with Gannett Co. Inc. before returning to Utica in 1991 as president and publisher.
Read More: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/7/upstate-ny-newspaper-publisher-set-to-retire/
Risen honored by New England 1st amendment group
The New England First Amendment Coalition has honored a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter who could go to jail for refusing a court order to reveal a source. James Risen was honored Friday, Feb. 7, at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston with the 2014 Stephen Hamblett Award. A federal appeals court in Virginia declined in October to reconsider its decision compelling Risen to identify the source who disclosed details of a secret CIA operation. Risen has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
Read more: http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode-island/2014/02/07/risen-honored-new-england-amendment-group/0zzmpULgErpRrRPDxR3KsM/story.html
Fox News Channel hires James Carville
Fox News Channel says it has hired Democratic strategist James Carville as a contributor.The channel said Thursday, Feb. 6 he will offer commentary during appearances on various Fox News Channel programs. Carville was the lead strategist for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, which was documented in the film "The War Room." He served as a senior political adviser during Clinton's presidency.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/fox-news-channel-hires-james-carville/2014/02/06/8bd3a53a-8f6a-11e3-878e-d76656564a01_story.html
Judge orders records released on exchange workers
A Nevada state judge on Thursday, Feb. 6, ordered the Nevada Division of Insurance to release some documents sought by two media groups involving the backgrounds of workers who help people navigate the state health insurance exchange. Ruling from the bench after a two-hour hearing, District Judge James Wilson also ordered the state to pay costs and attorney fees, saying the division's delays in complying with the public records law amounted to stonewalling.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Judge-orders-records-released-on-exchange-workers-5212182.php
News Corp fiscal 2Q earns top expectations
News Corp., the publishing company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, reported second-quarter earnings that exceeded Wall Street forecasts while revenue declined as expected, reflecting slower advertising sales. Net income in the three months through Dec. 31 amounted to $150 million, or 26 cents per share. That was less than the $1.40 billion in profit the company reported a year earlier, when it recorded a $1.3 billion gain from its acquisition of Australian pay TV company Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd.
Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2014/02/06/news-corp-fiscal-2q-earns-top-expectations
US magazine circulation slips 1.7 pct in 2nd half
Magazine industry auditors say that total average U.S. circulation for 386 magazines fell 1.7 percent in the final six months of the year to 284.9 million. The Alliance for Audited Media says paid subscriptions were down 1.2 percent, while newsstand sales fell about 11 percent.
Read more: http://www.chron.com/business/technology/article/US-magazine-circulation-slips-1-7-pct-in-2nd-half-5212021.php
New York Times 4Q net income tumbles
The New York Times Co. said Thursday, Feb. 6, its fourth-quarter net income tumbled 63 percent, hurt by comparisons with the same period a year earlier that saw a hefty one-time gain and an extra week of revenue. The company's earnings still beat Wall Street predictions.Times Co. earned $65.6 million, or 41 cents per share, in the final quarter of 2013. That compared with $178.1 million, or $1.15 per share, in the same quarter of 2012.
Read more: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/ap/business/new-york-times-4q-net-income-tumbles/ndFxz/
University of Missouri journalism dean to retire
The University of Missouri School of Journalism is looking for a new dean.The university announced Thursday, Feb. 6, that its current leader, Dean Mills, plans to retire in August after 25 years overseeing the nation's first journalism school. Mills will remain with the university as part-time director of a fellowship program at the journalism school's Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. The research institute opened a decade ago under Mills' watch with a $31 million gift, the largest donation to the university. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation subsequently donated another $15 million for operating expenses at the think tank and a $30.1 million endowment.
Read More: http://www.wgem.com/story/24653940/university-of-missouri-journalism-dean-to-retire
Nashville sued for records in Vanderbilt rape case
A coalition of media organizations, including The Tennessean and The Associated Press, has filed a lawsuit against the city of Nashville to force release of records in a case involving former Vanderbilt football players charged with rape.The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1bs7ijx ) said the lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, says records obtained by Nashville police that were created by parties outside government should be public under state law.
Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_25071341/nashville-sued-records-vanderbilt-rape-case
Borton named new president, publisher of The State
Sara Johnson Borton has been named president and publisher of The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. Borton also is president and publisher of two other McClatchy newspapers, The Island Packet of Hilton Head and The Beaufort Gazette. She will continue in those roles.McClatchy vice president for operations Mark Zieman, who oversees the company's newspapers in the Southeast, told The State Borton will bring passion to her new post as a leader in public service journalism and digital journalism.
Read more: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2014/02/05/4003032/borton-named-new-president-publisher.html
Google reaches agreement with EU in antitrust case
The European Union's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday accepted new and "far-reaching" concessions offered by Google to settle allegations it is abusing its dominant position in Internet searches, bringing the three-year-old case close to an end. Google would significantly change the ways it displays some search results in Europe in favor of its competitors. But reaching a settlement will spare the company a longer antitrust procedure that could have resulted in fines of up to 10 percent of the company's annual revenue, or about $5 billion.
Read more: http://globalnews.ca/news/1129604/google-reaches-agreement-with-eu-in-antitrust-case/
Media orgs seek to join power outage records cases
A dozen media organizations, including The Associated Press, sought standing Tuesday, Feb. 4, to oppose attempts by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to prevent release of documents concerning PPL's handling of a large-scale power outage in 2011. The organizations made the requests with Commonwealth Court, Harrisburg, Pa., seeking to intervene in a pair of petitions for review filed last month by the PUC.
Read more: http://hosted2.ap.org/PAWIC/6ca8b7429ece49aaba52a5a7162b777a/Article_2014-02-04-Power%20Outage-Open%20Records/id-1a84da2a0519462aa630d37d109aae54
Gannett 4Q profit down 12 pct on lower ad spending
Gannett Co. said Tuesday, Feb. 4, that its fourth-quarter net income dropped 12 percent, partially a result of the absence of the record-high political advertising that boosted its results a year earlier. The media company, which publishes USA Today and owns dozens of newspapers and television stations, earned $90.7 million, or 39 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 29. That was down from $103.1 million, or 44 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2012.
Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/02/04/4662867/gannett-4q-profit-down-12-pct.html#.UvkrYLTLKnk
INDUSTRY NEWS 2-6-2014
Boston Globe owner Henry takes on publisher role
The new owner of the Boston Globe has named himself publisher and appointed a well-known Boston advertising executive as CEO. John Henry, also the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, said he will concentrate on strategy, while Mike Sheehan will oversee day-to-day business operations. Henry bought the Globe and related New England properties from the New York Times Co. in October. He is the Globe's third owner and its ninth publisher.
Read more: http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/01/30/john-henry-appoints-mike-sheehan-ceo-globe-names-himself-publisher/Kx6S41hpGz9OtfexsTlXxM/story.html
Toledo Blade sues for release of report on investment scandal
A newspaper is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to force the release of an investigative report on the investment scandal that engulfed the state in 2005. The Blade in Toledo filed a lawsuit asking the inspector general's office to release the report. Inspector General Randall Meyer pledged in 2012 to complete the report left unissued by his predecessor, who oversaw the investigation into the scandal involving former coin dealer and Republican fundraiser Tom Noe.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1eai8jY
US criticizes China as journalist forced to leave
The White House has criticized China's restrictions on press freedom after a New York Times journalist was forced to leave the country. The departure of Austin Ramzy came despite Vice President Joe Biden last month raising with China's leader Xi Jinping the problems faced by journalists working for U.S. news organizations.
Read more: http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/85d89031b1174036b08973e6a24b5340/US--United-States-China-Press-Freedom/#.Uu_paeKrGnk
Fla.-based Poynter Institute names new president
A journalist who edited major metropolitan newspapers and founded an education center for sports journalism will be the new president of the Poynter Institute. The St. Petersburg-based school and media strategy center that teaches journalists from around the world announced Thursday that Timothy A. Franklin has been hired as the organization's new president.The 53-year-old will become the school's fifth president since 1975, succeeding Karen Dunlap, who is retiring.
Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/poynter-institute-names-editor-and-educator-tim-franklin-as-its-new/2163383
After threat, NY rep. faces temperament questions
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm’s temperament is at the forefront again after the Staten Island Republican was caught on camera threatening a television news reporter. The confrontation occurred on a balcony in the Capitol following the president's State of the Union address. Grimm walked out of an interview with the New York City cable news station NY1 when reporter Michael Scotto tried to throw in a last question about a long-running FBI investigation into his campaign finances.
Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/congressional/20140129_ap_b6f0e4530c6b440d964e3f0457f8ccb2.html
Bill to bolster Colo. media shield law fails
Lawmakers have rejected a proposal to increase legal protections for reporters and their sources in Colorado, an idea that was prompted by the case of a New York reporter who was pressured to divulge sources in the 2012 suburban Denver theater shootings. The proposal would have made it harder for reporters to be forced to reveal their sources in court because the legal standards to compel testimony would be higher. The bill was crafted because of Jana Winter, a Fox News journalist who reported that James Holmes, the suspect in the theater shootings, had mailed a notebook to a psychiatrist depicting violence. Holmes' lawyers tried to get Winter to name her sources.
Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/APe012f0c64eb54567901414658d8968e9.html
Media watchdog blasts Sochi restrictions
An international journalism watchdog has criticized Russian authorities for restricting news coverage of preparations for the Sochi Olympics. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists detailed in a report how Russian and international journalists have been harassed and prevented from covering sensitive stories in Sochi such as the abuse of migrant workers and environmental issues.
Read more: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/media-watchdog-blasts-sochi-restrictions/493504.html
INDUSTRY NEWS 1-30-2014
Judge allows subpoena for records from newspaper
A federal magistrate has allowed
a defense attorney to subpoena records from a New Orleans news organization
about comments anonymously posted on its website, the latest response to a
scandal that led to the resignation of the region's top federal prosecutor.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph
Wilkinson approved the subpoena request by a lawyer for former New Orleans
Affordable Homeownership executive director Stacey Jackson, who was indicted
last year on federal charges including theft and bribery.
NOLA Media Group, which operates
The Times-Picayune newspaper and its companion website, has 10 days to respond
to the subpoena.
California university to survey Latino journalists
The Communications Department at
California State University Fullerton is partnering with Hispanicize Wire, the
National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Florida International
University to conduct a survey of Hispanic journalists’ beliefs about their
profession and their use of social media and technology.
It is part of CSUF Latino
Survey results will be released
as part of the Hispanic Journalist Showcase at the fifth annual Hispanicize
2014 event April 1-4 in Miami.
Newport (R.I.) Daily News to shift to morning edition
The Newport (R.I.) Daily News is
shifting to a morning publication schedule on Feb. 3 after more than 150 years
of being primarily an afternoon newspaper.
The newspaper, the only daily
newspaper based on Aquidneck Island, has published a weekend edition in the
mornings for more than 20 years. The change means its weekday editions will
also come out in the mornings.
The Daily News has been
published since 1846 and became an afternoon newspaper in 1861.
The York (Pa.) Dispatch to become a morning paper
A newspaper in central
Pennsylvania is changing its delivery from afternoons to mornings.
The York Dispatch
(http://bit.ly/1bS0fnU) has announced that it will become a morning paper
starting Monday, March 3.
Editor Lori Goodlin said the
switch will ramp up competition between The York Dispatch and the York Daily
Record, which is a morning paper.
Inside story on Snowden to be published next month
The race to publish books about
Edward Snowden is on.
