– Ahead of the Curve, the FPA goes behind the News –
The FPA condemns the Israeli Security Forces for their profound disrespect during the funeral of their victim our colleague Shireen Abu Akleh. We hope reportage follows the unseen facts: violence did not "break out!" Israeli forces actively attacked mourners carrying the coffin.
We reiterate our call for a speedy independent international inquiry into her murder and action against the perpetrators.
Journalists' Lives Matter and so do their remains.
Following the killing of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin, the Foreign Press Association joins calls by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din in demanding, "urgent international intervention in order to get to the truth; we call for the establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate this case in depth,”
Yesh Din commented that the Israeli defense establishment “has proven in several cases that it is unable to investigate such incidents on its own.” There were seven journalists who witnessed the incident and who dismissed IDF claims that there were gunmen in the area during the incident. "There were no resistance fighters,” one said. "We were alone in the area.”
We give more credibility to our professional colleagues on the ground than to Security spokespeople and deplore the callous insensitivity of the Israeli police who promptly raided the home of the deceased reporter. Journalists lives matter.
Monday, May 16th, 10AM EDT on Zoom
Nobel Prize winner, Jose Ramos Horta, President-elect of Timor L’Este speaks about his country, the world, and the UN, before he takes office on the 19th.
From 1975 Jose Ramos Horta was an exile fighting for his country’s independence against Indonesia’s annexation. He has unrivaled insight into the practical, and sometimes capricious, application of international law by the global community.
When the Indonesian Army went on the rampage after the independence vote, it was the worst of times and best of times for the UN, when its mission staff almost mutinied and refused orders to abandon the Timorese.
Ian Williams frequently interviewed him during those years, and when he came to the UN as the first Timorese Foreign Minister.
Scotland and the future of European energy security
A conversation with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon
Monday, May 16th, 1PM - 2PM EDT
Falk Auditorium, Washington, DC, and online
Following our earlier FPA briefings on Scotland's prospective independence we thought members might be interested in this Brookings Institute presentation. Please let them know you are if you are a member of the FPA.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has propelled forward questions about Europe’s energy independence and clean energy investments. As policymakers look for alternatives to Russian oil and gas, they must balance meeting capacity needs today with meeting climate change pledges to decarbonize energy systems globally. Scotland has achieved meeting most of its current electricity demand from renewable energy sources, but still faces steep challenges in transferring its heating and transportation sectors to carbon-free sources.
On Monday, May 16, as part of the Alan and Jane Batkin International Leaders Forum, the Brookings Initiative on Climate Research and Action will host the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon for keynote remarks followed by a conversation with Samantha Gross, director of the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at Brookings. First Minister Sturgeon will discuss Scotland’s role in tackling the global climate crisis, the justice and benefits of transitioning to a greener economy, and what’s needed—especially in the wake of Russia’s destabilization of fossil fuel energy supplies—to boost Scottish and European energy security and self-reliance.
Viewers can submit questions for the speakers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter by using #EnergySecurity.
On Wednesday, May 18th at 2 pm EDT, we’re hosting a live panel discussion to discuss best practices for pitching and building relationships with journalists outside of the US, based on findings from our 2022 State of Journalism report.
FPA President Ian Williams will join Muck Rack CEO and co-founder Greg Galant and Christine Buhagiar, Europe Director, Agence France-Presse to discuss:
World Press Freedom Day is not just an occasion for pious self-congratulatory speeches. It is the opportunity for a call to action, a reminder of the responsibilities we undertook when we became journalists. To seek and share the truth.
The FPA, as the oldest foreign press organization in the US, takes press freedom seriously all year round, not just on a ceremonial occasion like World Press Freedom Day. Over the last year we been sharing the insights and stories of both experts and journalists around the world from India to Russia to Hong Kong.
Press freedom has many enemies. The efforts in Russia to criminalize and kill independent journalists, and China’s attacks on the freedom of the press in Hong Kong, underscore the very real threats to press freedom from governments. The labeling of the media as an enemy by the far-right continues to be a clear and present danger to journalists operating in our U.S. media war zone.
The powerful, whether corporations, politicians, or billionaires, are as likely to seek to control and influence the media with checkbooks and threats, as they are with truncheons and handcuffs. And we must recognize that there are those in our industry who are willing partners.
On World Press Freedom Day we need to think about journalists who have been attacked and jailed for standing up not only to governments, but also against corporate greed and malfeasance.
