Feature Story: Project Censored 2015
Students and Faculty Contribute to Project Censored
Multimedia Journalism majors Alyssa Tufaro, Cealia Brannan, Isabella Diaz, and Ryan Kemp were recognized for their research by media activist group Project Censored in the most recent volume, Censored 2015: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2013-2014 (Seven Stories Press, 2014). The book's foreword this year was written by Ralph Nader.
Project Censored was established in 1976 by faculty in the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Sociology at Sonoma State University. Each year the non-profit organization enlists undergraduate journalism students and faculty from around the world to research published stories on important topics that receive little-to-no coverage in mainstream commercial news outlets.
The story nominations are researched by students and initially vetted by faculty evaluators at their respective institutions. Upon submission the story proposals are assessed by an international body of journalists and scholars. The process culminates each year in a ranking of the 25 most important stories that are then featured and discussed in a volume edited by Project Censored Co-directors Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth.
Tufaro, Brannan, Diaz, and Kemp researched the stories in Professor James Tracy’s Public Opinion and Modernity class. In Spring 2014 over 240 such story nominations were submitted to Project Censored from participating universities. Tufaro’s research on the story, "Top Ten US Aid Recipients All Practice Torture," an article first appearing at the Left Foot Forward blog, ranked at Number 2. Brannan’s story nomination, "Corporate News Media Understate Rape, Sexual Violence," reported on by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the UK's Ceasefire magazine, and Reproductive & Sexual Health and Justice's Reality Check blog, was voted Number 22. This recognition was shared with student researchers Laura A. Parada and Christina Sabia of Indian River State College. Diaz's research on the story, "Number of Prison Inmates Serving Life Sentences Hits New Record," reported on by the UK Guardian, American Civil Liberties Union, Russ Baker's WhoWhatWhy, and War Times ranked at Number 23, with honors shared with Chelsea Pulver of College of Marin, and Pietro Pizzani, Mia Hulbert, and Fabiola Garcia of Indian River State College. Ryan Kemp's research on the story, "Epidemic of Wage Theft Threatens American Workers," as reported by Huffington Post, The Nation, and Inter Press Service, received an honorable mention. Each story selection was discussed at length in the book’s first chapter.
James Tracy’s story, "Health Impact of RF Radiation: Media Blackout on Smart Meter Dangers," published by the Center for Research on Globalization in January 2014 and nominated by student researchers at San Francisco State University and Sonoma State University, was voted Number 14 alongside a related article, "Two Important New Papers Show Mobile Phone Use Does Cause an Increase in Brain Tumours," appearing at power watch.uk.org.
In Spring 2015 Tracy’s students have researched over thirty story nominations for possible inclusion in the forthcoming volume, Censored 2016, to be published in October 2015.