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Velez-Mitchell, Darius Walker Hit in Ongoing Staff Cuts

"Even as Time Warner executives touted it as 'the global gold standard in news organizations' at its investor meeting Wednesday, CNN continued to restructure and lay off staff to meet its 'Turner 2020' budget targets, Alex Weprin reported Wednesday for capitalnewyork.com

"Among the changes: 'Crossfire' has officially been canceled. The hosts will stay on as political contributors. Staff that have not been absorbed by other shows are being encouraged to apply for open jobs. . . ."

Weprin also wrote, "CNN also laid off staff in Atlanta in its newsgathering department, and canceled a handful more shows, including 'Sanjay Gupta M.D.' and 'CNN Money.' Some of those staff are being laid off, while others are being told to reapply for their jobs. . . ."

Among journalists of color, "HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell was the first major talent casualty, multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation confirmed to TheWrap," Tony Maglio and Jordan Chariton reported Tuesday for the Wrap. "Mitchell's self-titled show has been canceled and her entire staff — about a dozen workers — are also out. All told, HLN lost about 15 employees Tuesday. . . ."

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"Additionally, Northeast bureau chief Darius Walker was cut Tuesday. Walker had been with CNN for 18 years, and an insider described his exit as a 'gut-wrenching' loss. . . ."

Weprin wrote of Walker Tuesday, "His departure is notable because it comes just a few days after the National Association of Black Journalists sent a letter to CNN saying it was 'concerned' about the lack of African-American voices at the channel. Walker was one of the highest-profile African-American executives at CNN. . . ."

Walker was chief of CNN's largest national bureau, based in New York, which includes 105 people from Maine to Indiana. He was among three regional bureau chiefs promoted to vice president a year ago.

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He says in his LinkedIn profile, "Prior to his New York assignment, Walker was the senior director of newsgathering for CNN's Washington, D.C., bureau. Walker previously served as vice president of CNN Business News, where he managed business news coverage for CNN, CNNfn, Headline News and CNN Radio; served as supervising producer for CNNfn's Atlanta operations and as senior producer for the business news program, Lou Dobbs Moneyline. . . ."

CNN was not disclosing the names of those laid off, but others listed five other journalists of color affected. They were based in New York and at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Some were assigned to CNN Newsource, HLN and the "New Day" show.

Bob Butler, president of NABJ, told Journal-isms by email, "It is extremely disappointing that CNN let so many African American news managers go. There were not that many African American managers at CNN in the first place and this round of layoffs had a tremendous impact on our members."

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Chris Ariens, TVNewser: CNN Cancels 'Crossfire,' Again

Veronica Villafañe, Media Moves: CNN cancels Vélez-Mitchell, cuts underway

. . . MSNBC Says It Is Keeping Promises to Hispanics

Although "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows," as Bill Carter reported Sunday for the New York Times, network president Phil Griffin is keeping his promise to increase Hispanic involvement, an MSNBC spokeswoman told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

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At the August convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in San Antonio, Griffin agreed to hold a session between the hosts of MSNBC programs and Latino experts on issues of the day and meetings with potential Hispanic on-air talent. Both were suggestions from Alex Nogales, a diversity watchdog who leads the National Hispanic Media Coalition and shared the stage with Griffin on Aug. 8.

"I think we should do it regularly," Griffin quickly said of the proposed meetings.

The spokeswoman listed these actions in an email:

"Reached out NAHJ and others for recommendations of Hispanic journalists and experts to supplement our own resources and meeting with many of them over the past few months.

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"Some newer faces on MSNBC include Clarissa Martinez, Director of Civic Engagement and Immigration, Marielena [Hincapié], Exec Dir. National Immigration Law Center and Eliseo Medina, union leader activist. 

"We have also had speakers coming in for editorial meetings from the Latino Donor Collaborative and Phil spoke with them.

"Phil has taken several meetings with various leaders including when he was in DC for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Awards and this past weekend while in LA for MSNBC's broadcast of the ALMA Awards," a reference to the American Latino Media Arts awardsYarel Ramos, a personality on the mun2 network, "did live hits leading up to the ALMAS," she added.

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Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple wrote Monday, "Whatever the culprit in MSNBC's undoing, a lack of diversity certainly isn’t to blame.

"The network in June launched José Díaz-Balart's morning show on the network, and the host made news by simultaneously translating a conversation in Spanish with an interviewee. Elsewhere in the daytime lineup, there are three African American hosts (Tamron Hall, Touré and Joy Reid) a twenty-something (Ronan Farrow) and a Burmese American (Alex Wagner). Black civil rights advocate Al Sharpton anchors the 6 p.m. shift. Prime time, though, is white (Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell).

