The first election debate


With the world of news whipping up excitement for tomorrow’s Leaders’ Debate - and in case you accidentally missed the first one - I thought you could do with a quick summary/reminder of what happened.

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Bush administration knew 'majority' held in Gitmo were innocent, but wouldn't release them as it was 'politically impossible'


Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld covered up the fact that hundreds of those held in Guantanamo were known to be innocent, reports the Times, "because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror". This comes from a court declaration by an aide to Colin Powell, Lawrence WIlkerson. The Times quotes Wilkerson saying of Cheney: "He had absolutely no concern that the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees were innocent...

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Travel Writing Competition: results will be announced in the newsroom, 1.00pm Friday


Due to the newsday cancellation, the results of the Year two travel writing competition will be announced in the newsroom, at 1.00pm on Friday.

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Disgraceful end to a discredited parliament?


 Writing in Media Guardian, John Kampfner, chief executive of Index on Censorship, draws attention to the efforts a few obdurate MPs are making to obstruct the modest reform of libel law proposed, belatedly, by Jack Straw, the justice secretary.

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Garlic and terrorism


 Luke Harding's piece on the front page of today's Guardian is public service journalism at its best. It does not attempt to justify the suicide bombings in Moscow last week that killed 40 people and injured 70. That would be monstrous.  Rather, by diligently explaining the murder by Russian security forces of four garlic pickers on the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia (including 17 year old Movsar Dakaev, pictured), it begins to reveal a small part of the cycle of savagery, repression and revenge by which the seeds of violent separatism are so often nurtured.

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Sun fooled by students?


The April Fool's spoof in the Cambridge Tab reported that university authorities have decided to strip Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP,  of his degree (2:2 Law, Downing College, 1980). It was pure invention, but The Sun appears not to have checked.A headline on P43 of this morning's printed edition asserts, under an 'exclusive' tag, "Cambridge to strip BNP boss of degree - Uni snub for vile Griffin."  Whoops.

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Broken Britain? Only if you're a politician


In probably the best long feature I've read this year, Amelia Gentleman visits the infamous Glasgow estate of Easterhouse - which kick-started Iain Duncan Smith on his crusade to help fix 'broken Britain'. Despite being a 'popular destination for politicians and celebrities on poverty tours', Gentleman writes, things have hardly got any better since it came under the spotlight.

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General Election Coverage


As you know we have been given the opportunity by the KM Group for students to take part in live coverage of the General Eelection.  The main areas of opportunity on the night are set out below. People who are interested should e-mail me as soon as possible with an indication of where they would most like to work. Clearly any student who is on work experience with the KM titles on election night can expect to be involved in the coverage anyway. It is a good time to be a journalism student. 

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How the silent nanny state is killing local journalism


If you missed Start the Week this morning it is well worth listening to tonight, Radio Four, 21.30. In this programme investigative journalist Heather Brooke (it was she who first uncovered the MPs' expenses scandal before the Telegraph bought the information from its infamous mole) discusses her new book The Silent State,  where she reveals the true extent of council-funded freesheets and their catastrophic effect on local journalism and thus local democracy.

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Banging our heads against a paywall?


Following News International's decision that the Times and Sunday Times will charge for online access, the news industry is dividing into distinct camps over the question of whether journalism is worth paying to read.

Everyone inthe Centre should know my view: the idea that journalists can gather facts and hold power to account on a charitable basis is nonsensical. The industry was built on the principle of fair payment for quality reporting.Free access to news spells the end of professional newsgathering on which representative democracy depends.

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