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“We repeatedly observed the same needs in our various circles of journalists of color.” This guide starts to address those needs in one place
During the 35-day government shutdown that spanned last year’s Christmastime holidays, journalists searched for ways to humanize the impact of a month’s lost income on the families of federal employees. At every turn, they ran into the same obstacle: Federal employees had been told it was a punishable offense to talk to the media without […]
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The story behind the #UsToo training: Why harassment is about power and how we can help prevent abuse
The post The story behind the #UsToo training: Why harassment is about power and how we can help prevent abuse appeared first on Poynter.
On Sunday, according to reports, Turkish forces struck a convoy of civilians that was traveling with Kurdish forces in northern Syria—part of Turkey’s incursion into the region following Donald Trump’s sudden decision, last week, to draw down US troops there. Saad Ahmed, a reporter with the local news agency Hawar News, was one of several journalists in the convoy, and was killed in the strike; at least four others—Arsene Jakso, Dilsuz Deldar, Amal Younis, and Ahmed’s colleague Mohammad Ikinji—were injured, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. “At least nine people were killed, more than 70 injured,” Lindsey Hilsum of Britain’s Channel 4 News, who had been traveling with the convoy but abandoned it for safety reasons, said of the strike. “Were any of them those we’d met on the road? I have no way of knowing. All I know is that hope and determination could not save them.”
Turkish forces, and their proxies in Syria, haven’t stopped there in their fight against Kurdish groups they consider to be terrorists. In recent days, reports detailing shocking human-rights abuses, including the execution of Kurdish captives by Turkey’s partners and the killing of “scores” of unarmed civilians, have circulated. On Face the Nation Sunday, Margaret Brennan raised such claims with Mark Esper, the US defense secretary. “These are war crimes,” she said. Esper, cautiously, concurred: “It appears to be, if true, that they would be war crimes.” Yesterday, Trump—who has wavered a little on his drawdown decision following massive, bipartisan criticism at home—echoed Esper’s words as he slapped sanctions on Turkish officials, and tariffs on Turkish steel. Turkey’s action, Trump said, is “precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes.” On the ground, the situation continued to deteriorate. According to the Washington Post, Turkey expanded the geographical scope of its operation. And US officials confirmed to Foreign Policy that Turkish proxies are deliberately releasing prisoners tied to ISIS.
Much coverage and commentary in Western media has focused on Trump’s strategic blunder in clearing the path for Turkey’s offensive. (Per Axios, Trump aides didn’t think Turkey would actually invade.) Further down the news cycle, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, has also taken some sharp blows. Yesterday evening, in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, Erdoğan punched back. Under the headline “Turkey Is Stepping Up Where Others Fail to Act,” Erdoğan passed the buck, painting his operation as an unavoidable corrective to other world leaders’ failures to act on the migrant crisis and on Syria. Turkey, Erdoğan wrote, “has no argument with any ethnic or religious group.” (Many Kurds in Turkey, whose community has faced a years-long campaign of repression, may beg to differ.)
Erdoğan is not a first-time caller. This year alone, he’s been published in the opinion section of the New York Times, and multiple times in that of the Post. In hindsight, his piece for the Times—which ran in January, after Trump first announced plans to withdraw from Syria—grimly foreshadowed his argument in the Journal, albeit in peppier terms: Turkey, Erdoğan wrote for the Times, was “volunteering” to finish fighting “terrorists” on behalf of the US, and the international community should support its efforts to do so. In March, he wrote for the Post comparing the white supremacist who slaughtered Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, to members of ISIS; late last month, he wrote for the same paper about the need to secure justice for Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident murdered by Saudi officials in a consulate in Turkey.
Following the Christchurch op-ed in March, I wrote in this newsletter that opinion editors were wrong to give Erdoğan a platform in their pages. The problem, I wrote, was the clear dissonance between Erdoğan’s op-eds—normally innocuous and righteous—and his politics. In print, Erdoğan said Western leaders must learn from the dignified, tolerant response of Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, to Christchurch; in real life, he toured Turkey ahead of local elections playing the shooter’s video to incite crowds. In print, Erdoğan expressed outrage at Khashoggi’s murder; in real life, he has eroded press freedom in Turkey, and is the world’s most prolific jailer of journalists. His renderings of Turkish interests in Syria, likewise, have been deeply propagandistic. His focus in the Journal, on the refugee crisis, seems aimed at a domestic audience. Unsurprisingly, the words “war crimes” are nowhere to be seen.