"If MSNBC continues to crater, the cause of diversifying anchor desks at the country's broadcasters could take a step backward."

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Journalists Robbed, News Vehicle Stolen at Prayer Vigil

An Indianapolis television reporter and photographer covering a prayer vigil for a murder victim Tuesday night were robbed at gunpoint and their news vehicle stolen, police reported.

"I feel like it was the same perpetrator that did this to my son that also done this to you guys," Jacqueline Beasley, mother of murder victim Dominic Amey Jr., 23, told WXIN-TV, where the journalists work, "and he was trying to send a subliminal message and using that as a scare tactic, but we're not scared. No one's scared."

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Amey was shot multiple times Oct. 3, and police found his body behind a vacant home in Indianapolis, the station reported.

Reporting the carjacking on WXIN's website, Amanda Rakes and Russ McQuaid said, "We're so happy to report that everyone is safe. . . . The stolen FOX59 vehicle was found shortly after the incident. Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department flooded the vicinity near East 37th Street and Emerson Avenue and discovered the news unit parked several blocks away. Evidence was recovered from the vehicle, including a BB gun that resembled a .45 pistol."

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs "and Police Chief Rick Hite, along with Mayor Greg Ballard, recently listed the East 38th Street corridor, along with five other communities, as locations for focused city services and police enforcement. Crime, housing, poverty and health data have shown that the six areas absorb an excessive amount of city services for their relative population base," their story also said.

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Police identified the journalists as reporter Megan Trent, 29, and photographer David G. Wilkerson, 43. Although they are white and the neighborhood is predominantly black, "There is no indication that race played a role in this carjacking," Rafael Diaz Jr., public information officer, told Journal-isms.

Michael Anthony Adams reported in the Indianapolis Star, "As the crew was getting ready to film a live shot in the 3700 block of Emerson Avenue, a male, armed with a black semi-automatic pistol and wearing dark clothing, approached the marked Fox59 SUV and told the crew to get out, said Diaz.

"Police said a Fox59 camera man attempted to offer the man money, but he refused, and demanded that the crew get out of the vehicle. The suspect, who police said is possibly in his early twenties, then fled the scene in the SUV, taking the crew's equipment with him.

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"The vehicle was found about 20 minutes later near 39th Street and Irvington Avenue, a few blocks away on the [Northeast side], said Diaz. None of the camera equipment was stolen, and only a few personal items had gone missing. . . ."

McQuaid told television viewers that the family wanted the news media to continue to report on the area. "Amey's sister said that as long as the media will tell her brother's story and IMPD will continue to investigate her brother's murder, the family won't back down,' McQuaid said, referring to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

NPR to Pull Back on Use of Washington NFL Team Name

"And so NPR is pulling back on using the name of the Washington football team after all," Edward Schumacher-Matos, ombudsman at NPR, reported on Tuesday.

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"Seven months after NPR editors officially declared that they would continue to use the team's name in news reports, Mark Memmott, the standards editor, issued this guidance to the newsroom Friday:

" 'A Word About The Name Of Washington's Football Team

"'We have not changed it significantly, but we have added to our guidance on the name of Washington's NFL team. Here's an update:

" 'NPR News does not plan to prohibit the use of the full team name. The team's name is the name and our job is to report on the world as it is, not to take a position or become part of the story.

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" 'But, our policy on potentially offensive language states that "as a responsible broadcaster, NPR has always set a high bar on use of language that may be offensive to our audience. Use of such language on the air [and online] has been strictly limited to situations where it is absolutely integral to the meaning and spirit of the story being told.' . . ."

The ombudsman also said, "To my mind, this is in fact a very significant change, not only for NPR, but for the mainstream media in general. NPR becomes the first large national news organization to pull back on the use of a name that is a slur to many Native Americans. . . ."

In Washington, WAMU-FM, the local NPR affiliate, "plans to limit the use of the Washington football team's name in future news reports," Martin Austermuhle reported Wednesday, citing "a person with knowledge of the situation" and the NPR decision.

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Nielsen rated WAMU-FM the third-highest rated radio station in the D.C. market for September, according to Radio+Television Business Report.

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Nancy Snyderman Apologizes for Violating Ebola Quarantine

"NBC's medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman has issued an apology after she reportedly violated the quarantine her team was placed in when their cameraman contracted Ebola," Saeed Ahmed reported Tuesday for CNN. 

