Arresting the press | Tiny journal with big impact | The ethics of Cuomo interviewing Cuomo

Arresting the press: In the days between May 29 and June 4 of last year, 71 journalists were arrested as racial-justice protests intensified nationwide. In total, over 125 journalists were arrested or detained in 2020, many of whom are still waiting for their charges to be processed or dropped. According to Jon Allsop in CJR, charges for offenses like disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and failure to disperse were unexpected, jarring, and raised concerns about press freedom in the US. Sean Beckner-Carmitchel, a freelance videographer, was arrested twice during election week protests. “Police don’t get to decide who is and is not press,” said Beckner-Carmitchel. 

Tiny journal with big impact: Democracy: A Journal of Ideas is a tiny quarterly journal based in DC that flies largely under the radar. With only 500 subscribers, it’s not a likely publication for meaningful ideas that carry a lot of weight. However, huge names like Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and many high-ranking Biden officials have contributed to the journal before and during their political careers. Marc Tracy of the New York Times compares it to the National Review, claiming that it provides just the right platform for politically minded individuals to float ideas. Though the journal itself doesn’t get a lot of attention, it plays an important role in allowing relevant ideas to enter the political conversation and provides a platform for future politicians, says Tracy. 

The ethics of Cuomo interviewing Cuomo: Chris Cuomo of CNN never used to interview his brother, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, but when the pandemic rocked New York City, the cable network’s policy changed. But now that the governor is facing accusations of sexual harassment, CNN has re-instated its ban on interviews between the Cuomo brothers. According to Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post, the inconsistency of this ban is just a little too convenient. It seems as though Chris Cuomo only participates in the sibling interviews when he has something to gain from it because Andrew Cuomo is popular in the polls. This policy should not change according to popularity, and from a journalistic ethics standpoint, CNN never should have lifted the ban in 2020 and shouldn’t again in the future, says Sullivan. 

Live Q&A with Marty Baron, former executive editor of The Washington Post on April 1. Fundraiser for student scholarships: Register now

From exposing the priest sexual abuse scandal in Boston to confronting Donald Trump’s attacks on the media to addressing the country’s racial reckoning, Marty Baron has stood at the center of the journalistic storm. Now he talks candidly about his time as editor of the Washington Post and Boston Globe, what it was like to be attacked as an “enemy of the people” and cover Trump, and what he sees for the future of journalism—and the country. 

Under his leadership, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Miami Herald won a total of 17 Pulitzer Prizes. Baron was also featured in the Oscar-winning movie SPOTLIGHT. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of America’s greatest journalists and defenders of democracy and a free press. Baron will be interviewed by Jonathan Kaufman, Director of the Northeastern University School of Journalism.

Celebrate and support the School of Journalism with this groundbreaking, Northeastern-exclusive event! Tickets are $25 ($20 of which represents a tax-deductible donation to the School of Journalism Fund). Event proceeds will go towards scholarship and stipends that directly benefit Journalism students. All gifts will be included in Giving Day totals. Register today.


Event Registration$25 per ticket

Students free

$20 of your event fee is a tax-deductible donation to the School of Journalism Fund


6 – 6:10 p.m.: Welcoming Remarks

6:10–6:45 p.m.: Interview between Chair Kaufman & Marty Baron

6:45 – 7p.m.: Audience Q&A

Podcasting potential | A threat to global broadcasting | “Rightly” is a bad idea

Podcasting potential: Podcasting is soaring, much like TV in the 1950s, but concerns are growing that a flood of corporate money will stifle creativity, reports Ben Sisario for the New York Times. Because of the comparatively low production costs and ease at which the podcasts can be produced, many actors, producers, and individuals are getting involved in podcasting. An entertainment form with limitless creative potential and lots of opportunity for risk taking, podcasts have emerged in the past few years for every niche interest out there. However, with an influx of money from advertisers, tech platforms, and Hollywood, there are diversity concerns as voices of underrepresented communities may be drowned out as the media form grows, says Sisario. 

A threat to global broadcasting: The U.S. agency, which promotes free speech overseas and includes Radio Free Europe, underwent drastic changes under former President Trump, which have raised concerns about its credibility. The United States Agency for Global Media, or USAGM, promotes global free press, without trying to push a US foreign policy agenda and includes five networks: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Voice of America and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Trump’s appointee to run the agency, Michael Pack, went on a rampage, replacing bipartisan heads of these networks with conservative activists during his short term. From a foreign policy standpoint, Pack’s actions raise serious concerns, since these networks have retained global credibility for four decades, says Yasmeen Serhan in the Atlantic. The Biden administration is taking action to make sure that the Pack’s unilateral decisions from his tenure can’t be repeated under another administration. 