We need to rededicate ourselves to the principles of being a voice for the voiceless, reporting without fear or favor, to do what is right, and to hold those who abuse power or the trust placed in them to account.
The FPA will continue to advocate for our profession, support our members in their efforts to tell the truth about the US and world, and serve as a platform for sharing the voices and stories of those on the frontlines of the battle for the truth.
FPA member David Smith for The Critic
April 28th, 2022
Better late than never. That was the sober judgement of one United Nations diplomat as he helped the Secretary-General make his way from Moscow to Kiev today, on a peace mission doomed to low expectations and limited goals. To some of us, who worked with previous UN chiefs, it looked like an operation to save the UN’s reputation from the kind of collateral war damage never seen before in the decades since the organization was created (lest we forget) to prevent war.
Three months into Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres finally listened to friends and critics telling him he had to stop relying on emissaries, to stop issuing just statements from New York, or making phone calls. Yes, sir, you had to go yourself to call for a stop to fighting, seek a ceasefire, and allow the innocent to leave cities under siege such as Mariupol. When shown articles, such as the one that appeared here six weeks ago, Guterres sat tight, responding, “it’s not my job to negotiate.”
Guterres did finally go, even if the choreography of this trip made you wonder about strategy. Stopping in Moscow first, to be told by Putin and his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that Ukraine had brought tragedy on itself, was always bound to alienate the leadership waiting for him in Kiev.
Ukraine’s President Zelensky, such a savvy communicator, delivered the obvious broadside as Guterres came his way: “there are no bodies in the streets of Moscow,” he said, his team insistent the UN had no right to negotiate for Ukraine. “Logic, is you come first to see the country being occupied and attacked.”
Consider that alongside the denunciation of the Secretary-General’s leadership from more than 200 UN veterans who sent him a recent blast memo. They warned that the UN was becoming “irrelevant” under his leadership, and that he didn’t represent the UN’s values, specifically the UN charter for peace. “He should check his job description when he says he’s not the go-to negotiator at time of war,” one signatory told me.
In my time, working for the late Kofi Annan and then Ban Ki-moon during their terms as Secretary-General, I heard some regard the role in semi-religious terms. The High Priest of humanity, to quote one of Mr Annan’s many admirers, a well-known columnist. Not sure I wanted that mantle for my boss, but I did think of him as humanity’s lead voice. That, sadly, has been lost under the leadership of Antonio Guterres.
To be fair to him, the hand he was dealt as the outset of this war was a poisoned chalice. In a shameful episode, in the very week Russia launched its invasion, Putin’s Ambassador at the UN in New York had the chair in the Security Council, and vetoed condemnation of Putin’s war, while persuading other lead players (China and India) to abstain. For weeks Guterres issued tough denunciations of Russia, pleas for a ceasefire, and humanitarian intervention, but he must have felt like a man talking to himself.
Likewise, he chose a moment to intervene in person when all sides to the conflict were upping the stakes militarily. Sergei Lavrov and Putin greeted the Secretary-General with a warning that by arming Ukraine, the NATO alliance was launching proxy war against Russia. For their part, the Americans escalated rhetoric and intent by declaring the goal of “weakening Russia so that it cannot bully anyone ever again”. Muscular language backed first by the UK and then the Germans dispatching tanks to Ukraine.
In the short term, the Guterres mission will be judged by whether Putin lives up to his “promises” in Moscow to pursue negotiations. Russia must work with the UN contact group alongside Ukraine, on a humanitarian corridor out of Mariupol, in particular relief for those trapped at the vast Azovstal steel plant, and other battle zones under siege. Zelensky’s team has been adamant on that front: “the UN means nothing to us if the organization can’t deliver such humanitarian intervention,” to quote one adviser. Damning words indeed, albeit in the midst of war.
Down the road, the questions abound. Are the UN Secretary-General’s days carrying the torch of peace now over? Is the UN, specifically the UN Secretariat and the Security Council, fit for purpose — namely pursuit of peace — when it appears so clearly paralyzed, precisely at the moment when the world stares at the threat of a new world war?
How long before even Western democracies start questioning the bills, they pay to keep the UN going? I represented the Secretary-General in Washington DC and heard voices on both sides of the aisle express support for the humanitarian arms of the UN, for taking care of refugees, for feeding the starving, for inoculating half the kids on the planet. Pause. Then you could hear dismay, bordering on disgust, for the political wing of the organization.