In March, Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor at the Post, told me that publishing Erdoğan is not an endorsement of him; rather, he said, the op-ed page should be “a forum for a wide range of views.” I returned to Hiatt yesterday, to ask whether his section had any new red lines around contributions, and if so, whether Erdoğan’s conduct in Syria would disqualify him from writing about it. He replied: “An editor should evaluate each piece on its merits, not draw red lines.” (James Bennet, editorial page editor at the Times, did not return a similar request for comment. CJR reached out to Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Journal, about today’s op-ed shortly before sending this newsletter, and will update it at CJR.org should we receive a response.)
As I wrote in March, simply banning authoritarian politicians from writing op-eds about newsworthy events would be an unsophisticated response to a complicated, nuanced problem. That said, serving readers requires more than offering up propaganda and trusting them to make up their own minds about it. Readers looking at an Erdoğan op-ed about Jamal Khashoggi should be confronted—prominently—with Erdoğan’s own record on press freedom. Likewise, readers looking at his op-eds about Syria—today and, it seems likely, going forward—should know that his forces attacked a convoy of journalists and civilians, and didn’t stop there.
Below, more on Turkey, Syria, and the press:
- “A nationalist surge”: The Post’s Kareem Fahim reports that Turkish media have mostly backed Erdoğan enthusiastically over the Syria invasion—and that more critical voices have been bullied or otherwise suppressed. Last week, Hakan Demir, an editor at the daily newspaper Birgun, was detained after he reprinted a statement from the Syrian Kurdish fighters Turkey is targeting. He remains under investigation.
- Another op-ed: It’s not just Erdoğan using the Western press to get his position across on Syria: on Sunday, Foreign Policy published an article by Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which are lined up against Turkey. Abdi explained that his forces will partner with their erstwhile enemy Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, following the retreat of their American allies.
- The wrong footage: On Sunday, ABC News ran footage of Turkey bombing Syria—but the footage wasn’t of Syria at all. Rather, it appears to have been taken at a gun range in Kentucky. ABC apologized but did not explain the error.
Other notable stories:
- Tonight sees the fourth Democratic presidential primary debate, hosted jointly by CNN and the Times. Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper will moderate, as will Marc Lacey, the Times’s national editor. The stage will be the most crowded in debate history, with 12 candidates vying for attention. (Why didn’t they just split them over two nights?) We could be in for a messy evening; in a preview, the Times writes that the big question will be, “Can anyone make a splash without being the one who ends up soaked?” (That is, indeed, a question.) Ahead of time, CJR’s Alexandria Neason asked Scott Wunn, executive director of the National Speech and Debate Association, how hosts and participants might cut through the noise. “The moderator has so much power,” he says.
- Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill hits shelves today and is still making headlines, despite its lengthy rollout: yesterday, we learned that the National Enquirer, per Farrow, shredded secret documents about Trump in 2016, the same day a Wall Street Journal reporter approached the magazine for comment on its “catch and kill” scheme to protect Trump. American Media Inc., which owns the Enquirer, denies this. Management at NBC News, another target of Farrow’s book (he used to work there), are hitting back, too—yesterday, Noah Oppenheim, its president, told staff that the book is “a smear.”
- Following Shep Smith’s shocking departure from Fox, executives on the news side of the network are determined to keep his time slot focused on the facts; Variety’s Brian Steinberg reports that heavy-hitters including Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Martha MacCallum will all take turns filling in for Smith until a permanent replacement is appointed. Elsewhere, BuzzFeed reports that the Trump-based tensions at Fox aren’t unique—Rupert Murdoch’s UK titles face a similar divide over Boris Johnson.
- For CJR, Elizabeth Hewitt spoke with Emma Betuel, a mind and body reporter for Inverse who wrote the first deep dive into Dank Vapes, a murky brand that officials subsequently linked to vaping-related lung illnesses. Betuel says: “I felt like I was screaming in a corner, ‘This company is not legitimate and they’re really dangerous.’”
