Klasse administratie

Apache.be - vr, 24/04/2015 - 12:25
Totaal verstrikt in een Kafkaiaanse knoop na een onbetaalde verkeersboete, een administratieve slordigheid of een andere papieren plaag. Het kan zomaar gebeuren. Bij mensen met 'formulier-dyslexie', bij mensen die niet zo sedentair zijn of gewoonweg bij mensen die te arm zijn om te betalen, en daardoor in een staat van paniek verkeren.
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Azerbaijan - François Hollande urged to seek release of journalists while in Baku

Reporters Without Borders - vr, 24/04/2015 - 11:42

Reporters Without Borders calls on France to condition its presence at the opening of the first European Olympic Games, to be held in Baku in June, on the release of all journalists detained in Azerbaijan.

After visiting Yerevan today for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, President François Hollande will meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart in Baku tomorrow. Reporters Without Borders urges him to use the opportunity to clearly request the release of imprisoned journalists and an end to harassment of the government's critics.

Azerbaijan is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index after registering one of the biggest performance declines of any country. Virtually all of its independent journalists and outspoken bloggers have been silenced, thrown into prison or driven into exile.

“After eliminating all media pluralism, the Azerbaijani authorities are systematically suppressing the few remaining sources of criticism,” Reporters Without Borders programme director Lucie Morillon said.

“In the run-up to the first European Olympic Games, the continent's leaders have a special duty to condemn the unprecedented crackdown being orchestrated by Baku. We call on François Hollande to make the release of imprisoned journalists a condition for the presence of a French delegation at the opening ceremony of these games.”

Two journalists were released in December but eight other journalists and four online activists are still being held on trumped-up charges because of their reporting. They include Khadija Ismayilova, the country's most famous investigative journalist, who has been held since December 2014.

In all, Azerbaijan has around 100 political prisoners, including human rights defenders Rasul Jafarov and Intigam Aliyev, who were given jail sentences of six and a half years and seven and a half years respectively last week.

One by one, the last independent media outlets are being silenced as a result of various forms of pressure by President Ilham Aliyev's regime.

The Baku bureau of Radio AzadliqRadio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Azerbaijani service – was forcibly closed last December. The independent newspaper Zerkalo stopped publishing in May 2014 after being throttled economically. The last opposition daily, Azadlig, is collapsing under the impact of astronomical damages awards and political persecution. The government controls the entire broadcast sector.

The main NGOs that support the media and defend freedom of information have also had to shut down. Emin Huseynov, the head of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, has been holed up in the Swiss embassy since August. He sought refuge there after his home and his NGO were raided.

The climate of intimidation is reinforced by physical attacks that usually go unpunished, blackmail attempts and inflammatory verbal attacks on government critics, who are decried as “traitors” or “foreign agents.”

(Photo: AFP / Stéphane de Sakutin)

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Journalist aangeklaagd om Luxleaks

Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 11:15
Een journalist die vorig jaar een omvangrijk systeem van belastingvermijding via Luxemburg aan het daglicht bracht, is op donderdag aangeklaagd wegens het lekken van vertrouwelijke documenten van accountantsbureau PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Ook…
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VPRO maandblad

Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 11:14
De VPRO heeft een nulnummer van een nieuw VPRO blad gelanceerd. Het maandblad, ontworpen door de makers van Das Magazin, Vruchtvlees, moet in 2016 verschijnen. De VPRO wil zichzelf volgens uitgever Hugo Blom met het maandblad beschermen. “Zoals…
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Biden cites progress on campus sexual assault, but says there's 'so much farther to go'

Public Integrity - vr, 24/04/2015 - 11:00

Vice President Joe Biden paid a visit to the University of Illinois Thursday to spotlight the Obama administration’s latest campaign to combat campus sexual assault — the topic of a groundbreaking investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.

Speaking before a rousing crowd of students and administrators at a recreation center on the university’s Urbana-Champaign campus, Biden urged that everyone in the audience — especially men — pledge to prevent what he called a “vicious form of violence” at schools nationwide. A long-time crusader against gender-based violence, who authored the landmark 1994 Violence Against Women Act, the vice president spoke passionately about the subject of sexual assault on college campuses.

“The culture has come a long way, but it has so much farther to go,” said Biden, his voice rising. “Until we make a pariah of all those who believe they have a right to say, ‘She asked for it,’ we won’t make the progress we have to make.”

