"The lawyer for ESPN writer Howard Bryant, who was arrested Saturday on charges that he assaulted his wife and a police officer, said Monday that police overreacted to the situation because it involved a black man and a white woman," Fred Contrada reported Monday for the Springfield (Mass.) Republican.

" 'This case is about the fact that racism still exists in America, and Howard Bryant is a victim of it,' said attorney Buz Eisenberg.

"Bryant, 42, a senior writer for ESPN, pleaded innocent Monday in Greenfield District Court to charges of domestic assault and battery, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.

"In an interview with The Republican, Bryant, who is black, and his wife Veronique Bryant, who is white, both insisted that police used unnecessary force while arresting Bryant after what they described as a verbal argument in front of Buckland Pizza in Shelburne Falls. The couple, who live in Ashfield, said some customers in the pizza parlor saw the argument and called police.

" 'It wasn’t an assault or a battery,' said Veronique Bryant. 'I was not scared. He was not touching me. We had a discussion. The police reacted in a totally inappropriate way.'

"Veronique Bryant added that she did not press charges against her husband.

"Howard Bryant, who appeared in court wearing a scarf from the Vancouver Olympics, which he covered for ESPN, acknowledged that he lost his temper in what he termed a 'public altercation,' saying he embarrassed his community, his family and his employer.

" 'On the other hand, everything the police said was false,' Bryant added."

"OWN, her two-month-old channel, is attracting fewer viewers than the obscure channel it replaced, Discovery Health. At any given time this month, there have been about 135,000 people watching OWN, according to the Nielsen Company, and only about 45,000 of those people are women ages 25 to 54, the demographic that the channel is focusing on.

"Those ratings levels, down about 10 percent from Discovery Health’s levels last year, are being carefully watched by people who would like to rebuild cable channels around other celebrities, and by investors who worry that OWN is a drag on Discovery’s stock.

"Ms. Winfrey and her partner, Discovery Communications, have preached patience, especially because she will have a minimal presence on the channel until after 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' ends its remarkable run in September. Until then, OWN is nurturing shows like 'Our America,' a series of documentaries hosted by Lisa Ling, which last week became the first show to be renewed by the channel.

"The early lesson of OWN, according to its chief executive Christina Norman, is that Oprah fans expect a lot of original programming. 'We opened the store, and they cleaned us out, so now we have to restock the shelves much faster than we thought we did,' she said in an interview at the end of January."

Veteran journalist Caesar Andrews, former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press and an ethics and diversity faculty member at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, has won the 2011 Robert G. McGruder Award from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University, the school announced on Monday.

Andrews was elected president of the Associated Press Managing Editors in 2002 and served as an officer of the American Society of News Editors until 2008. He was a senior editor for nearly 30 years in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., New York and Michigan, where he completed his Gannett Co. career in 2008 at the Free Press.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of media professionals who encourage diversity in the field of journalism, in the spirit of McGruder, a 1963 Kent State graduate who was the first African American editor of the Daily Kent Stater, the first black reporter for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, the first African American president of the Associated Press Managing Editors group and the first black editor at the Free Press.

Winners deliver a lecture at the university. Among past recipients are Greg Moore, editor of the Denver Post, in 2003; David Lawrence Jr., retired Knight Ridder executive and former Miami Herald publisher, in 2004; Albert Fitzpatrick, retired Knight Ridder executive and former editor of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, in 2005; Leonard Pitts Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Miami Herald, in 2006; and Richard Prince, columnist for the Maynard Institute of Journalism Education, in 2010.

Leon Bibb, an anchor for WEWS-TV in Cleveland and the first African American news anchor in Ohio, is to receive the Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership Award.

Andrews began teaching ethics and diversity at the Cronkite School in January. He is the school’s Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor in Ethics for the spring semester. He is also a board member for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the Student Press Law Center.

