We don’t think about these situations, until we find ourselves in it. Is it a deal breaker? What would you do?
I found myself watching a tv chat show, where this topic was mentioned. They had a guest appear on the show and she started off by saying she’s 40 years old and has a podcast speaking about women who don’t want children like herself. She just doesn’t see a child in her future and has no desire for that. She made it clear that she doesn’t want children and she sees her dog(s) as her kids in a way. She stumbled upon how her fiancé wants children.
He really wants kids but she has said it’s never gonna happen and she doesn’t want that. And what I had trouble figuring out is, how he engaged her? And they’re supposed to be getting married in the near future. When such…
[This Op-Ed was originally delivered as a talk at Brown University on Monday.]
mission at The New York Times is to seek the truth and help people
understand the world. That takes many forms, from investigations on
sexual abuse that helped spark the global #MeToo movement; to expert
reporting that reveals how technology is reshaping every facet of modern
life; to important and hard-hitting cultural commentary, like when we
proclaimed “the Aperol spritz is not a good drink.”
at a moment when surging nationalism is leading people to retreat
inward, one of the most important jobs of The Times is to shine a light
The Times is privileged to be
one of the few news organizations with the resources to cover the world
in all its complexity. And with that comes a responsibility to go where
the story is, no matter the danger or hardship.
year, we put reporters on the ground in more than 160 countries. We’re
in Iraq and Afghanistan, covering the violence and instability wrought
by decades of war. We’re in Venezuela and Yemen, reporting on how
corruption and conflict have led to mass starvation. We’re in Myanmar
and China, eluding government monitors to investigate the systematic
persecution of the Rohingya and Uighurs.
assignments carry considerable risks. In recent years, my colleagues
have suffered injuries from land mines, car bombs and helicopter
crashes. They’ve been beaten by gangs, kidnapped by terrorists and
jailed by repressive governments. When militants attacked a Nairobi
mall, you could spot our journalist in the crowd because he was the only
one running toward the gunfire.
covered conflicts since the American Civil War, we’ve learned from
experience how to support and protect our journalists in the field. In
any given year, our newsroom budget includes funding for bulletproof
vests, hazmat suits and armored cars. We develop detailed security plans
for high-risk assignments, and our journalists themselves prepare
obsessively. C. J. Chivers, a former Marine who spent years reporting on
war for The Times, trained himself to lift the weight of his
photographer, so he could carry that person to safety if that person
were shot or struck by shrapnel.
of us leading The Times find it hard not to worry, knowing we have
colleagues on the ground where war is raging, disease is spreading and
conditions deteriorating. But we’ve long taken comfort in knowing that
in addition to all our own preparations and all our own safeguards,
there has always been another, critical safety net: the United States
government, the world’s greatest champion of the free press.
the last few years, however, something has dramatically changed. Around
the globe, a relentless campaign is targeting journalists because of
the fundamental role they play in ensuring a free and informed society.
To stop journalists from exposing uncomfortable truths and holding power
to account, a growing number of governments have engaged in overt,
sometimes violent, efforts to discredit their work and intimidate them
This is a worldwide
assault on journalists and journalism. But even more important, it’s an
assault on the public’s right to know, on core democratic values, on the
concept of truth itself. And perhaps most troubling, the seeds of this
campaign were planted right here, in a country that has long prided
itself on being the fiercest defender of free expression and a free
me start by stating the obvious: The media aren’t perfect. We make
mistakes. We have blind spots. We sometimes drive people crazy.
the free press is foundational to a healthy democracy and arguably the
most important tool we have as citizens. It empowers the public by
providing the information we need to elect leaders and the continuing
oversight to keep them honest. It bears witness to our moments of
tragedy and triumph and provides the shared baseline of common facts and
information that bind communities together. It gives voice to the
disadvantaged and doggedly pursues the truth to expose wrongdoing and
It is also under great
and growing pressure. In the two decades since I began working at The
Providence Journal, writing about daily life in the small town of
Narragansett, the press has faced a cascading series of existential
business model that supported journalism collapsed, causing the loss of
more than half of the country’s journalism jobs. Google and Facebook
became the most powerful distributors of news and information in human
history, accidentally unleashing a historic flood of misinformation in
the process. And a rising drumbeat of legal efforts — from
whistle-blower prosecutions to libel suits — aims to weaken longstanding
safeguards for journalists and their sources.
