Story of Gannon/Guckert raises ethical questions Charlie Savage and Alan Wirzbicki first reported on Feb. 2 in the Boston Globe about the questionable journalistic credentials of former Talon news reporter Jeff Gannon, whose news organization allegedly was backed by a conservative Web site, GOPUSA.com.
CIA not exempt from FOI rules The Central Intelligence Agency lost its bid to withhold documents from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups. The CIA argued the documents were “operational” and thus not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
High court takes on Cheney energy case The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in December to hear the Bush administration argue that it does not have to reveal who helped shape energy policy as part of Vice President Dick Cheney’s 2001 energy task force.
USA Today questions reporter’s stories USA Today correspondent Jack Kelley, an award-winning international journalist who risked his life covering war zones around the world, resigned Jan. 6 after the paper’s top editors questioned whether some of his stories had been fabricated.
Hispanic audience attracts advertisers Hispanic-geared magazines posted an average 24 percent jump in ad revenue in 2003, far exceeding ad growth in general market publications, Ft. Lauderdale’s Media Economics Group said. Preliminary 2003 estimates show that 58 magazines netted 11,230 ad pages, up by 6.5 percent from 2002.
Principal censors critical editorial A Durham, N.C., high school principal ordered his school’s student newspaper to remove an editorial questioning why the relative of a nominee for homecoming queen was allowed to help count votes. Principal Larry McDonald of Southern High School said he believes the newspaper should promote positive viewpoints of fellow students and encourage others.
British report calls for more openness British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office was criticized in an independent review of the government’s communications operations Jan. 19. The office should commit itself to holding White House-style briefings to bring greater openness and help counter public cynicism about politics and the media, the government-commissioned review said.
Pentagon criticizes NBC war coverage The story that became a world exclusive for NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski in early November turned into a question of ethics posed by the Pentagon at journalists. Miklaszewski was the only television reporter able to show early television footage of a devastating attack on the al-Rashid, a Baghdad hotel where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.
Appeal for Earnhardt photos thrown out After a student-run newspaper challenged the constitutionality of a 2001 Florida autopsy law, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Dec. 1 from the newspaper, which wanted autopsy photos of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.
Court rules settlements are open Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled in early October that a court settlement against a public entity is a public record under the state’s Right-to-Know Act, even when a body such as an insurance company is the sole party to the lawsuit.
Impact of Ashcroft memo debated Nearly half of the U.S. government’s Freedom of Information Act officials surveyed said Attorney General John Ashcroft’s tightening of FOIA guidelines has had little effect on how much information is being released. Forty-eight percent of government officials surveyed by the General Accounting Office, Congress’ watchdog agency, said little effect can be seen following Ashcroft’s 2001 FOIA memorandum, an audit released in September shows.
Photog loses awards over altered entries A Charlotte Observer photographer found himself in hot water in August when the North Carolina Press Photographers Association rescinded three of his 2002 awards after discovering he’d violated an organization’s code of ethics. The photographer, Patrick Schneider, apparently removed the entire backgrounds from some of his winning pictures, a manipulation in violation of the National Press Photographer Association’s code of ethics.
J-schools face funding problems Journalism schools across the nation are coping with heavy numbers of enrollees and one of the worst public financing crises ever. And as journalism students returned to campus this fall, they found fewer teachers, fewer classes and bigger classrooms.
State destroys records in hunt for runaway lawmakers In a one-sentence e-mail order, the Texas Department of Public Safety ordered that all records and photos from a search for Democratic state representatives who left for Oklahoma on May 11 be destroyed.
LA Times fires photog for altering photo A photographer for the Los Angeles Times was fired April 2 for an altered photo of a British soldier and a group of Iraqi civilians. The photo ran on the front page. According to the Times, photographer Brian Walski admitted that he used a computer to combine elements of two photos to improve the composition.
FOIA training video can’t be released A training video instructing staff on how to handle federal Freedom of Information Act requests has been produced by the Defense Department. The only problem with the video: It’s a secret. “It seems ironic, very ironic,” said Mike Ravnitzky, a writer for American Lawyer magazine whose November request to view the video was turned down.