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"During the 'NBC Nightly News' broadcast on Monday, anchor Brian Williams read out the following statement from Snyderman:

"While under voluntary quarantine guidelines, which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21 days, members of our group violated those guidelines and understand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21 days have passed. We remain healthy and our temperatures are normal.

"As a health professional I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public, but I am deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused. We are thrilled that Ashoka (Mukpo) is getting better and our thoughts continue to be with the thousands affected by Ebola whose stories we all went to cover. . . ."

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TMZ added Wednesday, "Snyderman caused a maid to get fired… and it's all because Nancy violated her Ebola quarantine by taking a drive to a local restaurant.

"Turns out the chef at The Peasant Grill near Princeton, NJ — where Nancy went last week to grab some grub — is the brother of Vilma (she asked us not to use her last name), who works as a maid in town.

"After TMZ and other media reported Nancy's breach … people in the town panicked. They were concerned because Nancy and her crew were all in contact with a cameraman who contracted Ebola, and one of the guys in the quarantined crew went inside the restaurant to pick up food. . . ."

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New BuzzFeed Publisher Dao Nguyen to Refashion Role

"For the last couple of years, Dao Nguyen has been the person in charge of data and growth at BuzzFeed, which means she has done a very big job very well — the site says it's now attracting 150 million users a month, Peter Kafka reported Tuesday for Re/code.

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"So CEO Jonah Peretti is giving her a bigger task: The 40 year old is now BuzzFeed's publisher.

"That doesn't mean 'publisher' in the traditional sense of the role, Peretti points out in an internal memo you can read below — 'She isn't the heir to a newspaper baron and she won't be responsible for the business, selling ads or physical newsstand distribution.'

"Instead, Nguyen is heading up every part of the company that isn't editorial, ads or video — 'tech, product, data and everything related to our publishing platform,' Peretti writes. That means she'll now manage more than 100 people — about a sixth of BuzzFeed's total headcount.

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"Nguyen's promotion is interesting because BuzzFeed is interesting. So is Peretti’s insistence on creating new roles with old names: Ze Frank, who oversees BuzzFeed's booming video unit, runs BuzzFeed's 'Motion Pictures' group.

"But Nguyen's elevation is also worth noting because she is not a white man, and even though it's 2014, white men dominate the top of most publishing mastheads, even shiny new digital ones. At BuzzFeed, for instance, she shares the top management tier with three other white guys — Frank, Editor in Chief Ben Smith and President Greg Coleman. . . ."

Mathew Ingram, gigaom.com: BuzzFeed's choice of publisher says a lot about how the site looks at media

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Kai Ryssdal and Tommy Andres, "Marketplace," American Public Media: The BuzzFeed wizard who changed media as we know it (audio)

Time Revisits "Model Minority" Stereotype

"Although it was not the first to do so, Time's cover story in 1987 titled The Asian American Whiz Kids is often cited as an example of media coverage perpetuating the model minority myth,' Randall Yip wrote Wednesday for his AsAmNews.

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"Now 27 years later, Time has updated its story talking to some of the same people it talked to in 1987. [Its] conclusion:

" 'The lack of Asian leadership in tech sheds light on a larger issue: Asians are excluded from the idea of diversity.'

"The most recent example can be found in the diversity reports released by Silicon Valley's largest tech firms. . . ." Time pointed out, "Very little was said of the discrepancy between the high percentage of Asian tech employees and the disproportionately low percentage of Asian leaders. . . ."

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Jack Linshi wrote in the Time story, headlined, "The Real Problem When It Comes to Diversity and Asian-Americans":

"The belief in a blanket Asian-American culture is so thick that it has resulted in confusion when Asian-Americans deviate from the model minority myth. Today, diversity is more visible than ever: There is the commanding John Cho, and there is the awkward William Hung; the funny Mindy Kaling and the serious Indra Nooyi; the talkative local launderer and the mum evil villain; the whitewashed American-born Chinese and the perpetual foreigner.

"And yet those who display that diversity are often perceived as exceptions. The rule is the single framework — the model minority myth — that persists as the dominant stereotype for the whole race, especially in the tech sector. . . ."

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Boston Herald Opinion Editor Asks Forgiveness for Cartoon

"For two weeks I have remained silent," Rachelle G. Cohen, editorial page editor of the Boston Herald, wrote on Wednesday. "And that was just plain dumb. Oh, not THE dumbest thing — not by a long shot. The dumbest thing I've ever done was without a second thought to give my approval to a cartoon — we all know which one — that has proven hurtful to so many people — people I care about. It has also proven hurtful to an institution I love and to colleagues who are blameless.

