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"Jose Antonio Vargas is a man on a mission," Margaret Sullivan, public editor of the New York Times, wrote on Monday. "The journalist turned immigration activist wants news organizations to stop using the term 'illegal immigrants,' which he finds disparaging and inaccurate. He's particularly focusing on The Times and The Associated Press to change their policies.

"Mr. Vargas has approached me about it by e-mail, and I've said I would be happy to hear him out. I should note that, as public editor, I don't make Times policy on such things. However, I could, at some point, take a stand.

"At this point, I don't know enough.

"I do know what Mr. Vargas -- who revealed that he is an 'undocumented immigrant' in a Times Magazine piece last year -- told the Online News Association in a speech there last Friday.

"And I talked about it Monday morning with Philip B. Corbett, the associate managing editor for standards at The Times. 'We do think about this, and we talk about it all the time,' he said.

" ' Obviously we know this is a sensitive area, one that we continue to struggle with. As my colleague Julia Preston, who covers immigration, has suggested, we're trying hard to be neutral on an issue where there isn't much neutral ground. . . .' "

Corbett maintained that "illegal immigrants" was accurate and that ". . . Proposed alternatives like 'undocumented' seem really to be euphemisms . . . "

Anna-Lysa Gayle, Jill Knight, Brandon Weight, Heikki Pölönen and Nicholas Slayton, Online News Association: An Evening for Celebrating Innovation

MacKenzie Weinger, Politico: Vargas to AP, NYT: End 'illegal immigrant'

"To put it simply -- Minor's new appointment is major news.

"CNP, the privately owned company that produces 18 magazines including Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair and GQ, has been in existence since 1909. That's 103 years that no black editor has ever been named to the top of an editorial masthead at the company -- until now. Yikes!

"Minor fills the top spot at Brides that was left vacant after the announcement earlier this month that Anne Fulenwider would be leaving the title to become the new editor-in-chief of Marie Claire. . . ."

Minor joined Conde Nast last year after three years at black-oriented Uptown magazine, where she was editor in chief for three years.

Brides, a monthly, is not an especially large magazine. It recorded a circulation of 317,887 for the six months ending June 30, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. By comparison, Essence, the leading magazine for black women, was at 1,080,633.

Its monthly circulation tops 300,000.

However, Minor's position and the whiteness of the industry in which she holds it give the appointment its significance.

Sid Holt, chief executive of the American Society of Magazine Editors, told Journal-isms by email, "ASME doesn't comment on specific personnel decisions, but the society welcomes any action that increases diversity in magazine newsrooms. Keija is also a veteran National Magazine Awards judge, so as the administrator of the awards, I'm especially happy for her."

Minor is the latest in a small group of African Americans to edit a mainstream magazine. Mark Whitaker, editor of Newsweek magazine for eight years until 2006, was the first and only African American to edit a major newsmagazine. He is now executive vice president and managing editor at CNN. In 2007, Roy S. Johnson became the top editor at Men's Fitness, owned by American Media, Inc. He is now editor-in-chief, History magazine and digital.

From 2003 to 2005, Amy DuBois Barnett was managing editor at Teen People, the first African American woman to head a major mainstream consumer magazine. She is now editor-in-chief at Ebony. At Time Inc., Sheryl Hilliard Tucker was executive editor at Money magazine from 1995 to 2006 and editor of Your Company Magazine from 1995 to 1998. She went on to become an executive editor at Time Inc. and is now a consultant in corporate philanthropy. Corynne L. Corbett was editor of Mode from 1999 to 2001, and Danyel Smith was editor at Billboard for 14 months in 2011-12.

Marcia Ann Gillespie was editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine from 1992 to 2001, but Ms. is not considered a consumer publication. Joel Dreyfuss was editor of PC magazine from 1991 to 1994, editor-in-chief of Information Week from 1994 to 1996 and editor-in-chief of Red Herring from 2004 to 2008.

Several journalists of color have been editor of Vibe magazine, created to reflect the music culture of people of color. Among Asian Americans, Janice Min has been among the most successful, leading the Hollywood Reporter after holding the editor-in-chief position at Us Weekly until 2009.

The magazine industry has long been considered one of the whitest parts of the news media.

Last month, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in his blog for the Atlantic: "Magazines have long had a diversity problem, and that diversity problem is inscribed in their DNA. You can add on to this the fact that the traditional way of breaking into magazines [involves] ways utterly inaccessible to most black people. The unpaid internship was long seen as a [rite] of passage. Very few Americans can afford such a luxury, and fewer still African-Americans can afford it."

