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Trial of Washington Post reporter in Iran to start next week

The trial of a Washington Post reporter detained in Iran for nearly 10 months will begin next week, a defense lawyer representing the Iranian-American journalist said Tuesday. State TV and other news outlets quoted an unnamed judiciary official as saying the first session of the trial of Jason Rezaian, 39, will be held next Tuesday. The official did not say whether the hearing would be open to the public. It said two other suspects who were detained alongside Rezaian will also be tried. Rezaian's defense lawyer, Leila Ahsan, confirmed the report. She told The Associated Press that she learned of the hearing from news outlets but confirmed the news with the court. Ahsan said Rezaian will go on trial alongside his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who is a reporter for The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, and a freelance photographer who worked for foreign media. The photographer's name has not been made public.

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Mother of US reporter missing in Syria pleads for answers

The mother of an American journalist missing in Syria for nearly three years has pleaded for information about him. Marking 1,000 days since his disappearance, Debra Tice made a statement in Beirut on Tuesday saying she believes her son, Austin, is still alive. She says her son is not being held by members of the Syrian opposition. The family has previously said it does not believe he is being held by the Islamic State group or the Syrian government. Tice, of Houston, Texas, disappeared in August 2012 while covering Syria's civil war. His mother said: "I long to hold my son in my arms. I want my family to be whole again."

Appellate judges side with Google in anti-Muslim film case

In a victory for free speech advocates, appellate judges have ruled that YouTube should not have forced to take down an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in the Middle East and death threats to actors. The 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal sided with Google, which owns YouTube, in its ruling Monday saying the previous decision by a three-member panel of the same court gave "short shrift" to the First Amendment and constituted prior restraint — a prohibition on free speech before it takes place. "The mandatory injunction censored and suppressed a politically significant film — based upon a dubious and unprecedented theory of copyright," Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote in an opinion joined by nine other judges.

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UConn program seeks to boost state's digital media industry

A University of Connecticut program set to begin this summer is intended to boost the state's digital media industry. Digital Media CT seeks to attract individuals with a demonstrated interest in digital media and want to develop the basic skills for entry-level work. Candidates who are encouraged to apply include high school seniors, college students and graduates with majors in communications, film or television. The monthlong program, which is available at UConn's Stamford campus, will offer four tracks of study, including 3D animation in cinema4D, game design, motion graphics design and web design. George Norfleet, director of the Office of Film, Television and Digital Media at the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said the training program provides another incentive for industry players establishing, expanding or relocating in Connecticut.

Newspaper publisher Digital First Media won't sell itself

Digital First Media, one of the largest U.S. newspaper publishers, says the company won't be sold and that CEO John Paton will step down. In a memo that was sent to employees on Thursday, May 14, Digital First Media, which owns the Denver Post and the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, said it has decided that a sale of the entire company isn't in the best interest of its shareholders. The privately-held company said in September that it was exploring strategic options, including a sale of the company or some of its operations. The company said Friday that the review is not complete, as it is still having talks about some of its assets and is considering possible acquisitions.

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ABC faces credibility crisis over Stephanopoulos donations

George Stephanopoulos apologized to viewers Friday, May 15, for donating $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation and failing to disclose it earlier, as ABC News now finds its chief anchor in a credibility crisis on the eve of a presidential campaign. Stephanopoulos said on "Good Morning America" that the donations, made in three increments to the foundation started by his one-time boss, former President Bill Clinton, were a mistake. Stephanopoulos rose to the top ranks at ABC over 18 years and worked to establish himself as an independent journalist despite skepticism by some in politics because of his background as a top aide to Clinton's 1992 campaign and later in the White House. The donations brought that issue back to the fore just as Hillary Rodham Clinton is launching her presidential campaign.

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Verizon barges into online video, buying AOL for $4.4B

Verizon is buying AOL for about $4.4 billion, advancing the telecom's push in both mobile and advertising fields. The acquisition gives Verizon an entry into increasingly competitive online and mobile video. The New York company is the country's largest wireless carrier as well as an Internet and TV provider — and wireless video and targeted advertising is seen as the next battleground for customers. The move comes as the media landscape is increasingly being disrupted on several fronts as more TV watchers stream shows online and through their smartphones and tablets. AOL offers an advertising sales and display network that made it an acquisition target.

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Former CIA officer sentenced to 3½ years in Iran leaks case

A former CIA officer was sentenced Monday to 3 ½ years in prison for leaking details of a secret mission to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, a sentence that was received with a measure of relief from his legal team and paled in comparison to the decades-long term that had been on the table. Jeffrey Sterling, 47, of O'Fallon, Missouri, had faced federal sentencing guidelines calling for 20 years or more, as well as a push by prosecutors urging a severe sentence for a leak they said hit the nation's security apparatus at its core. A jury convicted him in January of telling New York Times journalist James Risen about a classified plan to trick the Iranian government by slipping flawed nuclear blueprints through a Russian intermediary.

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Canadian Cops posing as journalists breach rights, media groups argue

Undercover police officers who pose as journalists for investigative purposes are violating the Constitution by having a chilling effect on freedom of the press, an Ontario court heard Monday. In their application to Superior Court in Toronto, three media organizations argue the deceptive practice could put working journalists at risk, especially in high-stress environments, by raising suspicion about who they are. The practice can also make it harder to win the trust of important sources and therefore get key information that is in the public interest, they say.

"This is very destructive of everything our clients do," media lawyer Philip Tunley told the court. "This chill is a real and substantial one." The media organizations — the CBC, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, and RTDNA Canada — want the court to declare impersonation of journalists by Ontario Provincial Police a charter violation that can't be justified.

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Journalist Mohammed Fahmy files lawsuit against Al-Jazeera

Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy says he has filed a lawsuit against the Al-Jazeera network in Canada. At a press conference Monday, Al-Jazeera English's acting bureau chief in Egypt Mohammed Fahmy, who is facing terrorism-related charges in Egypt, accused the Qatari network of endangering him and his colleagues. His lawyer Joanna Gialason told reporters that the lawsuit filed at the British Columbia Supreme Court seeks $100 million in punitive and remedial damages and accuses Al-Jazeera of negligence, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. A spokesman for Al-Jazeera says the network is preparing a statement to respond. Fahmy is being tried along with Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed on charges accusing them of being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage. The journalists insist they were just doing their job.

Ohio mayor resigning; blames newspaper, councilman feud

The longtime mayor of one of Ohio's biggest cities says he'll resign May 31 over a dispute with a City Council member and a local newspaper. Democrat Don Plusquellic has been mayor of Akron since 1987. The 65-year-old mayor says council President Garry Moneypenny will succeed him. His resignation letter criticizes the Akron Beacon Journal's publisher for not accepting his offer to discuss his dispute with Councilman Bob Hoch.. A statement Friday, May 8, from the newspaper says Plusquellic's offer came after publication of a "complete" story that reported both sides of the dispute. Hoch and Moneypenny say they're surprised by the mayor's resignation. Moneypenny says he's on good terms with Hoch and the newspaper and plans to run for election as mayor this fall.

Los Angeles Times publisher to buy San Diego newspaper

The publisher of the Los Angeles Times has agreed to buy San Diego's dominant newspaper for $85 million, U-T San Diego reported Thursday, May 7. It said Tribune Publishing will keep the San Diego newspaper as a separate brand while sharing stories, photos and other content with the Los Angeles Times. Douglas Manchester, who bought the U-T San Diego newspaper in 2011 for about $110 million, will remain owner of the U-T's headquarters in the city's Mission Valley area. He is seeking permission to build 200 luxury apartments there. U-T San Diego says the deal is expected to be completed before June 30.

Drone use poised to expand to newsrooms despite US limits

Newsgathering by drone is gaining traction as an industry practice, but how the technology can actually be used to cover the news of the day is murky given its legal limitations. The emerging technology has been used in wars, to deliver packages and, occasionally, for causing a ruckus, but the Federal Aviation Administration has also approved more than 200 commercial uses since September for movies, real estate and infrastructure. Among those approvals, two companies identified newsgathering as their primary mission, according to the FAA website. Las Vegas-based ArrowData said it's looking to franchise its drone ability to news organizations. The company wants to sell the drones to newsrooms and then train journalists to carry out an operation. It doesn't have any contracts yet but said it is seeking out broadcast and newspaper outlets.

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Al Jazeera America ousts top executive amid defections

The troubled Al Jazeera America network ousted its chief executive on Wednesday, May 6, following a week of management defections and a lawsuit charging an employee with anti-Semitism. The little-watched news network is replacing its CEO, Ehab Al Shihabi, with veteran news executive Al Anstey. Al Shihabi has run Al Jazeera America since it started two years ago, and Anstey has been the managing director of Al Jazeera English. Both networks are offshoots of the Al Jazeera cable news network, run out of Qatar. Al Shihabi sent an email to the staff welcoming Anstey and saying he would remain as chief operating officer. Al Jazeera's former senior vice president of newsgathering, Marcy McGinnis, quit this week and told The New York Times that Al Shihabi managed with a culture of fear.

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Charlie Hebdo receives PEN award at literary gala in NYC

Under armed security and a cloud of conflicted opinions and emotions, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was presented a freedom of expression award Tuesday, May 5,  from the PEN American Center. Editor-in-chief Gerard Biard and critic-essayist Jean-Baptiste Thore accepted the Freedom of Expression Courage Award to a standing ovation following a weeklong debate — alternately thoughtful and divisive — over whether the honor was deserved. Salman Rushdie and Neil Gaiman were among hundreds of writers, editors and others from the publishing world cheering for Hebdo at the literary and human rights organization's gala at the American Museum of Natural History, where awards also were given to playwright Tom Stoppard, Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle. Just as notable were those who would not, and could not, be there. Michael Ondaatje, Peter Carey and four other writers scheduled to be table hosts withdrew because of objections to what they considered the magazine's offensive cartoons of Muslims.

