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INDUSTRY NEWS  4-17-2014

Post, Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA revelations
The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service Monday, April 14, for revealing the U.S. government's sweeping surveillance programs in a blockbuster series of stories based on secret documents supplied by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The Pulitzer for breaking news was awarded to The Boston Globe for its "exhaustive and empathetic" coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed.

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Details and reaction on the winners of the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes:
Here is a breakdown of all winners of the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes

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Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage
An award that usually is met with cheers and jubilation instead came with a moment of silence, as The Boston Globe won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for its "exhaustive and empathetic" coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt that followed.
The Globe's newsroom was closed to outsiders Monday, April 14, the day the awards were announced and a day shy of the anniversary of the tragedy. Staff members marked the announcement by honoring those killed and injured. "There's nobody in this room who wanted to cover this story. Each and every one of us hopes that nothing like it ever happens again on our watch," Globe Editor Brian McGrory told the newsroom.

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Pulitzer for NSA coverage echoes tradition in news
Coverage of the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance program that won the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday, April14, follows a tradition of bucking the U.S. government on matters of secret intelligence. Revelations about the NSA's secret collection of information about Americans' phone and email records were first published last June in The Washington Post and Guardian newspapers. Based on thousands of documents from leaker Edward Snowden, the ongoing coverage also revealed the extent of U.S. surveillance on foreign leaders, including allies, which has created diplomatic challenges for the Obama administration. The stories immediately caused an uproar and were roundly criticized by politicians and others as a threat to national security.

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Snowden says Pulitzer Prize is a 'vindication'
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says giving the Pulitzer Prize in public service to those who reported on the U.S. government's sweeping surveillance efforts is "vindication." Snowden issued a statement Monday, April 14, through the Freedom of the Press Foundation congratulating The Washington Post and The Guardian on their awards for stories based on documents he provided. He became a board member of the nonprofit organization earlier this year.

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Two reporters who probed NSA surveillance back in US
Two reporters central to revealing the massive U.S. government surveillance effort returned to the United States on Friday., April 11, for the first time since the story broke and used the occasion to praise their exiled source: Edward Snowden. Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras of The Guardian became a story of their own amid speculation they could be arrested upon arriving at Kennedy Airport. They were instead confronted by only reporters and photographers before fighting through traffic en route to a midtown Manhattan hotel to receive a George Polk Award for national security reporting.

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AP photographer captured humanity amid chaos
Hundreds of mourners packed a church in Hoexter in central Germany on Saturday, April 12, to remember Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed on assignment in Afghanistan last week after a life spent between the chaos of war and the serenity of her rural birthplace. Friends, family and colleagues of Niedringhaus packed Corvey Abbey in a medieval monastery in Hoexter. She was remembered for her ability to find humanity amid terrible events. A priest read out a letter from AP special correspondent Kathy Gannon, who was wounded in the April 4 attack that killed Niedringhaus. Gannon, 60, and Niedringhaus, 48, often teamed up on assignments.

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AP president: Journalists 'under attack' worldwide
The president and CEO of The Associated Press says journalists around the world are "increasingly under attack" by people trying to influence and control the news. Gary Pruitt spoke Monday at a news conference before a symposium focusing on some Al-Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt. Pruitt touched on the recent death of AP photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus. She was killed last week in Afghanistan, and her colleague Kathy Gannon was seriously wounded. The women were covering the run-up to the country's elections.

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Media group names award after AP's Niedringhaus
A women's media group has created a new award for courage honoring Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed on assignment in Afghanistan, the group announced Tuesday, April 15. The International Women's Media Foundation said the award will be given out every year to a female photojournalist whose work "follows in the footsteps of Anja Niedringhaus." It is funded with a $1 million gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private family foundation that seeks to improve the lives of the world's poor and marginalized — often the subjects of Niedringhaus' photographs.

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Norcross says he'd pay $77M for Philly newspapers
A politically powerful investor in Philadelphia's two largest newspapers pledged Monday, April 14, to pay at least $77 million to wrest control of the company from rivals. George Norcross, a wealthy insurance executive and influential New Jersey Democrat, testified before a Delaware judge overseeing the latest sale of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. The current owners, split into two warring factions, are selling the company at auction to regroup.

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MS Ethics board: Text messages are public records
Public officials' text messages about government business are public records, the Mississippi Ethics Commission says. The commission's first opinion on the matter was unanimous, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal ( reported. The opinion arrived Monday, April 14, in a dispute between the newspaper and the city of Tupelo but was made Friday at a meeting attended by seven of the eight members.

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Judge orders station to surrender full interview
A judge has ordered an Albuquerque, N.M., television station to turn over raw video of its interview with a Farmington man who was shot in 2010 when a title-loan company's workers tried to repossess his vehicle. The civil case involves a lawsuit filed by Henry Clay, who was interviewed by KRQE-TV. One of the repo men allegedly shot Clay because he thought Clay had a gun. The repo men weren't charged. District Judge Sarah M. Singleton on Monday, April 14, ordered the station to turn over unedited outtakes for use as evidence sought by the title-loan company, Community Loans of America. The company owns New Mexico Title Loans of New Mexico.