Few pieces have examined the issue recently, but in 2006, Lizzy Ratner wrote "Vanilla Ceiling: Magazines Still Shades Of White," for the New York Observer. ". . . At Condé Nast, the premier magazine empire, the fleet of 29 top editors includes just one person of color," Ratner wrote then.

". . . the whiteness of the magazine world is the kind of thing that everyone knows but no one talks about -- at least not out loud, not at full volume, unless they happen to be soused or silly at their annual holiday party.

"Several industry professionals traced this silence to the fact that magazines are, in the end, just magazines: waxy-paged collections of ads and articles that may provide everything from political analysis to eyebrow-waxing advice, but are hardly essential guardians of the public interest. Rightly or wrongly, they are generally not considered to be as 'important' as newspapers.

"Yet they make up an industry that generates some $18 billion in ad sales and reaches tens of millions of readers each year. As one African-American entertainment writer said, the people who brush off magazines 'don't really understand the importance of how they help shape public opinion. They don't understand that for a number of [people] across the country, they're looking to magazines for cues about everything from beauty to sexuality.'"

Diversity was somewhere on the agenda at what turned out to be the "Super Tuesday" of journalism conferences over the weekend. It was a topic even at the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which drew more than 3,000 for its concluding dinner Saturday night featuring first lady Michelle Obama.

The Washington Post's Michael A. Fletcher covered the release of a report by the market-research firm Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association that said African Americans are projected to have a combined spending power of $1.1 trillion by 2015.

"On his trip, Jackson also secured . . . the freedom of two Gambian Americans who were facing long prison sentences for their political activity in that country. . . . 'Why hasn't this been in the mainstream media?' Jackson asked during a news conference held to publicize the report at the Congressional Black Caucus's 42nd Annual Legislative Conference."

One of the awards at the concluding dinner went to filmmaker George Lucas, who alluded to the power of heroic images. He said his "Red Tails," about the Tuskegee Airmen, "didn't really break even, but if you add in the expression of the 10-year-old boys, it more than broke even."

The weekend's conferences overlapped with Friday's conclusion of the Associated Press Media Editors conference in Nashville, which drew about 200 people, a sellout for the venue, according to new president Brad Dennison.

APME is an association of U.S. and Canadian editors at newspapers and broadcast outlets that works closely with the Associated Press. It also includes journalism educators and student leaders.

At the joint convention of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association, which drew about 1,000 attendees to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., DeWayne Wickham and Bob Edwards were honored by SPJ as Fellows of the Society. It is the highest honor given by SPJ.

Media critic Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times wrote Friday that he and Kenny Irby, Poynter Institute instructor, led a seminar on issues of covering race. "The four biggest obstacles to quality journalism across difference -- fear, lack of understanding, avoidance and reflex -- work to cloud those issues, especially for journalists who haven't thought a bit about these issues in advance," Deggans wrote.

Deggans, author of the forthcoming "Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation," also made a presentation at the Association of Opinion Journalists convention, which drew about 150 to Orlando.

AOJ members tweeted these Deggans observations at #AOJ2012: "In the current 'information wars,' race prejudice has become the spice that gets people talking."

"At some point, presenting Af-Americans as the noble victim was considered good coverage. But we need to get past that."

"Why do you talk about race? Because by talking about it, you take the message from being implicit and make it explicit."

"Don't turn off comments on columns/blogs about race, @deggans says. Respond to correct false assertions; delete most hateful."

Michelle Johnson, who teaches journalism at Boston University, accepted the Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship, given to an educator who promotes diversity. Johnson spoke of her work leading online student newsrooms at the various journalism conventions, including that of the Online News Association, taking place simultaneously in San Francisco. "I made it my mission" to do this kind of work, Johnson said.

The Online News Association drew close to 1,500 people, including exhibitors, according to executive director Jane McDonnell. "A data analysis by the ONA Student Newsroom showed that 8.8 percent . . . overlap with the membership rolls of major minority journalism organizations including the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association," Nicole Chavez and Hilary Fung, wrote for the ONA student newsroom project.

". . . The organization has taken strides to develop a diversity strategy. In 2011, ONA board member Rob King was tasked with elevating the diversity discussion among fellow leaders. Also, the issue is expected to be taken up by a recently created advisory committee on membership."

The story quoted Richard Koci Hernandez of the University of California at Berkeley: "It's taken a long time but it's slowly seeing the fruits of all of the diversity outreach. It's never reflected the way we want but it¹s going in the right direction."

