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Lydia Esparra (YouTube)

"I Told Them on the Air . . . Got to Go"

Lydia Esparra, a weekend anchor at Cleveland's WOIO-TV, became the only journalist to talk with freed kidnapping victim Gina DeJesus Thursday when DeJesus' family interrupted Esparra on the air and said DeJesus wanted to see her.

Meanwhile, news outlets differed over the propriety of reporting on prior convictions of Charles Ramsey, the Internet sensation credited with helping to free DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight, who were imprisoned for a decade.

WEWS-TV apologized for its report on Ramsey's domestic violence convictions, and Mark Naymik, writing in the Plain Dealer, said his newspaper "learned Tuesday night about some aspects of Ramsey's troubled past. The paper left it out of its news stories.

"Why?

"Ramsey's action to help Berry stood alone. His past, even if it contained bad deeds, had nothing to do with his act of heroism Monday."

Esparra described her meeting with DeJesus, a fellow Puerto Rican, on her own station [video] and with CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin Thursday on that network.

From the CNN transcript:

BALDWIN: And I talked with a family friend and a journalist here in the Cleveland area. She's a weekend anchor at WOIO. Her name is Lydia Esparra. She visited Gina today and she told me about that visit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYDIA ESPARRA, WOIO ANCHOR: They have waited nine long years. And, of course, I have been covering the story.

BALDWIN: From the beginning.

ESPARRA: From the beginning, from the very beginning.

And Nancy and her husband, Felix, never gave up hope, never gave up hope. They said, my daughter's alive. Even when I doubted her, she said, Lydia, my daughter's alive. So...

BALDWIN: You were on the air, and they said get off the air.

ESPARRA: I was on the air.

Yes, once they came through — and that was Gina's sister in orange. That was her sister Mayra protecting her.

BALDWIN: With her arm.

ESPARRA: Right. They are very protective of her because they haven't had her for nine years.

So, yes, so I'm live on the air, and then one of her relatives comes over and says, Nancy wants you to come to the house.

BALDWIN: Wow.

ESPARRA: So, I said, OK, and I told them on the air, said, got to go, Nancy's calling.

So, I go inside the house and I have my moment with Nancy and we're crying and — with Felix and we're crying, because I haven't spent any time with them, and I'm friends besides being a journalist. It's just such a tough line trying to be a friend and do your job.

BALDWIN: Right.

ESPARRA: But first I'm a human being, so that's the attitude I took.

BALDWIN: Yes.

ESPARRA: So, I went and I cried with them, because that's what I do, and I cried.

And then I was like, am I going to be able to see Gina? And she — the niece says, yes. And Gina wants to see you.

BALDWIN: What?

ESPARRA: And I said, really? And she — yes, mom asked her. And she goes, Lydia's out there. Do you want to see Lydia?

BALDWIN: And you never met Gina before?

ESPARRA: I have never met — never.

BALDWIN: You got to know her through missing posters and talking to the family.

ESPARRA: Everything, missing posters, talking to the family.

I used to keep her pictures on my desk. Any time I covered a vigil, I would keep everything on my desk of her to remind me that she was missing. I would talk to Nancy. She would tell me stories. She was shy. She'd never get in a car with anybody, a stranger.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: How is she? How was Gina?

ESPARRA: She's doing fabulous. It was unbelievable.

My hands were sweating because here's someone I never imagined would come back to us. And so when I went inside, I embraced her and she embraced me reluctantly, because she's, obviously, been locked in a basement for nine years, and we talked.

And the first thing I said is, you look nothing like your composite. She's a tiny little thing. She's very small, short hair. She had longer hair when she disappeared. And her skin's a little pale from the lack of vitamin D from being outside. But she was just so kind and so happy.

And a relative came up to her and said — was talking in Spanish and she looks at her mom and says, mom, I don't remember my Spanish anymore.

BALDWIN: Really?

ESPARRA: Yes.

BALDWIN: She can't speak Spanish anymore?

ESPARRA: No. And then we had a couple of other words. I asked her about the house, and then I left. The family told me to stay, have food. We're Hispanic. We're very open with one another. Lydia, stay and have food. But I did not want to make her feel uncomfortable. I left. . . .