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Harris Faulkner considered rising star at Fox

Harris Faulkner's hobby may sound like a patriotic put-on, but the Fox News Channel anchor insists it's legit. "The thing that I really love to do, that I now only do in the shower, is to sing the national anthem," said Faulkner, a regular on Fox's daytime show "Outnumbered." While you clear that image of a shower gel bottle doubling as a hand-held mic, know that Faulkner belted out "The Star Spangled Banner" in public before Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota TimberWolves games. She sang it so much in the newsroom at a Kansas City television station that a colleague secretly arranged her public debut. Faulkner, 49, is considered a rising star at Fox News after a decade there. Besides "Outnumbered," which just celebrated its first full year on the air, she regularly works six-day weeks by anchoring a Sunday evening newscast.

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CBS' Bob Schieffer leaving 'Face the Nation' this month

Bob Schieffer's last Sunday as host of CBS' "Face the Nation" will be on May 31. The veteran newsman, who announced his retirement last month, had said only that he would be leaving this summer. But summer's coming early for Schieffer, who wants to relax for the warm weather months while CBS gives his successor, John Dickerson, the chance to settle in before the presidential campaign begins in earnest. Schieffer, who is 78, hasn't said what he will be doing after leaving as the network's chief Washington correspondent. But if he does appear on television again, one thing's for sure. He said, "I'll never work any place other than CBS."

UT declines to release emails to newspaper

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville has declined a newspaper's request to release emails between administrators that contain the names of current and former student-athletes who may have been disciplined for alleged sex assaults. The Tennessean ( reports the records could provide details on how the school deals with sex assault allegations against athletes. UT general counsel Matthew Scoggins said in a letter to the newspaper that the school is legally barred from releasing the information by the Tennessee Public Records Act and the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The latter outlines protections for students' educational records. Robb Harvey, an attorney for The Tennessean, said the emails aren't education records and state law allows for their release.

The newspaper says it will continue to seek the records.

Reporter may need to testify, interview notes remain private

A northern Indiana judge has ruled a newspaper reporter does not have to turn over notes and recordings from an interview she conducted with a man accused of murder and the suspect's mother. But Elkhart County Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker said she does have to be available to testify as a rebuttal witness. Shewmaker issued a ruling Tuesday, May 5, granting part of a motion by The Elkhart Truth and reporter Emily Pfund to quash a subpoena by Prosecutor Curtis Hill Jr. for her notes and recording. However, he ordered her to be available to testify Wednesday. He said if there is no conflicting testimony she may not need to testify. Pfund interviewed 19-year-old Freddie Rhodes, who is charged with murder in the September shooting death of 18-year-old Dre Tarrious Rodgers.

News Corp. misses Street 3Q forecasts

News Corp. (NWSA) on Tuesday, May 5, reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $23 million.

On a per-share basis, the New York-based company said it had profit of 4 cents. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 5 cents per share. The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 7 cents per share. The publishing company whose flagship is The Wall Street Journal posted revenue of $2.06 billion in the period, also missing Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.12 billion. News Corp. shares have increased 2 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 1.5 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Tuesday, shares hit $16.02, a decrease of almost 8 percent in the last 12 months.

Oregonian Media Group chairman leaving for Eugene newspaper

The chairman of The Oregonian Media Group is moving south to take over as editor and publisher of The (Eugene) Register-Guard. N. Christian Anderson III replaces Tony Baker, who has been The Register-Guard's editor and publisher for nearly three decades. Anderson, 64, is chairman of the Oregonian Media Group, which comprises The Oregonian newspaper and other media ventures. Anderson led The Oregonian through a transition to a digital-first news organization. The announcement of his departure comes a month after Steve Moss joined Oregonian Media Group as president. The Oregonian reports there are no plans to fill the chairman position being vacated by Anderson.

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Fox anchor: Report of police shooting was in error

Fox News Channel mistakenly reported that a man was shot while being pursued by police in Baltimore, Maryland, Fox anchorman Shepard Smith said. Smith told viewers that reporter Mike Tobin's mistake came during a chaotic situation Monday afternoon and was an "honest and straightforward" error and one that was corrected promptly. Tobin had reported the shooting on Fox's "The Real Story," telling host Gretchen Carlson that he saw police officers chase a fleeing man and that an officer had fired and hit the man.

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Al-Jazeera America loses top executive

The Al-Jazeera America news network, sued by a former employee who said he was fired for complaining about a colleague's anti-Semitic and sexist behavior, is losing one of its top U.S. news executives. Marcy McGinnis, a former CBS News executive, told Al Jazeera on Monday that she was leaving the company, said Kate O'Brian, network president. McGinnis had been Al-Jazeera America's senior vice president of news gathering, but was recently removed and given the job of senior vice president of corporate outreach. Her transfer had been mentioned as part of a lawsuit filed last week in New York State Supreme Court by Matthew Luke. The former Al-Jazeera America employee alleged that a colleague said that "whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell."

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Wall Street Journal's Gigot to head Pulitzer Prize Board

Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal has been elected chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Columbia University made the announcement Monday. Gigot first joined the Journal in 1980 and has been editorial page editor since 2001. He is responsible for the newspaper's editorials, op-ed articles, arts criticism and book reviews. He also directs the editorial pages of The Journal's Asian and European editions and Gigot succeeds Danielle Allen as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board. Allen is a scholar and author who is the incoming director of the Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. The Pulitzer Board chairmanship is a one-year appointment. Board members serve a maximum of nine years.

Gaiman, Bechdel among new table hosts at PEN gala

Neil Gaiman, Art Spiegelman and Alison Bechdel are among the writers who have agreed to be table hosts at next week's PEN American Center gala after six authors withdrew in protest of an award being given to the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo. The literary and human rights organization told The Associated Press this weekend that the other new hosts are George Packer, Azar Mafisi and Alain Mabanckou, a Congolese-born French author who will present the award to Hebdo's editor in chief Gerard Biard and critic and essayist Jean-Baptiste Thore. PEN is giving the magazine a Freedom of Expression Courage award, a decision that has been fiercely defended and criticized.

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Court to weigh law barring false statements in campaigns

When state Rep. Brian Mannal noticed flyers accusing him of putting the interests of sex offenders over families last year, the Barnstable Democrat saw more than just the rough and tumble of Massachusetts politics. The flyers, Mannal said, broke the law. Just weeks before Election Day, Mannal sought a criminal complaint against the treasurer of the political action committee responsible for the flyer — Melissa Lucas — citing a 1946 state law barring the publishing of false statements about candidates designed to affect their election chances.

On Thursday May 7, the state's highest court will hear arguments about whether the law violates the First Amendment right to free speech. The case is galvanizing a range of groups — from the libertarian Cato Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union to local newspaper publishers — each of which filed briefs with the Supreme Judicial Court, urging it to rule the law unconstitutional because they say it restricts free speech.

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Obama salutes journalists working in repressive environments

President Barack Obama is saluting journalists working in countries that repress freedom, saying a free press is under attack in many places because governments want to avoid the truth. Obama invited three foreign journalists to the White House Friday to discuss their experiences in observance of Sunday's World Press Freedom Day. The three journalists, from Russia, Vietnam and Ethiopia, have been harassed, detained, tortured or imprisoned for their work. Obama said it's important for the U.S. to speak out for freedom of expression in other countries. Obama recalled journalists killed by terrorists, including Steven Sotloff, James Foley and Luke Somers. He pledged to seek the release of journalists such as Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post, who is imprisoned in Iran.

Former journalist, Obama adviser nominated to run aid agency

President Barack Obama tapped White House adviser Gayle Smith on Thursday, April 30, to run the U.S. Agency for International Development, putting a former journalist and longtime Africa expert in charge of his global development agenda for the final years of his presidency.

Smith, the senior director for development and democracy at the White House's National Security Council, has had a diverse career working on humanitarian efforts in and out of government, including a former stint at USAID. Smith, who worked for nearly two decades in Africa for news organizations including The Associated Press and BBC, joins a small cohort of former journalists who have risen to senior ranks of foreign policy and national security in the Obama administration.

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Watchdog group issues dismal report on global press freedom

Terrorists are targeting journalists, authoritarian governments are jailing them and some countries are tightening media controls, developments that help explain why global press freedom in 2014 fell to the lowest point in more than 10 years, a democracy watchdog group said Wednesday, April 29. Only 1 in 7 people live in countries where coverage of political news is strong, state meddling in media matters is minor, and legal or economic pressures on the press are slight, according to the Freedom House report. The group analyzed 199 countries and territories. The worst offenders were Belarus, Crimea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Ranked highest were Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands. The United States was 34th on the list, just above France.

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State of the news media in 2015: Facebook and mobile rule

A new report on the state of the media has some simple terms for how we learn about the world: mobile and social media. More visitors to Yahoo, NBC and other top Internet sites are getting their news from mobile devices than from desktop computers, according to "State of the News Media 2015," published Wednesday, April 29, by the Pew Research Center's Journalism Project. Pew also found that nearly half of Web users learn about politics and government from Facebook, roughly the same percentage as those who seek the news through local television and double those who visit Yahoo or Google News.

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Maine newspapers to be sold by wealthy financier Sussman

A wealthy hedge fund manager who rescued the Portland Press Herald and two other Maine daily newspapers, investing $13 million over the past three years, is selling them to a newspaper executive. Donald Sussman's Maine Values LLC is selling the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel, along with the Coastal Journal in Bath, to a company controlled by Reade Brower, a newspaper owner from Rockland, said Lisa DeSisto, publisher of MaineToday Media. The deal, announced Tuesday, is to close on June 1. The goal of Sussman, husband of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, was never to own the newspapers over the long haul but to ensure the newspapers' survival, DeSisto said.

