Students awarded McCormick National Security Journalism Scholarships


The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications has named 10 McCormick National Security Journalism Scholarship recipients to participate in an innovative 11-week reporting program in Fall 2014. Their work in Medill’s Washington bureau will culminate in an enterprise … Continue reading

Marines ad casting; cutting contracts; uninsured vets; sexual assault reporting


Finding new faces for the Marines The creative minds behind Marine Corps recruiting are trying to make TV ads that portray a more realistic picture of being a Marine than some of their ads in the past have. And to … Continue reading

Students learn how to stay cyber safe


CHICAGO — In the digital age, journalists traveling overseas have more to worry about than just physical attacks. Electronic security has become increasingly important as newsgathering technology grows and the surveillance capability for those devices grows with it. Since 1985, … Continue reading

Background briefing on sources and secrets


By JOSH MEYER Below is an unabridged version of a backround brief for which I did extensive resarch on behalf of participants of the March 21, 2014 symposium, Sources & Secrets, which will be a gathering of top journalists, national … Continue reading

Chicago reporter covers violence, exposes hurt behind the numbers


More than 400 times last year, family members had to stand next to the lifeless body of a loved one. More than 400 funerals. More than 400 trips to select a casket. More than 400 mourned by family and loved … Continue reading

USO keeping up with demand created by canceled and delayed flights


Airlines have delayed or cancelled more than 25,000 flights in and out of Chicago this year and members of the military are among those often stranded. But the USO is stepping up to make sure those traveling troops have all … Continue reading

Obama panel member discusses key points of report to White House on NSA data collection


University of Chicago First Amendment scholar Geoffrey Stone was not expecting unanimity among the group of five experts called together by President  Barack Obama to review the National Security Agency’s collection of vast amounts of phone records and other digital information of millions of Americans.

The five-member group was comprised of Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief for the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations who criticized Bush’s attitude toward counterterrorism pre-9/11; Michael Morell, who was acting CIA director in 2011 and again in 2012-13 for Obama; Cass Sunstein, who was head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in Obama’s first term; Peter Swire, a professor at the George Institute of Technology who specializes in privacy law and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; and Stone. Continue reading

For national security reporters, no lack of stories to be found in Chicago and the Midwest


So here we sit, resolutely mid-continental, a thousand miles or so from any ocean, cocooned by neighboring nations that are friendly if not always obedient, well beyond the impact of North Korean missiles and California earthquakes, unscarred by 9/11, as safe as safe could be. For a reporter on the national security beat, Chicago and its hinterland would seem to be barren soil indeed.

But dig a little deeper and there are national security stories aplenty here, not just vague threats but on-going activity. Granted, some stories, such as non-proliferation theory or Pentagon management, have to be datelined Washington. But there are many other security stories that can be done without leaving town.

For instance:

Chicago is a major city because of its location, which makes it the premier transport hub of the nation. It started life as a trading post along the trails from the East. It is still the western terminus for shipping down the St. Lawrence Seaway and through the Great lakes. It became and remains the nation’s train depot. Most goods transiting the U.S. pass through Chicago. Because phone lines follow railway lines, Chicago is now the leading internet switching center in the Western Hemisphere.
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The story behind the photo


These are the images that compel us to look: the photos that come charged with high emotion and human drama.  The images of war and conflict are especially arresting because of their life and death context.

Capturing the moment of death has a profound impact on the viewer. Robert Capa’s 1937 image of a “Falling Soldier” during the Spanish Civil War still speaks volumes today.  The blurry black-and-white photo of Senator Robert F. Kennedy dying on the floor of a hotel kitchen in 1968 also tells a whole story of hope and despair.  More recently, the crowd-sourced video of Neda Agha-Soltan, a young Iranian protester shot dead in the streets of Tehran in 2009, provides the story of conflict and election corruption.

Now with video-equipped iPhones and other smartphones, the numbers of images grow into the millions each day whether made by professional photographers or amateurs. But only a few will achieve iconic status.

Some iconic images disgust: Iraqi prisoners humiliated and tortured in Abu Ghraib, or a South Vietnamese police official executing a prisoner with a single shot to his head during the Vietnam War. Continue reading

Journalists, lawyers debate national security, privacy rights; Obama reforms may fall short


WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s planned reforms for the National Security Agency’s data collection and surveillance may not be enough to protect Americans’ privacy, several First Amendment experts said during a panel discussion, while veteran journalists worried that the government’s … Continue reading