In other developments, Angel Cordero, who speaks only Spanish, told ABC affiliate WEWS-TV that he arrived at the scene first and he was the one to kick the door down, freeing Berry, who had been trapped inside for nearly 10 years. Also, the Call & Post, Cleveland's black weekly owned and published by boxing promoter Don King, had no coverage of the rescue events on its Web page, but reported on the saga in its print edition, a staffer told Journal-isms.

David Bauder, Associated Press: Charles Ramsey's turbulent 15 minutes of fame

Ruben Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: Some understanding for the Cleveland kidnapping victims

Daily News columnist Clem Richardson was among the dozen or so journalists laid off from the New York tabloid, Richardson disclosed, telling Journal-isms that Friday was his last day.

Richardson, 58, has worked at the News since 1993. His disclosure came as the New York Post offered voluntary buyouts to newsroom employees, the top two editors at the New York-based Village Voice said they were leaving the weekly newspaper over staff cuts, and the editor of Columbia Journalism Review, Cyndi Stivers, also based in New York, left to become editor-in-chief of AOL.com. CJR's longtime executive editor, Mike Hoyt, was in the process of being laid off, according to Joe Pompeo of capitalnewyork.com.

Richardson explained Friday by email, "I have been a columnist since shortly after returning from a six month International Center for Journalists fellowship teaching newspaper writing for the Independent Newspaper group in South Africa. When I officially left the company today I was writing the weekly Great People, City Beat, and Uptown Talks columns, the titles of each explain what they covered.

"What's next? Several friends in the business have graciously offered writing opportunities, and college teaching is a possibility should a position come up. All this time will allow me to finish the rewrite on my first novel, a Brooklyn-based fantasy, sometime this month, which a brilliant Brooklyn artist, Leokadia Cermakova has graciously consented to create the cover art and illustrate several scenes inside.

"Other than that I'm sitting here screaming at the ridiculous and unending one-on-one play that passes for the NBA playoffs nowadays and reflecting on how wonderful a life I have been blessed to live. I have heard from friends, colleagues and dozens of people I profiled, so I guess I got a few names right. . . ."

[On Saturday, reporter Tanyanika Samuels, who is expecting a baby, told her Facebook followers that she, too, was laid off: 

"As some of you may know, I was among those laid off from the Daily News on Friday. I consider myself in good company. Thank you to those who reached out. Looking forward to the future, most notably on the imminent arrival of baby #2. Just three weeks to go...eeek!" Samuels previously worked at the Kansas City Star and the Philadelphia Inquirer, according to her LinkedIn profile.]

Until an interview with Linda Villarosa in the June issue of Essence magazine took the story national, the saga of the black lesbian who married a white man who is now a candidate for New York City mayor was largely a local story.

Kat Stoeffel, writing Thursday in New York magazine, described it this way:

"Before she was married to New York City public advocate and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, Chirlane McCray was a lesbian. She wrote an essay about it for Essence in 1979, which the New York Observer dug up last year. Considering McCray's husband's opponents include a current lesbian and a reformed sender-of-crotch-shots — and considering this is New York City, where no one cares how you get your rocks off — it should have been no big deal. But a skeezy New York Post cartoon hinting that De Blasio had won McCray's vote, so to speak, briefly dragged out the non-story. Now McCray has returned to Essence to candidly explain the fluidity of sexuality and the vagaries of the heart, in case any of us perverts are still confused. . . ."

In the interview, McCray says of a tabloid cartoon by Sean Delonas published in December, "What the New York Post did was just really nasty. It was racist, ignorant and crude."

As described by Dana Rubinstein in capitalnewyork.com, Delonas "sketched the mayoral candidate in drag smoking a post-coital cigarette next to his wife, as she talks on the phone: 'I used to be a lesbian but my husband, Bill de Blasio, won me over,' she says." Among Delonas' previous cartoons is one comparing the author of President Obama's stimulus package to a dead chimpanzee.

Villarosa is a former executive editor at Essence "who wrote her own coming out story in 1991," Essence recalled, and "runs the journalism program at City College in Harlem."

The release of unredacted WikiLeaks cables no doubt led to the arrest of a prominent businessman in Eritrea who is one of "thousands of political prisoners, locked up without ever being charged with a crime, many of whom are never heard from again," Amnesty International said in a report on the country released Thursday.

