Our weekly round-up of public service media related stories and headlines from around the world

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5️⃣ What do MEDIA CRACKDOWNS look like?

Media crackdowns are calculated measures – most often taken by political powers – to clamp down on press freedom and limit the media’s ability to report freely, fairly, and ethically. Media crackdowns can include suspensions, shutdowns, lawsuits, and warnings – the last of which has recently been used against public broadcaster RTHK in Hong Kong. Media crackdowns are often buoyed by repressive laws. The pandemic’s onset, for instance, has seen an increase in media crackdowns, with some governments using the guise of COVID-19 and “public interest” to silence critical voices.

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Google news war

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The role of public service media in the fight against disinformation

Reuters Institute: This Journalist Fellowship Paper by Rebecca Skippage explores the latest research and some of the most successful global interventions to examine how public service media can adapt to “reach the unreached” in the fight against disinformation.

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EGYPT: Egypt frees Al-Jazeera journalist after four years jail

DW: Authorities held the Egyptian journalist for four years, accusing him of “spreading false information” and belonging to the banned group Muslim Brotherhood.

GHANA: GBC Reforms Committee Created

Modern Ghana: The National Media Commission (NMC), in collaboration with the government and other stakeholders, has formed a committee to see to the reforms of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

LIBERIA: Liberian government’s ban on airing of talk show violates Constitution

Via IFEX: The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP) castigates the Liberian government for banning the “Costa Show” on D-15 radio, pointing out that the action is a violation of the country’s constitution.

NAMIBIA: NBC employees call for removal of board

The Namibian: Employees of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) are calling for the removal of the corporation’s board of directors while accusing the board of approving irregular performance bonuses for some managers.

NIGERIA: Nigerian news site deliberately blocked, expert report confirms

RSF: Everything indicates that the Nigerian authorities secretly ordered the country’s mobile Internet operators to block access to a popular and respected news website, Peoples Gazette. 

NIGERIA: “The Future Of Broadcasting In Nigeria Is Private” – Industry Regulator Suggests

Broadcast Media Africa: Professor Armstrong Idachaba, the current acting director-general of the National Broadcasting Commission (Nigeria’s broadcast industry regulatory agency), has suggested that there is a need for more private broadcasting outfits to be established in Nigerian broadcast media space.

SOUTH AFRICA: A Threat To Democracy: Covid-19 Has Exposed How Big Fake News In SA Is – Experts

Eyewitness News: In South Africa, senior politicians and members of the judiciary have expressed doubts about the role of COVID-19 vaccines and the management of the pandemic.

SOUTH AFRICA: CPJ welcomes South African Constitutional Court’s ruling condemning surveillance (Statement)


SOUTH AFRICA: The SABC Witnesses Significant Improvement In Sales Growth

SABC: The SABC has faced one of its most challenging trading conditions to date. Despite popular misconceptions that the corporation is a government-funded state-owned enterprise, the SABC only receives a 3% grant from the state. Financial pressures on the organisation have been further worsened by South Africa’s technical recession, a shrinking global economy hit by COVID-19, and corporate advertisers consequently reducing their marketing spend. 

UGANDA: Ugandan security personnel harass journalists, shut down radio station during elections

CPJ: Between January 12 and January 20, 2021, Ugandan security personnel harassed and detained at least four journalists covering the country’s general elections, and shut down at least one radio station, according to a statement by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, a local human rights group, and journalists who spoke to CPJ.

CAMBODIA: Cambodia: Journalist’s associations express concern over police press directive

IFJ: Cambodian media bodies have expressed deep concern over a new directive from Cambodian police that bans journalists from filming, recording and live-streaming active police investigations of criminal activities. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its Cambodian affiliate the Cambodian Journalists Association (CamboJA) in calling on authorities to ensure journalists’ rights and press freedom are upheld in Cambodia.

CHINA: How China’s pandemic propaganda muzzles citizen journalists

Deutsche Welle: China will soon award media accreditation based on social media history. Journalists who uncovered the early truth about coronavirus in China fear their press credentials will be stripped.

