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The UN General Assembly Is Meeting: Put Press Freedom on the Agenda?

Joel Simon from the Committee to Protect Journalists has a featured piece in Columbia Journalism Review on how the United Nations should — but really can’t — do something about press freedom. What can the UN do for press freedom? Bottom line: Not much, but it can make some nice statements. Responding to an upsurge in media killings, particularly of journalists working in conflict zones, the UN has prioritized the issue of journalists’ safety in recent years. In 2012, UNESCO, the UN agency charged with defending press freedom, launched a Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

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Show why FOI matters

Sept. 28 is kind of a big day for the concept of democracy. Yes, Congress submitted the U.S. Constitution on this day in 1787 to states for ratification. We all know how that turned out. But Sept. 28 also is important for another reason: It’s International Right to Know Day, a worldwide event aimed at promoting open government laws and highlighting why they matter. The day commemorates the anniversary of when freedom of information groups from around the globe formed an international coalition called the FOI Advocates Network, of which SPJ is a member.

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One freelancer’s take-aways from EIJ15

Guest blogger: Hazel Becker  Excellence in Journalism 2015 (EIJ15), the big SPJ journalism conference that took place in Orlando, Fla., last weekend, offered several opportunities for freelancers to meet each other and share their stories. There was much to absorb – too much, perhaps, in just three days devoted to learning how to be better at what we do while also making connections with other journalists and doing the business of the three sponsoring organizations: SPJ, the Radio Television Digital News Association, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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Bar defends traditional values in attacks on training and price transparency proposals

The Bar Council has staunchly defended the ‘values’ of the bar, hitting out regulatory proposals to re-evaluate the role of the Inns of Court and require barristers to publish prices.

The council said the role of the Inns of Court should remain mandatory because they ‘play a fundamental role in nurturing and developing the shared culture of the bar’ and also warned against diminishing barristers’ ‘skill and judgment’ by moving towards standardised rates.

The council’s views appear in strongly-worded responses to proposals from the Bar Standards Board on Future Bar Training (FTB) and its plans for implementing the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) recommendations for transparency standards.

In its FTB consultation, the BSB asked whether the roles of the Inns of Court, which include calling new barristers to the bar and supervising students’ conduct, ‘remain appropriate’. Under one option, the BSB suggested non-members could be made eligible for call. 

But the Bar Council’s response insists membership should be mandatory for all. ‘We believe that most barristers share a culture of adherence to high standards of behaviour and professional ethics, not because they are...

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Diverse averse

What’s black and white and white all over? Answer: Most college newsrooms. Here’s how some silly censors accidentally raised a serious issue… Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts school in central Connecticut, located about halfway between Hartford and New Haven. Its 3,300 students seldom make national headlines, but that changed last month. Some or many students (it’s hard to tell) were furious when the campus newspaper printed an opinion column criticizing Black Lives Matter. The story spread when those students demanded the school defund the paper.

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Sports and Local-Global Connections

Writing about international connections does not mean getting a passport and spending loads of money visiting another country. A lot can be done right at home. (And this has to be good news to cash-strapped local news’ desks.) A recent post at Journalism, Journalists and the World discusses how a soccer match between the US national men’s team and the Peruvian national team could have been a good excuse to look at the Peruvian community in the Washington, DC area. Using Sports To Make A Global Connection  

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Your thoughts on Twitter’s next 10 years

Twitter will turn 10 next March. I’d like to hear from you about its future for journalists. (Image: Flickr user Anthony Quintano under CC) This post was updated on September 8, 2015 to reflect a modified research line of inquiry. Next March, Twitter will celebrate its tenth birthday – a significant occasion for the social network known for its influence on the modern culture of journalism. To mark that occasion, I am researching a piece for an upcoming issue of the Society’s magazine, Quill, marking the forthcoming event, and its influence.

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