newrepubliccolorarticlelarge575
Chris Hughes, right, with Creative Director Dirk Barnett (Chester Higgins J)

It might be the most attention that the issue of the diversity of media staffs has received from a non-journalism publication in years.

The focus of the attention is an experiment being closely watched in some media circles. Chris Hughes, the 29-year-old co-founder of Facebook, former online campaign adviser to President Obama and the New Republic's newest owner, is hoping to turn around the magazine he bought in March, as Christine Haughney wrote last month in the New York Times.

The magazine he purchased is part of an industry that might be the whitest, most segregated part of the news media.

Byers' report continued, "The complaint, voiced by Reason.com on Friday and by the influential conservative blogger Ace of Spades today, is that the ultra-white TNR is one to talk.

" '[A] quick Wikipedia investigation of the magazine's 15 editors throughout its century of publishing reveals that each and every one... was not just white, but white and male,' Reason's Matt Welch writes. 'Though word on the street is that TNR is now 'add[ing] women's voices to a magazine that has long been short on them,' so hooray for progress, etc.

"Ace's tirade against TNR comes in a series of tweets, including: '[B]ased on the TNR writers I know, the palette ranges all the way from pasty to eggshell'; 'Some of us dream of an All-White Nation... but in the meantime we content ourselves with TNR's offices'; 'GOP: The Party of White People' 'TNR: The Magazine of White People' 'MSM: The Industry of White People'; and on, and on, and on."

Byers' opinion? "The TNR staff is and always has been predominantly white — even moreso than your average American magazine — but the notion that this should preclude them from publishing an article on the Republican party's problems with non-white voters is absurd. Everyone with even an introductory understanding of politics — including prominent conservative pundits — knows that the GOP needs to reach non-white male voters. It's why Fox News president Roger Ailes appears in the pages of this week's issue talking about Hispanic outreach. (It's also worth noting that Ace of Spades and Reason didn't seem to have a problem with the majority white Fox News discussing the party's whiteness on election night.)"

Byers concluded, ". . . Should TNR diversify its offices? That's up to them. But for the GOP, it isn't a case of should or shouldn't. It's a case of must."

Byers came back with a second post that quoted a New Republic intern who wrote. "I would venture to say that the Republican Party cares more about diversity than the New Republic does.

"The Republican Party has at least recognized that it has a problem with outreach to nonwhite voters. I haven't seen any such soul searching from a magazine that professes to be the New Yorker of Washington D.C. . . . "

Byers also quoted Washington Post publisher Donald E. Graham, who quipped in 1995 that the New Republic's motto was "Looking for a qualified black since 1914."

At the end of the workday, Byers came back with a third posting, quoting Douglas Blackmon, a former Wall Street Journal Atlanta bureau chief who "added that when he left the Journal in 2011 there were no African American reporters or editors 'of any particular stature' at the paper, and that none had been hired in the last four years of his time there. . . . "

Blackmon, who joined the Washington Post as a contributing editor a year ago, is the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II." He splits his time between the Post and the University of Virginia.

Spokeswomen for the New Republic and the Wall Street Journal could not be reached for comment.

Lizzy Ratner, New York Oberver: Vanilla Ceiling: Magazines Still Shades Of White (2006)

Derek J. Murphy, who supervised multicultural initiatives for the Huffington Post before he became one of four general managers let go in a reorganization last October, on Monday was named executive vice president and general manager of USA Today.

Jim Hopkins wrote for his independent Gannett Blog, ". . . Murphy is African-American, and his appointment immediately makes him one of Gannett's highest-level minority executives when the company's management ranks have been growing less diverse at the most senior levels. Historically, GCI [Gannett Co. Inc.] has led the newspaper industry in workforce diversity efforts."

Hopkins also wrote that several of USA Today's traditional key functions had already been spun off to other Gannett executives or divisions. ". . . That leaves a relatively diminished portfolio anchored by editorial for Murphy and Kramer to manage in the struggling paper's current turnaround. . . ."

Murphy said in the news release, "As we're transitioning to the digital-first model, I'll be working closely with Larry, the leadership team and other Gannett divisions to realize the potential of the USA TODAY brand."

"Leveraging the recent relaunch of the USA TODAY site, Murphy will also focus on expanding 'new digital offerings and creating demand for all USA TODAY brands,' he says," according to the announcement.

" 'There's so much upside to working with an iconic brand — to get in at a time when it's clear that the brand is in transition and with so many opportunities to shape its future direction,' he says."