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New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world
Aaron Kushner believes he can launch and grow a print newspaper in a world gone digital.
The former greeting card executive is trying to turn the Orange County Register into a media giant in southern California, largely driven by paper and ink. The unconventional effort gets a jolt Wednesday when Freedom Communications Inc., the company Kushner bought with other investors two years ago, launches the Los Angeles Register. The daily newspaper will be available at 5,500 locations around L.A. — at many newsstands and vending boxes where the 132-year-old Los Angeles Times is found. It's the first direct challenge on the Times' home market since the Herald-Examiner folded in November 1989.

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Boston Marathon survivor upset at 'Meet the Press'
A Boston Marathon bombing survivor says in a tweet that she left a Boston television studio in tears before a taping of NBC's "Meet the Press." Dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost her left foot in the bombing and said Friday she asked the national news program not to mention the suspect's name but the show used it. NBC News spokeswoman Erika Masonhall says Haslet-Davis was due to take part in a round-table discussion and asked that the suspects' names not be mentioned. Masonhall says given the nature of the discussion "Meet the Press" could not make that guarantee and regrets any distress caused by the miscommunication.

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Leaked findings paint pattern of CIA deception
A controversial torture report by the Senate Intelligence Committee paints a pattern of CIA deception about the effectiveness of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods used on terror suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks, according to leaked findings. The committee said it will ask the Justice Department to investigate how the material was published. The McClatchy news service late Thursday, April 10, published what it said are the voluminous, still-classified review's 20 findings. It concludes that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" failed to produce valuable intelligence; the CIA misled the Bush administration, Congress and the public about the value of the harsh treatment; the agency employed unauthorized techniques on detainees and improperly detained others; and it never properly evaluated its own actions.

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Alaska's largest daily newspaper sold for $34M
An online competitor announced plans Tuesday, April8, to buy Alaska's largest daily newspaper. Alaska Dispatch Publishing LLC, the parent company of the online newspaper the Alaska Dispatch, will purchase the Anchorage Daily News from The McClatchy Co. for $34 million. The sale is expected to close in May. "This is a chance for us to get even more reporters on the ground and do more journalism," said Tony Hopfinger, Alaska Dispatch's co-founder, executive editor and president.

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Alexandra Villoch named publisher of Miami Herald
Alexandra Villoch is the new president and publisher of the Miami Herald Media Company, which publishes the Miami Herald and the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald newspapers.
Villoch replaces David Landsberg, who resigned to become president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of South Florida. Villoch begins her new role on April 14. She joined the Miami Herald Media Company in 2000 as national advertising director and later became director of retail advertising and event marketing. In 2005, she was named senior vice president for advertising and marketing.

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Rutgers athletic director bashes ailing newspaper
Rutgers University's athletic director told a class earlier this year that it would be "great" if New Jersey's largest newspaper went out of business. The university said in a statement that Julie Hermann's remarks to a media ethics and law class in February came before she knew about deep layoffs at The Star-Ledger. The newspaper's parent company, Advance Publications, announced a reorganization last week that will result in layoffs for 300 employees at its website and newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including 170 at the Newark paper.
The Star-Ledger reported on her remarks, citing a recording provided by a student.

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Ohio newspaper sues as staffers detained at plant
An Ohio newspaper has filed a federal lawsuit against the government after a reporter and a photographer were detained and had cameras confiscated at a tank plant. The lawsuit was filed Friday, April 4, in Toledo by The Blade newspaper, reporter Tyrel Linkhorn and photographer Jetta Fraser. It says the journalists were illegally detained by military police for about an hour last week in Lima and their constitutional rights were violated.Military police told the journalists photography of the tank plant was prohibited.

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Job cuts top 300 at Advance Publications in NJ, PA
Company officials now say the job cuts at the news operations of Advance Publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania will top 300. The biggest reduction is occurring at The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., where it was announced Thursday, April 3, that 170 jobs are being cut, including 40 in the newsroom. News executives say layoffs are also occurring at the Ledger's sister newspapers and online operations.

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Iowa court adopts new media rules for courtrooms
A rule going into effect May 1 will allow members of the news media to use laptops and cell phones in Iowa courtrooms with permission. The Iowa Supreme Court on Wednesday, April 2, approved updates to the rules governing news media coverage to address new technologies and social media. In particular, it wasn't clear under the old rules whether reporters could use computers and phones to report, blog and tweet live on courtroom proceedings. It also wasn't clear how bloggers and others who do not work for traditional media outlets were treated.

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Trib asks court to open files related to AG sting
A Pittsburgh newspaper has filed a motion in Dauphin County Court that seeks to unseal secret court records that detail a controversial sting operation targeting state lawmakers. If granted, the request filed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and unsealed Tuesday, April 1, would allow the paper to push for opening criminal court documents involving Tyron Ali, of Philadelphia.
Ali was allegedly an undercover operative who posed as a lobbyist and recorded five Philadelphia Democrats accepting cash or gifts in a state investigation, which was later dropped by Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

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New York mayor aims to mend relations with press
Mayor Bill de Blasio's relationship with New York City's press since taking office at the beginning of the year was initially marked with several missteps, creating unflattering tabloid headlines and helping to drag down his approval ratings in the eyes of the public. But in recent weeks, the mayor and his staff have changed tactics, embarking on an unusual campaign to improve relations with the reporters who cover him most closely. De Blasio sat down for an informal discussion with reporters about the state budget Tuesday and invited the press corps to a reception at Gracie Mansion later in the week. And both invitations, unheard of in recent memory, follow his famous selfie with reporters last month.

