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We are an enemy on behalf of the American people

This editorial is posted today in unity with more than 350 U.S. publications and organizations challenging President Donald Trump’s assertion that the media is the “enemy of the people.”

 

 By now President’s Trump’s assailing of the U.S. media as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people” is as much a part of his early presidential legacy as his frequent braggadocios and often insulting tweet storms. No less than 400 times has Trump hung the “fake news” tag on the press since he initiated the phrase more than a year ago, according to a CNN analysis in early August.

The persistent attacks on the media and the baiting of his base to turn against the press at his political rallies are all too commonplace. In fact, it is an effective strategy to humiliate, debase and seize power from the Fourth Estate for doing its job. Calling them the enemy serves to distance the public from the media while his supporters can ironically embrace a president with a propensity for presenting unverifiable information almost daily.

So, are we, the press, the enemy of the people?

Of course not.

But, let’s also be clear, we are indeed an enemy.

We are the enemy of the crooked politicians who conduct insider trading and spend campaign finances on themselves and their families. We are the enemy of the corrupt who take money offshore and evade the American tax system and the enemy of people who line their pockets at the public till or take bribes from lobbyists and special interests to serve themselves and their own desires over those of the people.

We are the enemy of the powerful who choose to extend that power over others like a cloak of despair. We see enemies in high places when people are starving and destitute while the powerful live in laps of luxury. The media makes enemies of those who attempt to control all levels of government. We abhor dictators, fascists, oligarchs, tyrants, oppressors, authoritarians, despots and totalitarians.

We are the enemy of the liars who spin stories, deflect from answering questions and create “alternative facts.” We take on those who trade in real fabricated news and conspiracy theories that are built on few, if any, shreds of truth. We challenge those in our own profession when their stories appear more like political propaganda than a semblance of fairness and truthfulness.

We are the enemy of those who want to undermine the First Amendment, who hope to gag the press and limit our scope and abilities to report to the American people. We are the enemy of lawmakers from the smallest to the mightiest who want to use laws, rules, regulations, even policing power to control the flow of information to the people and plunge government business deeper into secrecy.

You see, we are capable of being an enemy. Our history shows we are a strong, united, committed group loyal to our mission of free, factual and fair information, and because of that, we create enemies over time.

But, the American people is not one of those.

We are not the enemy of the American people. We are an enemy on behalf of the American people.

And, the sooner this president learns that the sooner this nation will return to a symbol of democracy.

 

 

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Page: Kiplinger is legacy of journalism integrity

Editor’s Note: Chicago Tribune Pulitzer columnist Clarence Page will receive the Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award from the National Press Foundation on Feb. 15 in Washington, D.C.  The following commentary appeared Feb. 6, in The Hill.)

 

You know you’re getting old when you’re watching a “historical” movie and suddenly realize, “Hey, that’s my life!” That thought crossed my mind while watching “The Post,” the Oscar-nominated retelling of the Washington Post’s Vietnam-era reporting of the Pentagon Papers.

My eyes constantly wandered to artifacts of that era before emails, Google, smartphones and laptops, to gaze nostalgically at the typewriters, teletypes, “copy boys,” typesetters and armies of trucks rolling out at dawn to drop off bundles of papers at newsstands. Ah, memories.

But news never sleeps. Although the principles and processes of reporting and storytelling have not changed since my days in journalism school, the tools and techniques of newsgathering and distribution constantly change in this digital age.

Those thoughts come to mind as I consider how deeply honored I am to receive the National Press Foundation’s 2017 W. M. Kiplinger Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism. As an editor on my high school’s biweekly newspaper in the 1960s, I admired the legacy of Willard Monroe Kiplinger, another Ohioan who graduated as a journalism student from Ohio State University in 1912.

During more than 50 years of reporting writing, editing and publishing before his death in 1967, Kiplinger built commercial success on a reputation for promoting high standards of journalistic integrity, performance, independence and service to readers. Beginning with the Kiplinger Letter in 1923, Kiplinger Washington Editors now publishes five newsletters, Kiplinger Magazine, books on economics, and an online news delivery service. 

Back in my high school days, I would not have guessed that a half-century later I would be receiving an award in Kiplinger’s s name — or that my alma mater, Ohio University, would collaborate with the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.