- OneZero’s Will Oremus explores the algorithm of Pinterest, which—when it comes to misinformation—is charting a different course than its Silicon Valley rivals. Where others have been criticized for radicalizing users through recommendations, Pinterest has opted to “embrace bias, limit virality, and become something of an anti-social network.”
- Digital First Media—the cost-slashing, hedge fund-backed newspaper publisher—is outsourcing design work at some of its titles to the Philippines, Julie Reynolds writes for The Intercept. Reynolds reports that, prior to the Philippines move, Digital First laid off six employees in its California design and copy-editing hub, itself established to cut costs.
- Staff at the Daily Progress, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Virginia, are unionizing. Their newly formed Blue Ridge Guild is asking management at the paper, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway’s media arm, to voluntarily recognize the effort.
- In Italy, Carlo De Benedetti, an 84-year-old media mogul, is trying to buy back into the newspaper company he founded—seven years after retiring and handing his controlling stake to his sons. In recent years, De Benedetti has berated his sons for mismanaging the company, whose titles include la Repubblica and La Stampa. Bloomberg has more.
- And when Business Insider’s Benjamin Goggin asked Bryan Goldberg, CEO of Bustle Digital Group, for comment on cratering morale at the company, Goldberg accused him of spreading “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) and causing employees distress. (ICYMI in June, Lyz Lenz profiled Goldberg the “digital slumlord” for CJR.)
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Drinking seawater is bad for you, and other horror stories from the front lines of science fact-checking
The post Drinking seawater is bad for you, and other horror stories from the front lines of science fact-checking appeared first on Poynter.
Media showdown: It’s Ronan Farrow vs. NBC brass | More Matt Lauer accusations in book | Trump condemns fake video
The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Tuesday morning. Tonight, the Democratic presidential hopefuls — 12 of them — will hold a debate hosted by CNN and The New York Times. You can watch on CNN, CNN en Espanol and CNN International. You can […]
One way to learn writing strategies is to study the texts of successful speeches. Over the years, I have X-rayed the Gettysburg Address, “I Have a Dream,” and the oratory of both Barack and Michelle Obama. I note, for example, that the former First Lady once reminded her audience that “I live in a house […]
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2019) – The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism and fact-checking, is pleased to announce the 21 journalists selected from nearly 200 applicants for its prestigious Power of Diverse Voices: Minority Writers Workshop. The workshop grew out of the Minority Writers Seminar, a collaboration between what was then the […]
The post Power of Diverse Voices is now one of Poynter’s most competitive programs. Meet the 2019 class. appeared first on Poynter.
The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, click here. Good Monday morning. The media world is still buzzing with the surprising announcement on Friday that Shepard Smith was leaving Fox News after 23 years. Many are calling this a severe blow to Fox News. Is it? Let’s start […]
The post Shepard Smith’s Fox News departure | ‘The View’ from here | Violent fake Trump video denounced appeared first on Poynter.
In March 2018, Shep Smith mused, in an interview with Time magazine, about walking away from his Fox News show. “I wonder,” he asked, “if I stopped delivering the facts, what would go in its place in this place that is most watched, most listened, most viewed, most trusted?” A year and a half later, we’re about to find out the answer. As his hour drew to a close on Friday afternoon, Smith, smiling placidly, heralded “a personal moment now.” No one—not least his colleagues—knew what was coming next. “This is my last newscast here,” Smith eventually said. “Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism—and journalists—will thrive. I’m Shepard Smith, Fox News, New York.” With those words, Smith shuffled some papers and waved at the camera; then—according to the Washington Post—he slipped out of the building via the freight elevator, avoiding both the paparazzi and emotional goodbyes.