He added, “It is within our power to end sexual abuse on every campus in every community. There really is no excuse.”

The Illinois rally, held in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, celebrated the White House’s “It’s on Us” awareness campaign, which encourages students and administrators not only to respond to sexual assault on college campuses, but also prevent it. Launched last fall, the education effort features celebrity-studded public-service announcements geared toward college-aged men. According to the White House, more than 300 colleges and universities have hosted student-led rallies, pledge drives and similar “It’s on Us” events. Biden praised the Urbana-Champaign student body for doing more than any other campus to implement the program.

The campaign is but the latest action on a variety of fronts to curb what Biden, President Barack  Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have called an “epidemic” of sexual violence on college campuses. In April 2104, a White House task force announced recommendations for helping schools respond to the problem, launching a website, NotAlone.gov. Within days, the Education Department released for the first time a list of every college and university under investigation for possible violations of federal law because of the way they have handled claims of sexual assault; to date, the list comprises around 100 schools.

The Obama administration has issued stricter federal guidelines and taken up the cause more generally in the years since the Center’s investigation. Published in a six-part series starting in 2009, “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice” — done in collaboration with National Public Radio — showed that campus judicial proceedings regarding allegations of sexual assault were often confusing, shrouded in secrecy, and marked by lengthy delays. Those who reported sexual assaults encountered a litany of institutional barriers that either assured their silence or left them feeling victimized again. Even students found “responsible” for alleged sexual assaults often faced little punishment, while their victims’ lives were turned upside down.

The issue has continued to attract both attention and controversy. Male students accused of campus sexual assault and some of their lawyers have charged that the adjudication process is unfair to them. More recently, there has been a national furor over a now-discredited article published in the December 2014 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Earlier this month, Columbia University released a scathing audit chronicling how the magazine’s editorial staff had failed to undertake what it described as “basic, even routine journalistic practice” to verify a student’s account of an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.

At the Illinois campus, though, Biden took the opportunity to call on school administrators to “step up” to combat sexual violence, noting that “all too often, institutions re-victimize the victim.”

“Colleges and universities . . . have a legal obligation and a moral obligation to protect,” he said. “This isn’t abstract.”

Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Virginia's new ethics legislation would close some loopholes, skip others

Public Integrity - vr, 24/04/2015 - 11:00

Virginia legislators last week took another stab at reforming the state’s ethics laws by passing a new limit on gifts to public officials. But while the move was a response to the conviction last year of former Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on corruption charges, it’s unclear whether the new measure would actually have prohibited any of the actions that precipitated the case.

Despite those doubts, the current governor, Terry McAuliffe, has indicated he would sign the legislation, saying it will “send Virginians a message that their leaders recognize the need to restore their trust in government.”

The state has some of the nation’s most forgiving ethics laws and earned an F from the State Integrity Investigation, a data-driven ranking of state government accountability and transparency published in 2012 by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International. In September, McDonnell, a Republican, was convicted on charges stemming from more than $100,000 in undisclosed gifts and loans he and his family received from a supporter.

The new law places a $100 annual limit on gifts to public officials from lobbyists and some people with state business and will require that lawmakers submit the disclosures electronically for publication in an online database.

Last year, lawmakers had passed a $250 cap — previously there had been no limits — but the law applied only to “tangible” gifts, meaning lobbyists could continue to spend unlimited amounts on travel, entertainment and food for public officials. That distinction drew widespread criticism, and McAuliffe, a Democrat, made passing a broader cap one of his top priorities this year. The 2014 legislation also required officials to disclose gifts to their immediate family members, closing a loophole that allowed much of the money McDonnell’s family received to go unreported (officials, and since 2014 their immediate family too, must report all gifts over $50).

Passage of the new measure occurred after a back-and-forth between McAuliffe and lawmakers over a series of amendments he proposed to the original bill, which the legislature passed in February. Lawmakers eventually accepted only a few of the governor’s amendments, which they passed in a rushed one-day special session. Language in the final version tightens the state’s limits on gifts while including new provisions that seem to maintain parts of the loophole that led to criticism of last year’s legislation.