Vintage Books has announced that
Luke Harding's "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most
Wanted Man" will be released Feb. 11 as a paperback original.
Harding is a foreign
correspondent for the Guardian, the London-based newspaper that in June began
publishing a series of articles on government surveillance based on documents
leaked by Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor.
A book by Glenn Greenwald, the
Guardian journalist who broke the story, is scheduled for March.
Carriers for San Diego paper awarded nearly $5M
A judge awarded $10 million to
newspaper carriers and their lawyers in a lawsuit against the former owner of
the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Superior Court Judge John S.
Meyer ruled last month that about 1,200 carriers who delivered papers from 2005
through mid-2007 were employees entitled to reimbursement for their car mileage
and other expenses — not independent contractors who had to cover their own
costs, according to court documents.
Meyer awarded the carriers about
$5 million, of which $1.25 million will go to their lawyers.
The paper's former owner, The
Copley Press, is responsible for paying the award, although it will be
determined later whether a successive owner, Platinum Equity LLC, also is
responsible, said Daniel J. Callahan, an attorney for the carriers.
Court: Disgraced ex-journalist can't practice law
The California Supreme Court
denied a law license to a former journalist who was caught fabricating stories
for major national magazines.
The court ruled that Stephen
Glass had insufficiently rehabilitated himself in the years since his misdeeds.
"Many of his efforts from
the time of his exposure in 1998 until the 2010 hearing, however, seem to have
been directed primarily at advancing his own well-being rather than returning
something to the community," the court wrote in the unsigned ruling.
Jon Eisenberg, a lawyer for
Glass, said his client "appreciates the court's consideration of his
application and respects the court's decision."
Glass's ethical missteps at The
New Republic and other magazines were recounted in the film "Shattered
Glass" and an autobiographical novel.
INDUSTRY NEWS 1-23-2014
Black media seek part of court-ordered tobacco ads
Black media outlets want the nation's tobacco companies to run court-ordered advertisements in their publications as part of a lawsuit charging that the industry lied about the dangers of smoking.
In a brief in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., ahead of a hearing in the case, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters argued that the ads should be disseminated through their outlets because the black community has been disproportionately targeted by tobacco companies and harmed by smoking. The groups are asking the court to consider adding its outlets to the list of newspapers, TV stations and websites where the so-called corrective statements are to be published. The statements also are to accompany cigarette packages.The statements are part of a case the government brought in 1999 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations.
Burlington (Vt.) Free Press moves to new quarters
Vermont's largest daily newspaper is moving from the downtown Burlington headquarters it has occupied since its founding nearly 200 years ago.
The newsroom and most of the operations of the Burlington Free Press will move from its College Street home to new headquarters on Bank Street.
The newspaper reports (http://bfpne.ws/LASZTO ) that its owner — the Gannett Company — sold its seven-building complex in September to the Handy family, operating as The Great Cedars LLC, for $2.8 million. The Handys plan to convert the buildings to a mix of shops, apartments and office space.
Court rules that bloggers have First Amendment protections
A federal appeals court ruled that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in a defamation lawsuit brought by an Oregon bankruptcy trustee against a Montana blogger who wrote online that the court-appointed trustee criminally mishandled a bankruptcy case.
The appeals court ruled that the trustee was not a public figure, which could have invoked an even higher standard of showing the writer acted with malice, but the issue was of public concern, so the negligence standard applied.
Gregg Leslie of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press said the ruling affirms what many have long argued: Standards set by a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc., apply to everyone, not just journalists.
After expansion, Orange County paper cuts staff
Following an aggressive staff expansion that defied trends in the struggling newspaper industry, the publisher of the Orange County Register announced recently that he was changing the management team and cutting jobs.
In a memo to staff, Aaron Kushner said 32 jobs were cut. Among those leaving were longtime editor Ken Brusic and three of his top deputies.
Kushner and a business partner bought the paper's parent company, Freedom Communications, in 2012. In a heavy bet on print, they increased page counts and quickly added editorial staff, nearly doubling the newsroom ranks from about 200 to 370 after the cuts.
Freedom Communications also launched a daily in Long Beach, purchased The Press-Enterprise of Riverside and announced plans to roll out another daily paper in Los Angeles.
AOL hands over Patch operations to investment firm
AOL is handing over operations of its troubled local-news business, Patch.
The Internet company has created a joint venture with investment firm Hale Global, which specializes in turning companies around, to run Patch.
Under the agreement, Patch will be operated and majority owned by Hale Global. AOL will keep a minority interest in Patch.
AOL Inc. CEO Tim Armstrong co-founded Patch, an ambitious experiment in community news meant to compete with newspapers, in 2007. AOL bought it in 2009 after Armstrong came on board.
The Oregonian announces move to compact format later this year
The Oregonian will transition from a broadsheet size to a compact format this year, the Oregonian Media Group of Portland, Ore., has announced.
"The new format will allow for a stronger visual presentation of editorial content and advertising,” said N. Christian Anderson III, president of Oregonian Media Group and publisher of The Oregonian. "With color on every page and a streamlined design, the compact will be a richer experience for our readers.”
The compact size will measure about 15 inches tall by 11 inches wide. The new format will have individual sections, which will be stapled.
INDUSTRY NEWS 1-15-2013
Workers plan joint bid for Philadelphia newspapers
Workers at Philadelphia's two largest newspapers plan to mount a bid to buy their company from feuding owners.
The Newspaper Guild would join with an unnamed partner to bid on The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.
The guild has about 550 workers at the company. Their lawyers have filed papers seeking to intervene in a proposed auction.
They would likely compete with powerful millionaire owners who want to dissolve their partnership and force each other out. They are George Norcross, an insurance executive and Democratic political force, and Lewis Katz, the former owner of the New Jersey Nets.
Virginia Supreme Court upholds tossing of libel verdict against Virginian-Pilot
The Virginia Supreme Court has upheld a judge’s decision to throw out a libel verdict against a Norfolk newspaper.
The justices unanimously ruled that The Virginian-Pilot did not libel Phillip Webb, an assistant principal at a local high school.
In 2009, the newspaper reported that Webb’s son was not disciplined by the school system after the boy’s arrest for assault.
Newspaper: Records withheld in police shootings
A newspaper reports that the Albuquerque Police Department is withholding numerous documents and other material requested in connection with officer-involved police shootings.
According to the Albuquerque Journal ( http://bit.ly/1ktig1o ), the material requested under the state Inspection of Public Records Act in recent months but not provided includes documents, 911 calls and lapel camera videos.
Deputy city attorney Kathryn Levy says some records are withheld temporarily so criminal investigations aren't compromised.
Connecticut Supreme Court hears police reports case
An attorney for Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission asked the state Supreme Court to reverse a ruling that media organizations say would give police too much discretion in deciding which arrest records are released to the public.
The arguments center on how much material police are obligated to provide while a prosecution is pending.
The case began in 2008 when the New Haven Register requested a state police report on the arrest of a man in a Derby assault case. Police said the report was exempt from disclosure and gave the newspaper a press release instead. The FOI commission ruled against state police, but a state judge and the state Appellate Court found in state police's favor.
Several other media organizations, including The Associated Press, filed an amicus brief saying the ruling gives police a way to selectively withhold information, and that restricting access to police reports would thwart the public's ability to examine how police are doing their jobs.
South Carolina Supreme Court to hear The Item's FOIA appeal
The South Carolina Supreme Court will hear an appeal by The Item of Sumter's parent company over the release of a 2010 autopsy.
The Item reported (http://bit.ly/19fK8Bk ) that the lawsuit involves the autopsy of 25-year-old Aaron Leon Jacobs, who was shot in the back by officers investigating a carjacking. At issue is whether the autopsy records should be made available under the state's Freedom of Information Act.
INDUSTRY NEWS 1-9-2014
Washington Post: NSA seeks to build quantum computer
that could crack most types of encryption
In room-size metal boxes secure against electromagnetic
leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could
break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical,
business and government records around the world.
According to documents provided by former NSA contractor
Edward Snowden, the effort to build "a cryptologically useful quantum computer”
— a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7
million research program titled "Penetrating Hard Targets.” Much of the work is
hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md.
The development of a quantum computer has long been a goal
of many in the scientific community, with revolutionary implications for fields
such as medicine as well as for the NSA’s code-breaking mission. With such
technology, all current forms of public key encryption would be broken,
including those used on many secure Web sites as well as the type used to
protect state secrets.
Physicists and computer scientists have long speculated
about whether the NSA’s efforts are more advanced than those of the best
civilian labs. Although the full extent of the agency’s research remains
unknown, the documents provided by Snowden suggest that the NSA is no closer to
success than others in the scientific community.
2 newspapers call
for clemency for Edward Snowden
The New York Times and Guardian newspapers have called for
clemency for Edward Snowden, saying that the espionage worker-turned-privacy
advocate should be praised rather than punished for his disclosures.
The papers — both of which have played a role in
publishing Snowden's intelligence trove — suggested that the former National
Security Agency contractor's revelations about the United States'
world-spanning espionage program were of such public importance that they
outweighed any possible wrongdoing.
"Considering the enormous value of the information he
has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a
life of permanent exile, fear and flight," the Times said, calling either
for a plea bargain, some form of clemency, or a "substantially reduced punishment."
The Guardian said it hoped "calm heads within the
present (U.S.) administration are working on a strategy to allow Mr. Snowden to
return to the U.S. with dignity, and the president to use his executive powers
to treat him humanely and in a manner that would be a shining example about the
value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself."
Judge sides with
newspaper in Sunshine Law lawsuit
A judge has sided with The Florida Times-Union in a
lawsuit arguing that Jacksonville city officials broke Florida's open-government
laws when they held private talks over proposed changes to police and
Circuit Judge Waddell Wallace said in his ruling that the
talks held from March through May were subject to the state's Sunshine Law and
should have been public. The ruling blocks the city from continuing private
At a May 8 news conference, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown
announced that a new pension agreement had been reached with the Jacksonville
Police and Fire Pension Fund Board of Trustees.
"Our first question was, wait a minute, when did you
negotiate this?" Times-Union Editor Frank Denton said.
Denton sued Brown, the city and the pension fund board for
violating the Sunshine Law.
government over immigrant documents
A federal judge has questioned whether the government was
trying to hide or obscure something by failing to give information to a civil
rights group about thousands of immigrant detainees held for long periods.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman's written decision came
days after government attorneys insisted they needed more time to comply with
his September order granting the American Civil Liberties Union's Freedom of
Information Act request.
The ACLU has said it wants to expose a flawed system that
keeps thousands of detainees behind bars for long periods while their
eligibility to remain in the country is adjudicated.
Berman wrote that the government "continues, quite
obviously, to drag its heels in providing disclosure about immigrant
detentions. Hopefully, it is not also trying to hide or obscure a distressing
system or set of facts."
AP: Selling social
media clicks becomes big business
Celebrities, businesses and even the U.S. State Department
have bought bogus Facebook likes, Twitter followers or YouTube viewers from
offshore "click farms," where workers tap, tap, tap the thumbs up
button, view videos or retweet comments to inflate social media numbers.
Since Facebook launched almost 10 years ago, users have
sought to expand their social networks for financial gain, winning friends,
bragging rights and professional clout. And social media companies cite the
levels of engagement to tout their value.
But an Associated Press examination has found a growing
global marketplace for fake clicks, which tech companies struggle to police.
