Where Will J-Grads Find Jobs?
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Participants in the Reznet News project for Native American student journalists visited the Detroit News in 2007 in search of job openings. (Credit: Detroit News)
Advisers Say It's Anywhere They Can Tell a Story
One of the paradoxes of today's news industry is that while professionals are full of doom and gloom as they absorb cutbacks, layoffs and buyouts, journalism schools are booming.¬†
"Columbia, Stanford and NYU applications increased 38%, 20% and 6%, respectively, from the previous year. Same thing at state schools. The University of Colorado (up 11%), University of North Carolina (up 14%) and University of Maryland (up 25%) all saw gains," Lauren Streib wrote¬†this week for Forbes.com.
Here's the operating principle: "I've never met a single person in 35 years who went into journalism out of pure economic reason," Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, said in the Forbes piece. "It doesn't make us recession-proof, but it makes us less recession responsive."
Still, according to a quick survey of journalism faculty members, some students are panicked.
Paul Delaney, a former senior editor at the New York Times, recently began teaching at the University of Maryland-College Park. "I guess the one thing that really surprised me was the depth of shell-shock my students seem to be exhibiting," he told Journal-isms.
"Not one of my seniors has a journalism job prospect, this close to graduation. Some are anxious about holding on to their gigs waiting tables after May, a few are really depressed. The scene is the exact opposite of my students at the University of Alabama a dozen years ago. Then, at least, they were optimistic about finding jobs in their chosen field and just about all did. Not today. Some of my students now want out of print, are not seeking jobs in journalism. One told me she would not accept a job on a newspaper if offered, doesn't want [the] aggravation."
Other reactions are more measured.
"New online ventures pop up and hire a few here and there, and some of the daily newspapers that have laid off journalists are hiring back a few here and there into local reporting positions," said Ernest R. Sotomayor, a Newsday veteran and former president of Unity: Journalists of Color.
"Much of the hiring is limited to freelance writers, without benefits like insurance or retirement," said Sotomayor, now assistant dean for career services at Columbia Journalism School.
An example: "The Star-Ledger in Newark, which just hired a dozen one-year interns after laying off 40 percent of its staff in the fall, with health insurance benefits only. And Advance Publications, which is a sister company, has hired a couple dozen people or so, including some new grads from Columbia, to launch a hyper-local community news service.
"It's a mixed bag."
Some say their students are finding jobs in other fields.
"Last week, we had a panel of students, who work for our college newspaper, talk to about 200 students in our beginning journalism classes," Pam Johnson, director of the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University, said. "We have a weekly lecture on journalism issues for these students. The panel said that while newspaper jobs are down, there are other places where student journalists can work.
"For example, one of our grads who also spoke in this lecture series is now working for the mayor of Louisville. This is the same grad who just two years ago was working for a newspaper. It was hard to believe I was listening to the same person. He said that also working for the mayor [are] two other WKU grads, one from a radio career and one from TV news. He said that when we had the recent ice storm, the three of them were actually running things for the city. Since they all had journalism backgrounds, they knew how to rally all the essential departments involved in responding to the situation; how to brief the media, how to keep communications open to the public etc."
The students aren't naive about their prospects, said Carol Y. Dudley at Howard University.
"Despite the economic downturn and the 'folding up' of news organizations I find that seniors in journalism do not possess the same worries for the industry that more senior generations have," said Dudley, coordinator of the Office of Career Development at the John H. Johnson School of Communications.
"Is this due to a naivet?© about the future? Absolutely not, these young people are functioning, growing and living in the world of social media. They have created, adopted and become backpack journalists. Blogging and internet communities are the professional paths that many of them are pursuing. Students are creating journalism on-line and utilizing a vast network of associates to spread the word. Traditional journalism may be viewed as antiquated among our young people."
Dudley also said the majority of companies are offering postgraduate internships as an alternative to hiring permanent staffers, and that more students are opting for graduate study.
The schools are adjusting. Larry Atkins reported this on Monday in the Philadelphia Weekly:
"At Temple, journalism chair Andrew Mendelson points to a curriculum change six years ago that added multimedia requirements to students' education. The university also created a Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab, where journalism students work in a newsroom that covers local neighborhoods with print, broadcast, web and other digital media.
''In some ways, we anticipated the new reality,' Mendelson says.
