Tag Archives: Press Uncuffed

Press Uncuffed Campaign Wins Prestigious SABRE Award for Non Profit Organizations

Merrill College alumna and RoseComm President and CEO Rosemary Ostmann and Account Executive Kelsey BaRoss celebrate the Press Uncuffed campaign SABRE award.

Merrill College alumna and RoseComm President and CEO Rosemary Ostmann and Account Executive Kelsey BaRoss celebrate the Press Uncuffed campaign SABRE award.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The PR campaign behind the Press Uncuffed project won a prestigious SABRE award May 3 during a gala program in New York City. Merrill College alumna Rosemary Ostmann’s RoseComm Marketing, PR and Social Media firm oversees the campaign to promote the student-powered project. Press Uncuffed was the brainchild of students in Knight Chair Dana Priest’s public affairs reporting class in 2014. They came up with the idea to sell translucent bracelets with the names of incarcerated journalists as a way to raise awareness and win their release. The continuing campaign is done in partnership with the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In an email to Dean Lucy Dalglish and Professor Dana Priest, Ostmann wrote, “This is a huge honor and we’re beyond grateful to each of you for your support and collaboration.” The Press Uncuffed campaign won over a number of much larger PR agency submissions.

Celebrating Results

The Press Uncuffed campaign is celebrating the release of seven journalists featured on its bracelets during the first year of operation. The seven freed since the campaign began in April 2015 were imprisoned in Iran, China, Vietnam, Swaziland, Bahrain, Mexico and Ethiopia. The other Press Uncuffed journalists who remain in prison are: Ilham Tohti, China; Eskinder Nega, Ethiopia; Mahmoud Abou Zeid “Shawkan,” Egypt; Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Uzbekistan; and Mohamed Ould M’Kheitir, Mauritania.

“I am beyond gratified to celebrate the freedom of more than half the journalists whose plights were highlighted by Press Uncuffed this past year,” said Priest. “Purchasing Press Uncuffed bracelets, which honor both those who have been freed and those still imprisoned, supports the crucial need of fundraising for this extremely important cause.”

Sign up here to receive updates from the Committee to Protect Journalists on the status of imprisoned journalists and to learn how to take action to support their release.

About the SABRE Awards

The SABRE Awards, which recognize Superior Achievement in Branding Reputation & Engagement, now attract more than 2,000 entries from across North America each year, and provide the premier showcase for the best that public relations has to offer. The awards are overseen by The Holmes Group, whose website says “is dedicated to proving and improving the value of public relations, by providing insight, knowledge and recognition to public relations professionals.”

About Press Uncuffed

Press Uncuffed is a campaign to raise money to free imprisoned journalists around the world by selling bracelets bearing their names. Journalism students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter and Knight Chair Dana Priest, created the campaign, which benefits the Committee to Protect Journalists’ emergency assistance campaign. Additional information about Press Uncuffed is available at PressUncuffed.org.

About the Committee to Protect Journalists

CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored or harassed.

 

Press Uncuffed Campaign Celebrates Release of Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian

By Kelsey BaRoss
RoseComm New York

Rezaian Becomes Seventh Featured Journalist Freed While Six Remain

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Press Uncuffed, a campaign to help free imprisoned journalists throughout the world by selling bracelets bearing their names, today celebrates the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and the six other journalists freed since the campaign began 10 months ago.

Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, spent 18 months in Iran’s Evin Prison before being released last month. He had been the Washington Post bureau chief in Tehran prior to his detainment.

Among the supporters who wear Press Uncuffed bracelets are Rezaian’s mother, Mary Rezaian, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi. Salehi, an Iranian, initially was arrested with Rezaian and later released on bail after three months.

“We have worn them daily, and they gave us strength,” Mary Rezaian said of the Press Uncuffed bracelets. “They also opened some opportunities for discussion. And, of course, everyone from close friends, to family and supporters lusted after them. Thank you, so much, to the Press Uncuffed team and everyone who is working on this very important issue.”