When USA Today unveiled a redesign of its pages in September, Kramer said, "We are making a real investment in USA Today, and putting a major focus on reinvigorating the value of print media while introducing new digital products. . . ."

Some critics were skeptical. "As it approaches its 30th birthday, USA Today is in danger of 'marking 30,' a journalistic term for coming to an end, or dying," John K. Hartman wrote in Editor & Publisher.

When Huffington Post named Murphy general manager for multicultural in 2011, a news release said, ". . . Derek Murphy will drive the overall strategy and operational performance for AOL Latino, BlackVoices and AOL's other multicultural offerings.

"Murphy had been COO of Global Media Ventures, which he formed with [Sheila C.] Johnson," co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. "He was previously Senior Vice President, Business Development of The Huffington Post. Prior to that, he was at CNN, where he oversaw integrated media partnerships with a broad range of companies, including Google and Amazon." Murphy has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

A fourth editor — Photo Editor Deborah Boardley — is leaving Essence magazine, spokeswoman Dana Baxter confirmed on Monday.

The departures come as the parent Time Inc. is cutting some 500 jobs. Neither Baxter nor a spokeswoman for Time Inc. would say whether any of those leaving were part of the corporate layoffs.

Boardley was previously photo editor at Vibe Vixen magazine. Before that, she was an intern at Vibe and senior photo editor at In Touch Weekly.

Vanessa K. Bush, who had been executive editor at Essence, is to be interim managing editor, Baxter said on Friday.

The Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop, which has trained nearly 1,700 high school and college students in South Dakota's Black Hills, will not be offered this year because of funding problems at its main sponsor, the Freedom Forum, according to Randell Beck, publisher of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D.

"We simply did not have the funding," Beck told Journal-isms by telephone on Monday. "We're hoping to bring it back next year."

Beck chairs the minority affairs committee of the South Dakota News Association, which helps to fund the workshop, along with the Argus Leader. However, the Freedom Forum is the largest funder, Beck said.

The committee plans to meet this summer "and look at creative ways to do this," Beck said. "We'll try to evaluate what our options are."

As reported on Friday, the financially troubled Freedom Forum Diversity Institute has removed from its website references to three journalism programs that train Native Americans and students at historically black colleges and universities.

Freedomforumdiversity.org no longer mentions the Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop, the Multimedia Scholars Program or the American Indian Journalism Institute. However, the Chips Quinn Scholars Program remains.

The independent Gannett Blog reported Jan. 9, "The financially troubled non-profit foundation paid CEO James Duff $1.6 million during his first four months on the job in 2011, a year when the Newseum's operator ran a $47 million deficit, newly released public documents show."

Al Neuharth, USA Today: Crazy Horse spurs young Indian media (April 19, 2012)

Mary Kay Blake, senior vice president of the Newseum and a longtime diversity fixture at the Newseum, Freedom Forum or Gannett Co., confirmed Monday that she is retiring. Blake said she would continue to work in the Newseum's development area, as she has for the past six years, but as a volunteer.

"I remain an advocate for diversity — in newsrooms and in life," Blake told Journal-isms by email.

According to her bio, "Previously she served as senior vice president of development for the Newseum and led its fundraising efforts as a public charity. She joined the Freedom Forum in 1999 to oversee its diversity efforts.

"Before that, she worked 25 years with Gannett Co., starting as news editor for the Pacific Daily News on the island of Guam and moving through corporate recruiting and staff-development roles to become vice president/recruiting and placement for Gannett's Newspaper Division. The first non-minority board member of the National Association of Multicultural Media Executives, she also was the first woman to receive its Distinguished Diversity Award for Lifetime Achievement."

Veteran journalist Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, announced Monday that he is ending his column of more than 30 years.

Giago is a founder of the Native American Journalists Association and editor and publisher of the Lakota times and Indian Country Today newspapers. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, class of 1991. In addition to writing from a Native American point of view, long ago raising the issue of Indians as mascots and challenging Oprah Winfrey's producers and the History Channel when necessary,  Giago explained to non-Indians why he believed "Indians" to be preferable to "Native American."