"And that, in the end, is what forces me to break this utterly uncharacteristic silence of mine. . . ."

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As CBS News reported on Oct. 1, "The cartoon shows the president brushing his teeth in a White House bathroom with a surprised look on his face as a white man sits in the bathtub behind him, asking [President] Obama, 'Have you tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste?' The caption reads, 'White House Invader Got Farther Than Originally Thought. ' "

Cohen wrote Wednesday, "it's my job as an editor to see around corners, to look at all the possible meanings and nuances of words and of images. It's my job and two weeks ago I failed at it miserably. And that's all on me and this is why. . . ."

She also wrote, "Yes, a final page proof does go up to the 6th floor where a desk editor will read the editorials, make sure we haven't made some obvious error of fact and in the event a topic has been overtaken by breaking news events will pick up the phone and advise me that we need an update. On the night in question — the night the cartoon appeared on a page proof, the proof was not left in the proper bin. No senior news editor ever saw it.

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"And every evening the publisher gets a copy of the editorials sent to his email — not the images — only the words.

"So there you have it. The remarkably simple way in which bad stuff can happen. . . ."

Diversity Lament From Britain Sounds Familiar

"This is an article I swore I would never write," Nesrine Malik wrote Tuesday for Britain's Guardian newspaper. "First, as a protest against the minority media ghetto where minority writers are limited to writing about minority issues and gripes, second, because it just looks like sour grapes, and finally, because this kind of journalism about journalism can edge into the self-indulgent. But two lists published in close succession have made me break my vow.

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"So bear with what may seem like media navel-gazing and look at what these two lists tell us. The first, the 2014 list of nominees for the Comment Awards, has not a single columnist of colour; the second, the list of judges for the British Journalism Awards, not a single black or minority ethnic (BME) judge and only three women out of 18 on the panel. After I tweeted about the latter, Press Gazette got in touch and said there was still 'work to do,' and added one male non-white judge and two women to its panel. . . ."

Malik also wrote, "Protest against this, however, and you are met with cries of tokenism and horror at positive discrimination. Sometimes the blame is shifted onto the excluded for being paranoid or not proactive enough. The comment awards curator Julia Hobsbawm defended the all-white shortlist by saying that people who feel underrepresented should just 'phone me up and ask to be a judge … Don't put a barrier where there isn't one. That's a mindset.' The selection of the all-white shortlist was 'democratic'.

"To me this is proof that there is still a fundamental misunderstanding of how networks can be hermetic and self-perpetuating without being actively racist, sexist or classist. . . ."

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Jimi Matthews, the Journalist, South Africa: The Complexion of Newsrooms Changed But old norms haunt us

Short Takes

"For 17 years, XXL Magazine has been a staple within the hip-hop community, and though it was reported that the brand would put [its] print edition to bed, MTV News has learned that isn't the case at all," Rob Markman reported Tuesday for MTV News. " 'We are going to continue doing magazines,' XXL’s editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten told MTV News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. . . ."

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As reported in this space on Monday, the National Press Photographers Association has objected to a tactic NPPA's counsel describes as "catch and release," in which police detain journalists without charges simply to get them away from the scene. Asked for an update, the counsel, Mickey H. Osterreicher, told Journal-isms by email on Tuesday, "While I have had ongoing correspondence with the Public Information Officer for St. Louis County Police Department and have resent our letters to other command staff at his request I have yet to receive a substantive response regarding our complaints and offer to provide training to local area law enforcement regarding the right to photograph and record in public." Sgt. Brian Schellman, county police spokesman, was asked the department's position on working with NPPA on that effort. He replied by email Tuesday, "Your email has been forwarded to commanders who will review this." [Updated Oct. 16.]

"When Associated Press race and ethnicity reporter Jesse Washington sat down to write a story about a white same-sex couple suing after incorrectly receiving the sperm of a black donor, he knew it would challenge certain viewpoints on race and would spark a nerve," Meera Pal reported Tuesday for WTOP Radio in Washington. " 'I knew it was going to be provocative because it felt like another situation where a black baby is not wanted or is less worthy or less desirable than someone else and that evokes some really strong feelings.' Washington says. Strong feelings is putting it lightly. . . ."

"How to Become a John S. Knight Fellow" is the topic of an Oct. 21 Google Hangout to be presented by the Digital Journalism Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists and AllDigitocracy.com. Program Director James R. Bettinger and one current and two past Knight fellows plan to discuss the application process for the 2015-16 John S. Knight Fellowships at Stanford University. The two-hour conversation begins at noon EDT.