But as pleasing as I might find nostalgia for the past, the Kiplinger program wisely looks to the future. Funded by the Kiplinger Foundation and family, it aims to help mid-career journalists update their knowledge and skills in our constantly changing industry.

In April, the 2018 class of Kiplinger fellows, made up of 16 journalists from around the world, will spend a week on the Ohio campus, receiving cutting-edge training on digital tools and tactics from leading industry experts. Topics include social media for reporting, branding and audience engagement, spreadsheets and data visualization, smartphone videography, and media ethics.

“After my Kiplinger fellowship, I returned to my newsroom energized in a way I haven’t been in years,” recalled former Fellow Kristen Graham of the Philadelphia Inquirer. She said she was equipped with “new skills that will help me deepen my reporting and reach more readers. What a terrific experience!”

I wish her and the rest of her rising generation of journalists well. Who knows? Someday, I am sure, someone will be making movies about them, too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Class of 2018 Kiplinger Fellows announced

Seventeen journalists from around the globe will gather in central Ohio this April to make up the 2018 Class of the Kiplinger Fellowship.

The editors, reporters and producers represent some of the most distinguished media outlets in the world and were chosen from a field of more than 500 global applicants.

“Another year and another outstanding class for the Kiplinger Fellowship. We are delighted to have such a good cross-section of experience, diversity and media platforms in this year’s class,” Kiplinger Director Kevin Z. Smith said. “In a highly competitive program, we see excellent representation from all over the globe.”

Kiplinger Director Kevin Smith looks at the work of Fellow Patricia Montemurri as she composes her bubble image.

The Kiplinger Fellows will be joined by 16 Chinese business journalists connected with the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University to expand the fellowship to its largest class and give it a truly international flavor.

The Fellows will divide their time between Columbus and Athens, Ohio where they will be immersed in digital and social media training.

“The faculty and students of E.W. Scripps School of Journalism eagerly anticipate the 2018 Kiplinger Program, the first to take place on our campus at Ohio University,” Journalism Director Robert Stewart said. “We expect to benefit as much as contribute to the amazing training provided through the program.”

The 2018 U.S. Kiplinger Fellows are:

Louis Aguilar, Detroit News

Vince Beiser, Los Angeles freelancer

Raquel Godos, Agencia EFE

Stephanie Griffith, Agence France-Presse

Matthew Hall, San Diego Union-Tribune

Kate Howard, Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

Marisa Kwiatkowski, Indianapolis Star

Kira Lerner, ThinkProgress

Delano Massey, The Associated Press

Taylor Mirfendereski, KING 5 TV Seattle

Corinne Segal, PBS Newshour, Weekend

Stephanie Valentic, Penton Informa

 

International fellows include:

Elizabeth Davies, BBC, London

Arun Karki, Center for Data Journalism Nepal

Narin Sun, Voice of America, Cambodia

Angela Ukomadu, Reuters, Nigeria

Ekaterina Venkina, Deutsche Welle, Berlin

The Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism was founded in 1973 from a generous gift by the Kiplinger Foundation in honor of Willard Kiplinger, an Ohio State University 1912 journalism graduate and editor of The Lantern. For 45 years the Kiplinger Program’s mission has been to train mid-career journalists. Each year Kiplinger, through a series of workshops and conferences, educates nearly 1,000 journalists worldwide.

 

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Fake news, media literacy challenge Ethiopian press corps

You don’t have to spend more than a couple of hours talking with an Ethiopian journalist to learn that it’s a daily challenge to ply your trade in a country that calls itself a democracy. The conversations involve a lot of forlorn looks, head shaking and some pent-up anger.

What I’ve come to learn in my handful experiences with African journalists (Sierra Leone, Zambia, Uganda and Ethiopia) is that democracy in theory usually doesn’t translate into a free press in reality. Ethiopia is no exception.

The press is free to work in many of these countries so long as its coverage is complimentary of the government and its usually corrupt politicians.

Members of the Media Women of Ethiopia discuss goals for improving journalism in 2018.

Threats of imprisonment are common, but, so too are tactics that keep information from the hands of the press and public or officials asserting overwhelming support for state-operated TV, radio and print at the expense of the independent press. All of the tactics to keep the press at bay are in full force in Ethiopia. Couple that with an undertrained workforce of journalists, low pay and an avoidance of standards, and it becomes a bit overwhelming.

