David Folkenflik

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At the Voice of America, staffers say the Trump appointee leading their parent agency is threatening to wash away legal protections intended to insulate their news reports from political meddling.

"What we're seeing now is the step-by-step and wholescale dismantling of the institutions that protect the independence and the integrity of our journalism," says Shawn Powers, until recently the chief strategy officer for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees VOA.

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A group of veteran journalists for the Voice of America delivered a letter of protest Monday denouncing their parent agency's new CEO, Michael Pack, and alleging Pack's remarks in a recent interview prove he has a damaging agenda for the international broadcasters he oversees.

Journalists write, as the maxim has it, the first draft of history. And Kamala Harris is seeking to make history.

As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's running mate, she is the first Black woman on a major party ticket for national office. She is also the first South Asian. She'll become just the fourth woman to be nominated for one of the two top slots from a major political party.

Broadcast ratings for nearly all of NPR's radio shows took a steep dive in major markets this spring, as the coronavirus pandemic kept many Americans from commuting to work and school. The network's shows lost roughly a quarter of their audience between the second quarter of 2019 and the same months in 2020.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Dozens of foreign nationals working as journalists in the U.S. for Voice of America, the federal government's international broadcaster, will not have their visas extended once they expire, according to three people with knowledge of the decision.

Those people — each with current or past ties to the agency — said the new CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Michael Pack, signaled he will not approve the visa extensions.

Updated 5:29 PM ET

The Los Angeles Times is moving to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by six Black, Hispanic and female journalists at the paper contending that the under-representation of people of color there is a result of longstanding discriminatory pay practices.

New U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack swept into office like a man on a mission last week, firing the top executives and advisory boards of federally funded international broadcasters which weekly reach 340 million people abroad. A new lawsuit alleges he broke federal law in doing so.

President Trump's pick to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Michael Pack, showed up to work Wednesday for the first time after being approved by the U.S. Senate two weeks earlier.

His words to staff were affirming. His actions were anything but.

The Los Angeles Times' top editor is scrambling to placate journalists of color after years of often-unfulfilled promises by the paper to make grand progress in the diversity of the newsroom's ranks.

Some journalists have used terms such as "internal uprising" to describe their anger over racial inequity at the paper. Scores have participated in intense internal debates over the LA Times' coverage of recent protests and hiring practices, to the point that senior editors have weighed in, promising to listen and learn.

The executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette defended his paper in a fiery front-page essay Wednesday morning against charges that it had discriminated against a black reporter when it barred her from covering protests over racial justice.

The fight over racial justice that has sparked protests across the country is also upending some of the country's leading newsrooms.

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There was news this afternoon of a major shakeup at the New York Times. The newspaper announced that James Bennet has resigned as the editorial page editor. His deputy is being given a different role in the newsroom.

Inside the Tribune Publishing newspaper chain, all eyes are focusing on Thursday's annual shareholder meeting. The hedge fund Alden Global Capital is expected to consolidate its control over the company and usher in even more severe cuts than the ones the company has put in place.

At a time of widespread layoffs and cutbacks throughout the local news business, a pair of philanthropists is seeking to promote more local coverage from public radio with a gift of $4.7 million for NPR collaborations in the Midwest and California.

The gift from Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Google and the head of the Schmidt Family Foundation, respectively, will launch the Midwest regional newsroom and boost the one in California with a focus on investigative reporting and coverage relevant to underserved communities.

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Updated at 4:41 p.m. ET

Fox News personalities have been cheerleading protesters across the U.S. gathering in defiance of state lockdown orders. This week, the situation became so extreme that a top executive at the network tried to rein in his stars.

Michael Bloomberg's short-lived presidential bid reignited a long-simmering dispute over the widespread use of nondisclosure agreements at American corporations — especially at his own.

The Voice of America defended itself Friday against accusations by the Trump White House that the news service is uncritically relaying Chinese propaganda about that country's effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

"VOA too often speaks for America's adversaries—not its citizens," The White House charged in an official statement released Thursday. "Journalists should report the facts, but VOA has instead amplified Beijing's propaganda." (Boldface reflects the original statement.)

How to describe President Trump's newest press secretary?

Kayleigh McEnany, just days shy of her 32nd birthday, already has acquired a bevy of classic establishment credentials. She holds degrees from Georgetown University's foreign service school and Harvard Law. She studied at Oxford. She served as a top spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee — which is to say the GOP — and for the president's re-election campaign.

NPR has named a distinguished media ethicist as its sixth public editor, appointing Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute to fill the newsroom watchdog role at a time when many other major news outlets have abandoned it.

"The public editor represents the public interest in our journalism and helps hold us accountable to maintaining our high standards of journalism," NPR CEO John Lansing said in an interview. "And so [it's] really a critical position for us, particularly during this current [public health] crisis.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the president's top advisers on how to tackle the coronavirus spread, so it's hard to imagine he has many free moments in his day. Yet he is spending a lot of time giving interviews.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

The email came in from the editor of a small newspaper in Seaside, Calif. And she wasn't the bearer of good news.

Instead, she offered a small data point in a larger and troubling dynamic: The pandemic threatening the nation's public health is swiftly jeopardizing the local journalism that keeps its citizens informed about what's happening in their own communities.

ESPN has gone from gearing up for March Madness to featuring marble racing.

As the coronavirus shuts down Broadway, bars, bowling alleys and more, consider the predicament of cable giant ESPN: The self-proclaimed "worldwide leader in sports" is now operating in a world where there are nearly no live sports.

The intriguing tale began in mid-September with an invitation for two New York Times reporters to come to the Midtown Manhattan offices of the legendary lawyer David Boies for an off-the-record session.

The two reporters — Jake Bernstein and Emily Steel — were asked to leave their phones and laptops outside the conference room. No taping.

President Trump's reelection campaign has sued The Washington Post claiming defamation in two opinion pieces published last June.

Is it your turn to make the guacamole at the Super Bowl party this year?

If so, be careful. You don't want to join the thousands of people who've ended up in an emergency room for avocado-related injuries.

"These injuries are exceedingly common," says Dr. Matt Aizpuru of the Mayo Clinic.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, HOST:

With the Iowa caucuses about to start tomorrow, we're getting a surprise twist, kind of like a dinner guest who never shows. The Iowa poll, which is published by The Des Moines Register and highly anticipated as a measure of the race, was supposed to be released last night. CNN was even planning a prime-time special. But with just minutes to go, it was scrapped. The people running the poll say a surveyor polling at least one voter skipped a candidate's name.

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