The number of journalists of color in daily newspaper and online-only  newsrooms declined for the third consecutive year, the American Society of News Editors reported Thursday in disclosing the results of its annual diversity survey.

Minority journalists declined from 5,500 to 5,300, though overall, "American newspapers showed a very slim increase in newsroom employees last year, finally halting a three-year exodus of journalists," ASNE said.

The decline in journalists of color contrasts with the news industry's stated goal of parity with the number of people of color in the general population by 2025, and as demographic changes show the nation heading toward majority-minority status.

The percentage of minorities in newsrooms totaled 12.79 percent, a decline of .47 of a percentage point from a year ago. Asian Americans dropped from 3.27 percent in 2010 to 3.10 in 2011; African Americans from 4.88 percent in 2010 to 4.68 in 2011; Hispanics from 4.63 percent in 2010 to 4.54 in 2011; and Native Americans constant at .48 percent.

Black journalists have been particularly affected as newsrooms downsize or individuals seek a more secure line of work.

Last year, ASNE noted that "there were 929 fewer black journalists in the 2010 survey than were recorded in 2001, a drop of 31.5 percent. The number of Native American journalists dropped by 52, or 20.9 percent in the same period. Hispanic representation declined by 145, or 7 percent. The number of white journalists fell by 10,400, or 20.9 percent."

ASNE said it also surveyed the staffs at 61 online-only newspapers. Fifty percent returned their survey forms, compared with more than 59 percent response rate from 1,389 daily newspapers.

Once again, some well-known online organizations that had declined to participate previously were missing: Salon.com, Yahoo, the Daily Beast, Politico, AOL and Huffington Post. However, MinnPost, which reported no journalists of color, ProPublica, which reported 20 percent, and the New York operation of Patch.com did so. Patch reported 13.6 percent.

The entreaties to do better have become an annual feature of the reports.

"At a time when the U.S. Census shows that minorities are [36] percent of the U.S. population, newsrooms are going in the opposite direction. This is an accuracy and credibility issue for our newsrooms," Milton Coleman, ASNE president, said in Wednesday's ASNE news release.

"The slight decline in minority newsroom representation may be small, but is part of a disturbing trend that we need to reverse," Ronnie Agnew, co-chair of ASNE’s Diversity Committee, added in the release.

"The U.S. Census numbers clearly tell us that people of color populations are growing while our newsrooms aren't reflecting that growth. This should be a concern to all who see diversity as an accurate way of telling the story of a new America," Agnew said.

Karen Magnuson, co-chair of ASNE’s Diversity Committee said, "Accurately reflecting the diversity of our communities in our newsrooms and local reports is essential to our industry's success — now more than ever. As minority populations grow, we must grow with them, finding innovative ways to meet evolving needs for coverage and information delivery."

Doris Truong, national president of the Asian American Journalists Association, said in AAJA's statement, "In a nation that is quickly approaching a majority of minorities, diversity needs to be a priority for news leaders. Accurate coverage of our communities can best be achieved through representation of those communities within our newsrooms."

Two years ago, the census likewise showed the newspaper industry less and less likely to meet its goal of parity with the general population by 2025. In response to that survey, 25 to 30 industry leaders gathered at the Asian American Journalists Association summer convention and decided that the diversity discussion must be moved away from newsrooms to the broader issue of the "accuracy of the report" via whatever messenger the consumer receives it.

However, facilitator Keith Woods, now at NPR, said then that "three hours is not a lot of time" to redefine what diversity looks like and that it was too soon to tell where the conversation would lead.

The lack of follow-through after that effort was cited at a board meeting of Unity: Journalists of Color two weeks ago in discussing Unity's own effectiveness.

In television appearances Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the late Manning Marable's new "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention," surrogates for Marable called for reopening the investigation of the Malcolm X assassination.

They were speaking to a receptive audience: on Wednesday, the book ranked No. 7 on the Amazon.com best-seller list.

On the "CBS Evening News" on Tuesday, Jim Axelrod introduced his story by calling the assassination "the greatest unsolved mystery of the turbulent 1960s."

Axelrod told viewers that Marable said to the network that he wanted the Justice Department to open the case.