"In October 2011 Senay Kifleyasus, a prominent businessman and the husband of the current Minister for Tourism Askalu Menkerios was arrested [PDF]. It is believed that his arrest was in relation to an un-redacted Wikileaks cable. In the cable Senay is not identified but is described as a 'businessman and the estranged husband of a cabinet minister' and describes a conversation in which he reportedly criticised President Isaias [Afwerki]'s 'disastrous governance of the country,' which among other things had 'drained the patience of the military,' the report says. "According to available information Senay has not been brought before a court or charged with a crime. It is not known where he is being detained."

The human rights group refers to a 2011 report published on awate.com, a U.S.-based website produced by Eritrean exiles.

"The US cables included instructions to protect or 'strictly protect' sources speaking in confidence," Gedab News reported on awate.com. "When wikileaks first disclosed the cables in November of last year, it partnered with the media and human rights organizations who combed the data to ensure that the cables remained redacted. In September of this year, the British newspaper The Guardian and wikileaks began been blaming each other for losing the primary password, and tens of thousands of the cables have been released, disclosing the names of the sources.

"The arrest of Senay Kifleyesus is the only one we have been able to confirm, but there are likely to be many others including officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of the Eritrean Defense Forces and tortured-then-released members of Eritrea's banned churches. . . ."

Publication of WikiLeaks cables places some members of the news media in collusion with what could be ruled an illegal act. It makes some journalists uncomfortable.

The State Department would not detail the damage done by the released cables. A spokesman messaged Journal-isms in December, "The Department of State does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked. Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for the lives of identified individuals that are jeopardized, but also for global engagement among and between nations. Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches."

A military trial is underway at Fort Meade, Md., for Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and classified reports while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.

"A record seven-in-ten (69%) Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, two percentage points higher than the rate (67%) among their white counterparts, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau," Richard Fry and Paul Taylor reported Thursday for the center.

"This milestone is the result of a long-term increase in Hispanic college-going that accelerated with the onset of the recession in 2008 (Fry and Lopez, 2012). The rate among white high school graduates, by contrast, has declined slightly since 2008."

The authors noted, however, that young Hispanic college students are less likely than their white counterparts to enroll in a four-year college (56% versus 72%), and wrote, "It is possible that the rise in high school completion and college enrollment by Latino youths has been driven, at least in part, by their declining fortunes in the job market."

Separately, Taylor analyzed a report on the racial and ethnic breakdown of voters in 2012 released Wednesday by the Census Bureau and combined it with a December Census report projecting the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. population through 2060.

"In 2012, Mitt Romney captured just 17% of the non-white vote overall, according to the national exit poll, including 6% of the black vote, 27% of the Hispanic vote and 26% of the Asian-American vote," Taylor wrote. "Unless future Republican presidential candidates do better with these groups, the electoral math will keep getting more difficult for the GOP."

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Black voters a surprise, especially to GOP

"The resignation of Jason Richwine, who was a senior policy analyst at Heritage, caps a challenging week for the prominent conservative research outlet, which has sought to make its mark on the immigration debate under the fresh leadership of former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. Mr. DeMint, a Republican, formally took the helm of the think tank in April," the story continued.

"Mr. Richwine co-authored a report, released earlier this week, that tried to gauge the cost to taxpayers of legalizing 11 million immigrants in the U.S. unlawfully. He and the lead author, Heritage senior research fellow Robert Rector, pegged the cost at $6.3 trillion over 50 years. . . ."

Emil Guillermo blog, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: It's May and the fight for immigration reform is on

María Hinojosa with filmmaker Luis Argueta, "Latino USA," NPR: Postville Five Years Later (podcast)

María Hinojosa with John Carlos Frey, "Latino USA," NPR: For Bullets, It's Open Borders (podcast)

Julianne Malveaux, syndicated: Blacks Underepresented in Immigration Debate

Native American Journalists Association: NAJA supports removal of "illegal" from immigration coverage

Alden Nesbitt and Rashad Robinson, the Grio:  Black immigrants waiting for reform, too

A story in the satirical newspaper the Onion, in which a heartbroken Chris Brown tearfully told reporters that he always thought that Rihanna "was going to be the woman he'd beat to death one day" is "calling Chris Brown out in a way that very few media organizations have," Jennifer Vanasco wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review.

