• Reporters Pink-Slipped While Pundits Remain
  • Providence Journal Newsroom Fades to White
  • Trump’s Win Another Reason for Racial Diversity
  • K.C. Star Backs Idea of White Privilege Conference
  • White House Press Sees Attacks Only as Distraction
  • FCC Chair Revives Battle Over Net Neutrality
  • The Hurdles in Trying to Diversify Coverage
  • Union Willing to Represent Ebony Freelancers
  • Fox Touts ‘Diverse . . .Backgrounds’ on New Show
  • Short Takes
Inside a control room at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. (Richard Perry/New York Times)

Reporters Pink-Slipped While Pundits Remain

It’s a strange time in the sports media world after ESPN fired 100 employees on Wednesday,” Justin Terranova wrote Friday for the New York Post.

“The massive staff chop spawned strong opinions about who did and did not deserve to remain at the network. Most of those predictably have come from your average Twitter troll — ‘You spilled Starbucks on yourself, Adam Schefter? Well at least you still have a job’ — but some have come from within the industry.

“Former Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman used Stephen A. Smith as the face of the problem with ESPN’s layoffs — and the industry as a whole. In an essay, which specifically noted it was not Smith’s ‘fault’ that he is paid exponentially more than anyone who was fired this week, Pearlman decried the state of a society that values highly paid screamers more than well-reported stories.

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“Despite all the backhanded compliments Smith received, you knew the ‘First Take’ host would not let it stand without a retort. Personal conflict is his wheelhouse.

“ ‘Mr. Pearlman’s not black, maybe that’s why he doesn’t understand where I’m coming from,’ Smith said, in comments transcribed by The Big Lead. . . .”

Terranova also wrote, “Another noteworthy journalist battle that has spilled out in the wake of ESPN’s layoffs has nothing to do with standards or the direction of the business. It was personal. Boston radio host Kirk Minihane — best known nationally for calling Erin Andrews a ‘gutless b—h’ — called out ‘SportsCenter’ host Jemele Hill for being allowed to stay on at ESPN.

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“ ‘If I lost my job at ESPN today and knew this dogs–t show with Jemele and Michael Smith still existed I’d lose my mind,’ Minihane wrote on Twitter. . . .”

I’m still on the radio bro so I’m still around and I’ll have a spot for my columns starting Monday. https://t.co/j3iRjaOkKV

— Jean-Jacques Taylor (@JJT_Journalist) April 28, 2017

Jean-Jacques Taylor tweeted that his commentaries can be heard on the show “J Dub City” with Will Chambers, available on the KESN-FM website < http://www.kesn1033.com/ > and on the same station, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, the columns will not appear there.

Meanwhile, Dave Zirin wrote for the Nation, “On the most basic level, it’s demoralizing that a journalist like Johnette Howard, who owned the story about the threatened strike of the US women’s hockey national team in the lead up to last month’s World Championships, is now unemployed.

“In addition, not having Jayson Stark[,] who performed the impossible task of making baseball analytics fun, or Tom Farrey[,] who has done more than any reporter in the country to educate all of us about the professionalization of youth sports, weakens journalism. It also looks like some of the best shoe-leather reporters at the network — Ethan Strauss, Jean-Jacques Taylor, Ed Werder — were seen as expendable, while the professional pundits — in general paid far more than the journalists — are staying. . . .”

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Zirin also wrote, “If you see any article that tries to blame ESPN’s economic struggles on the ‘liberal’ tilt of the network, use those to line your birdcage. First, it’s not true. Second, it seems to be a reaction to the fact that ESPN actually has a laudable commitment to diversity and putting women, black people, and people of color in a position to actually talk about sports. This sends the alt-right sewers of the Internet and their minions at publications like the National Review into fits of hysterics. It’s an unserious argument made by unserious people. . . .”

Many of the reports in the links below include the latest lists of those laid off.