During his 2002 term as APME president, an annual award named for McGruder was established recognizing outstanding diversity efforts in U.S. newsrooms. A frequent discussion leader at industry conferences, Andrews has also participated in student outreach targeting future journalists, teaching journalism at Grambling State University, his alma mater, during a one-year leave. He has been active in the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

The awards program takes place March 17 at Kent State.

"In their campaign to stifle the rights of public employees in Wisconsin, the would-be masters of the universe are fanning the embers of a human vice: envy," Gregory Stanford, former editorial writer and columnist for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, wrote Sunday on his blog.

"You no longer have the nifty pension or health insurance or the decent pay or the union protection that you or your parents once enjoyed. You may have even lost your job. Yet, look at those fat-cat public employees, strutting around with their good salaries and benefits and their union rights — all made possible with your hard-earned money. That’s so unfair. They should suffer just like you do.

"The upshot is that this message is being brought to the working stiffs in the private sector by the very people who helped make them suffer: our corporate overlords (think brothers Charles and David Koch among others). They helped shove those workers onto a downward economic spiral. Now these tycoons are counting on their victims to reach up and grab their public-sector brothers and sisters and pull them down that spiral, too.

". . . We don’t tell workers at our cable TV company or our computer store they shouldn’t bargain for fair wages because that’s our money they’re dealing with. Rather, we figure that once the money leaves our hands, it’s no longer ours. What’s ours is the 200 TV channels or the 500-gigabyte computer we got in exchange."

Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Call shows real prank is ultimately on the voters

Chris Kromm, Facing South, Institute for Southern Studies: Southern public workers: 'Welcome to our world'

Myriam Marquez, Miami Herald: Waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to blink

Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: Unions Are Going To Have To Negotiate Over Public Wages

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: It's a good gag, but all too real to be funny

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Starving Wisconsin's unions

Ruben Rosario, St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer-Press: Hey union haters, don't read this. You won't like it.

Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A government shutdown would cost taxpayers millions a day

Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: If Wisconsin unions are bad, what about police?

Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Voters don’t like Wisconsin governor’s union-busting

DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: In Wisconsin, union-busting as GOP strategy

One of the most unusual pieces appearing during this year's Black History Month ran last week in the Times-Picayune of New Orleans. Intended to peg to the month or not, columnist Jarvis DeBerry reminded readers of the importance of family.

It began: "To be in New Orleans is to be among family. It doesn't matter if you share no blood with anybody else here; if you've been here long enough for introductions, you've been here long enough to belong.

"I became a part of Thelma Amedee's family the year my maternal grandmother died. She read a poem at church that reminded me of the great poetry reciter I'd just lost. Later, when the church bulletin listed her as ill, I told her that in a get-well card. She called the number I'd included and began telling me about the AARP Expo in San Diego and how she'd fallen ill so suddenly she missed seeing Patti LaBelle and how back when Andrew was alive they'd loved to go all over. She still liked to travel. After 45 minutes she paused. 'I'm sorry. Do you have time to talk?' It was a turning point for me, that moment I said yes.

"Sometimes I'd drive her home from church, and she'd tell me how things used to be: when she played point guard at McDonogh 35, when she ran a bookstore on Dryades, when Claiborne was lined with oaks, when you couldn't even work for the city as a garbage man unless you were white.

"Her perfectly ordered house was destroyed Aug. 29, 2005. She herself was storm-tossed. How awful it must be to spend one's 80s as a nomad. After a time in Texas and a couple of assisted living facilities down the bayou, she made it back to New Orleans — well, Algiers — last year. Tuesday, she died. She was 84.

"She was my encyclopedia of how New Orleans used to be. Her taking me in as her own? That perfectly embodies the kind of city we still are."

Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Story of Philadelphia activist resonates today

Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Joy-Ann Reid Stays Ahead of the Game

Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Sheila Brooks Pursuing Her Purpose in Business

Dwight Lewis, Nashville Tennessean: Hermitage had slaves, now honors freedom

Julianne Malveaux, USA Today: Black women paved economic inroads

David Person, USA Today: Should we 'celebrate' the Civil War?

