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Monday, September 26th
by The Fix Team

Bypassing censorship, with email newsletters and printouts

Hello and a big welcome to our new subscribers from Euronews, Chicago Public Media, Summit Media, Czech News Center, and many others!

State censorship over internet services is a staple of life in most non-democratic countries today. Government control is particularly strong in Russia, especially after the country launched a brutal war on Ukraine in February. 

“[State censorship agency] Roskomnadzor’s activities have catapulted Russia, along with authoritarian countries like China and Iran, to the forefront of nations that aggressively use technology as a tool of repression”, The New York Times recently noted while reporting on the unprecedented nature of Russian digital crackdown. 

Fortunately, there still are many technical ways to circumvent restrictions that independent news media can use. Last week, Veronica Snoj reported for The Fix on five ways independent outlets get around censorship in Russia.

One of the most widespread ways to circumvent censorship are mirrors, site replicas that have different URL addresses than the original website but host identical content. Bumaga, a paper originally from Saint Petersburg, even turned creating mirrors into a sport, trolling Roskomnadzor in the process.  

Newsletters and podcasts, thanks to their distribution model, are also rather immune to blocks in Russia. Meduza, one of the biggest independent digital publications in Russian, is using its mobile apps and even PDF article versions that can be printed to bypass censorship. It turns out that, in 2022, one of the reliable options to bypass digital censorship is good old samizdat.
From The Fix
Five ways independent news media get around censorship in Russia
Veronica Snoj
What are the most censorship-proof media formats? Newsletter, podcasts, PDFs and more
3 Media Fundraising Campaigns in the Western Balkans to Inspire and Learn From
For media outlets, online fundraising is something they rarely consider. Their scepticism is not unfounded, though
Is sports betting emerging as the new revenue and reader engagement opportunity for publishers?
A number of publishers are partnering with sports betting businesses
What we are following 
Working with social media, Vice News prioritises TikTok, Instagram and Twitch. The latter seems an unlikely choice for a news publisher, it’s an important platform to reach younger audiences and build trust. Read more about Vice’s strategy in Digiday’s article.

What should brand publishers do with the creator economy? Should they ignore individual creators, work with them or hire them? Shareen Pathak from Toolkits writes about how some brands are beginning to figure out how to leverage the creator economy to their benefit. 

It has been eight years since the now cult podcast Serial brought podcasting to new heights. Today, however, “it’s been ages since the last blockbuster narrative show”, Vulture’s Nicholas Quah writes – and podcasting feels more like radio. Quah explores the systemic reasons behind the industry’s seeming inability to produce new hits everyone is talking about.

How to discuss politics and divisive issues with a young audience? Will Media, an Italian media company, says that part of the strategy is to give tools and not solutions for communities to make their own choice. Read more interesting insights from the Reuters Institute's interview with Will’s editor-in-chief Francesco Zaffarano.

Industry news
The Atlantic is looking to expand its monetisation sources using new film and TV projects, Axios reports. Despite gaining subscribers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 164-year-old magazine is not profitable today; it’s set to lose about $10 million this year. The magazine has 843,000 subscribers, nearly half of them digital-only; most revenue today comes from subscribers and advertising. The push to Hollywood is part of the company’s path to profitability, with two documentary TV and film projects based on The Atlantic’s reporting being launched now. Over a dozen other projects are “optioned or in the production phase”, Axios notes based on the interview with CEO Nicholas Thompson. 
Four media outlets in the United Kingdom and the United States are facing libel claims over reporting on Kazakhstan’s ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev. The media organisations targeted are The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), openDemocracy, the Telegraph, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. The reporting alleges financial links between UK-registered company Jusan Technologies, Nursultan Nazarbayev and his family, and Nazarbayev’s fund. As The Guardian notes, “the legal action has reignited the debate whether strategic lawsuits against public participation (Slapps) are being used to chill public-interest journalism”.
Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of British media company Future, announced she would step down in the second half of 2023. The reports of her departure caused the company’s share price to drop by 15%. Byng-Thorne spent almost nine years transforming the organisation, publisher of Marie Claire and multiple other magazines and publications, “from an ailing group of magazines” into a large and successful digital media company, Financial Times notes. “Under her tenure, Future has become one of the most prolific London-listed acquirers of media assets, bucking the trend of a sector which has been wary of striking transformational deals in recent years”, Sky News highlights.
Opportunities and deadlines

Investigation Support Scheme.  IJ4EU’s Support Scheme will support cross-border journalistic teams working on investigations in Europe. The amount of grant is between €5,000 and €50,000.
More info:
Deadline: October 13

A Matter of Trust International Journalism Week.  Incubator for the Media Education and Development invites to its annual 5-day conference with a focus on trust in journalism. Representatives of Greek and international media organisations, such as Reporters Without Borders, PolitiFact, and EDJnet will share their expertise. The event will take place in Athens.
More info:
Deadline: October 5-9

Max Planck Institute Journalism Fellowship. Journalists covering politics, economy, and legal and constitutional topics are invited to apply to MPIL Journalist in Residence Fellowship. You will have three months at Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. Journalists receive a research grant of €3,000 per month.
More info:
Deadline: October 3

Job Openings

Project Coordinator. will hire a Project Coordinator (Earth Investigations Programme). You will be responsible for communication with grant applicants and recipients, running grant activities and assisting in the mentoring programme, among other things. You must have at least four years of professional experience. The position is based in Belgium. 
More info:
Deadline: October 11

Project Director, Ukraine.  Internews is seeking a Project Director in Ukraine. You will be in charge of the delivery of the Support for Ukrainian Media Survival (SUMS) project. Native-level Ukrainian and fluent written and spoken English is needed. This is a remote position. 
More info:
Deadline: September 30

Senior Campaign Planner. The Financial Times is looking for a Senior Campaign Planner to maintain an understanding of subscribers and user needs. The position is based in London. 
More info:
Deadline: Open till filled
Customer Success Executive. Politico EU is looking to fill the role of Customer Success Executive to support paid subscribers. The ideal candidate will have experience in building engagement, as well as commercial and product experience. The position is located in Brussels. 
More info:
Deadline: Open till filled
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