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Wichita Eagle publisher to become McClatchy vice president

Kim Nussbaum, president and publisher of The Wichita Eagle for nearly four years, will become advertising vice president for McClatchy Co., parent company of The Eagle.

Her last day in Wichita will be May 29. The company said Nussbaum's appointment is part of a reorganization to strengthen McClatchy's sales and marketing and accelerate its digital revenue growth. Nussbaum will be based in Sacramento, California. The Wichita Eagle reports ( ) Nussbaum came to McClatchy and The Eagle in August 2011 from the Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, where she was president and publisher. She worked in newspapers for more than 30 years, primarily in advertising and marketing, before going to Abilene in 2007. McClatchy also announced Monday, April 27, that Don Burk, vice president for advertising at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, will be corporate sales director.




AP posts first revenue gain in six years

The Associated Press boosted its revenue for the first time in six years in 2014, benefiting from special events and improved licensing of photo and video content, and the news cooperative said Wednesday that its profit soared. Revenue grew 1 percent to $604.0 million, up from $595.7 million the previous year. Profit rose to $140.9 million, its highest level since 2009, up sharply from $3.3 million a year earlier. The bump came largely from the sale of its 50 percent stake in sports data company Stats LLC, which brought in $128.3 million for AP, the company said in its annual report. Video revenue last year was bolstered by sales of content and services around the World Cup, Winter Olympics and U.S. mid-term elections, along with new video contracts with existing client CBS in the U.S. and with RTL in Luxembourg. The gains were offset somewhat by a drop in text revenue that was mainly due to Google's decision to stop licensing content.

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Google pledges $162M for European digital journalism fund

Google says it will give European publishers 150 million euros ($162.33 million) to help them adapt to the challenge of selling news online. The Internet giant has had a rocky relationship with the European publishing industry, which accuses Google of profiting from its content without sharing the revenue. Google said in a statement Tuesday it is establishing the Digital News Initiative together with eight leading publishers, including the Financial Times and the Guardian. The fund is open to other publishers and will focus on developing new distribution channels, ways to make consumers pay for news, and training for journalists. Last year, Google blocked Spanish publishers' reports from more than 70 Google News international editions due to a new Spanish law requiring aggregators to pay to link content.

Report: Journalists face deadliest time 'in recent history'

Extremist groups and the governments that restrict liberties to combat those militants have created "the most deadly and dangerous period for journalists in recent history," according to a new report released Monday. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists' annual report on press freedom is a collection of essays that spotlight Syria's deadly reporting landscape, censorship during the Ebola outbreak, the jailing of journalists in Egypt and Ethiopia, and even how journalists last year were used in extremists' propaganda films.

"These organizations are not merely producing videos," the report warns of groups like the Islamic State. "They are acting as competing media outlets." The report also points out the inherent dangers as a rising number of freelance journalists cover wars with little protection or pay.

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Writers withdraw from PEN gala, cite honor for Charlie Hebdo

Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose and at least four other writers have withdrawn from next month's PEN American Center gala, citing objections to the literary and human rights organization's honoring the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. PEN announced Sunday that the writers were upset by Charlie Hebdo's portrayals of Muslims and "the disenfranchised generally." The Paris-based magazine, where 12 people were killed in a January attack at its offices, is to receive a Freedom of Expression Courage Award at the May 5 event in Manhattan. Much of the literary community rallied behind Charlie Hebdo after the shootings, but some have expressed unhappiness with its scathing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and other Muslims.

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Winding up, Obama tosses zingers at press, political foes

President Barack Obama says he's bringing a new attitude to the final quarter of his presidency: Bucket! "After the midterm elections, my advisers asked me, 'Mr. President, do you have a bucket list?'" he told those attending the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents' Association. "And I said, well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list ..." "Take executive action on immigration? Bucket! New climate regulations? Bucket!"

The correspondents' association dinner is the night the president does stand-up comedy to raise money for scholarships for young journalists — and provides tongue-in-cheek payback for those already on the job as well as political opponents. A few of the presidential zingers tossed out Saturday night:

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'Saigon has fallen' _ a reporter's view of Vietnam War's end

More than two decades of war in Vietnam, first involving the French and then the Americans, ended with the last days of April 1975. Peter Arnett, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of combat for The Associated Press and later gained fame as a CNN correspondent, has written a new memoir, "Saigon Has Fallen," about his dozen-plus years reporting on Vietnam. Arnett has recounted this period before but approaches it with a fresh perspective for the 40th anniversary of the war's end. The book is published by RosettaBooks in partnership with The Associated Press (

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Nearly 17 million watch Jenner interview

Former Olympian Bruce Jenner reached an audience of just under 17 million people for his declaration in an ABC News interview that he identifies as a woman. The Nielsen company said Saturday 16.9 million viewers watched the interview on ABC's "20/20" newscast Friday night. The audience was the biggest for a non-sports show on a Friday night since 2003, which would exclude Olympics broadcasts. Friday is generally a light night for television viewing because so many people have plans outside the house. It was also the biggest audience for ABC's "20/20" newscast on a Friday night in 15 years. Nielsen said viewership peaked just after 10 p.m. with 17.2 million viewers. Nielsen Social also estimated that there were 972,000 tweets sent Friday night about the Jenner interview.

$35K grant to UNR for Latino journalism project

The University of Nevada's journalism school is teaming up with the Reno Gazette-Journal and KNPB public broadcasting to develop bilingual news coverage serving northern Nevada's Latino community ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Reynolds School of Journalism announced Friday it has received a $35,000 grant from the Online News Association to help finance the project, one of 11 grants awarded nationally. Vanessa Vancour, coordinator of the school's Nevada Media Alliance, says there's currently very limited Spanish language news available in Reno and Washoe County despite a population that is more than 23 percent Latino. RGJ Executive Editor Kelly Ann Scott says the partnership will help give citizens knowledge to make informed decisions at the ballot box.

Bill would weaken Nevada rules against defamation lawsuits

Nevada Assembly members are considering a bill that would weaken so-called "anti-SLAPP" laws aimed at deterring frivolous lawsuits that discourage people from practicing their First Amendment rights. The Assembly Judiciary Committee held a hearing Friday on SB444, which would lower the burden of proof a plaintiff needs to proceed with a defamation lawsuit. The bill unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month, but some have called that an oversight, and significant opposition has emerged since then. "SB444 will chill speech on matters of interest and importance to the public," the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said in written testimony. "The mere threat of a costly, extended lawsuit can bully speakers into silence, or even into retracting their statements."

Comcast deal may be dead, but cable consolidation will go on

Even though Comcast's $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner Cable is dead, consolidation among the companies that pipe in our TV, phone and Internet will carry on. Combining the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable companies would have put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof, along with NBCUniversal. That appeared to be too much concentration for regulators. Comcast and Time Warner Cable said Friday morning that they would drop the deal in the face of opposition from regulators. But cable companies are likely to keep merging as online video options proliferate, the number of cable and satellite TV subscribers slips and costs rise for the shows, sports and movies piped to subscribers.

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Portugal media angered over proposed election coverage rules

Portugal's leading media companies are in uproar over proposals by political parties that would require journalists to submit their election coverage plans to a central committee for approval. The country's three main parties are working on a new law that aims to ensure fairness and impartiality in election coverage. A draft of the law, disclosed Friday, includes a proposal for coverage plans to be presented to a committee including officials from the National Electoral Commission and the Media Regulatory Body. Failure to do so would bring a fine of up to 50,000 euros ($54,000). The Journalists' Union called the proposal "absurd."

Officials working on the draft say it is still open to discussion. A delegation from main media organizations is due to present its objections to Portugal's president next week.

Comcast abandons Time Warner Cable bid after gov't pushback

What killed Comcast's $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable? Regulators' desire to protect the Internet video industry that is reshaping TV. A combination of the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable companies would have put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof, along with NBC Universal, giving the resulting behemoth unprecedented power over what Americans watch and download. Competitors, consumer groups, and politicians have criticized the deal, saying it would lead to higher prices and less choice. "The proposed merger would have posed an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation, including to the ability of online video providers to reach and serve consumers," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a written statement.

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Feds to review Tampa Police bicycle laws

The U.S. Department of Justice will review the Tampa Police Department's enforcement of bicycle laws after a newspaper investigation found 79 percent of the agency's bike tickets go to black residents. The Tampa Bay Times investigation published showed that Tampa police issue more bicycle tickets than any other agency in Florida, including those in Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando combined. The paper reports that Mayor Bob Buckhorn issued a statement Wednesday announcing that he and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor have asked federal officials to review the program.

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Gannett dubs its digital, broadcasting spinoff TEGNA

Gannett Co., Inc.'s plans to spin off its digital and broadcasting businesses have taken a step forward with a new name for the spinoff: TEGNA. Gracia Martore, Gannett's president and CEO, said in a statement Tuesday that the name, a rearrangement of the letters in Gannett, is a nod to the company's more than 100 year-old history. McLean-based Gannett, publisher of USA Today and dozens of other daily newspapers, announced the spinoff plans last year. TEGNA, spelled in capital letters, will be home to 46 television stations across the country. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TGNA. The digital business includes websites like and CareerBuilder. Newspapers will remain under the Gannett banner. The company said the split remains on track for mid-2015.

