Ukraine Crisis

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‘Who are you calling terrorists?’ Chaos, gunfire, and tension in east Ukraine

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Despite an apparent agreement made in international talks aimed at easing tension at eastern Ukraine, Vice News reports that the situation on the ground remains chaotic and dangerous.

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‘We all have to question what we’re doing here’: Avalanche kills 16 in ‘worst-ever’ Everest disaster

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Channel 4 News interviews film maker and mountaineer Ed Wardle from Everest base camp about a huge avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas earlier today. "It's absolutely devastating... the atmosphere here at base camp is of shock," says Wardle. "When something this large happens, we all have to question what we're doing here."

Update, 5:12pm PT: The death toll is now thought to be 12, still the worst single disaster in Everest history.

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“We got used to having three different ways of dropping a nuke on Moscow”

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Reuters/StringerRobert Farley argues the US strategy of having three different ways of launching nuclear weapons is outdated, unnecessary, and expensive -- and argues in favor of getting rid of land-based missiles altogether. Instead, he says, the US military should develop new aircraft and submarines that can also be used to deliver conventional weapons, which has the convenient side effect of "making them eminently useful during non-nuclear wars."

Photo: A B-52 streaks across the sky above Kandahar International Airport December 23, 2001. Reuters/Stringer

LinkAsia Headlines

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South Korean ferry captain accused of being among first to abandon ship

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LinkAsia news headlines: South Korean prosecutors seek to arrest the captain of the ferry Sewol that capsized Wednesday, leaving 28 dead and nearly 300 missing. A Beijing court sentences four activists from the New Citizens' Movement to prison under the same charges the movement's leader has faced. Japan releases a statement that it will continue whaling in the Antarctic in defiance of the recent ICJ ban.

Get more news from LinkAsia -- watch the show tonight at 9:30pm ET/6:30 pm PT on Link TV.

Diversity in Media

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Journalism has survived this far — is that reason enough to be optimistic about its future?

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Some of the loudest voices in journalism lately are also some of the most cheerful. It’s a marked change since newspapers began to decline in readership and income about two decades ago. This new, sunny outlook seems to be buoyed by a booming (and maybe bubbling?) tech sector and new start-ups that are arguably disrupting a heavily centralized industry.

Launches of new, digital, cash-rich outlets from First Look to Vox to Five Thirty Eight, to name just a few, have editors like the Washington Post’s Marty Baron and venture capitalists like Marc Andreessen beaming: New business models, new types of storytelling, new pressures creating new diamonds in what’s been a rough industry to survive these past years.

JournalismBusinessBootBut does a healthy “journalism” made up of profitable institutions go hand in hand with sustainable labor practices in the industry? Pew Research’s annual “State of the News Media” report this year breathlessly details the career trajectories of several storied newspapermen who now work on the Internet.

Then it continues: “Still, purely in terms of bodies, the growth in new digital full-time journalism jobs seems to have compensated for only a modest percentage of the lost legacy jobs in newspaper newsrooms alone in the past decade.”

Do start-up successes mean lasting change for the journalism industry? The Post’s Barton insists that he’s not Pollyanna-ing here. In a speech to the International Symposium on Online Journalism, Barton posited that optimism is the only option.

“In short, we have not found the answer, or answers, and we don’t know for sure if there are conclusive answers to be had anytime soon. But in our business, pessimism too often seems to prevail,” he said. “Today’s experimentation will involve failure. It requires us to try and then try again... Do not look at our field through the wrong end of the telescope. Look into the distance and see the genuine opportunities ahead of us.”

Barton may well be right. Still, though, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2012 and 2022, journalism employment will decline another 13 percent. This month brought news of big lay-offs at relatively new experimental ventures Al Jazeera America and Digital First Media’s Thunderdome project.

A cautious optimism may be necessary just to get us through the day. But sunshine and sunshine alone won’t be enough to bootstrap reporting through the next rough decade.