the world, the threat journalists face is far more visceral. Last year
was the most dangerous year on record to be a journalist, with dozens
killed, hundreds imprisoned and untold thousands harassed and
threatened. Those include Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered and
dismembered by Saudi assassins, and Maksim Borodin, a Russian journalist
who fell to his death from the balcony of his apartment after revealing
the Kremlin’s covert operations in Syria.
hard work of journalism has long carried risks, especially in countries
without democratic safeguards. But what’s different today is that these
brutal crackdowns are being passively accepted and perhaps even tacitly
encouraged by the president of the United States.
country’s leaders have long understood that the free press is one of
America’s greatest exports. Sure, they’d complain about our coverage and
bristle at the secrets we brought to light. But even as domestic
politics and foreign policy would change, a baseline commitment to
protecting journalists and their rights would remain.
four of our journalists were beaten and held hostage by the Libyan
military, the State Department played a critical role in securing their
release. Interventions like this were often accompanied by a stern
reminder to the offending government that the United States defends its
current administration, however, has retreated from our country’s
historical role as a defender of the free press. Seeing that, other
countries are targeting journalists with a growing sense of impunity.
isn’t just a problem for reporters; it’s a problem for everyone,
because this is how authoritarian leaders bury critical information,
hide corruption, even justify genocide. As Senator John McCain once
warned, “When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is
shut down the press.”
To give you a
sense of what this retreat looks like on the ground, let me tell you a
story I’ve never shared publicly before. Two years ago, we got a call
from a United States government official warning us of the imminent
arrest of a New York Times reporter based in Egypt named Declan Walsh.
Though the news was alarming, the call was actually fairly standard.
Over the years, we’ve received countless such warnings from American
diplomats, military leaders and national security officials.
this particular call took a surprising and distressing turn. We learned
the official was passing along this warning without the knowledge or
permission of the Trump administration. Rather than trying to stop the
Egyptian government or assist the reporter, the official believed, the
Trump administration intended to sit on the information and let the
arrest be carried out. The official feared being punished for even
alerting us to the danger.
to count on our own government to prevent the arrest or help free
Declan if he were imprisoned, we turned to his native country, Ireland,
for help. Within an hour, Irish diplomats traveled to his house and
safely escorted him to the airport before Egyptian forces could detain
We hate to imagine what would have happened had that brave official not risked their career to alert us to the threat.
months later, another of our reporters, David Kirkpatrick, arrived in
Egypt and was detained and deported in apparent retaliation for exposing
information that was embarrassing to the Egyptian government. When we
protested the move, a senior official at the United States Embassy in
Cairo openly voiced the cynical worldview behind the Trump
administration’s tolerance for such crackdowns. “What did you expect
would happen to him?” he said. “His reporting made the government look
Since assuming office, President
Trump has tweeted about “fake news” nearly 600 times. His most frequent
targets are independent news organizations with a deep commitment to
reporting fairly and accurately. To be absolutely clear, The Times and
other news organizations are fair game for criticism. Journalism is a
human enterprise, and we sometimes make mistakes. But we also try to own
our mistakes, to correct them and to rededicate ourselves every day to
the highest standards of journalism.
when the president decries “fake news,” he’s not interested in actual
mistakes. He’s trying to delegitimize real news, dismissing factual and
fair reporting as politically motivated fabrications.
when The Times reveals his family’s fraudulent financial practices,
when The Wall Street Journal reveals hush money paid to a porn star,
when The Washington Post reveals his personal foundation’s self-dealing,
he can sidestep accountability by simply dismissing the reports as
Even though all those
stories — and countless more that he’s labeled fake — have been
confirmed as accurate, there is evidence that his attacks are achieving
their intended effect: One recent poll found that 82 percent of
Republicans now trust President Trump more than they trust the media.