Newspaper lawsuit against Palin stalled over confidentiality

A potential settlement between former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and a New Jersey newspaper over the use of a famous Sept. 11 photograph is stalled over confidentiality issues, court filings show. North Jersey Media Group, which publishes The Record newspaper and other publications, sued Palin in 2013, saying the former Republican vice presidential candidate's political action committee website was illegally using a photo taken by a Record photographer at the World Trade Center. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages and for Palin to stop using the photo.

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Piers Morgan quizzed by police over tabloid phone hacking

Former CNN host Piers Morgan was questioned for a second time by British police Tuesday, April 21, about tabloid phone hacking. Morgan, who edited Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper between 1995 and 2004, said he attended a voluntary interview with detectives. "As this is an ongoing investigation, I am unable to comment further until its conclusion," he said in a statement. London's Metropolitan Police said "a 50-year-old man was interviewed under caution ... in connection with suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails."

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Dayton backs new camera ban for media interviews in prisons

Gov. Mark Dayton says he stands behind a new policy instituted by the Department of Corrections that bans the use of media cameras for interviews of inmates conducted in Minnesota prisons. Dayton said Tuesday, April 21, he trusts the judgment of his agency commissioner and steps he's taking to assure security in state prisons. Dayton said he wasn't notified in advance of the media policy quietly adopted in February, which was disclosed Sunday in a Star Tribune story. He plans to urge Commissioner Tom Roy to publicly discuss his reasoning. Previously, news crews could photograph and videotape interviews of inmates as long as the inmate consented and prison officials granted prior approval.The new policy still permits reporters to bring some audio recording devices and writing instruments if the Corrections Department approves.

Reds' Bryan Price apologizes for language, not message

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price apologized on Tuesday, April 21, for using profanity during a pregame meeting with reporters, but says he stands by his message that media shouldn't report developments he feels would put his team at a competitive disadvantage.

Price had a profanity-filled monologue before a 6-1 win over the Brewers on Monday night. The struggling Reds had just been swept in St. Louis, dropping them below .500. Through the team's Twitter account on Tuesday, Price apologized for his choice of words. "In my pre-game conversation with reporters yesterday, I used wholly inappropriate language to describe the media coverage of our team," Price said, according to the team's tweet. "While I stand by the content of my message, I am sorry for the choice of words."

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2015 Jefferson Muzzles released, take aim at censorship

In a year with many high-profile attacks on free speech, the people who award the anti-censorship Jefferson Muzzles strived to find lesser-known offenders:

—A Pennsylvania prosecutor who went after a teenager who posted a photo of his crotch near a religious statue. —An Illinois university that yanked a job offer from a prospective professor because of what were deemed his politically offensive comments on social media.

—An Alabama judge who jailed a blogger for five months for refusing to remove what the judge called defamatory comments on his website. The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Monday, April 20,  released its annual rogue's gallery of those who sought to snuff speech over the past year. The center said many violent attempts to still speech happened on the global stage, including the bloody attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and violent threats against the opening of the movie parody "The Interview."

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Berkshire Hathaway buys group of small Oklahoma newspapers

Warren Buffett's company is adding a group of small Oklahoma newspapers near Tulsa to its growing group of more than two dozen small and medium-sized newspapers.

Berkshire Hathaway Media Group said it had acquired six weekly newspapers and the daily Tulsa Business and Legal News from Community Publishers Inc.

Berkshire Hathaway Media CEO Terry Kroeger says the new papers should complement the company's existing publications, which include the Tulsa World.

Terms of the deal — which includes The Broken Arrow Ledger, The Sand Springs Leader, The Coweta American, The Wagoner Tribune, The Owasso Reporter and the Skiatook Journal — weren't disclosed.

Tampa Tribune owners 'exploring sale' of downtown headquarters

The downtown riverfront headquarters of the Tampa Tribune is up for sale, according to an article posted on the newspaper's website.

Owners of the paper are "exploring a sale" of the 4.4-acre property, the story said, quoting Robert Loring, founder and managing partner of Revolution Capital Group. The private investment firm bought the paper and its assets from Media General Inc. for $9.5 million in 2012.

Loring said interest in property on the Hillsborough River has ramped up recently and that "any potential deal" would require a provision for the newspaper to lease back space in the building, which houses its newsroom and printing presses.



CBS political director John Dickerson new Sunday show host

CBS News moved swiftly Sunday after Bob Schieffer's retirement announcement to name the network's political director, John Dickerson, as the new moderator of "Face the Nation." Dickerson, a former Time magazine and Slate writer who has been with CBS since 2009, will begin his new role early this summer. Schieffer, who made the announcement on Sunday's show, noted that Dickerson "sure has the right bloodlines" for the assignment. Dickerson's mother, Nancy, was the first female correspondent in the CBS News Washington bureau. Schieffer, the 78-year-old chief Washington correspondent of CBS News, announced last week that he would be leaving the job early this summer. Schieffer has been with CBS News since 1969 and "Face the Nation" moderator since 1991.

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Report: US reporter held in Iran facing 'espionage' charges

A Washington Post journalist detained in Iran for over eight months is accused of "espionage" and "acting against national security," the semiofficial Fars news agency reported Sunday. The report did not elaborate on the source of the information, but the agency is regarded as close to Iran's hard-liners. Iranian officials have previously said Jason Rezaian is facing "security" charges and that he will stand trial before the Revolutionary Court — which mainly hears sensitive cases involving national security.Rezaian's lawyer, Leila Ahsan, declined to comment on the specific charges against her client, but told The Associated Press she had finished studying the text of the indictment and would brief Rezaian's family in the coming days. Ahsan added that she visited Rezaian in prison last month.

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Reporters in Tennessee may need permission to use laptop, phone in court

Reporters in Tennessee may soon have to get permission from a judge any time they want to bring a cellphone, laptop or other digital device inside a courtroom. Those are among the new requirements under proposed changes to a Tennessee Supreme Court rule that regulates media coverage in the courtroom. The rule currently regulates when media can use still or video cameras to cover court proceedings. But in a nod to a rapidly changing digital landscape, where reporters can live Tweet murder trials and use their cellphones to photograph, video, and stream courtroom proceedings, The Tennessee Supreme Court is revamping its regulation known as Rule 30.

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Reporter subpoenaed to testify, give notes in murder case

A reporter for a northern Indiana newspaper has been subpoenaed to testify and turn over interview notes and recordings as part of story she wrote about a homicide investigation. The Elkhart Truth ( ) reports that its crime and courts reporter Emily Pfund was issued a subpoena Wednesday, April 8, from the chief deputy prosecutor in Elkhart County.

The order is tied to a story about 19-year-old Freddie Rhodes, who's charged with murder and was interviewed by Pfund. He's charged in the shooting death of 18-year-old Dre Tarrious Rodgers after an alleged attempted drug robbery, but authorities aren't accusing him of pulling the trigger.

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Canadian media giant Bell Media president leaving

The president of Canada's largest media group is leaving his position at Bell Media two weeks after apologizing for interfering in editorial coverage at CTV News. Kevin Crull apologized in late March for telling CTV News not to conduct or air interviews with the chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. CTV was covering a decision by the regulator requiring broadcasters to offer low-cost packages to cable subscribers. Parent company BCE said in a statement Thursday that Crull was leaving his position immediately but did not indicate why he was leaving. George Cope, president and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE Inc., did say in the statement that the independence of Bell Media's news operations is paramount to the company and to all Canadians.

French network's broadcasts hacked by group claiming IS ties

Hackers claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group simultaneously blacked out 11 channels of a French global TV network and took over its website and social media accounts on Thursday, April 9, in what appeared to be the most ambitious media attack so far by the extremist group. Anti-terror prosecutors opened an investigation into the attack that began late Wednesday and blocked TV5 Monde from functioning part of the day Thursday. Operations were fully re-established Thursday evening. France's interior minister, while counseling caution until investigators find hard evidence, said the attack was likely a terrorist act. "Numerous elements converge to suggest the cause of this attack is, indeed, a terrorist act," Bernard Cazeneuve said at a news conference.

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TV station must take stand or banned from Hernandez trial

A Boston TV station says it didn't approach or take pictures of any juror deliberating in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, and it's working with the court after a judge said two jurors reported that they were followed by one of the station's workers. WHDH-TV issued the statement Thursday, April 9, after Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh said someone from the station must take the stand and testify under oath about what happened. She said if that doesn't happen, the station will be banned from the courthouse. Two jurors reported that they were followed Wednesday after their second day of deliberations. Meanwhile, the 12 jurors resumed deliberations Thursday. Hernandez is charged with the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee's sister.

CBS newsman Schieffer: Important to leave while still ahead

Soon-to-retire Bob Schieffer said Thursday, April 9, it was important for him to be able to walk away from "Face the Nation" while he could still do the job well. Schieffer, the 78-year-old chief Washington correspondent of CBS News, announced Wednesday at TCU's Bob Schieffer College of Communication that he'll be leaving the job early this summer. Schieffer , who covered the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination while a young reporter, has been with CBS News since 1969. "I just thought I want to leave this job while I can still do it," Schieffer said. "'Face' is doing really well, CBS is doing well. I see so many guys up on Capitol Hill where staff has to lead them by the hand. They just don't know when to go."

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Veteran CBS newsman Bob Schieffer to retire this summer

In a memo to staff Wednesday, April 8, CBS News President David Rhodes said that the chief Washington correspondent and anchor of "Face the Nation" will retire this summer. Rhodes said that the 78-year-old Schieffer made the announcement Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Texas, at TCU's Schieffer College of Communication. Scheiffer graduated from the school and started his career in Texas, at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He joined CBS in 1969 and has been chief Washington correspondent since 1982 and host of "Face the Nation" since 1991.