Education, health care, jobs, energy, Medicare and taxes are of greater importance to black voters than to the overall voting population, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

The survey was conducted Sept. 12-16 among 3,019 adults, including 2,424 registered voters, and included either 111 or 125 African Americans, depending on the item, Russ Oates, communications manager of the Pew Research Center, told Journal-isms on Monday.

Overall, the center said, "As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney prepare for their first debate on Oct. 3, the issues at the top of the voters' agenda have changed little since 2008. Fully 87% of registered voters say that the economy will be very important to their vote, while 83% say jobs will be very important to their vote."

But there were marked differences of degree between African Americans and others on some issues.

The following percentages of voters said the designated issue made it "very important" to vote:

Economy: All voters, 87 percent; blacks, 93 percent; white non-Hispanics, 86 percent.

Jobs: All voters, 83 percent; blacks, 90 percent; white non-Hispanics, 81 percent.

Health care: All voters, 74 percent; blacks, 91 percent; white non-Hispanics, 70 percent.

Education: All voters, 69 percent; blacks, 93 percent; white non-Hispanics, 65 percent.

Budget deficit: All voters, 68 percent; blacks, 71 percent; white non-Hispanics, 66 percent.

Taxes: All voters, 66 percent; blacks, 85 percent; white non-Hispanics, 63 percent.

Medicare: All voters, 65 percent; blacks, 90 percent; white non-Hispanics, 62 percent.

Terrorism: All voters, 60 percent; blacks, 69 percent; white non-Hispanics, 60 percent.

Foreign policy: All voters, 60 percent; blacks, 63 percent; white non-Hispanics, 60 percent.

Energy: All voters, 55 percent; blacks, 69 percent; white non-Hispanics, 54 percent.

Abortion: All voters, 46 percent; blacks, 46 percent; white non-Hispanics, 44 percent.

Immigration: All voters, 41 percent; blacks, 47 percent; white non-Hispanics, 39 percent.

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: '60 Minutes' shows debates could be a Romney reset

Michael Cottman, blackamericaweb.com: Romney is Running Scared

Elizabeth Drew, New York Review of Books: Voting Wrongs

John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: Free Press Says TV Stations Aren't Following the Money

Tamar Jacoby, Los Angeles Times: Romney crosses the immigration divide

Dorothy M. Bland, who has headed the Division of Journalism at Florida A&M University since 2007, is stepping down from the director's position to pursue a Ph.D., Ann L. Wead Kimbrough, the new dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University, told Journal-isms on Monday. 

Valerie D. White, director of the graduate program and already holder of a Ph.D., is the new journalism division director, Kimbrough said. Bland will continue as a professor.

Bland, a former publisher of the Fort Collins (Colo.) Coloradan, was one of only a handful of black female daily newspaper publishers during her career with the Gannett Co., Inc., which ended in 2005. She is a 1982 graduate of the Maynard Institute's Editing Program for Minority Journalists.

Bland told Journal-isms by email, "I am honored and grateful to have served as the Florida A&M University Division of Journalism director and professor since 2007. In addition to teaching and various administrative duties, I am proud to have worked with our team to grow enrollment and upgrade our curriculum to reflect the multimedia world.

"I am proud to have worked with faculty, alumni, students and industry partners to bring the CBS Harold Dow Visiting Professor to Florida A&M University. I have raised a variety of funds for scholarships and student-centered initiatives such as the National Association of Black Journalists Multimedia Short Courses plus led two successful Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications re-accreditation visits. The 2012 ACEJMC team report stated that I have 'strong leadership and management skills and a huge appetite for hard work.' I remain a professor. My commitment to students, the academy and profession continues. In addition to working full-time, I have been taking additional courses in a Ph.D. program for several years."

White, asked if she had any particular priorities, replied by email, "Nope, we are still transitioning."

The Nieman Journalism Lab said Monday it asked "an array of people -- hiring editors, recent graduates, professors, technologists, deans -- to evaluate the job j-schools are doing and to offer ideas for how they might improve. Here's Robert Hernandez, journalism professor at USC's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, with ideas on how students can make the resources of the j-school, and the web, better work for them."

". . . Think of ways to hijack your school's assets to selfishly improve your skills," Hernandez wrote.

"This means more than just attending the required classes. This means more work than is assigned. This means more than a letter grade or GPA. This means meeting and engaging with more than your classmates and professors at your school.