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Des Bieler, Washington Post: Stephen A. Smith fires back at criticism that he should have been among ESPN layoffs

Larry Brown, Larry Brown Sports: Marc Stein says he is part of ESPN layoffs

Joe Drape and Brooks Barnes, New York Times: ESPN Layoffs: The Struggling Industry Giant Sheds On-Air Talent

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Kevin Draper, Deadspin: A Running List Of ESPN Layoffs

Sean Gregory, Sports Illustrated: Politics aren’t the cause of ESPN layoffs

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Tony Maglio, the Wrap: ESPN Bloodbath: 11 Reasons Why the Network Axed 100 People

Anthony Noto, New York Business Journal: ESPN layoffs continue for second day

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Daniel Roberts, Yahoo Finance: ESPN will look dramatically different in 1 year

Sports Illustrated: The latest on ESPN layoffs: Ed Werder, Jayson Stark, Trent Dilfer among employees let go

Justin Terranova, New York Post: ESPN bloodbath begins with 100 layoffs

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Rob Tornoe, Philadelphia Inquirer: ESPN layoffs: Stephen A. Smith goes after ‘lowlife’ critic who said he should have been cut

James Warren, Poynter Institute: Reporter takes the David Fahrenthold approach to covering ESPN layoffs

Dave Butler addresses the Providence Journal newsroom after being named executive editor and senior vice president of news and audience development in 2015. (Steve Szydlowski/Providence Journal)

Providence Journal Newsroom Fades to White

The last journalist of color has left the newsroom of the Providence Journal, prompting GoLocalProv, an alternative publication in the Rhode Island capital, to ask in a headline Tuesday, “Is the Projo the Whitest Metro Newspaper in America?

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“For the daily newspaper in an urban community that is majority-minority, the lack of any representation in the newsroom is stark contrast to the community it covers,” Go LocalProv wrote.

“In 2015, the Providence Journal wrote a multi-piece series titled ‘Race in Rhode Island,’ but now less than two years later, the last minority reporter, Alisha Pina, has resigned and taken a job in public relations for the State of Rhode Island. . . .”

David Butler, the paper’s executive editor and senior vice president of news and audience development, pointed to a lack of turnover. “It is correct we lost our last African-American reporter (oh and how many minorities are at the tiny white web site go-local?),” Butler said by email.

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“That is not the case in other departments. As a Guild newspaper with a veteran staff, we have a little turnover for retirements when buyouts are offered, but we’ve not hired a reporter since I joined the paper 2015. As you may know, I previously was the top editor at the San Jose Mercury News, which has a sterling reputation regarding diversity in the newsroom.

“ProJo management is committed to a diversified staff and will shoot for that when positions can be filled. The economy is no friend. We were sorry to see Ms. [Pina] leave to be the PR person for the state agency she was covering — and covering well. But state government is still offering big bucks and big benefits — hard for a business to compete with. We are well aware that this needs to be a priority.”

Butler retires in June, and Managing Editor Alan Rosenberg, a 39-year veteran of the paper, is to succeed him.

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The lack of diversity at the Journal is apparently a longstanding problem. In 2014, the last year for which the paper submitted its figures to the American Society of News Editors, the Journal had 3.5 percent journalists of color.

Meanwhile, Providence County had a population that was 73.4 percent white alone, 18.8 percent Hispanic or Latino, 8 percent black or African American, 3.7 percent Asian and 0.7 percent American Indian and Alaska Native, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

When only the city of Providence was considered, white-alone was just 49.8 percent, followed by Hispanic or Latino, 38.1 percent; black or African American, 16 percent; Asian alone, 6.4 percent; and American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.4 percent.

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Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp. owned the Journal for 17 years before selling the paper in 2014 to New Media Investment Group Inc., parent company of GateHouse Media.

Trump’s Win Another Reason for Racial Diversity

Conservatives have alleged for years that the national media inhabit a ‘bubble’ of coastal liberal elitism, which skews their outlook on politics and culture,” Will Oremus, Slate’s senior technology writer, wrote Thursday.

Donald Trump’s run for president was premised on that notion, and his victory — which mainstream pundits once considered unthinkable — seemed to validate it. . . .”

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However, Oremus added, Trump’s victory “should not be an impetus for media organizations to shunt their existing diversity goals to the side while they pursue journalists who understand Trump voters or the white working class.

“It should be a reminder that diversity in journalism — geographic, yes, but also of race, religion, gender, and sexuality — is an existential crisis, and that a journalist’s ability to intelligently challenge orthodoxies and assumptions of all kinds should be a major consideration in every hiring decision.

“Some might view this as a call to prioritize diversity over intellectual rigor. It’s just the opposite: Media companies need to prioritize diversity in service of intellectual rigor. . . .”

K.C. Star Backs Idea of White Privilege Conference

Despite decades’ worth of progress, there is still a privilege to being white in America,” the editorial board wrote. “Laws change, flagrant bias is outlawed, but the impact of policies that were shaped to benefit some people over others endures.

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“That reality and the present-day consequences of our racial history are discussion topics worth pursuing. And it might help people understand that, consciously or not, many are scrambling to preserve a standing in society that seems to be diminishing amid changing demographics. . . .”

