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  • Robo-turf escalates

    Published Thursday, February 23, 2012

    Masthead: Fake grass-roots communication dates 'way back, but recent events indicate escalation in the volume and sophistication of email from online "write-a-letter" sites. Some of them harvest information for political or non-profit recruiting and fund-raising. Editors call the resulting junk mail "turf," a four-letter-word for "astro-turf" as a generic

  • The ethics of political donations

    Published Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    By David Rosman Should we as editorialists be allowed to donate our time and money to a political candidate or issue campaign, or to a PAC or party? Or are we to act politically independent, having little or no financial connections to a campaign? Remember, we are citizens, eager to exercise our democratic rights. But we also must be aware of the

  • Meet Ed Page

    Published Monday, August 29, 2011

    By Carolyn Lumsden and Ken Heidel Two years ago, we started a Facebook page, Ed Page ( We’re pleased with Ed. He is popular and low-maintenance (or lower maintenance than a blog is). Ed has nearly 3,800 friends and counting. He doesn't need the constant care and feeding that successful blogs require, but because

  • State: Bin Laden and beyond

    Published Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    After two years of missing NCEW’s State Department meetings, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spoke to members of our organization the day after Osama bin Laden was caught. What follows is a transcript provided by the State Department: SECRETARY CLINTON: Hi. Good morning, everyone. (Applause.) Thanks very much. Well, I heard you were here. (Laughter.)

  • State: Arab Spring brings hope for human rights

    Published Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    By Bill McGoun The Middle East finally is catching up to the rest of the world in the struggle for human rights, Michael Posner told NCEW members during their annual State Department briefing. Posner, assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor, said that within the last 30 years there have been tremendous strides toward freedom in Latin

  • State: Digital world holds promise of democracy

    Published Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    By Jonathan Gurwitz You may not know who Mohamed Bouazizi was. But you’re seeing the results of his simple act of protest every day in the news. Tunisian officials had harassed and humiliated Bouazizi, a fruit seller, in ways typical of authoritarian governments everywhere. Despondent, Bouazizi set himself on fire last Dec. 17, and died two weeks later.

  • State: Geography 101

    Published Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    By Marjorie Arons-Barron “Press coverage of Africa is essential, good and insufficient,” Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson told a group of editorialists from the National Conference of Editorial Writers in Washington. The head of the Bureau of African Affairs called for journalists to make sharper distinctions among the 53 states that make up

  • State: Democracy finds fertile ground in Latin America

    Published Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    By Rena Pederson With an academic expertise in democratic growth, Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela focused most of his remarks to NCEW members on the democratic transformation of Latin America. As recently as the 1980s, he reminded, Latin America was characterized by authoritarian regimes; only three countries south of the U.S. border