In his memo, CBS News head Rhodes called Schieffer an inspiration and mentor for many of his colleagues. Plans for "Face the Nation" and for the Washington bureau will be reported soon, Rhodes said.

AP opens exhibit of Vietnam photos in London

As the fall of Saigon on April 30 approaches, The Associated Press is recognizing the significance of the Vietnam War with an extraordinary photo exhibit in London. “Vietnam: The Real War, A Photographic History by The Associated Press” opened April 8 at the Guardian News and Media’s gallery at its Kings Cross headquarters. To cover the Vietnam War, AP gathered a group of superb photojournalists in its Saigon bureau, creating one of the greatest photographic legacies of the 20th century. From Malcolm Browne’s photograph of the burning monk to Nick Ut’s famous picture of a nine-year-old running from a Napalm attack, these photographs capture the experience and tragedy of people caught in a war of insurgency in which everyone was suspect.

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First Amendment lawyer named co-director of Yale clinic

First Amendment lawyer David Schulz has been named co-director of Yale Law School's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic. The school said Wednesday, April 7, that hiring Schulz for the full-time position will enable the clinic to pursue cases more aggressively with the goal of protecting the rights of investigative reporters. Schulz has supervised students in the MFIA Clinic since it opened in 2009 while working in New York for a law firm that represents media outlets on issues including defamation and First Amendment matters. He has represented journalists and news organizations for more than three decades. The school says the appointment takes effect in July and was made possible through support from the Stanton Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

University of Colorado hires Marquette educator for new media program

The University of Colorado says it is bringing in the dean of Marquette's communications school to head a new media program on its Boulder campus. In a statement Wednesday, April 7, CU said Lori Bergen begins work July 20. Last June, the CU Board of Regents approved formation of the College of Media, Communication and Information, which includes such departments as advertising, journalism and information science. Bergen has been dean of Marquette's J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication since 2009 and has held administrative and teaching positions in journalism and communications departments at Kansas State, where she earned a master's in journalism; Texas State; Southwest Texas State; and Wichita State.

Official: Iran court to hear Post reporter's case 'on turn'

A senior official in Iran's judiciary says a court will hear the case of a detained Washington Post correspondent when it's his turn. Gholamhossein Esmaeili, the head of Tehran's justice administration, is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Wednesday, April 7: "Jason Rezaian's case will be heard on turn." Esmaeili did not elaborate. Rezaian has been the Post's correspondent in Tehran since 2012. He was born and spent most of his life in the United States, and holds Iranian and American citizenship. Iran doesn't recognize dual nationalities for its citizens. Rezaian faces unspecified charges in Iran's Revolutionary Court, which mostly hears cases involving security offenses. He's been held since July 22. Rezaian's family, the Post and the U.S. State Department repeatedly have called for the journalist's immediate release.

ABC breaks NBC's winning streak in evening news

NBC's "Nightly News" lost the weekly ratings competition for the first time since 2009 — and for the first time since anchor Brian Williams was suspended in February for telling a false story about his reporting from the Iraq War. ABC's "World News Tonight" with David Muir averaged 8 million viewers last week, or 84,000 more than NBC's newscast, with Lester Holt as the substitute anchor. NBC had won 288 consecutive weeks in the ratings. NBC's defeat came in Holt's seventh week filling in for Williams, who was suspended for six months, with NBC learning about it the same day its executives read a dispiriting Vanity Fair article about problems at the news division over the past two years. NBC is conducting an internal investigation into other potentially false statements by Williams and there's been no word on when, or if, the network's report will be publicly released.

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US court OKs Larry Flynt's push for Missouri execution info

A federal appeals court on Tuesday, April 7, signed off on allowing porn publisher Larry Flynt to join a lawsuit seeking to force Missouri to disclose more details of its execution methods, reversing a lower court's ruling that the Hustler magazine founder lacked standing to intervene. =A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis found that a federal district judge applied the incorrect legal standard in ruling that Flynt's "generalized interest" in the lawsuit, originally filed by death row inmates, did not justify his being part of the case. A coalition of more than a dozen news organizations, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, pressed the 8th Circuit in January to let Flynt join the lawsuit, although those media organizations aren't a part of it.

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Retracted Rolling Stone story is rare demerit for its writer

The retracted Rolling Stone article about an apparently fictional gang rape at the University of Virginia is a blemish on an otherwise illustrious career for the journalist who wrote it. Freelance writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely has made a living out of long, provocative articles, but none as contentious as the piece in November that turned a national conversation about campus sexual assault into a louder debate. Other journalists quickly found inconsistencies in the story titled "A Rape on Campus," and on Sunday, Rolling Stone published a review that it had asked the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism to undertake.

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Discredited rape story a test for Wenner, Rolling Stone

Through decades of digging into the private lives of rock stars and providing a forum for colorful writers like Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke, Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner has never been afraid to push boundaries. Now Wenner, who founded the magazine as a 20-year-old college dropout, is weathering the stiffest test of Rolling Stone's credibility that the magazine has faced in its 48-year history. On Sunday, the magazine retracted last November's story on sexual assault at the University of Virginia in advance of the release of a damning Columbia University report about its reporting and editing, and on Monday, a fraternity named in the story threatened a lawsuit.

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Columbia Dean: Rolling Stone story rife with bad journalism

Rolling Stone's "shock narrative" about a culture of sex assaults at the University of Virginia was rife with bad journalistic practice, and "Jackie," the student at the center of the story, is not to blame for the magazine's failures, Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll said Monday. The magazine pledged to review its practices and removed the discredited article from its website, but publisher Jann S. Wenner said he won't fire anyone despite the leading journalism school's blistering critique of his magazine's reporting and editing failures. Wenner said any failures were isolated and described Jackie as "a really expert fabulist storyteller" who managed to manipulate the magazine's journalism process.

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Fraternity pursuing legal action against Rolling Stone

The fraternity at the center of a retracted Rolling Stone article about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia said Monday that it plans to "pursue all available legal action against the magazine." The U.Va. chapter of Phi Kappa Psi released a statement Monday after the release of a damning report outlining a series of journalistic lapses in the magazine's reporting, which relied heavily on a young woman who told a horrific story about being raped at the fraternity's house in 2012. Since the story's publication in November, Charlottesville police said they have found no evidence to substantiate the woman's account.

At Rolling Stone's request, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism conducted an independent review of the story and concluded it was a "story of journalistic failure that was avoidable."

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Key players in Rolling Stone magazine's U.Va. rape story

The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism identified several key players involved in Rolling Stone magazine's discredited article, "A Rape on Campus," about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. Its report presented a broad indictment of the magazine's handling of a story that had horrified readers, unleashed protests at the university's Charlottesville campus and sparked a national discussion about sexual assaults on college campuses. Here's what it said about each:

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AP WAS THERE: 150 years ago, Lee surrenders to Grant

When the American Civil War ended with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendering to Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in a farmhouse parlor in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865, standing with other war correspondents in the front yard was William Downs MacGregor of The Associated Press. The names of many AP Civil War correspondents, along with their original manuscript reports, have been lost. But those like MacGregor, whose names were occasionally printed beneath their dispatches, are remembered for delivering disciplined and restrained accounts in an era when reporting was often laced with shrill and sectarian opinion. During the war, the AP and most big city papers utilized the thousands of miles of ever-expanding telegraph lines to revolutionize war reporting. For the first time, battlefield victories and defeats could be transmitted and even printed within a day.

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University of Missouri names new journalism dean

A Louisiana State University professor will become dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Missouri officials announced Thursday, April 2, that David Kurpius, professor of mass communication and an associate vice chancellor at LSU, will become the new dean on July 1. The Columbia Daily Tribune reports ( ) Kurpius' annual salary will be $240,000. He will replace Dean Mills, who is retiring after 25 years of leading the journalism school. He is working part-time as the director of the Reynolds Fellows program at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Kurpius has worked for LSU's mass communication school since 1997. He was the associate dean of undergraduate studies and administration from 2005 to 2010 and taught advanced newsgathering classes, public affairs reporting and courses on minorities in journalism.

Berkshire Hathaway buys 2 small Virginia newspapers

Warren Buffett's company has added two small Virginia newspapers to its collection of more than two dozen small- and medium-sized newspapers. Berkshire Hathaway Media Group said Tuesday, March 31, that it had acquired The Martinsville Bulletin in Martinsville and the Franklin News-Post in Rocky Mount from Haskell Newspapers. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Berkshire Hathaway owns 31 daily newspapers and dozens of weeklies in 10 states, including several in Virginia such as the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Roanoke Times.

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Al-Jazeera journalist says Canada not issuing him passport

Al-Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy, who remains in Egypt on bail while awaiting trial on terror charges, said Wednesday, April 1, Canada is refusing to issue him a new passport. Fahmy, who was born in Egypt and is a naturalized Canadian citizen, was freed from jail in February. He renounced his Egyptian citizenship last year as a condition of any future release from Egypt. Fahmy and two other journalists were charged with being part of a terrorist group and airing falsified footage. They deny the charges. Fahmy said his Canadian passport was confiscated when he was arrested in 2013. He said needs the passport to get married and has run into problems at security checkpoints in Cairo.

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Afghan court sentences AP journalist's killer to 20 years

Afghanistan's highest court has ruled that the police officer convicted of murdering Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP correspondent Kathy Gannon almost one year ago should serve 20 years in prison, according to documents sent to the country's attorney general on Saturday. The final sentence for former Afghan police unit commander Naqibullah was reduced from the death penalty recommended by a primary court last year. Twenty years in prison is the maximum jail sentence in Afghanistan, said Zahid Safi, a lawyer for The Associated Press who had been briefed on the decision by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruling upholds an intermediate court's decision, which was opposed by the Military Attorney General's office.

