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HuffPost Picks Editors for Black, Latino Sites

 

New top editors have been named for Black Voices and AOL Latino, and the two sites - now under the direction of the Huffington Post - will migrate from AOL to the Huffington site, or "platform," according to Mario Ruiz, the Huffington Post's vice president for communications.

"Rebecca Carroll has been named managing editor of Black Voices, while Miguel Ferrer has been named Managing Editor of our Latino site. They're overseeing their sites' editorial departments, with Rebecca looking to hire a pop culture editor and a beauty & style editor," Ruiz said by email. "The migration of the sites to the HuffPost platform is expected to take place this summer."

Carroll was named Black Voices culture editor in March. She "has held editor positions at Uptown and Paper magazines, as well as at Contentville.com and Africana.com, where she was the founding editor," Ruiz said. Henry Louis Gates' africana.com shut down in December 2004, and AOL merged it with Black Voices. Carroll is also a former producer for the Charlie Rose show on PBS. "She is the author of several nonfiction books about race in America, including 'Saving the Race' and 'Sugar in the Raw.' Her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, Essence and Elle, among other print and online publications," Ruiz said.

Tariq Muhammad, named director of AOL Black Voices in 2007, has been shifted again. In May, he was identified as general manager of BlackVoices, serving as the liaison between editorial and the business side. Now, Ruiz said, "Tariq has moved to the AOL Branded Experiences Group."

AOL Latino is being renamed Latino Voices. "Prior to becoming Managing Editor of HuffPost Latino Voices, Miguel Ferrer was Director of Programming for AOL Latino, where he was responsible for growing AOL Latino's audience and developing key media partnerships. Before joining AOL Latino, Ferrer was the business development manager for People en Español, where he created the family festival series FIESTA 2006," Ruiz said.

The two sites are "not currently seeking editors in chief," he said, contrary to previous declarations.

AOL Latino had 981,000 unique visitors in April, down from 1,279,000 in March, according to the comScore research service. Black Voices had 1,625,000, up from 1,316,000.

Changes there are part of a broader strategy. "The Huffington Post will be absorbing many of the former stand-alone AOL editorial sites, and in the process expanding from 28 sections to 36," Erick Schonfeld reported Tuesday for TechCrunch. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong "believes that simplifying AOL's content portfolio will make it easier to sell ads and attract readers. Instead of '300 different things that sales people could sell, now they can focus their sales efforts against key categories.'

"AOL's celebrity site PopEater, for instance, will become HuffPost Celebrity. AOL News is already consolidated into the Huffington Post and Politics Daily has been rolled into HuffPost Politics. Kitchen Daily will become HuffPost Kitchen, Parent Dish will become HuffPost Parents, AOL Black Voices will become HuffPost Black Voices, and so on. HuffPost Music, HuffPost Small Business, and HuffPost Kids will all be new."

Moving to the Huffington Post "platform" means more visibility for Black Voices and Latino Voices and more connection to other Huffington Post features, Ruiz said.

"We're excited to be moving both these sites to the Huffington Post platform, which, as Tim Armstrong put it in his email to AOLers this morning, means 'an editorial ecosystem with high-quality content, leading edge blogging, commenting, and social sharing capabilities.' The bottom line is that we expect HuffPost Black Voices and HuffPost Latino Voices to gain visibility, audience, and user engagement by being fully integrated into the HuffPost editorial structure."

Sheila C. Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, had proposed a black-oriented Huffington Post site before Huffington was bought by AOL this year. Such a site was deemed redundant after HuffPost gained control Black Voices.

"Sheila's role as an advisor to AOL Huffington Post Media Group is unchanged," Ruiz said.

"Mark Halperin, a Time magazine editor-at-large, a best-selling author and an MSNBC political analyst, apologized on that network's 'Morning Joe' program this morning after calling President Obama a vile name while assessing yesterday's White House news conference," David Jackson reported Thursday for USA Today.

"I thought he was kind of a d--- yesterday," Halperin said, apparently thinking the word would be bleeped out.

'It wasn't."

MSNBC issued this statement:

"Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.

The MSNBC statement included this apology from Halperin:

"I completely agree with everything in MSNBC's statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it."  

 

"A memorandum of understanding agreed by the AP and the Korean Central News Agency would expand the AP's presence in North Korea to a level unmatched by any other Western news organization. It would build upon the AP's existing video news bureau, which opened in Pyongyang in 2006, by allowing AP text and photo journalists to work in North Korea as well.

