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Journalism

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Despite a growing recognition of the newspaper industry's problems among politicians and philanthropists, a new report says a downward trend continues. A report from Northwestern University says local newspapers in the United States are dying at the rate of two per week. There has been growth in digital alternatives, but not nearly enough to compensate for what has been lost. Northwestern says the number of counties with no newspapers or only one outlet continues to expand, and the underserved areas tend to have residents who are poorer, older and less-educated than those covered well, Many digital-only sites are clustered in or near big cities, since that's where the money is to fund them.

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A year after migrants started crossing into the European Union, authorities say a new steel wall along Poland's border with Belarus has been finished. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki marked its completion with a visit to the border area on Thursday. The wall is intended to keep out migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Polish authorities say they plan Friday to lift a state of emergency along the Belarus-Poland border that kept journalists and human rights workers out of an area where at least 20 migrants died. The Polish government characterizes the wall as part of the fight against Russia; human rights defenders see a double standard since Poland has welcomed Ukrainian refugees.

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More than 13 journalists have reportedly been barred from covering events this week marking the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China. Authorities are citing “security reasons" for denying their access. The Hong Kong Journalists Association says the journalists are from at least seven media outlets, including international news agencies Reuters and Agence France-Presse. It says the rejections undermine freedom of the press in the city. Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Hong Kong for the anniversary of the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997. It's his first trip outside mainland China since the coronavirus took hold about 2 1/2 years ago.

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Filipino journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa says in a speech in Hawaii Tuesday that the Philippine government is affirming a previous order to shut down her news site. Rappler has gained notoriety for its reporting of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs. Ressa is the first ever Filipino and first working journalist in more than 80 years to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was a featured speaker at the East-West Center’s International Media Conference. Ressa learned of the order from Rappler’s attorneys. She says they plan to appeal.

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South African police are investigating the deaths of at least 21 people at a nightclub in the coastal town of East London Sunday and authorities say most of the victims were minors as young as 13-year-old. It is unclear what led to the deaths of the young people, who were reportedly attending a party to celebrate the end of winter school exams. Local newspaper Daily Dispatch reported that bodies were strewn across tables and chairs without any visible signs of injuries. Police minister Bheki Cele said the victims’ ages ranged between 13 and 17, raising questions about why the underaged children were being served alcohol.

More than two years after the world first learned about a new deadly disease with a five-letter name, it’s time for the first books to come out and add to the historical record. “Cabin Fever” takes readers aboard the MS Zaandam as it disembarks from Buenos Aires just days before COVID was officially classified a pandemic. The next 25 days are filled with fear and death and uncertainty, captured by a pair of investigative journalists who reconstruct what happened using interviews with the passengers and crew. AP reviewer Rob Merrill says Smith and Franklin’s riveting recount of the cruise take readers back to a time many of them would like to forget.

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Nobel Peace laureate Dmitry Muratov says he was not expecting the medal he was auctioning off to help Ukrainian child refugees sell for the record amount of $103.5 million. Bidding in the auction ended in New York on Monday, which is World Refugee Day. The sale shatters the old $4.76 million record for a Nobel. The identity of the buyer isn't immediately known. Muratov was awarded the medal in October 2021. He helped found the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and was the publication’s editor-in-chief when it shut down in March amid a Kremlin clampdown after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Journalists face harassment, fight against misinformation and are keenly aware of the American public's dim view of their profession. Yet a survey released on Tuesday found that most journalists love their jobs and would do it all again if they had the chance. The Pew Research Center surveyed nearly 12,000 journalists late last winter and released its findings on Tuesday. When asked to describe their industry, most journalists used negative words like struggling or stressful. They almost uniformly feel the public doesn't like them. But Pew's survey found that 77% of the journalists said that if they had the chance to do it all over, they'd still be in the news industry.

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The Washington Post has fired reporter Felicia Sonmez, who has triggered a vigorous online debate this past week over social media policy and public treatment of colleagues. In a copy of a termination letter, published on Mediaite, Sonmez was accused of insubordination and violating the Post's standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity. The outspoken political writer sued the Post last year for saying she could not cover issues involving sexual assault because she had been outspoken about her own experiences. The current episode began when Sonmez pointed out a since-suspended colleague's retweet of an offensive joke, saying, "fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed.'

Russian authorities have kept up their crackdown on critics of its military operation in Ukraine. A court extended the detention of journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., who is accused of spreading false information about the Russian operation. Authorities also confirmed similar charges have been filed against a Russian investigative journalist and a Russian novelist, but both of them live outside of Russia. In addition, Moscow's chief rabbi is reported to have fled the country and is staying in Israel because he refused to publicly support Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

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A musician who wants to make classical music more accessible to more diverse performers and audience members has been named this year’s recipient of a college scholarship founded in honor of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Joseph Weinberg plans to use the $2,000 Daniel Pearl Berkshire Scholarship to major in music with a focus on double bass performance at The Juilliard School in New York. Pearl was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in January 2002 while researching a story on terrorism. He began his journalism career in western Massachusetts. Weinberg graduated from Pittsfield High School in Massachusetts last weekend.

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When tragedies like school shootings happen, journalists quickly follow in huge numbers, putting communities in the world's spotlight in their worst possible moment. It's a situation that often angers and frustrates people who want privacy to grieve and process things like the Uvalde school shooting, and the repetition frustrates journalists who have to cover seemingly the same story with no end in sight. Experts say there are things journalists can do to make the situation less burdensome on the communities, or add to the pain. Some in the communities are grateful that someone is there to document what happened for the world.

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