Press Uncuffed bracelets are available for $10 on PressUncuffed.org and proceeds benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a collaborator in the campaign. CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance to journalists facing threats around the world and advocates for journalists imprisoned and attacked in reprisal for their work.

Created by students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, Press Uncuffed produces clear acrylic LuciteLux® bracelets – signifying transparency in reporting – that bear the names of imprisoned journalists and the countries in which they are held. Other journalists honored by the campaign were freed in Ethiopia, Bahrain, Mexico, Vietnam, Swaziland and China.

“The release of Jason, a colleague, is a reminder that Press Uncuffed can make a difference and lift the spirits of those in prison and the people closest to them working for their release,” said Dana Priest, the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. “About 200 journalists, however, remain wrongfully imprisoned. Supporting the Press Uncuffed campaign helps raise much-needed funds and brings awareness to the issue of press freedom, putting real pressure on the U.S. government to do more, and on governments holding journalists without cause.”

 Press Uncuffed bracelets honor 13 journalists, including the following six who are still in prison:

  • Mohamed Cheik Ould Mohamed in Mauritania
  • Eskinder Nega in Ethiopia
  • Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) in Egypt
  • Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan
  • Yusuf Ruzimuradov in Uzbekistan
  • Ilham Tohti in China

For more information and to purchase a bracelet with one of the 13 journalists’ names, visit PressUncuffed.org. Sign up here to receive updates from the CPJ on the status of imprisoned journalists and to learn about new actions you can take to support their release.

“Whether freed or still in prison, the people on this list deserve to be recognized for the risks they took and sacrifices they made to report critical information that their governments wanted to bury,” said Priest.

About Press Uncuffed

Press Uncuffed is a campaign to raise money to free imprisoned journalists around the world by selling bracelets bearing their names. Journalism students at the University of Maryland and their professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, created the campaign, which benefits the Committee to Protect Journalists’ emergency assistance campaign. Additional information about Press Uncuffed is available at PressUncuffed.org.

About the Committee to Protect Journalists

CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored or harassed.

About the Philip Merrill College of Journalism

The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland is one of the world’s leading journalism schools. Our curriculum emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning with professional equipment that leads to the jobs of today and those waiting in the future. We have a world-class award-winning faculty with years of experience and intimate class sizes. The Merrill College is just a few short miles from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore – locations that provide unparalleled internships and broad learning opportunities.

 

Merrill Students Write About The High Cost of News Reporting in Post Articles

From the Post article: At the Newseum in Washington, a view of a memorial for journalists killed while reporting. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A set of investigative articles published in the Washington Post by students from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism with Knight Chair and Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, are bringing the high cost of Press Freedom to life. The articles examine what the paper calls “the human cost of reporting the news around the world.”

In what will be an ongoing series, the first two articles,  published online and in the paper, focus on Pakistan’s most famous TV journalist, as well as taking a broader look at journalism after the Arab Spring.

The stories came out of Knight Chair Dana Priest’s Professional Seminar in Public Affairs Reporting class during the 2014-2015 school year. She said, “Co-reporting was the model I wanted to experiment with and it worked out better than I expected. The students were dogged, thorough and eager for more.”

Hamid Mir: Living Like a Fugative

Merrill graduate student Idrees Ali (MJ ’14) traveled to Pakistan for the Post, “to live a few days in the life of Hamid Mir, Pakistan’s most famous journalist. Mir was attacked last year, shot six times, largely because of his reporting on the military, Taliban and the missing person issues in Balochistan.”

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Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir on set. Photo courtesy Washington Post.

A Pakistani journalist himself who has written extensively about everything from Pakistan-U.S. relations to the crisis in Ukraine, Ali came to Knight Hall to study international and conflict reporting. He graduated with a Masters in Journalism last May.

Ali said he hopes that with the article,  “pressure is eased on not only Mir, but the thousands of journalists in Pakistan and around the world who are under threat for simply reporting the truth.”

Ali was a research assistant with Professor Priest and like the other student reporters for this series, was part of her popular Professional Seminar in Public Affairs Reporting class during the 2014-2015 school year.

