Russia: where activist journalism can get you killed

For Isi Leibler, leaving the country was the only alternative

By Vlad Egorov

Despite the presence of heavily armed airport security, Isi Leibler felt the sense of danger lift when she returned to Israel in 2007. The Tel Aviv native had been working as a journalist in Russia for seven years, covering domestic and international politics during Vladimir Putin’s time in office. “It was like something from a movie, almost unbelievable,’’ Leibler recalls. “I was always feeling like I was being followed, many times I even saw people taking pictures of me.’’ After receiving threats via anonymous mail demanding that she stop writing critically about Putin’s regime, Leibler decided to move back to her home country.

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Too little, too late

Media continues to ignore the victims of human trafficking

By William Loweryson 

Sarah Brody’s life began unravelling at the age of 17 in Montreal. Sarah (not her real name) was first approached through friends by a young and charming man. Flattered by his attention, his promises of money, groceries and drugs, Sarah began to feel as though her abject life was taking a turn for the better.  “I became totally dependent on him,” she says.

Just weeks after their first encounter, the man told her that he wanted payback for everything, and that she would have to work for him to do so. She submitted, fearful of his violent temper and threats. “What seemed like an easy way out, turned out to be the hardest years of my life,” she says.

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Radio playground for local artists

UdeM’s CISM tops Quebec francophone university radio charts

By Simon Tousignant

The inconspicuous door, one of thousands around Université de Montréal, stands atop a flight of steep stairs overlooking Blvd. Édouard-Montpetit. Its only distinctive aspect, a small CISM sign with faded lettering, is nailed to the door’s left side. The door’s tiny window is plastered by band stickers; some old, some new. Few passersby know that this door leads to one of the biggest francophone university radios in the world.

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What’s it like to report from the White House?

Twitter diplomacy, fake news and alternative facts: journalists face new challenges in the era of Trump

By Frank Pavan

Veteran reporter Lawrence Martin has spent 30 years covering politics around the world – Donald Trump is the closest thing he has seen to a leader with no political playbook. He says the U.S. President “stands alone in a lot of ways. He doesn’t care about normal protocols,” Martin says. “He has just thrown the script out the window.”

Covering the Trump presidency for just over a year, Martin says that being “raw” and “unfiltered” is simply part of Trump’s personality. The 45th POTUS hates having his name out of the headlines for a day or two. “Being in the news is important to him,” Martin says. “The guy is a news machine.”

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Habs on the offence

The Canadiens franchise is too testy with some members of the sports media, critics say

by Lucas Napier-Macdonald & Matthew Parizot

The Montreal Canadiens are under a lot of stress. Despite an impressive start to the season, the team has been dealing with an irate fan base generated largely by the P.K. Subban trade, so much so that in the annual Ultimate Standings ranking from ESPN, the Habs dropped 44 places to number 98 among 122 major pro teams in North America.

“The Canadiens’ drop in the rankings is largely based on the fans’ perception of the team,” wrote Gazette sports columnist Pat Hickey in October. “Some of it is unfair, but it speaks to a feeling of resentment from some elements of the fan base.”

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Reporting from war zones

High-tech communications have left journalists more connected, but introduce a new set of risks

by Patrick Cahill & Michael Boriero

A cool sea spray floats through the air, guided by a gentle breeze. The tall ship’s creaking timbers, fluttering sails, and cursing sailors go unheeded. The courier eyes the coast, thumbing critical documents that he has carried for weeks, ones that could potentially change the course of history.

In the early 19th century, breaking news took so long to travel that entire battles — the Battle of New Orleans comes to mind — were sometimes fought before the combatants learned a treaty had already been signed.

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Why is journalism ignoring a warming Earth?

Lacklustre reporting does not meet the rigours of scientific evaluation

by Jeremy Glass-Pilon & Solène Jonveaux

The scientific evidence is irrefutable: 97 per cent of climate researchers agree that climate change is real and due to human activities. Yet an Ipsos poll done at the end of 2015 shows that just 13 per cent of Canadians and 12 per cent of Americans identified climate change as a priority when asked about important policy issues.

What part does journalism play in all this? Most scientists agree that even though the volume of reporting has increased over the last few years, conventional journalism has missed the mark when it comes to reporting on climate science. The content and scientific validity of these reports has been, for the most part, sorely inadequate.

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Burying Indigenous survivors’ voices

Inquiry will examine the difficulties women face being heard

by Nahka Bertrand & Safia Ahmad

Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander were reported missing from Maniwaki, a town near the Kitigan Zibi reserve located in southwestern Québec, in the autumn of 2008. As of now, the Indigenous teenagers have not been found.

Fifteen-year-old Tina Fontaine’s body was found wrapped in a duvet cover and stuffed in a bag weighted by rocks on a sunny day in the summer of 2014. Media coverage of the teenager’s disappearance and death—she grew up Sagkeeng First Nation near Winnipeg, Manitobawas extensive and prompted the Canadian Human Rights Commission to push for an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada (MMIW).

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Can women find parity in Canadian newsrooms?

The lack of females in managerial posts is a nationwide phenomenon

by Gethraa Shan

Is gender a barrier in Canadian newsrooms? Since Canadian women began entering the workforce — education and birth control both played a part beginning in the 1960s — newsrooms were no longer the sole province of the cigarette-smoking, hard-drinking white male journalist.

But even though the number of women in media across the country has increased since then and one can boast gender parity at an organization like Radio Canada, women continue to struggle to become decision-makers in newsrooms as top editors or publishers.

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Activist journalism at Standing Rock

Celebrities step up where the media have stepped aside

by Kammy Vicaire

Since spring 2016, activists have gathered at Standing Rock, North Dakota on Sioux sacred land to demonstrate their opposition against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Construction has already destroyed parts of their sacred lands and risks later poisoning their main water source.

They have been supported by a crowd better known for self promotion than activism. While mainstream media outlets, including CNN and The New York Times, came in late to cover the issue, The Intercept magazine has reported that at least seven journalists in total have been arrested while covering the clashes. Others have been stung by tear gas, pepper spray, or rubber bullets and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now had a warrant issued for her arrest.

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