Category Archives: Freedom of Speech

SF Police Sow Suspicion of Media

SF police sow suspicion of media: The heavy-handed seizure of a freelance reporter’s records and devices is a gross violation of federal rules, writes Kelly McBride.

“By continuing to argue publicly that their raid was justified, and that this particular journalist is a bad person who shouldn’t be trusted, the SFPD adds to the public confusion over the role of the press,” she writes.

 

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Saving Local Newspapers

Saving local newspapers: Dwindling local news leads to partisan political polarization write Joshua P. Darr, Johanna Dunaway and Matthew P. Hitt.

Local newspapers provide a valuable service to democracy by keeping readers’ focus on their communities,” they write. “When they lose local newspapers, we have found, readers turn to their political partisanship to inform their political choices.”

 

Morality Clauses

Morality clauses: Writers find them in their contracts, writes Judith Shulevitz, but “immorality is a slippery concept,” like “public disrepute.” The public is fickle in what it takes umbrage at.

“Times change, norms change with them. Morality clauses hand the power to censor to publishers, not the government, so they don’t violate the constitutional right to free speech. But that power is still dangerous.”

 

Journalism Entry Points Disappear

Journalism entry points disappear: Digital-media start-up Mic crashes and burns, writes Margaret Sullivan.

“With the tragic demise of local newspapers, places like Mic have become the entry point into the craft for a lot of young journalists,” she writes. “As they go under, such entry points disappear.”

 

Denying Coverage To Nazis

Denying coverage to Nazis: An Arkansas television station thinks about the news value in covering a Nazi rally, then decides to “give them silence,” writes Al Tompkins.

News director learns the protestors are not local, protesting an issue of no local importance.

 

Lagging Freedom Of Information Act

Lagging Freedom of Information Act: Passed in 1966, but “it’s more difficult than ever to pry loose documents about the federal government”, writes C.J. Ciaramella.

Roughly 800,000 FOIA requests were made in 2017. A record number were denied or censored in the first year of the Trump administration. Ciaramella calls the act “a wheezing, arthritic artifact of more optimistic times.”

 

Reporters Making Statements

Reporters making statements: CNN’s Jim Acosta lost press credentials after questions for Trump ended with a statement, note Al Tompkins and Kelly McBride.

“Ask tough questions, avoid making statements or arguing during a press event and report the news, don’t become the news,” they write.

 

Covering Elections

Covering elections: The Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press offers an election legal guide.

“Generally, the First Amendment protects journalists’ right to gather news outside of polling places for the purpose of reporting on early election results,” says the exit polling guideline.

 

Does Journalism Matter?

Does journalism matter? The public no longer reads us and politicians dismiss us, says Kyle Pope.

“Here’s the bottom line,” he writes. “We do these stories because we believe in something even bigger than what will become of them.”

They are important. Readers deserve to know them. They get us closer to truth. They’re the right thing to do.

Taxing Tech Giants To Save Journalism

Taxing tech giants to save journalism: Aiden White writes about a British proposal to fund public interest journalism.

In the end, journalism must rely on combination therapy, he writes, including traditional advertising, public subscription, charitable donations and philanthropic largess and new funds.