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NBA owner Taylor signs letter to buy Star Tribune
Minnesota Timberwolves owner and printing company billionaire Glen Taylor has signed a letter of intent to buy the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the newspaper announced Tuesday, April 1. Details of the cash offer weren't announced, and Taylor wouldn't elaborate in an interview with The Associated Press. He said he expected the deal to close in May following due diligence.

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Journalist involved in NSA leak wins McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage
Internet surveillance by the National Security Agency will be this year's recipient of the University of Georgia's McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. Glenn Greenwald was a columnist for The Guardian and is now a founder of First Look Media's "The Intercept." He'll receive the award during a ceremony in the fall.

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Miami photojournalist offers 25-year retrospective
Pulitzer Prize winning Miami Herald photojournalist Carl Juste will display 25 years of work this month with a retrospective covering his photography from Haiti, Cuba, across the Caribbean and home in Miami. The show opened Saturday, March 29, and is part of a series of exhibits entitled "Through the Lens." Juste fled Haiti with his family as a young boy and settled in Miami.

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Loyola offers journalism class for high schoolers
Loyola University's School of Mass Communication is offering a two-week program in June to introduce high school students to multimedia journalism. Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reports they'll earn three hours of college credit for completing the course.

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Rouse named publisher of Daily Statesman
Shelia Rouse, who has extensive newspaper management experience in Southeast Missouri and Western Tennessee, has assumed the publisher position at the Daily Statesman, effective Tuesday, April 1. It will be an expanded role within Rust Communications for Rouse, who has been publisher of the State Gazette in Dyersburg, Tenn., since 2001. She also will assume duties as publisher of the Daily Dunklin Democrat in Kennett, the Delta News-Citizen in Malden, the Missourian-News in Portageville and the North Stoddard Countian in Advance-Bloomfield. She will continue as publisher in Dyersburg.

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Ohio newspaper: Military police detain journalists

The Toledo Blade reports that military police detained a reporter and photographer outside a tank plant in northwest Ohio after the photographer took pictures of the building. The Blade says police took the camera Friday, March 28, and the images had been deleted when it was returned about seven hours later. The newspaper says reporter Tyrel Linkhorn and photographer Jetta Fraser had stayed outside the gate of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center operated by General Dynamics Land Systems.

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NY's Newsday names Gordon McLeod publisher

Gordon McLeod has been appointed publisher of Newsday Media Group. Cablevision Systems Corp., which owns the suburban New York news company, announced the appointment. McLeod succeeds Fred Groser, who announced last year that he was retiring. McLeod will be responsible for leading all of the Newsday Media Group's outlets.
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Ky. owes newspaper lawyers $300K in records fight
A judge has ordered the state to pay Kentucky's two largest newspapers more than $300,000 in attorney fees in a dispute over access to child abuse records. In addition, media outlets reported that Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd left in place a $756,000 fine against the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. That means the case has cost the agency over $1 million.

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Ex-newspaper printing facility becoming market
A former newspaper printing facility in Flint, Mich., is scheduled to reopen in May as the home of the city's new farmers market. The main floor of The Flint Journal's former plant will house vendors and two commercial kitchens that can be used by vendors or others, the newspaper reported A community area with seating capacity of 200 to 300 is planned as well as a demonstration kitchen for educational events.

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Ex-TV anchor Willow Bay new head of USC journalism
Willow Bay, a former news anchor at CNN, ABC and Bloomberg TV, has been named the next director of the school of journalism at the University of Southern California. USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism Dean Ernest J. Wilson III announced the appointment Wednesday, March 26, of the 50-year-old Bay, who is currently a senior editor at the Huffington Post.

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Judge: Reporters to testify at Hankton's hearing
A judge has ruled that two New Orleans journalists must testify about a 2012 meeting they had with federal agents and a subsequent newspaper article about convicted killer Telly Hankton. The Oct. 13, 2012, story published by The Times-Picayune and said investigators were poised to charge Hankton in a racketeering case. It was published days before a grand jury handed up indictments of Hankton and others.

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Report: Digital sites bring momentum to news
Growing digital outlets are bringing "a sense of momentum" to the news business even as long-term problems continue to plague the industry, a journalism think tank said on Wednesday, March 26. The Pew Research Center's annual state of the news media report illustrates the rapid changes in the business and in consumer habits. Pew pointed to growing staffs at news sites like BuzzFeed and Mashable, and the development of behind former Washington Post journalist Ezra Klein, as positive developments. Also, several digital organizations such as Huffington Post and Vice Media are pumping more money into international coverage.

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Former political reporter named as California’s state librarian

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Tuesday, March 25,  that he has appointed Greg Lucas , a former San Francisco Chronicle political reporter who has, most recently, been a political blogger and host of a television interview show, as the state librarian. Lucas, 55, is the son of former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas . He is also the husband of Donna Lucas, who runs a political public relations firm in Sacramento and is a former adviser to Republican governors.

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UN body notes upward trend in journalist killings

The UN body monitoring press freedoms says instabilities associated with the Arab Spring have contributed to a spike in the number of journalists killed in recent years. In a report published Tuesday, UNESCO says 430 journalists were killed between 2007 and 2012.
In 2012, UNESCO says 121 journalists were killed, over double the 59 that died in 2007.