In fact, while the new law will make it harder for people seeking influence to lavish officials with expensive gifts, there are still opportunities. Here are four ways you can still give beyond the $100 cap:

  • Don’t be a lobbyist – Just like in last year’s bill, the cap applies only to lobbyists and their employers or to people seeking contracts with a state agency, provided the beneficiary of the gift is an employee of or has authority over the agency in question. There’s disagreement over whether this would have applied to businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who gave the gifts and loans to McDonnell and his family. Williams wanted the state to fund studies of his product, a health supplement. Lawmakers are still required to disclose all gifts, whether they come from lobbyists — and therefore fall under the cap — or not.
  • Pay for travel to certain meetings – The law exempts from the gift cap payments related to meetings of national groups such as the National Conference of State Legislatures or the American Legislative Exchange Council, a controversial conservative group. Cristina Nuckols, a spokeswoman for McAuliffe, said that another section of the state’s disclosure requirements, which covers payments for talks and meetings, will require lawmakers to disclose payments for travel, even if they are not considered gifts. Essentially, though, this clause maintains one part of the “intangible” exemption that the 2014 law created.
  • Invite your friends – Another provision exempts “widely attended events” from the gift limits. Lawmakers say the point of this was to allow them to continue to attend Rotary Club dinners or Farm Bureau meetings without having to worry whether the food served would be allowed under the law. It also means that an industry group and its lobbyists can spend unlimited amounts wining and dining lawmakers as long as they invite more than 25 people. Officials will still have to report these gifts.
  • Or don’t – The bill says that food and beverages at an event where a public official is “performing official duties related to his public service,” do not qualify as gifts. Theoretically, then, a lobbyist can continue to provide unlimited steak and scotch to officials as long as they are at events that meet that criterion. But importantly, it also means lawmakers will no longer be required to disclose such food and beverage “gifts,” because they no longer fit the definition of a gift.

The rush towards passage at various stages — the original bill was passed on the last day of the regular session, and lawmakers hashed out McAuliffe’s amendments during one afternoon of the special session — left room for debate over lawmakers’ intentions, and whether they were sneakily trying to maintain broad exemptions or simply trying to create a workable bill under pressure. Much of the measure’s language is complex and obtuse — intentionally or not. Del. C. Todd Gilbert, a Republican and the bill’s chief sponsor in the House of Delegates, said lawmakers were not trying to create new exemptions or hide gifts from the public. “There’s certainly nothing nefarious going on,” he said. “Nobody’s trying to hide something that was transparent.”

The changes go into effect January 1, and Gilbert said the legislature will likely be back at work on the gift cap once again next year, looking to correct any unintended consequences. “We always anticipated there would be some things that would need fixing.”

Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, a liberal advocacy group, said the bill is a significant improvement, but that it ignores many related issues, such as the creation of an independent ethics commission and limits on lawmakers’ use of campaign accounts. “This is pretty much the least that the general assembly could get away with doing,” she said.

Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Rob Hof veroordeeld voor fraude

Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 10:47
De bekroonde documentairemaker Rob Hof moet een boete van 150.000 euro betalen vanwege fraude met filmsubsidies.…
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Audio copyright: Audioboom vs Soundcloud (Audioboom wins)

Online Journalism Blog - vr, 24/04/2015 - 10:26

Earlier this week Nieman Labs reported on audio hosting service SoundCloud‘s ‘guilty until proven innocent’ approach to content containing copyrighted material:

“If your content contains any copyrighted material to which you haven’t secured the rights — even if you have a valid fair use claim — SoundCloud may take it down at any time.”

The story came from a podcast hosted – you guessed it – on SoundCloud (also embedded below). It suggested that even if you are adhering to local laws, laws in other countries may trump those. An appeal under US fair use exemptions brought this response from SoundCloud:

“We understand that US copyright law includes a doctrine of fair use. However, these rules are limited, difficult to apply outside of a court of law, and in any event do not necessarily apply outside of the United States. As SoundCloud is a global platform, we expect all of our creators to respect copyright law, and the rights of copyright owners, on a global basis.”

Translation: we can’t be bothered to know every copyright law around the world, but we expect our users to.

Following up on the article, I asked Amanda Brown, the COO of competing audio hosting service Audioboom, whether that service took a similar stance. Her replies are embedded below:

@paulbradshaw Tks v interesting. SC operate with no PRS. Bit of an issue for a music based platform. @audioboom have full PRS licence.

— Amanda Brown (@AudioAmanda) April 21, 2015

@paulbradshaw Under our T’s and c’s if we are notified of a breech of copyright we notify the uploader first and then if necessary takedown.