In the words of a New York Times story last Friday, "Based on his new material, Mr. Marable concluded that only one of the three men convicted of killing Malcolm X was involved in the assassination, and that the other two were at home that day. The real assassination squad, he writes, had four other members, with connections to the rival Nation of Islam’s Newark mosque — two of whom are still alive and have never been charged."

"Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a historian who writes for the Woodson Review and other publications of the respected Association for the Study of African American Life and History, identified the trigger man on his blog . . . as William Bradley, about 72 years old, and known today as Mustafa Shabazz" of Newark.

Unlike newspapers that reported on the book over the weekend, none of the television networks — CBS, CNN and MSNBC — named the alleged triggerman. Ali Velshi of CNN's "American Morning" said he was "not going to give away the book." Still, Velshi told viewers that New York police actions were wanting. "By any standard, the investigation was shoddy," he said.

Senior researcher Zaheer Ali, who worked with Marable at Columbia University as a graduate student, told Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC that Marable had hoped the book would "start an important conversation that would lead to opening the investigation."

The book's editor, Wendy Wolf, said in the same interview that she hoped readers would "focus on his life and not just his death," because Marable uncovered details that might put Malcolm in a more complex light.

The allegation about Shabazz had been raised in 1992 in what has been called the definitive account of Malcolm's assassination, "Conspiracys: Unravelling the Assassination of Malcolm X" by Zak A. Kondo, who now teaches at Baltimore City Community College. "Conspiracys" implicated government agencies and the Nation of Islam in the killing.

Kondo told Journal-isms on Tuesday that he and others had discussed with Marable the idea of bringing Bradley to justice. Identifying Bradley publicly is "a good first step; the real challenge is how do we accord him justice for what he did to Malcolm?" he said. As a model, Kondo said, he and others had looked at the example of Byron De La Beckwith, who was convicted in 1994 in the killing of civil rights leader Medgar Evers three decades earlier.

"We have to get a D.A. who will be open to it, and b, we have to get some new evidence," Kondo said.

Asked whether the case might be reopened, Tracy Golden, a spokeswoman for the New York County District Attorney's Office, told Journal-isms, "We do not comment on whether something is under investigation."

"Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" is about to be panned by Karl Evanzz, author of "The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad" (1999) and "The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X" (1992).

"I have known since 1981 that William Bradley was the shotgun assassin," Evanzz, a former Washington Post researcher, told Journal-isms by email. "Zak Kondo established that beyond any question in his 1993 book." Abdur-Rahman Muhammad's contribution was linking Bradley "to the Audubon through film footage captured minutes after the assassination. Thanks to the eagle eyes of Omar Shabazz of New York, we now have proof that Hagan, Bradley and Butler were the three shooters," he said, referring to Norman 3X Butler, who was convicted in the killing but maintained his innocence, and Thomas Hagan, formerly Talmadge X Hayer, who was paroled last year.

"The testimony of Sharon 6X Poole, who sat on the front row inside the Audubon, along with footage showing a man resembling Butler outside the Ballroom moments after the assassination, prove beyond any doubt that Butler was properly convicted.

"I communicated with Marable last year to get a copy of the eyewitness statement of Sharon 6X Poole after Omar Shabazz sent me a copy of documentary footage wherein Poole, 18, said that she recognized one of the men who killed Malcolm X. She said that she recognized 'the one in the brown suit' from Mosque Number 7, which she had quit recently to follow Malcolm X. She was quite positive. The footage in question was filmed within minutes after the assassination.

"Marable did not provide me with a copy, saying it had been misplaced. He did say, however, that she identified Butler as the man in the brown suit who fired at Malcolm X. His book also reports this.

"The footage Omar Shabazz analyzed shows a man fitting Butler's description outside the Audubon Ballroom just as Malcolm X is being taken across the street to the hospital. He is wearing the same type of hat and coat that Butler wore to the police station after his arrest as a suspect on February 26, 1965. The tell-tale sign is that the man wears his hat at the same unusual angle (about a 45 degree angle) as Butler. Most men would never consider wearing a hat in [that] fashion.

"Omar Shabazz shared the footage and still frames with Marable, but Marable chose to ignore it. To me, that is a colossal failure of scholarship. Worse, Marable's book claims that there is 'evidence' that Butler is innocent. This is an exaggeration and Marable should have known better. He had time to edit the book on this matter because the footnotes reveal that changes to the book were made as late as November 24.