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US first lady stresses freedom of speech in China

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama told students in China, which has some of the world's tightest restrictions on the Internet, that freedom of speech and unfettered access to information make countries stronger and should be universal rights. Mrs. Obama was speaking Saturday, March 22, at Peking University in Beijing during a weeklong trip aimed at promoting educational exchanges between the U.S. and China. The trip also took on political overtones when she was granted a previously unscheduled meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, March 21.


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Report: Connecticut police flouting records laws

Some police officials in Connecticut refused to release documents they're required to disclose under state law when asked by reporters who visited all the police departments in the state, three newspapers reported in editions of March 20. Reporters with the New Haven Register, The Middletown Press and The Register Citizen visited all 92 municipal police departments and 11 state police troops to check compliance with Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act. The newspapers' report comes during Sunshine Week, a nationwide initiative promoting open government. New Haven police failed to provide any required information, including the arrest log, when asked by a reporter.


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Big cable deal: Service go from bad to worse?

The herky-jerkiness of my Netflix video stream is nothing compared with my jittery nerves.

I've been fretting since news broke last month that Comcast, the nation's reigning cable colossus, plans to swallow titanic runner-up Time Warner Cable. This, of course, is the $45 billion deal that would give Comcast Corp. 30 million subscribers in 43 of the nation's top 50 markets and about 30 percent of pay TV customers. As a customer potentially affected by this buyout, I feel even more Lilliputian than before. I'm not alone in my misgivings.


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Manager appointed at Arizona newspaper group

The parent company of the Daily News-Sun in Sun City has appointed a 40-year newspaper industry veteran to run its Arizona properties. Steve Pope is currently the chief operating officer at Huckle Communications in Minnesota, and will take over as general manager for 10/13 Communications' Arizona group next month. The company's Arizona group includes seven local newspapers and websites along with several other niche publications and sites. The company has properties in the Dallas and Houston metropolitan areas in addition to its businesses in Phoenix and Tucson.


Ohio man charged with firing at newspaper carriers

A grand jury has indicted a northeast Ohio man who police said fired shots at a pair of newspaper carriers. Police in Warren, Ohio, said 27-year-old Darren Lee fired shots at a 43-year-old man and his 18-year-old daughter who were delivering the Warren Tribune Chronicle on Jan. 30. Several shots hit their car.


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More restrictions for media at Oklahoma prisons

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has imposed new restrictions on members of the media visiting prisons, two weeks after the agency announced a temporary ban on news cameras in corrections facilities. The new policy posted this week to the agency's website requires the department to grant specific authorization in advance for video or audio recording. According to the Tulsa World the policy is a departure from past practices, when reporters, photographers and videographers could bring equipment into the prison after going through security checks.


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Media General to buy LIN in deal worth $1.6B

Media General is buying fellow TV broadcaster LIN Media in a deal worth about $1.6 billion in cash and stock, the companies announced Friday, March 21. The combined company would own and operate or service 74 stations across 46 markets, reaching about 26.5 million households. Media General said that it has offered about $27.82 for each LIN Media share, representing an 87 percent premium over LIN's Thursday closing stock price. LIN shareholders will own about 36 percent of the combined company.


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Schumer: Senate has votes for media shield law

A supporter of a bill to protect reporters and the news media from having to reveal confidential sources said Friday, March 21, the measure has the backing of the Obama administration and the support of enough senators to move ahead this year. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, spoke optimistically about prospects for the measure, identifying five Republicans who would join with Democrats and independents on a bill that he said would address a constitutional oversight. While the first amendment protects freedom of the press, "there is no first amendment right for gathering information," Schumer said at The New York Times' Sources and Secrets Conference on the press, government and national security.

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Obama reassures Internet CEOs on tech privacy
President Barack Obama sought Friday, March 21, to assure leading Internet and tech executives that his administration is committed to protecting people's privacy, a week before a self-imposed deadline for a review of National Security Agency programs. CEOs from Facebook, Google, Netflix and others spent more than two hours with Obama in the president's White House office discussing their concerns about NSA spying programs, which have drawn outrage from tech companies whose data have been scooped up by the government. Joining Obama and the CEOs were Obama's commerce secretary, homeland security adviser, and counselor John Podesta, whom Obama has tasked with leading a review of privacy and "big data."

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Newspaper seeks stalking injunction against reader

A Brigham City, Utah, newspaper filed for a stalking injunction against a reader who showed up at staff members' homes as part of an aggressive campaign to get his letters to the editor published, court documents show. The Box Elder News Journal has already issued a certified letter to prolific letter writer Don Dunbar, 61, banning him from the newspaper's offices and the homes of eight employees and newspaper co-owners. An official stalking injunction is pending before 1st District Judge Ben Hadfield. "Enough's enough," associate editor Mike Nelson told the Standard-Examiner.

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Reporter: Editor Coulson set up hacking payments

A former News of the World reporter who was convicted of phone hacking told a British court March 19 that the tabloid's editor, Andy Coulson, authorized payments for the illegal eavesdropping. Ex-royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed in 2007 along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire for eavesdropping on the voicemails of royal aides. Goodman is on trial again, alongside Coulson and five others, over wrongdoing at the now-defunct Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid. All have pleaded not guilty. Speaking about hacking, Goodman said "lots of other people at the (newspaper) were doing this and I was the one that got caught."

