Austin Tice (SFS ’02, LAW ’13), a freelance journalist for the Washington Post, McClatchy, and numerous other publications, is likely to have been taken into custody by the Syrian government, according to an article published today on McClatchy’s website. Tice, who had spent the summer in Syria traveling with rebel forces and reporting firsthand on the country’s civil war, has been missing since August 23, when his family reported that they had not heard from him in over a week.
According to McClatchy, a publishing company that distributes to newspapers, the law student, journalist, and former Marine infantry officer has been reported by Czech diplomats to be in the custody of the Syrian government after being detained by army forces in Daraya, a suburb of Damascus. The article also includes that the U.S. State Department has used official channels in attempt to discern information about Tice’s location and wellbeing, but offers no official information:
The U.S. State Department says the Syrian government has not responded to inquiries about Tice that were made through official channels and that U.S. diplomats were “working through our Czech protecting power in Syria to get more information on his welfare and whereabouts.”
The Washington Post offers similar information, adding a message from the publication’s executive editor urging his safe release:
“We’re investigating reports that Austin Tice is in the custody of Syrian authorities,” Marcus Brauchli, The Post’s executive editor, said in a statement. “If the reports are true, we urge these authorities to release him promptly, unharmed. Journalists should never be detained for doing their work, even — and especially — in difficult circumstances.”
Tice, who, like many journalists covering the conflict, entered Syria without a visa, has attracted the attention of advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists, which reports that Syria is currently the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.
This semester, Tony Fratto, former deputy White House press secretary, will be teaching a course in the School of Continuing Studies’ Journalism Department called The White House and the Press. The course will be co-taught by CBS News White House correspondent Chip Reid.
According to its course decription, the course will cover “the organizational structure of the White House communications operation,” the roles of people like the press secretary, as well as how media coverage of the White House has changed over the years. According to Fratto, the course will also focus on communications strategy and the relationship between the White House and media organizations.
Any story about Fritz Brogan (COL ’07)—a big player among the exclusive, conservative, preppy crowd Late Night Shots, who is the quintessential Georgetown man, the Joe Hoya as the Voiceonce dubbed him—always makes for delightful reading. But even though it’s a treat for us whenever his name and latest adventures pop up on DCist or We Love DC, we were a little mystified when Brogan surfaced on Politico.
Was he hosting a big fundraiser with the future trophy wives of young District Republicans? Accepting a sweet new job with D.C.’s conservative brain trust? No. As it turns out, the big story here is that Fritz Brogan bought a new pad in the Watergate complex, and he’s renovating it, and he owns the same bars he’s owned for a while now … and that’s it.
But, lack of story be damned, Politico‘s Kiki Ryan serves up a 4:37 video, shown above, of hard-hitting friendly conversation anyway, grilling Brogan about whether he finds that owning bars and being a political animal is contradictory (it’s not), whether he likes living in D.C. (he does), and about the reasons for his attraction to the Watergate Complex (Brogan said he was drawn by the building’s storied history, including “the famous break-in in the 1960s that we all know about.” Whoops.)
But Ryan doesn’t let Brogan off that easily—not without giving him a chance to tell the story of how his parents met in The Tombs 40 years ago, and how he and his sister have dined in all of their parents’ old romantic haunts. And not without asking him whether that chandelier will survive the apartment renovation. Now that’s journalism.
Earlier this week, students at American University vandalized copies of The Eagle, its main student newspaper, over a column by student Alex Knepper in which he calls date rape “an incoherent concept.” Anonymous students littered hallways with Eagle copies taken out of their stands and hung a sign that read “NO ROOM FOR RAPE APOLOGISTS.”
In the column, Knepper explains that feminists are sucking all the passion out of sex by pushing for “a bedroom scene in which two amorphous, gender-neutral blobs ask each other ‘Is this OK with you?’ before daring to move their lips any lower on the other’s body.” He continues:
“For my pro-sex views, I am variously called a misogynist, a rape apologist and — my personal favorite — a “pro-date rape protofascist.”
Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry “date rape” after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.
“Date rape” is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex — especially anonymous sex — can become very blurry. If that bothers you, then stick with Pat Robertson and his brigade of anti-sex cavemen! Don’t jump into the sexual arena if you can’t handle the volatility of its practice!”
Knepper also expounded on how feminists want to ban “gendered thrills” like cross-dressing. In the comments section below his column, Knepper wrote that the article had gone through five rounds of edits to remove “remove remarks deemed too inflammatory” before it went to print.
AU student K. Travis Ballie, a feminist and LGBT activist, told Amanda Hess of the Washington City Paper section The Sexist that the vandalism, which included copies flung at the door of the AU Eagle‘s office, is unsurprising given similar Eagle pieces that had appeared and inflamed campus tempers recently.
“The Eagle has repeatedly refused for months to show adequate sensitivity, compassion, and common decency to the well-being of rape survivors on campus and is complicit in promoting a rape culture where survivors are blamed for the crimes of sexual assault perpetrators,” she wrote in an e-mail.
From time to time, the Washington Post attempts to provide good hyper-local coverage of D.C.—and they almost always fail stupendously. Recently, the Post found a new, similarly out-of-their-purview beat to epically fail at: college campuses.