"With the signing, the agencies agreed to begin work immediately on detailed planning needed to set up and operate the new bureau as quickly as possible. It would be the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital.

". . . Five years ago, AP Television News, headquartered in London, became the first Western news organization to establish an office in North Korea.

"The AP in recent years has been talking with North Korean officials on various topics including how to set up broader access for AP print and photo journalists to Pyongyang. As the contacts progressed," KCNA hosted Tom Curley, AP president and CEO, in Pyongyang in March.

"AP Seoul Bureau Chief Jean H. Lee and Chief Asia Photographer David Guttenfelder have made several extensive reporting trips to North Korea in the past several months as part of unprecedented coverage of the country and its people.

"A five-member KCNA delegation," led by Kim Pyong Ho, president of Korean Central News Agency, "arrived Saturday for talks with the AP at the AP's world headquarters in New York City."

"Long before Vargas' revelation, AAJA charted and celebrated his accomplishments in journalism, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize he and his Washington Post colleagues won for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting.

"To be clear, AAJA does not condone the actions that Vargas and his family took regarding his immigration status. The mission of journalism is the pursuit of truth, and the fact that Vargas was not fully honest with his employers, sources and readers troubles all of us at AAJA, as it should trouble all journalists.

'AAJA encourages and supports journalists who pursue career advancement in a fair and honest manner. That said, AAJA appreciates Vargas' unblinking, illuminating piece - because the mission of journalism is also about making sure that all voices across our communities are heard. In telling his story, Vargas raises difficult questions and offers a perspective rarely represented in America's divisive immigration debate. And he has done so in a way that humanizes the debate and adds nuance to it - rather than simply trying to shout down others who might disagree."

The statement was signed by Kathy Chow, AAJA national office executive director, and included this caveat: "While the majority of the board agreed with this statement, AAJA National President Doris Truong voluntarily recused herself from this discussion because she is an employee of The Washington Post."

Vargas was born in the Philippines.

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Benjamin Pimentel, Philippines: The TNT in the Filipino experience

Dick Rogers, San Francisco Chronicle: Reporter's immigration secret raises credibility questions

Are Cuba's "independent journalists" - who some say are paid by the United States - bona fide professionals worthy of advocacy efforts by such press-Omar Rodríguez Saludesfreedom groups as the Committee to Protect Journalists?

Yes, a committee spokeswoman told Journal-isms. If the committee can advocate for journalists reporting for state-run media, then Cuba's "independent journalists" qualify, too.

The question arose again after the committee last week released a report on journalists who have been forced into exile. "Iran, which has waged a massive, two-year-long crackdown on the independent press, and Cuba, which freed journalists from prison only to force them to leave their homeland, each sent 18 journalists into exile," said the special report by Elisabeth Witchel.

The authenticity of the Cuban journalists was debated in the comments section of this column in 2006 by David Gonzalez, a New York Times reporter, and DeWayne Wickham, columnist for USA Today and Gannett News Service.

"How insane is it for Omar Rodríguez Saludes, an independent Cuban journalist to be tossed in jail for 27 years for crossing the Cuban State?" Gonzalez wrote. "He was among 75 people who were arrested, tried and quickly sentenced three years ago this month. The wave of arrests, by the way, earned Cuba the dubious distinction of being the world's second biggest jailer of journalists."

Wickham replied, "In all of my trips to Cuba I have met just two kinds of Cuban journalists: those who work for Cuban government owned media and those whose work is subsidized by the United States government.

"How, in a communist country in which the government controls all jobs, does Mr. Gonzalez think these 'independent journalists' make a living?

"I met with several of these 'independent [journalists]' during one of my visits to Cuba. When they complained about losing their jobs after they sent information to their U.S. contacts that was critical of the Castro government, (that's what their [journalism] amounts to: telephone calls, faxes and emails to people in the United States), I asked how they managed financially. One of the 'independent journalists' pointed to an American embassy official who had accompanied them to the meeting and said: 'We get help from our friends.' "

Referrring to that exchange, Journal-isms took the issue to Gypsy Guillén Kaiser, advocacy and communications director for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

"In Cuba, where domestic news outlets are state-owned and supervised by the Communist Party, journalists who do not work for such outlets are legally and by default considered dissidents by their government," she replied by email this week. "Although the Cuban government has labeled them 'mercenaries,' an analysis of trial documents shows that the journalists' work was within the parameters of the legitimate exercise of free expression established under international human rights standards. While you and others are certainly entitled to your own opinion on whether these journalists are 'authentic', their reporting, carried out independently of the Cuban state, is a fundamental right and one which CPJ proudly defends.

