Journalist Glenn Greenwald in Rio de Janeiro, July 2013. Sergio Moraes / Reuters
Blogger and journalist Glenn Greenwald, who along with Laura Poitras broke the story of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks, announced today that he is departing the Guardian newspaper to join a "new news venture backed by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar," reports Paul Farhi at The Washington Post.
The new, as-yet-unnamed news site has also sought to hire Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who was instrumental in linking former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Greenwald and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, and national security reporter Jeremy Scahill of the Nation magazine, said a person familiar with the venture.
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Freedom of the
Press Foundation has taken
charge of the DeadDrop project, an open-source whistleblower
submission system originally coded by the late transparency advocate
Aaron Swartz. In the coming months, the Foundation will also
provide on-site installation and technical support to news
organizations that wish to run the system, which has been renamed
By installing SecureDrop,
news organizations around the world can securely accept documents from
whistleblowers, while better protecting their sources’ anonymity.
Although it is important to note that no security system can ever be 100
percent impenetrable, Freedom of the Press Foundation believes that this
system is the strongest ever made available to media outlets. Several
major news agencies have already signed up for installations, and they
will be announced in the coming weeks.
“We’ve reached a time in America when the only way the press can assure
the anonymity and safety of their sources is not to know who they are,”
said JP Barlow, co-founder and board member of Freedom of the Press
Foundation. “SecureDrop is where real news can be slipped quietly under
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In California, Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law that gives journalists in the state "five days' notice before government agencies serve subpoenas on their records
held by third parties, such as phone companies and internet service providers." [Reuters] — Xeni
Jacob Appelbaum of the Tor Project and Wikileaks addressed the European Parliament on the issue of surveillance and freedom. It was a remarkable speech, even by Appelbaum's high standards. An amateur transcript gives you a sense of what's going on, but the video is even better: "Is it used for coercion? Is data passed to autocratic regimes? Is it used to study groups? Is it used to disrupt? Yes, yes, and yes. Might they force or forge data? Absolutely."
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Last night, my husband and I went to the Minnesota State Fair and stumbled upon a demonstration of a linotype machine, a semi-automated, mechanical printing system that was used by newspapers and magazines (and basically everything else) from the end of the 19th century through the 1970s. It's a completely mesmerizing piece of equipment. An operator types out a line of text and the machine responds by collecting molds that match each letter and fitting them together. Then, it fills the mold with molten metal and dumps out the freshly minted block, ready for the printer ... before automatically re-racking all the letter molds so they're ready for the next line of text.
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ProPublica raised $23,000 on Kickstarter to hire an intern whose job is to investigate unpaid interns. The successful applicant, Casey McDermott, sounds great -- a recent grad with a double major in Journalism and Sociology who edited Penn State's newspaper during the Sandusky scandal, and oversaw the paper's mobile app rollout. She says that her proximity to the issue -- having lots of friends who are interning, being an intern herself -- gives her great perspective.
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Illustration: Reuters/William Hennessy
On Tuesday, Bradley Manning was acquitted of “aiding the enemy” for leaking 700,000 classified government documents, including a video of an American airstrike in Baghdad that killed 12 civilians, among them two Reuters journalists.
While aiding the enemy was the most serious charge he faced, Manning was still found guilty of numerous counts of espionage and other charges, which could land him in jail for the rest of his life.
And while many journalists are breathing a sigh of relief about the aiding-the-enemy decision, we shouldn’t forget how hard the government pushed for that particular conviction.
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UPDATE: Bradley Manning trial judge increased press security "because of repeat violations of the rules of court.”
Journalists and bloggers covering closing arguments in the military trial of Wikileaks source Bradley Manning are reporting a far more intense security climate at Ft. Meade today, as compared to the past 18 months of pre-trial hearings and court proceedings.