As his Time interview made clear, Smith—a redoubt of sanity in the increasingly warped universe of Fox News—had grown sick of the latitude afforded the network’s opinion hosts. His tipping point, the Post and CNN report, was a recent spat with Tucker Carlson: Smith criticized Carlson for failing to stick up for Andrew Napolitano, a legal analyst on Fox, after a guest on Carlson’s show called Napolitano “a fool”; Carlson shot back that Smith is “a partisan.” Per CNN’s Oliver Darcy, Smith was irked that network executives did not have his back; instead, he was reportedly reminded not to “shoot inside the tent.” (Fox called the latter claim “wildly inaccurate.”) Smith’s departure could now become a tipping point in its own right: an inside source told Darcy that it could trigger an exodus of staffers who “stayed here solely” for Smith. “Fox hasn’t just lost Shep today,” the source said.
ICYMI: Moving beyond ‘Zuck sucks’
In media circles, Smith’s exit drove a conversation throughout the weekend. On Reliable Sources, CNN’s Brian Stelter called it a “cultural moment” that’s “bigger than Fox”; Conor Powell, formerly a correspondent for the network, told Stelter that Smith “was really the directional compass for those of us that were journalists” at Fox. “His voice didn’t always make it past his own show—a lot of the other shows just sort of ignored what he reported—but at least, day in and day out, Shepard’s voice was on the channel.” Commentators concurred that with Smith gone from Fox, so, too, are facts. His departure “sends a clear and dismaying message: Fox’s vaunted ‘news’ division has been routed,” Matt Gertz, of Fox-antagonist Media Matters for America, wrote. “Fox belongs to the Seans Hannity and Lous Dobbs. And now, everyone knows it.”
At least until any exodus, such verdicts seem a little harsh on some of those Smith left behind: his own team of reporters and producers, for example, and hosts such as Chris Wallace, who have proved they can sit in the same studio as Trump administration figures without going all gooey-eyed at them. There’s no question, however, that Smith’s resignation is a defining loss for the serious people left at Fox—writing last year, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman called him the network’s “most visible capital-J journalist and quasi-ombudsman”—as well as a clear victory for its propagandists. (Sean Hannity praised Smith on Friday, but has previously called him “clueless.”)
It’s also a victory for Trump. The president repeatedly trashed Smith, including in a tweet on the eve of Smith’s exit; on Friday, Trump needled Smith’s “terrible” ratings (which, while low by Fox News standards, were high compared to competitors’) under the guise of wishing him well. Over the weekend, Trump continued to behave like the network’s programmer in chief. On Saturday, he dialed into Jeanine Pirro’s show for a sycophantic interview. (“Do you take vitamins?” Pirro asked, expressing awe at Trump’s stamina. “How do you do this?”) Yesterday, on Twitter, he mocked Wallace, and suggested his fans should tune into Mark Levin’s show and Steve Hilton’s to get their nightly impeachment-Bidens-Ukraine-scandal fix.
In recent months, skeptical voices have refuted the suggestion that there is a genuine news-opinion divide at Fox. Those voices don’t need to be wrong for Smith’s departure to point at a concerning broader truth. As Sherman wrote last year, Fox has reportedly been rudderless since the ouster of Roger Ailes, in 2016; in Ailes’s absence, opinion hosts have had freer rein to do their own thing, which has often meant doing Trump’s thing on his behalf. The news-opinion divide (and this is not Smith’s fault) may often have been more smoke and mirrors than an actual firewall, but the appearance of one was of critical importance to Ailes. The disappearance of Smith—who had been with Fox ever since Ailes founded the network, in 1996—further erodes that perception, perhaps more so than any individual event of the post-Ailes era.
Below, more on Shep Smith and Fox News:
- Next steps for Shep: Smith is not retiring, but he won’t resurface on a rival network anytime soon, seemingly for contractual reasons. For now, he plans to spend more time with his family. Also for the time being, Fox will replace Smith with a rotating cast of hosts, and rename his show Fox News Reporting. Trace Gallagher is first up today.
- A Murdoch walks into a Barr: Last week, Maggie Haberman and Katie Benner, of the New York Times, reported that William Barr, the attorney general, took a private meeting with Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, at Murdoch’s New York home. It’s not clear what they discussed, but speculation that Smith’s departure was linked to the meeting is wide of the mark, Smith’s spokesperson said.