— Amanda Brown (@AudioAmanda) April 21, 2015

PRS is the organisation overseeing copyright for music in the UK.

Amanda did not respond to questions about laws in other territories. However, Audioboom do say in their page on filing a copyright notice that:

“We’re based and hosted in the United Kingdom and work under UK/EU laws (specifically the UK’s Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 and EU Directive 2001/29/EC).

“However, like many other UK/EU sites that work with user uploads, we use the framework and guidelines of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to make handling claims easier for everybody … we are not bound to follow the US DMCA laws or process [but] the guidelines are familiar to everyone and do work well for resolving these kind of situations.”

On this basis it does seem like Audioboom may be a better choice for journalists seeking to host content without the danger of it being taken offline.

And given that the platform is moving into publishing as well as hosting, and actively work with news organisations in the UK and US, it may well be that they are more receptive to communication on rights disputes than SoundCloud appear to have been.

So far, I haven’t seen any cases to prove otherwise (if you know of any copyright cases involving Audioboom please let me know).

If you want to listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud, here it is (at around 41 minutes):

Filed under: law, online audio Tagged: Amanda Brown, Audioboom, copyright, DMCA, PRS, Soundcloud
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‘Krol stak subsidiegeld in Gaykrant’

Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 09:14
Bestuurder Peter Derksen van de Stichting Vrienden van de Gaykrant heeft tijdens de behandeling van een civiele rechtszaak gesteld dat toenmalig hoofdredacteur Henk Krol een subsidie van het ministerie van Onderwijs heeft gebruikt om de noodlijdende…
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

‘Fusie Comcast/TWC van de baan’

Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 09:11
Volgens zakenkrant Wall Street Journal staat de fusie tussen de Amerikaanse kabelgiganten Comcast en Time Warner Cable op losse schroeven. Toezichthouder Federal Communications Commission (FCC) zou van plan zijn een traject van hoorzittingen in te…
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Andy Wilman weg bij Top Gear

Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 09:10
Andy Wilman, uitvoerend producent van het populaire autoprogramma Top Gear, stapt op. De BBC bevestigt dat Wilman heeft besloten te vertrekken. Wilman was samen met de in maart ontslagen Clarkson vijftien jaar geleden verantwoordelijk voor het nieuw…
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Kaalslag op Amerikaanse banenmarkt

Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 09:09
Deze week werden de Pulitzers uitgereikt en maar liefst twee winnaars bleken uit de journalistiek te zijn gestapt. De een omdat ze een gezin wilde beginnen…
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Libië: journalist op kantoor vermoord

Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 09:09
In Libië is televisiejournalist Muftah al-Qatrani op de redactieburelen van productiebedrijf Al-Anwar in Benghazi doodgeschoten. Niemand heeft de moord opgeëist, al had Al-Qatrani recent de gevechten tussen islamitische groeperingen en overheidstroepen…
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De Belgische strijd tegen terreur en radicalisering

Apache.be - vr, 24/04/2015 - 09:05
Na de grootschalige antiterreuractie in Verviers kwam de regering Michel met een dozijn maatregelen. Het benodigde wetgevende werk zit, zo verzekert de regering, op kruissnelheid. Maar dragen de maatregelen de sporen van een hals-over-kop-beleid? Nu het stof wat is gaan liggen, analyseert professor Rik Coolsaet de maatregelen. 'Het afnemen van de Belgische nationaliteit geeft ook jongeren die niet van plan zijn om te vertrekken het gevoel dat ze hier eigenlijk niet thuishoren.'
Categorieën: Extern nieuws


Villamedia Nieuws - vr, 24/04/2015 - 09:00
Koningsdag, maandag 27 april, is Villamedia gesloten. Let op: vacatures die vrijdag na 13.00 uur binnenkomen worden pas dinsdag 28 april online geplaatst.
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Media Minutiae

10000 words - do, 23/04/2015 - 23:00

SocialTimes: The iOS WhatsApp now has voice calling. Not that you should be calling people. Text them. No one wants to talk on the phone.

GalleyCat: In today’s “news that will make bored people sort of excited,” EL James’ husband is writing the script for the Fifty Shades Darker movie.

TVNewser: Jon Stewart’s version of a Fox News compliment? Saying that The Five is “Not like heroin.”

Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Fishbowl Five With Interactive One’s Leigh Davenport

10000 words - do, 23/04/2015 - 22:53

The forward-thinking instinct has been with Leigh Davenport, Interactive One’s vp of programming, women and lifestyle, and HB Studios, since at least her college days. “I had interned at magazines and really that was the dream, to be a magazine editor,” she told FishbowlNY. But when it was time for Davenport to graduate, the scene had changed. “Magazines were folding left and right, and I thought to myself this might not be a great way to a future, so perhaps I should look at other mediums of storytelling.” That search for alternate forms of storytelling led her initially to television, where she worked her way to VH1 and BET. By 2009, the TV world’s increasing focus on reality programming, a form Davenport didn’t enjoy, would lead to a switch to digital programming.

For the past four years, Davenport has overseen editorial content and strategy for the women-of-color-focused HelloBeautiful.com, as the site reported year-over-year audience gains. Davenport also harnessed her television roots as she oversaw the creation of HB Studios, Interactive One’s digital video production studio targeted to women of color.

If the story behind HB Studios’ inaugural release, Women on Top, is any indication, Davenport’s leadership will lead to a spirit of experimentation when it comes to developing work. What was meant as a single interview with broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien turned into an exploration of universal questions with 10 women at different places in their lives. “[O’Brien] was such a powerful interview that I was like, ‘We should ask more women these questions.'”

We talked with Davenport about the initial reception to HB Studios, narrative depictions of black women in media and the downside of making work-life balance a primary goal.

FBNY: Between your duties as editorial director and working on the launch of HB Studios, you have a lot on your plate. How do you prioritize while trying to maintain balance between your work and personal life?

Davenport: I think women, thanks to all of the ‘lean in’ conversations, have gotten really captivated by this work-life balance thing, and I don’t know that that’s even real. You spend the majority of your time at work, so it’s not balanced to start. But if you love what you’re doing, then work can sometimes feel less like work. You should have a healthy balance of work and self-care and play, but sometimes working is my play. The reality is I don’t have a balanced life right now, but I’m having a really fun time.

And in terms of prioritization, I make a list every morning of the must-dos and then I put the if-I-can-dos underneath. You can’t do everything in a day, but you prioritize things that are going to be most impactful.

FBNY: Looking at HelloBeautiful.com, you see a mix of news, beauty, celebrity and career content. What is behind the decision for all these different types of content to live in the same space?

Davenport: When I first got to the site, [it] was almost exclusively entertainment with a little bit of beauty. That was our bread and butter. Looking at the landscape, I thought, OK, well, there are a million entertainment blogs, and even the news blogs talk about entertainment at this point. So what do we have to offer? What’s our value proposition to our audience? And so we systematically started adding on content areas.

We wanted to embrace the fact that women are very versatile and dynamic. Part of our mission statement is we serve our audience shamelessly. We don’t feel like one thing is more important than the other —  your passion for beauty or passion for your job, the fact that you want to be current on news and events, and that you watch The Real Housewives. That’s why we made a conscious decision to make sure we have those things live in the same environment.

FBNY: In the press release for HB Studios, you said that images of black women in media are focused on creating one specific narrative. What is that narrative and what are the narratives you’re hoping to counter with?

Davenport: I don’t want to demonize all narratives of black women, but I personally feel you see either this kind of hyper-materialistic, mean-spirited, catty woman or you’re seeing the workaholic, non-balanced, can’t-get-a-man and so-sad woman. There are maybe these three or four archetypes for black women we’ve seen reinforced visually over and over again, and it gets to the point where you’re starting to feel like there’s no nuance in this person. She’s either strong to the point of detrimental or she’s silly and shallow to the point of kind of being an idiot, and you’re kind of like, this isn’t my reality; this isn’t who my friends are.

One of the things I really take issue with in terms of the current narrative is the lack of sisterhood and the lack of support within black women, and that’s just not been my personal reality whatsoever. What we’re looking to do is just expand who this woman is. You know, she can be educated and a mom, and very sweet, and very good at what she does. Or she can be a superstar, maven person, but be super into community service and giving back and women’s empowerment. And even in a more basic way, just allowing black women to be vulnerable on screen without being weak and without needing to be saved or rescued is something we’re just not seeing enough of. So I really hope that’s something we can explore in an impactful way.

FBNY: You mentioned as well how your inaugural doc, Women on Top, is a manifesto of what you believe your brand represents. Is this also the direction you would like HelloBeautiful to move toward as well?

