Syria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist. As former New York Times reporter David Rohde wrote last month, roughly 30 journalists, half of them foreign reporters, are now missing in the country—marking the “single largest wave of kidnappings in modern journalism.” Just in the last few weeks, we’ve learned that two Swedish journalists were abducted near the Lebanese border, two Spanish journalists were kidnapped by al Qaeda-affiliated fighters in the northern province of Raqqa, and an Iraqi cameraman was executed by the same jihadi group in the northern province of Idlib. A total of 55 journalists have been killed covering the two and a half-year-old conflict, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Pro- and anti-Assad forces have both had a hand in the bloodshed.
Read more. [Image: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters]
We live in an age of space-image abundance. Sure, NASA may not be able to continue running its existing missions, but, guys, we have more space photos and videos than we know what to do with.
Well, actually, we do know what to do with them: love them, unreservedly. In a fast-moving world, on a fast-moving Internet, space rises up above the snark, the cynicism, and the inanities. They are little oases of sincerity amid it all.
But how do you sell space in a headline?
Read more. [Image: NASA/Rebecca J. Rosen]
The $250 million news organization that eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar is launching is still taking shape, but one of its characteristics is established: Unlike many American newspapers and TV networks, the startup won’t insist that its reporters observe the conventions of what is variously called objectivity, impartiality, or viewlessness.
This is evident in part because its most famous hire, Glenn Greenwald, has always been outspoken about his beliefs, and subscribes to the idea that “disclosing rather than hiding one’s subjective values makes for more honest and trustworthy journalism.” He’ll presumably keep operating as he always has, perhaps with more resources and editing tailored to his needs.
What’s less clear is how his colleagues and the organization they’re joining will operate. But a clue came with NYU media theorist Jay Rosen’s announcement that he’ll join the startup as an adviser. For many years, Rosen has been a leading critic of what he calls The View From Nowhere, or the conceit that journalists bring no prior commitments to their work. On his long-running blog, PressThink, he’s advocated for “The View From Somewhere”—an effort by journalists to be transparent about their priors, whether ideological or otherwise.
Rosen is just one of several voices who’ll shape NewCo. Still, the new venture may well be a practical test of his View from Somewhere theory of journalism. I chatted with Rosen about some questions he’ll face.
Read more. [Image: “Caveman Chuck” Coker/Flickr]
A prominent Hong Kong-based journalist has called on Daniel Doctoroff, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg L.P., to step down from his role as chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner on Tuesday in New York because his company is engulfed in a press freedom controversy of its own, involving its China reporting team.
Ying Chan, who was an honoree at the same dinner 15 years ago, called on Doctoroff to relinquish CPJ’s podium in the wake of the suspension of Hong Kong-based Bloomberg reporter Michael Forsythe on November 13. Forsythe was a leading member of the company’s respected China news team. Bloomberg employees told The New York Times that Bloomberg’s Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler said the company would not publish the China team’s latest long-term investigations on the financial ties of China’s top leaders to powerful business interests. The employees characterized Winkler’s moves as self-censorship to protect the company’s interests in China, the world’s second-largest economy, which lacks a free press.
Read more. [Image: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]
The company’s alleged refusal to offend the Chinese Communist Party reveals the limitations of “journalistic access.”
Read more. [Image: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
Thirty journalists—half of them foreign reporters, half of them Syrian—have been kidnapped or gone missing in Syria, the Associated Press reported this week. The number is unprecedented. Syria today is the scene of the single largest wave of kidnappings in modern journalism, more than in Iraq during the 2000s or Lebanon during the 1980s. A combination of criminality, jihadism and chaos is bringing on-the-ground coverage of the war to a halt.
In one of several alarming new trends that have emerged in Syria, jihadists are abducting reporters, holding them captive and making no demands for their release. Instead of requesting prisoner exchanges or ransoms, they hold journalists indefinitely as human bargaining chips for future use.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Nearly 150 years after it panned Lincoln’s seminal speech, the Patriot-News is changing its tune. This is how the editorial came to be in the first place.
Read more. [Image: AP/Matt Zenecy via Pennlive.com]
Conservative parliamentarian Liam Fox, Britain’s former defense secretary, is urging his country’s top prosecutor to investigate whether The Guardian and its journalists violated The Terrorism Act 2000 while handling Edward Snowden’s leaks.
He is focused on the newspaper’s decision to partner with foreign publications like The New York Times. “There have been further accusations that The Guardian passed the names of GCHQ agents to foreign journalists and bloggers. Would such activities, if true, constitute an offense under the Terrorism Act 2000 or other related legislation?” Fox asked in a letter to the director of public prosecutions, adding a question about how a prosecution might be initiated.
These actions are ominous.
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett]
One of this fall’s major media themes is the potential salvation of journalism by leading Silicon Valley moguls like Jeff Bezos and Pierre M. Omidyar—if they have the ingenuity and patience to reinvent the shattered business model of traditional news-gathering. They certainly have the money to do whatever they choose, as well as their conviction as billionaires that they will deliver news in the digital age with the same success as they (and their colleagues) have built fortunes from products and services at Amazon and eBay.
Read more. [Image: AP]
20th Century Headlines, Rewritten to get more clicks
In 50 years, our history e-books will read exactly like this.
- I want to raise $6.5 million to build and grow my new company: TheBoostle.com
During the last millennia, many popular new media properties have...
- Intellect, n.
The ability to use reason and other functions of the brain in human beings, including doubt and curiosity — in essence thinking. Not...
- “You will hate Los Angeles." That’s what English people said to me when they heard I was heading west, to the land of low-fat milk and sugar-free...”