"Another bow to reality: a new course that reflects how future journalists may have to hustle for employment.
''We also added an Entrepreneurial Journalism elective,' Mendelson says, 'in which we teach students how to become their own business model by freelancing or starting a website.'
"Temple isn't alone. Drexel University now offers a BA in global journalism. Arcadia University started a Visual Culture in India Project, where communications students travel to India and then create multimedia projects. Villanova launched The Zone, an interactive portal run through the Communications Department that broadcasts students' radio shows."
In Editor & Publisher, Seth Porges, an editor at Popular Mechanics magazine, argued¬†that while journalism schools are changing, some are taking the wrong approach.
"Journalism schools seem to be under the impression that Web savviness is synonymous with a technical mastery, and are top-loading course loads with classes on coding and production," he wrote. "It misses the point about what it means to be a Web-savvy journalist.
". . . A good Web journalist is able to predict what stories will work on the Web, how to package these stories, and how to make sure these stories reach a whole lot of eyeballs. If I were hiring a Web editor, my first interview questions would not be what programming languages they know, but what their strategies are for reaching out to blogs, improving SEO," or search engine optimization, "and getting stories on Digg.
"If I was a J-school dean, I'd offer classes on social media and blog outreach (something that is severely lacking from most J-schools), and teach students how to expand and adapt existing print stories for the Web.
". . . The fact is, few jobs are as easily outsourced by media companies as Web producers, who are often either benefit-less permalancers or based in India. While Web coders and producers are often extremely creative people, they are, unfortunately, viewed by media companies as some of the most disposable and interchangeable workers."
A sobering fact for those concerned about diversity: Last year in his annual survey¬†of how college journalism and communications graduates fared in the job market, Lee Becker of the University of Georgia found, "There is a bigger gap between minority and non-minority grads. For 2007, 66.2% of members of racial and ethnic minority groups reported holding full-time jobs compared with 78.7% of non-minority graduates. That gap has grown in the past few years and is the largest in the past two decades."
Here are more encouraging facts: "Professors say they don't expect students to get jobs at newspapers in the numbers they used to. But they say there are other jobs for people who can communicate and dig up information - with nonprofits, in government publications, in public relations," as Stephen Kiehl wrote¬†March 31 in the Baltimore Sun.
"The demand for multimedia skills could be seen last weekend at Columbia's spring job fair," he continued. "More than 100 employers attended, including nytimes.com but not The New York Times newspaper. More Web sites - such as The Huffington Post, ESPN.com, The Daily Beast and Health.com - showed up than newspapers and radio stations combined."
"We've never trained our students for specific jobs in one" medium, said Johnson, of Western Kentucky. "We've always trained them to tell stories and have good content. There's still a great need for that. Whether it's newspapers or somewhere else. So, our students are getting jobs."
"Loss of Reporting Firepower" at State CapitolsFor those who view the statehouses as a prime training ground for covering the White House or Congress, where journalists of color are disproportionately absent, the American Journalism Review has some disappointing news:
"This winter, AJR conducted its fifth census of newspaper reporters who cover state government, its first since 2003, and found a staggering loss of reporting firepower at America's state capitols," Jennifer Dorroh wrote¬†in the April/May issue.
"The tally found only 355 full-time newspaper reporters at the nation's state capitols, a 32 percent decrease from just six years ago. It discovered that 44 statehouses have fewer full-time reporters than they did six years ago. The number of full-time reporters remained the same in four states and increased modestly in two.
"In New Jersey, seven of nine newspapers have cut back. . . . In California, eight of 15 newspapers have cut back on Capitol coverage. . . . Georgia, which had 14 full-time reporters six years ago, has only five. The number in Texas fell from 28 to 18.
" . . . The gutting of America's capitol press corps comes just as a large portion of the federal stimulus package becomes the responsibility of state governments.
Yet, she wrote, there is the Internet. "Sprinkled across the country, a small but growing number of entrepreneurial journalists are stepping in to replace the lost coverage - by running their own sites."
FAMU J-School to Sideline Teachers Lacking Master'sBecause they lack master's degrees, three full-time employees at Florida A&M University's School of Journalism & Graphic Communication¬†are losing their classroom positions and a visiting instructor is "unlikely to return" to the faculty, Dean¬†James E. Hawkins confirmed on Friday.¬†
Six adjunct instructors are similarly affected, he told Journal-isms.