One of the president’s supporters was recently convicted of sending
explosives to CNN, one of the most frequent targets of the “fake news”
in attacking American media, President Trump has done more than
undermine his own citizens’ faith in the news organizations attempting
to hold him accountable. He has effectively given foreign leaders
permission to do the same with their countries’ journalists, and even
given them the vocabulary with which to do it.
eagerly embraced the approach. My colleagues and I recently researched
the spread of the phrase “fake news,” and what we found is deeply
alarming: In the past few years, more than 50 prime ministers,
presidents and other government leaders across five continents have used
the term “fake news” to justify varying levels of anti-press activity.
phrase has been used by Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary and
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, who have levied massive fines
to force independent news organizations to sell to government loyalists.
It’s been used by President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and President
Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, who have attacked the press as
they’ve led bloody crackdowns.
Myanmar, the phrase is used to deny the existence of an entire people
who are systematically targeted with violence to force them out of their
country. “There is no such thing as Rohingya,” a leader in Myanmar told
The Times. “It is fake news.”
phrase has been used to jail journalists in Cameroon, to suppress
stories about corruption in Malawi, to justify a social media blackout
in Chad, to prevent overseas news organizations from operating in
Burundi. It has been used by the leaders of our longtime allies, like
Mexico and Israel. It has been used by longtime rivals, like Iran,
Russia and China.
It has been used by
liberal leaders, like Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar. It’s been
used by right-wing leaders, like Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.
Standing next to President Bolsonaro in the Rose Garden, President Trump
said, “I’m very proud to hear the president use the term ‘fake news.’”
foreign correspondents have experienced the weaponization of the “fake
news” charge firsthand. Last year, Hannah Beech, who covers Southeast
Asia, was at a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia. In the
middle of his remarks, Mr. Hun Sen uttered a single phrase in English:
“The New York Times.” He said that The Times was so biased that it had
been given a ‘fake news’ award by President Trump, and he threatened
that if our story didn’t support his version of the truth, there would
felt a growing hostility in the crowd of thousands as the prime
minister searched her out and warned, “The Cambodian people will
remember your faces.”
I have raised
these concerns with President Trump. I’ve told him that these efforts to
attack and suppress independent journalism is what the United States is
now inspiring abroad. Though he listened politely and expressed
concern, he has continued to escalate his anti-press rhetoric, which has
reached new heights as he campaigns for re-election.
Trump is no longer content to delegitimize accurate reporting as “fake
news.” Now, he has taken to demonizing reporters themselves, calling
them “the true enemy of the people” and even accusing them of treason.
With these phrases, he has not just inspired autocratic rulers around
the world, he has also borrowed from them.
phrase “enemy of the people” has a particularly brutal history. It was
used to justify mass executions during the French Revolution and the
Third Reich. And it was used by Lenin and Stalin to justify the
systematic murder of Soviet dissidents.
treason charge is perhaps the most serious a commander in chief can
make. By threatening to prosecute journalists for invented crimes
against their country, President Trump gives repressive leaders implicit
license to do the same.
In the United
States, the Constitution, the rule of law and a still-robust news media
act as a constraint. But abroad, foreign leaders can silence
journalists with alarming effectiveness.
Casey, a Times reporter who was repeatedly threatened and ultimately
barred from Venezuela for aggressive reporting on the brutal Maduro
regime, stressed how much more serious consequences can be for local
journalists. “If this is what countries are capable of doing to me, as a
Times reporter, what are they capable of doing to their own citizens?”
he asked. “Far worse. And I’ve seen it.”
as we worry about the dangers our own reporters face, those dangers
usually pale in comparison to what courageous local journalists confront
around the world. They search for truth and report what they find,
knowing that they and their loved ones are vulnerable to fines, arrests,
beatings, torture, rape and murder. These reporters are the front-line
soldiers in the battle for press freedom, and they’re the ones who pay
the greatest price for President Trump’s anti-press rhetoric.
cases of intimidation and violence I’ve discussed today are just a few
of the ones we know about. On any given day, similar stories are
unfolding around the world, many of which will never surface or be
recorded. In many places, fear of reprisal is great enough that it has a
chilling effect — stories go unpublished, secrets remain buried,
wrongdoing remains covered up.
a perilous moment for journalism, for free expression and for an
informed public. But the moments and places where it is most difficult
and dangerous to be a journalist are the moments and places where
journalism is needed most.