Online records, industry studies and interviews show companies are capitalizing
on the opportunity to make millions of dollars by duping social media.
For as little as a half cent each click, websites hawk
everything from LinkedIn connections to make members appear more employable to
Soundcloud plays to influence record label interest.
"Anytime there's a monetary value added to clicks,
there's going to be people going to the dark side," said Mitul Gandhi, CEO
of seoClarity, a Des Plaines, Ill., social media marketing firm that weeds out
phony online engagements.
another sale of Philly newspapers
The new year has brought little peace among the warring
owners of Philadelphia's two largest newspapers.
Majority owner George Norcross says his partner's plans
could again bankrupt The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.
Norcross's court filing says that rival owner Lewis Katz
wants to dissolve the current ownership structure through a public auction.
He says that could bankrupt the company, which has changed
hands repeatedly since 2006.
Norcross, a powerful insurance executive, suggests an
in-house auction among current owners.
The two men have been fighting for control of the media
company for months, after their investor group bought the company in 2012.
Reporter sues NY
police over Occupy protest arrest
A journalist says New York City police officers tackled
him and unfairly arrested him while he was covering the anniversary of the
Occupy Wall Street protests.
Chris Faraone says he was reporting for the
Massachusetts-based alternative weekly magazine Boston Phoenix in September
2012 when officers tackled him, told him to stop reporting and denied him a
lawyer. He filed his lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan.
A spokeswoman for the city's Law Department tells the
Daily News (http://nydn.us/1ixHry7 ) her office will review the complaint when
it receives it.
Faraone is seeking unspecified damages. He says he was
stopped from covering the anniversary of the Occupy campaign against financial
inequality despite having appropriate press credentials. He says his arrest was
INDUSTRY NEWS 12-19-13
New York Times: Officials say U.S. may never know extent of Snowden leaks
The New York Times quotes senior government officials as saying that American intelligence and law enforcement investigators have concluded that they may never know the entirety of what the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden extracted from classified government computers before leaving the United States.
Investigators remain in the dark about the extent of the data breach partly because the N.S.A. facility in Hawaii where Mr. Snowden worked — unlike other N.S.A. facilities — was not equipped with up-to-date software that allows the spy agency to monitor which corners of its vast computer landscape its employees are navigating at any given time.
Six months since the investigation began, officials said Mr. Snowden had further covered his tracks by logging into classified systems using the passwords of other security agency employees, as well as by hacking firewalls installed to limit access to certain parts of the system.
"They’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of man-hours trying to reconstruct everything he has gotten, and they still don’t know all of what he took,” a senior administration official said. "I know that seems crazy, but everything with this is crazy.”
That Mr. Snowden was so expertly able to exploit blind spots in the systems of America’s most secretive spy agency illustrates how far computer security still lagged years after President Obama ordered standards tightened after the WikiLeaks revelations of 2010.
White House vows to address media access concerns
The White House says that President Barack Obama wants to address growing media protests about limited access to his events, including restricted coverage of his trip to South Africa with former President George W. Bush.
In recent weeks, dozens of leading news organizations have protested restrictions that sometimes keep journalists from taking pictures and video of Obama performing official duties while the White House releases pictures taken by the president's staff.
The objections dominated a recent White House briefing, after this week's release of government photos from Obama's trip to South Africa for former President Nelson Mandela's memorial service. The package included pictures of Obama and Bush traveling on Air Force One along with their wives and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, when news photographers on board were not allowed to take pictures of the historic flight.
While Obama had promised to lead the most transparent administration in history, press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged there have been times when the White House could have provided more access.
Carney said he has been meeting with representatives of the White House Correspondents' Association on the issue and will continue to do so, but he predicted reporters will never be fully satisfied.
Moderate Syrian rebels vow to protect journalists
The leaders of Syria's main Western-backed moderate rebel faction said they would do everything in their power to protect journalists on assignment in the country and work to secure the release of those who have already been abducted.
The letter from the Supreme Military Council, the military wing of the Syrian National Coalition, came in response to an appeal from 13 major international news organizations calling for urgent action against rebel groups targeting journalists for kidnappings. Syria has become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, and the number of abductions has soared to an unprecedented level over the past year.
But other than that, it's not immediately clear what Idris and the FSA can do to protect journalists when the loose-knit moderate rebel factions themselves have been ceding ground to Islamic extremists, including al-Qaida-linked groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Jabhat al-Nusra.
Such radical groups are believed responsible for most kidnappings since the summer, although government-backed militias, criminal gangs and rebels affiliated with the Free Syrian Army also have been involved. Their motives have ranged from ransom to prisoner exchanges.
Signatories to the news organizations' letter are the AP, Agence France Presse, Reuters, BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Media, The Economist, Getty Images, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, The Telegraph and El Mundo.
Group wants attacks on journalists to be war crime
The global group Reporters Without Borders is proposing that attacks on journalists be considered war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
The U.N. Security Council held informal talks recently on the protection of journalists amid alarm at the more than 50 killed so far this year. An estimated 90 percent of those deaths go unpunished.
France, which holds the presidency of the council this month, is especially concerned after the killings of two Radio France Internationale journalists last month in northern Mali.
The director of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, called the statistics on killings "sinister" and warned that impunity amounts to "encouragement" for more attacks.
Deloire said 88 journalists were killed in connection with their work last year — a record since the organization started keeping count in 1995.
New daily paper planned for Los Angeles
The owner of the Orange County Register plans a new daily newspaper in Los Angeles, the boldest step yet in an expansion across Southern California that emphasizes printed publications while others in the industry are focusing on digital.
The new seven-day-a-week paper will be known as the Los Angeles Register, Freedom Communications CEO Aaron Kushner told The Associated Press, a few hours after announcing the move to his staff in the Orange County Register's newsroom.
In addition, Kushner said the Register would open an unspecified number of Los Angeles community weeklies.
Kushner didn't give many specifics about plans for the paper but said it will be launched "quickly" and will be widely distributed in Los Angeles County. The Register's story said the paper would begin publication early next year.
The announcement follows Freedom's recent purchase of the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the largest daily newspaper in California's Inland Empire east of Los Angeles, and last summer's launch of a new daily newspaper in Long Beach, a city of 470,000 between Orange County and Los Angeles.
TV reporter under fire for school security story in North Dakota, Minnesota
Police are investigating whether a Fargo-Moorhead TV journalist broke any laws while reporting a story aimed at revealing holes in elementary school security.
Valley News Live reporter Mellaney Moore walked around schools in Fargo and West Fargo in North Dakota and in Moorhead, Minn., without permission. Some school officials told the Forum newspaper that the TV report showed poor judgment and a disregard for rules.
"In the name of supposedly reporting a vulnerability, you're also advertising it for those that may not have known," West Fargo Schools Superintendent David Flowers said.
News director Ike Walker told The Forum newspaper and KFGO radio that the station stands by the story.
"We went inside three schools and walked around unabated. We walked in, and then we walked out," he said. "At no time did anyone ever stop us to challenge why we were there, and that raises a pretty significant security question."
Texas A&M to begin offering journalism degree
Texas A&M University in the fall will begin offering a major in journalism, resurrecting the program a decade after it was eliminated.
University officials announced in a news release that the Faculty Senate this week approved a liberal arts degree in journalism. It will be a component of the University Studies Program, which is a degree plan designed to combine several areas of study.
College of Liberal Arts Dean Jose Bermudez said in the release that the journalism program will be academically rigorous, with students required to take two minors, one in liberal arts and one through another college.
NY court: Reporter shielded in Colo. shooting case
A Fox News reporter is protected by New York law from being forced to reveal her sources for a story about the suspect in the mass shooting that left 12 people dead in a suburban Denver movie theater last year, the New York state's top court ruled.
The state's shield law supports refusing to recognize a Colorado court's petition for a subpoena, the New York Court of Appeals ruled, 4 to 3.
Lawyers for the suspect, James Holmes, wanted New York-based reporter Jana Winter brought to Colorado to name two law officers who told her Holmes had mailed a notebook depicting violence to a psychiatrist. They argued that the sources violated a judge's gag order, may have lied under oath about that and won't be credible as trial witnesses.
NYT reporters sue Homeland Security in FOIA fight
Two reporters for The New York Times have sued the Department of Homeland Security after they were questioned at an airport as they headed to overseas assignments.
The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Writers Mac William Bishop and Christopher Chivers said in the lawsuit that employees of the department responsible for securing U.S. borders subjected them to questioning last May as they prepared to board an international flight.
David McCraw, vice president and assistant general counsel for the newspaper, said in a statement that the reporters were preparing to leave New York for Turkey to report on the war in Syria at the time.
Norcross doubles holdings in Philly newspapers
Political powerbroker George Norcross is now the majority owner of the city's two largest newspapers, although a rival holds equal power under their managing partnership.
Norcross, a New Jersey-based insurance executive, doubled his holdings to 53 percent of Interstate General Media after buying another investor's stake, according to an announcement. The move comes as the feuding owners jockey in court for control of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philly.com website.
Norcross, fellow business tycoon Lewis Katz and other local investors bought the company last year for $55 million. But Norcross and Katz make up the thorny two-man managing committee, which must agree on key decisions.
E.W. Scripps buys startup Newsy for $35 million
The E.W. Scripps Co., which owns newspapers and TV stations, said that it bought video news startup Newsy for $35 million to help it enter the digital video business.
Newsy collects news from newspapers, TV and websites to create video news reports that can be watched online or through its apps. It makes money from advertising and also sells its videos to news websites.
"This acquisition fits our digital strategy to run a national news brand that both enhances our local content offerings and gives us more access to the fast-growing digital news audiences and revenues on national platforms," said E.W. Scripps CEO Rich Boehne in a statement.
Newsy is based in Columbia, Mo., and will remain there. The company was launched in 2008 and has 35 full-time employees.
E.W. Scripps, which is based in Cincinnati, owns 19 local TV stations and daily newspapers in 13 markets, including the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.
THE INDUSTRY 12-12-2013
China withholds visas for NYT, Bloomberg reporters
Chinese authorities have been
withholding residence visas for reporters working for The New York Times and
Bloomberg in apparent retaliation for the agencies' investigative stories on
wealth accumulated by leaders' families.
If authorities do not soon start
approving renewals for visas due to expire by the end of the year, it would
effectively shut down or significantly curtail the two organizations'
newsgathering operations in the country.
The Foreign Correspondents Club
of China said in an emailed statement to members that none of the
correspondents working for The Times and Bloomberg in China have been able to
renew their residence visas for next year.
On a recent trip to Beijing, U.S.
Vice President Joe Biden publicly criticized how U.S. journalists were being
treated by China’s government.
Newsweek to start printing again next year
Paper copies of Newsweek will
again roll off the presses starting next year.
Editor-in-Chief Jim Impoco says
the news magazine's owners, IBT Media, want to "hit the reset button"
and move to a business model where a weekly print magazine would be mainly
supported by subscription fees instead of advertising.
Impoco said in an interview that
officials haven't decided how much the magazine will cost, but it's expected to
be less than $10 per issue.
Newsweek had been struggling for
years when The Washington Post Co. sold it for $1 in 2010 to stereo equipment
magnate Sidney Harman, who died the following year. Before he died, Harman
placed Newsweek into a joint venture with IAC/InterActiveCorp's The Daily Beast
website, a move intended to help widen its online audience.
