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Alec Baldwin (Getty Images)

The story was noticed almost immediately by the right-wing Breitbart.com. "Isn't it great to be Alec Baldwin?" asked Breitbart's Larry O'Connor. "When you're Alec Baldwin you can do or say pretty much anything and there are no repercussions. You can even call a member of the media a 'coon' and a 'crackhead' and still be celebrated by Hollywood and by the Left because . . . well . . . because you're Alec Baldwin and you're a liberal. . . ."

Greene's story continued, "Baldwin had first been approached by a Post reporter while walking his dogs outside his East 10th Street pad at around 10:50 a.m. He was asked for comment on a lawsuit against his wife, Hilaria, involving her work as a yoga instructor.

"The '30 Rock' star grabbed the reporter, Tara Palmeri, by her arm and told her, 'I want you to choke to death,' Palmeri told police, for whom she played an audiotape of the conversation.

"He then called G.N. Miller -- a decorated retired detective with the NYPD's Organized Crime Control Bureau and a staff photographer for The Post -- a 'coon, a drug dealer,' Miller's police statement said.

"At one point, Miller showed Baldwin ID to prove he's a retired NYPD cop, which Baldwin dismissed as 'fake.'

"Cops were called, and Miller, 56, and Baldwin, 54, both filed harassment claims against each other.

". . . Although both men made police reports, it's a case of he said-he said because the incident did not happen in the presence of a police officer.

"Neither police complaint will go any further, except in possible civil action.

"Baldwin's spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik, called Miller's accusations 'completely false.'

"Baldwin, through Hiltzik, denied making the racist remarks, adding, 'That's one of the most outrageous things I've heard in my life.'

"But Baldwin has a history of making inappropriate comments to photographers.

"Last June, the day before his wedding, Baldwin shouted to a black photographer on the street, 'You gotta back up there Rodney.'

"The photographer's name wasn't Rodney."

Long Island University, which administers the awards, announced, "The staff of Bloomberg News and David Barboza of The New York Times will both receive the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting, for investigative reports that untangled the financial holdings of China's political elite and uncovered corruption within the world's most populous country. . . .

"Barboza's explosive three-part series in The New York Times, 'The Princelings,' probed into the far-reaching financial interests of officials and their extended families. The veteran Shanghai correspondent revealed that relatives of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had accumulated a secret wealth of $2.7 billion. At personal risk, Barboza took novel approaches to discovering family connections -- including examining gravestones in villages and circulating photos from government ID cards to confirm identities.

"The ramifications of these revelations came at a cost for both outlets. Bloomberg's story was banned and remains blocked in China. The New York Times had started a Chinese-language Web site shortly before Barboza's exposé, but within minutes of publication of the first article in the Times' series, the Chinese government blocked the newspaper's Chinese and English language websites. . . ."

Barboza has been based in Shanghai since November 2004. His seven brothers include writer Steven Barboza and photographer Anthony Barboza, who have each created work about various aspects of black life.

In another category, "An assiduous investigation and report showing how Walmart fueled its overseas growth through bribes has earned David Barstow of The New York Times and Mexican reporter Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab the George Polk Award for Business Reporting," the university said.

". . . Traveling across Mexico with Mexican reporter Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, Barstow tunneled into databases and filing cabinets of local bureaucracies that govern construction permits and zoning issues. He discovered how Walmart had paid bribes in city after city to win approvals that the law did not allow. Barstow's muckraking spurred investigations by the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Mexican authorities into the wrongdoing and led Wal-Mart to examine its violations of the anti-bribery laws in several countries. . . ."

Hazel Sheffield, Columbia Journalism Review: '47 percent' story wins a Polk Award

" 'Attacks on the press,' the yearly assessment of global press freedom released by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), makes for depressing reading.

"It reveals a deteriorating environment for press freedom. In 2012, the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide reached a record high, a trend driven primarily by terrorism and other anti-state charges levied against critical reporters and editors.