A tour of
our nation’s history reminds that the role of the free press has been
one of the few areas of enduring consensus, transcending party and
ideology for generations. Thomas Jefferson wrote that “the only security
of all is in a free press.” John F. Kennedy called the free press
“invaluable” because “without debate, without criticism, no
administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can
survive.” Ronald Reagan went even further, saying, “There is no more
essential ingredient than a free, strong and independent press to our
continued success in what the founding fathers called our ‘noble
experiment’ in self-government.”
this tradition of American presidents defending the free press, I do
not believe President Trump has any intention of changing course or
muting his attacks on journalists. If recent history is any guide, he
may point to my comments today and claim that The Times has a political
vendetta against him. To be clear, I’m not challenging the president’s
recklessness because of his party, his ideology or his criticism of The
I’m sounding the alarm because
his words are dangerous and having real-world consequences around the
globe. But even if the president ignores this alarm and continues on
this path, there are important steps the rest of us can take to protect
the free press and support those who dedicate their lives to seeking
truth around the world.
It starts with
understanding the stakes. The First Amendment has served as the world’s
gold standard for free speech and the free press for two centuries. It
has been one of the keys to an unprecedented flourishing of freedom and
prosperity in this country and, through its example, around the world.
We cannot allow a new global framework, like the repressive model
embraced by China, Russia and others, to take hold.
means, in the face of mounting pressure, news organizations must hold
fast to the values of great journalism — fairness, accuracy,
independence — while opening ourselves so the public can better
understand our work and its role in society. We need to keep chasing the
stories that matter, regardless of whether they’re trending on Twitter.
We cannot allow ourselves to be baited or applauded into becoming
anyone’s opposition or cheerleader. Our loyalty must be to facts, not to
any party or any leader, and we must continue to follow the truth
wherever it leads, without fear or favor.
the responsibility to stand up for the free press extends beyond news
organizations. Business, nonprofit and academic communities, all of
which rely on the free and reliable flow of news and information, have a
responsibility to push back on this campaign, too. That is particularly
true of tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple. Their
track record of standing up to governments abroad is spotty at best;
they’ve too often turned a blind eye to disinformation and, at times,
permitted the suppression of real journalism.
as they move even deeper into making, commissioning and distributing
journalism, they also have a responsibility to start defending
Our political leaders need
to step up, too. Those elected to uphold our Constitution betray its
ideals when they undermine the free press for short-term political gain.
Leaders from both parties should support independent journalism and
fight anti-press efforts at home and abroad.
in the United States, that means rejecting efforts like frivolous
lawsuits and investigations targeting government leaks that aim to chill
aggressive reporting. And around the world, it means opposing the
countless efforts underway to attack, intimidate and delegitimize
Finally, none of these
efforts will make a difference unless you raise your voice. Care about
where your news comes from and how it’s made. Find news organizations
you trust and enable the expensive, arduous work of original reporting
by buying a subscription. Support organizations like the Committee to
Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders that defend
journalists at risk around the world. Most of all, carve out a place for
journalism in your everyday life and use what you learn to make a
The true power of a free
press is an informed, engaged citizenry. I believe in independent
journalism and want it to thrive. I believe in this country and its
values, and I want us to live up to them and offer them as a model for a
freer and more just world.
States has done more than any other country to popularize the idea of
free expression and to champion the rights of the free press. The time
has come for us to fight for those ideals again.
Bárbara Maseda has dedicated the last four years to publishing data
where none exists. “In Cuba we use investigative journalism tools to
search for information that elsewhere in the world would be in a press
release,” she says. Other journalists’ data problems, such as receiving
data in formats that are difficult to analyse, “are my highest
In Cuba there is no access to information law, society is not
digitised, and until last year Internet access was restricted to
“The government does not provide any data to independent journalists. Official sources refuse to talk to you.”
