“ABC is apologizing for a segment of Jimmy Kimmel Live in which a child joked about killing Chinese people to help erase the U.S. debt,” the Associated Press reported on Monday.
“The boy’s unscripted comment (‘Kill everyone in China,’ he suggested) came during a comedy bit in which youngsters commented on news events. The skit, aimed at poking fun at childish politicians, aired last week on Kimmel’s late-night talk show.
“ABC’s apology [PDF] came in response to a complaint from a group called 80-20, which identifies itself as a pan-Asian-American political organization.
“In an Oct. 25 letter to the group, ABC said it would never purposefully do anything to upset the Chinese, Asian or other communities. The network says the skit will be edited out of the ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ episode for future airings or any other distribution, including online.”
In a news release, the 80-20 group said that Tim McNeal, ABC’s vice president, talent development and diversity, “also verbally requested S. B. Woo to convey ABC’s eagerness to have Asian American writers, actors and producers apply for jobs with ABC. It is one way to avoid such unfortunate incident in the future — through diversity in its organization. McNeal said, ‘ABC takes achieving diversity very seriously.’ Interested parties may reach his office at Tim.McNeal@ABC.com.”
Woo, president of the 80-20 National Asian American Political Action Committee, said in an fundraising email to supporters, “80-20 PAC is proud to have served the Chinese Am. component of the Asian Am community by being the ONLY organization to have obtained a verbal & written apology from ABC.
“This incident is a teachable moment for our community — the importance of an Asian Am organization that has the stature & ability to serve the rightful interests of our community. It illustrates the importance of SELF RELIANCE. . . .”
Dan Kedmey, Time: Poll: Jimmy Kimmel Leaves 90% of Chinese Angered, Saddened or On Guard
Elaine Rivera Dies, Wrote About Underdogs
Elaine Rivera, a teacher of journalism at Lehman College in New York and a veteran of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, New York Newsday, El Diario/La Prensa, Time magazine, the Washington Post and New York’s WNYC-FM, was found dead Saturday at her home in the Bronx, N.Y., fellow journalist Evelyn Hernandez told Journal-isms on Sunday. She was 54 and had been battling liver disease, Hernandez said.
A lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Rivera was a board member and its secretary in the early days of the organization, founded in 1984. She also taught in the Maynard Institute’s Summer Program for Minority Journalists in 1986.
Rivera was “a compassionate, funny, incisive journalist” whose “humor was wide-ranging, and she greeted much of the rough-and-tumble of local news with a hearty laugh,” Matthew Schuerman of WNYC wrote in a tribute posted by the station Sunday night.
News of her passing spread quickly on social media Sunday night.
Rose Arce, a senior producer at CNN, wrote to other alumni of New York Newsday, “This is the Elaine Rivera I will always remember, a determined smile, a zest for life, an anger fast directed at injustice and a thoughtful and generous human spirit. If all journalists worked so tirelessly on behalf of the voiceless, my profession might lift us all to a better place. She was one of the best and most loyal friends I’ve had and I loved her deeply. There is no good way to deliver the news that she was found dead in her apartment last night after several months of battling liver disease.”
Sylvia Moreno, who worked with Rivera at the Washington Post, wrote on her Facebook timeline, “When I think of Elaine: consistent and uncompromising in her values and beliefs; a journalist for all the right reasons; the ultimate advocate for all marginalized people; smart; funny and a friend magnet. I’m so glad to have been among her friends for 25 years. I’m so sad she is no longer with us.”
Hernandez told Journal-isms by telephone, “She was a traditional reporter in the sense that she did the reporting, she did the interviews and knocked on people’s doors to get the story.” She was always interested in stories that benefited the underdog and gave voice to the voiceless, Hernandez, a former NAHJ president, said.
At El Diario/La Prensa, Rivera wrote about the teen suicide rate among Latinas. At Time, where she worked from 1995 to 2001, Rivera reported on the case of Elisa Izquierdo, a 6-year-old victim of child abuse, whose death in New York became a symbol of the nation’s “deeply flawed child-welfare system,” in the words of the magazine.
In some ways, Rivera’s experiences were unique to Latino journalists. Al Fitzpatrick, then an editor at the Akron Beacon Journal who later became president of the National Association of Black Journalists and a Knight-Ridder executive, spotted Rivera in his journalism class at Kent State University. “She was bright, energetic, curious. Fitz encouraged her, bucked her up when she was down,” Editor & Publisher reported. She went to work at the Beacon Journal.
But Rivera told Ed Morales of New York’s Village Voice that a superior at the Akron paper, “upon finding out she would be leaving for an internship at Hispanic Link newsletter in Washington, D.C., remarked, ‘Once a spic, always a spic’ [PDF]. And he meant it as a joke.”
Morales reported that New York Newsday, which folded in 1995, was a godsend for reporters like Rivera.
” ‘You couldn’t have asked for a better job as a minority,’ Elaine Rivera of Time says about her days at New York Newsday,” Morales wrote in his 1996 article.