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EMarketer sees 2014 mobile ad spending at $31.5B

Worldwide spending on mobile advertising is expected to reach $31.5 billion this year, a 75 percent increase from 2013 thanks largely to Facebook and Google, according to a new report by research firm eMarketer. By the end of this year, eMarketer expects mobile to account for nearly a quarter of total digital ad spending, which is estimated to reach $137.5 billion. That's up from 15 percent of the $119.8 billion digital ad spending total in 2013.

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Ohio defends policy banning riot inmate interviews
Ohio is defending its practice of banning media interviews by prison inmates convicted for their role in Ohio's deadly 1993 prison riot. The state argues the inmates would gain a disproportionate degree of notoriety among fellow prisoners, leading to discipline problems that could engulf the prisons. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction calls a December lawsuit seeking such interviews frivolous and is asking a federal judge to dismiss the complaint.

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Sullivan retires as Clovis Media Inc. publisher

Ray Sullivan has retired as publisher of Clovis Media Inc., after five decades in the newspaper industry, including 14 years at CMI's Clovis (New Mexico) News Journal. The News Journal reports that Sullivan retired March 14 at age 66 and is being succeeded by Mike Jensen, who has more than 33 years of newspaper experience. The 54-year-old Jensen began his career as an advertising executive at a Utah newspaper in 1981. He later was a general manager and publisher of newspapers in South Dakota and Wyoming.

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AP, others fight for independent coverage of Obama

The Associated Press is seeking to broaden independent news coverage of the White House under an administration that is hypersensitive about its image and which frequently bars the press from events involving President Barack Obama. AP White House correspondent Julie Pace and chief White House photographer Charles Dharapak described the AP's efforts March 18 at the Newspaper Association of America's mediaXchange 2014 convention in Denver. Those efforts include ongoing negotiations for greater access by photographers to events the White House deems private.

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Newspaper: NSA collects calls in 1 foreign country
The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency has been sweeping up all of a foreign country's telephone calls, then rewinding and listening to the conversations up to a month later. At the request of U.S. officials, the Post said it withheld details that could be used to identify the foreign country. The program is the latest revelation from a trove of classified documents that former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden leaked to certain news organizations last year. Most of those documents have described the U.S. collecting massive amounts of data and text. This program, called MYSTIC, is different in that it captures massive amounts of audio recordings. The Post posted an article on the program on its website Tuesday.

Publisher of Lexington newspaper going to Florida

Steve Skaggs, publisher for The Dispatch of Lexington, N.C., has announced he will be leaving the newspaper at the end of March to take the publisher's position at two newspapers in Florida. The newspaper reported Skaggs will go to The Daily Commercial in Leesburg, and the South Lake Press of Clermont. Skaggs worked previously for the two papers. Skaggs was named publisher of The Dispatch in 2010 and was previously the advertising director and regional digital sales manager for the paper for five years.

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Poll: People still seek meaty news on media buffet
A new study finds Americans of all ages are charting their own paths across a media landscape that no longer relies on front pages and evening newscasts to dictate what's worth knowing. They still pay heed to serious news even as they seek out the lighter stuff, according to the Media Insight Project. The conclusions burst the myth of the media "bubble" — the notion that no one pays attention to anything beyond a limited sphere of interest, like celebrities or college hoops or Facebook posts.

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Royal editor: Diana gave me leaked phone info

A journalist on trial in London in the phone hacking case says Princess Diana leaked him information, including a royal phone directory. Former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman said March 13 that Diana gave him the directory in 1992 during her feud with her estranged husband, Prince Charles. He said Diana gave him details about Charles' household staff in an envelope delivered to the newspaper's offices.


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Minn. publishing group buys 3 newspaper divisions

A Minneapolis-based publishing group has purchased three newspaper divisions from American Consolidated Media, including publications in Minnesota and Wisconsin. According to a news release from the Adams Publishing Group, the company purchased Superior Publishing Group, Ohio Publishing Group and Chesapeake Publishing Group. The purchase includes 34 print publications, special print products, digital media assets and commercial printing facilities.


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Liberty Media drops bid to buy rest of Sirius

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Liberty Media is dropping its bid to buy the rest of the satellite radio provider Sirius. The move disclosed late March 13 comes as Liberty Media Corp., which is controlled by billionaire John Malone, takes steps to create two new tracking stock groups for its business. One will be called Liberty Media Group and the other will be Liberty Broadband Group.


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2 editors, reporter subpoenaed in sex assault case

Two editors and a reporter at newspapers in Aspen, Colo., have been subpoenaed in a sex assault trial scheduled to begin in April. Aspen Daily News editor Carolyn Sackariason, Aspen Times editor Rick Carroll and Aspen Daily News reporter Chad Abraham could be called to testify during the trial of Peter Nardi, according to Deputy District Attorney Andrea Bryan.

The Daily News reports Nardi, 51, was arrested in April and accused of sexually assaulting, smothering and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. He also faces a felony charge of attempted assault and a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment.


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US bashes Russia over drastic media curbs

As tensions spiral between Russia and the West over the crisis in Ukraine, the Obama administration is denouncing Moscow's imposition of new restrictions on independent Russian media. The State Department on March 14 said it was "deeply troubled" by dramatic new curbs on press freedom that it said make it easier for the government to spread "patently false" information.


