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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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Open-Source Methods, The Cyber Weapon Anyone Can Use In Ukraine War

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, journalists and citizens have used open source online intelligence to help the war effort and fight disinformation. NGOs and amateur investigators are even using it to look for evidence of human rights abuses.

“#OSINT”: These five mysterious letters and hashtag have flourished on social media since Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. Open Source Intelligence is older than this conflict which broke out last February, but it the idea became better known to the general public as videos, photos and other conflict-related content abound, especially on social networks.

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What’s hidden behind this acronym is a set of methods allowing the exploitation of open sources on the Internet: videos or photos posted on social media, location data, satellite images or the positions of planes and ships shared by a number of websites.

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Photo Of The Week: This Happened In Bucha

We have chosen a single image to tell the story of what happened in Bucha, Ukraine, though there are many others worth looking at. We bear witness to face the present reality, and help document for posterity and war crimes trials that the world now demands.

Once Russian troops retreated from Bucha, reports arrived this weekend that the suburban town north of Kyiv had been the scene of possible war crimes: civilians killed, raped and deprived of food and water.

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Among the first journalists to arrive was a crew from Agence France-Presse, including award-winning Venezuelan-born photographer Ronaldo Schemidt.

His images and those of other photographers — along with testimony gathered by multiple independent reporters from survivors and witnesses — would confirm many of the world's worst fears about bloodletting by Russian forces: bodies strewn on the street of people in ordinary clothes, shot down alongside their bicycles, outside their homes; others buried in hastily dug mass graves.

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Acclaimed Ukrainian Photographer Maks Levin Hasn’t Been Seen Since March 13

The veteran photojournalist was covering the Russian invasion north of Kyiv, after spending years chronicling Ukraine’s longstanding battles in its eastern regions against pro-Russian separatists.

Maks Levin, a leading Ukrainian combat photographer and documentary filmmaker, has disappeared while covering the war north of Kyiv. Levin, 41, last made contact on March 13 while working in an active combat zone.

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It later became known that in the area where Levin was working, intense combat operations began, and colleagues fear he may have been injured or captured by Russian troops.

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Geopolitics
Irene Caselli

First 48 Hours: Scenes Of War From Journalists On The Ground In Ukraine

As fog of war spreads across Ukraine, we’ve tried to gather some testimony, videos and images from verified journalists covering the beginning of the Russian invasion.

In these first hours and days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is virtually impossible to gauge the full extent of the terror and destruction being wrought. Both witnesses and journalists — local Ukrainian-based reporters and foreign war correspondents — offer a mosaic of testimony and observation around the country.

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Society
Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

Why Mexican Journalists Keep Getting Killed — And It’s Not Just Narcos

Three journalists were killed in the first three weeks of 2022, sparking nationwide protests. But not only narcotraffickers are to blame: The state, corrupt private companies, and even media companies themselves hold responsibility for leaving journalists vulnerable on the frontline.

The photograph of a cinnamon-colored pitbull waiting in front of a house cordoned off by the police has spread around Latin America. The dog, named “Chato,” was the companion of Lourdes Maldonado, the Mexican journalist shot dead Sunday in front of her house in Tijuana.

Maldonado’s murder came just days after the killing of photojournalist Margarito Martínez, spurring demonstrations this week across 62 cities in Mexico, as the brazen targeting of journalists in the country is in back the spotlight several years after narcotraffickers stepped up their campaign to eliminate those reporting on their activities.

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Ideas

Worldcrunch Staff's 21 Favorite Stories From 2021

We asked the team at Worldcrunch to share the articles that stood at this past year, from articles we've translated from the best international sources to pieces we've written ourselves.

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Society
Ricardo Bada

The Hispanic World: United By Spanish, Divided By Spanish

Latin Americans are proud to be part of a "brotherly" region united by its Hispanic heritage, until they suffer hearing each other's "Spanish."

BOGOTÁ — In February this year, my friend and fellow columnist Juan David Zuloaga expounded on the reality of a historic, cultural and linguistic community known as Spanish or Hispanic America. It includes Spain and the nations that were once a part of its American empire. I won't dismiss the idea, but I do question it.