CHINA: The Great Firewall Cracked, Briefly. A People Shined Through (Paywall)

The New York Times: China’s censors finally blocked Clubhouse, but not before users were able to bypass the caricatures painted by government-controlled media and freely discuss their hopes and fears.

CHINA & UK: Chinese state broadcaster loses UK licence after Ofcom ruling

The Guardian: Regulator concludes news network CGTN is ultimately controlled by Chinese Communist party.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s embattled public broadcaster in the cross hairs again as Carrie Lam slams ‘unacceptable’ performance in Legco session

South China Morning Post: Hong Kong’s leader has once again lashed out at embattled public broadcaster RTHK…

HONG KONG: Top court rules against Jimmy Lai in bail case

RTHK: The Court of Final Appeal on Tuesday upheld a government challenge to a lower court’s decision to grant bail to the media tycoon Jimmy Lai as he awaits trial on a charge of colluding with foreign forces under the national security law.

INDIA: Doordarshan’s commercial revenue continues to shrink 

Indian Television: India’s public broadcaster continues its struggle to generate profits. The quantum of commercial revenue including advertisement revenue earned by the All India Radio and Doordarshan has plummeted over 40 per cent over the last three years.

INDIA: How farmers’ protests in India are being used to silence the media

Index on Censorship: Journalists reporting on clashes between police and protestors have faced a fierce backlash

INDIA: Why journalists in India are under attack

BBC News: A month after taking office in the summer of 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India’s “democracy will not sustain if we can’t guarantee freedom of speech and expression”. Six years on, many believe, India’s democracy looks diminished, by what they say are persistent attacks on the freedom of the press.

JAPAN: Growing demand for independence and substantive self-regulation in Japan’s public service media (Blog)

LSE Blogs: Japan needs truly independent public service media, argues Akiko Asami, an Associate Director at APCO Worldwide based in Tokyo and LSE alumna. This is the second in a series of posts by former MSc students of LSE’s Department of Media and Communications, looking at various issues in media governance around the world.

MYANMAR: Myanmar: End Crackdown on Media, Communications (Statement)

HRW: Myanmar’s military junta should immediately lift internet restrictions, release all persons detained since the February 1, 2021 coup, and end harassment and threatened arrests of journalists, Human Rights Watch said today.

NEPAL: Reaching out to the unreached: Community radios in Nepal take up podcasting

UNESCO: Community radios in Nepal are taking up podcasting in earnest to reach out to listeners that cannot be reached through their regular terrestrial broadcasting. Podcasting will allow radios to extend their reach to those that prefer to receive their audio content from online platforms, such as the youth and the diaspora.

PAKISTAN: Call for united journalist struggle against injustices

DAWN: Federal and provincial ministers, leaders of different political parties, senior journalists and civil society representatives came together to discuss the state of press freedom and the present media crisis in the country at a seminar on Saturday.

PHILIPPINES: #HoldTheLine coalition sounds alarm over escalating legal harassment of Maria Ressa

RSF: Ahead of another cluster of court proceedings against Rappler founder and CEO Maria Ressa, the #HoldTheLine coalition calls for an end to the escalating and incessant campaign of legal harassment against her in the Philippines.

PHILIPPINES: In ‘Bike for Press Freedom,’ groups demand release of red-tagged journalists

Rappler: ‘Today, journalists and human rights defenders pedal together to symbolize our commitment to continue fighting for press freedom’.

SOUTH KOREA: OTT use jumps in S. Korea amid pandemic

Korea Herald: Over 66 percent of South Koreans used over-the-top (OTT) media, or video streaming services, last year amid the stay-at-home trend driven by the pandemic, a survey showed Tuesday.

THAILAND: Thai PBS and ITD discuss cooperation to present knowledge on international trade and investment (Press release – Thai)

Thai PBS

AUSTRALIA: ABC and AFTRS announce 2021 Selwyn Speight diversity scholarship

Mumbrella: ABC and the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) have announced the recipient of the 2021 Selwyn Speight diversity scholarship, editor and writer Maybelle Lin.

AUSTRALIA: ABC NEWS IN 2021 – Australia’s #1 news channel delivers the nation’s most trusted news and analysis, live and on-demand (Press release)

ABC Australia: In 2021 ABC NEWS channel is where you can always find the best of the ABC’s award-winning journalism and analysis.