"Coincidentally, in July, we will issue a report covering press freedom conditions on the island following the 'Black Spring' crackdown in 2003 and the reforms currently taking place in the country. Most interestingly, Cuba is slated to launch a new fiber-optic cable next month which should, ostensibly, bring broader access to the general population. We hope that you'll find that report interesting and useful for your own discussions.

". . . The guidelines utilized are found here. CPJ defends journalists and we have taken action on behalf of journalists at state-owned media as needed (here is one example among many)."

"Two French journalists who had been held hostage in Afghanistan for 18 months were released on Wednesday, according to the French government and the television channel that had sent them there," Katrin Bennhold wrote for the New York Times.

"France 3 television said the reporters, Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière, had been freed along with their interpreter, Reza Din. All three men appear to be in good health. The two journalists are expected to return to France shortly.

"After one of France's longest hostage ordeals, President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a statement Wednesday afternoon thanking 'everyone who participated in freeing the hostages.' He also expressed gratitude to his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, for his help in the situation.

"Both seasoned war reporters, Mr. Ghesquière, 47, and Mr. Taponier, his 46-year-old cameraman, were kidnapped by Taliban militants on Dec. 30, 2009, while reporting on a story on reconstruction of a road east of Kabul. Their captors had apparently made several demands in exchange for their release, though it was unclear Wednesday what those demands had been and whether any of them had been met."

"Where is the Diversity in Network News?," an open letter to network executives and editors posted a week ago by Kathy Y. Times, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, gained traction this week when at least three journalism websites - Romenesko's blog for the Poynter Institute, TVNewser and the subscription-only NewsBlues - reported on it.

"As Scott Pelley replaces Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News and Glenn Beck prepares to leave Fox News Channel, a question looms. Where is the diversity?" it began.

"People of color comprise more than a third of the U.S. population. The 2010 Census shows the minority population is growing from coast to coast, and the majority of children in the U.S. will be minorities by 2050. So, there's a strong case to be made that news media is running in the wrong direction of its audience.

"The Big 3 networks and cable news channels have undergone a series of rare changes behind the desk. While the replacements are all seasoned journalists, what is glaringly missing in the flurry of changes is the failure to elevate African Americans to any of these positions. . . . "

"On the print side, NABJ applauded The New York Times for its recent decision to promote an African American, Dean Baquet, to managing editor of news. Unfortunately, black editors are becoming an 'endangered species' in the midst of layoffs. For example, daily newspapers in Houston and Savannah have staffs that are disproportionately white. Yet, the communities they serve are overwhelmingly of color. The Houston Chronicle does not have a single black metro editor deciding what gets covered on a daily basis."

Randy Falco"Randy Falco, executive VP and COO at Univision Communications, has been named president and CEO of the Spanish-language giant, effective immediately. Falco will also become a member of the Univision board of directors and will continue to be based in New York," Michael Malone reported Wednesday for Broadcasting & Cable.

". . . Joe Uva stepped down as CEO in April.

". . . Falco assumed the role of executive VP and COO in early 2011, overseeing all revenue functions for Univision. Previously he held the position of chairman and CEO at AOL.

"Falco spent more than 30 years at NBC Universal, Inc., culminating as president and COO of NBC Universal Television Group."

"Networks such as Black Entertainment Television, VH1, TV One, WE [tv], TNT and TBS will showcase their programming talent during the July 1-3 event, which will feature as its main attraction live musical performances from such top acts as Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, Kanye West, Jill Scott, Chaka [Khan], New Edition and Mary J. Blige.

"With African Americans watching more television than any other ethnic group and with African-American buying power expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2013, executives say the festival provides an opportunity to reach an important audience segment. Cable networks will give festival attendees a chance to meet and greet talent from their respective shows via booth visits and panel discussions."

In a news release, Essence also touted a three-day "ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, which is free and open to the public" in New Orleans.

". . . On Saturday (July 2nd), ESSENCE will be 'Transforming Your Community' through conversations with Rev. Al Sharpton, Soledad O'Brien and Terry McMillan, as well as a panel discussion entitled, 'America I Am' featuring: Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West, Iyanla Vanzant, Tom Burrell and Jeff Henderson. In addition, CNN will host a political panel featuring Valerie Jarrett, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Mayor Kasim Reed, moderated by CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux."

