Is your sarcastic side detectable?

This all started with the Google boys and Mark Zuckerberg.

They were the ones who insisted that secrecy was pointless. Now they’re the ones who are so bravely fighting against the NSA’s insistence on that very ideal.

I can’t help the way things have gone. Every great relationship starts with a no-secrets policy. Then every great relationship breaks ranks with open source and becomes a sad morass of deception.

Journalists Suffer Abroad in 2013

Governments in Turkey, Iran, and China used mostly anti-state charges to silence 107 critical reporters, bloggers, and editors. Turkey and Iran respectively retained their distinctions as the worst jailers for a second year in a row, despite each having released prisoners during 2013. The number detained by China held steady. 

The three governments accounted for more than half of all journalists imprisoned around the world in 2013, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. In its annual census, the CPJ identified 211 journalists jailed for their work, the second worst year on record after 2012, when 232 journalists were imprisoned. 

Journalists in Turkish jails declined to 40 from 49 the previous year, as some were freed pending trial. Some benefited from new legislation that allowed defendants in lengthy pre-trial detentions to be released for time served. Others were freed after CPJ completed a census on December 1. 

Still, authorities are holding dozens of Kurdish journalists on terror-related charges, others for allegedly participating in anti-government plots. Broadly worded anti-terror and penal code statutes allow Turkish authorities to conflate the coverage of banned groups with membership, according to CPJ research. 

In Iran, the amount of jailed journalists fell from 45 to 35 as sentences expired. Additionally, the government kept up its policy for releasing prisoners on furlough—prisoners who do not know when, or if they will be summoned back to jail to finish serving their terms. Authorities also continued to make arrests, and condemn minority and reformist journalists to lengthy prison sentences, despite the recent election of President Hassan Rouhani.

32 reporters, editors, and bloggers were imprisoned in China, the same number as in 2012. Although journalists – including CPJ’s 2005 International Press Freedom Award winner, Shi Tao – were released during the year, a crackdown on internet criticism, especially allegations of corruption, led to several new arrests beginning in August.

The list of top 10 worst jailers of journalists was rounded out by Eritrea, Vietnam, Syria, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Uzbekistan.

Can journalists still work freely and safely?

The amount of journalists killed due to their work was again high in 2013, despite this year’s number (71) being a slight fall (-20%) on last year’s. There was also an increase (+129%) in abductions according to the latest round-up of freedom of information violations that Reporters Without Borders issues every year.

The regions with the largest number of journalists killed in connection to their work were Asia (24) and the Middle East/ North Africa (23). Deaths in sub-Saharan Africa fell sharply, from 21 in 2012 to 10 in 2013 – due to the decrease of deaths in Somalia (from 18 in 2012 to 7 in 2013). Latin America saw a slight decrease (from 15 in 2012 to 12 in 2013).

39% of the deaths occurred in conflict zones such as Syria, Somalia, Mali, the Indian province of Chhattisgarh, the Pakistani province of Balochistan, and the Russian republic of Dagestan. Others were killed in bombings by groups linked to organized crime, Islamist militias, police and other security forces, or on the orders of corrupt officials.

“Combatting impunity must be a priority for the international community, given that we are just days away from the 7th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists and that there have been new international resolutions on the protection of journalists,” Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said.

Syria, Somalia and Pakistan retained their position among the world’s Five Deadliest Countries for the media (see below). They were joined this year by India and the Philippines, which replaced Mexico and Brazil, despite the number of journalists killed in Brazil (5) remained the same as last year. Two journalists were killed in Mexico, while three others disappeared. The return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (IRP) to power and new government pressure on the media contributed to a sharp increase in self-censorship in Mexico. 

Of the 71 journalists killed in 2013, 37% worked for the print media, 30% for radio stations, 30% for TV, and 3% for online outlets. 96% of the victims were men.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

A 10 year out-look on the future of journalism

(A man wearing a prototype Google Glass)

With the growth humanity’s technological literacy, the internet has now become the world’s prime source for news and information. While print media is faltering, the online community is thriving, begging many to wonder what the the next ten years of journalism will give birth to.

For several years, Google has teased the public with the optically interfaced computer known simply as Glass. Having shown demonstrations at various tech events across the world, the company has not been shy about its potential game-changing product. 

According to Google, the glasses will feature lenses which double as hands free displays, in addition to a camera which can be activated via voice-command. Although still in its developmental stages, the Glass’ potential is incalculable. If one can get past the robotic look of the device that is. 

In addition, expect a flood of screens to be propping up all over city streets and skylines, as the technology begins to cheapen. Just as flat screen home televisions have become more affordable, so too will the screens that line metropolitan areas such as New York’s Times Square, or London’s Piccadilly Circus.  

Other than these simple products, is it is impossible to predict what will physically come of journalism in the next decade. One can imagine the potential products or gadgets that will revolutionize the world once more, but to do so is to ignore the true foreseeable future of the industry. 

A realistic prediction for the next 10 years of journalism is one that sees an increase in frequency and saturation of the stories and information available. Humans will be bombarded by screens, push-notifications, and other instantaneous updates. It will be today’s interconnected world, multiplied exponentially. 

It will not be brought on by a revolutionary event or a new invention, but will occur slowly and steadily much like the rise of the internet. It will be slowly adopted by the youth and later the adults, like most technology has been in recent years. 

“Social Media” will no longer be separated from regular media, the two will become one in the same. Stories about one’s close friends will be displayed next to stories about international affairs, as though they were of the same importance… because they will be to the user. 

The future of journalism is bright, if humanity choses not to forget that the world still exists outside of the screen in front of their face. 

American Interest in Local News Growing

In 2013, local American news stations saw viewership increase in nearly every key time slot, most notably during the November sweeps period. Newspapers saw a subtle increase in circulation, while cable television viewerships harshly declined.

Following an abysmal span between 2008-2012, local news was rejuvenated by a tune of 6.3% in the morning and 3.3% in the evening. The sweeps period saw an average rise of 8.7% across all time slots. 

Although newspapers gained ground in circulation (3%), the number is inflated by digital sources. According to the Newspaper Association of America’s John Murray, the 15 largest newspapers have just 54.9% of their total circulation in print. 

Cable took the greatest hit, as prime-time viewership of CNN, Fox, and MSNBC dropped 11%. This number is the weakest since 2007, and is highlighted by a 24% prime-time loss by MSNBC.