Secretary-General Guterres may have found his voice at last on this terrifying war. But you know damage has been done, power and influence devalued, when you watch him sit across from Vladimir Putin at that huge table in Moscow and learn that the Russian President hadn’t been taking his calls for weeks, since the war began. Then in Kiev, no welcome mat in sight. A far cry from the days when a UN Secretary-General had the ear, and the attention, of all.
David Smith was an award-winning correspondent for 30 years for ITN/C4News, then worked as an adviser to Kofi Annan at the UN. Now based in Latin America, he writes for The Economist. He is the author of three books, and sometime Visiting Professor in the United States.
MUCK RACK: Survey data shows journalists are covering more beats; two-thirds produce content for more than one medium
Journalists are busier than ever, covering four beats compared to three beats just a year ago on average. They’re producing content in more formats, too, according to the results of Muck Rack’s 2022 State of Journalism survey released today.
Just under three-quarters (74%) of journalists say they produce content in addition to online and print, such as newsletters (17%) and podcasts (15%). Half of journalists publish five or more stories per week, with a third publishing eight or more a week.
Audience trust, a significant concern for American news media, appears to be improving for nearly one-third (32%) of journalists who claim trust in their coverage has increased in the past year. Nearly half (47%) said trust has remained the same and 22 percent said it’s decreased.
Notably, 39 percent of journalists covering health & wellness, agriculture and religion said trust of their coverage has increased, while some journalists covering weather (29%) and regional/local news (28%) said trust decreased.
Sentiment surrounding journalists’ work has remained consistent. For the fourth year in a row, more than half (58%) of journalists said they are optimistic about their profession. Journalists in fashion & beauty and religion are the most optimistic, while those covering weather and crime are the least.
How news is discovered, shared and covered:
Most journalists (57%) look to online newspapers or magazines for news, while nearly one-fifth (18%) get their news from Twitter, a slight increase from 2021 (16%). Twitter remains the most valued social media platform, followed by Facebook and LinkedIn, and around half of journalists said they plan to spend more time on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube in 2022. The number of journalists who cite TikTok as most valuable doubled from 2 to 4 percent year-over-year.
Fewer journalists (44%) say that the way companies share information is outdated, a significant decrease from last year, when 61 percent of journalists said as much, indicating that PR pros are improving the way they share information.
The PR/journalist relationship:
Most journalists feel positive or neutral about their relationship with PR pros, with more than half calling it mutually beneficial.
Most journalists say they are just as likely to respond to pitches as last year, while nearly a quarter are more likely to respond.
According to the survey, preferred pitches:
Now in its sixth year, The State of Journalism study aims to take a pulse on how journalists get their news, how they’re using social media and how they work with PR professionals. Muck Rack surveyed 2,547 journalists from Jan. 4-25, 2022.
Muck Rack conducted The State of Journalism 2022 in partnership with Online News Association, Society of Professional Journalists, Foreign Press Association, Native American Journalists Association, International Journalists Network and numerous other journalism-focused organizations.
For the first time, Muck Rack has created a quiz where folks can test their knowledge of journalism trends. For full survey results and to sign up for a free virtual discussion breaking down the data on April 5 at 1 p.m. EDT, visit Muckrack.com.
About Muck Rack:
Muck Rack enables organizations to build trust, tell their stories and demonstrate the unique value of earned media. Its Public Relations Management (PRM) platform curates millions of data points to help PR teams be more efficient and effective at finding journalists, generating coverage, monitoring news and proving the value of their work. Journalists use Muck Rack’s free tools to showcase their portfolios, analyze news about any topic and measure the impact of their stories. Founded in Brooklyn, NY in 2011, Muck Rack’s fully-remote workforce is distributed around the world. Learn more at muckrack.com.
They are unhappy with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and might vote against it, but many UN members will not do much about it.
David Adler is a writer and economist and was foreign policy advisor to Bernie Sanders. He discusses the many reasons countries are not fully supporting the Western view of Putin’s invasion and won't support Ukraine militarily or with sanctions.
David will discuss the issues the newly re-non-aligned have with partisan application of International Law.
Read David Adler's recent article for The Guardian: The west v Russia: why the global South isn't taking sides.
Read Ian William's recent article for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft: Russia rebuke at the UN: last gasp or multilateralism on the march?
The FPA condemns the Russian shooting at media representatives and the killing of Brent Renaud, a prize-winning reporter. We take the opportunity of this occasion to remind people that when freelancers like Brent win prizes, their temporary employers are proud to claim the glory, but less eager to share the risks.
We salute all the intrepid correspondents prepared to risk their lives to reveal the truth in the face of official mendacity.