Shirin Sadeghi, New America Now: Celebrating Black History Month (audio)

David Squires, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.: Saturday's heavy lesson on education

Erica Taylor, The Tom Joyner Morning Show: Little-Known Black History Fact: Dwayne McDuffie

Cynthia Tucker blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The challenge of a new black history museum

"The King's Speech," the tale of King George VI's quest to find his voice, won four Academy Awards Sunday night.

The film had special resonance for CBS correspondent Byron Pitts, who wrote Feb. 21 on the Huffington Post:

"About a third of the way through 'The King's Speech' I almost got up and walked out. Not because the movie wasn't compelling, but rather it hit too close to home. Watching the performance of Colin Firth as King George VI made my eyes water. Like the late king, and an estimated 68 million people around the world, I stutter. Long after the credits rolled I told my wife about my discomfort watching the movie. She said 'didn't you see it as a victory?' To which I answered: 'there are always painful battles before victory.'

"For those of us who stutter, it is often a daily tug of war. Will I? Won't I? And what happens if I do? I'm a 50-year old African-American man. I'm as conscious of my stutter as I am the color of my skin. Proud of how far I've come. Still leery of what lurks beyond every sentence."

David Folkenflik with Liane Hansen, NPR: Libya A Dicey Beat For Reporters

Inter Press Service/Al Jazeera: African Migrants Targeted in Libya 

Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe: United States must break the addiction to foreign oil

Phillip Martin, Huffington Post: Somalia to Libya to Malta: Nomadic Migration Part 1

Sophia Tareen, Associated Press: Farrakhan: Libya's [Gaddafi] Remains a Friend

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: It's time to get tough with Libya

Jack White, theRoot.com: Romancing the Dictators

Solomon Jones, Philadelphia Daily News: Clooney, Roberts could never follow the Average Joe's act

Mychal Denzel Smith, theGrio.com: 10 ways to get more diversity at the Oscars

Miki Turner, Jet: Oscars, race and opportunity

"The U.S. ambassador to China said Monday that American and other foreign journalists were 'illegally detained or harassed as they attempted to do their jobs' while covering protests in downtown Beijing over the weekend," CNN.com reported in a story attributed to "CNN wire staff."

The Wall Street Journal, in a story by Jeremy Page in Beijing and James T. Areddy in Shanghai, reported, "Security officers also detained several foreign journalists, including Stephen Engle, a reporter for Bloomberg Television. The Wall Street Journal saw Mr. Engle being grabbed by several security officers, pushed to the ground, dragged along by his leg, punched in the head and beaten with a broom handle by a man dressed as street sweeper."

"Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. said in a statement that one reporter was 'severely beaten and detained for many hours,' " the CNN story continued.

" 'I call on the Chinese government to hold the perpetrators accountable for harassing and assaulting innocent individuals and ask that they respect the rights of foreign journalists to report in China,' he said.

"Journalists including CNN's Eunice Yoon and Jo Ling Kent were physically harassed by Chinese security Sunday as they planned to cover a protest — which never took place, perhaps because of heavy police presence.

"They were shoved, dragged and at times carried away from the scene. Their cameras were confiscated and footage was deleted, and a press card was taken away from Yoon, who wrested it back from an officer who refused to give his name.

" 'We found out many other journalists were treated the same and, in some cases, much worse,' Yoon wrote.

"A former colleague and friend of mine, Steve Engle of Bloomberg News, had been dragged into an alley by several police who beat him up. He ended up at the hospital."

"China's foreign affairs ministry did not respond to a request for comment from CNN Monday.

"The heavy security was a response to a second weekend in a row of anonymous calls by organizers for a pro-democracy demonstration in Beijing.

"Hundreds of Chinese police officers along with more than 120 vehicles flooded Beijing's central pedestrian shopping area, Wangfujing, on Sunday, around the site of a second attempted 'jasmine' rally inspired by pro-democracy protests in Tunisia."