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TV movie dramatizes 'Grim Sleeper' killings

Journalist Christine Pelisek was taken aback when a producer contacted her about making a TV movie about a relentless serial killer dubbed the Grim Sleeper and her pursuit of the story.

Television feasts on true crime, of course, and in Pelisek it had a worthy hero: An aggressive young reporter who stood up for the dead, their families and transparency in the face of what she considered to be a misguided police approach. But the victims that the then-LA Weekly reporter Pelisek documented were different than ones such as Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson and Natalee Holloway that typically fascinate the media.


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Chinese social media company Weibo plans US debut

Chinese social media company Weibo Corp. has filed plans for a potential initial public offering of its shares in the U.S. Weibo was launched four years ago by parent company Sina as a microblogging service. The Twitter-like service allows users to post a feed of up to 140 Chinese characters to share with others, as well as attaching multimedia or other longer-form content to their post.


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Minn. cities, counties question printing mandate

Local governments are pushing back on a Minnesota law that requires school districts and other public offices to publish legal notices in local newspapers. Most cities and counties already communicate with residents through websites and social media. Officials say it doesn't make sense to waste tax dollars to post redundant notices in newspapers, the St. Cloud Times reported in a story published Saturday.


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Tensions rise over access to local government

Derrick Thompson called 911 in the coastal Maine city of Biddeford to report that he was being threatened. Police checked out the complaint, decided it was a civil matter and left the scene. Three minutes later, the teenager and his girlfriend were shot dead. In a state averaging 25 murders a year, the case was clearly of public interest and the police officers were doing the public's business. But answering questions about their handling of the call took a lawsuit, an appeal and 11 months after state prosecutors turned down the Portland Press Herald's request for 911 transcripts. The faceoff was eventually settled in the newspaper's favor by Maine's top court. But editors, advocates and academics say such situations reflect increasing difficulty getting access to information from statehouses and city halls across the country, as officials broadly interpret exemptions in laws requiring openness.


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Journalism workshop focuses on Freedom Summer

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — The University of Southern Mississippi School of Mass Communication and Journalism at Hattiesburg is accepting applications for a multimedia journalism workshop June 15-22 on the university's Hattiesburg campus. WDAM-TV reported the workshop will focus on the Freedom Summer events of 1964.

Selected participants will study under professional journalists and the Southern Mississippi journalism faculty. They will meet with newsmakers and cover stories, produce television and radio newscasts, a newspaper and a website.


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LA Times fires reporter, admits error in 3 stories

The Los Angeles Times dismissed an investigative reporter March 14 after discovering he had an inappropriate relationship with someone who was a source for a front-page story that the newspaper says contained an error. Times Editor Davan Maharaj said Jason Felch's relationship with a source and his failure to disclose the relationship constituted "a professional lapse of the kind that no news organization can tolerate." "Our credibility depends on our being a neutral, unbiased source of information — in appearance as well as in fact," he said.


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Judge rules some Vanderbilt rape case records open to public
Some records in a high-profile Vanderbilt University rape case should be made available under the Public Records Act, a Davidson County Chancery Court judge ruled March 12 in response to The Tennessean’s lawsuit against Metro government over access to information. In an 18-page order, Chancellor Russell Perkins ruled that some text messages, emails by witnesses and defendants, and other records given to police by the university were public documents and should be given to a media coalition that sued for access. But those records won’t immediately be provided to the media coalition. Perkins put a stay on his own order, pending an anticipated Metro appeal or other possible court action. The Tennessean led a statewide coalition of news organizations including the Associated Press, Knoxville News Sentinel, Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and several television stations that sued Metro last month over its refusal to release third-party records from the rape investigation, which led to charges against four former Vanderbilt football players.

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Scripps publisher takes helm at second Texas paper
The publisher of the San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times will expand his duties by taking on the same role at the Abilene Reporter-News. Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co. announced March 11 that Jeff DeLoach takes the helm of the Reporter-News immediately. He replaces Dave Hedge, who announced his resignation just last week. The Reporter-News says DeLoach was named publisher in San Angelo in 2009 and worked to transform that paper into a multi-platform media company.

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Los Angeles Register newspaper to launch April 16

Freedom Communications Inc. said March 10 that it has set April 16 as the launch date for its latest newspaper venture, the Los Angeles Register. The new publication is part of an ambitious expansion driven by Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz, who bought Freedom in 2012. The pair bulked up on newsroom staff at the Orange County Register, launched a new daily newspaper in Long Beach in August and bought the Press-Enterprise in Riverside in October.
It'll be the first incursion for the newspaper company into the heart of the metropolis long dominated by the 132-year-old Los Angeles Times. So far, Freedom has been focused on the suburbs.

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Black Twitter growing into online force
When a U.S. jury convicted Michael Dunn of attempted murder, but not actual murder, in the shooting death of a black teenager, the hashtag #dangerousblackkids popped up on Twitter. Users posted photos of black babies and toddlers, making fun of the fear that Dunn testified he felt before opening fire on a car full of teens at a convenience store.That hashtag was the calling card of Black Twitter, a small corner of the social media giant where an unabashedly black spin on life gets served up in 140-character installments. Black Twitter shares opinions on everything from President Barack Obama to the latest TV reality show. But Black Twitter can also turn activist quickly.

