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T.J. Holmes (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

T.J. Holmes Says He's
 Officially a Free Agent

Black Entertainment Television finally acknowledged Thursday that 
it will not bring back T.J. Holmes' "Don't Sleep!" [video] late night news/talk show, eight months 
after its initial launch. Holmes told Journal-isms on Friday, "I'm a 
completely free agent."

Holmes left his job as a CNN weekend anchor in December 2011 for
 BET, which developed a half-hour late-night show for him that 
targeted African American viewers but was intended to have more in
 common with Jon Stewart than with traditional
 journalism.

"But 
the show, which aired Monday through Thursday, failed to draw a
 significant audience," R. Thomas Umstead wrote 
Thursday for Multichannel News. "After generating a series-high 1 
million viewers for its Oct. 9 episode, the series averaged less than 
400,000 viewers before being revamped into a weekly, one-hour format
on Nov. 14. The last new episode of the series aired Dec. 19."

However, BET refused to say it was canceling the show, even as it 
turned its attention toward the reality show "The Real Husbands of Hollywood."

Holmes told Journal-isms by telephone, "I will never, ever regret
 thinking that my heart was in the right place," a young black man 
taking his skills "to do something that was not being done for our 
community," that is, providing a daily news show geared toward 
African Americans. "You learn from the mistakes, there are questions I 
should have asked, things that should have been cleared up," but 
reaching the black community in that way was "an opportunity I would 
love to have" again, Holmes said.

Umstead wrote, "In a statement, BET said Don't Sleep
 'delivered smart social commentary on 
significant issues important to African Americans with the nation's 
most prominent thought leaders. BET remains committed to being a 
resource for our audience on issues that directly affect the African 
American community.'"

Boston Suspects Darkened for Magazine Cover

"This is how brofiling actually works in real 
life," Hari Stephen Kumar wrote Thursday for his 
"brofiling" blog. "The Week Magazine ran with this image as their 
cover sketch.

"Just so it is said, clearly and unambiguously: the Tsarnaev 
brothers are white guys. They are white. The FBI's own wanted poster 
for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lists his race as 'white', but
 you would never know it from the cover image on The Week.

"Hold up the cover to someone else, and ask them how many white 
people they can see on the cover. Chances are they will identify 
Gabby Giffords on the top left and the image of the 
Boston policemen (all white men) on the top right, but how about 
those two guys in the center? Nope, not a chance that anyone would say
 these caricatures look white.

"Why? Because in addition to being white they are also 'Muslim',
 which is the current dehumanizing 'Other' label that whiteness has 
constructed as a sanctioned target for violence in US popular 
culture.

"This is how white privilege works in media representations and
 everyday life: when the criminal suspects are demonstrably white men, 
seize upon any aspect of difference and magnify it such that they 
become Othered, non-white, and menacing. If it is too hard to do so,
 simply dismiss them as aberrations and isolated cases of insanity.
 This is also how white culture, specifically the process of whiteness
 in conjunction with white privilege, portrays several non-white 
identities, including those that are now considered white but at one 
time were decidedly not so. . . ."

The Week magazine did not respond to a request for comment.

The episode is reminiscent of Time magazine's darkening of O.J. Simpson's face
 during his 1994 murder trial to make him appear more menacing.

The well-respected weekly calls itself "A comprehensive, balanced 
distillation of national and international news, opinions and ideas."
 Its subscriber base is just a fraction of Time's 3.2 million: It had a 
total paid and verified circulation of 561,459 for the six month s
ending Dec. 21, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

Up to 5 Senior Blacks 
Leaving USA Today, Gannett

As many as five senior black journalists at USA Today and Gannett
News Service are taking a buyout, depleting the top ranks of
journalists of color at "the nation's newspaper."

Three of the five confirmed their departure: Geri Coleman
 Tucker, deputy managing editor; Robert
 Robinson, deputy managing editor/copy editors; and reporter 
Larry Bivins of Gannett News Service.

"Early retirements were offered to USA TODAY employees who were at 
least 55 years old and had 15 years of service. They were offered two
 weeks pay for each year of service — with a cap of one year of pay,"
USA Today spokeswoman Heidi Zimmerman told 
Journal-isms by email Friday. She would not disclose the number 
taking the buyout.