Days ago, I read the most interesting article by Itziar Hernández Rodilla, in Vasos Comunicantes, a translators' journal, which began, "I read these words in Claudia Piñeiro's Catedrales: "The way we name plants, flowers, fruits, while still using the same language reveals our origins as much as any tune, if not more. That is where we are from, the place where every word blooms or gives fruit."

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Society
Carl Karlsson

A Nobel For Brave Journalists, And Remembering Those We've Lost

Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov have won the Nobel Peace Prize for their fight to defend freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia.

Ressa, who co-founded the news site Rappler, was commended by the Nobel committee for using freedom of expression to "expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines," while Mr Muratov, the co-founder and editor of independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was awarded the prestigious price for decades of work defended freedom of speech in Russia.

The award also came one day after the 15th anniversary of the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, one of six Novaya Gazeta reporters who have been murdered since the publication's inception in 1993. It was her deep reporting on the suffering of ordinary people during the first war in Chechnya that first brought global attention and prestige to Novaya Gazeta — and also what cost Politkovskaya her life, shot down as she entered the lift in her apartment block in Moscow on Oct. 7, 2006.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Nobel Peace Prize, Iran Nuclear Talks, 700-Year-Old Pollution

👋 Bonġu!*

Welcome to Friday, where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to two journalists risking their lives in Russia and the Philippines, the U.S. pushes the Iran nuclear deal back on the table, and a Swiss CEO is ousted after offering a different kind of COVID incentive to employees. From rural Sweden, we also look at how a new-age festival has become a touchstone for debate among new-age communities who don't trust the COVID vaccine.

[*Maltese]

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Society

9/11 Front Pages: World Newspapers Coverage Of The Attack

History happened instantly before our eyes 20 years ago on September 11, 2001 — and the global press was there to offer a first view on a day that continues to live in infamy. Here are 31 newspaper front pages and magazine covers.

By the time United Airlines Flight 175 sliced into the second tower, news reporters and editors around the world knew they were facing the most monumental story of their lifetime. The Sep. 11 attacks forever changed the world, and put the powers of modern journalism, from real-time video coverage to deep news analysis (on deadline), to the test like never before.

With events unfolding on that Tuesday morning in New York and Washington, newspapers around the world could go to print that evening with special editions for Sep. 12 that offered the proverbial "first draft of history" on their respective front pages. News magazines followed suit with tragically iconic covers. TIME magazine's lead writer Nancy Gibbs recently recalled the unique pressure of producing a special issue in 24 hours.

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Geopolitics
Anthony Bellanger

Press Freedom, Another 2020 Victim We Must Not Forget

In addition to coronavirus-related deaths, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) recorded 42 murders of journalists and media workers since the beginning of 2020 in targeted attacks, bombings and shootings.

-OpEd-

BRUSSELS — Health care professionals and other essential workers have been on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic and its effects for the past 12 months. But so are media workers, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects the right of individuals to receive and impart information. Journalists' work has been particularly vital in 2020 — a year when access to high-quality and reliable information on the COVID-19 pandemic has literally saved lives.

Unfortunately, our profession has had to pay a dramatic human cost for these efforts. Since the start of the pandemic, journalists around the world have risked their lives to cover reality on the ground, without proper protective gear and safety training. Under these circumstances, several dozen got infected with the coronavirus while carrying out their professional duties, and died from it. We will never forget them.

Journalism may not be considered one of the most dangerous professions in the world, but the global figures of how many media workers were killed show otherwise.

In addition to coronavirus-related deaths, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has recorded 42 murders of journalists and media workers since the beginning of 2020, in targeted attacks, bombings and shootings. The COVID-19 pandemic is aggravating this already critical situation: not only does it threaten journalists' safety, it also jeopardizes the environments in which media professionals carry out their work as the number of fatalities rise.

But that's nothing new. The IFJ's "White Paper on Global Journalism," launched on December 10 on International Human Rights Day, has listed the names of journalists who were killed over the past 30 years — a staggering 2,658. This means that about two journalists or media workers are killed every week. This is the unacceptable reality of our profession.

