James West

James West

Senior Digital Editor

James West is senior digital editor for Mother Jones, and before that, the senior producer for its reporting project Climate Desk. He wrote Beijing Blur (Penguin 2008). James has a masters of journalism from NYU, and has produced a variety of award-winning shows in his native Australia, including the national affairs program Hack.

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For more than 30 minutes on Sunday, President Barack Obama could be seen huddling on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Antalya, Turkey, in conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and two aides, apparently hashing out a plan to deal with the chaos in Syria. "President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition," the White House said.

Now, state-backed broadcaster Russia Today has released a video of the incident—in which a man seems to be trying to listen in on the high-stakes conversation between the leaders.

Look, I'm no fan of Russia Today, and its propaganda-choked airwaves. And it's true we don't know exactly what this guy is doing or what he's thinking. Homeboy might just be chilling out with that funny smirk and a truckload of self-consciousness, and his funny use of his cell phone, and the odd way he keeps glancing at the camera. We'll never know. But just look at that face. It's very funny:

Watch the full video, posted Monday:

h/t My friend Steph Harmon, out-going editor of Junkee. Congrats on the new gig.

The communications professor who called for "muscle" to block a reporter from covering Monday's demonstrations at the University of Missouri—a moment captured in a video that went viral—issued an apology on Tuesday evening. In a written statement tweeted by the university's Department of Communications, Melissa Click—an assistant professor specializing in pop culture and feminism—said she had reached out to the journalists involved "to offer my sincere apologies and to express regret over my actions." Read her full statement below:

Click became the center of a firestorm after a video clip was posted online showing a confrontation between a group of students and a freelance photographer working for ESPN, Tim Tai. Protesters had assembled after Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system, resigned from his post on Monday amid growing furor over a series of racial incidents at the system's flagship Columbia campus. In the video, students argued with Tai, who was trying to take photographs, and chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go." At the end of the video, Click puts her hand in the lens of the camera filming her, and then calls for help from students to expel reporters. In a longer clip posted later, Click can be seen rallying students to prevent the media from reaching the quad, where a mini tent-city had been erected by protestors. In the wake of the viral video, Click made her Twitter account private and went to ground, apparently enduring rape and death threats.

The showdown between protestors and the press at the University of Missouri has since become a subject of national debate. In the meantime, the dean of the university's famous journalism school, David Kurpius, defended Tai, a senior at the university, by saying the incident provided "an opportunity to educate students and citizens about the role of a free press."

Tue Jul. 7, 2015 6:07 PM EDT
Mon Jan. 12, 2015 3:46 PM EST