"CPJ identified 232 journalists behind bars because of their work in 2012, an increase of 53 from 2011 and the highest since the organisation began its annual surveys in 1990.

"Its research shows that over the past two decades, a journalist is killed in the line of duty once every eight days. Seventy journalists lost their lives in the line of duty in 2012, a 43% increase from 2011. More than 35 journalists have gone missing. . . . "

Jan Beyer, International Press Institute: IPI urges swift investigation into Indian journalist's death

Stephen Franklin, Columbia Journalism Review: [Turkey:] Where truth is a hard cell

Patrick Kingsley, the Guardian, Britain: Egyptian editor says he was forced out by Muslim Brotherhood

Carlos Lauría, Committee to Protect Journalists: How the Americas Failed Press Freedom

"Today, in early 2013, American media and entertainment face a curious condition," Ernest J. Wilson III wrote for the Root. "On the one hand, African Americans and other people of color are flocking to movies, Twitter, television and blogs in ever-greater numbers and percentages. We are huge consumers of media."

Wilson is Walter Annenberg chair in communication and dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

He continued: "On the other hand, the Federal Communications Commission and the Hollywood trade and professional organizations report that the percentages of people of color (and in many categories, women) in senior positions are stagnant or actually declining. Minority ownership is also on the way down. With black ownership and executive ranks dropping, not surprisingly, black-themed shows are falling as well.

". . . the two most prominent factors that brought brother [Barack] Obama to the White House were information communication and technology, or 'ICT,' which Obama deployed brilliantly to mobilize his ethnic base. Yet as he himself has recognized, the most powerful tools of the modern world - again, ICT - are not getting into the hands of the most dispossessed, who need to use them to improve their lives with better education, better jobs and better citizenship.

". . . the first digital divide was about access to and consumption of the Internet, the World Wide Web and multiple 'cool' applications. Today, the second digital divide is about access to the senior positions and financial capital that would make media content more relevant to more Americans. . . ."

Doug George-Kanentiio, an Akwesasne Mohawk and co-founder of the Native American Journalists Association, explained the origin of the term "Redskin" in a message this month to the Cooperstown Central School District in New York.

". . . Altogether, the Mohawk Nation lost over 9,000,000 acres of land, an area which includes Cooperstown and all of the Adirondacks. This was done without our consent. In order to rationalize the theft of the land falsehoods were created which de-humanized our people. We were no longer friends but demons. We were labeled as savages and cannibals, warlike primitives without intellect. Among the most tragic of profanes were those books used in schools, which grossly distorted our history and passed on terrible lies about us.

"The use of 'redskins' was among the worse of these labels. That word originally referred to the Beothuks of Newfoundland, a peaceful people who colored their skin with red ochre as adornment and to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Their passivity was mistaken for weakness and after the waves of European diseases killed most of them those who survived were hunted and murdered for sport. By 1830 they were extinct. One of the reprehensible tactics was to remove the skins of the Beothuks and use them as covers for books and as leggings for the hunters.

"This act of skinning Native people, both men and women, continued on along the frontier. It was an act of terror meant to instill fear and drive the Natives from coveted lands. It was justified by these stereotypes that were highly effective in undermining the dignity, pride and self-assurance of our people. We are, among all peoples in this hemisphere, the most misunderstood, the most libeled and the most despised because of the lies in the media, in popular literature and, sadly, in the schools. . . . "

LZ Granderson, ESPN: Prompting mascot change

Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: The Black-Indian Question

S.E. Ruckman, Native American Times: Confessions of a Washington Redskin

"The speech took place at a school two miles from his own home and just slightly [farther] away from a park where 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot dead in January, a week after performing at Obama's inauguration.

". . . in the days that followed her shooting, coverage of gun violence in Chicago has focused on the day-to-day of Hadiya's case -- the shooting to the funeral to the arrest to looking at how the White House would respond. Journalists should work to continue this sort of coverage, bringing out the human side to future homicide statistics. By making relatability a mission, journalists would be able to bring more of the public into the debate about what can be done to curb the shootings.

"The media's current default reporting focuses on statistics, rather than individuals. . . ."