"This means using the power of the web and social media to augment your education and introduce yourself to more than just the curriculum outlined by your individual school.

"This means realizing that an older professor you have written off as 'irrelevant' has so much more to teach you about life and journalism than you think.

"This means working weekends on projects you are passionate about with friends who share that passion.

"As you've heard time and time again, the journalism game has changed. So has the education game. And the biggest change is that you have the power to shape your own destiny -- far more than just deciding which school you¹ll attend. . . ."

". . . As an Alaska Native (Tlingit) and the head of an American Indian nonprofit organization, each October and November I find myself knocking on the door of the principal and teachers of my daughters' school, to talk about Indians," Mike Roberts, president of the First Nations Development Institute in Longmont, Colo., wrote.

"And the good news is, this almost always leads to the opportunity to go to my daughters' classrooms and chat with their classmates about Indians. And for my daughters, this is an important part for them taking pride in their heritage.

"Each year I have educated these educators that Columbus did not 'discover' America, or that the pilgrims did not feed the Indians at Thanksgiving. I have to ask teachers and principals to take down caricatures of Indians on bulletin boards -- decorations that have been put up every year since, at least, I was in elementary school myself. I have to point out to these same educators that the books in their libraries about Indians, the ones written by non-Indians with copyright dates in the 1950s or so, do a horrible job of portraying Indians.

"I also need to help these folks understand that headdresses with turkey feathers and art projects that include teepees are wrong on so many levels -- the least of which are that they do not even represent the Indians the pilgrims encountered. But worst of all, they are in danger of eroding my children's self-esteem and self-worth about the incredible heritage they enjoy. Most of all, I need to stop them from teaching theories, such as the 'land-bridge theory,' as fact. By their very definition, theories are assumptions based on limited information or knowledge. They are a conjecture. . . . "

"Every week, more and more people stand up and speak up for the '1,000 Voces', our NAHJ fundraising campaign! We are more than 160 strong with donations and pledges equaling more than $17,000!," Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, wrote to members on Monday. He also said, ". . . each quarter NAHJ's accountant will be preparing a financial report for the board to share with you in a newsletter. . . . The report will be published the first week of each quarter (first report will be in October). I believe this new practice will help all of us better understand NAHJ's financial footing."

"NBC's Lester Holt reported from Afghanistan this morning on 'Today' and will anchor 'Nightly News' from there tonight," Chris Ariens reported Monday for TVNewser. "Holt arrived in Afghanistan Saturday as the last U.S. surge troops begin to depart, amid increased insider attacks on U.S. troops. Reporting from Kabul, Holt will also interview the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, tomorrow. Correspondents Richard Engel and Atia Abawi will contribute reporting."

Journalists Askia Muhammad, Nisa Muhammad, Jesse Muhammad and others plan to participate, some as "journalist-curators," for a two-hour Digital Town Hall in Chicago Wednesday with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. "During the live webcast event, Minister Farrakhan will answer questions for two hours from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube users," the Final Call reported.

"The owners of Village Voice Media (and the original founders of one of that company's 13 alt-weekly newspapers) have decided to sell all their publications in order to distance the news from their controversial adult services website," Dashiell Bennett reported Monday for the Atlantic Wire. "Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin will transfer their nationwide network of alternative papers to a new company and sell control to several of those papers' current publishers and editors. No terms were disclosed. The roster of publications includes The Village Voice in New York; SF Weekly and LA Weekly in California; Denver's Westword; and the Phoenix New Times, among others."

Mexican journalists are working on a book in which 126 journalists will profile the 126 media workers who have been killed since 2000 [Spanish]. The text is being funded through Drip, a crowdsourcing platform. An Aug. 3 announcement said supporters had 13 days left to contribute. The book is to be distributed free to build awareness of the slain journalists. "On the fundraising site there is a 25-minute documentary titled Silencio Forzado (Forced Silence) that debuted in March and was created by a group called Article 19," Marisa Treviño added Friday on her Latina Lista site.

The Committee to Protect Journalists Monday condemned "the harsh prison sentences handed down today to three prominent Vietnamese online journalists convicted of anti-state charges. In a widening crackdown on press and Internet freedoms, Vietnamese courts have sentenced six journalists and bloggers to prison in the last five weeks."

"Although it is the world's largest democracy, India has retained its colonial-era sedition law," Sumit Galhotra wrote Friday for the Committee to Protect Journalists "But with a national debate ensuing after the arrest of 25-year-old political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on the antiquated sedition charge and others, members of the Indian government have been forced to do some soul-searching."

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