Reporters’ Privilege Compendium | Pennsylvania Shield Laws Guide – RCFP

The Pennsylvania Shield Law and the First Amendment reporter’s privilege provide broad protections to reporters in Pennsylvania who are subpoenaed for their notes, documents and/or testimony. The Shield Law is an absolute privilege that precludes the compelled disclosure of confidential source information. Conversely, the First Amendment reporter’s privilege is a qualified privilege that protects both confidential and non-confidential sources, as well as a reporter’s resource materials and unpublished and even…

‘So, So Angry’: Reporters Who Survived the Capitol Riot Are Still Struggling

I weep for these patriotic, reasonable, sensibly-dressed citizens whose tourist visit to the Capitol has been labeled a “riot” and an “insurrection” by the lying America-hating fake news media. As tear gas still wafted through parts of the Capitol, with broken glass and blood staining the building, the House reconvened to certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory—and a majority of House Republicans voted against confirming his wins in Arizona and…

FBI launches flurry of arrests over attacks on journalists during Capitol riot

Imagine that. Nearly six months after the U.S. Capitol riot, the Justice Department has begun arresting a new category of alleged criminals — those who attacked reporters or damaged their equipment as journalists documented the violence perpetrated by supporters of President Donald Trump. The first such charge came last week, when 43-year-old Shane Jason Woods of Illinois was charged with engaging in violence on the Capitol grounds Jan. 6, as…

More Americans now see the media’s influence growing compared with a year ago

Americans’ views about the influence of the media in the country have shifted dramatically over the course of a year in which there was much discussion about the news media’s role during the election and post-election coverage, the COVID-19 pandemic and protests about racial justice. More Americans now say that news organizations are gaining influence than say their influence is waning, a stark contrast to just one year ago when the reverse was true.…

If You’re An English Major You Should Take a Journalism Class–Even If You Think You Hate Journalism

Journalism is not everyone’s cup of tea. The short, blunt paragraphs and inverted pyramid that tells readers exactly who, what, where, when and how from the get-go are creative writers’ worst nightmares. There is virtually no element of suspense, no character development, and no world building. Right? Well, not exactly. Just like creative writing, journalism is detail-driven and can include humor and depth. Quotations add dimension and often a human-touch to a news story. Experienced journalists know to keep bias out…

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Why do journalists use “allegedly” when they report on obvious crimes captured on video?

Look at this picture. A guy in a uniform obviously has his hands around a kid’s neck. Why would Business Insider use the word “allegedly” to describe what seems like a pretty obvious assault? If you are Young Sesame Chicken, what makes the Business Insider post worth sharing is the contrast between the mealy-mouthed headline and the powerful image. Why don’t journalists just call it abuse? Why soften the report…

Thirteen seconds. Dozens of bullets. One explosive photo.

Forget for a moment that the picture is among the most famous in US history, or that the photographer—a 21-year-old Kent State journalism student named John Filo—risked his life to document the tragedy. Consider what the photo captures: Our own military occupied a public university and then opened fire on a crowd of unarmed citizens—students no less—killing four and wounding nine. One student was killed while walking to class. Filo’s…

How Fake News Happens: It’s simple! A governor tweets a Fox News graphic from a story that cites a British tabloid’s misinterpretation of a scholarly study, and a false narrative about Biden banning beef stokes political rage

How dare President Biden be invoked by a British tabloid that rather creatively linked a scholarly study to a plan Biden floated during the Democratic primary. How dare Biden be implicated in a Fox News graphic that falsely lists cutting beef sales by 90% as a requirement of Biden’s “climate requirements.” How dare Biden be targeted by the Texas governor who retweeted the misleading Fox News graphic that amplified the…

CNN reports Biden’s dog was “involved in another biting incident”

CNN’s headline: “Bidens’ dog Major involved in another biting incident,” but the story quotes the first lady’s press secretary as saying, “Major nipped someone on a walk.”  So there doesn’t seem to be any need to obscure the identify of the biter. I find the uncritical use of “biting incident” a bit troubling. The phrase “officer-involved shooting” is popular with bad apple cops who wish to conceal their violent actions.…

How a Supermoon Helped Free the Giant Container Ship From the Suez Canal

Powerful lead to this well-written news story. (Great use of embedded hyperlinks, too.) To get the giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal unstuck, engineers needed the stars to align. Actually, the sun, Earth and moon. After several days trying to dislodge the Ever Given cargo ship, which had veered off course and embedded itself in the side of the canal, the salvage team pinned their hopes on this week’s full…

Partisan Pa. websites masquerading as local news threaten trust in journalism, new report finds

People with financial interests to protect and political axes to grind are funding websites that resemble local news outlets, with the express purpose of manipulating the attitudes of the general public. Journalists are far from perfect, and no human being is truly unbiased; however, there’s a big difference between responsible journalism that leans left or right, and partisan propaganda that’s camouflaged to resemble a neutral account of the facts. It’s…

Dan Rather reflects critically on the so-called “Heroic Age” of TV news

CBS’s Dan Rather infamously dismissed bloggers who pointed out flaws in a “60 Minutes II” story on documents purporting to address George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard. (See “False Documentation? Questions Arise About Authenticity of Newly Found Memos on Bush’s Guard Service.”) Rather eventually apologized and announced his retirement after 24 years at the anchor desk. The recent death of Larry King (CNN) and Roger Mudd  (CBS, PBS,…

Iowa Reporter Found Not Guilty By Jury After Arrest At Black Lives Matter Protest

Justice for a brave reporter arrested for doing her essential job, covering a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Thank goodness a fairly selected jury checked the actions of some bad-apple cops, including LEO Luke Wilson, who didn’t want to be observed while on the job. The founders of our nation understood that a healthy democracy requires a free press, not a corrupt police state that serves the interests of the powerful…

The Backstory: A reporter arrested while covering a protest faces trial Monday. Here’s why you should care.

Journalists are human, humans make mistakes, and no human journalist should be above criticism. In fact, cub reporters benefit greatly from making mistakes — it’s important for them to learn the consequences of spelling a name wrong or repeating a claim without checking it. However, general, unfocused contempt for “the media” is dangerous to a healthy democracy. Journalists arrested at last summer’s racial justice protests are still facing charges, jail time,…

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I can’t believe I’m fact-checking a viral story about the gender of a plastic potato with detachable body parts.

  I can’t believe I’m fact-checking a viral story about a plastic potato, but Hasbro is removing the “Mr.” from its “Potato Head” logo, and offering a new mix-and-match package that includes two potato bodies, one baby potato, and a bunch of loose parts that will let kids put them together however they want. That doesn’t mean it’s discarding or re-gendering the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters.  (Though the…

SPJ Journalist’s Toolbox Tools of the Month: Transcription favorites

Technology is wonderful. My journalism students prefer to conduct their interviews by emails, but the word “interview” defines a back-and-forth exchange where the reporter can respond to body language and other subtle cues that don’t make it into emailed responses. Also, it takes non-trivial effort for interview subjects to write out their answers, only a few sentences of which will actually make it into the news report. There’s so much…

Nellie Bly: A Race Against Time | Heinz History Center

On Nov. 14, 1889, Bly waved goodbye to family and friends from the New Jersey Hoboken Pier aboard the Augusta Victoria steamer. Traveling by steamships and trains, her journey sent her around the world from America to England, France, Italy, Egypt, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan, and back to a port in San Francisco. She then traveled by train across the U.S., with four major stops including Harrisburg, Pa., before arriving back in New Jersey on Jan. 25, 1890.