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Why I quit my job as a reporter today

Steve Majerus CollinsChristmas Eve, 2015

Twenty five years ago, as a young reporter, I sat in an Upstate New York courtroom where a judge ordered me to hand over a leaked hospital lab slip that showed a state trooper had been drunk during a late-night crash. When I refused, I thought I would wind up behind bars, the culmination of a months-long drama that forced me to confront both the best and worst parts of my chosen profession. In the end, fortunately, I dodged jail time without giving in.

Now, no longer young, I once again face a moment that calls for me to put my own needs aside and to stand once more for principle.

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Another chilling year of killings and attacks on journalists

Killing of jouirnalistsFifty-five journalists have been killed across the world so far this year. In purely statistical terms, it signifies an improvement. It is six fewer than were killed last year and 17 fewer than in 2013.

Yet it is further evidence of the incredibly hostile condtions under which many journalists work, conditions that have seen a total of 597 killed over the past decade because of their journalistic activities.

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NYT and WP Journalists Failed to Disclose Sources’ Funding From Monsanto

Monsanto connection hidden by major newspapersFollowing a Columbia Journalism Review article on whether science journalists should accept money from corporate interests, and whether there is adequate disclosure of sources’ corporate ties and conflicts of interest, U.S. Right to Know reviewed recent articles to assess how often journalists and columnists quote academic sources without stating that they are funded by the agrichemical giant Monsanto, which produces pesticides and GMOs.

Our review found 27 articles quoting (or authored by) university professors after they received Monsanto funding, but without disclosing that funding.

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Anonymous says it took down 5,550 Islamic State Twitter accounts

AnonymousHacker group Anonymous said it has taken down 5,500 Twitter accounts linked to the Islamic State days after declaring war on the militant group.

The loose collective of hackers said "OpParis," or Operation Paris, the team that launched the digital assault on the IS, is collecting the details from the accounts, verifying them through a "trusted individual" and will be turning over the information to authorities.

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Exposed: China’s covert global radio network

CRIIn August, foreign ministers from 10 nations blasted China for building artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea. As media around the world covered the diplomatic clash, a radio station that serves the most powerful city in America had a distinctive take on the news.

Located outside Washington, D.C., WCRW radio made no mention of China’s provocative island project. Instead, an analyst explained that tensions in the region were due to unnamed “external forces” trying “to insert themselves into this part of the world using false claims.”

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Critics: US media often omit context of Israeli-Palestinian violence

Media v Israel-Palestinian conflictAs violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories returns to the headlines, critics are complaining that many prominent U.S. news outlets often omit or misrepresent contextual information vital to understanding the conflict. And perhaps predictably, partisans on both sides are targeting media coverage for different reasons.

A common complaint among some critics concerns some major U.S. media outlets’ characterization of neighborhoods and the legal and political context of the Israeli presence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. “The biggest problem … is total lack of context in reporting in which all of this is taking place,” said Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

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Dan Rather’s Moment of ‘Truth’: The Movie CBS and George W. Bush Don’t Want You to See

Film about Dan Rather's fall from graceA new film starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford explores the notorious ‘60 Minutes’ piece on George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard record, and the anchorman’s subsequent fall.

It was the great Henry David Thoreau who once said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” And it’s the Thoreauian tenets of self-reliance—the pursuit of unvarnished truth and resistance to institutional authority—that motivates many in the journalism profession.

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