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World Press FreeDom day READING LIST

At a time when journalists are being attacked, the local news coverage we depend on to be informed civic participants is being decimated and manipulation of misinformation is cutting away at truth-telling. We cannot take press freedom for granted in the United States.

This curated selection of readings is intended to inform and galvanize the work of press freedom advocacy and its many allies throughout the country. Find a World Press Freedom Day event in your city (or plan one yourself!).

To stay up to date on PEN America’s work on press freedom issues, sign up for our daily newsletter, learn more about our Press Freedom Incentive Fund, and explore our free expression resources.

Journalists are under threat.

Trump’s Media Attacks are an Abuse of Power. We’re Holding Him to Account.
Op-Ed by Wajahat Ali
Journalists and attorneys are partnering together in a newly amended lawsuit filed by PEN America arguing Trump is violating the First Amendment.

Journalists are Routinely Murdered Around the World. They Deserve Outrage Just Like Jamal Khashoggi.
Op-Ed by Suzanne Nossel
Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has prompted public reckoning across capitals, newsrooms, and corporate boardrooms around the world. Yet this tragedy is not just a singular alleged act of savagery, but a much wider, accelerating pattern of intimidation, suppression, and abuse toward journalists worldwide.

Rights and Media Groups Want Information on Khashoggi Trial
Seven human rights and press freedom groups, including PEN America, are urging the United States, Britain, and France to speak out publicly about the trial in Saudi Arabia of 11 people charged in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that those nations’ diplomats are attending.

More Lawyers, Reporter Stopped and Questioned at Border by U.S. Officials
At least one journalist and four American immigration attorneys have been stopped and questioned at border stations in Arizona and Texas in recent months. These are in addition to 59 others whose names were on a list to be pulled aside by border agents in San Diego.

Seattle U: Online Harassment Impacts Press Freedom
The study, titled Online Harassment of U.S. Women Journalists, revealed that 82 percent of female journalists surveyed believe online harassment impacts press freedom, but does not scare them off the story.

BBC Cameraman Shoved and Abused at Trump Rally in El Paso
In August last year, United Nations experts warned that Trump’s anti-media invective increased the risk of journalists being targeted with violence.

Millions of us are losing access to local news coverage.

When Local Newspapers Shrink, Fewer People Bother to Run for Mayor
As newsrooms decrease so does coverage of local governments. The consequence is a decline in the quality of city politics as constituents become less informed about local policies and elections.

Plain Dealer Lays off a Third of Unionized Newsroom Staff
The Plain Dealer on Monday laid off 14 newsroom employees as part of a staff reduction first announced in December. The 14, most of them reporters and all members of Local 1 of the News Guild of the Communication Workers of America, account for about a third of the unionized news-gathering staff.

Most Americans Think That Local News Is Doing Well Financially, and Not Many Pay for It
This is possibly less surprising if you keep in mind that many Americans think of “local news” as “TV,” and TV is doing a lot better than newspapers: 77 percent of those surveyed say TV is doing “very” or “somewhat well” financially; 64 percent say the same of print, and people who prefer print are also more likely to pay for news.

Shrinking Newspapers and the Costs of Environmental Reporting in Coal Country
A year ago, the last Kentucky newspaper staffer dedicated to the environmental beat full-time left his job. He was not replaced. “[Some of the poorest states in the country] are still, and will always be, dealing with the environmental aftermath of mining, and there are fewer local reporters there paying attention.”

Decline in Readers, Ads Leads Hundreds of Newspapers to Fold
Last September, Waynesville became a statistic. With the shutdown of its newspaper, the Daily Guide, this town of 5,200 people in central Missouri joined more than 1,400 other cities and towns across the United States to lose a newspaper over the past 15 years.

We can’t take a free press for granted.

‘Ethics’ Bill Leaves Georgia Journalists on Edge
The “Ethics in Journalism Act,” sponsored by Georgia Republican lawmakers, would authorize a board to create new ethical standards that govern journalists’ work and sanction journalists who violate them.

Devin Nunes Sues McClatchy Newspaper Chain, Alleging ‘Character Assassination’
The defamation lawsuit seeks $150 million and the deletion of an article in The Fresno Bee, a McClatchy newspaper, about Alpha Omega Winery, a company that Nunes partially owns. The article, published last May, described a lawsuit by a server who was aboard a San Francisco Bay cruise in 2015 attended by some of the winery’s top investors, which she said included drugs and prostitution.

The Fresno Bee and the War on Local News
Local newspapers like The Fresno Bee have long been an endangered institution in America, and that was before California Rep. Devin Nunes began waging a public campaign against his hometown paper.

State Department Bars Press Corps from Pompeo Briefing, Won’t Release List of Attendees
The State Department said it would not be distributing a transcript or list of attendees from a briefing call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held that evening—a call from which the department’s press corps was excluded and only “faith-based media” allowed.

Experts Say Kentucky Bill to Block Open Records Access ‘Really Scary’
House Bill 387 started out as a proposal to limit citizens’ access to records related to businesses seeking financial incentives from the government for projects that could boost economic development and job creation in Kentucky, but then a legislative committee approved new restrictions to it, including the residency requirement.

White House Bans Four Journalists from Covering Trump-Kim Dinner Because of Shouted Questions
The White House abruptly banned four U.S. journalists from covering President Trump’s dinner with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un after some of them shouted questions at the leaders during their earlier meetings.

Through storytelling, journalists elevate our humanity; inspiring individuals to come together and engage across differences.

Despite Tough Times and Smaller Newsrooms, Local News was a Star in this Year’s Pulitzers
Several local newsrooms have something new in common this week — a Pulitzer Prize. This year, local newsrooms won in several categories: Public Service, Breaking News, Investigative Reporting, Commentary, and yes, of course, Local Reporting. Those newsrooms have another thing in common: how they’ve managed to keep doing critical work in the midst of change. 

How Chicago’s ‘J-school of the Streets’ Is Reinventing Local News
City Bureau is training young reporters to improve coverage of underserved communities. For the past three years, City Bureau has trained over 80 journalists, producing more than 110 stories, including exposes into how the government has failed to protect communities from toxins in their walls and water pipes.

Digging Deep Into Local News, A Small Newspaper In Rural Oregon Is Thriving
The Malheur Enterprise was founded in 1909, and, like many other newspapers, was languishing. But in the past few years, its circulation has surged and it has won several national awards. Perhaps surprisingly, the weekly paper’s turnaround and increased popularity happened in a part of the state that strongly supports President Trump, who continues to lash out at the media.

Minnesota Public Radio reaches out in Somali, and community listens
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) began to provide news, in both text and audio, to the state’s Somali-speaking residents. It makes sense for MPR to provide news for Somali-speaking Minnesotans: It’s the third most common language spoken in Minnesota, after Spanish and English. But it also opened up doors for the station beyond Minnesota.

Journalism and Art: Complementary and Collaborative Storytelling
As journalists use art to bring stories off the page, artists adopt reporting techniques to address social issues.

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