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4 journalists arrested during Ferguson protests sue police

Four journalists arrested during last summer's Ferguson protests over the shooting death of Michael Brown filed a federal lawsuit Monday against St. Louis County police and 20 of its officers, accusing them of violating the reporters' civil rights and unjustifiably detaining them.

The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis, alleges the arrests for the journalists' failure to disperse as demanded by police on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19 were "undertaken with the intention of obstructing, chilling, deterring, and retaliating against (the) plaintiffs for engaging in constitutionally protected speech, newsgathering and recording of police activities." The plaintiffs include Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept online investigative publication, as well as Ansgar Graw — a correspondent with the conservative German daily Die Welt — and reporter Frank Herrmann, who writes for German regional papers. The other plaintiff is freelance journalist Lukas Hermsmeier.

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Trevor Noah set to replace Jon Stewart on 'Daily Show'

Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old comedian from South Africa who has contributed to "The Daily Show" a handful of times during the past year, will become Jon Stewart's replacement as host, Comedy Central announced Monday. Noah was chosen a little more than a month after Stewart unexpectedly announced he was leaving "The Daily Show" following 16 years as the show's principal voice. The New Jersey-born Stewart is being replaced by the son of a black South African mother and white European father. Noah has an international presence, and hosted a late-night talk show in South Africa, "Tonight with Trevor Noah." Stewart has been a part of the cultural landscape with a bitingly comic look at the news and how it is covered in the media. He has not set a date for his exit from "The Daily Show" and, as a result, Comedy Central said nothing on Monday about when Noah would take over.

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NBC News' boss faces challenge fixing MSNBC

As he returns to run the NBC News Group, Andy Lack faces one of the same puzzles he tried to solve a decade and a half ago: how to make MSNBC work. While he was gone, MSNBC changed from traditional news to a political network with a liberal lens. Now that it is mired in a ratings slump, Lack's mandate as chairman will be figuring out if MSNBC needs a complete overhaul or a sharpening of its mission. The current picture is seriously ugly. Through early March, Chris Hayes' viewership at 8 p.m. on weekdays was down 23 percent from last year, Rachel Maddow was off 24 percent and Lawrence O'Donnell down 26 percent. Among the 25-to-54-year-old demographic that is the basis for advertising sales, the prime-time lineup lost nearly half its audience. Daytime isn't much better.

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Rhode Island governor withdraws budget proposal affecting newspapers

Gov. Gina Raimondo no longer wants Rhode Island to post legal notices and advertisements online instead of in newspapers. The proposal was in the budget Raimondo submitted to the General Assembly on March 12. She asked to withdraw it Thursday, March 27. Raimondo Press Secretary Marie Aberger says it's the only budget proposal the governor has asked to change. House fiscal staff said the measure would have saved $100,000, and forgoing the savings doesn't put the budget out of balance. Newspapers have opposed changes to legal notice requirements, worrying about the loss of revenue. Aberger says Raimondo changed her position in light of both feedback from newspapers and the relatively small savings that would have been generated.

Charlie Hebdo to receive PEN award

Charlie Hebdo, the Parisian satirical magazine that was a target of a deadly shooting in January, will be honored at this spring's PEN American Center gala. The literary and human rights organization announced Wednesday, March 25, that Charlie Hebdo will receive the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award. Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a film critic who arrived at the Hebdo offices after eight of his colleagues had been killed, will accept the award on behalf of the magazine. Also at the May 5 gala in Manhattan, playwright Tom Stoppard will be given the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, and Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle will be cited for "his leadership role in the global literary community."

Previous PEN honorees include authors Toni Morrison, Philip Roth and Salman Rushdie.

Arizona newspaper asks governor to veto bill shielding police

Arizona's largest newspaper is behind a letter asking Gov. Doug Ducey to veto a bill allowing police to keep the names of officers involved in shootings secret for two months. A legal firm representing the Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV Channel 12 wrote to Ducey Wednesday, March 25, urging him to veto the bill over issues of public transparency. The letters says the bill takes discretion away from police departments and undercuts the public's right to monitor law enforcement. Senate Bill 1445 requires police departments to get an officer's permission to release the name sooner unless they are arrested. Supporters say the bill protects officers who may face retribution after a shooting. The bill was prompted by police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York that brought scrutiny to the officers involved.

US students make bracelets to help jailed journalists

University of Maryland journalism students are raising money to launch a line of bracelets emblazoned with the names of journalists imprisoned around the world to raise money for the cause, and awareness of their plight. Under the direction of Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter and journalism professor Dana Priest, a group of University of Maryland Journalism School students are fundraising to launch Press Uncuffed. The line includes nine different bracelets, each with the name of a jailed journalist on it. The students are raising money to produce at least 10,000 bracelets. Rosemary Ostmann, a University of Maryland alumna and spokeswoman for the project, said 100 percent of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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CBC News slashing 144 positions from local services, Radio-Canada cuts 100

CBC is slashing 244 jobs from local news services across Canada as it plans to shift some of its limited resources to its digital operations. The cuts include 144 positions from English-language services and 100 jobs on the French side, which include 20 vacant positions and retirements. Meanwhile, the public broadcaster is adding 80 new digital jobs as it works toward offering a continuous news stream for mobile users. Jennifer McGuire, Editor-in-Chief of CBC News, announced the English layoffs in a note to staff, which stressed that no stations would close and all local radio programming would be maintained. The job losses include 37 positions in Alberta, 30 in Ontario and 25 in British Columbia.

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US 'troubled' by Thai leader's threat to execute journalists

The U.S. says it hopes that Thailand's leader, who took power in a military coup last year, wasn't serious when he made a threat to execute journalists. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha made the apparently sarcastic comment to reporters in Bangkok Wednesday, March 25. He said that any media that cause "division" should be punished. He singled out several reporters and publications for insults. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Thursday that the U.S. was troubled by Prayuth's threat to journalists who do not report the "truth." He said such statements, even if not serious, contribute to an atmosphere in which freedoms could be suppressed. The coup and the Thai junta's crackdown on dissent has strained traditionally strong ties with the U.S. Washington has suspended $4.7 million in military aid.

Vice to start daily newscast on HBO

HBO and Vice Media announced an expansion of their partnership on Thursday, including the launch of a daily Vice newscast on the pay cable outlet. Vice already airs a weekly news show on HBO, a more personal-style look at the world's hot spots than traditional news outlets. That Friday night program, which currently airs 14 times a year, will expand to 35 episodes a year over the course of the new four-year agreement. HBO and Vice offered few details about the daily newscast, other than to say that it will draw on 30 global bureaus and "feature the original on-the-ground reporting viewers expect from Vice." It will begin sometime this fall and be shown on the main HBO network, but Vice spokesman Jake Goldman said a time slot had not been set yet.

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Newspaper received email claiming to be from woman's captors

The San Francisco Chronicle says it received an email from an anonymous person claiming to be holding a California woman who was found safe Wednesday, March 24. The Chronicle reports ( it received the email Tuesday. The person wrote that 29-year-old Denise Huskins would be returned safely Wednesday and would be "in good health and safe." The email also warned any attempt to find the people holding Huskins would "create a dangerous situation" for her. Huskins' boyfriend on Monday reported to police that she'd been abducted from their Vallejo home. She was found 400 miles away in Huntington Beach. Her father says she was dropped off at her mother's home, then walked to his home 12 blocks away.

New publisher named for 2 southern New Jersey newspapers

Two newspapers in southern New Jersey have named a new publisher. Joseph Calchi has been named president and publisher of the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill and the Daily Journal in Vineland ( The appointment was announced Tuesday, March 24, by Gannett Co., Inc. The 52-year-old Calchi has worked for 30 years at The Daily Journal and previously served as its general manager and advertising director. Calchi is a graduate of Cumberland County College and is married with one daughter. The two newspapers publish separately and have separate websites. Former Courier-Post General Manager and Advertising Director William Janus was named Tuesday as president and publisher of The Daily Times in Salisbury, Maryland.




Women's media group honors photographer Heidi Levine

Photographer Heidi Levine, who has spent 30 years covering war zones and revolutions in the Middle East, Libya and Syria, was named Tuesday as the inaugural winner of an award for courage named for Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus.

The International Women's Media Foundation in Washington announced that Levine, an American based in Israel, will be awarded the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award. Niedringhaus was killed last year on assignment in Afghanistan when an Afghan police commander walked up to the car she was in and opened fire.

The award jury, which includes accomplished photographers and photo editors, said Levine stands out for her courage and compassion in capturing images under dangerous circumstances.

"Her courage and commitment to the story in Gaza is unwavering," the jury wrote. "She documents tragic events under dire circumstances while displaying a depth of compassion for the people she encounters."

Levine said she worked with Niedringhaus in Israel, Gaza and Libya, and they had stayed in touch over the years, making it a bittersweet moment to accept the honor named for her friend.

"It's a completely different feeling," Levine said. "I'm not saying other awards aren't amazing, but I think this one is really, really special. I also feel like I have a responsibility to carry on her legacy."

Covering the war in Gaza last year, Levine witnessed some of the worst conditions she has observed after Israel's bombings, she said. The civilian death toll was stark. Drones flying overhead changed the situation for photographers on the ground and made it unsafe to travel in places where fighting broke out, she said.

Working as a journalist with drones overhead "definitely made you feel like you were always being watched," Levine said.

In Libya, after Tripoli fell in 2011, Levine was there documenting conditions on the ground. She came across a hospital that had been abandoned. Bodies were piled on the ground outside. She and her colleagues drove around, trying to find information, and a man took them to a shed where about 60 men had been burned alive.