“The people at Newsday were looking for the middle-class minority readership. They saw it as the future of New York. A liberal tabloid with ‘progressive agenda’ written all over it, Newsday was a newspaper that covered small communities. At one point there were 12 Latinos on the editorial side, among them reporters Edna Negron, Ray Sanchez, Patricia Hurtado, Evelyn Hernandez, [Linda] Ocasio, and Rivera (though none of them became columnists.) ‘When the paper folded, we were starting to do a big, seven-page series on Latinos in New York,’ laments Rivera. The paper tried to serve Latino readership, but wound up losing the numbers game — its circulation stagnated around 200,000.”
Rivera’s nine years at New York Newsday followed stints at Hispanic Link News Service and the Washington Times. She went on to Time, the Washington Post, El Diario/La Prensa, WNYC-FM and Lehman College.
“She could walk the halls of Albany or City Hall and get politicians to open up,” WNYC’s Enterprise Editor Karen Frillmann said in the WNYC tribute. “But she was most interested talking to the people who live and die by what happens in the halls of power. Prison reform, teen suicide, domestic abuse were some of the topics she covered. She was passionate, smart and had a wicked sense of humor.”
At a substitute lecturer at Lehman, where Rivera had been on medical leave for the fall term, she oversaw the conversion of the Bronx Journal, the school’s online multilingual news site, from a print to a multimedia format, according to her faculty bio. The Bronx Journal won the City University of New York’s 2011 Murray Kempton Award for Journalism in the ‘Best Web Publication’ category.
Hernandez said that Rivera would be buried in her Cleveland hometown and that a memorial service is planned for New York in the next few weeks.
Karen Brown Dunlap, the first African American and first female president of the Poynter Institute school for journalists, is stepping down in January after 10 years in the top job.
Dunlap, 62, is a former journalist whose tenure included coping with a recession that contributed to a $3.8 million annual loss in 2011 and the contentious departure that year of star blogger Jim Romenesko. She told her staff Monday, “We need to take some big steps, and I think it’s time for somebody else to do that,” Andrew Beaujon and Kristen Hare reported Monday on the Poynter site.
“Dunlap became dean of Poynter in 1994 after a year as interim dean,” Beaujon and Hare reported. “In 2012, Dunlap told the Tampa Tribune’s Richard Mullins the past few years ‘have been difficult times’ for the institute, which has seen lower income from the Tampa Bay Times, which it owns. Later that year, Poynter named Christine Martin the president of the Poynter Foundation, aimed at bringing philanthropic support to the Institute.
” ‘Karen deserves a thunderous round of applause from the Poynter Institute, and from journalists far and wide,’ Poynter chair and Tampa Bay Times CEO Paul Tash said in a statement. ‘Building on her superb work, the next president will have the chance to play an enormously important role both at Poynter and in the world of journalism.’ “
When Dunlap took the top job in 2003, Wanda Lloyd, then director of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute in Nashville and later editor of the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, told colleagues, “The fact that an African American (and a woman) is now in charge must not and cannot go unnoticed.
“For many years, Karen has been dean of the faculty at Poynter. She has led the team that develops and presents curriculum to train many of the bosses and others we’ve had in our newsrooms — broadcasting, online and print. For those of you who have had the opportunity to be in seminars at Poynter, you know the quality and importance of the work they do there. For those who haven’t had the opportunity, apply, apply, apply. (It is no small expectation that, with Karen at the helm, diversity has and will continue to be a high priority in content, faculty and participants at Poynter),” wrote Lloyd, now chair/associate professor of the Department of Mass Communications at Savannah State University in Georgia.
According to Monday’s news release, Dunlap “added to its industry leading site, Poynter.org, and the array of courses on NewsU.org, the groundbreaking electronic teaching platform founded with support from the Knight Foundation,” and “began taking its courses and workshops to news organizations and other businesses in custom programs.”
In addition, “Three years ago Dunlap met with owners of the Tampa Bay Rays and created The Write Field to address the high dropout rate of African-American and Latino middle school boys in St. Petersburg. Community involvement and support allow boys to improve writing skills and character. Using what it has learned, the Institute is exploring a digital curriculum to assist other Florida communities in similar programs.”
Nevertheless, in January, Poynter found itself in perilous financial shape, the blog SaintPetersBlog reported. “According to the latest financial disclosures gleaned from Poynter’s Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, the Poynter Institute lost $3.815,144 during 2011, the last year for which information is available. This is a dramatic loss compared to the year before, when Poynter found itself in the red to the tune of just $109,206,” Peter Schorsch wrote.
“We have further reduced expenses to a manageable level while maintaining quality programs. Our focus is much more on raising income. We have a better fix on what’s working and will build on those areas.”
The deficit news followed the uproar in journalism circles when Romenesko and Poynter parted ways.
“If he didn’t invent news aggregation, Romenesko more than anyone else shaped it into something indispensable for media watchers,” Mark Lisheron wrote in the February/March 2012 issue of American Journalism Review. “Such was the loyalty to him that when Poynter’s Julie Moos publicly questioned the method of attribution he had been using for years, the media criticism establishment savaged what it considered a betrayal. . . .”