Vox has no idea what the point of this interview—and its thought-provoking questions, like, “What’s allowed and not allowed on your Facebook profile?” and “When’s the last time you pulled an all-nighter?”—was supposed to be. To show readers how the sleepless, social-networking other side lives?
To edify student government leaders on other campuses?:
[Post]: What advice do you have for students on other campuses who are launching student government campaigns?
[Angert]: Make sure your heart and head are in the right place, and tell the truth.
[Post]: What’s the best way to get to know your fellow student government members?
[Angert]: E-mail them or call them. Anyone I know who is involved with student government would love to meet and talk about current issues and future initiatives.
To show off the Post’s incredibly high editing standards, where “haha” is a word?:
[Post]: How much sleep do you usually get?
[Angert]: Too little, haha. I’m fully operable on 4 hours — anything less and my productivity suffers.
Beats us. Even the interview’s more substantive questions, about funding reform, mystify us. Who cares to read about that who isn’t a Georgetown student? And if some reform-minded soul was interested, why would they turn to the Post for their nuance-free, after-the-jump coverage of it?
Oh well. At least now we know what Angert’s favorite Georgetown bar is (Saloun), what his favorite admissions essay was, and what he wants to do when he grows up.
Complaining about Monday classes? Well, Vox doesn’t blame you, but the D.C. media and their readers are complaining about you.
That’s right, upon hearing about Georgetown’s earnest Facebook efforts to protest the administration’s decision to bag our Presidents’ Day holiday, NBC Washington and Wonkette commenced with the mocking.
“Cranky Georgetown Students Protest Monday Classes; Georgetown ruins snow days. And won’t someone PLEASE think of the founding fathers?” was the headline of NBC’s Carissa DiMargo’s stinging brief about our Facebook group and general displeasure over the snow day.”
“We get it, kiddos — a lot of you had already made travel plans,” she writes. “But let’s be honest. Are you reeeeally trying to ‘Protect Our National Holiday!’ as the name of the group suggests?
“Yep, won’t someone just think of the founding fathers for a change? The founding fathers WANT these students to have off from class! Jeez!”
The old Saxaspeak collapsed shortly after it became a mere repository of Georgetown Google Alerts. Will this Saxaspeak suffer the same fate? Editor-in-Chief Marissa Amendolia and Online Editor Meghan Bartels say no, in a blog post:
Saxaspeak will provide more regular and, occasionally, more casual coverage of the events and trends that affect Georgetown students….it will augment our customary high-quality and in-depth coverage with shorter, more frequent pieces to keep up with the pace of life at Georgetown. The blog is also designed to simplify the search for information by collecting relevant news links in one place.
Bartels told Vox that TheHoya chose the Saxaspeak name because they thought it was suitable, and because of name recognition among older students.
Although Bartels is currently the only blogger on the Hoya‘s Saxaspeak staff, she said she expects to create her own blogging staff separate from the paper soon.
For her debut column, Duncan explains Gtown Genpop, a term her friends on the track team came up with. Who qualifies as Gtown Genpop? Perhaps everyone who isn’t on the track team:
It captures the various different stereotypical groups on the Georgetown campus—the overzealous SFS (School of Foreign Service)/IPOL (International Politics), students, the “bro” types (think loud, obnoxious, beer-bonging, etc.), the privileged preppy boarding school New-Englanders, etc. Essentially, the “Jane and Jack Hoya” typecast for which Georgetown is known….Let’s expand these types by adding “Georgetown students within the greater Georgetown community.”
It doesn’t make sense, but it’s better shorthand than Joe and Jane Hoya.
HoyaTalk was abuzz last week when The Washington Times announced it was cutting its local news, sports, and feature content, and shifting to a free distribution model. For Georgetown fans on the site, this meant that the arguably best source of off-campus Hoya basketball coverage was on the chopping block.
Sadly, Barker Davis (CAS ’94), who has covered the Hoyas in the Times for twelve of the last fifteen seasons in addition to other sports, confirmed for Vox that he will indeed be out of the college basketball business by early next year.
“As of Feb. 2 at the absolute latest, the Times won’t be covering ANY local sports, not Redskins, Caps, Terps, Hoyas — NADA,” he wrote in an e-mail. “They are blowing up the sports department and I understand nearly half of all editorial staff and content. I’m already looking at how much more education I need to teach English Lit and coach hoops in public HS.”
A mockup of The Georgetown Dish, less tabloid-y than its Huffington muse
Ask Georgetown resident Beth Solomon what she envisions for The Georgetown Dish and she’ll tell you she’s looking to create “a cross between a local Huffington Post and Washington Life Magazine.” Specifically, on December 16, she and her partners will launch a website that’ll provide you with all the photos and coverage of Georgetown social events, aggregated and original neighborhood news content, and local listings you’ll ever need.
The scope of the site sounds pretty ambitious. Solomon, a former reporter and speechwriter and current communications consultant, said The Georgetown Dish will be divided into three verticals: ”The Scene” will cover social events in Georgetown. (She said the party she attended at Cafe Milano on Sunday for Kathleen Kennedy would be a good candidate for coverage).
“The Dish,” for which she already has several columnists lined up, will be for news and commentary, and “The Scoop” will have “informational and commercial listings,” like classifieds, sports schedules, and restaurant specials. Solomon also anticipates getting restaurant reviews from contributors and aggregating coverage “that’s already out there.”