"It was just outright atrocity," she said. "I had never seen something like that."

And yet she persists, even as technology makes it even more dangerous for journalists in combat zones as simple Internet searches can help enemies track their work.

"I think it's just so important to bear witness," Levine said. "I just feel compelled to continue."

The award will be presented to Levine at a ceremony June 25 in Berlin. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation provided funding for the $20,000 prize.

"It is encouraging to see Anja's legacy honored through the amazing and courageous work of Heidi Levine, this year's inaugural winner," said Santiago Lyon, director of photography for the AP. "Heidi thoroughly embodies Anja's spirit and courage."

Levine is originally from Boston and moved to Israel in 1983. She began her career with the AP and is now represented by the Sipa Press photo agency. Her photographs have appeared in publications around the world, often as cover stores.

Levine has made a career of working in conflict areas. Beyond covering the revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Syria, she has also captured the stories of Iraqi refugees living in Jordan, Syria and Sweden. She has also worked in Afghanistan, Georgia and India.

Two additional photojournalists received honorable mentions from the jury. Photographer Anastasia Vlasova was recognized for her courage and dedication in covering the conflicts in Eastern Ukraine. Associated Press photographer Rebecca Blackwell also was recognized for her courage in working under difficult conditions in the Central African Republic.

The prize will be awarded annually to a woman photojournalist who reflects the courage and dedication of Niedringhaus.

Niedringhaus started her career as a freelance photographer when she was 16 in her native Germany and went on to cover the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. She joined the AP in 2002 and worked throughout the Middle East, as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was part of an AP team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Iraq.

Videographer arrested covering Ferguson faces court hearing

One of about two dozen journalists arrested while covering the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown faced a court hearing Tuesday. St. Louis-based videographer Mary Moore said she wants her reputation, and her criminal record, cleared. She was charged with municipal violations after an arrest on Oct. 3. She says she was only shooting video but was among 13 people taken into custody during a demonstration outside Ferguson police headquarters. The August death of Brown, who was black and unarmed, by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, led to protests that are still going on. During the demonstrations, journalists from around the world were among the hundreds of people arrested.

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Clinton jokes relationship with press is 'complicated'

Hillary Rodham Clinton is joking that her relationship with the media has been "complicated" as she pays tribute to the legacy of a late New York Times reporter. The potential Democratic presidential candidate says she is all about "new beginnings. A new grandchild. Another new hairstyle. A new email account. How about a new relationship with the press?" Clinton says when she was asked to speak at the event, she thought, "What could possibly go wrong?"

The former secretary of state spoke Monday at an awards ceremony honoring Robin Toner, the first woman to serve as national political correspondent for The Times. She says the country relies on journalists to "try to get us out of the echo chambers we all inhabit."

Body found in New Jersey river ID'd as missing reporter

A body found this week in a northern New Jersey river is that of a former Wall Street Journal reporter who had been missing for more than a year, authorities said Thursday, March 19. Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp announced that the body was positively identified as that of David Bird, who was 55 when he disappeared in January 2014 while taking a walk near his home in Long Hill Township, about 30 miles west of New York City. Knapp said in an email that two men canoeing Wednesday in the Passaic River between Long Hill and Bernards Township came across a red jacket. Police later found human remains, and a positive identification was made using dental records. An investigation into the cause and manner of death is underway.

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Durst murder case: When should the media go to the police?

It was a filmmaker, not police, who uncovered a crucial piece of evidence in the murder case against Manhattan real estate millionaire Robert Durst. The sensational small-screen moments created by HBO's "The Jinx" confronted documentarian Andrew Jarecki with an ethical question that is likely to come up again, given the popularity of true-crime TV: Should a television sleuth's priority lie in making good entertainment or in seeing that justice is served?

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Media turns detective with 'The Jinx,' other murder cases

Robert Durst was a rich man living free despite police efforts to link him to murder. Adnan Syed was a young man imprisoned for life for killing an ex-girlfriend. Media scrutiny changed their fortunes, pushing both back into the courts: Durst is facing trial on a murder charge, and Syed awaits an appeal of his conviction. Observers say it's what journalists, or others taking on the role of investigative reporters, can and should do — but not simply, or heedlessly, to play faux detective. "We are holding law enforcement accountable," said Kelly McBride, an expert on ethics for the Poynter Institute journalism think tank. "Our job is not to prove people innocent or guilty. But we very much are part of the checks and balances that ensure that democracy is working."

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Young adults want news every day, survey shows

Young adults have a reputation for being connected to one another and disconnected from the news. But a survey has found that mobile devices and social networking are keeping them more engaged with the broader world than previously thought. They want news, they say, though they don't always aggressively seek it out — perhaps simply happening upon it on a friend's online feed. And they want it daily. The survey of Americans ages 18 to 34, sometimes called the millennial generation, found that two-thirds of respondents said they consume news online regularly, often on a social networking site. Of those, 40 percent do so several times a day, according to the poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute.

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Lawyer in State Department leak case seeks release of client

A lawyer for a former State Department intelligence analyst is asking the Justice Department to support the immediate release of his client. In a letter to prosecutors, Abbe Lowell said the department displayed a "double standard" in demanding prison for his client, Stephen Kim, while recommending probation for former CIA Director David Petraeus. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend two years of probation when Petraeus is sentenced next month for disclosing classified materials to his biographer, with whom he had an affair. Kim was sentenced last April to 13 months in prison for passing classified information to a journalist. Lowell said prosecutors should agree to release him now to fix what he called "uneven and disparate treatment." A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington, D.C., declined to comment Monday.

Nevada newspaper where Mark Twain got start is revived

The historic Nevada newspaper where Mark Twain cut his journalistic teeth is back in publication for the first time in three decades, and its owners plan to uphold tradition by offering more than just real news. The Territorial Enterprise was revived as an online and monthly print publication last week by Capitol Publishing Group, the parent company of a weekly newspaper in Jefferson City, Missouri, that focuses on politics and government.

Samuel Clemens, Twain's real name, assumed his pen name and developed his penchant for western tall tales when he was a reporter from 1862 to 1864 at the feisty newspaper in Virginia City, about 20 miles southeast of Reno.

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Burns elected new president of SC Press Association

Judi Mundy Burns, publisher of The Index-Journal of Greenwood, is the new president of the South Carolina Press Association. Burns was elected Saturday at the group's annual meeting in Myrtle Beach. She succeeds Morrey Thomas, who is publisher of the News and Press in Darlington. Mike Smith, executive editor of the Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, was elected daily newspaper vice president and Ellen Priest, president and publisher of The Star in North Augusta and the Aiken Standard was again chosen as weekly newspaper vice president.

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Proposal would require media to get permission to record

The Tennessee Supreme Court is considering requiring the news media to get permission from a judge before reporters can use a laptop, digital recorder or any other electronic device to cover a court proceeding. Currently, the news media have to ask for permission to use a still or video camera in the courtroom under a regulation known as Rule 30. But in a nod to the changing world of technology and a modern-day era where reporters use Twitter to cover murder trials and a cellphone can shoot video, take photos and record testimony, the court is considering changing its media rule.

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NBC News medical editor Nancy Snyderman resigns

Dr. Nancy Snyderman said Thursday, March 12, that she's leaving her job as chief medical editor for NBC News, six months after unleashing public anger for failing to observe a quarantine after covering the Ebola epidemic last fall. Snyderman said that "becoming part of the story" after her trip to Liberia contributed to her decision to take a faculty job at a medical school. "Every moment has been an honor," said Snyderman, who has been at NBC for nine years after working previously at ABC News. Snyderman was asked to observe a voluntary 21-day quarantine in her New Jersey home following her return from Liberia, where she briefly worked with Ashoka Mukpo, a cameraman who caught the virus and recovered after coming back to the U.S. for treatment.

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Newspaper sues Ohio patrol over cruiser video of car chase

A newspaper is accusing the Ohio State Highway Patrol of violating the law by refusing to release cruiser-camera video of a car chase in southwest Ohio. The Cincinnati Enquirer this week filed a lawsuit asking the Ohio Supreme Court to force the Ohio Department of Public Safety to release a trooper's dash-camera video showing the January chase of a fleeing suspect. The department is the patrol's parent agency. The lawsuit says the department denied the newspaper's request for the video and said an unnamed prosecutor asked that it be withheld. The newspaper contends that withholding the video violates Ohio's open records law. Patrol spokesman Lt. Craig Cvetan said Thursday, March 12, that the video was properly withheld as part of a criminal investigation and that videos are released once criminal cases conclude.

Media watchdog unblocks banned websites in 11 countries

Media monitoring group Reporters Without Borders says it is providing access to websites banned in Russia, Iran and nine other countries in a bid to counter government pressure.

The group said Thursday that it created secured mirror sites, or copies of the original sites, and put them on hosting services provided by Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Governments could still block those services, but Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says that could have broad fallout. Among sites unblocked is, which is critical of the Russian government and was banned a year ago. Also accessible Thursday were Hablemos Press in Cuba and Gooya News in Iran. Access to two sites in China, The Tibet Post and Mingjing News, remained limited after the launch.

Las Vegas Sun sues rival Review-Journal over profit split

The owner of the Las Vegas Sun wants a Nevada judge to decide whether its cross-town rival and joint-operating partner, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, owes it millions of dollars under profit-sharing terms of a contract dating to 2005. The Sun contends in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, March 10, in Clark County District Court that the larger Review-Journal and its owner, Stephens Media, improperly deducted editorial costs from profit figures before paying a monthly one-12th profit share to Greenspun Media Group. The Sun argues the resulting shortage has added up over the past 10 years to at least $6 million. Sun owner Brian Greenspun, Sun attorney Leif Reid and Stephens Media general counsel Mark Hinueber each characterized the lawsuit Wednesday as a dispute that could be resolved.