Davenport: I think HelloBeautiful and HB Studios get to serve different lanes. It all ladders up to our overall voice, but HB Studios and Women on Top as [its] launch product, to me, is like a speaking piece of work that explains the way we at HelloBeautiful discuss womanhood all the time.

Women on Top has older women, younger women, women who’ve done amazing things in their career, women that are still aspiring to reach their level, and they’re still tied together by this common narrative of what it means to embrace their womanhood and their femininity. You’ll have Soledad O’Brien, who has a very, very different perspective at her age and level of accomplishment than a Chrisette Michele, who’s still barely 30 years old and trying to figure it out. And that’s what HelloBeautiful does represent, that there’s a lot of diversity in the experience and that all of those voices are connected, but one isn’t more superior to the other.

FBNY: What have you learned so far from the creation of and the reception to Women on Top and the future of HB Studios?

Davenport: It’s been kind of overwhelming. When we put it together and watched it, we thought it was awesome. But we think it’s awesome because we know these women — you know, it could be very specific. [But] we’ve gotten more shares of the content than likes. They say on Facebook people tend to take one action, and we’re very proud that the action they’re taking is to share it. We’ve gotten comments like, ‘Every woman should see this. I know this is women of color, but every woman should watch this. This is so powerful. It moved me. I feel better today than I did yesterday,’ those kinds of things.

What it’s told us is our consumer insights that women want more than what we’ve been given is accurate. It gives us the confidence to go into our next creative endeavors and say empowerment and truth speaking and diversity of voice is something that can be well received. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring. It doesn’t have to hit you over the head every time, but there is something people are craving and people are looking for.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Transcription furnished by:

Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Exiting Reporter Underscores How The Times, They Have Changed

10000 words - do, 23/04/2015 - 22:40

Jim Romenesko has shared New York Times reporter Rich Meislin’s April 22 farewell note to colleagues. After many years at the paper and an unlikely return following his acceptance of a 2008 buyout, Meislin swears this time it’s for good.

So hard to imagine this place without him. @meislin (r) leaves the NYT after nearly 40 years. pic.twitter.com/t4GTHYVGtd

— John Schwartz (@jswatz) April 22, 2015

About halfway through the note, Meislin very candidly touches on some behind-the-scenes personal drama:

My additional, private hope was that I could prove that I was a great reporter and become a correspondent before they found out I was gay.

Because when I started here, being gay was something you didn’t admit at The Times, except to someone you were certain was gay as well. The world outside was a far more hostile place for gay people than it is today – and you learned very quickly that this was true or maybe truer inside The Times.

…Not least is that I’m standing here with my husband, Hendrik, who has been my rock for more than 23 years and deserves medals for endurance from both me and The Times.

The print newspaper business is in tatters, relative to when Meislin first started. On the other hand, gay reporters no longerhave to live on the QT and in fear, the way he once did. Read the rest of the farewell note here.

Categorieën: Extern nieuws

The Accidental Student Journalist

10000 words - do, 23/04/2015 - 21:45

“Houston, we have a problem…” That’s essentially how it all began for Tierra Smith (pictured), the Grambling State University graduating student who today was named National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) 2015 Student Journalist of the Year.

From the announcement:

A native of Milwaukee, Smith became fascinated with the media when she was accidentally enrolled in a journalism course at her high school in Houston.

“If they never put me in that class, I would have never been exposed to journalism,” Smith said, in a piece written last year for The New York Times Student Journalism Institute. She was a 2014 participant in The Times program at Dillard University and she was a 2014 student journalist with the NABJ Student Multimedia Projects.

Her high school journalism teacher was going to remove her from the class because she did not have the necessary pre-requisites, but she saw her passion and decided to let her stay. A few months into the class, Smith was named an editor of the high school’s newspaper and yearbook.

Kudos to that high school teacher for bending the rules. And congrats to Smith, exiting EIC of newspaper The Gramblinite, for carrying on so successfully with this accidental vocation. Smith will intern this summer at the Denver Post as a Dow Jones News Fund business reporter, before beginning graduate studies at Louisiana State in the fall.

The NABJ also today announced that ProPublica’s Nikole Hannah-Jones has been selected as their 2015 Journalist of the Year. Both she and Smith will be presented with the awards at this summer’s NABJ annual convention in Minneapolis.

