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"President Barack Obama is Americans' Most Admired Man of 2010, substantially ahead of the former presidents, iconic religious leaders, and others who fill out the top 10 list. Obama first became Americans' Most Admired Man in 2008, shortly after his election as the nation's 44th president, and has held the title since then," Lydia Saad reported Monday for the Gallup Organization.

". . . Obama is the runaway favorite for Most Admired Man among Democrats nationwide: 46% choose him, followed by 7% who pick Bill Clinton and 5% Nelson Mandela. Obama also leads among independents, with 17%, but ranks second among Republicans behind George W. Bush."

"Hillary Clinton is the Most Admired Woman this year, her ninth consecutive year at No. 1.

"In fact, the order of the top six women named in 2010 is identical to 2009, with Sarah Palin, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, and Queen Elizabeth following Clinton."

Four years ago, filmmaker Spike Lee raised $721,000 to begin a sports journalism program at Morehouse College, saying he believed the prominence of black athletes in sports should be equally represented in the coverage of sports.

Last week, Ron Thomas, who became the director of the Journalism and Sports Program at the college, updated members of the Sports Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists on the progress of the program Lee envisioned.

    "In May our program, which began as a concentration in English with only one journalism course, became an 18-credit hours minor that can be taken by any Morehouse student. . . .

"The program has grown exponentially. In its first semester in 2007, we had eight students. This semester, 45 students enrolled in our courses.

"Students were inspired by accomplished professional journalists as guest lecturers: New York Times sports columnist Bill Rhoden, ESPN.com columnist Vince Thomas, Atlanta Journal-Constitution feature writer Rosalind Bentley, NBA basketball analyst Mike Glenn (an expert on anti-slavery activist Frederick Douglass and black athletes dating back to the early 1800s) and author Gary Pomerantz.

"Our program helped sponsor appearances by these prominent sports figures: Olympics icon Tommie Smith in a panel discussion entitled 'Life After the Locker Room,' former NBA star Chris Webber, and Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner.

"Our strategic plan, entitled 'Changing the Face of Journalism.' established these goals for 2010-2013: increasing the number of professors and support staff, keeping pace with multimedia technology, securing scholarships, helping students obtain internships and admission to graduate journalism programs, and establishing global learning opportunities. . . ."

Thomas ended by noting Lee's seed money, now pegged at $1 million, and asking for contributions. "To replenish and increase that seed money, fund-raising has been added to my duties this school year," he explained.

"Two major disasters — the earthquake in Haiti and the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico — captured the public’s attention more than any other major stories in 2010, but Americans also kept a consistent eye on the nation’s struggling economy," the Pew Research Center for People and the Press reported last week.

Its report on stories that captured the public's news interest during 2010 differed somewhat from the stories' rankings in the Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.

The Haiti earthquake, for example, ranked only fifth among the editors and news directors, while the Gulf oil spill was first.

"In mid-January, 60% of the public said they were following news about the horrific earthquake in Haiti very closely," Pew said. "In mid-July, a comparable 59% said they were following news very closely about the major oil leak in the Gulf that started with a deadly explosion on an oil rig.

"Throughout the year, the economy — the top story in both 2009 and 2008 — was never far from the top of the public’s news interest. . . . According to the weekly News Interest Index survey, the public also closely tracked news about the long-running debate over health care legislation in Washington. Interest peaked at 51% following very closely in mid-March as the House passed the legislation and sent it to President Obama for his signature. And in January, a special election for a Senate seat in Massachusetts attracted unusually high interest because of its implications for the health care bill. More than a third (36%) paid very close attention to Republican Scott Brown’s victory, which dealt a temporary setback to supporters of health care legislation."

Michael Calderone, Yahoo News: Top five media departures of 2010

Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review: Chittum picks his top stories from . . . 2010

Rubén Rosario, St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press: A year's worth of moving stories

"While Hispanic magazines appear to have put the worst of the effects of the recession behind them and key categories like Automotive are recovering, comes the disappointing news that [¡Mira!] magazine — published by American Media, Inc. is folding this month," the Media Economics Group reported Dec. 15.

"An American Media spokesperson has confirmed to Media Economics Group that Mira — its Spanish-language tabloid entertainment magazine — will be folding after the December 27th issue. That issue is scheduled to hit the [newsstands] on December 17th," the Media Economics Group said.

"Mira’s demise is a result not only of its own weakening ad sales, but also undoubtedly related to the well-publicized difficulties of its parent company this year. On November 1st, American Media announced that is was filing for bankruptcy after struggling with a heavy debt load.

"According to HispanicMagazineMonitor data, Mira’s advertisers were primarily direct response advertisers hawking horoscope lines, apparel, diet products and supplements, jewelry, perfumes, and even bedding products."

"John Rentoul has revised and updated his ‘Banned List’ of overused phrases — typically by journalists — and it is well worth a read by writers of all kinds," Joel Gunter wrote last week for the British website Journalism.co.uk.

Rentoul is chief political commentator for Britain's the Independent on Sunday.

"It continues to warn against the criminal practice of turning nouns into verbs (action, disconnect, leverage, storyline, among others), as well as irritating, incomprehensible acronyms (IMO, IMHO, LOL, ROFL and so on) and tired phrases (learning curve, raising awareness, celebrating diversity)," Gunter continued.

"Celebrating diversity" was No. 9 on the list, between "raising awareness" and "best practice."

"Writers of all kinds, beware.

    "Learning curve: 771 articles

"Way beyond: 746 articles

"A no-brainer: 651 articles

"Game changer: 524 articles

"Perfect storm: 520 articles

"Raising awareness: 405 articles

"Elephant in the room: 353 articles

"Not fit for purpose: 327 articles

"Out of the box: 229 articles

"What’s not to like?: 206 articles"

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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.