AP protests FBI’s seizure of package A package mailed between two Associated Press reporters last September was opened by government agencies last September. They then seized a copy of an 8-year-old unclassified FBI lab report without notifying the news agency or obtaining a warrant.
More women, minority reporters on TV Women and minority reporters have become a great force on broadcast network evening news programs, according to a study released in late February. Minority reporters made up 14 percent of stories on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts in 2002, according to the Washington-based Center for Media and Public Affairs study of 12,179 stories.
Uzbek authorities fire newspaper editor Authorities have ordered the editor of an independent Uzbek newspaper to resign. The move is seen by many media rights activists as renewed oppression of the free media in the Central Asian nation. Amirkul Karimov, editor of the Hurriyat newspaper, was told to leave on March 13, but he was offered a job as the head of a government fund.
Texas city sues over disclosure order The city of Austin, Texas, is suing state Attorney General Greg Abbott over his order that Austin must comply with a University of Texas student newspaper request. The request is for information about surveillance cameras within the city.
Paper won’t call football team ‘Redskins’ The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star has changed part of the style found on its sports pages. The paper will no longer use the nickname “Redskins” in reference to the professional football team found in the nation’s capital.
Dallas Morning News to launch Spanish daily The Dallas Morning News will launch a Spanish-language daily for the area’s 1.4 million Hispanics. It is expected to be out in the fourth quarter of the year. The new paper – which has yet to be named – will cover local and international, business, lifestyle and sports news, and it will have a separate Web site.
High school considers prior review of paper Administrators at Grosse Pointe South High School have censored the school newspaper, The Tower, for the first time in its 75-year history. The censorship included the removal of a seven-line article about a fatal accident, and administrators are now considering prior review of The Tower.
Journalist arrested over vampire story Police in Malawi have arrested and released a radio broadcaster who interviewed a man claiming to have been attacked by mysterious bloodsuckers. The bizarre rumors that the government is working with vampires to collect human blood for international aid agencies have been circulating in the impoverished southern African country since late last year.
Homeland Security Office loses lawsuit The Office of Homeland Security cannot keep its activities secret, according to a federal judge, and must answer questions about the power it exerts over federal agencies. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said that if the office wants the lawsuit dismissed, it must prove it has no authority, but instead only helps and advises the president.
Reporting on trash raises community stink The Willamette Week, an alternative paper in Portland, Ore., has been publishing garbage. A recent reporting trip left two journalists going through the trash of local officials and has left many readers and locals asking if the move is ethical – or even legal.
Peace activists protest Post coverage A group of activists protested outside The Washington Post offices, claiming that major corporate-owned news media in the United States are indifferent to dissent against President George W. Bush and his push for war with Iraq.
TV reporter must stay 300 feet away from man A local television reporter in Florida must stay at least 300 feet from the man who claims he is being stalked by the reporter for a story, a Florida judge has ruled.
Editor fired for apology letterBrian Gomez was fired as sports editor of The State Press, the student newspaper at Arizona State University, for apologizing to university officials for an editorial the paper ran. The editorial, which ran Oct. 18, criticized a university program called the Sun Devil Recruiters.
Native publication aimed at recruitment Denny McAuliffe saw too few newspapers on reservations and tribal colleges and too few Native journalists in American newspapers. So he created reznet, an online newspaper geared toward Native Americans, at the University of Montana’s journalism school in Missoula, Mont.
Student scoops media with Skakel letter High school student Samanthia Ueckerman scooped reporters attempting to get prison interviews with Michael Skakel, the nephew of the late Robert F. Kennedy who was convicted in August for the 1975 beating death of Martha Moxley.
Seven Haitian journalists in hiding Seven surviving colleagues of Brignol Lindor, a Haitian journalist hacked to death one year ago in a political attack, say they believe they are being targeted by armed government supporters. The seven journalists were in hiding Dec.