AUSTRALIA: Google opens paid-for Australian platform in drive to undercut Government’s proposed content payment laws

ABC News: Google has launched a platform in Australia offering news it has paid for after striking its own content deals with publishers.

AUSTRALIA: ‘Hunger games’: Bungled budget cuts, staff exodus take toll on ABC

The Sydney Morning Herald: Nearly eight months ago, ABC managing director David Anderson appeared on a news bulletin to raise his concerns about the financial pressure the national broadcaster was under and explain his decision to axe more than 200 jobs.

NEW ZEALAND: Climate blueprint release annoys reporters, confounds broadcasters (Listen)

RNZ: A blueprint to bring down our carbon emissions by 2050  – and change the way we all live – came out this week. There was excellent media coverage of the detail but some journalists complained they were denied the time to report it properly. Meanwhile, some broadcasters leading debate in the media didn’t seem to have read much of it.

NEW ZEALAND: Government planning new fund for community journalism

NZ Herald: The Government is preparing to announce a new contestable fund of about $50 million to support community journalism.

BELARUS: Media Freedom Coalition statement concerning media freedom in Belarus

Global Affairs Canada: The Media Freedom Coalition expresses its deep concern about continued attacks on media freedom and the targeting of independent journalists in Belarus.

BELGIUM: VRT board does not want naked layoffs (Dutch) 

De Morgen: The board of directors of the VRT remains of the opinion that no naked redundancies can be made as a result of the new course that the public broadcaster must take. 

FRANCE: Support to debate and enlighten (Press release – French)

France TV Publicité: The start of 2021 marks the launch of numerous programs on France Télévisions to respond to a society in question. In this month of January, the public service played a role in society with the broadcasting of poignant testimonies, striking reports and constructive debates.

GERMANY: Germany’s IRT goes into liquidation

TVB Europe: Germany’s Institute for Broadcasting Technology (IRT) has officially closed its doors after going into liquidation.

GERMANY: ZDFmediathek: Simplified access to barrier-free offers (German)

ZDF: Access barrier-free content even faster and easier: from now on, the ZDFmediathek offers intuitive access to barrier-free content with an icon on the home page. This allows users to switch directly to the content on barrierefrei.zdf.de . There you will find a large selection of program content with subtitles, sign language and audio description.

GREECE: Greece’s new guidelines for policing protests threaten press freedom

RSF: Greece’s new national guidelines for policing demonstrations are likely to restrict the media’s reporting and access to information, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) warns, calling on the Greek authorities to review the guidelines in consultation with representatives of the country’s journalists.

HUNGARY: A shrinking space: media capture in Orbán’s Hungary

Open Democracy: The demise of a once thriving independent broadcaster is yet another signpost in Hungary’s deteriorating democracy and part of a broader attack. The rest of Europe, take note.

HUNGARY: Hungary moves to silence last major critical radio broadcaster

IPI: One of the last remaining independent broadcasters in Hungary faces being wiped off the airwaves in a matter of weeks unless its last-ditch request for a temporary license is approved by a court, the International Press Institute (IPI) warned today.

IRELAND: RTÉ seeks greater freedom to raise revenue (Paywall)

Independent (Ireland): RTÉ will need greater commercial flexibility to compensate for falls in traditional advertising revenue, the organisation has told the Future of Media Commission.

IRELAND: RTÉ staff on more than €40,000 facing pay cuts

The Irish Times: Proposal part of €60m cost-saving plan that also includes voluntary redundancies.

ITALY: Italy’s broadcasting sector sees 10% revenue drop

Advanced Television: Italy’s broadcasting sector saw a 10.7 per cent annual drop in revenues during the first half of 2020, to €3.9 billion, largely brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

MALTA: How state broadcaster, party-owned media shape Malta’s COVID-19 narrative

The Shift: Malta’s unique media landscape has equipped the government with powerful tools in its attempt to redirect the COVID-19 narrative unfolding on the island since the start of the pandemic.