James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wake-up call was needed, and a KKK outfit was the jolt

George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: White House Aide: Obama Hasn't Abandoned Blacks

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune: Reducing gun violence, drug sentences and police brutality . . .

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times (free registration required): President Obama touts fatherhood as a way to curb violence

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times (free registration required):  Mitchell: President gives families of violence a reason to hope

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Boys in the back of the class

Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Preschool is an investment in America

Gregory Wallace and Adam Aigner-Treworgy, CNN: Chicago students see a guide in President Obama

". . . If you haven't seen the photographs for Beyoncé's new world tour, you probably wouldn't even recognize her," Ernest Owens, a communication and public service major at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote Thursday for the Grio. His piece was headlined, "Beyonce, Colorism, and Why All of This Needs to End in 2013."

"Go on her official Facebook page or website and you will see an image of what looks like a Victorian white woman in the Elizabethan era. Her (prosthetic) blonde hair puffed and extended to reveal a face that is almost as white as snow. Lips red and her skin powdered. This is not the same bronze Beyonce that I saw rocking the stage in an all female band with her darker Destiny's Child counterparts.

"I was only left with memories of previous patterns that the multi-Grammy award winning artist had done in previous years in regards to her skin. And I asked myself the question: why, Bey?

"Let's not act like this is something new. Over the years, it seems as though Beyonce has gotten lighter as she has gotten older. . . . What does this say about our society for black women?

"It tells me that in 2013, an independent, confident and successful woman of color still struggles to have the confidence to fully embrace the skin she is in. If one of the most powerful women in entertainment feels she has to lighten her skin for projection, what does that say for the rest of us? . . ."

Meanwhile, Jenice Armstrong wrote Monday in the Philadelphia Daily News about Myra Boulware and Dana Winsley, a former stay-at-home mom and stay-at-home grandmom who are striking gold selling Beyoncé-style hair to black women, average sale $300 to $1,000.

"She and her mother began frequenting hair events such as last July's Barber Wars International in Philadelphia and the renowned Bronner Bros. International Hair Show in Atlanta, where they stumbled across a supplier specializing in dark, natural Eurasian hair that hair didn't shed or tangle. Everywhere Boulware went, her long, lush locks attracted compliments. . . . "

"Yvette Cabrera, former columnist and investigative reporter for the Orange County Register, will join a dynamic team of reporters being assembled by executive editor Joe Donnelly for a startup journalism project called Mission and State, formerly known as the Santa Barbara Investigative Journalism Initiative," the project announced Thursday.

"The project was created late last year through a Knight Foundation grant awarded to the Santa Barbara Foundation and supported by matching grants from several local foundations and individuals. Mission and State will operate under the umbrella of the not-for-profit Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy. . . ."

Donnelly, formerly deputy editor of the LA Weekly, said in a release, "A close-knit, civic-minded community such as Santa Barbara that also faces serious questions about wealth disparity, services, environmental issues, immigration and education is a perfect place to explore how to deliver nuanced, narrative journalism digitally. We're hoping we can be at the forefront of forging an enhanced online journalism experience. But you have to get great stories first and I'm confident this team is more than up to the task. I am particularly pleased to have two of our four staffers with Santa Barbara roots and that all are from this region."

"The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and the University of Miami School of Communication announce a new partnership that will train students to produce in-depth, hard-hitting reports and lead to the production of more investigative stories and news content," the center said Monday. "FCIR, which moved to its new headquarters at UM's School of Communication in January, will remain independent from the school. The FCIR-UM partnership includes an investigative internship program for journalism students in the School of Communication's Department of Journalism & Media Management and collaborations with students from the School of Law, whose casework could lead to stories that expose injustice. . . ."

"Fox today announced a transformative new partnership with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) designed to further the development of diverse voices across the company's entertainment businesses," the company announced Thursday. "The FOX/HBCU Media Alliance (FHMA) will bring HBCU students, faculty and alumni together with executives from Fox's media and entertainment businesses in an effort to build a stronger pipeline for students interested in pursuing careers in the film and television industry and advance the careers of HBCU alumni working in media and entertainment across the Fox businesses. . . ."