"This instance is one of many problems with Marable's book.

"Marable's failure to explore this information after I brought it to his attention last year is one of many reasons I regard this book as a fraud and a failure.

"I also requested a copy of Linward X Cathcart's statement to the police regarding what he witnessed. He sat next to or near Sharon 6X Poole that day. When Marable replied, I noticed that he consistently misspelled Linward as Linwood. I received a reply from his assistant, who blamed herself for the mistake. She said that Marable dictated his replies to her. She assured me that the book contained the correct spelling.

"If you check the Index, you will see that the first name is misspelled there and in every full reference in the book. There is no excuse for this, especially from a writer who dismisses 'all the books' written about Malcolm X in the 1990s (p. 490). That is beyond chutzpah."

Evanzz said he is working on a review of the book for theRoot.com.

"The full review highlights other fatal flaws," he continued.

"The late author's Amen Corner — David Garrow, Cornel West, Michael Dyson among them — are doing the public and themselves no favor by calling Marable's book his magnum opus. To use street vernacular, it ain't his magnum nothin'."

*Zaheer Ali blog: Television appearances

*Zaheer Ali with Michel Martin on "Tell Me More," NPR: New Biography Raises Questions About Malcolm X's Sexuality

*Dr. Daniel Culver with Michael Eric Dyson, "The Michael Eric Dyson Show": Sarcoidosis (audio)

*Henry Louis Gates Jr., Chronicle of Higher Education: Manning Marable: In Memoriam

*Farah Jasmine Griffin, Black Voices: Remembering Manning Marable

*Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press: Malcolm X's Daughters Unhappy With New Book

*Monique W. Morris, theGrio.com: What Marable would want us to know about Malcolm X

*Dr. Leith Mullings, Dr. Farah Griffin, Zaheer Ali, David Garrow, "The Michael Eric Dyson Show": Remembering Dr. Manning Marable (audio)

*National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Celebrates the Life of Dr. Manning Marable

David Broder "loved few of his colleagues more than he loved Gwen Ifill," Matt Broder, a son of the dean of Washington political writers, said at his father's memorial service on Tuesday. "The friendship they developed deepened over the years. He always looked forward to his appearances on 'Washington Week in Review.'

"There is no more fitting representative for journalism's next generation."

And with that, Ifill joined such boldface names as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Donald Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Co.; three other Broder sons and Post colleague Dan Balz in paying tribute to Broder before an audience of 500 at the National Press Club, and others via a webcast or watching on C-Span.

"When David traveled with 'Washington Week' to Iowa State University in 2000 for a road show, he'd already been a rock star for some time," Ifill said. "When I returned to Iowa State for a visit last week, strangers there offered me condolences, and I realized that any place politics is discussed, he still is a rock star.

"David sat around the table hundreds of times at 'Meet the Press' or on 'Washington Week' or on countless other television roundtables. He had his opinions, but he was seldom a pundit, always a reporter, and consistently the voice of good-humored reason.

"That shouldn't be unique, but it was."

Other journalists of color attending the service included Betty Anne Williams of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Joe Davidson and Kevin Merida of the Washington Post, Vickie Walton-James of NPR, Athelia Knight of Georgetown University and former Post columnist William Raspberry.

The service was to be streamed live on washingtonpost.com and is available around the clock in the C-Span video library.

*Ronald Brownstein, the Atlantic: David Broder and His Era

*James Hohmann, Politico: Remembering 'irreplaceable' Broder

*Rebecca Kaplan, National Journal: Biden on Broder: I Cared What He Thought about Me

*Andy Marso, Southern Maryland Online: U-Md.'s Broder Remembered as "Towering Figure" in Journalism

"As part of USC Annenberg’s diversity initiative, the School of Journalism began educating new students this academic year with a 'Fault Lines' approach that teaches them to better recognize race, class, gender/sexual orientation, generation and geography when reporting," Jackson DeMos wrote Tuesday for the USC Annenberg News.

"The Fault Lines concept, developed by the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, helps reporters understand and cover a diverse spectrum of people. The curriculum committee this last fall began using the concept as a required component in all core reporting and writing classes.

" 'I love that USC Annenberg is giving students the tools they need to cover diversity before they get to the newsroom,' said Dori Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute. 'We’re very excited about this. Teaching students to cover communities that don’t look like their own is essential to journalism.'

