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Project Censored

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Project Censored
FounderCarl Jensen
Type501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
PurposeJournalism, independent media, freedom of speech, solutions journalism
Mickey Huff (director)

Project Censored is an American nonprofit media watchdog organization.[1] The group's stated mission is to "educate students and the public about the importance of a truly free press for democratic self-government."[2][3][4]

Project Censored produces an annual book, published by Seven Stories Press and the Censored Press, and a weekly radio program. Both the annual books and the weekly radio programs, as well as public events sponsored by the Project, focus on issues of news censorship, propaganda, free speech, and politics.

Project Censored was founded at Sonoma State University in 1976 by Carl Jensen (1923-2017).[5] Since 2010, Mickey Huff has been the group's director.[6] It is sponsored by the Media Freedom Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established in 2000. The organization is based in Fair Oaks, California.


Project Censored was founded in 1976 by Carl Jensen, Associate Professor of Media Studies at Sonoma State College, as a media research program.[7][8] The project focused on student media literacy and critical thinking skills as applied to the US news media censorship.[9]

Corporate media reporters, editors, and executives[who?] lampooned Jensen for claiming they "censored" news stories. They argued that the stories were not censored, but that due to time and space constraints, they could not publish every story. Jensen began an annual study that found that, rather than covering newsworthy stories, the corporate media often featured trivial and non-newsworthy stories, which Jensen termed "junk food news" in a 1983 interview published in Penthouse.[10] Since the first Censored yearbook, published in 1993, each annual Censored volume has featured a chapter dedicated to exposing examples of what Jensen originally identified as "junk food news".

In 1996, when Jensen retired, Peter Phillips, also a sociology professor at Sonoma State University, became director of Project Censored. He continued to expand the Project's educational outreach and the annual book, adding the concept and analysis of "News Abuse" to elaborate Jensen's idea of "junk food" news.[11] "News abuse" refers to corporate media stories that were newsworthy, but presented in a slanted or non-newsworthy manner.[12]

In 2000, Project Censored came under the oversight of the non-profit Media Freedom Foundation, founded by Jensen and Phillips to ensure its independence. In 2007, two of Project Censored judges resigned due to then-director Peter Phillips' decision to invite Steven E. Jones, a 9/11 Truth conspiracy theorist, as the keynote speaker to the Project's annual conference.[13]

Mickey Huff, director of Project Censored, at the Action in Media Education Summit in April 2016 at Sacred Heart University.

Mickey Huff of Diablo Valley College became director in 2010.[14] He and associate director Andy Lee Roth have extended the Project beyond Sonoma State University and expanded the Campus Affiliates Program launched in 2009.[15][16] The top "Censored" news stories are identified through the Campus Affiliates Program, a collaborative effort between faculty and students at many colleges and universities.[17]



Since 1993, Project Censored has published its annual list of the most under-reported news stories in the form of a book. Since 1996, Seven Stories Press in New York has published each annual Censored book, totaling 27 volumes .[18] The first Project Censored yearbook, Censored: The News That Didn’t Make the News—And Why, edited by Carl Jensen, was published by Shelburne Press in 1993.[19] Two subsequent volumes, the 1994 and 1995 yearbooks, were published by Four Walls Eight Windows.[20]

The most recent yearbook, State of the Free Press 2023, includes a foreword by Heidi Boghosian and is the second to be jointly published by Seven Stories Press and Project Censored's own publishing imprint, the Censored Press. State of the Free Press 2023 describes itself as "[a]pplying the critical media literacy tools Project Censored has championed since 1976." The book "exposes how the corporate media's focus on 'humilitainment' and 'false balance' leads to slanted news, info-free clickbait, and censorship" while advancing "remedies for a more robust free press" and providing "inspiring models for grassroots engagement." State of the Free Press includes the Project's list of what the group considers to be the most significant but under-reported news stories of 2021-2022.

In addition to being included in the Censored book series, the organization's annual listing of the most significant but under-reported news stories, dating back to 1976, is archived on the Project Censored website.[21] Previous years' "Censored" lists have been featured in U.S. national media outlets.[22][23][24][25][26][27][28]

Censored Press[edit]

The Censored Press is a publishing imprint that was established in 2021 by the Media Freedom Foundation and Project Censored. The Censored Press has published a number of notable titles, including Going Remote: A Teacher's Journey,[29] Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange,[30] and The Media and Me: A Guide to Critical Media Literacy for Young People, which was co-published by the Censored Press and Seven Stories Press.[31]

Radio program[edit]

Since 2010, Project Censored has produced a weekly public affairs program originating from KPFA in Berkeley, California, part of the Pacifica Foundation. The Project Censored Radio Show is syndicated on 40 radio stations across North America.[32]

Documentary films[edit]

Project Censored has been the subject of two feature-length documentary films. In 2013, Doug Hecker and Christopher Oscar produced and directed Project Censored: The Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News.[33][34] The film features interviews with and commentary by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Dan Rather, Phil Donahue, Michael Parenti, Greg Palast, Oliver Stone, Daniel Ellsberg, Peter Kuznick, Cynthia McKinney, Nora Barrows-Friedman, John Perkins, Jonah Raskin, Khalil Bendib, Abby Martin, and faculty and students associated with Project Censored.