The editorial also said, “These are important conversations. But only if they are honest and focused on facts. If that’s the thoughtful dialogue that Kansas City is inviting, then the White Privilege Conference could facilitate progress.

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“But sustained efforts are needed. A weekend gathering with an edgy name is not enough.”

Joe Robertson reported for the Star on Monday, “Media are not permitted in to record the sessions. No interviews are allowed of participants. The intentions are to let people feel protected in exposing their fears and misunderstandings. . . . “

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Meanwhile, John Whitesides reported Friday for Reuters, “As [President] Trump nears his 100th day in the White House after a campaign punctuated by his inflammatory comments about Muslims and immigrants, a number of Americans say U.S. race relations are deteriorating, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

“The poll, taken from March 28 to April 3, asked more than 2,800 adults to rate the danger of racism and bigotry in America. About 36 percent gave it the worst rating possible, saying they considered racism and bigotry an ‘imminent threat’ to the country. That is up a few points from the 29 percent who answered the same way two years ago. (For a graphic on poll results see tmsnrt.rs/2oQAD54) . . .”

18th Annual White Privilege Conference Schedule

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Phil Glynn, Kansas City Star: Guest commentary: We need to have the ‘white privilege’ conversation

Joe Robertson, Kansas City Star: Founder of White Privilege Conference wants action, not ‘a kumbaya experience.’

President Trump tells Reuters reporters during an interview in the Oval Office, “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.” (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

White House Press Sees Attacks Only as Distraction

“How does this president compare with previous ones in terms of access? And what’s it like to interact with his now-famous retinue of staffers — like press secretary Sean Spicer, whose briefings earn regular TV coverage and ‘Saturday Night Live’ parodies? Finally, how do reporters rate their own coverage of the Trump presidency?

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“We posed these and a range of other questions to more than 60 journalists who cover 1600 Pennsylvania, and their answers may surprise you.

“While 68 percent of them think Trump is the most openly anti-press president in U.S. history, 75 percent said they see Trump’s attacks against the media as more of a distraction than a threat. Forty-two percent said they think Trump offers about as much access to the press as previous presidents.

“Some reporters lamented getting ‘constant misinformation’ from the White House press shop or being subjected to ‘interrupted rants.’ But others described the administration’s clashes with journalists as merely part of historical tradition or — with more than a hint of stoicism — ‘just another day at the office.’ . . .”

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Separately, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that “enormous majorities” of Trump voters “believe the news media regularly publishes false stories,” Greg Sargent reported Thursday for the Post. “Even bigger majorities of them believe the news media’s falsehoods are a bigger problem than the Trump administration’s falsehoods are, while only small fractions think the administration tells falsehoods or that his lies are the greater problem. . . .”

Stephen J. Adler, Jeff Mason and Steve Holland, Reuters: Exclusive: Trump says he thought being president would be easier than his old life

Julie Alderman, Media Matters for America: By The Numbers: 100 Days In, A Look At The Trump Administration’s Conflicted Relationship With The Media

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Charles Badger, Center for American Progress: Race Has Everything to Do with Trump’s Budget. Here’s Why.

Mary C. Curtis, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Germany: Trump’s First 100 Days: What does the Trump presidency mean for race relations in the U.S.?

Editorial, Detroit Free Press: Trump’s irresponsible impulses can be slowed by resistance

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Editorial, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: After the deluge, worries about climate change

Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Trump’s 100 vs. real anniversaries: the LA riots, a cousin’s death, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Renée Graham, Boston Globe: Trump supporters still standing by their man

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Harold Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer: Sessions’ bias apparent now, just as it was years ago

Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Boston Globe: Trump’s 100 days: Credit due for his flip-flops, moved goalposts, and bluffs

Deborah Morrison and Nicole Smith Dahmen, University of Oregon, the Conversation via Associated Press: In planned EPA cuts, US to lose vital connection to at-risk communities (April 12)

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Ruben Navarrette Jr., USA Today: Affirmative action Trump-style

Dean Obeidallah, Daily Beast: Trump Is Afraid of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Muslim Comic Emcee

Donna Owens, NBC News: 100 Days of Civil Rights in the Trump Administration

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Politico Magazine: What the Press Still Doesn’t Get About Trump

Fabiola Santiago, Miami Herald: The big accomplishment of Trump’s first 100 days? Terrorizing undocumented immigrants

Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post: After 100 days, the media are still embarrassing themselves covering Trump. Just not as much.