NETHERLANDS & CHINA: Website and app NOS blocked in China (Dutch)

NOS: Authorities in Beijing have blocked the NIS internet platforms in China. The websites of NOS and  Nieuwsuur  are no longer accessible from China, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in The Hague confirms. In addition to the websites, the NOS app and Teletext also fall under the block.

POLAND: TVP Polonia returns to the Americas

Broadband TV News: The Polish public broadcaster TVP has scored a legal victory against Spanski Enterprises in a New York court.

RUSSIA: Russian police detain or harass more than 100 journalists amid January 31 pro-Navalny protests 

CPJ: Russian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all journalists detained during recent protests, and allow members of the press to cover political demonstrations without fear, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

RUSSIA: Russia Ups Legal Pressure on Foreign Media Outlets

VOA: At an appeals hearing Tuesday, Russian prosecutors accused journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva of being a “mouthpiece of the West” as the court upheld her conviction of “justifying terrorism.” The hearing came amid a wider backdrop of Moscow taking legal action against her employer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 

SLOVENIA: Slovenian Journalists Accuse Govt Communication Office of Censorship

Balkan Insight: Journalists’ union says the government’s communications offices routinely stops officials from appearing on TV – accusing it of ‘censorship of its own functionaries and restricting journalists’ access to information’.

SPAIN: Junts asks that Catalan be “the hegemonic language” in the public media of Catalonia (Spanish)

El Confidencial Digital: Junts’ candidate for the Catalan elections, Laura Borràs, demanded this Friday to promote “a real and effective shielding, not rhetoric” of linguistic immersion, as well as that Catalan be hegemonic in the public media.

SPAIN: The contest to elect the RTVE council reaches the Constitutional (Spanish)

El País: The public contest to elect the members of the RTVE board of directors has jumped from Parliament to the courts, adding a new element to its troubled journey.

SWEDEN: To safeguard impartiality is not to silence voices (Swedish – Blog)

Sveriges Radio: Sveriges Radio’s impartiality should not be questioned. Therefore, it is a balancing act when employees openly take a stand in various debates. In this blog post, Deputy Program Director Olov Carlsson explains how Swedish Radio reasoned about this.

UK: BBC reshapes finances to build better value for audiences (Press release)

BBC: The BBC has today set out how it has transformed its finances over the past decade to ensure it continues to deliver exceptional value for all audiences.

UK: BBC subscription would cost more than £450 if licence fee scrapped, broadcaster warns

Digital TV Europe: Shifting from the licence fee and towards a subscription model for funding the BBC would come at a heavy cost for the British public, the broadcaster has said.

UK: BBC Value for Audiences (Report)


UK: Panorama: BBC team threatened following Boxing and the Mob programme

BBC News: A BBC Panorama team has been threatened following a programme about a suspected crime boss’s influence in world boxing.

UK: UK editors call on ministers to protect freedom of information

The Guardian: Open letter raises concerns public is being obstructed when requesting information from official files.

UK & CHINA: Ofcom revokes CGTN’s licence to broadcast in the UK

OFCOM: Ofcom has today (4 Feb) withdrawn the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK, after its investigation concluded that the licence is wrongfully held by Star China Media Limited.

REGIONAL: 15 free webinars: Catch up on Nordic media (Events)

Nordicom: Did you miss out on an interesting webinar during 2020? Don’t worry, many of them are still available to watch. Below you will find 15 webinars focusing on media usage, media trends and journalism in the Nordic countries, all for free.

ARGENTINA & BOLIVIA: Radio and Television Argentina joins Bolivia TV (Spanish)

Los Tiempos: The president of Radio y Televisión Argentina, Rosario Lufrano, and the general manager of the Bolivian TV State Television Company, Diego Montaño Morales, signed a cooperation agreement to exchange content and advance joint productions.

ARGENTINA & COLOMBIA: Argentina and Colombia formalized the integration of their public media (Spanish)

Grupo La Provincia: Radio y Televisión Argentina and Radio Televisión Nacional de Colombia (RTVC) signed an agreement that will allow the exchange of content and advance in co-production projects between the two public media systems. 