Newsweek ceased print publication
at the end of 2012.
The online magazine was sold to
IBT, which owns online publications including International Business Times,
Medical Daily and Latin Times, in August for an undisclosed sum.
Study: Erratic TV violence ratings fail parents
Violent dramas on the broadcast
networks carry milder parental cautions than cable shows like "The Walking
Dead" but can equal them in graphic gore, a failure of the TV ratings
system, a new study found.
Scenes of stabbings, shootings,
rape, decapitation and mutilation invariably received a TV-14 "parents
strongly cautioned" rating on network TV, according to the Parents
Television Council study.
But similar fare on cable
typically was given the most stringent label, TV-MA for mature audiences only,
researchers for the media watchdog group found.
"There are zero-point-zero
series rated TV-MA on broadcast," said the media watchdog council
President Tim Winter, despite programs that are awash in violent scenes.
It is vital to examine the
media’s effect on children and real-world violence, Winter said, adding that he
hopes his nonpartisan group's findings are part of a wide-ranging search for
8 plead not guilty to newspaper reader burglaries
Eight people have pleaded not
guilty to burglarizing the homes of vacationing Los Angeles Times subscribers.
The eight entered pleas to 39
charges of burglary, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
They remain jailed. Each faces 20
years or more in state prison if convicted.
Prosecutors contend that an
office-machine repairman stole lists of Times subscribers who'd placed vacation
holds on their subscriptions, passing them to burglars who hit at least 25
Owners weigh changes to Ledger, sister operations
The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.,
its online business and its sister publications need to find ways to work together
more effectively, the Ledger's publisher said.
Publisher Richard Vezza said in
an interview with the paper (http://bit.ly/18bTeyd ) that "clearly we
need to find a different direction" as the Ledger faces millions in losses
again this year.
"We've got a big daily
newspaper, some smaller dailies and several weeklies and an online
company," he said. "Right now there's channel conflict between them.
How do we work together? How do we do better?"
The state's largest newspaper is
owned by Advance Publications, which also owns NJ.com, the online presence of
the Advance papers in New Jersey, as well as The Jersey Journal, The Times of
Trenton, the South Jersey Times and seven weeklies.
Owner looks to sell Providence Journal in RI
The Providence Journal, Rhode
Island's largest newspaper, is for sale, according to A.H. Belo Corp.
The Dallas-based company said it
has hired an investment bank to seek potential buyers. Belo, which purchased
The Journal in 1996, recently sold The Press-Enterprise, based in Riverside,
Calif. The company also owns The Dallas Morning News.
In a statement announcing the
company's move, Belo CEO Jim Moroney said The Journal has an unmatched
commitment to the citizens of the state.
"However, with A. H. Belo's
focus on investing and growing in Dallas, it makes sense to explore this
opportunity," he said.
Belo says it won't sell the paper
if it cannot find an appropriate buyer.
THE INDUSTRY 12-5-2013
Arias fades from view as case veiled in secrecy
For months, Jodi Arias was a television staple, every minute of her murder trial broadcast live while cable network commentators railed nightly about the case. The now-convicted murderer took to the spotlight in celebrity style and embraced the attention at every turn as she spent weeks on the witness stand and did a series of media interviews.
But Arias has vanished from view since her trial ended in May, and the judge has done a complete about-face. She has shut the media and public out of nearly every hearing in the case and drawn complaints from constitutional lawyers that she has gone too far.
"The trial court has gone from transparency to blackout and bewilderment," said attorney David Bodney, who represents several media outlets, including The Arizona Republic, fighting for transparency. "There have been repeated flagrant violations of the public's constitutional right to attend proceedings."
Arias was convicted of murder in May, but the jury couldn't reach a verdict on her sentence. Prosecutors are now pursuing a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to get the death penalty. No date for a new trial has been set.
Arias, 33, admitted she killed her boyfriend in 2008 at his suburban Phoenix home but claimed it was self-defense. Travis Alexander suffered nearly 30 knife wounds, had his throat slit and was shot in the forehead in what prosecutors argued was a jealous rage.
Minnesota sex offender facilities ban local newspapers
Sex offenders in Minnesota's treatment facilities in St. Peter and Moose Lake are specifically barred from ordering or reading newspapers that cover those communities.
The director of the Minnesota Sex Offender programs said the policy protects staff members, The Free Press of Mankato reported (http://bit.ly/1cQLzTr ). Nancy Johnston said they don't want offenders having access to personal information about facility employees or their families.
The ban has been in place since 2007 and was updated in August to specify three newspapers: The Free Press, the St. Peter Herald and the Moose Lake Star Gazette. The Free Press inquired about the policy after a Moose Lake inmate mailed the newspaper a copy of the policy with a letter of complaint.
Johnston said local newspapers could also include maps that could aid escape attempts. She said offenders can subscribe to any other newspapers they want.
Laramie sues newspaper over mayor's records
The Laramie (Wyo.) Boomerang is awaiting word from a judge whether it should have access to the resume of a former mayor.
The newspaper reports that the city is suing the newspaper to block the paper's access to the resume of former Mayor Jodi Guerin (http://goo.gl/kWqtkV ).
Guerin is now the city's recreation manager. She's also co-owner of Coal Creek Coffee Co.
The city filed suit in August, requesting declaratory judgment to consider Guerin's applications materials exempt from public disclosure.
Mississippi newspaper seeks contempt order in records dispute
State Auditor Stacey Pickering says his hands are tied by a federal subpoena that prevents his releasing documents seized from state Department of Marine Resources to a Gulf Coast newspaper.
The Sun Herald has asked a judge to hold Pickering and his office in civil contempt of court for failing to turn over records it has sought. The newspaper sued Pickering for access to records that his office had seized from the MDMR as part of an ongoing state and federal investigation of the agency. Harrison County Chancery Judge Jennifer Schloegel ruled last month that the records are public, but she didn't immediately act on the newspaper's request for a contempt order.
In a response filed recently to the newspaper's contempt motion, Pickering's lawyers said the auditor's office has to abide by the federal grand jury subpoena.
"Obviously, the United States believes that releasing the subject records would prejudice the prosecution of the indictment involving the Department of Marine Resources for which those records were sought," Jackson attorney John G. Corlew writes in court documents.
Developer buys Washington Post building for $159 million
The longtime headquarters building of The Washington Post is being sold to a real estate development company for $159 million.
Graham Holdings Co. is the former parent of The Washington Post newspaper. The company announced a deal to sell the downtown Washington building to Carr Properties. The sale is expected to close at the end of March 2014.
Graham Holdings spokeswoman Rima Calderon says the newspaper will continue to lease space in the building at least until September 2015. The newspaper is now owned by Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos and will be looking for a new home.
The newly renamed Graham Holdings is the former Washington Post Co. owned by Donald Graham. It now owns education and media businesses, including Kaplan education services and TV broadcasting and cable outlets.
GateHouse Media emerges from bankruptcy protection
GateHouse Media Inc. has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of a pre-packaged debt-restructuring deal.
The Fairport, N.Y.-based company owns more than 400 publications across the U.S.It filed for bankruptcy protection two months ago in Delaware as part of an effort to wipe out $1.2 billion in debt that was set to come due in 2014.
The restructured publisher emerged with a new owner, New Media Investment Group Inc., which also owns Local Media Group.
GateHouse CEO Michael Reed says in a statement that the company's business operations remain intact and are poised to grow.
GateHouse canceled secured creditors' debt. Those creditors are getting a 40 percent cash distribution or shares in New Media.
Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Mass., up for sale
The new owner of the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Mass., says he's putting the newspaper up for sale.
Principal Boston Red Sox owner John Henry purchased the paper last month when he acquired the New England Media Group from The New York Times Co. _ a $70 million deal that included The Boston Globe.
Henry has promised to help bolster the Globe's finances, but had said little about his ownership of the Worcester paper.
Henry said hoped to find someone in the Worcester area to take ownership of the 147-year-old company.
"My preference is to a local owner, yes," he told those gathered in the paper's newsroom.
The Times Co. had purchased the Telegram & Gazette for $295 million in 2000.
Katie Couric to anchor Yahoo's video news coverage
Katie Couric is joining Yahoo to anchor an expansion of the Internet company's video news coverage in a move that she hopes will help persuade other broadcast TV veterans to make the transition into online programming.
The announcement confirmed recent published reports that Couric is hoping to attract more viewers on the Internet after spending the past 22 years working as a talk-show host and news anchor at NBC, CBS and ABC.
"I am particularly excited about hopefully attracting other people to this platform and venture," Couric said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We are in a major, transformative time in terms of media in this country."
Couric's hiring is the latest coup for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer as she brings in well-known journalists in an effort to create compelling content that will attract more people to the company's online services. In the past month, Yahoo has also lured away technology columnist David Pogue and political reporter Matt Bai from The New York Times.
Couric, 56, will continue to host her daytime talk show, "Katie," on ABC even after she becomes Yahoo's "global anchor" beginning early next year.
CBS: Lara Logan, producer ordered to take leave
CBS ordered "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan and her producer to take a leave of absence following a critical internal review of their handling of the show's October story on the Benghazi raid, based on a report on a supposed witness whose story can't be verified.
The review, by CBS News executive Al Ortiz and obtained by The Associated Press, said the "60 Minutes" team should have done a better job vetting the story that featured a security contractor who said he was at the U.S. mission in Libya the night it was attacked last year.
Questions were quickly raised about whether the man was lying _ something "60 Minutes" should have better checked out before airing the story, the report said.The report also said Logan should not have done the story in the first place after making a speech in Chicago a year ago claiming that it was a lie that America's military had tamed al-Qaida.
Industry News 11/21/13
Nancy Meyer named
publisher of Hartford Courant
Tribune Co. has appointed Nancy Meyer as publisher
of The Hartford (Conn.) Courant.
Meyer has been serving as the chief revenue officer
for CT1 Media, the umbrella company for the Courant and Tribune's two Hartford
She replaces Rich Graziano, who was named president
and general manager of Tribune's television station in New York City, WPIX-TV.
Graziano will continue to oversee the Hartford
stations WTIC-TV and WCCT-TV until a new general manager is appointed.
Tribune Co. said Meyer's appointment is effective
She joined the Courant in 2006 and worked previously
in advertising positions with Gannett, Hearst Newspapers and the Times Union in
CNN acquires Vargas'
immigration film 'Documented'
A former Washington Post journalist who later
revealed he has been living in the country illegally since childhood has made a
documentary about his experience and announced that he is selling broadcast
rights for the project to CNN Films.
Jose Antonio Vargas told The Associated Press the
CNN unit is acquiring his film, "Documented," to be broadcast
nationally in the spring of 2014. Vargas wrote and directed the film over the
past two years.
In 2011, Vargas revealed in a New York Times essay
that he has been living in the U.S. illegally since he was brought from the
Philippines as a child to live with his grandparents. He grew up in California
where teachers and school administrators helped him gain college admission, a
driver's license and employment. He later landed a job at The Washington Post
where he was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize.
Just before he revealed his immigration status,
Vargas began filming. He said he wanted to capture everything he was about to
go through. He also set out to tell stories of those brought to the country
illegally as children who would benefit from a path to permanent residency
under the stalled U.S. DREAM Act.
"It is imperative that we remind people what is
actually at stake and that we humanize as much as possible a highly political,
highly partisan issue," Vargas said. "A film to me has the potential
to not only change policy but to change people's minds and hearts."