Hawkins spoke after the student newspaper, the Famuan, reported¬†Friday that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools had recommended that FAMU not renew the contracts of any professors at the school who do not have a master‚Äôs.
"Keith Miles, who manages FAMU‚Äôs radio station, WANM 90.5 FM; Ernest Jones, who manages FAMU TV-20 and Ron James, graphic designer for the university, are three out of the four full-time professors who will stay employed in their Administrative and Professional positions, but will no longer be allowed to teach," Kellee Bassaragh wrote.
"However James has already submitted his resignation.
"William Jiles, the fourth full-time professor cited by SACS, said he is affected most by the decision. Jiles has been an employee of the school since January 2006. He was officially notified Tuesday of SACS‚Äô recommendation."
"Essentially, the University's position is everyone teaching at the undergraduate level is required to have a master's degree," Hawkins told Journal-isms by e-mail. "The requirements also say . . . Only exceptions that may be considered are for nationally renowned individuals in the field.
"Regarding our full-time employees, one is on a faculty line; the other three have administrative and professional positions. It is our plan to allow these three persons to continue in their administrative and professional roles; however they will not be able to teach. It is our plan to give these persons three years to earn a master's degree. The fourth person has been serving as a visiting instructor. His employment with the University is clearly affected by this decision. It is unlikely that he will return unless he is reassigned.
"The six adjuncts are all people with professional experience. One person taught in the graphic communication curriculum. He has 40 years experience as a print manager but was determined to be unqualified to teach undergraduate print management courses. Each has been informed of the situation. Another had more than 20 years experience in newspaper journalism."
‚ÄúI agree with the dean,‚Äù Jiles said in the Famuan story. ‚ÄúMy years of experience surpass a master‚Äôs degree. Peter Jennings only had a high school diploma and his ability to perform was never questioned.‚Äù¬† The ABC News anchor, who died in 2005 at age 67, actually dropped out of high school at 17.
Veteran journalist Dorothy Bland, a former publisher of the Coloradoan, a Gannett paper in Fort Collins, Colo., directs the journalism program.¬†
Metro Columnists Go Part-Time at Kansas City StarMetro columnists at the Kansas City Star are working as part-time employees as part of a belt-tightening that has also seen rearrangement of news sections and a charge to readers of 25 cents for the Sunday TV book.
"We have four metro columnists, which may be a bit much for a metro area the size of Kansas City, and we like them all and didn't want to lose any of them," Editor Mike Fannin told Journal-isms.
With the paper's reorganization, the columns were trimmed to 400 words and in one case, their frequency was reduced. Their authors lost some employee benefits and their salary was cut. However, Fannin said, the newly part-time workers, whose work week is now 32 rather than 40 hours, also received a one-time 10-week "bridge" salary.
Publisher Mark Zieman told employees in March that the Star planned to cut about 15 percent of the Star's work force and that their wages would be reduced, as the Associated Press reported¬†at the time.
"Those making more than $100,000 a year will see a 10 percent cut, and those making less will have their salaries reduced by 5 percent. Wages for Star employees were frozen last fall," the AP story said.
Hendricks, whose column goes from three times a week to twice, and from about 550 words to about 400, told Journal-isms, "I have come to accept the situation, and I'm going to make the best of it." Writing shorter columns will force him to exercise more discipline, he said. "They cut my pay quite a bit, but I'm still making a decent amount. I'm still making as much as a lot of reporters," he added.
Hendricks, 53, who has written his column for 12 years, said he retained his health insurance but lost his life- and his long-term disability insurance.
He said he would be also writing a blog, figuring that "either we're all going to go online completely or we'll fatten the paper again" down the line and regain more space.
In a front-page column on Monday, Fannin told¬†readers that, "Like close siblings, Kansas City and The Kansas City Star have grown up together over the last 129 years. When the city has thrived, the newspaper enjoyed the benefits. And when the city has suffered, The Star not only reported on but shared in those pains.¬† . . As we have for nearly 13 decades, we will come through this together."
He said he readers responded positively.
- DeWayne Wickham, Gannett News Service: As newspapers disappear, so does nation's link to real journalism¬†
News Director to Rookie: Give In Now, Report Later
David Schultz is a 26-year-old reporter for public radio station WAMU-FM in Washington.
