When CBS News placed Lara Logan and her producer on a leave of absence, it followed the completion of an internal report on their discredited 60 Minutes segment on the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.
That report by CBS' Al Ortiz, the executive producer for standards and practices at CBS News, found several disconcerting issues in the reporting and an inherent conflict for Logan that should have been avoided. Among other things, Ortiz concluded the program had the means to verify that the principal source of the segment, British security contractor Dylan Davies, was not telling the truth about what he witnessed the night of the attack. There were enough signs of trouble in the research to stop the report, but it sailed through the vetting process and aired.
Eric Wemple of the Washington Post examines the report and the CBS response to it. Among his five points: CBS and 60 Minutes don't work together, a leave of absence is meaningless, the CBS chairman/60 Minutes produce should also be penalized, it's problematic to investigate the boss, and CBS would have been wise to release the report on the holiday weekend. Brendan Nyhan, writing for Columbia Journalism Review, also criticizes how CBS News handled the controversy, including the scrubbing of the content from the Internet.
A photographer has been awarded $1.2 million after a court ordered two news agencies to pay for images he took and they used without attribution from Twitter. The court concluded there were violations of the Copyright Act when images he took of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti were redistributed without appropriate compensation. Even though Twitter appears to be a public forum, the court indicated there remain in place requirements should anyone reuse content without permission. Guardian media columnist Roy Greenslade says the case has the potential to set an important precedent, but notes it is subject to appeals.
In recent days USA Today and the McClatchy group of newspapers in the U.S. have clarified that they are not going to use handout photos from the White House (unless they are of significant news value). Andrew Beaujon, writing for Poynter, notes their moves follow a dispute in which the White House restricted access for press photographers. News organizations protested the move.