Project Censored: The Movie screened at numerous film festivals, including its premiere at the Sonoma International Film Festival in April 2013,[35] the Bend Film Festival in October 2013, and the Madrid International Film Festival in July 2013, where Doug Hecker and Christopher Oscar were recognized for Best Directing of a Feature Documentary.[36]

In 1998, Differential Films released Project Censored: Is the Press Really Free?, directed and produced by Steven Keller. In May 2000, Project Censored: Is the Press Really Free? aired on PBS stations across the United States.[37]


Project Censored stories have been cited in both national and international media.[38][39] Ralph Nader described Project Censored as "a deep, wide and utterly engrossing exercise to unmask censorship, self-censorship, and propaganda in the mass media."[40] In December 2013, Nader selected Censored 2014: Fearless Speech in Fateful Times as one of his "10 Books to Provoke Conversation" in 2014.[41]

China News referenced their work in an editorial criticizing U.S. press practices.[42] Iranian State News also cited Project Censored's work on the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to criticize U.S. foreign policy.[43]

On the other hand, in 2000, Don Hazen, the first executive director of the progressive news analysis and commentary website AlterNet, criticized Project Censored as "stuck in the past" with a "dubious selection process" that "reinforces self-marginalizing, defeatist behavior".[44] It has also been criticized for reporting on stories that are arguably not "under-reported" or "censored" at all, as they have appeared in The New York Times and other such high-profile publications.[45] Furthermore, the organization's use of the term "censorship" to describe under-reported items, rather than governmentally censored material, has been called into question.[46] William Powers, writing in The New Republic, called this broad use of the term "pernicious and deceptive."[47]


The 1995 edition of Censored: The News That Didn’t Make the News—And Why won the 1996 Firecracker Alternative Book Award for Nonfiction.[48]

In 2008, Project Censored received PEN Oakland's Censorship award.[49]