FCC Chair Revives Battle Over Net Neutrality

“The new head of the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, wants to clear away regulations about who controls and polices the flow of content on the Internet.”

Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told reporter William Brangham, “Well, I favor a free and open Internet, as I think most consumers do.”My concern is with the particular regulations that the FCC adopted two years ago. They are what is called Title II regulations developed in the 1930s to regulate the Ma Bell telephone monopoly.

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“And my concern is that, by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas, for example.

“And that, I think, is something that nobody would benefit from. . . .”

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John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: Clyburn Vows to Fight Title II Rollback

John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: FCC’s Pai: Media Are Not Enemy of the People

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Eric Hananoki, Media Matters for America: Media Are Failing To Note Telecom-Funding Sources Of Anti-Net Neutrality Group

Dana Liebelson and Alexander C. Kaufman, HuffPost: Trump’s FCC Chair Wants To Gut Net Neutrality. He’s In For A Bruising Fight.

Tim Wu, New York Times: The ‘Fix’ for Net Neutrality That Consumers Don’t Need

The Hurdles in Trying to Diversify Coverage

There are so many other factors that work against you when you’re trying to diversify your coverage, and people don’t understand all those ins and outs,” Lawson said.

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The article was published Wednesday in Creative Loafing Charlotte. Here are excerpts:

“Carlton Hargro: I think a lot of people who work in journalism, who typically are white, there’s a mission to diversify coverage in the paper. This is something they want to do. Even if they don’t want to do it in their heart, they say it. Whenever you ask these newspapers, ‘Uh, we want more diversity, what are you doing for that?’ Their response is, ‘That’s always a goal of ours. We’re trying. We’re better than we used to be but we’re not where we want to be.’ It’s always loose-lip service.

“These companies, as much as they say they want to do it, when they really see it, it’s not what they expect. I have had many conversations with publishers over the years — with Creative Loafing — who’ve said, ‘Man, that’s a lot of color in the paper.’ I’ve had people say that. Or they’ve lined them up and they’ve counted how many times we’ve put a person of color on the cover.

“Kim Lawson: You’ve actually had a publisher do that?

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“CH: Oh yeah. They flipped through and said, ‘That’s a lot of color,’ and my response was, ‘Right, isn’t that great?’ Because they don’t want to come out and say what they’re thinking. And then they try to link it with low return rates or sales — it’s very anecdotal. There are no links: Some issues do well, some don’t. But there’s never an immediate agenda there. . . .”

The two also discussed the struggle to hire more writers of color.

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“CH: Here’s the hard part about getting writers of color. Writing, as you know, is one of those things that, the more you do it, the better you get. Black writers have not historically had a chance to write for publications, or good publications. They don’t get a chance to write a lot, so there’s not a big body of really good ones who aren’t already attached to [another publication].

“KL: Right, and that’s an institutional thing. You have to have someone who’s willing to work with you in order to become better.

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“CH: Right, it’s up to us as editors to invest that time. . . .”

Hargo is now editor of Creative Loafing in Atlanta. Lawson wrote, “I spend my days freelancing for a handful of publications, including VICE’s women-focused website Broadly. . . .”

Union Willing to Represent Ebony Freelancers

Jagger Blaec wrote Monday for theestablishment.co, “Close to a dozen of the writers for the publication have anonymously come forward to say they have not been paid for work dating back as far as 2013, despite the fact that they were promised payment within 45 days of publication or them sending their invoice. . . .”

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In 2013, the union and representatives of Heart & Soul magazine signed an agreement that was to see a dozen freelance writers and editors collect more than $125,000 in unpaid fees.

“In the two group grievances we had, we won over $150,000 for 17 black women writers and editors,” Goldbetter told Journal-isms by email. “We recently tried to represent three more, but H&S appears to be in terrible shape and it looked like it might cost us more than we could recover for the three women. . . .

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“We would be very interested in assisting the writers at Ebony if they would like to talk. . . .”

“Fox News Specialists,” from left, Eboni K. Williams, Eric Bolling and Kat Timpf

Fox Touts ‘Diverse . . . Backgrounds’ on New Show

“But something changed between last week and this week... [Eric] Bolling now has two co-hosts, Kat Timpf and Eboni K. Williams, and the show sounds like a panel format...

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“Per TVNewser, it’ll be titled ‘Fox News Specialists’ and Bolling, Timpf and Williams will be joined by two special guest experts to discuss the top stories driving the headlines of the day.”