". . . USC Annenberg and the Maynard Institute have a long-standing relationship. Adjunct journalism professor Frank Sotomayor, a co-founder of the Maynard, introduced Fault Lines last fall to undergraduate and graduate students in beginning news writing classes.

Sotomayor credited Geneva Overholser, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, as "the key person in making this happen."

*"Yesterday, AOL’s Huffington Post Media Group got into hot water after the top editor at its Moviefone unit sent a memo to freelancers it was in the midst of firing, offering them an opportunity to 'contribute as part of our non-paid blogger system,' Kara Swisher wrote Wednesday for All Things Digitial. "Today, sources said that exec — Moviefone Editor in Chief Patricia Chui — was fired by the company, which is in the midst of drastically rejiggering its stable of writers." Jeff Bercovici added for forbes.com, "It’s traditional to hold executions in the middle of the night, and it was during the wee hours last night that AOL notified an unknown number of freelance writers and editors that their services will no longer be needed."

*"It's chilling, though understandable, that the master's degree in journalism at FAMU is targeted for elimination," Meredith Clark wrote Tuesday for the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat, referring to Florida A&M University. "It is small, and in terms of our more-more-more performance culture, labeled an underachiever. Even so, it could be an academic success story in the making."

*"National Public Radio's Board of Directors was so panicked by James O'Keefe's initial video sting release last month that it requested its CEO resign just as the organization was getting its hands on the transcripts to O'Keefe's unedited video," Eric Boehlert reported Wednesday for Media Matters. The CEO, Vivian Schiller, "stressed the irony of the controversy was that when the story first broke, she was determined to take things slow and to not make what she conceded were mistakes in the handling of [Juan Williams'] firing last year."

*"One of the best things about Hispanicize, the second annual Hispanic PR and social media conference taking place April 6th-8th at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, is that it shines a light on the myriad of Hispanic bloggers," Richard Horgan wrote Tuesday for FishbowlLA. ". . . The keynote address at the conference will be given by actor Edward James Olmos."

*"On Tuesday we came across this little correction at The New York Post:" Ujala Sehgal wrote Wednesday for Fishbowl NY. "The Post incorrectly attributed a quote to Toni Braxton in an article published on March 25. Braxton did not say: 'I have a big-ass house, three cars and I fly first class all around the world. Some say I have the perfect life.' " . . . .We checked out the article in question, and it is about how poor Toni Braxton has turned to reality TV after two bankruptcies, hasn’t worked in two and a half years because of illness, is a divorced mother of two whose youngest son suffers from autism, and may have to pose for Playboy for the cash."

*"Since leaving office on January 1, New York Governor David Paterson has been keeping busy. But not as you might think. The former governor has quietly been forging a new career, which incorporates his previous one," Jerry Barmash wrote Tuesday for Fishbowl NY. "He has become a radio go-to guy, and surprisingly, not as a guest to discuss politics, but as host of his own show. He brings a knowledge and passion to the subject. Paterson can focus on politics and current events while filling in for John Gambling mornings on WOR. At WABC, there is the Religion on the Line show, which to date he’s done once. Arguably, Paterson’s most relaxed at WFAN."

*In Colombia, according to Reporters Without Borders, "Peasant, trade union and indigenous groups and affiliated news media are designated as 'permanent military targets' in three leaflets apparently issued by paramilitary groups — the Black Eagles, 'Rastrojos' and United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) — that have been circulating in the southwestern city of Popayán and the surrounding Cauca region since late February. The latest leaflet, dated late March and signed by the AUC’s central column, names 11 journalists."

*On Sunday, MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz will host a two-hour panel discussion with the National Action Network’s Rev. Al Sharpton titled, “A Stronger America: The Black Agenda” beginning at noon ET, the network announced. A promo can be seen here. Panelists are Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO; Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League; Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP; Velma Hart, the Obama supporter who told the president at a town hall meeting in September that she was "exhausted" defending him and his policies; Robert Traynham, Comcast Network; Cornel West, author and Princeton professor; Jeff Johnson, MSNBC contributor and theGrio.com; Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, U.S. Department of Education; Derrell Bradford, executive director of Excellent Education for Everyone; Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University; Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post; and Byron Williams, contributing columnist, Oakland Tribune.

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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.