After Arab Spring, Journalism Briefly Flowered And Then Withered

With Knight Chair Dana Priest reporting from Bahrain, students Deidre McPhillips (MJ ’15),  Graduate Assistant Katy June-Friesen (Ph.D. student) and contributors Idrees Ali and Courtney Mabeus (MJ ’15) examine what has happened to journalism in the wake of the Arab Spring.

As the article points out, “The Arab Spring was supposed to usher in an era of greater political inclusion and freedom, including press freedom. Instead, in every country but Tunisia, it has led to the opposite: the near-disappearance of independent news and opinion, especially about governments and their security forces.”

Press Uncuffed

Over two semesters, students in Knight Chair Dana Priest’s Public Affairs class (with help from Priest and New York PR firm RoseComm – which is owned by alumna Rosemary Ostemann) created the successful PressUncuffed campaign to raise awareness about imprisoned journalists around the world. Funds raised by selling clear Lucite-brand bracelets with imprisoned reporter’s names on them is helping to support the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Photos: Courtesy Washington Post

Press Uncuffed Wins $5000 Do Good Challenge Prize

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University President Dr. Wallace Loh, Merrill College Dean Lucy Dalglish and Knight Chair Dana Priest pose with student members of the the Press Uncuffed project (with presenter Kristen Craft, center) during Tuesday’s Do Good Challenge finals. The team won $5000 to help jailed journalists. Photo: Jay Westcott.

shell-logo_0COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Press Uncuffed, the Merrill College project to raise funds supporting jailed journalists, has won a $5000 first place “Venture Track” Do Good Challenge prize.

The finals were held at the Riggs Alumni Center on campus Tuesday evening. The Do Good Challenge is sponsored by Maryland’s School of Public Policy.

The student-developed Press Uncuffed initiative came into being during Knight Chair Dana Priest’s National Security and Press Freedom Reporting class over the 2014-2015 school year.

Their plan was to raise awareness about imprisoned journalists around the world and fight for their release.

The students partnered with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) –  a nonprofit that works to promote free press worldwide – as well as the grassroots group Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).

Working with in-kind donations from a number of media companies, Press Uncuffed created an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $31,000. The funds are being used to produce clear Lucite (c) bracelets (for transparency) with (initially) the names of nine jailed journalists.

Dr. Loh Wearing Press Uncuffed Bracelet

University President Loh wears a Press Uncuffed bracelet as Knight Chair Dana Priest looks on. Photo: Jay Westcott.

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Press Uncuffed Project Meets Goal – Looks Forward

Press Uncuffed logo and bracelet.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Merrill College Press Uncuffed project has successfully met its goal of raising $30,000 to support jailed journalists around the world by selling bracelets with their names on them. In a message to Indiegogo campaign supporters, Knight Chair Dana Priest  – whose students came up with the idea for the project and were instrumental in moving it forward – wrote:

“At last! We’ve meet our goal thanks to you all. If we can raise another $4k we can cover all our costs–indiegogo’s fee, etc.–and we can make more and more bracelets. We are all so excited and looking toward World Press Freedom Day, April 29, when they will be available for sale. Thanks again, Dana”

There are still eight days left in the campaign.

Update: the Press Uncuffed project is now a finalist for the University of Maryland Do Good Challenge and could win up to $7500 in prizes! The finals event will be held on Tuesday, April 28th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on campus.
World Press Freedom Day Events

World Press Freedom Day is Sunday, May 3. Priest says the Press Uncuffed team will be on hand for an event at the Newseum. The Freedom Forum will release its annual press freedom index, holds a press conference and updates the “Wall of the Fallen” – which lists all the journalists who were killed last year. The plan is to have Press Uncuffed bracelets for sale at this event.

There will also be a 5:30 p.m. event in Knight Hall on Monday, May 4 organized by the Humphrey Fellows program.  A number of Humphrey Fellows will address the press issues in their countries. Planners are also working to invite a formerly jailed journalist  speak about his/her experience. Bracelets will be available for sale at this event. More details to follow.  Please RSVP for this event.