". . . Most older American Indians do not use the term 'American Indian' but instead use the single word 'Indian,' " Giago wrote in 2008. "They refer to themselves as 'Indian' and seldom use the PC words Native American. The word 'Indian' is a derivation of the Spanish 'Indios' which was shortened from the Spanish 'Ninos en Dios' which means 'Children of God.' In much of South America and Central America the Natives are called 'Indios.' "

In his farewell column, published on indianz.com and the Huffington Post, Giago wrote, ". . . I know there is one person who will miss my weekly columns. His name is Bill Dulaney and he is a retired professor of journalism from Penn State. In my last conversation with Bill he told me that his battle with cancer is about over. The cancer has now gone to his brain and that brilliant instrument that guided him through a career in journalism is about to grow dim. In 1983 Bill and I put our heads together and came up with the idea of a Native American Journalists Association to emulate the other great minority journalist associations. We succeeded in this endeavor with the support and guidance of Allen Neuharth, then the head of the Gannett  Foundation. Twenty nine years later the association is still strong and viable.

"It was never a challenge to find material every week because there was always something either good or bad happening in Indian country. In fact there were times when I had to sort through the material offered in order to choose the subject I thought to be the most tantalizing.

"But I believe that one of the most important things my weekly column accomplished was to take on the closed media in South Dakota in the 1980s and cause them to open their news pages to more positive news concerning Native Americans in their state. I wrote at the time that South Dakota was like the proverbial mule: you had to hit it between the eyes with a two-by-four in order to get its attention. . . . "

" 'Entertainment Tonight' scored one last year. The New York Times did not," Paul Farhi reported Monday in the Washington Post.

" 'The View' has gotten several. The Washington Post hasn't had one in years.

"Albuquerque radio station KOB-FM’s 'Morning Mayhem' crew interviewed him in August. The last time the Wall Street Journal did so was in 2009.

"America's newspapers have trouble enough these days, what with shrinking ad revenue and straying readers. But the daily print-and-pixel press also hasn't gotten much love lately from the biggest newsmaker in the business: President Obama.

"When Obama does media interviews these days, it's not with a newspaper. TV gets the bulk of the president's personal attention, from his frequent appearances on '60 Minutes' to MTV to chitchats with local stations around the country. Magazines — including the New Republic, which recently landed an interview conducted by its owner, Facebook co-founder and former Obama campaign operative Chris Hughes — are a distant second, followed by radio.

"Newspapers? Well, Obama may be the least newspaper-friendly president in a generation.

". . . What's more, despite a string of interviews with ethnic broadcasters, including Telemundo and Univision recently, Obama has never consented to an interview with any member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, an organization consisting of 210 African-American-owned newspapers, said Robert W. Bogle, the organization’s former president. Obama and George W. Bush were the first presidents who haven't done so since Franklin Roosevelt, notes Bogle, the chief executive of the Philadelphia Tribune. . . . "

However, Obama has given interviews to magazines, both mainstream and black-oriented.

Susan Goldberg, executive editor of Bloomberg News in Washington and president of the American Society of News (formerly Newspaper) Editors, declined to comment.

David Carr, New York Times: Debating Drones, in the Open

Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: The Excellent Age of No-Fuss Drones and Remarkable War

Mark R. Jacobson, Washington Post: Five myths about Obama's drone war

Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Obama missed with skeet photo

Jennifer LaFleur, ProPublica: Has Obama Kept His Open-Government Pledge?

Julianne Malveaux, syndicated: Obama Slights his Loyal Following (Jan. 30)

Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Let Slip the Dogs of War (Jan. 30)

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post News Media Services: Pretender to a legacy

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Obama's drone use attracts wrong allies

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Obama's license to kill by drone

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: Continued Support for U.S. Drone Strikes

"Five cable operators, including Cablevision, Charter, Cox, AT&T U-verse and Google Fiber, have already agreed to carry the new channel, Fusion.

"The companies say the new network will serve 50 million Hispanics, focusing on the issues 'most relevant' for the youngest and fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. The network's coverage will include 'the economy, entertainment, music, food, immigration, pop culture, education, politics, health and wellness and more,' according to a statement released jointly by ABC and Univision.

"With spending power of over $1 trillion, Hispanics represent 16 percent of the total population in the U.S., a number that is projected to double to 30 percent by 2050. . . . "

"There have been some strange sights on Cuban TV sets recently," Andrea Rodriguez reported Sunday for the Associated Press.

"News-starved viewers watched an Ecuadorean opposition candidate liken the government of President Rafael Correa, one of Havana's staunchest allies, to a moonwalking Michael Jackson: He walks like he's moving ahead, but he's actually going backward.