Vargas now leads an advocacy group called Define
American that is planning a campaign for immigration reform around the time the
film is released.
Producers are also planning to release the
documentary in theaters. Vargas wants to show it in Texas and other places
grappling with a broken immigration system. This week, the film debuts at the
International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, though Vargas can't
attend because he can't leave the country.
Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and first
president of Facebook, is the film project's lead funder and executive
Amy Entelis, a senior vice president at CNN who
oversees the film unit, said Vargas takes the immigration story out of the context of a
Washington political battle and instead "makes that story very pointedly
human." CNN won't be advocating one side or the other in the immigration
debate, she said.
In the film, Vargas retraces his migration from age 12
when his mother put him on a plane to California. He learned he didn't have
immigration papers when he was 16. For the film, Vargas sent a camera back to
the Philippines to interview his mother, whom he hasn't seen in 20 years.
In another scene, Vargas calls immigration officials to
ask why he hasn't been deported. He is told they cannot comment.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Vargas went to a
campaign event in Iowa for Mitt Romney, a scene included in the film. He held a
sign that read: "I am an American w/o papers." Others attending the
event didn't understand why Vargas could not gain legal status with all his
"Immigration is the most controversial yet least
understood issue in America," he said. "This film, I think, embraces
the complexity of the issue."
Judge bans live TV coverage
of Arias retrial
A judge is banning live television coverage of Jodi Arias'
penalty phase retrial and has ordered that the case remain in Phoenix, Ariz.,
despite defense arguments that intense publicity will make it difficult to find
Arias was convicted of murder in May in the 2008 death of
boyfriend Travis Alexander in his suburban Phoenix home. The same jury failed
to reach a decision on whether she should get the death penalty, setting the
stage for a second penalty phase with new jurors.
Arias' first trial garnered worldwide attention with every
minute of the case broadcast live.
Judge Sherry Stephens is hoping to minimize the spectacle
this time by banning live television coverage. Stephens also won't sequester
the new jury.
No date has yet been set for the retrial.
Washington Post Co. will
become Graham Holdings
The Washington Post Co. is changing its name to Graham
Holdings to reflect the sale of its namesake newspaper.
The switch will become official on Nov. 29, and its New
York Stock Exchange ticker symbol will change to "GHC" from
Washington Post Co. closed the sale of most of its
newspaper business to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Oct. 1. Bezos reached a deal to
buy the venerable Capital broadsheet and other newspapers from the Graham
family for $250 million in August.
The company's remaining holdings include the Kaplan
education business; several television stations and Phoenix-based Cable One;
Slate and Foreign policy magazines, and TheRoot.com; home health care provider
Celtic Healthcare, and Forney Corp., which serves the electric utility sector.
Pa. students ban
'Redskins,' get sent to principal
When a high school newspaper at a suburban Philadelphia
football powerhouse decided the word "Redskins" had no place in its
pages, the paper's student editors found themselves called to the principal's
The dispute between Neshaminy High School's paper, the
Playwickian, and school administrators is a strange twist on the fight over
what students can and can't say: this time it's the students urging restraint.
The Playwickian editors started getting heat from school
officials after an Oct. 27 editorial that barred the use of the word
"Redskins" — the nickname of the teams at Neshaminy, a school named
for the creek where the Lenape Indians once lived.
"Detractors will argue that the word is used with all
due respect. But the offensiveness of a word cannot be judged by its intended
meaning, but by how it is received," read the editorial backed by 14
of 21 staff members. (An equally well-written op-ed voiced the dissenting
The ban comes as Native American activists and a few
media outlets, along with President Barack Obama, challenge the moniker of
Washington's NFL team, which visits Philadelphia on Sunday.
At Neshaminy — where the welcome sign sometimes
reads: "Everybody do the Redskin Rumble" and the football team is
11-1 with a shot at its second state title— news editors had pledged to stop
using the term "Redskins" as far back as 2001, but sometimes wavered.
This year's staff decided to take it on full-force.
"You are not afraid to write about the hard and
sensitive issues. You take risks on editorial pages — bravo!" judges wrote
last month in a student journalism contest, when the Playwickian earned a top
Nonetheless, Principal Robert McGee ordered the
editors to put the "Redskins" ban on hold, and summoned them to a
meeting after school Tuesday, according to junior Gillian McGoldrick, the
"People are (saying), 'Just give in. It doesn't
really matter.' But it's a huge deal, that we're being forced to say something
that we don't want to," said McGoldrick, a 16-year-old junior.
McGee called the editors' motives
"valiant," but said the dispute pits the rights of one group of
students against another.
His approximately 2,600 students must each publish
an article in the Playwickian for course credit. He doesn't think anyone should
be barred from writing about the Neshaminy Redskins, especially, he said, when
the harm alleged is open to debate.
"I don't think that's been decided at the
national level, whether that word is or is not (offensive). It's our school
mascot," said McGee, who said he's consulted with the school solicitor and
others. "I see it as a First Amendment issue running into another First
School officials had also ordered the Playwickian to
run a full-page, $200 ad — submitted by a Class of '72 alumnus — celebrating
the "Redskin" name, McGoldrick said.
In response, the nonprofit Student Press Law Center
and other groups bought a rival ad detailing the "Freedom of
Expression" students enjoy under state and federal law. That ad is set to
appear in the edition due out Wednesday, although the alumnus pulled the
pro-Redskins ad late last week, McGoldrick said.
Both the student law center and the American Civil
Liberties Union of Pennsylvania believe school districts are on shaky ground if
they try to compel students to use a given word, especially one the students
"I understand that there's an inclination to want to
protect a tradition at the school. But the First Amendment is a longer and a
better-established tradition," said Frank LoMonte, executive director of
the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va.
"It's exactly what we tell young people in the
abstract we want them to do: use their voices in positive ways to bring about
social change. And yet when they tried to do it in practice, the school slapped
them down," he said. "That's a bad place for an educator to be."
European, US media face
new tests with NSA spying
The spying revelations by former National Security
Agency contractor Edward Snowden have made it a high-pressure, high-stakes time
to be a top media executive.
In Britain, the editor of the Guardian pulverized
entire hard drives of data leaked by Snowden to keep the government from
In the United States, The New York Times pointed out
in a major NSA expose this month that it agreed to self-censorship of
"some details that officials said could compromise intelligence
And in Spain, the El Mundo newspaper said last week
it would turn over Snowden documents to prosecutors inquiring whether the
privacy rights of Spaniards had been violated.
As revelations about the staggering scope of the
NSA's surveillance have leaked out, newsroom leaders around the world have been
weighing ethical decisions over how much they should reveal about
intelligence-gathering capabilities. Their decisions are guided, in part, by
media protection laws that vary widely from country to country.
"It's a new era. There are new questions coming
up and there are no clear answers here," said Robert Picard, a specialist
on media policy and director of research at the University of Oxford's Reuters
Institute. "The media are trying to navigate it and it is not comfortable.
You will get different opinions on the decision-making in different newsrooms
and within the same newsroom."
The huge number of Snowden documents has generated a
barrage of exclusive stories in the Guardian and The Washington Post, along with
a stream of revelations about the NSA surveillance in countries such as France,
Germany, Spain and Brazil. In some cases, publications that normally compete on
stories have teamed up to get the news out.
Britain's Official Secrets Act guards against the
dissemination of confidential material, and the government's response to the
Snowden leaks has become stormier and stormier. When Britain's deputy national
security adviser warned that agents would confiscate the Guardian's hard drives
containing Snowden files, editor Alan Rusbridger made the deal to have them
"I would rather destroy the copy than hand it
back to them or allow the courts to freeze our reporting," he said in
August. "I don't think we had Snowden's consent to hand the material back,
and I didn't want to help the U.K. authorities know what he had given us."
The fact that other copies of the material existed
in the United States and Brazil meant he could delete the data held in Britain
without fear that the story would die with it, he added.
As the pressure on the Guardian increased, the paper
turned to TheNew York Times and ProPublica, a U.S.-based nonprofit journalism
group. The decision to collaborate was partly technical, reporter James Ball
told an audience in London. But it was also a nod to what he called "First
Amendment issues," noting that being based in the United States gave those
working on the story the protection of America's press freedom laws.
That has its limits as well. When a recent New York
Times piece on the NSA appeared to disclose the first names of intelligence
analysts, some British lawmakers began wondering whether the paper was playing
fast and loose with the names of agents at GCHQ, the U.K government's
electronic eavesdropping agency. They've since summoned Rusbridger, the
Guardian's editor, to testify before a Parliamentary committee. Britain's
Metropolitan Police have also confirmed that detectives are investigating the
In France and Spain, the Snowden disclosures have so
far revealed that the NSA captured metadata from millions of telephone calls,
while in Germany they exposed U.S. monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel's
While European media must be wary about publishing
information about their intelligence agencies because of legal consequences,
the possibility that citizens' privacy rights might have been violated is
another major concern, said Jane Kirtley, director of the University of
Minnesota's Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law.
"If you look at how privacy protection has
developed in Europe, countries speak of privacy as a fundamental right, which
is not a concept we see in England or the United States," she said.
"The justification that the European media can give is that 'We are
helping to protect this fundamental right to privacy by revealing the
surveillance going on.'"
El Mundo's chief editor, Vicente Lozano Garcia, said
his newspaper had no problem turning over Snowden documents to Spanish
prosecutors because it had called for an investigation to determine whether the
spying broke Spanish laws. He added the only information given to them had
already been published and did not involve secrecy because the source — Snowden
— was known.
After El Mundo and France's Le Monde published their
stories on NSA spying, the NSA revealed that the monitoring in those countries
was done in coordination with NATO allies.
Le Monde's chief editor, Natalie Nougayrede, said
the paper has not come under pressure from French authorities to turn over
documents or to withhold information. Still, she said the paper was keeping the
documents "in a safe place" that she would not describe.
"Even if there were demands and pressure, I
would be absolutely adamant that we would just continue our work,"
The German government said Der Spiegel magazine,
which has published material from Snowden, approached it around Oct. 16 with
what it believed was the evidence showing the NSA had monitored Merkel's
After examining the material, Germany announced Oct.
23 that Merkel had called President Barack Obama to demand clarification. Der
Spiegel then posted the material on its website and in its print version.
Although the story unleashed a firestorm in Germany
and around the world, Der Spiegel's handling of the news has drawn little if
any criticism, neither for tipping off the government nor for publishing an
"The autonomy of the press is ensured in
Germany," said Klaus-Dieter Altmeppen, a professor for communication
studies at the Catholic University of Eichstaett. "Therefore, we don't
have the kind of problems between the media and the government here that exist
in other countries when it comes to the publication of the NSA files."
The biggest change for news organizations publishing
Snowden documents is that it marks a huge step forward in their access to
intelligence information. As they have done in the past, publications often
query government officials before making a decision on what to release.
Barton Gellman, the Washington Post reporter who
broke the story about NSA's PRISM data-gathering program, said at a conference
last month that U.S. government officials had asked him not to publish the
names of Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and seven other Internet companies
participating in the NSA program.
Gellman said he refused because that would have
undermined the Post's principal mission of holding U.S. institutions
accountable. Including the technology companies' names propelled them to argue
for greater transparency about NSA's operations to show customers that they
were taking privacy concerns seriously, he said.
