Recently in Fall 2009 Category

The ground is shifting in the conventions of media as we've known it in this country," according to Chuck Lewis, the 2009 Silha Lecturer. "The major media outlets don't have enough staff, they've gutted their newsrooms, they have one reporter doing the job of three or four people. And then we've got nonprofits ... that want more traffic and more reach and impact than just their Web site." According to Lewis, these conditions constitute a fundamental change in investigative reporting in the United States.

Members of the student press faced challenges from state prosecutors in Illinois, a Supreme Court justice's staff in New York, and a school superintendent in Missouri in the fall of 2009. Meanwhile, student newspapers in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania refused to run certain advertisements, citing a desire to avoid controversy and fear of libel charges.

Social Media Sites Assist Gagged British Newspaper

Social networking sites and blogs helped uncover the source of a gag order against the British newspaper The Guardian in October 2009 after the paper published a story on its Web site claiming it was prohibited from reporting certain remarks made in the British Parliament.

American Journalist, Companions Charged with Espionage

On Nov. 9, 2009, an American freelance journalist and two companions were charged with espionage by Iranian authorities in Tehran after 101 days of imprisonment. The three were reportedly hiking in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan on July 31 when they crossed over the Iranian border and were arrested by border guards.

British troops carried out a deadly raid against Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan on September 9, 2009, to rescue New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell. Although Farrell was successfully freed, a British soldier, an Afghan civilian, and Farrell"s interpreter, Afghan journalist Sultan Munadi, were killed during the rescue effort.

Massachusetts Jury Rejects Truthful Libel Claim

A Florida jury awarded the former chief of medicine at a Veterans Administration medical center more than $10 million in a libel suit against the St. Petersburg Times in an Aug. 28, 2009 verdict, despite the paper's insistence that its stories were true.

Citing potential threats of violence, Yale University Press removed 12 Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad that sparked a series of riots in 2006 from a forthcoming book about the cartoon controversy. Other historical images of Muhammad, including a drawing for a children's book, an Ottoman print, and a sketch by 19th-century artist Gustave Doré, were also deleted from the book, titled "The Cartoons That Shook the World."

Conde Nast Accused of Self-Censorship

In what was widely viewed as an act of self-censorship, publishing giant Conde Nast suppressed the publication of a controversial story in the September 2009 issue of the Russian edition of one of its magazines, drawing the ire of American journalists and media critics.

Photo of Dying Marine Sparks Controversy

An Associated Press (AP) decision to publish a photograph of a fatally wounded Marine in Afghanistan drew sharp criticism from the Pentagon and sparked a journalistic debate in September 2009 after the AP made the photograph public over the objections of the soldier's family. The controversy over the release of the photograph eventually led to modifications in the rules governing media photography of the war in Afghanistan.

ACORN Videos Provoke Media Debate, Trigger Lawsuit

A series of hidden-camera videos released in September 2009 depicting employees of the nonprofit group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) advising a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute resulted in the elimination of the organization's federal funding, a lawsuit against the filmmakers, and a bevy of media commentary surrounding news coverage of the videos.

The relationship between President Barack Obama and the Fox television network, and in particular the Fox News Channel, escalated into a headline-grabbing feud in the fall of 2009, prompting criticism of both the cable network's politically-charged commentary and the administration's reaction to Fox's unfavorable coverage.

The Washington Post agreed to delay publication and redact certain portions of a classified Afghanistan report after the White House expressed concern that the release of the leaked document might threaten the safety of U.S. troops, Post writer Howard Kurtz revealed on September 22, 2009.

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