A.J. Katz reported Friday for TVNewser that Bolling announced that President Trump will appear during Monday’s premiere.

“In making the announcement, Fox News evp of programming Suzanne Scott said, ‘Eric, Katherine and Eboni’s diverse opinions and backgrounds will provide our audience with an hour of informative and entertaining analysis on daily stories that are most important to Americans. The combination of the co-hosts’ expertise in business, millennial and legal topics, respectively, will make for lively and compelling discourse.’ ...”

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Separately, the National Association of Black Journalists announced Wednesday that it was “disturbed and dismayed by recent allegations of a racist work environment at FOX News.”

In addition, Fox “has quietly put out feelers for a possible new head of Fox News with the preference, say sources, that it be a woman,” Marisa Guthrie reported Friday for the Hollywood Reporter.

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Black Fox Anchor Kelly Wright Joins Bias Suit (April 26)

Short Takes

‘Between the World and Me,’ Ta-Nehisi Coates’s award-winning book exploring racial injustice in America, will be brought to the Apollo stage next April,Andrew R. Chow reported Wednesday for the New York Times. “Coates’s fiery work — which made him the National Book Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize finalist — will be adapted into a multimedia performance, with excerpted monologues, video projections, and a score by the jazz musician Jason Moran. . . .”

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The Huffington Post of the post-Arianna era, helmed by former New York Times editor Lydia Polgreen, is rebranding itself by the commonly used nickname HuffPost,” Shan Wang reported Tuesday for Nieman Lab. “(Not the less commonly used HuffPo.) It’s also redesigning its site to fully embrace these punny splashes across social platforms and to better accommodate the habits and desires of its readership, which Polgreen is hoping to make more loyal and engaged. . . .”

The Capitol Hill Standing Committee of Correspondents has voted to table Breitbart News’ credential process and declined to extend the organization’s temporary credentials to cover Congress, which expire at the end of May,” Hadas Gold reported Tuesday for Politico. “The committee, which permits media access to the U.S. Capitol only to outlets it considers legitimate news organizations, not political advocacy or other groups, expressed frustration over Breitbart’s inconsistent answers to questions about its masthead and office space, among other problems. . . .”

Six Democratic members of Congress are urging Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to appoint a director for the Federal Insurance Office, which monitors access of minority and low-income Americans to affordable insurance, and has been targeted for elimination by House Republicans,” Lauren Kirchner reported Wednesday for ProPublica. “Their letter to Mnuchin was spurred by an April 5 article, co-published by ProPublica and Consumer Reports, that documented that residents of minority neighborhoods in four states frequently pay higher car insurance premiums than residents of other areas that are similarly risky. . . .”

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A military court in Cameroon on April 21 sentenced journalist Ahmed Abba to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay court costs totaling nearly a hundred thousand dollars, an impossible sum in the impoverished Central African nation,” Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. Simon also wrote, “No media attention translates into little global awareness and a free hand for the country’s increasingly authoritarian leader. Cameroon should be an important global story, but that’s not happening because local reporters are stifled. . . .”

When people from across the globe gather on May 3 to recognize World Press Freedom Day in Jakarta, Indonesia, the recipient of the top prize won’t be there. He will be spending his 16th year in a secret prison in Eritrea,” Salem Solomon and Winta Kidane reported Thursday for the Voice of America. “The awardee, Dawit Isaak, is an Eritrean-born Swedish journalist and author . . . has not been seen or heard from for at least a decade, despite repeated requests from his family and the Swedish government. . . .”

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Nigerian “President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief Security Officer, Bashir Abubakar has defended his decision to expel a reporter for The Punch from the State House, saying journalists have a responsibility to be patriotic in reporting matters of national importance,” Samuel Ogundipe reported for the Premium Times. Abubakar, who pronounced Lekan Adetayo unfit to continue on the beat, drew “nationwide condemnation and renewed allegations of media suppression against the Nigerian government. . . .” Adetayo’s account

Desperate migrants from Africa to Europe don’t receive as much media attention as they could, but the Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola reported from Italy on Tuesday that “this long-tolerant nation is moving to create a de facto migrant blockade — by striking an odd bargain with Libya, its dysfunctional and war-ravaged neighbor to the south. Libya is the main launching point for migrants streaming into Europe from across a broad swath of the globe, and whose numbers this year are again surging. Under the plan, Italy would train and equip Libyan guards to scour coasts and deserts to stop, push back and detain migrants before they reach the high seas. . . .”

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Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.