@carwinb, @kgosztola, @nathanLfuller, and @wikileakstruck have tweeted about armed guards standing directly behind them as they type into laptops in the designated press area, being "screamed at" for having "windows" open on their computers that show Twitter in a browser tab, and having to undergo extensive, repeated, invasive physical searches.
I visited the trial two weeks ago. While there were many restrictions for attending press that I found surprising (reporters couldn't work from the courtroom, mobile devices weren't allowed in the press room), it wasn't this bad. I was treated respectfully and courteously by Army Public Affairs Officers and military police, and was only grumped at a few times for stretching those (silly) restrictions. I was physically searched only once, when entering the courtroom, and that's standard for civilian or military trials.
But the vibe is very different today in the Smallwood building where reporters are required to work, about a quarter mile away from the actual courtroom. Tweets from some of the attending journalists are below; there are about 40-50 of them present and not all are tweeting. Internet access is spotty today. Oh, wait; as I type this blog post, I'm now seeing updates that they're being told they are not allowed to access Twitter at all. Why has the climate changed so much in the final few days of the trial? What is the Army afraid of?
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MelaFind is a new device that helps doctors identify melanoma skin cancers. In many places, it's being reported as the greatest breakthrough in skin cancer prevention to come along in decades. But, notes Gary Schwitzer at Health News Review, those pieces leave out the fact that MelaFind is actually fairly controversial
. A lot of cancer researchers and docs are worried that it will give patients and doctors a false sense of security — a big issue considering the fact that MelaFind is only designed to identify small melanomas. It could turn up false negatives (or false positives) with non-melanoma skin cancers or melanomas that don't fall into a narrow type range. — Maggie
Police in Detroit detained a photographer who shot iPhone footage of a street arrest, held her in an interrogation room with the suspect
, and did not release her for seven hours. The best part: the police in Detroit are so stupid they stole the SIM card. [Freep.com via Romenesko
] — Rob
I lovelovelovelovelove this Grist series
on the nuances, contradictions, and confusions surrounding the public debate over genetically modified foods. Nathaniel Johnson has done some really fantastic reporting, challenging distortions from both sides and getting you (the person might actually be buying and eating this stuff) closer to the truth than just about any other journalist I've seen. Two parts of the series you absolutely must read: A complex look at whether or not there are safety regulations for GMO foods
, and an exploration of plant breeding
and the differences between "natural" genetic modification and the kind that happens in a laboratory. — Maggie
As the world burns—massacres in Egypt, civil war in Syria, a train disaster in Canada—CNN occupies itself with inane human interest fluff and wall-to-wall trial coverage delivered by the migrainous Nancy Grace.
Thing is, it's a ratings hit. Jay Rosen says he used to criticize CNN because he cares, but no longer cares at all. Sid Bedingfield puts it more succinctly: is it time to just give up on them?
Next on CNN: Anthony Bourdain shows you how to make Cairo-style coupcakes!
Previously: CNN fakes satellite interview with two anchors in same car lot
Reuters has a travel guide to how to spend a weekend in Minneapolis and St. Paul
. It's supposed to be an enjoyable weekend, I think, but that's not entirely clear. Beginning with a stop in the airport restrooms (no mention of Larry Craig) the travel guide recommends eating at generic chain restaurants, spending a Saturday in the Mall of America, and taking in a baseball "match" (which, readers are warned, can last as long as 3.5 hours, not counting the possibility of overtime). The guide is correct, though, on one thing. A view of the setting sun and skyscrapers from Target Field would
be impressive — especially considering the fact that the skyscrapers are decidedly to the South and East of the stadium, and not much of the seating faces West, anyway. — Maggie
, Wisconsin legislators tried to kick the independently funded Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism off of the University of Wisconsin - Madison campus and prevent UW professors from working with the organization. The move (which was led by a legislator whose fundraising had been called into question by the WCIJ) prompted major backlash across the political spectrum and, over the weekend, it was vetoed by Wisconsin's Republican governor, Scott Walker
. — Maggie