BRAZIL: Ceará journalists: on the front line against Covid-19 and without readjustments for three years (Portuguese)

FENAJ: Placed as essential in the battle against disinformation, journalists from Ceará face the risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic fully discovered.

EL SALVADOR: The IAPA praises the IACHR protection to 34 Salvadoran journalists from El Faro (Spanish)

Swiss Info: The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) on Friday welcomed the precautionary measures of protection granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in favor of 34 journalists from the digital newspaper El Faro, from El Salvador , that “they would be being harassed, threatened and intimidated.”

HAITI: Haiti: Journalists shot while covering protests – reports

DW: Two journalists were shot while covering protests against the regime of president Jovenel Moise in Haiti on Monday, according to local media. 

JAMAICA: Responsible journalism vs sensational reporting (Opinion)

Jamaica Observer

MEXICO: Mexican senator proposes regulating Facebook, Twitter to protect ‘freedom of expression’

Reuters: A prominent senator from Mexico’s ruling party has proposed regulating major social media networks, including Twitter and Facebook, to protect “freedom of expression”, according to a draft bill reviewed by Reuters on Monday.

NICARAGUA: Two organizations that promote press freedom are closed in Nicaragua (Spanish)

CNN Español: Two organizations that promote freedom of the press and expression in Nicaragua announced their closure. As they denounced, it is due to the requirements imposed in the Foreign Agents Law, which the National Assembly approved in October . This legislation includes non-governmental organizations.

REGIONAL: These five reporting initiatives in Latin America are changing their communities

IJNET: Across Latin America, alumni of ICFJ’s A Digital Path to Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Latin America program have spearheaded unique reporting initiatives. 

REGIONAL: Trust in the media in Latin America: the same old story?

LSE Blogs: As in the rest of the world, trust in news in Latin America has declined in recent years. But survey data from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico show that trust levels vary significantly from one national context to another and can relate to a variety of phenomena…

IRAN: Iran slammed for arresting journalists

Arab News: Human rights groups and media watchdogs have condemned the separate arrests of two journalists in Iran on vague charges.

ISRAEL: Israeli Press Institute launched to promote critical media consumption, press freedom

The Times of Israel: President Reuven Rivlin hosts the launch of the Israeli Press Institute, which according to a statement from the President’s Residence will “work to strengthen press freedom and to restore public confidence in the press, focusing on educating children and young people in critical consumption of the media and raising awareness of the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”

TURKEY: Police attack journalists with tear gas and rubber bullets at Istanbul protest

 CPJ: Turkish authorities should immediately investigate and prosecute law enforcement officers who attacked members of the press covering recent protests in Istanbul, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

TURKEY: Turkey court tries RSF representative on ‘terror’ charge

Arab News: Turkey on Wednesday opened the retrial of the country’s Reporters Without Borders (RSF) representative and two other human rights defenders on terror charges that their supporters call “judicial harassment.”

TURKEY: Turkish gov’t imposes record number of advertising bans on opposition newspapers in 2020 

SCF: Turkey’s Press Advertising Agency (BİK), the state body responsible for regulating publicly funded advertisements in the media, in 2020 imposed 88 percent of its advertising bans on BirGün, Sözcü, Cumhuriyet, Korkusuz and Evrensel, all newspapers critical of the Turkish government.

REGIONAL: MENA’s Winter of Discontent: Old grievances, new suppression tactics

IFEX: January in the Middle East and North Africa: A free expression roundup produced by IFEX’s Regional Editor Naseem Tarawnah, based on IFEX member reports and news from the region.

CANADA: Catherine Tait in conversation with Reynolds Mastin at Prime Time Online 2021 (Event)

CBC/Radio-Canada: Media are invited to attend a live virtual fireside chat between Catherine Tait, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada and the Reynolds Mastin, CEO, Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), on Tuesday, February 9. This event is as part of the CMPA’s flagship annual conference, Prime Time Online 2021. 

CANADA: Licence Renewal: January 28 closing remarks (Media release)


CANADA: Local news organizations help sort fact from fiction (Opinion)

Toronto Star: In an open letter to members of Parliament last week, the news industry warned that more needs to be done to support “healthy, independent, diverse news companies as the backbone of our democracy.” This kind of misses the lead, as we say in the news business. 