Gellman said he had "long conversations"
with U.S. government officials about the NSA documents and agreed there was
information in them that raised legitimate U.S. security concerns.
"We quickly agreed that that would not be in
the story and it turns out the Guardian made substantially identical decisions
without any mutual consultation," Gellman said.
The New York Times has not published as many
articles based on Snowden's information as the Guardian.
Jill Abramson, the executive editor of the Times,
said that she'd been approached by a British diplomat in Washington and asked
to relinquish the Snowden documents. She said she refused.
Abramson also told BBC's "Newsnight"
television program that she was distressed to see criticism of the reporters
breaking the NSA spying stories.
"We balance the need to inform the public
against possible harm to national security, and we do that very seriously and
soberly," she said.
Rock City Times brings
humor to Little Rock news
According to one report, Little Rock weathermen Jeff
Baskin and Keith Monahan quarreled over the weekend's rain chances, made snide
remarks about each other on air and then settled their feud with fists outside
of the TV station before they were arrested.
The story was shared all over Facebook and Twitter
and drew criticism from credulous readers, but much like forecasts for
snowballs in hell, the whole thing was entirely false.
"We had comments on our social media pages
asking us why we wouldn't acknowledge the fight," says Austin Kellerman,
news director for TV stations KARK-TV, Channel 4, and KLRT-TV, Channel 16.
"Meteorologists across the country were
tweeting things about it as if it were real. A SiriusXM morning show reported
it as fact the next morning."
"How many times does the Rock City Times have
to pull something over on everyone for them to figure out what it is?" he
asks, with a laugh.
What it is, is a fake news site that's a little bit
of The Onion and a whole lot of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update
headquartered in Arkansas' capital city. The man behind the mayhem is Greg
Henderson, 30, a Web developer and marketing guy who has completed all of the
coursework for a master's degree in communications.
He launched Rock City Times (rockcitytimes.com) in
March 2012, but has been consistently posting since this past spring.
"I've always been a big fan of satire," he
says, adding that his interest was piqued first in grade school when introduced
to Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal.
"You almost have to take a social issue and
make it seem as ridiculous as humanly possible to understand what's really
going on there, and that's what I do in a lot of the stories," he tells
the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1eRbnn4 ).
However, he acknowledges many of the site's reports
hew closer to parody than satire.
"Some of them are not social issues just for
the fact that they can't all be serious.
They've just got to be stupid-funny. And that
happens," he says.
It also happens to dupe unsuspecting media outlets.
One of his most popular stories was picked up
without attribution by the online edition of the United Kingdom's Daily Mirror
in late June. It was the tale of a Little Rock food blogger who put himself
into a coma by eating 413 cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster.
"Then it got picked up by an Australian
newspaper and by an Italian one that had done research and figured out it was
fake and that the Mirror was ripping me off. . Then the Globe and Mail picked
it up, retracted it and called me for an interview," Henderson says.
"They were actually the first major outlet to realize it was fake."
The food blogger subject of that story, Kevin
Shalin, also known as The Mighty Rib (themightyrib.com), hadn't been to Red
Lobster since he was 5 years old. A series of unfortunate events led to a
dinner with roughly 15 local "foodies" at the restaurant chain. As
they walked in, Shalin quipped to Henderson, "There's a story here somewhere
- all of these foodies going to Red Lobster on a Friday night."
Shalin certainly didn't expect to be the focal point
of the story, he says. "But that's the kiss of death with Greg. If you
give him an idea, he'll run with it. He's very smart; he's creative. He took a
picture of me eating a biscuit that night, and I didn't think much of it."
The next morning, Shalin saw the fateful article on
Rock City Times' website and got a laugh out of it.
"I thought about 100 people would see it, but
by Sunday evening, I could tell it was getting a little viral, but all of his
stuff gets viral, so it wasn't a big deal," he says. "But by Monday I
believe, it had really gotten crazy."
At one point, Shalin's saga was posted on a major
news outlet page next to a story about Nelson Mandela.
"Someone sent me a screen grab of their Web
page and I was the top story, for a couple of hours in (the United Kingdom's)
The Sun, right above Nelson Mandela on his deathbed, and me with biscuits
around my face," Shalin says. They were Photoshopped onto Henderson's
Though his email and Facebook message boxes were
filling up with interview requests, Shalin would not talk to the press and
deflected all of the attention back to Henderson.
"What were they gonna do?" he says.
"I didn't eat 400 biscuits. I ate two biscuits; end of story. Greg created
a template response for my email, and that's the way we handled it for a while.
But lots of cool things have come of it. I have my own Snopes page now. I'm an
News director Kellerman says outside of the fighting
weathermen story, his favorite piece from Rock City Times has to be the Red
"That's hilarious to me. You couldn't get
through five of those biscuits without (getting sick), and the fact that
someone believed that happened and immediately reported it without
fact-checking or verifying is funny," he says. "You could almost
picture them saying, 'Those Arkansans in America, eating their 400
Shalin thinks what happened to him could be a great
lesson for a journalism class: "All of these (media outlets) are not even
fact-checking. They're just taking something and running with it, and how many
of these ridiculous stories you hear on morning radio, did they even happen,
are they even true?"
As for Kellerman, he says he's not offended by what
Rock City Times does and says it doesn't change the nature of his profession.
It only adds another layer.
"The challenge for journalists is, at what
point do you acknowledge that these sources are out there?" he says.
"We see it and start laughing, but then people start calling. .. It's just
one of those things you have to acknowledge are out there and deal with, I
Kellerman says Rock City Times has an inherent
believability factor because most people wouldn't expect a parody news site to
be based in Arkansas: "You don't necessarily expect that from Little Rock.
It's a unique thing you have in this community, and I see where it has the
ability to confuse people."
In neighboring Saline County, the newspaper editor
had to address the existence of Rock City Times after a story about Sheriff
Bruce Pennington and Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs was published, saying the two were
banned from the Saline County Fair on opening night. In realnews, the three-term
sheriff was convicted in early September on two alcohol-related misdemeanors.
The Rock City story reported Pennington attempted to
ride the fair's tilt-a-whirl all night as he sought the feeling of being dizzy
and intoxicated. When the parody story broke Sept. 4, it was the first time
Saline Courier editor Brent Davis, 55, had encountered Rock City Times.
"I received text messages and emails about the
story that Rock City had run about them being banned because of Bruce riding
the tilt-a-whirl all night, and Jill Dabbs being the one that did the water
pistol concession and made extreme profits by lowering the water pressure on the pistols that you shoot the target with and
tripling the price (on the game)," he says. "And this was all a play
on her raising the water rates in Bryant."
This story was
just believable enough - it had that pearl of truth rolling around inside a
hard shell of ridiculousness.
what made it so believable was what was going on with Sheriff Pennington,"
Davis says. "Some people weren't surprised if that would have actually
been true. The county has had lots of attention lately, and sometimes you think
this kind of thing can't be made up, though it was a funny story."
responded to the incident in print with an editorial.
"I wrote a
column about ... how we are a nation of scammers and we tend to take surface
information and take it as fact without finding out for ourselves if it's true
or not," he says. "And I mentioned in there that we'd gotten calls
(about the fake story)."
Henderson manage to create phony stories that hit a nerve with the public?
First, he keeps
up with local news every day, but he also looks for the emotional impact of a
story, which he says he can't get from traditional journalistic reporting. So
he turns to Twitter.
Twitter, people share their thoughts and emotions, and how they're feeling
about what they're hearing," he says. "If people are passionate about
a story that's being under reported then I'll report it. If a big story is
going on and I don't hear anything about it, then people don't really care and
I won't do anything on it."
If a lackluster
story is getting lots of gripes on social media, Henderson says he'll attack it
from the standpoint of the emotional response he's seeing.
It's a system
that sees results, at least in the realm of page views. He regularly sees
between 300,000 to 400,000 page views in a month, but the largest story - one
about an enraged mother throwing flaming diapers at Fourth of July revelers shooting
fireworks in her neighborhood - got about 750,000 to 800,000 page views.
As a fellow
blogger and Internet guru, Shalin says he's impressed with the success of Rock
is really booming .," Shalin says. "He's just really creative with
this. It's a real talent he has. And not every story is going to super viral,
but I bet 1 out of 10 hits."
Shalin says the
only thing that bothered him about his time as parody pariah was the
mischaracterization of Rock City Times as a site.
"A lot of
headlines ran as if this was a hoax," he says. "Greg is not trying to
fool anyone. It's a satirical website, and Greg's really open about that."
Even though his
station has fielded many phone calls related to Henderson's meteorology
mischief, Kellerman agrees.
punch you in the face that it's a fake news site," he says. "But I
don't think he needs to put a bigger disclaimer up there. Yes, it does say,
'Second-most unreliable news site,' but people aren't necessarily taking the
time to look at everything on the page."
Henderson, he also takes umbrage when the word "hoax" is used on him,
but outside of that, he wouldn't change a thing about the site or the response
he gets. It keeps him engaged in local news and in touch with his community.
"I love it.
It's always going to be my No. 1 passion, regardless of whatever else I start
up," he says. "It's a fun site to do every day, and I love everything
challenge to direct mail deal
An appeals court panel
has rejected a challenge by a newspaper trade group to a U.S. Postal Service
agreement with a direct mailing company.
In the agreement,
Valassis Direct Mail Inc. receives discounted postage rates for some of its
advertisement mailers once its mail volume hits a certain level.
Association of America challenged the deal, citing a legal requirement that
such deals not cause "unreasonable harm to the marketplace."
But the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with the Postal Service.
At stake for newspapers
is advertising revenue, especially from pre-printed inserts into Sunday
refuses to remove Philly newspaper exec
A judge Thursday, Nov.
14, refused to remove the publisher of Philadelphia's two largest newspapers,
at least while a court fight between owners plays out.
Publisher Bob Hall will
stay on the job while powerful co-owners George Norcross and Lewis Katz fight
over control of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.
The fate of editor Bill
Marimow, one of several legal issues in dispute in their rival lawsuits,
remains undecided. The hearing over the firing is now set to run at least
through Monday, Nov. 18.
In testimony Thursday,
Katz described Hall as a yes-man for Norcross, and said that's why the
part-time publisher fired Marimow last month. Katz complained that he was
improperly cut out of the decision.
"Mr. Hall was
clearly (Norcross's) supportive actor in the company," Katz said. "I
had let a lot of things go with Mr. Hall. This was the last straw."
Katz said Norcross has
sought to fire Marimow since January.
"Mr. Norcross felt
that Mr. Marimow should be fired because he wasn't a leader, ... (and) he was
resistant to change," Katz testified.
Their rival lawsuits are
being fought by at least 16 lawyers, including Philadelphia legal warrior
Richard Sprague for Katz and former Homeland Security secretary Michael
Chertoff for Norcross.
Wednesday that he was fired after refusing to fire five veteran editors. Katz
elaborated, saying the newsroom targets had tangled with members of Norcross's
Lexie, helps run the Philly.com website. Katz has his own personal link to the
newsroom, longtime companion Nancy Phillips, a veteran reporter who testified
that she facilitated Marimow's hiring as Katz and Norcross negotiated to buy
the company last year. Phillips has since become city editor under Marimow, who
won two Pulitzer Prizes — the nation's top honor in newspaper journalism —
during several stints at the Inquirer.
The newspapers have had
five owners in seven years, a period when their value dropped from $515 million
to $55 million, and workers endured layoffs and pay cuts.