Ken Strickland, a veteran Washington producer for NBC News who in March was named deputy Washington bureau chief, was drafted for on-air analysis Wednesday on MSNBC after President Obama's news conference. "Before I got the deputy gig, I was convinced to do some on-air stuff. I thought that would end when I got to management," he told Journal-isms. "Today's appearance was more about the big dogs being out of town and unavailable, more than my desire to be on TV." Strickland, who was formerly based on Capitol Hill, commented on Obama's complaint that members of Congress should remain in Washington to deal with debt-ceiling issues. As a former senator, Obama might remember the need for legislators to take time to meet back home with constituents, he said. 

A blogger in Peoria, Ill., who posted an entry about 60 to 70 African American youths marching down the city's four-lane main drag yelling such threats as "We need to kill all the white people around here" found his story picked up by the Drudge Report. "From that solitary blog posting, Drudge picked up the story and it went national over the weekend with Drudge readers nationwide flooding the newspaper and Peoria blog sites, fuming about out-of-control black youths," Danielle Belton reported Tuesday on theblacksnob.com. "But the whole thing was a gross exaggeration." The Peoria Journal-Star reported, "A police report on the incident does not even mention the word race."

Ebony's July covers 'not intended to skew more female than usual'It wasn't intentional, says Editor-in-Chief Amy DuBois Barnett, but the July issue of Ebony looks more than ever like a women's magazine. Cover lines promised "the 50 Finest! Starring Tyrese and Taraji," "5 Minutes That Can Save Your Marriage" and a "Summer Style Guide" featuring "Beach-Ready Looks, Wash-N-Wear Hair" and "Low-Maintenance Nails." Like Essence magazine, Ebony has black women as its primary customers, and the number of male editors at parent Johnson Publishing Co. has shrunk dramatically. But Barnett, former deputy editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar magazine and former editor of Honey, told Journal-isms, "The July cover lines were not intended to skew more female than usual." She pointed to another cover line, "Can We Save Detroit?" a "special report" by veteran journalist Ellis Cose.

"An investigation by ProPublica, PBS 'Frontline' and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars," A.C. Thompson and Chisun Lee of ProPublica and Joe Shapiro and Sandra Bartlett of NPR reported on Tuesday. "We analyzed nearly two dozen cases [10] in the United States and Canada in which people have been accused of killing children based on flawed or biased work by forensic pathologists, and then later cleared," they wrote. They used wrongly convicted African Americans and Hispanics among their examples.

"After years of sinking ratings, the network evening broadcasts added viewers in the second quarter - the first time in a decade that all three posted a quarterly year-over-year audience gain. NBC, ABC and CBS combined added some 1.9 million evening news viewers in the quarter, for a total of 21.7 million viewers," Claire Atkinson reported Wednesday for the New York Post.

"A journalist who had recently reported about the arrest of locals accused of trafficking weapons for criminal activity was found shot to death last week in the eastern town of Kirumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo, report Journaliste en danger (JED) and other IFEX members," the Toronto-based International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (IFEX) reported on Wednesday.

In Sudan, "Reporters Without Borders is extremely disturbed by the Sudanese justice system's decision to keep Abuzar Ali Al-Amin, the deputy editor of the opposition daily Rai Al-Shaab, in prison and to bring new charges against him based on complaints made by the security services. Arrested in May 2010, Al-Amin was given a five-year jail sentence in July 2010 which the supreme court reduced to one year on May 2011. As a result, he had been due to be released on 3 July. Now he is again facing the possibility of life imprisonment or even the death penalty," Reporters Without Borders said.

"Two journalists from the Zimbabwe Standard newspaper were on Wednesday picked up by the police, over a story the paper published about the arrest last week of the [opposition party Movement for Democratic Change] Minister Jameson Timba, who was released from custody on Sunday," the London-based SW Radio Africa reported. "On Wednesday morning the paper's editor, Nevanji Madanhire, posted on the social networking site Facebook that reporter Patience Nyangove had been picked up from their offices by two detectives. An hour later three detectives . . . were back at the Alpha Media Holdings offices to pick up Madanhire."

In Honduras, members of La Voz de Zacate Grande, a community radio station in the far south of the country that is banned from the airwaves, are still being harassed, Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday. Residents use the community radio station to defend their land against designs by a wealthy businessman who wants to build major tourist projects there. "Reporters Without Borders also visited the Afro-Honduran community in the Atlantic-coast locality of Triunfo de La Cruz in April. There too, the local population would be unable to voice their objections to agro-industrial and real estate projects without their radio station to help them."

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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.