"Last Tuesday night, he was covering a public event at the V.A. Hospital in Washington, D.C.," Mark Segraves wrote¬†in his column on Friday for Washington's WTOP, all-news radio.
"While interviewing one of the veterans about the poor treatment he was receiving at the hands of the V.A.,"¬† Gloria Hairston, an internal communications specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "Hairston demanded that Schultz stop recording the interview and hand over his recording equipment," he continued.¬†
"'She said I wouldn't be allowed to leave,' Schultz tells WTOP.
"At first he refused. But after being surrounded by armed police officers who stood between him and the exit, he looked for a compromise.
"'I became worried that I was going to get arrested,' Schultz says.
"Schultz convinced Hairston that all she really needed to confiscate was the memory card to his recorder, rather than all of his equipment. While this was going on, many of the veterans from the meeting had come out to watch the confrontation.
"One of those veterans, an amputee in a wheelchair, approached Schultz and asked him for his phone number.
"'I started to give it to him and then the woman [Hairston] became irate, she said you can't give him your phone number. You have to give me all of your equipment or I'm going to get ugly. She used the phrase "get ugly," Schultz says,
"Like any good reporter, Schultz stood his ground and called his boss for direction. Longtime newsman Jim Asendio is the news director for WAMU.
"'I told him to give them the flash card and get out of there,' Asendio says. 'I didn't want this to get out of hand.'
"Schultz reluctantly handed over the memory card from his recorder.
"'I've been a reporter for two and a half, three years, I'm sort of at the beginning of my career,' Schultz says. 'I wish I had handled it differently, I think they preyed on my inexperience and I really feel bad about that.'
"Eventually, Schultz went around the VA PR machine and got the story," interviewing the veteran on the phone, Art Brodsky, communications director of the public-interest group Public Knowledge, continued in a story on the Huffington Post Web site.
Asendio told Journal-isms, "I stand by my decision to have him turn over the flashcard.
"He was being detained by federal armed guards and as an African-American male, I was brought up to do what a police officer with a badge and gun tells you to do and then fight your battle in a court afterwards.
"I also thought it was more important for David to be free to return to the station to produce the story (about what the minority vets said about how they are treated by the VA and how he was treated by the VA) on the air the next morning than to have him be detained any longer.
"We did just that and have continued to do so."
Asendio wrote back shortly before 8 p.m.: "The VA just now agreed to return our flashcard with no conditions."
- Ed O'Keefe,¬† Washington Post: VA to Review Seizure of Reporter's Gear (April 13)
- Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: Reporters Committee objects to VA seizure of reporter's recording
- Jake Tapper blog, ABC News:¬†VA Authorities Confiscate Tape of Journalist Reporting on Bad Treatment of Veterans
In Mexico, Journalists "Hate Even More Being Killed""For decades, the Mexican press was largely controlled by the powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, through intimidation or graft," Alfredo Corchado wrote¬†Thursday for the Nieman Watchdog site. "The PRI had a way of crushing, or, most often, co-opting opposition, everyone from campesinos to politicians, business leaders to drug kingpins, civil society to journalists. The PRI thrived on peaceful accommodation.
"Reporters would routinely receive their bi-monthly, or monthly 'chayote,' or 'stipend,' courtesy of local, state, or federal government officials. The payment was a form of 'appreciation' for reporting what the powerful wanted and allowed, or for looking the other way.
"No reporter or editor I know in Mexico today clamors for those days. Many cherish freedom of the press today, especially the freedom of information act passed during the Fox administration which allows them rare access to government documents.
"But for many, democracy has been messy and painful. Said one reporter in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, 'We didn‚Äôt like being controlled, but we hate even more being killed. No one was trying to kill us then, as much as they were trying to bribe us.'‚Äù
FCC Chair Moves Forward on Minority Ownership"As advertised, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps has begun laying the data foundation for boosting minority and female ownership of broadcast properties. Copps said that the order may seem to be all about data, but that it should be 'music to the ears of anyone who cares about reversing the shameful state of affairs in which we find ourselves,'" John Eggerton wrote¬†in Broadcasting & Cable.
"Copps has said he wanted to tee up the issue of minority ownership for his successor, and did so Wednesday at the commission's April public meeting.