Katz and Norcross
invested $16 million apiece toward the $55 million purchase in April 2012, and
hold 26 percent stakes. Four other business leaders made smaller investments.
But Katz and Norcross set up a two-man management committee to control key
business decisions. Katz thought that would force them to get along.
Norcross would have full power over the whole operation, including the
newsroom," Katz said. "We would be where we are today, in a terrible
Katz, a former
Democratic party leader in Cherry Hill, N.J., made his money in parking lots
and real estate, and also owned the New Jersey Nets. Norcross is an insurance
executive and powerful New Jersey Democrat. They had never done a deal together
before, Katz said.
Maine court orders
release of 911 transcripts
The state's highest court on Thursday, Nov. 14, ordered
law enforcement officials to release transcripts of 911 calls from the fatal
shootings of two teenagers in Biddeford, ruling that officials failed to prove
how releasing the transcripts could harm their criminal investigation.
The Supreme Judicial Court's decision ends what The
Portland Press Herald described as a blanket policy by law enforcement of
rejecting the release of 911 transcripts.
Under Maine law, 911 transcripts are to be made
available under the Freedom of Access Act. But there can be exceptions for
"intelligence and investigative records." In this case, the high
court ruled that law enforcement officials failed to show how releasing the
transcripts could harm the investigation.
"This is an important win for the public's
right to know how Maine's emergency communication system operates and paves the
way for greater public access to information in ongoing criminal
proceedings," said Sigmund Shutz, an attorney who represented MaineToday
Media Inc., the parent company of the Press Herald.
The decision focused three 911 calls made before and
after a double-shooting in Biddeford.
James Pak, a landlord, is charged with killing
Derrick Thompson, 19, and his girlfriend, Alivia Welch, 18, after he argued
with them about late rent, snow shoveling and parking. Biddeford police
officers had been called to intervene in the dispute but they left before it
turned violent. Pak has pleaded not guilty.
"We conclude that the state failed to meet its
burden of establishing the reasonable possibility that disclosure of the ...
transcripts would interfere with law enforcement proceedings," Justice
Ellen Gorman wrote in the unanimous ruling.
While the ruling won't result in the release of all 911
transcripts, it provides guidance to law enforcement officials, ending blanket
denials and requiring justification for withholding transcripts. In the Pak
case, the court sent the case back to the original judge, with instructions for
him to release the transcripts.
The attorney general's office contended that
releasing transcripts to the public can harm investigations, color witnesses'
memories and taint jury pools, not to mention being time consuming.
On Thursday, Attorney General Janet Mills said her
office will comply with the supreme court ruling, but she said she wished the
justices had addressed the potential effect on trials.
The state wants to ensure a fair trial and eliminate
any possible grounds for appeal, she said.
"If we don't protest the disclosure of
something that could impair the right of a fair trial for the defendant, then
we could be accused of not allowing a fair trial after a conviction," she
MaineToday Media Inc. sued for release of the
transcripts under the open-records law.
"The court has made it clear that
government secrecy cannot win out over the public's right to know," said
Cliff Schechtman, executive editor of The Portland Press Herald.
Several organizations including The Associated
Press, Committee for Freedom of the Press and New England First Amendment
Center submitted a legal brief supporting the newspaper's stance.
Pa. paper: Sorry for
panning Gettysburg Address
It took 150 years, but a Pennsylvania newspaper says
it should have recognized the greatness of President Abraham Lincoln's
Gettysburg Address at the time it was delivered.
The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, about 35 miles
northeast of Gettysburg, retracted a dismissive editorial penned by its Civil
War-era predecessor, The Harrisburg Patriot & Union.
The president's speech is now considered a triumph
of American oratory.
The Nov. 14 retraction, which echoes Lincoln's
now-familiar language, said the newspaper's November 1863 coverage was wrong
when it described the speech as "silly remarks" that deserved a
"veil of oblivion."
The paper now says it regrets the error of not
seeing its "momentous importance, timeless eloquence and lasting
"By today's words alone, we cannot exalt, we
cannot hallow, we cannot venerate this sacred text, for a grateful nation long
ago came to view those words with reverence, without guidance from this
chagrined member of the mainstream media," the paper wrote, echoing the
words of the address.
Separately, the paper also recounted how it covered
the dedication of the national cemetery (http://bit.ly/1aVGGLS ), nearly five months after the pivotal
battle in which federal forces repelled a Confederate Army advance from
Virginia into Pennsylvania. More than 3,500 Union soldiers killed in the battle
are buried there.
During the Civil War, the Patriot & Union was a
Democratic newspaper that was staunchly opposed to Lincoln.
An event to remember the 150th anniversary of the
speech is scheduled for Tuesday in Gettysburg.
New publisher named at
The Vicksburg Post
Jeff Schumacher has been named publisher of The
Vicksburg (Miss.) Post and affiliated publications and president of Vicksburg
Schumacher, a native of Drayton, N.D., most recently
was general manager of Mountaineer Publishing Co. in Waynesville, N.C.
"I will bring all of my energy, resources and
knowledge to give Vicksburg a community newspaper of which they can be
extremely proud," he said. "I look forward to building long-lasting
relationships with our readers, as well as our clients. After all, The
Vicksburg Post belongs to them. I am just the one given the privilege of being
The announcement was made Tuesday, Nov. 12, by Todd
Carpenter, president of Boone Newspapers, parent company of the Post.
"We are pleased to welcome Jeff Schumacher to
Vicksburg and The Post, his family to Mississippi. He shares our values and
beliefs, and I know he will work hard to serve the Vicksburg community, readers
and advertisers, to see we meet our every obligation to all who have a stake in
the success of the newspaper and community," Carpenter said in a
Schumacher attended Moorhead State University in
Moorhead, Minn., and North Dakota State University in Fargo, majoring in mass
His first newspaper job was as sports editor and
sales executive for DAK Publishing in Dickinson, N.D.
Schumacher led groups of
newspapers in North Dakota and South Dakota as publisher and regional director
for Kelly Publishing Inc. and Dickson Media.
He also served as general manager of The
Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer newspaper for nearly three years.
Schumacher and his wife, Michelle, have four
children. They will relocate to Vicksburg in the spring at the completion of
the school year.
Averyt named publisher
The E.W. Scripps Co. has named Libby Averyt as
regional publisher and chief revenue officer for the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times.
Averyt currently is the Caller-Times' vice president
of advertising and has spent her professional career with the newspaper. Her
new duties begin Jan. 1.
The Caller-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1bDtqrZ ) the 49-year-old will
succeed Darrell Coleman, who's retiring at the end of the year after 35 years
in newspapers, the last four as publisher of the Caller-Times.
Averyt began her career covering the evening police
beat. In 1990 she was awarded the Edward Willis Scripps Award for Distinguished
Service to the First Amendment. A decade later she was named managing editor
and then three years later was promoted to editor. She later transitioned to a
new role promoting the company's digital efforts.
CBS says review of '60
Minutes' story is ongoing
CBS News said Wednesday, Nov. 13, that it is
conducting an "ongoing journalistic review" into how "60
Minutes" aired a story about the 2012 attack on a U.S. mission in
Benghazi, Libya, based in part on the testimony of a man who said he was there
when now there is considerable doubt he was.
The source, former security contractor Dylan Davies,
claimed to CBS that he had taken part in fighting at the mission on the night
of the attack, even though he had told his bosses at the Blue Mountain security
company that he had not been there. CBS backed off the story late last week
when it was reported that Davies had also told the FBI that he was not at the
scene, and CBS' Lara Logan apologized to viewers Sunday for the Oct. 27 story,
saying the network could no longer trust Davies.
The network would not say Wednesday who is
conducting its review, whether anyone outside the network was involved, or
whether the results would be made public.
"I'm glad to see CBS take this step," said
David Brock, founder of the liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America,
which has doggedly criticized CBS for its story on the contentious political
issue. "An ongoing review means the network acknowledges that a serious
journalistic transgression occurred."
CBS has given no indication that Logan or anyone
else involved in reporting or vetting the story will face disciplinary action.
There are several questions ripe for discussion,
among them whether there was enough in the story to advance public knowledge of
what happened in the Sept. 11, 2012, raid, said Marvin Kalb, a former CBS News
reporter who is senior adviser to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Among other issues:
—What importance did Davies' book play in advancing
the story? Davies' publisher, CBS-owned Simon & Schuster, withdrew his
book, "The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan
Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There," last week when questions were
raised about the author's account. The book had been published two days after
the "60 Minutes" story aired.
—How thorough was CBS' investigation into Davies'
background and his claims? Should his admission that he lied to his employer
about his whereabouts given CBS more reason to doubt him? CBS News has one of
television's most thoroughly sourced reporters on law enforcement and
investigative issues in John Miller, although he doesn't work for "60
Minutes." Was he brought in to help vet Davies' claims?
"Somewhere in the preparation of this story
there was inadequate checking of information passed on by what amounts to a
sole source for the news," Kalb said. "It seems to me that was always
something I've counted on '60 Minutes' to do."
—Does Jeff Fager's dual role at CBS News cut off
opportunities for further questioning of a story like this before it goes on
the air? Fager is both chairman of CBS News and executive producer of "60
Minutes." He's received praise for giving the news division a clear
direction — and ratings are up for the morning and evening newscasts — but
should the same person have authority over the newsmagazine and the
newsdivision as a whole?
—Does CBS News, particularly "60 Minutes,"
owe a more thorough explanation to viewers about what happened?
"As soon as we had confirmation of a problem
with this report on Thursday, we issued a statement to that effect; we then
went on the air Friday morning to address it, correct it and apologize, spoke
at length to media outlets about the matter and now have explained it to our
audience in a correction on our broadcast," ''60 Minutes" spokesman
Kevin Tedesco noted this week.
Library to preserve
Archive of Public Broadcasting
Early interviews with John F. Kennedy, Hubert
Humphrey and Ronald Reagan are part of a collection of public broadcast
recordings dating to the 1950s that will now be preserved at the Library of
Under a project funded by the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting and announced Thursday, Nov. 14, 40,000 hours of radio and
television content is being digitized for long-term preservation at the
library. It will become the American Archive of Public Broadcasting and will be
housed at the library's National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in
underground vaults in Culpeper, Va.
Recordings of Kennedy and Humphrey come from Twin
Cities Public Television's coverage in 1960 presidential primaries. There is
also a commentary by George Lucas on his first "Star Wars" movies
from KUSC in Los Angeles and 1967 interviews with then-California Gov. Ronald
Reagan from Boston's WGBH.
The archive, made up of contributions from about 120
stations nationwide, also is rich with regional programming, curators said.
There is a series on the history of Southwest Florida, films of performances of
an acclaimed organist at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City and shows on
the space program.
"It's an incredible collection for local and
regional history that has not been shown to the rest of the country," said
curator Alan Gevinson of the library's audio-visual conservation center.
"A lot of what stations picked as what they really wanted to preserve were
shows about their own areas."
Public, education-related radio dates to the 1920s,
and public TV goes back to the 1950s — before the creation of NPR and PBS.
"But as far as archiving, nothing really had
been done, and certainly not at this scale, until now," Gevinson said.
Public broadcasting officials began creating an
inventory of significant recordings held by stations in 2007, resulting in 2.5
million records. That list was narrowed down for the archive.
The project will make the recordings available to
researchers and the public at both the library and WGBH in Boston over the next
two years. The station helped coordinate the archival project.