- “Personal struggles”: Carl Cameron, formerly a reporter at Fox News, toured the studios following Smith’s departure, and was heavily critical of the network. In a statement to Mediaite, Fox unloaded on Cameron: a spokesperson said he “has a very short memory for our endless compassion, patience and graciousness in dealing with his multitude of personal struggles.” This, the Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr noted, was not what Fox said at the time of Cameron’s departure.
- Litmus test: Fox personalities have stayed loyal to Trump despite the president’s frequent tirades against the network. According to the Times, over the summer, Trump even phoned Suzanne Scott, Fox News’s CEO, to complain about coverage. “In cajoling and bullying his closest media allies, Mr. Trump is wielding the total-loyalty litmus test that he has used to keep close associates in line,” the Times reports.
Other notable stories:
- Over the weekend, Turkey and allied militias wreaked devastation in northern Syria as Trump doubled down on his much-criticized drawdown of US troops by ordering a total withdrawal from the area. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a Turkish air strike on a civilian convoy killed at least one journalist—Saad Ahmed, a Syrian Kurd who reports for Hawar News, a local news agency—and wounded several others. Relatedly, Evan Hill and Christiaan Triebert, of the Times, published an article yesterday proving that in May, Russian forces bombed four Syrian hospitals in just 12 hours.
- After Facebook confirmed that it will not fact-check or censor misleading political ads—including, most recently, a Trump spot making false claims about the Bidens and Ukraine—Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign ran an ad on the platform attacking the decision, topped (satirically) with the false claim that Facebook just endorsed Trump. On Saturday, Facebook defended itself on the grounds that local TV stations also ran the Trump ad, and were required to do so by the FCC. This, several observers said, was an odd response as FCC rules don’t bind Facebook; Warren said it proved her point.
- Last week, a meme showing Trump brutally murdering members of the news media and his political opponents was shown during a conference held by American Priority, a pro-Trump group, at the president’s resort in Doral, Florida, the Times’s Michael S. Schmidt and Haberman report. The conference organizer denounced the video, which he said had been played as part of a “meme exhibit”; Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Donald Trump, Jr., both of whom were present at the event, denied having seen it.
- CJR’s Justin Ray assessed CNN’s presidential town hall, last Thursday, devoted to the LGBTQ community. The event was an opportunity for candidates to show what they already know. “It was also revealing. Democrats have been criticized for assuming they will be able to win minority voters without actually helping minority voters. The town hall indicated that in order to get that support, candidates are going to have to work harder.”
- The Boston Globe’s Zoe Greenberg explores the “paradox” behind the death of the Journal Tribune, a newspaper serving Biddeford, Maine, that shut down on Saturday. Biddeford’s mayor, school superintendent, and the head of a local food pantry all mourned the Journal Tribune’s closure having come to rely on its reporting; that said, “none of them was subscribing to the paper when it published its last issue.”
- In Iowa, the family-owned Carroll Times Herald recently won a libel suit related to its reporting on a local cop’s sexual relationships with teenage girls; even so, the suit cost the paper thousands of dollars, the Des Moines Register reports. Last week, the Herald launched a GoFundMe page to recoup its costs; so far, it’s raised more than $80,000.
- In Tunisia, Kais Saied, a conservative academic, looks to have won a resounding victory over Nabil Karoui, a media magnate, in the country’s presidential election; Karoui, who was jailed for a long stretch of the campaign on fraud charges, suggested he might appeal. (ICYMI, Layli Foroudi recently profiled Tunisia’s national news agency for CJR.)
- And in France, major news organizations, citing senior law-enforcement sources, reported that Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, a long-time fugitive suspected of murdering his family, had finally been arrested. The authorities, however, had the wrong man, and so the story had to be retracted. There’s more on the media fallout here (in French).
In a corner of Brazil, local reporters are switching to government jobs and the state is achieving “media capture”
The spirit of Gawker keeps finding new ways to die: G/O Media shuts down Splinter and warns staffers not to write about the closure
Social Science One, the non-profit commission launched in 2018 to establish concrete partnerships between academics and data-rich institutions like Facebook, now has 32 million individual links extracted from Mark Zuckerberg’s social media network upon which to conduct research. After an unexpected delay of almost a year, something that created an upset with the project’s founders, […]
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