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Nashville schools to lift social media ban

Metro Nashville schools are planning to lift a ban on social media. The Tennessean reports students wanting to access sites such as Twitter and YouTube won't be blocked much longer. In addition, teachers will start incorporating more social media into classroom lessons next year. The change comes as Metro Nashville Schools plan to have a new "digital literacy curriculum" next year which includes all subjects and grade levels.

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Newspaper sued over rental ad prohibiting children

The Oregon state labor agency has sued a weekly Junction City newspaper over a rental ad that prohibited families with children. The lawsuit filed against The Tribune News is seeking $59,500 in damages, The Register-Guard reported. The ad, which ran once each in 2010 and 2011, offered a three-bedroom apartment above a funeral home. In addition to the usual information about the property and rent, the ad said, "No minor children, no pets, no smoking."

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Kunerth leaves as Fairbanks News-Miner publisher

The publisher of the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner has announced he is leaving the company after two years at the paper. The paper reported that while Bill Kunerth was at the News-Miner, he oversaw a number of successful projects, including the newspaper's redesign, an increased emphasis on local news and movement toward digital distribution.

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At 50, landmark libel case relevant in digital age

Singer Courtney Love hadn't been born and tweeting was reserved for birds when The New York Times won a landmark libel case at the Supreme Court in 1964. But when a California jury decided recently that Love shouldn't have to pay $8 million over a troublesome tweet about her former lawyer, she became just the latest person to lean on New York Times v. Sullivan, a case decided 50 years ago Sunday, and the cases that followed and expanded it. The Sullivan case, as it is known among lawyers, stemmed from Alabama officials' efforts to hamper the newspaper's coverage of civil rights protests in the South. The decision made it hard for public officials to win lawsuits and hefty money awards over published false statements that damaged their reputations.

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Controversy marks Newsweek's comeback

A mystery man. A splashy reveal. A media frenzy. Newsweek staked its return from the dead on a story it knew would get attention. A cover story claiming it had uncovered "the face behind bitcoin," the world's most popular digital currency. It got plenty of attention, all right.Twenty-four hours after identifying bitcoin's creator as a 64-year-old former defense contractor employee living in Los Angeles, the controversy over whether or not Newsweek had outed the right man was so furious that Newsweek reporter Leah McGrath Goodman made the rounds on Bloomberg TV and CBS Morning News to defend her reporting against Dorian Nakamoto's denials that he is the father of bitcoin. The magazine issued a statement standing by the story and said it had to hire a security detail for Goodman because of threats made against her.

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Award-winning editor to lead UT journalism school

The University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication has announced an award-winning former editor at The Washington Post will be the new director of its School of Journalism. The college announced R.B. Brenner's appointment Thursday, March 6. Brenner served in various capacities for the Post. He was a lead editor on coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. He also helped lead the merger of the newspaper's digital and print newsrooms.

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Bill Whitaker joins '60 Minutes' cast

Veteran CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker, who has been with the network for 30 years and based in Los Angeles since 1992, is moving East to join the cast of "60 Minutes."
CBS said Thursday that Whitaker will begin on the Sunday night show this fall. He will be the first full-time black correspondent on "60 Minutes" since the death of Ed Bradley in 2006, although Byron Pitts was a regular contributor before joining ABC News in 2013.

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Arizona House kills public notice newspaper bill

The Arizona House of Representatives has voted down a bill that would revoke a requirement that corporate public notices be published in newspapers. Legislators killed House Bill 2554 by Republican Rep. John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills with a 24-33 vote on Thursday, March 6.The bill would have forced the Arizona Corporation Commission to post public notices on its website instead of requiring that they be published in newspapers.

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3 Oregon TV stations sold to Atlanta partnership

A Georgia partnership is buying three Oregon television stations for $30 million.
Atlanta-based Heartland Media LLC and MSouth Equity Partners announced Wednesday, March 5, they are buying ABC affiliates KEZI in Eugene, KDRV in Medford and KDKF in Klamath Falls from Chambers Communications Corp. Heartland CEO Bob Prather told The Register-Guard newspaper that no changes are planned at the stations.

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Dave Hedge stepping down as Abilene publisher

Dave Hedge is resigning after 2½ years as president and publisher of the Abilene Reporter-News. The newspaper reports Hedge informed the Reporter-News staff of his decision Wednesday, March 5. Friday will be his final day.
Before arriving in Abilene in 2011, Hedge was advertising director at the Evansville Courier & Press in Indiana. The Abilene and Evansville dailies are both owned by the Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co.

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Rebekah Brooks denies covering up tabloid hacking

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks on Wednesday, March 5, denied covering up the wide extent of phone hacking at the newspaper, but acknowledged paying a PR guru 1 million pounds "in part" to stop allegations against the tabloid's editors coming out in court.
Brooks testified that as chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper division she brokered the seven-figure settlement with publicist Max Clifford, partly to stop a lawsuit over the alleged hacking of his phone. The newspaper feared private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007 for illegal eavesdropping, would appear in court and name journalists who had allegedly instructed him to hack phones.

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Riley named new publisher of Spartanburg newspaper

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — The circulation director from a media group in Sarasota, Fla., has been named the new publisher of the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, S.C. Larry Riley told the newspaper he is looking forward to starting his new job in South Carolina on March 17.
Riley has been the circulation director for the Herald-Tribune Media Group in Sarasota.