"It is saying that he abused Rihanna — he pleaded guilty in 2009 to one charge of felony assault — that this abuse would have likely led to her death had they continued in a relationship, and that, if he continues in the pattern of other domestic violence perpetrators, he will likely abuse the next woman he dates.

"The Onion was only giving us the ugly truth in a palatable way — through humor. Without that publication, we'd just have strangely whitewashed stories in the entertainment media about the couple's relationship, like the New York Post's piece about how Brown went to a boxing match and then partied with 45 pals after he and Rihanna split; or the Us magazine story saying Brown was 'putting himself out there in a big way' and that though he’d always love her, 'people have differences and people have different wants and needs.' Both read like they could be the 'boy loses girl' part of a rom com script. Neither story mentioned Brown's abusive history.

Vanasco continued, "According to American Bar Association statistics, African American women ages 20 to 24 experience significantly more violence from intimate partners than do other racial groups. Rihanna is currently 25, but she was 22 in 2009. Forty percent of male batterers assault their partner again within 30 months. I’ve quoted this statistic before, but the CDC has said that black women ages 25 to 29 are 11 times more likely to be killed than white women. In fact, the top killer of African American women ages 15 to 34 is murder by a current or former intimate partner. . . ."

Richard Winton and Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times: Chris Brown's monster graffiti scares children, neighbors say

" 'We will never change the name of the team,' Snyder told USA TODAY Sports this week. 'As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.'

"What if his football team loses an ongoing federal trademark lawsuit? Would he consider changing it then?

" 'We'll never change the name,' he said. 'It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.' . . ."

For Mother's Day, the staff of NBCLatino shared "some of the best advice our [moms] passed down to us." Web producer Ignacio Torres said, "The advice she always gave me was 'respect yourself before you demand it from others.' "

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: There's support for women whose children have been murdered

Leda Hartman, "Latino USA," NPR: To Be, or Not to Be (podcast)

Pakistan's Interior Ministry has ordered the expulsion of Declan Walsh, New York Times bureau chief in Islamabad, on the eve of national elections, the newspaper said Friday. The Times has strongly protested the move and is seeking his reinstatement, Rick Gladstone reported for the Times Friday.

The Fox Sports 1 cable channel, launching Aug. 17 to compete with ESPN, has announced that Curt Menefee of "Fox NFL Sunday" will host "Fox Football Friday" and Don Bell of ESPNEWS, will anchor for "Fox Sports Live," spokesman Lou D'Ermilio told Journal-isms on Friday. "Hiring for on-air, editorial and production positions continues. We're receiving hundreds of resumes. Anyone interested in seeing what's available should go to www.foxcareers.com and apply."

Robin Roberts of ABC's "Good Morning America" "is the most trusted person on television, according to a new Reader's Digest poll released Tuesday," the Huffington Post reported. "Reader's Digest polled 1,000 Americans on the trustworthiness of 200 public figures. Roberts was the most trusted television host, coming in at #12 on the list and 56% of Americans saying they trust her. . . ." Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute and editor of theRoot.com, is No. 52 on the overall list.

"The Newseum announced Friday that it will continue with plans to honor two Hamas-linked Palestinian journalists killed during Israeli airstrikes last November, despite criticism from conservative outlets and a pro-Israel think tank over adding the names to the museum's Journalists Memorial," Michael Calderone reported Friday for Huffington Post.

Chicago "Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces growing voter disenchantment, particularly among African-Americans, even as the overall number approving of his job performance holds steady at the halfway point of his first term, a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows," Rick Pearson reported Thursday for the Chicago Tribune.

In Philadelphia, "NBC10 anchor and reporter Lori Wilson is leaving for her homestate of Indiana, where she'll anchor CBS-affialiated WISH-TV's '24-Hour News 8 at 5PM,' Molly Eichel reported for the Philadelphia Daily News. "She'll also report for their 11 p.m. newscast. WISH-TV serves central Indiana, including Indianapolis." However, "Wilson said she'll definitely be back in Philly. 'It's not goodbye, it's I'll see you later,' Wilson said."