Discussing the disproportionate coverage given missing white children vs. missing children of color, Sonia Ayanna Stovall, a Yahoo! contributor and senior examiner for the federal government, wrote Sunday in the Denver Post, ". . . There are so many factors involved in how a missing child case will play out, the lack of national media coverage is only one part of the problem. The real question is how to create a structure in which the media can play a positive and contributory role to effectively disseminate information about the plight of any child snatched from safety. . . . "

". . . the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by South Africa's star runner Oscar Pistorius may open a window on some of the darker facts of life for so many South Africans, women in particular," Charlayne Hunter-Gault wrote Saturday for the New Yorker. "(Pistorius is being charged with premeditated murder, a charge his family has denied on his behalf, without offering an explanation of how he came to shoot her; he has yet to enter a plea.) In South Africa, many, if not most, women have experienced domestic abuse; many of them live with it on a routine basis, with very little recourse and no headlines about their fate. . . . " Pistorius "told a packed courtroom Tuesday that he shot his girlfriend to death by mistake, thinking she was a robber. The prosecutor called it premeditated murder," CBS News reported. [Updated Feb. 19.]

"It's maybe not how most people would choose to spend their birthday, but Twitter's manager of journalism and news, Mark Luckie, was rewarded for showing up to Columbia Journalism School's Social Media Weekend when his audience sang to him," Hazel Sheffield reported Monday for Columbia Journalism Review. "During the rendition of 'Happy Birthday,' the weekend's host, Columbia Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan, snapped a six-second video using Vine, Twitter's new video-sharing app. . . ."

"The results of a new poll might give Geraldo Rivera pause as he decides whether to run for Senate in New Jersey," the Huffington Post reported on Thursday. "The Fox News host recently announced that he is exploring a potential Senate bid. A poll by Monmouth University, released Thursday, found that only 26% of New Jersey voters would vote for Rivera. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (65 percent) of voters said that they are not likely to vote for Rivera. That includes 51 percent who said that they would not consider voting for Rivera at all. . . ."

The South Asian Journalists Association has extended until March 15  its SAJA Broadcast Challenge, in which current and former broadcast journalists will match all donations made, up to a total of $10,000. So far, $2,079 has been collected, according to the SAJA web site. The original end date was Feb. 1.

The Aerogram has debuted, describing itself as a "U.S.-based online magazine offering a South Asian perspective. Founded by three former contributors to Sepia Mutiny, The Aerogram seeks to engage anyone interested in South Asian culture across the globe with a curated take on art, literature, life and news. . . ."

". . . what do a majority of Americans think about Indian-Americans? Unfortunately, their entire perception of our community is formulated and created through mainstream media," Pari Mathur, founder of Paridym Pictures, wrote last week for the Huffington Post. "So forget running a billion dollar hedge fund, Mr. Indian-American. To most, you're just a dude who bobbles his head with a mustache, because that's what they've seen on TV. The fact is, we are going back in time and oppressing ourselves. . . . " Mathur attacked the problem with humor, accompanying his essay with three comedic videos.

"Conservative columnist John David Dyche will no longer write for The Courier-Journal after the newspaper rejected a piece he'd written that suggested reforms to the editorial page and that the paper disclose political affiliations of editors and reporters . . ., " Joseph Lord wrote Friday for WFPL-FM public radio in Louisville, Ky.

Radio producer Dean Rotbart offered advice to public relations people on Talking Biz News that many journalists would second. "Although I don't keep formal statistics on the results of my outbound calls, I would guess that roughly 50 percent of the time when a release does catch my attention, the 'contact' person listed on the paid news release is not available when I call. That is particularly vexing, since I typically phone on the same day, and often within minutes, of when the news release crosses the public relations newswire. . . . If you're going to issue a national news release on a given day, why not actually be at your desk to respond to media inquiries -- if you're lucky enough to receive some?"

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