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Newsweek to use Slovak Piano paywall

A Slovakia-based company that offers paywall projects for media to earn revenue for access to their online sites has made its first foray into the U.S. with a deal to provide its services to Newsweek. Piano Media said Wednesday, March 5, its metering paywall system has been chosen by Newsweek's owner IBT Media for the magazine, which is currently web-only. Piano will also process payments for the print version. "We are excited to have our first customer outside Europe and we expect that both parties will learn significantly from each other," said Peter Richards, Piano Media's International Operations Director.

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Fusion cuts Ramos' nightly newscast to weekly

The upstart cable and digital network Fusion is cutting back its nightly newscast with veteran news anchor Jorge Ramos to a weekly news magazine. Ramos is a staple of Fusion parent Univision's nightly newscast. He was doing double duty at Fusion, where he lent the new network gravitas. Fusion launched last fall as a joint venture between Univision and ABC, aimed at Millenials with a focus on English-dominant Latinos and their friends.

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Court: LA judge wrong to open juvenile hearings

A Los Angeles judge was wrong two years ago when he opened juvenile custody hearings to reporters, an appeals court has ruled. In a 2-1 decision Monday, March 3, 2nd District Court of Appeal justices said allowing reporters in the court interferes with every judge's right to determine who can attend a hearing.Tricia A. Bigelow, presiding judge of the appeals court, wrote the dissenting opinion, saying the appeal should have been dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.

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Walker retires as publisher of Daily Southerner

John H. Walker has retired as publisher of The Daily Southerner of Tarboro, N.C. The 63-year-old Walker suffered a stroke last April. He told the newspaper that while there were no visible side-effects, the daily rigors of the job made retirement an easier decision.
Walker has worked at 14 newspapers in six states over a 48-year career.

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Groton Connecticut schools chief restricts media access

A Groton, Conn., school board member has criticized Superintendent Michael Graner's request that board members not speak to the media.Graner sent a newsletter to school board members saying he submitted the board's proposed $75.1 million budget to Town Manager Mark Oefinger. He advised that all requests from news reporters be referred to School Board Chairwoman Rita Volkmann. The Day of New London reports that school board member Shelley Gardner wrote to Graner that he should fight for freedom of speech, not suppress it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

INDUSTRY NEWS 2-20-2014 

UK 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." 

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Documents 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. 

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Hacking 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. 

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Konig 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 publication. 

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New Jersey newspaper tells Wyoming to butt out

New 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. 

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Journalist 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. 

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AP, 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 potential release. 

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Panama City News Herald's publisher retiring

The 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: 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. 

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Comcast-TWC 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. 

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IU 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: 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. 

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S. 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. 

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New gender options for Facebook users

With 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. 

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Sochi Scene: Myriad media members

There 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

The 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 said.

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Carlson named publisher of Los Alamos Monitor

Ben 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 last year. 

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette leases new building

The 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 disclosed. 

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Watchdog: Security measures hurt press freedom

Zealous 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. 

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Newspaper 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. 

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ( ) 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Communications Initiative. 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 ( 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 ( ) 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

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 ( ), 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 ( ) 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 firefighter pensions.

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 talks.

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.  

Judge scolds 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.

Rivals threaten 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 ( ) 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 unconstitutional.  


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 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 solutions.  

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 homes.  

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 ( ) 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, 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 ( ). 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 ( ).

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 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 television stations.

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 immediately. She joined the Courant in 2006 and worked previously in advertising positions with Gannett, Hearst Newspapers and the Times Union in Albany, N.Y.  

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 producer.

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 accomplishments.

"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 impartial jurors.

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 "WPO."

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; 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 office.

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 group's opinion.)

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 award.

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 editor-in-chief.

"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 Amendment issue."

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 deem offensive.

"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 seizing them.

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 operations."

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 destroyed.

"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 disclosures.

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 cellphone.

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," Nougayrede said.

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 cellphone.

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 ally's secrets.

"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 ( 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 ( ).

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 (, 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 original photo.

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 urban myth."

News director Kellerman says outside of the fighting weathermen story, his favorite piece from Rock City Times has to be the Red Lobster one.

"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 biscuits.'"

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 guess."

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.

"I think 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."

Davis eventually 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)."

How does 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.

"On 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 City Times.

"His site 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.

"It doesn't 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."

As for 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 about it."  

Newspapers lose 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.

The Newspaper 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 editions.  

Pa. judge 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.

Marimow testified 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 family.

Norcross' daughter, Lexie, helps run the 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.

"(Otherwise), Norcross would have full power over the whole operation, including the newsroom," Katz said. "We would be where we are today, in a terrible situation."

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 said.

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 significance."

"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 ( ), 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 Newsmedia LLC.

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 publisher."

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 statement.

Schumacher attended Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minn., and North Dakota State University in Fargo, majoring in mass communication. 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.    

Caller-Times veteran 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 ( ) 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 Congress.

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 news shows.

"Reliable Sources" airs Sundays at 11 a.m. Eastern time.  

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 customers."

Among the company's new strategies is creating an advertising sales network, instead of relying on third-party networks for digital platforms.

"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," he said.

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 her report.

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 witness.

"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 bankruptcy.

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 the quarter.

  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 program.

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 it extend?"

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 without scrutiny."

"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."    

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