"On another day Cubans learned a quarter-billion of their fellow Latin Americans have access to the Internet — something less than 10 percent of islanders can say themselves.

"Cubans even watched a live broadcast of U.S. President Barack Obama's inaugural address.

"Such images would be unremarkable in most countries, but they're a break from the stodgy, tightly scripted state-run television that has long been the only fare in Cuba, with its mind-numbing tributes to efficiency, constant diatribes against the U.S. economic embargo and remembrances of minor anniversaries from the early years of the 1959 revolution.

"The change has come not from U.S.-funded TV Marti, which few Cubans can see, but via the left-leaning Latin American news channel Telesur, which is bankrolled primarily by Venezuela. Since Jan. 20, it has broadcast live about 12 hours a day in Cuba. . . ."

"Sonny Albarado, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, last week wrote Ann [Kimbrough] of Florida A&M University's journalism school out of concern for its student journalists' First Amendment rights. SPJ President-elect David Cuillier co-authored the letter," SPJ reported on Monday. "The production of the student newspaper The Famuan was suspended in January because of a libel suit filed against the paper and the university. . . . "

The Ron Brown Scholar Program plans to honor Earl G. Graves, Sr., founder of Black Enterprise magazine, and William Raspberry, the late Washington Post columnist, at its fourth annual American Journey awards in Washington on March 22.

The Michigan Chronicle launched a business section, publisher Hiram E. Jackson told readers on Friday. ". . . It's important that we recognize the role played by entrepreneurs in advancing positive social changes. I don't mean businesspeople solving social ills, but people spreading new approaches — through nonprofits and businesses, or within government — to address problems more successfully than in the past . . . ," Jackson wrote.

"Johnson Publishing Company introduces 'EBONY Moments,' featuring downloadable classic interviews, and music via EBONY.com, during Black History Month," the publishing company announced on Monday. "The first release of EBONY Moments interviews feature Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee and others starting at $1.29 each. . . ."

"WTVJ, the NBC-owned station in South Florida, is shuffling weekend and weekday anchors," Merrill Knox reported Monday for TVSpy. "Beginning today, Jawan Strader . . . replaces Keith Jones . . . as co-anchor of the weekday morning newscast. Strader joined WTVJ in August after a decade at rival WFOR, where he was also the morning anchor. At WTVJ, Strader will join Pam Giganti at the anchor desk. . . ."

The Asian American Journalists Association asked Current TV Monday for an apology after remark by host Jackie Schechner. "In trying to counter an argument by Michele Malkin on the health care debate on the show 'Talking Liberally with Stephanie Miller,' your host Jacki Schechner played a comment from Ms. Malkin. Ms. Miller followed up with a dismissive quip, saying 'we tried to unpack that little rice ball of nonsense,' " Paul Cheung, AAJA national president, wrote.

"The Southern Digest at Southern University and A&M College
took top honors at the National HBCU Student News Media Conference, winning Best Student Newspaper, plus four first-place awards and three second-place honors," the Black College Communication Association announced Saturday from Nashville, Tenn., site of the conference.

"Reporters Without Borders condemns the detention of several foreign journalists for several hours on 8 February in Bamako," Mali, the press freedom organization said on Monday. " . . . Usually kept at a distance and sometimes roughed up, journalists have been the victims of obstruction by the authorities since the start of the intervention. Cities remain inaccessible for several days after they have been retaken and the fighting is over, and reporters are kept far from the front lines. . . ."

"The United States said on Wednesday it had sanctioned Iran's main agency in charge of broadcasting for helping the government censor Western reports, part of a broader effort by Washington to pressure Tehran's nuclear program," Timothy Gardner reported for Reuters.

Evaluating the post-Arab Spring Egyptian government of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, Hani Shukrallah wrote Friday for Foreign Policy, " . . . Freedom of expression and freedom to peacefully protest have also been under concerted attack by the new regime. The Brotherhood, rather than acting to guarantee the independence of the state-owned media, has sought to bring these outlets under its sway — maintaining and even increasing their obsequiousness to the ruler of the moment and their nearly unmitigated lack of professionalism. The Brotherhood did so even as it acted to intimidate and strangle privately owned media: Its Salafi allies laid siege to Greater Cairo's Media City, home to most private TV stations, and called for the 'purging' of the media, while the government launched a record number of cases against the president's critics in the media, most prominently liberal satirist Bassem Youssef — Egypt's Jon Stewart. . . . "

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