In July 2014, Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth received the National Whistleblowers Center's Pillar Award for New Media on behalf of Project Censored.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Morris, J.D. (October 21, 2016). "Project Censored celebrates 40 years as media watchdog". Press Democrat. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  2. ^ "The Project Censored Mission". Project Censored. January 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Yasuda, Kana (3 May 2015). "Project Censored confronts "fake news" phenomenon". Golden Gate Xpress: The Student News Site of San Francisco State University. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  4. ^ "Media overlook important news, researchers say". East Bay Times. November 27, 2007. Retrieved Feb 14, 2018.
  5. ^ "Project Censored founder Carl Jensen dies at 85". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. 2015-04-25. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  6. ^ Huff, Mickey; Phillips, Peter, eds. (2010). Censored 2011 : the top 25 censored stories (1st ed.). New York: Seven Stories Press. ISBN 978-1583229200. OCLC 601133039.
  7. ^ Morrow, Frank (1984). The U.S. Power Structure and the Mass Media. ark:/13960/t5j962f5k Ph.D dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin "chapter 4".
  8. ^ Payne, Paul (April 26, 2015). "Project Censored founder Carl Jensen dies at 85". The Press Democrat. Retrieved Feb 14, 2018.
  9. ^ Jensen, Carl (1996). Censored 20th Anniversary Edition: The 1996 Project Censored Yearbook. New York: Seven Stories Press. pp. 14–15.
  10. ^ Jenson, Carl (2001). Censored 2001. Seven Stories Press. pp. 251–264. ISBN 978-1-58322-064-1.
  11. ^ Hale, Corey (2016). News Abuse of 1999," Censored 2000: The Year's Top Censored Stories. New York: Seven Stories. pp. 157–163.
  12. ^ Nolan Higdon, Mickey Huff (2016). Junk Food News and News Abuse: A Brief History," Censored 2017: Fortieth Anniversary Edition, ed. Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth with Project Censored. New York: Seven Stories. pp. 149–151.
  13. ^ Stelzer, CD (August 1, 2007). "Two Project Censored judges resign over 9/11 controversy". St. Louis Journalism Review. 37 (298): 20–22.
  14. ^ Fancher, Lou (March 26, 2014). "Walnut Creek: 'Project Censored' leaders discuss work, new film". The Mercury News. Retrieved Feb 14, 2018.
  15. ^ "About Validated Independent News -". Project Censored. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  16. ^ "Project Censored Turns 40". SSU News. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  17. ^ Andy Lee Roth and, Mickey Huff (2017). Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a "Post-Truth" World. New York: Seven Stories Press. pp. 36, 39–40.
  18. ^ "Seven Stories Press". sevenstories.com. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  19. ^ Jensen, Carl (1993). Censored : the news that didn't make the news--and why (1st ed.). Chapel Hill, NC: Shelburne Press. ISBN 1882680006. OCLC 27810906.
  20. ^ Jensen, Carl (1995). Censored : the news that didn't make the news--and why : the 1995 project censored yearbook (1st ed.). New York: Four Walls Eight Windows. ISBN 1568580304. OCLC 32779730.
  21. ^ "Top 25 Archive -". Project Censored. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  22. ^ Goodman, Hal (1994). "A Creaky Soapbox". Across the Board. Vol. 31, no. 7. p. 58.
  23. ^ "Project Censored". Editor & Publisher. Vol. 122, no. 23. June 10, 1989. p. 42.
  24. ^ "Project Censored". Editor & Publisher. Vol. 119, no. 26. June 28, 1986. p. 19.
  25. ^ "The Most 'Spiked' Stories". Editor & Publisher. Vol. 124, no. 4. Jan 26, 1991. p. 28.
  26. ^ Klotzer, Charles L. (Oct 2006). "Only the polluted tip of the iceberg". The St. Louis Journalism Review. Vol. 36, no. 290. pp. 28–29.
  27. ^ Stuttaford, Genevieve; Simson, Maria; Zaleski, Jeff (Oct 13, 1997). "20 Years of Censored News". Publishers Weekly. 244 (42): 62.
  28. ^ Rosenberg, Paul (2021-11-25). "Project Censored, Part 1: The New Normal Is More Normalized Censorship". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  29. ^ "Going Remote: A Teacher's Journey by Adam Bessie, Peter Glanting". Publishers Weekly.
  30. ^ "Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange by Kevin Gosztola". Publishers Weekly.
  31. ^ "THE MEDIA AND ME". Kirkus Reviews. Oct 15, 2022.
  32. ^ "The Project Censored Radio Show -". Project Censored. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  33. ^ "About the Movement: The Film". Project Censored. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  34. ^ Hecker, Doug; Oscar, Christopher (2013-04-12), Project Censored the Movie, Nora Barrows-Friedman, Khalil Bendib, Nora Burrows-Friedman, retrieved 2018-02-05
  35. ^ "SIFF AWARDS 2013". Sonoma International Film Festival. Archived from the original on Sep 9, 2013. NB: PROJECT CENSORED: THE MOVIE... was also one of the most popular documentaries, as well as easily being the best-attended film of the entire Festival.
  36. ^ ""AMOROUS PANCHO VILLA" "A COMMON MAN" Win Top Awards at 2013 Madrid International Film Festival | VIMOOZ". VIMOOZ. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  37. ^ Hausman, Tate (2000-04-25). "Project Censored, the Movie". AlterNet. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  38. ^ Ivins, Molly (September 22, 2005). "Greatest sin in today's media is laziness rather than bias". Contra Costa Times.
  39. ^ Stein, M L (Jan 30, 1993). "Project Censored". Editor & Publisher. Vol. 126, no. 5. p. 16.
  40. ^ Roth, Andrew Lee; Huff, Mickey (2014-10-07). Censored 2015: inspiring We the people: the top censored stories and media analysis of 2013-2014 (1st ed.). New York. ISBN 978-1609805654. OCLC 868199592.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  41. ^ Nader, Ralph (2013-12-31). "10 Books to Provoke Conversation in the New Year". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  42. ^ Hua, Sheng (Nov 15, 2014). "Whither freedom of the US press". China Daily. Retrieved Feb 14, 2018.
  43. ^ "Iran rejects importing radio equipment". Iranian State News. October 27, 2011.
  44. ^ Hazen, Don (2000-03-31). "Beyond Project Censored: It's Time for a New Award". AlterNet. Archived from the original on July 8, 2004. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  45. ^ "The Unbearable Lameness of Project Censored". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  46. ^ Lehrer, Eli (1998). "The great alternative press". The American Enterprise. Vol. 9, no. 3. pp. 15–16.
  47. ^ Powers, William (July 7, 1997). "Censor this". The New Republic. Vol. 217, no. 1. pp. 15–16.
  48. ^ "Firecracker Alternative Book Awards". ReadersRead.com. Archived from the original on Mar 4, 2009.
  49. ^ "Awards & Award Winners". PEN Oakland. Archived from the original on 2019-05-14. Retrieved 2018-02-05.

External links[edit]