Perhaps the greatest among these challenges now is the proliferation of fake news stories either from foreign influencers or the state media. Aided by a population that readily shares unverified information and, the desired effect of manipulating the minds of the masses is a daily occurrence.

The media landscape is similar to many African countries, but there is a strong online presence from expatriates who want to disseminate questionable news in hopes of staging uprisings against those in power. The government, for its part, denounces most news it doesn’t like as fake and metes punishment against legitimate news organizations in some cases.

Whatever the source or the motives, media literacy is needed to help the more than 100 million of the country’s residents sift through the profound static noise that passes for news.

When I traveled there for four days in November my mission was to help scratch the surface of these challenges. I’m thankful neither the U.S. Embassy staff in Addis Ababa

nor the journalists themselves expected a magic bullet solution to the litany of problems. My goal was to help inspire journalists to rise up in voice and to train them and the public on ways to combat the disinformation flooding their daily news feeds.

First, we went after the public and, thanks to a robust U.S. Embassy team and its Facebook presence, we were able to get before 140,000 people on an afternoon to educate them about why fake news is effective, what its intentions are and how to recognize, challenge and defeat its presence on social media.

Later in the week we drilled down on the subject with the journalists and shared with them tools they could use to improve their work, engage the public with transparency about their role and responsibilities and regain credibility.

I also met with representatives of nearly all of the Ethiopian media associations and after three hours of productive discussions, I think some strong alliances were formed. The goal is to join their resources and strengths to work on a nationwide media literacy program that should keep a consistent message in front of the populace for some time.

Despite the obvious up-hill-battle for greater press freedoms many of the Ethiopian journalists I met were decidedly optimistic about their roles, their work and the effect it has on their fellow citizens. Their resolve to tell the truth and be responsible and credible journalists is strong.

I hope with some new ideas, some renewed spirit and inspiration they will move forth a stronger and more viable press. That’s not a magic bullet, but it’s a game plan worthy of execution.

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Kiplinger Fellowship journalists chosen

Fellows for the 2018 Kiplinger Fellowship have been selected. If you have not been notified of your acceptance, unfortunately, you were not selected from the more than 500 applicants worldwide.

The coveted weeklong training in digital and social media will be held April 15-20, 2018 in Athens, Ohio, site of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

Deadline for applying is midnight, EDT, Nov. 19.

Fellows selected for the Fellowship, now in its 45th year, will have much of their expenses paid through a generous endowment of the program from the Willard M. Kiplinger journalism family. U.S. applicants will be asked to pay their transportation in and out of Columbus. International fellows will receive a stipend to help offset some of their airfare to the U.S. Training, lodging and most meals are provided by the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.

Adam Causey and Kofo Belo-Osagie confer with one another over a spreadsheet filter.

All applicants must have at least five years of professional experience and must be proficient in English writing and speaking. All training is done in English. Three work samples are required of all applicants and foreign ones must come with an English translation, if necessary.

This year, as in the past, the programming for the Fellowship will be dictated by the needs of the Fellows. In the past training has focused on social media management, media analytics, mobile applications and videography, cybersecurity, social media ethics and information verification, data journalism and data visualization.

Here is what a few previous fellows have said about their Kiplinger experience:

“The sessions, themselves were extremely productive and helped demystify some of the tools that are so crucial to good journalism, but are often not taught at big institutions … it is truly an incredible program and I’m still pinching myself that I was among those chosen to attend.”

 

Iain Marlow, Correspondent, Bloomberg News, India

“The Kiplinger Fellowship program not only gave me the opportunity to meet talented journalists from all over the world, it also provided me with new tools and ideas so that I can amplify my voice as a journalist on social media.”

 

Silvia Silgado, Univision Network

“I could not feel more inspired and invigorated after the most extraordinary week at Kip Camp. Top-notch training from great speakers, highly organized program and a unique opportunity to meet so many colleagues from all over the world.”

 

Cristina Men, TSF Ràdio Noticias, Portugal

 For further information, contact Kiplinger Program director Kevin Z. Smith at (614)688-7464 or at smith.10002@osu.edu

 

 

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