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Foreign Legion

Despite Fake Bylines, San Francisco Chronicle to Continue Using Journatic’s BlockShopper

Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist Rebecca Rosen Lum has some sobering news from the opposite end of the journalism scale.

Despite a protest by the Media Workers Guild, which represents journalists and other workers at the San Francisco Chronicle, editor Ward Bushee has decided the paper will continue to publish real estate items created by Journatic’s now infamous content outsourcing service BlockShopper. The operation’s shoddy overseas business practices were exposed on a recent episode of NPR’s This American Life. From Lum’s report in online newspaper the Fog City Journal:

Last week, Bushee met with Media Workers Guild international vice president Michael Cabanatuan, a Chronicle reporter and former president of the San Francisco-based Pacific Media Workers Guild. Bushee told Cabanatuan the Chronicle preferred to devote its newsroom resources to higher-profile coverage…

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Peter Arnett Talks About His Chinese Journalism Students

When he’s not residing in LA, Pulitzer Prizer winner, Osama bin Laden interviewer and one-time CNN war correspondent Peter Arnett is teaching journalism students at Shantou University in southern China. He tells Fairfax NZ News reporter Alex Fensom that his charges are exceedingly industrious:

“I’ve got 60 to 80 students each semester … They are better educated than I ever was. There’s no smoking, no drinking, no fighting.”

Intriguingly, Arnett says he senses that the Chinese government realizes its days of being able to control the flow of inbound and outbound news information are gradually coming to an end. Which would leave the country’s unlikeliest ally North Korea as a Asia’s only remaining hidebound nation.

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THR Lands Skype Interview with an Increasingly Defiant Kim Dotcom

Last month, Kim Dotcom joined Twitter.

Now, with his New Zealand extradition hearing having been postponed from August until March of 2013, he’s taking a full media swing at his Hollywood accusers. Here’s part of what the defendant had to say tonight via Skype to Hollywood Reporter senior writer Daniel Miller, who recently profiled the Megaupload founder for a THR print issue cover story:

“My home was raided by 72 heavily armed police arriving in helicopters. This was an Osama bin Laden-style operation on an alleged copyright infringer. I guess it’s pure luck that my family wasn’t terminated by a Predator drone…”

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BBC Reporter Still Hoping to Publish Book About Nightmarish Scientology Experiences

Famous for his 2007 and 2010 BBC Panorama reports on the Church of Scientology, John Sweeney took today to the pages of UK’s The Independent to bang a loud warning gong against the (subsequent) symphony of Cruise-Holmes divorce settlement dispatches. Although Holmes may not have been followed by Church affiliated personnel in the streets of New York, he writes that he was:

They spied on me. I know that for a fact because the man who led the spying team – Mike Rinder, the head of the church’s secret police, the Office of Special Affairs – defected to us in 2010 and told me so on Panorama…

Private investigators whom I believe were working for the church chased me around the streets of LA, invaded my hotel at midnight and put me under surveillance at breakfast. Strangers spied on my wedding and knocked on the doors of my neighbors.

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Kony 2012 Group Invisible Children Is Making a Comeback

At least according to James Rainey in his most recent column from over the weekend.

Invisible Children has continued to pound away on its core mission of publicizing LRA atrocities. And last week, the rights group received credit from diplomats and activists for helping keep the pressure on for what finally may be an international initiative to move against the fugitive Kony.

The United Nations Security Council on Friday endorsed a plan for ending the threat from Kony and reintegrating his victims into countries — including Uganda, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo — where his militia has abused civil society. The African Union organized a coalition that pledges by the end of the year to put 5,000 troops from four African nations in the field to hunt Kony.

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Pakistani Journalist Checks Back In with Recent U.S. Visitors

Earlier this spring, KFI AM 640 news anchor Terry Anzur kept a great running diary of her 10-day visit to Pakistan. Along with five other journalists, including San Francisco Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz, she ventured to Islamabad and Karachi as part of Honolulu’s East-West Center Pakistan-US Journalists Exchange program.

Today, local counterpart Tehmina Qureshi checks back in with new pals Anzur, Diaz and co. to find out about their overriding memories of the second half of the excursion (Karachi). Even though the U.S. group arrived immediately following the very disruptive murder of a local political activitist, Anzur says she was impressed:

“I’ll never forget the young faces of Karachi. A little girl sang and smiled for us during her first week of kindergarten at a non-profit school operating on the edge of a slum. Bright-eyed older students radiated enthusiasm for learning and illustrated why so many people find hope in Pakistan’s educated youth…”

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Slumdog Composer Says ‘Jai Ho’ Still a No-Go

It’s not often that the life of a Best Picture Oscar winner rages on with a level of public sniping on par with the final days of Academy Awards season. But such is the case with 2008′s Slumdog Millionaire.

On Tuesday, the New York Post reported that Matthew Warcus had dropped out of talks to direct a forthcoming stage musical adaptation of the film as a show of support for Danny Boyle. Today, Erin Carlson of the Hollywood Reporter checks in with composer A. R. Rahman, who reiterates that there will be no stage permission granted for use of signature song “Jai Ho” unless Boyle is indeed at the helm of the musical:

“As a team, we all took the position that we all work together,” Rahman told THR in a phone interview, adding that Boyle “absolutely” deserves to helm a Slumdog stage show.

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India Says: Booray for Bollywood!

India’s film industry is creeping up on a momentous date. When the calendar strikes April 21, 2013, it wiil officially mark the 100th anniversary of what is now the world’s largest movie industry.

If there’s anything by then that key members of the country’s film business hope for, it’s that they will no longer be lumped under a certain Tinseltown-derived moniker coined in the 1970s. Per a recent article in the Hindustan Times titled “Stop Calling Us Bollywood:”

It’s not a Hollywood rip-off, and not about dancing around trees anymore. So stop calling it Bollywood… The latest to call for a ban on the term is Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who directed acclaimed films such as Rang De Bsanti and Delhi 6. “It makes me angry. We were never Bollywood. We have lost our identity. We are the Hindi film industry and I have a lot of pride in that,” says the filmmaker.

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USC Student is Truly Putting On the Ritz

This is not the first media mention of an upside-down lifestyle led by a wealthy foreign student attending USC. Nor will it be the last.

In today’s fascinating Wall Street Journal article “Courting the Chinese Buyer,” the paper’s bi-coastal real estate and luxury reporter Lauren A. E. Schuker shares this jaw-dropping tidbit:

Di Meng, a native of Changchun who lives in Beijing, is currently attending the University of Southern California… Not keen to rent student housing, he recently paid around $800,000 for a Ritz-Carlton condo in downtown Los Angeles.

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The Elvis Choreographer Who Wound Up in Thailand

One of the strangest aspects of the Danish Sundance drama Teddy Bear, which had its local premiere last night at the Los Angeles Film Festival, is the casting of David Winters as the owner of a bar in Thailand. The establishment figures prominently in the oddball trip taken by the film’s namesake bodybuilder Dennis (Kim Kold).

Though the 73-year-old Winters today looks nothing like the part, he was once a major Broadway musical hoofer and Hollywood film choreographer, dancing his way through West Side Story (play & film) and helping Elvis Presley map out five movies. Teddy Bear director Mads Matthiesen told FishbowlLA over cocktails that he was introduced to Winters by a production services company that he used for the Thailand shoot. They suggested Winters as an actor and, sure enough, he turned out to be the perfect fit for the role of open-shirted matchmaker Scott (pictured, above).

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