[Photo courtesy: nabj.org]
Categorieën: Extern nieuws

Fracking hearing airs claims about conflicts of interest, ‘misinformation’

Public Integrity - do, 23/04/2015 - 21:12

A congressional hearing on hydraulic fracturing waded into the highly charged debate over the oil and gas extraction process Thursday, with each side accusing the other of misleading the public.   

“Activists have spread misinformation about the science in an attempt to convince Americans that there is no way fracking can be done safely,” said U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas who chairs the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. “The science overwhelmingly shows that hydraulic fracturing can be done in an environmentally safe manner.”

He focused on concerns about groundwater contamination, saying claims have been made based on the “possibility and not the probability” of risks, threatening the jobs and increased energy independence fracking has brought the country.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, the science committee’s ranking member, countered that communities face real challenges as a result of fracking — an industrial process that has brought wells alongside and within residential neighborhoods — and said their concerns won’t be allayed by dismissing them or preventing them from pursuing local bans, as Texas is on the verge of doing. She charged that the hearing was “designed to give a platform for the fracking industry to attack those who question the safety of practices within that industry.”

“This hearing is advertised as being about the science of fracking, but the majority’s witnesses consist of a state economic regulation and development official, a representative of a firm that was set up to run public relations for the fracking industry and a scientist who has been paid by one of the largest fracking firms in the country,” she said. “That does not sound like a promising panel to honestly examine scientific questions.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists said in an analysis last year that the House science committee, once known for calling on independent scientists for a large share of its witnesses, has become increasingly dominated by industry interests. By 2012, the last year of the group’s analysis, industry-affiliated witnesses outnumbered all others — scientists included.

On top of that, it can be hard to tell when seemingly independent witnesses have industry or other ties because the committee asks only for disclosures about government grants received, not about other potential conflicts of interest, said Yogin Kothari, senior legislative assistant at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy.

“Having more transparency and disclosure from witnesses would be helpful,” he said.

Conflict of interest was a theme that ran through the hearing.

Donald I. Siegel, chairman of Syracuse University’s earth sciences department, was called as a witness to discuss his recent large-sample study that found no relationship between methane in water wells and their proximity to oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania. He took a moment during his testimony to defend himself against criticism raised in an InsideClimate News story that he didn’t disclose the study had industry funding and that one of his co-authors worked for the oil and gas company providing the samples.

Neither his peer reviewers nor the journal editors found fault with their initial disclosures, Siegel said, adding that the journal later asked for an expanded disclosure “in response to media pressure.”

Simon Lomax of Energy In Depth, an oil and gas industry group, said in his testimony that some of the research New York relied on when it decided to ban fracking in the state last year was produced by groups opposed to the  practice, with foundations of a similar bent helping to financially support those groups,  media outlets  that wrote about the studies and organizations active in fracking fights.

Lomax criticized one study in particular, which enlisted residents to sample air near oil and gas sites in their communities, because a number of the authors work for nonprofits critical of fracking — they disclosed their employers and mission “to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals” in the paper — while all three peer reviewers have been active in fracking-ban efforts, he said. Lomax called the production and use of such studies “an echo chamber to drown out the facts.”

Last year, Energy In Depth criticized the Center for Public Integrity over its investigation of air pollution in Texas communities with abundant oil and gas development but patchy monitoring because one of the nonprofit news organization’s funders is the Park Foundation, which supports groups active in researching fracking or fighting it. InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel were partners in the investigation.

Fracking critics have made the same echo-chamber charge about the oil and gas industry, which has aggressively pushed back against local bans, setbacks and other rules. The Public Accountability Initiative, a Park Foundation grant recipient, reviewed a long list of studies that Energy In Depth pointed to as evidence that fracking is safe and concluded that three quarters had “some degree of industry connection” and only 14 percent were peer-reviewed.

Sheldon Krimsky, a Tufts University bioethicist who wrote Science in the Private Interest, said the impact of agenda-driven nonprofits funding research hasn’t been studied. But the corrosive effect of industry funding of science is well documented, he said, with tobacco as just one example.

That’s why he’s worried about financial conflicts of interest, where parties stand to make or lose large amounts of money depending on what science finds.

“Corporations try to protect themselves,” he said. “Financial conflicts of interest are probably much more insidious than other kinds of conflicts of interest that don’t have financial consequences.”

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