CANADA: Traditional media still has a role with millennials: report (Paywall)

Media in Canada: MTM’s latest report finds Canadians under 40 are supplementing digital platforms with broadcast news and over-the-air TV.

US: APTS Reveals Agenda for 2021 Public Media Summit (Event)

TV Technology: The virtual conference will focus on how public TV stations’ met the challenges of the last year.

US: CEO John Lansing discusses NPR’s diversity efforts, budget deficit and growing podcast competition (Q&A – Paywall)

Current: Last year brought a host of challenges to NPR: a multimillion-dollar deficit, calls for changes in its workplace culture and a hit to broadcast listening. 

US: NPR Launches Station Investigations Team As Part Of Collaborative Journalism Network (Press release)

NPR: This new investigative unit will work with the regional newsrooms and topic teams to support local journalism.

US: PBS and Member Stations Voted “Most Trusted” Institution for 18 Consecutive Years (Press release)

PBS: For the 18th year in-a-row, Americans named PBS the “most trusted institution” in a nationwide survey, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced today at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. According to the results, PBS continues to outscore government institutions and media sources—such as digital platforms, commercial broadcast and cable television, newspapers, and social media— in both trust and value.

US: PBS Chief Paula Kerger On Keeping Hold Of Its British Drama Pipeline, Covid Delays & Funding Challenges

Deadline: Public broadcaster PBS is looking to get involved in British dramas at an earlier stage to deal with the increasing competition from the streamers.

US: The Public Media Mergers Playbook (14 Jan)

The Public Media Merger Project: Building and Dismantling for a New Public Service Media.

US: US Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Strengthen Press Freedom Worldwide

VOA: U.S. lawmakers have introduced two bills this month that focus on the promotion of press freedom and the protection of journalists worldwide.

4 Ways to Increase the Diversity of Your Sources

Nieman Reports: Understanding the barriers to increasing source diversity is key to overcoming them.

Building audience’s trust can help your newsroom become sustainable

Journalism.co.uk: The public is in the dark about the economic pressures facing the news industry. Trusting News offers newsroom-tested strategies which help readers understand that their support is needed now more than ever.

Celebrating World Radio Day 2021 – DRM for Education E-book (Resource)

Digital Radio Mondiale: The DRM e-book makes a strong case for using DRM for distance learning.

How user-generated content has changed the news industry in the age of lockdown

Press Gazette: Whether it was doctors taking us behind the veil of Covid-19 intensive care units or a teenage girl shaping history by filming the horror of George Floyd’s death, user-generated content (UGC) has had a huge impact on news media over the past year.

In the war of fake news versus facts, here’s what the next battle should be (Opinion)

The Guardian: Facebook, Twitter, Fox News – by blurring the truth, all pose a risk to democracy itself. But the US and EU can counter them together.

Is public service media doing enough to tackle misinformation?

RISJ: I lead a team at BBC Monitoring that specialises in spotting and investigating global misinformation. Every day, I’m astonished by my colleagues’ encyclopedic knowledge of the darker spaces of the internet, and ferocious determination to report the truth.  Since we started in 2018, the reach of the BBC has meant our investigations and fact checks have been seen by millions of people. But the Covid pandemic upped the ante.

What I’ve learned in nine months of covering the journalism crisis (Opinion)


Nordvision provides extra support for young development projects (Swedish – Opportunity) 

Nordvision: In a short time, the youth collaboration has become Nordvision’s third largest. We would like to use this to the maximum, and the North Vision Fund’s board has granted extra money for young development projects in 2021. A total of around 150,000 euros is earmarked for young development projects.

Sharpen your toolkit with 50 new tools and resources for journalists (Tools & resources)

Via Poynter: Tools to catch you up on the latest in newsletters, improve your word choice, find diverse illustrations, and … the return of Soundslides?!

Spanning Beats, Environmental Justice Reporting Influences Every Story

Nieman Reports: By connecting systemic inequities to environmental harms, environmental justice reporting covers everything from race and housing to healthcare and immigration.

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