"'The data we compile will provide the raw material for the Adarand studies and the other analyses we will need to have to sustain a program of meaningful action,' Copps said in a statement. 'It will mean that if we have to go to court to defend far-reaching policy changes ‚Äî and, unfortunately, we undoubtedly will ‚Äî we will have solidly-based legal underpinnings to justify our actions.'"
Veteran television-industry watcher Harry A. Jessell wrote¬†Friday in his TV Newsday, however, that "The FCC's new reporting requirements on female and minority broadcast ownership is misguided and imposes additional, unnecessary costs on TV and radio stations in a time of financial distress.
"There is a far simpler way of getting it," he said of the data, "than by instituting a whole new regime of detailed, biennial reporting starting this fall.
"The FCC can just ask for it."
Video of Turkish Anchor in Blackface Makes Rounds"A news anchor in Turkey donned blackface during a newscast this week for his report about the recent visit of the United States' first African American president Barack Obama," as EURWeb.com reported.
The press counselor at the Turkish Embassy in Washington told Journal-isms that the anchor "happens to work in a small local channel and apparently tried to use the visit to make the headlines."
The anchor succeeded in some sectors of the Internet. "SHOCK: Turkish TV reports on Obama in black face?" the Drudge Report wrote on Thursday. It linked to a video of the report, "Turkish Flash T.V. MOCKS U.S President Obama."¬†
Judging from the translations, the news anchor was not mocking Obama. "According to various readers posting comments on Turkish Web sites, the concept of blackface in Turkey refers to a person making a request with humility. It's based on the Turkish proverb, 'They who make requests should have a black face, and they who do not give something should have an even darker face,' meaning the turning down of a request causes more embarrassment than asking for one," EURWeb said.
Necmi Hasturk, the press counselor, said via e-mail, "Although the anchor says during his first remarks that his action should not be regarded as a racial one, and should not be misinterpreted, before referring to a Turkish proverb which says, the one who asks for something has a black face, but the one who does not give (although he has the means) has even a darker one, and asks for, lots of things he thinks important from President Obama, I personally do not accept what he does. This has nothing to do with journalism and the visiting journalist[s] from Turkey, who also watched the video with me even criticised him with harsher words for the anchor, who happens to work in a small local channel and apparently tried to use the visit to make the headlines.
"I share my personal opinion with you and hope that you do not think that the Turkish people are racially biased. In fact the visiting Turkish journalist[s} told me a lot about what they call an 'Obamania' in Turkey and the warm reception the President enjoyed during his recent visit to The country.
"I am not speaking for the government but reflecting the views and [beliefs] of the Turkish people, who are not racially biased, who are trying to bridge the differences between the cultures and religions, nations and continents, and as 'one of the sincere and warmest people of the world' (excerpts from American tourists visiting the country) have always been supportive to the ideals and values of democracy, still, are being subject to some prejudices that are not acceptable for me either."
- Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review:¬†ProPublica Wants YOU to Dig into Obama Records
- Wayne Dawkins, politicsincolor.com:¬†Obama needed to build healthy relations at G-20 summit
- Julianne Malveaux, National Newspaper Publishers Association:¬†World Economic Crisis?
- Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting: Not Much 'Intellectual Heavy Lifting' at New York Magazine
- Joseph C. Phillips, BlackAmericaWeb.com:¬†Racist Stereotypes Don't Hurt Us More than We Do Ourselves
- Teresa Wiltz, theRoot.com:¬†What‚Äôs Up With Waxy Michelle?
- "On the cover of today‚Äôs Go! magazine, a regular section of Friday‚Äôs Post-Dispatch, there is a photo of a couple kissing to go along with the story 'The 7 Best Places To Smooch'," Doug Moore wrote Friday on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Web site. "The story hasn‚Äôt generated a ton of buzz, but the photo has. Why? Because the man is black and the woman is white. The reader comments at the end of the online version clearly showed us that at least some folks out there are not comfortable with interracial relationships." The photo is of a real-life couple.
- The Oklahoma state Senate plans Monday to dedicate an original painting of Creek journalist and poet laureate Alexander Posey¬†to hang at the Capitol, the Associated Press reported. "Posey is best known for his insights into Creek Indian tribal politics and American Indian customs, which he recorded in his poetry, journalism and political satire." He lived from 1841 to 1908.