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Arizona House fails to pass bill to post public notices on online

The Arizona House has failed to pass a bill allowing businesses to post public notices on the Arizona Corporation Commission website rather than in newspapers. The proposal is part of an annual effort for the Legislature to end a requirement for governments to publish public notices in newspapers. Republican Rep. Darin Mitchell of Litchfield Park says his bill would create a central location for posting that benefits both businesses and residents. Mitchell says the bill would fix a loophole where businesses shop around for the cheapest newspapers to file their notices. Opponents say the bill would negatively impact residents without access to internet and hurt small newspapers that rely on the ad revenue. House Bill 2016 failed on a 26-33 vote Wednesday, but could still be revived in other legislation.

Journal Communications, Scripps get shareholder OK for deal

Shareholders have approved plans by Journal Communications Inc. of Milwaukee and E.W. Scripps Co. of Cincinnati to combine their broadcasting operations while spinning off newspaper holdings into a separate entity. The transactions are expected to close early in the second quarter. Scripps and Journal Communications will merge their broadcast operations, creating an expanded Scripps. The newspaper operations will merge into a new, publicly traded company called Journal Media Group. The merged broadcast and digital media company will retain the E.W. Scripps Co. name. It will have about 4,000 employees in television, radio and digital media. Journal Media Group will be headquartered in Milwaukee and operate in 14 markets. It will combine Journal Communications' Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, community publications and digital products with Scripps' daily newspapers plus community and digital products.

Kushner, Spitz give up exec duties at Freedom Communications

The co-owners of Freedom Communications Inc. and its flagship newspaper, the Orange County Register, resigned Tuesday, March 10, from all executive duties, more than two years after buying the firm and pushing through sweeping — but whiplash — changes. Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz announced their decision to employees, although Spitz will stay on as Freedom's chairman of the board, working with investors and the board of directors, the Register reported. Publisher Rich Mirman, a former casino marketing executive who has run day-to-day operations since last fall, assumed executive duties as Freedom's chief executive and president. He already was the Register's interim publisher and chief executive, taking over those posts from Kushner when he was hired.

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Hackers attack US reporters for Ethiopian TV service

Hackers who attacked a U.S. employee of Ethiopian Satellite Television in 2013 have recently launched a new round of attacks against the broadcaster, an Internet watchdog group said in a report published Monday that links the spyware to the Ethiopian government. Citizen Lab, which is based at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs, says the hackers used upgraded espionage software to send out booby-trapped emails in November and December. The broadcaster's executive director, Neamin Zeleke — one of those targeted by the malicious messages — says it didn't take a genius to figure out the same actors were at work. "They didn't even bother to change the email address," he said. Zeleke believes Ethiopia's authoritarian government — one of Africa's top jailers of journalists — is behind the hackers.

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Egypt postpones retrial of 2 Al-Jazeera English journalists

The retrial of two Al-Jazeera English journalists who face terror-related charges in Egypt was postponed to March 19 after a brief hearing on Sunday. Acting bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, who has Canadian citizenship, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed were freed last month awaiting trial, though they've had to check in with police daily. Their first hearing on Feb. 23 also was postponed. Al-Jazeera criticized the postponement in a statement, saying it has urged a swift retrial and that "wasted opportunities like today and the last hearing do not help towards that end."

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CBS' Plante returns to Selma 50 years later

Fifty years after covering the civil rights marches in Selma for CBS News, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante is returning to Alabama for this weekend's commemorations still working for the same news organization. As one mark of how things have changed in five decades, Plante will be interviewing a black man who is president of the United States on Saturday. President Barack Obama will also be in Alabama to mark the occasion. Plante was a 27-year-old reporter in 1965 who bore witness to police tear-gassing and beating demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Later, he interviewed the Rev. Martin Luther King as he crossed the bridge in a separate march to the state capital in Montgomery.

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NBC brings back former news president

NBC has changed the leadership of its troubled news division by bringing back the executive who led the network out of a dark period two decades ago. The hiring of Andy Lack as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC was announced Friday in a memo to staff from NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke. Lack, who was NBC News president from 1993 to 2001, subsequently ran Sony Music Entertainment, worked at Bloomberg Media and most recently has been head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a federal agency. Among Lack's first duties will be deciding the future of Brian Williams, who is serving an unpaid six-month suspension for misrepresenting his role covering the Iraq War in 2003 and is the subject of an ongoing internal investigation into other alleged misstatements. Lack ran NBC News when Williams was positioned as the expected successor to Tom Brokaw as "Nightly News" anchor.

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San Quentin inmate-run media earn acclaim for look at prison life

Over the past two years, Bay Area public-radio listeners have been able to get an unvarnished look into life at the state's most famous prison: An inmate living with HIV. A foreigner whose introduction to America came within prison walls. The nuance of a jail-yard handshake. The depth of the material suggests the reporter had to be embedded in the prison to get such detail, emotion and candor. In the case of the San Quentin Prison Report, "embedded" means "incarcerated." The radio program and a partner newspaper, the San Quentin News, represent a burgeoning media enterprise produced by inmates in the home of California's Death Row.

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Ohio newspaper settles federal suit after staffers detained

The federal government has settled a lawsuit filed by an Ohio newspaper after a reporter and a photographer were detained and had cameras confiscated outside a military tank plant. Court documents filed Thursday, March 5, say the settlement calls for the government to pay $18,000 to The Blade newspaper in Toledo. The government did not acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement. The lawsuit was filed last April in Toledo by the newspaper and two staffers. It says the journalists were detained by military police for about an hour in Lima and their constitutional rights were violated. Military police told the journalists that photography of the tank plant was prohibited. As part of the settlement, the newspaper agreed not to publish photos of the plant taken the day the journalists were detained.

CBS sponsoring Vietnam exhibit at Newseum to honor Bob Simon

CBS will sponsor an upcoming exhibit about the Vietnam war at the Newseum in Washington to honor "60 Minutes" correspondent Bob Simon and his five decades of war reporting. "Reporting Vietnam" will open May 22 at the museum, recalling how journalists reported the war in the television era. The exhibit announced Thursday, March 5, will feature Simon, Walter Cronkite and others. Curators say it will pose the question: "Did the press lose the war?" Simon was one of the last journalists to leave Vietnam following the fall of Saigon in 1975. He reported on conflicts worldwide. Simon died Feb. 11 after a nearly 50-year career at CBS. In a statement, CBS News President David Rhodes says Simon's reporting from Vietnam in the 1970s cemented his role as the pre-eminent war correspondent.

Court rules journalist can publish diary in James Brown case

The South Carolina Supreme Court says a freelance journalist can publish a diary that she says is from James Brown's widow. The justices ruled Wednesday, March 4,  that preventing Sue Summer from publishing Tommie Rae Brown's writings would violate her First Amendment free press rights. The writings from Tommie Rae Brown's diary were put under seal by a judge hearing challenges to James Brown's estate. Summer was mailed the diary with no return address and posted the contents on Facebook. The writings show Tommie Rae Brown questioned whether she and the soul singer were legally married before he died in 2006. A lawyer for Tommie Rae Brown said Summer was publishing something a judge said should not be public. The attorney also asked that Summer be forced to reveal her source.

Times Record publisher retiring

Larry Hubner, publisher and advertising director of the Times Record, of Brunswick, Maine, has announced his retirement. Hubner, 60, has served in the position since November of 2012. Sample Media, owner of The Times Record, is conducting a national search for a replacement. April 10 will be Hubner's last day as publisher. "My wife and I have some exciting plans afoot, and I'll announce those in a column next month, once the company decides on a replacement," Hubner said this week. Hubner has served in the newspaper industry since he was a news carrier at age 13. He most recently was publisher and advertising director for the Sentinel and Enterprise in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and was regional publisher for MediaNews in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

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Winner of prestigious World Press Photo award disqualified

Organizers of the prestigious World Press Photo contest have disqualified one of their winners after he told them one of the pictures in a series of images about the Belgian city of Charleroi was actually taken somewhere else. A series of atmospheric photos by Italian Giovanni Troilo portraying scenes of life in gritty, post-industrial Charleroi, east of Brussels, won first prize last month in the contest's Contemporary Issues Story category. The images triggered heated online debate among photojournalists and a complaint from Charleroi's mayor that his city had been misrepresented. World Press Photo launched an investigation that cleared Troilo of staging photos. However, late Wednesday, March 4, his award was revoked because one photo was taken not in Charleroi, but in nearby Brussels. Troilo could not immediately be reached for comment.


Arizona House gives initial approval to post public notices online

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

Texas journalists back bill seeking more libel protection

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

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Reporter jailed in Iran gets lawyer after more than 7 months

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

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Icahn settles with Gannett, withdraws his board nominees

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

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

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Vega, Llamas to be weekend anchors for ABC

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

Prosecutors' website scandal revived in official's appeal

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

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Bill O'Reilly's partisan critics stepping up attack

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

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

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

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Tennessee public television stations to air legislative show

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

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

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

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Providence Journal names Janet Hasson its new publisher

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

Lawyer for Al-Jazeera journalist blasts Canadian government

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

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

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

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ABC's Sawyer does prime-time prison special

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

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

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

Journalist to face court after Paris drone incident

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

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

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Gannett Louisiana appoints New Jersey newsman top editor

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

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

Former NYT executive editor Jill Abramson has book deal

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

Williams and O'Reilly cases diverge

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

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CBS News releases video referenced in O'Reilly dispute

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

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Battle Born Media acquires Sparks Tribune

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Yahoo seeking to harvest ad revenue from other mobile apps

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

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