The project aims to be a source for independent Cuban journalists to
obtain the data they need for their news. “A kind of news post for Cuban
media abroad,” adds Maseda, who has been living in the United States
for the last two years.
Two collaboration approaches
To do this, the project is based on two collaboration strategies: on
the one hand, it publishes data on relevant topics openly, so that they
can be used by any media or person who needs them.
On the other hand, it collaborates privately with media organisations, looking for the data they ask for.
“The project is like what a media data unit would be,”
she says. Her only requirement is that after the news has been published
the data must remain public.
The aim is to spread the culture of open data use: “The same data can
be used in different media, each one with its own style, with its own
audience, with its own approach.
“The idea is to share; to collaborate in research.”
Maseda was inspired by another project, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s Bureau Local initiative,
which fosters collaboration between journalists to reveal stories that
have an impact on communities and supports local journalism in the UK.
But how is it possible to do data journalism in such a restrictive environment? Maseda uses a number of techniques.
Search for alternative sources
“You have to look for the counterpart,” she suggests. “Understand
Cuba as a country that is in interaction with other countries that do
For example, to find data on Cubans’ trips to Russia, she uses the Russian government’s open data system.
“The relevance of access to information laws is that they
allow you to make specific requests and obtain information that is
marginal, or secondary, to those countries but very relevant to you.
“You have to see who publishes what interests you and with what level of disaggregation and frequency.”
She also draws on information from international organisations.
“There are things that are not published in the country
but that the government passes on in reports that it is obliged to send
to international organisations.”
She has also resorted to crowdsourcing, while “recognising its statistical imperfection”. The method was used to track protests on Twitter (like this one about Internet prices) and to report on power cuts in the country.
“Something is better than nothing,” she points out. “Since there are
no statistics from other years, we don’t know if 400 blackouts is too
much or too little — there are no comparison patterns. So part of the
idea of Inventario is also to create a historical record [that can be
used for comparisons].”
Maseda is also in contact with a network of journalists from other
countries to look for collaborations. “There are journalists who do not
mind giving you the part of the data you are interested in,” she says,
with one of the objectives of the project being to collaborate with
regional research on topics such as migration. “A story is almost never
trapped on a country’s border.”
The importance of experimentation
For Maseda, it is essential to get out of a comfort zone — “not to
think only as a journalist, but as an artist, as a technologist.” She
gives the example of using satellite images to discover geographical
elements, such as deforestation, that the government does not want to
A fellowship at Stanford University following a Masters at Birmingham City University allowed her to approach this type of experimental reasoning.
“In archaeology, for example, there are ideas for
locating archaeological remains using military satellites that can see
underground, saving decades of investment.”
In addition, she uses the data publication models of other countries as a guide.
“When there are no official data sources which you can
use as a starting point, you have to create your own databases, adapting
them to your reality.”
If there is an incomplete field, she looks for contributors who can complete it.
“And of course, sometimes we think there is nothing and
surprisingly the data is there, or there is data related to the topic or
that can serve as a starting point.”
Funding the opening up of data
Maseda is now looking for funding for her project, which has
attracted 2000 followers in a year. The idea is to be able to form a
work team and cover more topics.
So far, Inventario has functioned as a blog where Maseda is in charge
of all activity, from data mining to social media. To do this, she uses
“The design of the site is based on many freebies, such
as programs courtesy of organisations that are interested in supporting
journalism. For example, for visualisations I use Flourish, which is a free service.”
The important thing, she reflects, is: “Do not start from the idea
that it is impossible. [The attitude should be] ‘let’s try, because
maybe it is possible’. And never stop looking.”
We Focus On News From The Oil Rich Niger-Delta Region Of Nigeria. Southernvoicenews Online Newspaper/ Magazine... We Tell The Story About The Niger-Delta People. We Report Politics, Health, Education, Aviation, Security, Oil and Gas, Religion, Views, Interviews, Opinion, Arts & Culture, Agriculture, Energy & Power, Human Angle. We Always Strive To Balance Our Reports Through Thorough Investigative Journalism, Our News Are Accurate, Objective & Balanced. We Believe In Fairness, Equity And Justice.