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“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.

How to Find, Evaluate, and Summarize Validated Independent News Stories (VINs)

You can download this guide as a pdf here.

Find a Candidate Story

A censored news story reports information that the public has a right and need to know, but to which the public has limited access. Search independent news sources to find candidate stories. See the Project Censored website for recommended independent news sources:

Through your school’s library, ProQuest’s Alt-Press Watch is also a useful database.

Evaluate Your Candidate Story’s Strength

The strongest candidate stories—those most likely to gain a spot among the top censored stories in a given year—are important, timely, fact-based, well documented, and under-reported. Once you have found a candidate story, test its significance by considering these questions:

1.  Is it important? The more people that the story affects, the more important it is. Be careful to consider indirect impacts. For example, a story about electronic waste disposal in Africa might seem like it only involves the people exposed to the toxic waste. But the problem of electronic waste disposal includes Western consumers (mostly North Americans and Europeans) who discard as much as 40 million tons of electronic waste each year. So, the story involves a wider circle of people and is more important than it might first seem.

2.  Is it timely? Only stories published since March 2017 will be considered for Censored 2019. Recent stories on older events will be considered if they report new, important information.

3.  Is it fact-based and well documented?  The story’s accuracy and credibility is crucial. Dramatic claims and seductive rhetoric do not matter if the journalist fails to provide specific evidence to support the story. How many different sources does the story use? How credible is each source? A story based on a number of reliable sources is harder to dispute than one based on a single good source or several biased sources. If your story cites other published work (for example, a scientific study, government document, or another news story), track back to that source and read it. Does your story accurately depict the original?

4.  Has the corporate media ignored or under-reported the story? Evaluate your story’s coverage by using a news database (such as LexisNexis News, part of Lexis-Nexis Academic; ProQuest Newstand; or Newspaper Source Plus) to search for corporate coverage of it. Check with your instructor or your school’s reference librarian to learn what news databases you can access. Experience shows that Google News is not always reliable; use it as a last resort. The clearest “censored” stories are ones that corporate media have completely ignored. Candidate stories that received some corporate coverage may still be considered “censored” if corporate coverage leaves the reader with an incomplete or distorted understanding of the story.

5.  As you research your candidate story, be alert for related stories that (1) contain information contrary to your original story, (2) were published before your original story, or (3) contain more complete information than your first story. You may decide a second story is better than your first, in which case continue your work now using the second story. Or you may conclude that the second story supports the first and should be included along with it.


Summarize Your Candidate Story

All candidate stories submitted to Project Censored should use the following format. Incomplete or improperly formatted stories will be returned for revision.

Title This captures the story’s most important point in approximately five to ten words.

Summary (250-400 words)

The first paragraph should provide a specific, concise and factual summary of the story’s most important point. Use a summary lead to place this essential information up front. Your first sentence should introduce what happened, where, and when. Be specific. Use active verbs. Avoid passive constructions (for example, “Civilians were targeted”) that tend to hide agency (who did what). Your summary lead should address the skeptical reader’s questions, “So what? Why is this important?”  If the main point of your story is controversial, which is often true for Project Censored stories, an attribution will add strength to your lead paragraph. For example,

In January 2012, Fairtest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, reported that a decade of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policies has actually slowed the rate of education progress.

For more on how to write a lead or opening paragraph, including several examples of summary leads, see

The next paragraph should go into more detail, elaborating on the story’s main point and/or introducing secondary points. Good detail might include who stands to benefit from the action or policy in question, as well as who (if anyone) it harms.

A final paragraph should address corporate media coverage of the story. This is often as important as your story’s summary lead. It is essential that you do a thorough job of researching your story’s coverage using a reliable news database. If there is no corporate media coverage of your story, state so directly and indicate a date as of which this was true. If your story has gotten some corporate news coverage, then identify what corporate news organizations covered the story, and when. In this case be sure to describe how the independent news story you are summarizing goes beyond the coverage provided by the corporate media. If you cannot see a difference, you may need to reconsider whether your story is actually a “censored” story.

References Following the summary, give a complete reference for the story using the Chicago Manual of Style format. For example:

Almerindo Ojeda, “Death in Guantánamo: Suicide or Dry Boarding?” Truthout, November 3, 2011,

See for more details on Chicago style.

If your summary draws on multiple stories, give a reference for each one.

Student Researcher(s): List each student researcher’s name and, in parentheses, school affiliation.

Faculty Evaluator(s):  List each faculty evaluator’s name and, in parentheses, school affiliation.

*     *     *     *    *

Identifying, researching, and summarizing candidate stories will sharpen your critical thinking skills (including interpretation, evaluation, and explanation) and enhance your media literacy.

Project Censored posts selected Validated Independent News (VINs) online at

These VINs are considered for inclusion among the top 25 stories in Project Censored’s annual book.

Online and in the book, we acknowledge the students and faculty who contribute VINs by name.

FINAL SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Candidate VINs must be submitted by Friday, March 30, 2018

to be considered for inclusion in Censored 2019.

Since 1976 these submissions have been Project Censored’s lifeblood. We look forward to your contributions.


Revised August 2017. Thanks to Peter Phillips, Susan Maret, Susan Rahman, and Kenn Burrows for their suggestions.