In August, Romenesko boasted that his site now ranked 5,260 in website traffic, beating Poynter’s, which was 5,753, according to Alexa.com. On Monday, however, the rankings were 6,221 for Poynter and 8,229 for Romenesko.
In the aftermath of the split with Romenesko, Dunlap wrote, “Several of us were involved, not just Julie Moos. We didn’t all agree. As president, I had the last read. Our conversations were primarily about our standards, our practices, not about taking a stand against a valued contributor.
“Did we make the right choices? Not all of them. Could we have improved the message or tone? Yes. Should we have even raised the issues discussed? Yes, we should have. Practices of attribution are changing in ways that harm journalism. That’s an area that needs addressing in useful discussions. We chose to look through the lens of practices that we helped create and are now changing. . . .”
Dunlap also wrote, “Where does Poynter go from here? We will do what we have watched other strong organizations do when their missteps appear on poynter.org. They review their actions and processes. We have already begun. Then they pick up and move on. That’s what we are doing. After all, we make mistakes too.”
Ray Suarez, who left the “PBS NewsHour” Friday after working as a senior correspondent for the program since 1999, said Monday that he decided to leave because his contributions were heavily minimized and that he just “didn’t see 2014 and 2015 were going to be better” for him than the last couple of years,” according to Lucia Suarez, who interviewed the veteran journalist for Fox News Latino.
” ‘I felt like I didn’t have much of a future with the broadcast,’ Suarez said Monday morning. ‘(They) didn’t have much of a plan for me, ‘ Lucia Suarez wrote Monday. Francisco Cortes, director of the site, said there was no relationship between the two Suarezes that he was aware of.
Lucia Suarez also wrote, “The 56-year-old, who joined the ‘NewsHour’ in 1999, said over the last couple of years his contributions to the broadcast were passed over and marginalized many times. He said decisions made recently by the company and new constrictions also played a part in his resignation — It just made it difficult to stay, he said.
” ‘When you look at the prospects realistically, I was there 14 years,’ Suarez said. ‘The responsibility, the high responsibility … had all been gradually taken away.’ . . .”
In the last month, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff became the show’s main anchors, making history as the first all-female national anchor team, and Hari Sreenivasan became weekend anchor of “PBS NewsHour Weekend.” That extends “NewsHour” across seven days and established the show as the one evening newscast without a white male anchor on any day of the week.
“La Velle E. Neal III, who has covered the Twins for the Star Tribune for 16 seasons, on Saturday was elected president of the Baseball Writers Association of America at the organization’s annual World Series meeting,” Phil Miller reported Sunday for the Minneapolis newspaper.
“Neal, 48, is the first black person elected to head the BBWAA, a professional organization for baseball journalists founded in 1908. He succeeds Susan Slusser, a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle who last year became the first woman to hold the position.
“A Chicago native who came to the Star Tribune from the Kansas City Star in 1998, Neal has served 11 terms as the BBWAA’s Twin Cities Chapter chairman, and last October he was elected the national organization’s vice president,” putting him in line to become president.
In January, Neal appeared at the Hall of Fame Awards of the National Association of Black Journalists, accepting a posthumous award for Wendell Smith, the baseball writer who was portrayed in the movie “42” as Jackie Robinson’s traveling companion.
Messaging from St. Louis, venue for the World Series Saturday through Monday, Neal told Journal-isms that “the BBWAA serves as the liaison with Major League Baseball on behalf of newspaper, magazine and online reporters, advocating on such issues as access, credentials and standards. At times, it can be like handling the complaint department when reporters feel they aren’t being treated properly by clubs. I go into this hoping to work with the league and its clubs to maintain some semblance of harmony.
“Also, more reporters than ever are seeking BBWAA membership,” Neal continued. “We want to make sure [the] right people receive BBWAA cards for the right reasons. This is much tougher than it looks because of the proliferation of online media in recent years. Everyone with a website wants membership, and that just can’t happen.”
Ernest Holsendolph, a retired reporter, baseball fan since childhood and Journal-isms reader, posed these questions to Neal, which Journal-isms passed along:
“I wonder if he does any work encouraging young writers to look at baseball as a beat, dudes and girls,” Holsendolph asked. “Also, since baseball has mostly served print and TV, has baseball had any interest in encouraging blogging and other new media in covering and following baseball? Do bloggers and other new media get press box rights? This is important because baseball, more than other sports, is highly statistical and you cannot follow unless you are in the press box.”
Neal responded, “Well, I speak to local high school students and have had a couple shadow me at the ballpark. Honestly, I encounter just a few who want to be seamheads (baseball writers). I don’t think baseball encourages blogging but it does understand that credible newsgathering organizations produce blogs and tweet from games. I know the Twins have issued credentials to local bloggers in the past, but not on a daily basis. The BBWAA cards are issued to writers who prove they travel with clubs. That’s our main requirement. If you are with a credible organization and plan to cover road games, you can receive a BBWAA card. We look at each case separately.”
“Seamhead” refers to the distinctive seam on a baseball.