These numbers don't indicate that the most targeted and vulnerable journalists are actually the ones who work on a local level. Contrary to what everyone might think, nearly 75% of journalists killed worldwide didn't die in crossfires or during dangerous missions in conflict zones. Rather, they die in targeted assassinations, killed by a gunman on the back of a motorcycle, shot or stabbed near their home or office, or found dead after being kidnapped and tortured. This is the case in Mexico, a country with no war but which holds the second highest number of killings of journalists (178) over the 1990-2020 period, after Iraq (340).

Governments have taken advantage of anti-coronavirus measures as a pretext to restrict press freedom.

Journalists not only risk their lives doing their jobs, they also risk their freedom. At least 235 of them are currently in prison in 34 countries on work-related cases based on false "anti-state" charges. Then again, the pandemic has worsened the situation: Governments have taken advantage of anti-coronavirus measures as a pretext to restrict press freedom, increasing the pressure on critical and independent journalism.

Assassinations of journalists and arbitrary arrests have had a dramatic impact on media freedom and the people's right to know. Killing or putting journalists behind bars sends a chilling message to colleagues who are planning to cover certain topics that the powerful would prefer to cover up. The consequence: self-censorship on a particular subject or region. This is detrimental to democracy in times of a pandemic, when the role of the media as a watchdog of government decisions and transparency is essential.

Violence and authoritarian governments have threatened press freedom in 2020, but the economic crisis caused by the pandemic has also had a huge impact on the media and their workers.

Journalists in Ukraine — Photo: Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/ZUMA

According to an IFJ survey, two-thirds of employed and freelance journalists were subjected to pay cuts, job or income losses. The media "toll" is high, particularly in local and community media, where the pandemic has virtually shut down the press. Without local media, thousands of regions around the world are at risk of turning into information deserts during one of the most difficult times in recent history.

This has certainly been one of the worst years for global journalism. But 2020 has also been the year when the profession and its labor unions have reaffirmed their role and importance: They demonstrated vigorously that they can succeed and protect the rights of media workers even in the most critical situations, and demanded that tech giants pay to use journalistic work, and stop evading taxes.

IFJ members around the world also had to take on tasks which were the responsibility of the authorities, such as providing training and safety equipment to media workers or providing legal assistance to protect them against employers' oppressive decisions.

Now is the time for democratic governments to take bold actions and support journalism, to ensure the safety of media workers and their right to work, and introduce a global tax on online platforms that still engage in tax evasion, in order to collect the necessary funds to save the media and protect the right to know.

Yes, 2020 is a turning point for press freedom: Let's fight together the consequences of the pandemic, or there's a real risk that we let press freedom perish, and our democracies with it.

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food / travel

Staff Picks, Our 15 Best Stories Of 2019

LES ECHOS

France's Yellow Vests And The Problem With Post-Truth Economics

Opinion shapers have a habit these days of disregarding facts, be they scientific or economic. Opinions matter, of course, but shouldn't supersede well-founded knowledge.

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Society
Michel Guerrin

Safeguarding Satire: A French Take On New York Times Cartoon Ban

In the land of Charlie Hebdo and Plantu, the decision of the American newspaper to eliminate cartoons in its international edition is not welcome news at all.

-OpEd-

PARIS — It was a cartoon that set off a firestorm. On April 25, the international edition of the New York Times published an image of a blind man holding a leash, being led by his dog. The man is Donald Trump, wearing black glasses and a kippah. The dog had the head of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu with a Jewish star on his collar. "What an antisemitic cartoon!" declared Trump, joined by several prominent Israeli writers, New York Times readers and social media personalities. The New York Times responded with a bouquet of excuses, including an apology to Israel, promising to update its internal "unconscious bias' training.

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THE WASHINGTON POST
Margaret Sullivan

How Julian Assange And WikiLeaks Changed Journalism

-Analysis-

For press-freedom advocates, Julian Assange has long been a polarizing figure. And his arrest Thursday in London once again ignited the seemingly endless debate:

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