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Professor Ali A. Mazrui, 81, renowned author and scholar who was regarded as one of the preeminent voices for articulating the African perspective in the United States, died Sunday in Binghamton, N.Y. "Best known for the critically acclaimed [and controversial]1986 television series The Africans: A Triple Heritage (BBC and PBS), he wrote more than twenty books on African politics, international political culture, political Islam and North-South relations," the Washington-based Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa said on Tuesday.

The Journalism Center on Children & Families, formerly the Casey Journalism Center, will close at the end of 2014, Director Julie Drizin announced Wednesday. Kenneth F. Irby, senior faculty and director of community relations & diversity programs at the Poynter Institute, has been a board member and judge for the Casey Awards for the last three years. "Julie has done an awesome job of directing and expanding the mission of the Center on Children and Families," Irby told Journal-isms by email. "The Casey Awards had become a relevant and meaningful benchmark of excellence for these important of often untold stories."

"We are delighted to announce that, after a stellar five-year run as editor of Outlook," the Sunday opinion section, "Carlos Lozada will become The Post's new nonfiction book critic, writing regular weekly reviews and contributing to online coverage of nonfiction books and long-form nonfiction," Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron and Managing Editor Kevin Merida wrote staff members Monday. They also wrote, "Carlos, a native of Lima, Peru, is a graduate of Notre Dame and Princeton, and before joining The Post in 2005, was managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. . . ."

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"KLRN-TV in San Antonio has hired former Telemundo executive Arthur Rojas Emerson as president and c.e.o.," Dru Sefton reported Monday for Current.org.

Michelle Rindels, a regional representative on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, has been named Nevada statehouse reporter in Carson City for the Associated Press. "Rindels, 27, has worked as the AP's Las Vegas-based breaking news staffer for Nevada and Utah for the past three years," the AP reported on Monday.

The National Association of Black Journalists is appealing for donations to the Family of Darren and Nicole Nichols fund at PNC Bank in Detroit. Nichols, 42, a city hall reporter at the Detroit News, and past president of the Detroit chapter of NABJ, suffered a stroke while at city hall on Sept. 25.  The incident made news when the ambulance took 25 minutes to arrive. Contributions may be made at any local PNC bank or at PNC Bank, 20500 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48203, Attn: Family of Darren and Nicole Nichols.

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"Almost four decades ago, a Japanese journalist named Koji Nakamura asked [Emperor] Hirohito the question no one dared to ask," Norihiro Kato wrote Tuesday for the New York Times. Kato called it "a moment in postwar Japanese history without parallel. Although Hirohito lived for another 14 years, to my knowledge, he held no other press conferences; if the journalist had remained silent, the emperor would have died without once being publicly asked by a citizen of Japan to take responsibility for his catastrophic failures. Nakamura's question may have gone unanswered, but he deserves a place in history simply for asking it. . . ."

"No matter what you do entrepreneurially, it's going to be difficult," entrepreneur Keith Clinkscales, now CEO of Revolt Media, told a packed crowd Tuesday at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center in Washington, D.C., Vance Brinkley wrote Tuesday for alldigitocracy.org. " 'There's this lovely notion that people have, it's like, "oh, I'm going to be my own boss." Well, you're not really your own boss. You're just working for all kinds of bosses be they advertisers, investors or employees. So if you're going to work that hard, you better really like what you do.' . . ." 

"Libya's journalists are still among the leading victims of the political turmoil and violence that have been a constant ever since Col. [Moammar] Gaddafi's overthrow in the 2011 revolution," Reporters Without Borders reported on Tuesday. The press freedom group said it condemns the murder of Al-Tayeb Issa, one of the founders of privately owned satellite TV station Tuareg Tumsat, in southwestern Libya on Oct. 5 and radio presenter Motassem Al-Warfalli's murder three days later in the eastern city of Benghazi. 

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Reporters Without Borders said Wednesday it was appalled to learn that in Mexico, activist and radio programme host Atilano Román was shot dead while presenting his weekly program on Radio Fiesta Mexicana in Mazatlán, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, on Oct. 11. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is holding a regional conference in Mexico City on Saturday.

"Increasing pressure on traditional media in Venezuela over recent years has forced journalists critical of the government to move online in search of refuge," Dylan Baddour reported Monday for the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. "The transition has spurred the creation of several small publications online and has changed the way that Venezuelans, especially those critical of the government, share and receive information. . . ."