In Detroit, WXYZ-TV reporter Bill Proctor, 65, was scheduled to retire Friday after a long, award-winning career — the last 33 years at Channel 7, Susan Whitall reported for the Detroit News. She added, "During his 33 years at WXYZ, Proctor refused to be bullied by former Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young, he negotiated by phone with cop killer Alberta Easter, and he doggedly pursued allegations that Inkster Judge Sylvia James was misusing public funds, winning a prestigious Wade A. McCree award for his efforts. . . ."

Mike Woolfolk, anchor and managing editor at WACH-TV in Columbia, S.C., from January 1996 to March 2010, told Facebook friends Thursday, "On Friday, I will hit the road and head back to the land of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, the Detroit Lions and Hitsville, USA. The stay in Detroit will be temporary. Long enough to stabilize and prepare to head to my ultimate destination: North Las Vegas, Nevada where I will assist my brother in launching his original art business and work to regain my personal footing." Woolfolk, a former vice president/broadcast of the National Association of Black Journalists, had been an independent consultant since 2010.

"They number 16, come from 12 colleges and universities and are assigned to 15 media sites around the country. For many of the members of the 2013 Summer class of Chips Quinn Scholars, their passion for journalism stems from an early love of writing, reading or photography, and they pursue those endeavors in their free time . . .," the Freedom Forum wrote in introducing the students.

"A judge may have thrown out class-action status for the lawsuit against Hearst for using unpaid interns at its magazines, but the disgruntled former coffee-fetchers will continue the fight," Rebecca Greenfield wrote Thursday for the Atlantic. " 'The case of the named plaintiffs and the people who opted into the case will go forward,' said Junot Turner, the Outten and Golden lawyer handling the case. That includes the 'Norma Rae' of unpaid interns Diana Wang, who interned for Harper's Bazaar, Erin Spencer, a former Cosmopolitan intern, and six others. . . ."

"Michael Wilson has been named vice president for digital media at The Advocate" in Baton Rouge, La., the paper announced. "Wilson, 38, started working with The Advocate as an intern in 1999. For the past three years, he has been digital media director, supervising and running the newspaper’s website. . . ."

In New York, "Sundays are sounding more like weekdays on WBLS (107.5 FM) as the station cuts back on 'specialty' programming to play more music in the mid-day," David Hinckley reported May 3 in the Daily News in New York. "For some listeners, though, this comes at a price: a cutback in 'Open Line,' one of the few black talk shows on a major commercial city radio station. . . . "

"Saga Communications' hip hop WJMR, Milwaukee 'Jammin' 98.3' adds Tom Joyner's Reach Media-syndicated urban morning show beginning Monday, May 13," RadioInfo reported Friday. Joyner's show is heard on 105 affiliate stations across the country.

Radio One earnings were "up 4.9 percent over 2012 for the quarter with Houston, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. all strong-performing markets for the company, RadioInk reported Thursday. "Detroit, Indy, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Richmond, and Raleigh did not perform as well." CEO Alfred Liggins "repeated what he's been saying for years, that radio is a . . . flat to slightly up business. "

"Among the cancellations announced this week in anticipation of Monday’s unveiling of a new prime time schedule, surely the hardest to take for NBC News is the closing notice for 'Rock Center,' the ambitious newsmagazine program that hoped to stake out new territory for both the news division and its chief anchor, Brian Williams," Bill Carter wrote Friday for the New York Times. The show also provided another outlet for "Today" alumna Ann Curry.

Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic, who just won a National Magazine Award, is "a good writer and limited thinker who hasn’t had the indulgence to engage in the intellectual heavy lifting to be anything but today’s favorite Chocolate boy wonder who talks about racism in a way that makes White Liberals feel good," according to lawyer Pascal Robert, writing for yourblackworld.com.

"Newspapers in Liberia have printed black front pages after a government official was accused of threatening journalists," the Associated Press reported Friday. "The director of the presidential security service reportedly told a journalist: 'Be careful, because you have your pens and we have our guns.' . . ."

In Zimbabwe, "Former Financial Gazette deputy editor-in-chief Edna Machirori was recently awarded the 2013 International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) Lifetime Achievement Award, after working in pre and post colonial Zimbabwe as a journalist for 50 years," the Financial Gazette reported from Harare. "Machirori became the first black woman in Zimbabwe to be appointed news editor of a mainstream newspaper and subsequently the first black woman to edit a mainstream weekly newspaper. She has acted as a mentor to other women throughout her career. . . ."

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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.