U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Tracker wrappings and recommended readings

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Published On
November 30, 2022
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A snapshot of press freedom violations as documented by the Tracker so far in 2022. (U.S. Press Freedom Tracker)

Friends of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker:

Welcome back to your monthly newsletter around press freedom violations in the United States. Find archived editions here, and get this newsletter direct in your inbox by signing up here.

Recommended Reading

This is the last scheduled edition for 2022; The newsletter will be back in your inbox at the end of January. No doubt we’ll have much to catch up on.

In addition to documenting press freedom violations across the United States in the Tracker database, the team brings distinct understanding and meaningful commentary of press freedom trends and important incidents in the Blog section. There you’ll find deeper analyses and highlights around the state of press freedom and its application to working journalists. Here are blog highlights I recommend reading or revisiting:

What We’re Publishing In the Days Ahead

Senior Reporter Stephanie Sugars is writing on journalists arrested and detained in 2022. She’ll compare what we’ve documented at the end of this year with historical data from the past five years. Sneak peek: Nearly two-thirds of the journalists arrested in 2022 were detained while covering reproductive rights protests in just two states: California and Arizona.

Reporter Kio Herrera is talking to independent photographers for the Tracker’s equipment damage category, who explain how even a broken camera lens can have a devastating effect on their ability to work and earn a living. Sneak peek: One of the biggest obstacles for photojournalists is carrying the costs of expensive equipment even before being hired, a visual journalist told us. “The labor is upfront but the payment is often on the backend.”

Read Now

Find these — and more one-of-a-kind analysis — on our blog.

For the reader on your list who likes comparative analysis

We opened 2022 with a comprehensive look at the year before, with year-over-year connections across the data: Another record year for press freedom violations in the US

For the reader on your list who searches for accountability

In 2020, more than 140 journalists were arrested or detained while covering social justice protests across the country. Two years later we’re following as journalists sue for violations against their First and Fourth amendment rights: Two years after death of George Floyd, 50 journalists have sued for treatment at BLM protests

On Jan. 6, 2021, at least 18 journalists were assaulted while covering the riots at the Capitol. This October, a Pennsylvania man was sentenced to prison for his role in the assault of one of those journalists. We’re tracking all those charged with crimes against journalists or news equipment: Charges — and punishments — for J6 rioters who hurt journalists, damaged news equipment

For the reader on your list who appreciates the larger context

Share this newsletter with a friend, who can subscribe directly for deep dives into Tracker categories — like how more than a dozen journalists had already been subpoenaed by July — plus the bird’s-eye view of relationships across press freedom incidents — like the shocking murder of a Las Vegas investigative reporter and subsequent seizure of his equipment in September.

For the reader on your list who likes a challenge

One of the most pleasurable blog posts to write was this August’s celebration of the Tracker’s 5-year anniversary. From the database’s origin story to its realized vision, I wrote at the time:

“We don’t know what the state of press freedom in the U.S. will look like in the years ahead, but we know it is best served with a robust and well-maintained Tracker in its press freedom watchdog role.”

I believe that wholeheartedly.

I also believe in not asking anything of others that I wouldn’t ask of myself. This is the most important time of year for Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit, as we rely on donations to support our programs. If you donate to support the Tracker, I’ll personally match the first $100.

Is that the smallest match campaign in history? Possibly, according to our fundraising team.

So if you’re looking to make a gift a little larger than my $100 offer, a few generous funders are also matching all donations up to $100k until Dec. 31.

Regardless, I look forward to sharing with you more about the giving campaign and more new reading recommendations when this monthly update returns in 2023.

Until then.

Kirstin McCudden
Managing Editor, U.S. Press Freedom Tracker