- The Detroit Free Press and its editor, Paul Anger, won¬†Gannett's top journalism awards for work in 2008. Winners of President's Rings included Ronnie Agnew, executive editor of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., and Randy Lovely, editor and vice president/News of the Arizona Republic. Also, "The Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle has won this year's Gannett Co. Diversity Award, which honors the company operating unit that 'hires, develops, recognizes and rewards a diverse group of employees who achieve outstanding results,'" Editor & Publisher reported.
- Donna Britt, former Washington Post columnist, will be writing a regular column for PoliticsDaily.com, AOL‚Äôs forthcoming politics site, Michael Calderone wrote Thursday on his Politico.com blog. Britt told Journal-isms she recently finished the first draft of her book, a memoir that she took book leave to write before accepting a buyout.
- David Simon, who embedded Baltimore in the national consciousness through five seasons of "The Wire," is in New Orleans to tell the story of New Orleans now that the satellite trucks have pulled out, David Carr wrote¬†Sunday in the New York Times. For the pilot of "Treme," an HBO series about New Orleans musicians picking up the pieces after Hurricane Katrina, Simon collaborated with Eric Overmyer, a colleague dating back to "Homicide," and former journalist David Mills, who worked on "The Corner" and "The Wire." Simon also enrolled Lolis Eric Elie, a writer from the Times-Picayune "with endless local lore in his possession," and Tom Piazza, the author of a post-storm book, ‚ÄúWhy New Orleans Matters,‚Äù Carr wrote. "If the show is picked up this spring, Mr. Simon‚Äôs crew could start shooting the rest of the first season as soon as this summer." Mills wrote¬†about the experience on his Undercover Black Man blog.
- "The Native American Journalism Career Conference, the largest Native student journalism program of its kind, marks its 10th anniversary next week at its meeting at the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota," the Associated Press reported¬†on Friday.
- "In the three weeks since the Seattle Post-Intelligencer dropped its print edition and went to a Web-only format, the news outlet has seen a small rise in page views, but a slightly larger decrease in unique users," Joe Strupp reported¬†Friday in Editor & Publisher.
- ‚ÄúThe most successful woman in the media is heavyset and black, but mainstream is not looking for Oprah,‚Äù CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts told Florida International University students. ‚ÄúThere are more blondes in the newsroom than in all of America,‚Äù Pitts said, Juliana Accioly reported Friday in the South Florida Times.¬†
- "NPR staffer Karen Grigsby Bates has a nice Easter feature¬†in this weekend's L.A. Times' Image section on church hats, focusing on the ladies who dressed for Palm Sunday services at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ. The Crenshaw congregation is one of the nation's largest, with 24,000 members. Kirk McKoy's photo slide show¬†. . . is stunning," Kevin Roderick wrote Thursday in his laobserved blog.¬†
- "A Sri Lankan journalist killed on Jan. 8 will posthumously be awarded the 2009 World Press Freedom Prize, UNESCO said Monday," the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. "Lasantha Wickrematunge, founder and editor of the Sunday Leader, had written his own obituary, saying he was committed to press freedom despite the risk to his life."
- In Zimbabwe, "For the first time, journalists working for the state media have been charged under Zimbabwe's repressive media laws. The editor of the Chronicle newspaper in Bulawayo, Brezhnev Malaba, has been charged by a magistrate with defamation, for a story that linked the police to corruption, Tichaona Sibanda reported¬†Thursday for SW Radio Africa in London.
- Reporters Without Borders hailed¬†the release Wednesday of Abdel Fettah Ould Abeidna of Mauritania, the editor of the weekly Al Aqsa, as a result of a pardon issued by the head of the military government, Gen. Ould Abdel Aziz. "Abeidna had been detained in the capital, Nouakchott, since his arrival on 30 November 2008 from Dubai, from where he was extradited. A Nouakchott criminal court had sentenced him in November 2007 to a year in prison on a charge of criminally libelling Mauritanian businessman Mohamed Ould Bouamatou, whom he had linked to international cocaine trafficking."
- April 16 marks the fifth anniversary of French journalist Guy-Andr?© Kieffer‚Äôs abduction and disappearance in Abidjan, C?¥te d‚ÄôIvoire, and Reporters Without Borders appealed¬†to French President Nicolas Sarkozy to "again make this case one of your priorities by interceding with the Ivorian authorities and getting them to finally do what is necessary for the truth to emerge."
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