Digitized recordings will eventually be made
available online with the permission of copyright holders, Gevinson said. The
library also hopes to create exhibits based on the collection.
Congress urged the creation of a public broadcast
archive at the time when stations were converting to digital transmission and
encouraged the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to spend some federal funds
on the project.
CNN names Brian Stelter
host of 'Reliable Sources'
CNN says media reporter Brian Stelter is the new host
of "Reliable Sources," the network's weekly look at developments in
the media world.
The network says Stelter will also serve as a senior
media correspondent for CNN Worldwide.
He comes from The New York Times, where he was a
media industry reporter.
He replaces Howard Kurtz, who left the two-decade-old
program earlier this year to join Fox News Channel.
Stelter joined The New York Times in 2007. Before
that, he created TVNewser, a blog covering the television news industry.
He is the author of "Top of the Morning: Inside
the Cutthroat World of Morning TV," about the competitive world of morning
"Reliable Sources" airs Sundays at 11 a.m.
News Corp 1Q revenue,
profit misses expectations
News Corp.'s revenue unexpectedly fell in its first
quarter since being spun off as a publishing-focused company, as revenue from
its Australian newspapers plunged. The results Monday, Nov. 11, were short of
analysts' forecasts and the company's shares fell more than 2 percent.
Net income in the fiscal first quarter, which ended
in September, was $27 million, or 5 cents per share. That compares with a loss
of $92 million, or 16 cents per share, a year ago.
Adjusted to exclude costs related to a U.K. hacking
probe and other items, earnings came to $17 million, or 3 cents per share,
which was below the 5 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.
Revenue fell 3 percent to $2.07 billion, also below
the $2.18 billion analysts were looking for.
"We will be candid with you about the
challenges, as we have been about the headwinds buffeting our Australian
newspaper business," said CEO Robert Thomson. "But we are confident
that our emerging strategy will well serve our investors, employees and our
Among the company's new strategies is creating an
advertising sales network, instead of relying on third-party networks for
"Any advertiser who wants to reach our great
content and premium audiences must do so directly," Thomson said.
The company's shares fell 37 cents, or 2.1percent,
to $17.05 in extended trading after the results came out.
Revenue from news and information services fell 10
percent to $1.5 billion. The company attributed much of that decline to a 22
percent drop in revenue from Australian newspapers, which include The
Australian and The Daily Telegraph.
Westcott Rochette, an analyst with S&P Capital
IQ, said the Australian newspapers are now experiencing the pain felt in the
U.S. and U.K. newspaper markets for the last several years, as declining print
ad revenue is not matched by digital gains.
"Essentially it's catching up to the underlying
operating trends that you've seen in the U.S. And it's been a severe kind of
catch-up," he said.
For the division overall, circulation and
subscription revenue fell 6 percent, while ad revenue fell 12 percent.
Unfavorable currency-exchange rates exacerbated the decline, as revenue in
Australian dollars translated to fewer U.S. dollars.
The company said U.S. ad revenue at its flagship
newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, was unchanged, although subscription and
circulation revenue improved.
Despite flat ad revenue, usage of the Journal's
mobile app was up 59 percent in the month of September. That raised concerns
among some analysts that ad dollars weren't following consumer behavior.
Still, cost-cutting helped lift profits despite
revenue that was weaker than expected, said Douglas Arthur, an analyst with
Evercore Partners. "The overall result was better than we thought,"
Book publishing revenue from its HarperCollins
business fell 7 percent to $328 million. An increase in e-book sales was more
than offset by the divestiture of a live events business, softness in Christian
titles and a decision to stop distributing books on behalf of other companies.
Pay TV programming revenue came to $132 million, as
businesses like Fox Sports Australia were added to the company as part of its
spin-off from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. in June.
Digital real estate services revenue rose 11 percent
to $90 million.
Fox reporter's lawyers
seek to keep sources secret
New York's highest court will decide whether state
law protects a Fox News reporter from revealing confidential sources from a
story about James Holmes, who's accused of killing 12 people in a suburban
Denver movie theater last year.
Holmes' lawyers want Jana Winter, who works at New
York-based Fox News, brought to a Colorado courtroom to name two law officers
who told her Holmes had mailed a notebook depicting violence to a psychiatrist.
They argue the sources violated a gag order, may have later lied under oath
about that and won't be credible as trial witnesses.
Holmes' attorneys argue that New York journalists,
as a group, are not immune from being subpoenaed to testify in other states.
The Court of Appeals will hear arguments Tuesday,
Nov. 12. Its ruling is expected in December.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
His murder trial is scheduled for February.
New York has a strong so-called "shield
law" protecting professional journalists from having to disclose their
confidential sources and preventing courts from finding them in contempt if
they don't disclose. Colorado has a similar law, but with an exception to
subpoena information "directly relevant to a substantial issue" that
cannot be obtained elsewhere.
Winter reported that the notebook, mailed to a
University of Colorado psychiatrist before the mass shooting, had drawings of
"gun-wielding stick figures blowing away other stick figures." She
cited two unnamed law enforcement sources.
"In cases of confidential source information,
the privilege is absolute," Winter's attorney Dori Hanswirth said of New
York's law. "It was designed to be very strong."
"Essentially what we're arguing is that the
public policy in New York that's embodied in the shield law should have
prevented the judge from signing off on this particular subpoena,"
Hanswirth said Monday. Winter has "never wavered" on the accuracy of
New York's shield law was first enacted in 1970.
Gov. Nelson Rockefeller said at the time that it would make New York, as the
nation's principal center for news gathering and dissemination, "the only
state that clearly protects the public's right to know and the First Amendment
rights of all legitimate newspapermen."
Daniel Arshack, an attorney for Holmes, said this
case isn't about the shield law at all — just about issuing a subpoena to a
"The issue of what the Colorado court is going
to do is for the Colorado court to decide," Arshack said. "The only
issue before the court in New York is whether there is a singular class of
citizens who are immune to subpoenas."
A Manhattan judge granted the subpoena for Winter to
testify, rejecting the claim she's protected from going by New York's shield
law. Justice Larry Stephen concluded that whether Winter's information is
needed and should be disclosed was an issue for the Colorado court to decide.
A midlevel court agreed. The majority wrote that
compelling her to testify was not the same as compelling her to disclose
sources. The three justices also concluded the issue of admissible evidence and
journalist privilege "remain within the purview of the demanding state
rather than the sending state," in this case Colorado.
The two dissenters countered that the majority
"fails to acknowledge the near certainty" the Colorado court will
compel her to either identify her confidential sources or go to jail for contempt,
contrary to New York's public policy. They said she could suffer "undue
hardship" in damage to her career.
Tribune posts 3Q profit
amid revenue decline
Tribune Co. said Monday, Nov. 11, that revenue fell
in the third quarter but it turned a profit as it spent less on salaries and
newsprint. The owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and 23 TV
stations also dealt with big costs a year ago related to its exit from
CEO Peter Liguori said in a statement that the
company was pleased to have made progress on key strategic initiatives in the
quarter, but the financial results "did not meet our expectations."
He said the company is trying to make its
broadcasting stations grow profitably and complete its $2.73 billion purchase
of Local TV Holdings and its 19 TV stations. The company said it continues to
plan to spin off its publishing business, which contains eight daily
newspapers, by mid-2014.
Net income came to $49.8 million, or 50 cents per
share, in the three months through Sept. 29, reversing a loss of $30.6 million
a year ago.
The company emerged from a four-year stint under bankruptcy
protection last December, and its reorganization costs fell to $2 million from
$139 million a year ago.
The company doesn't have comparable per-share
results from a year ago, when it was still in bankruptcy protection.
Revenue fell 5 percent to $695 million.
Broadcasting revenue from TV stations including
WGN-TV in Chicago and WPIX-TV in New York fell 6 percent to $248 million.
Advertising declined 4 percent to $198 million due to lower audience ratings
and a weaker market for last-minute national TV ads.
Publishing revenue fell 4 percent to $446 million as
advertising sales fell 7 percent to $245 million. Circulation revenue rose 3
percent to $106 million.
The company cut 240 jobs, mostly in publishing, in
Open records advocates
fear impact of court ruling
Transparency advocates are warning about the
ramifications of a recent Tennessee appeals court ruling that "high
government officials" can keep documents secret if they deem them part of
their decision-making process.
The court upheld a lower court's ruling that
then-Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration was justified in denying the release
of records on the basis that they were part of the "deliberative
process" about how to deal with demonstrators encamped in the state
Capitol in 2005 to protest cuts to TennCare, the state's expanded Medicaid
The unanimous opinion written by Judge Richard
Dinkins, whom Bredesen appointed in 2008, endorsed the argument that
"advice high governmental officials receive be protected from
disclosure" because those officials need to be able to speak freely and
confidentially with trusted advisers.
Ben Cunningham, the founder and president of the
Nashville Tea Party, called the ruling "an assault on open government
(that) will invite abuse of power by any government official arrogant enough to
consider themselves a 'high government official.'"
While previous legal rulings had acknowledged that
an exemption might exist for records deemed deliberative, the Oct. 29 ruling
for the first time explicitly applied it to a specific case, Tennessee Press
Association attorney Rick Hollow said.
"That's the huge hurdle that we've just
crossed," Hollow said. "The only question now becomes, how far does
The opinion, which was joined by judges Patricia
Cottrell and Frank Clement, extends to "those vested with the
responsibility of developing and implementing law and public policy." But
it doesn't specify which specific government positions are eligible.
"Now that it has been recognized, every public
official, starting at the lowest level and running to the top can say, 'Oh, you
can't find out what was going on, that's part of the deliberative process
privilege,'" Hollow said.
While the case applies directly to the state's rules
of evidence in civil cases, Hollow said it would be "naive to the point of
absurdity" to not expect the ruling to be applied to open records requests
by citizens and the media.
In fact, the deliberative process privilege quickly
became a mainstay of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's administration after he
succeeded Bredesen, a Democrat, in 2011. It has been used as the basis for
denying information ranging from Haslam's email address to details of a
much-hyped "top to bottom review" of state agencies.
When challenged about where state law authorizes the
denial of public records based on deliberative privilege, Haslam's attorneys
said the decision was based on common law, not on any of the more than 300
exemptions to the state's open records law.
The appeals court ruling came in a case filed on
behalf of Karl Davidson, who had sued over the treatment of protesters during a
Capitol sit-in over Bredesen's cuts to TennCare in 2005.
Frank Gibson, the founding director of the Tennessee
Coalition on Open Government, said the decision is curious because the
documents sought by Davidson could have been blocked under other exemptions
such as lawyer-client privilege that are already on the books.
TCOG is a nonprofit alliance of citizen,
professional and media groups, including The Associated Press, committed to
promoting government transparency.
"This will provide another vague excuse for
some government officials to abuse the records law despite language in there
that the privilege should apply in specific and narrow circumstances,"
said Gibson, who now works as a lobbyist for the Tennessee Press Association.
The ruling also sets up potentially conflicting
guidance on the state's open meetings law — where secret deliberations among
members of any panel requiring a quorum are explicitly forbidden in all but a
few limited instances.
Cunningham, the Nashville Tea Party leader, said the
ruling gives top government officials the legal backing to "operate
"Such behavior by our elected officials will
destroy public trust," he said. "On the contrary, the court should
expect even more accountability from so-called high government officials."