The Journal reported, "The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China said in a statement it was 'appalled by the attack on one of our members by men who appeared to be plainclothes security officers in Beijing.' It called on the Chinese government to ensure the physical safety of all reporters and their staff while carrying out assignments in China."

Sarah Feinberg, a spokeswoman for Bloomberg, had no comment for Journal-isms.

"Libya has never been a friendly place for foreign journalists," Michael Calderone wrote Monday for Yahoo News. "A media ban kept reporters away as the uprising against strongman [Moammar] Gaddafi began on Feb. 17, and officials of the Gaddafi regime blasted journalists entering opposition-controlled areas last week as 'outlaws' and al-Qaeda sympathizers.

"Such hardball tactics, along with rambling speeches aired on Libyan state television, haven't helped Gaddafi in the court of public opinion. So the regime is now trying to make its case though the western media, claiming the government hasn't brutally cracked down on protesters (which it has) and that Gaddafi is firmly in control of the North African country (which he isn't).

"On Monday, Gaddafi made such arguments to ABC News' [Christiane]  Amanpour — no stranger to dealing with authoritarian leaders — and journalists from the Times of London and BBC. 'All my people love me,' [Gaddafi] insisted. 'They would die to protect me.' . . .

"Despite the government's attempt to get in front of the story, journalists arriving in Tripoli since Saturday aren't reporting back a story that matches Gaddafi's rhetoric.

"New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick, in the lead article in Sunday's paper, described how Gaddafi's media ploy backfired as 'foreign journalists he invited to the capital discovered blocks of the city in open defiance of his authority.' The government tried to sanitize the appearance of destabilizing unrest, and even picked the drivers who shuttled around the media. But that didn't work."

 

"Of the 146 former staff members who responded to a survey about their lives two years after the paper closed, 92 said they're still working as journalists," John Temple, the last president and publisher of the defunct Rocky Mountain News, reported on his blog about the defunct Denver paper. Among those who responded were sports reporter Aaron Lopez, now a communications specialist with Nuggets.com; photographer Barry Gutierrez, now working freelance for the Associated Press and other outlets; and Presentation Editor Jon Perez, now city editor/online editor the Gilroy (Calif.) Dispatch.

 "I will retire on April 1, or April Fool’s Day, because that is the day I launched my last and final newspaper, Native Sun News," veteran journalist Tim Giago announced in his column on Monday. "I made the terrible mistake of selling my first two newspapers, Indian Country Today and the Lakota Journal, to Indian tribes. I soon discovered that freedom of the press was not a part of their philosophy. I will not make that mistake again. Instead, I will turn the paper over to employees that have worked for me for many years, employees that are young and hungry and all of them are Lakota except for the one African American who is part Native American."

"Terence Shepherd, who has helped lead Miami Herald business coverage for 13 years, is leaving to become managing editor of Bankrate.com," effective March 11, Managing Editor Rick Hirsch wrote to the staff. "In his time at The Herald, Terence has played a series of key roles, including Business Monday editor and helping to develop key web strategies for our business coverage. He also helped lead the development of the WLRN-Miami Herald News weekly radio segment, The Friday Business Report." Bankrate describes itself as "the Web's leading aggregator of financial rate information, offering an unparalleled depth and breadth of rate data and financial content."

Alison Bethel McKenzie, a former Washington bureau chief for the Detroit News, was named director of the International Press Institute in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday by the institute's board of directors. She had been deputy director, then acting director and is likely the first African American to lead an international press-freedom organization.

"President Obama has added a second staff member to work with the Spanish-language press," Charlie Ericksen wrote for Hispanic Link News Service. Alejandra Campoverdi, 31, becomes deputy director of Hispanic media, working with Luis Miranda, its director since the start of the Obama administration. "For the past two years, Campoverdi served as special assistant to White House deputy chief of staff for policy Mona Sutphen."

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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.