“Rightly” is a bad idea: Al Jazeera, a Qatar-funded media outlet, is facing criticism from its own staff after it launched an English language, conservative online platform called Rightly, writes Michael Safi for the Guardian. Staff members who have signed the letter objecting to the launch claim that it will deepen the polarization already ingrained in American media and “irreparably tarnish the network’s brand and work.” Though Al Jazeera is conservative when it comes to Arab politics, it is surprising that the network is expanding to partisan reporting outside of the Arab world, says Safi.

Google to pay newsrooms in Australia | The Fairness Doctrine & Limbaugh | Alden’s reign of destruction

Google to pay newsrooms in Australia: A proposed law in Australia would force Google and Facebook to compensate news publishers for the use of their content, writes Mathew Ingram for CJR. Facebook and Google are taking opposite approaches to these new copyright regulations: Google has already agreed to pay publishers, while Facebook, by way of protesting, is removing news from its website in Australia entirely. These two companies have very different relationships with the news, but both are facing regulation in Australia’s effort towards committing to high-quality information, says Ingram. While the Australian media landscape is very different from the U.S., the moves raise questions about what could happen here.

The Fairness Doctrine & Limbaugh: The end of the Fairness Doctrine gave birth to Rush Limbaugh’s rise of unfiltered radio broadcasting, says Al Tompkins in Poynter. The doctrine once required news media to grant coverage to competing views, but when the Reagan administration agreed to stop enforcing it, radio hosts like Limbaugh were given free reign. This shift allowed Limbaugh to become a star: radio was no longer a back-and-forth with callers, but more a source of entertainment as the host espoused extreme content. Tompkins writes that although Limbaugh and the Fairness Doctrine alone can’t be credited with the hyperpartisan landscape of today’s news, they certainly played a big role in changing American media. 

Alden’s reign of destruction: Alden Global Capital is a destructive force that is partly responsible for the nationwide loss of local news, says Margaret Sullivan in the Washington Post. It’s clear that Sullivan has nothing good to say about Alden. Alden is positioned to buy the Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers, adding them to their large collection of local papers. A corporation interested in little more than short-term profit, Alden has taken papers like the Denver Post and the Boston Herald and cut staff and reporters, reducing them to a skeleton of what they once were. The commitment to a strong local newspaper is lost as soon as Alden gets involved, says Sullivan.

White power groundswell | New opinion editor | Twitter-thread star

White power groundswell [podcast]: In an episode of the CJR podcast “The Kicker,” University of Chicago history professor Kathleen Belew says the media needs to cover domestic terrorism in the same way that it covers Islamic terrorism. Journalists need to make connections between white power groups and the larger domestic terror movement in their reporting. Basing her opinion on historical precedent from the post-Vietnam War era, Belew’s outlook is bleak on the direction of the movement that burst into public view during the Jan. 6 insurrection. “I think a lot more activity will be unfolding,” says Belew. “I hope I’m wrong about that.”

New opinion editor: Kathleen Kingsbury, the New York Times’ new opinion editor, has big plans, writes Sarah Scire for Nieman Lab. Kingsbury intends to experiment with different methods of reporting, including video, audio, and graphics. Beyond this, she plans to change the content and publish some stories that don’t fall clearly on a left-right spectrum to challenge readers. It will be interesting to see what direction the NYT takes here.

Twitter-thread star: As Twitter has become a source of news and insight for many users, influencers like Seth Abramson have emerged. Lyz Lenz of CJR profiles the rise of Abramson, who treats his nearly 1 million followers with what he terms analysis of ongoing events — sometimes in tweet threads that are 100 tweets long. Abramson’s writing and role is controversial — Lenz says a person’s opinion on Abramson “is kind of a Rorschach test,” as he is either seen as a favorable speaker of truth or a “rogue pundit.” Abramson says he is navigating the convoluted world of modern politics. But his accuracy has been questioned and his sources may not be as reliable as many of his followers are led to believe, writes Lenz. An interesting take on how Twitter influencers are changing media.