"Yes, it's true," Bivins messaged Journal-isms. "After 36 years in 
the business, starting at The Cleveland Call & Post, a black 
weekly, I'm hanging it up. At least for a while. The timing is good 
for me . . . I'll be 64 in November, giving me just two more years
 before full Social Security eligibility. I'll get a paycheck for 
almost a year. I'm not quite sure what I want to do. I imagine I'll be
 open to freelance possibilities. But for a couple of months, at least,
 I plan on doing nothing but playing tennis every day. And clear my 
head!

"May 15 would have been my 20th anniversary with Gannett, all in
 Washington. I started in 1993 as an urban affairs/race relations 
reporter for The Detroit News, then moved over to Gannett News Service 
in 1998. I was a regional reporter, spent time as a regional editor, 
then went back to reporting when the bureau downsized in 2009 — I had 
just returned to work after a six-week disability for a hip
 replacement. . . ."

Tucker said she was "embarking on a great faith journey." She said
 she had spent 23 years at USA Today, "30 at Gannett all total because
 I was also a regional managing editor at Gannett News Service." Tucker 
has been deputy managing editor/Money at USA Today and managing
 editor/Midwest for Gannett News Service from 1986 to 1993.

She added, "I'm looking for exciting, new opportunities."

Robinson, deputy managing editor/Sports before a reorganization,
 messaged, "After 39 years at Gannett, the last 30½ with USA TODAY, I
 decided to take the early retirement package. I have had 39 wonderful
 years in the business, including being a founding member of the USA 
TODAY staff, and felt the timing was right to take a step back. . . . 
As for what's next, I have no immediate plans other than to take a
 month or so to just enjoy the family, visit my aging mother in Florida 
and then look for my next employment opportunity — or whatever God 
has in store for me."

Could Fact-Checkers Have Saved 
Howard Kurtz?

The saga of media writer Howard Kurtz, who "parted 
ways" with Newsweek and the Daily Beast after an embarrassing error 
this week, was part of the buzz Thursday night at the American 
Magazine Awards in New York. Jim Nelson,
 editor-in-chief of GQ, accepted one of the honors.

"Howard Kurtz, who wrongly accused
 NBA player Jason Collins of not mentioning his
 earlier engagement to a woman when he came out this week, could
 have been saved from his mistake by magazine factcheckers, GQ 
Editor-in-Chief suggested when his magazine won in the reporting
 category," Nat Ives reported for Ad Age.

For the most part, reconstructions of Kurtz's fall have not
 addressed the role of the website in failing to catch his errors.

Dylan Byers and Katie Glueck wrote Thursday night for Politico, "At the height of his influence, Howard Kurtz was
 widely regarded as the most influential media reporter and critic in 
the country. But in recent years, erroneous reporting and careless 
errors reduced him to fodder for the media reporters and critics who
 followed in his footsteps.

"No single event has dealt such a crushing blow to Kurtz's 
reputation as Thursday's decision to 'part ways' — after a serious
 mistake in a story about gay basketball player Jason Collins — with 
The Daily Beast, where he has served as columnist and Washington 
bureau chief since leaving a long, illustrious career with The 
Washington Post in 2010. . . ."

They added, "sources at the Daily Beast and CNN, who spoke to 
POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, said there were several
 reasons for the breakup: For one thing, Kurtz had a string of
 high-profile mistakes on his record and that had become a source of
 embarrassment for The Daily Beast. For another, he commanded a hefty 
paycheck, despite turning out fewer scoops than in the past. . .
."

"But perhaps the main factor that led Kurtz out the door, several
 sources said, was the same quality that had fueled his rise in the 
first place decades ago: a hyperactive work ethic that ended up
 dividing his attentions and ultimately proved unsustainable. . .
."

Andrew Kirk, a spokesman for the Daily Beast, did
 not respond to a question about whether Kurtz's work went through copy
 editors. The fateful entry about Collins was described as a "blog
 post," which at many publications means it is posted without 
editing.

Meanwhile, CNN has decided not to remove Kurtz as host of his
  Sunday morning media show. "There has been no 
status change with Howard Kurtz, he remains the host of 'Reliable
Sources'. He will address this issue on the program this
 weekend," a CNN spokeswoman told inquiring journalists.

Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown tweeted
 Thursday that Kurtz and the Daily Beast had "parted company ... we
 wish him well."

"A statement from Brown highlighted moves the website
 is taking to bolster its coverage of Washington, including with
 new columnists such as Jon Favreau, 
Joshua [DuBois] and Stuart
 Stevens," Ryan Nakashima reported for the 
Associated Press.

DuBois, an African American, left his position as faith adviser for
 President Obama in February.

"A 
few months back, the Baltimore Ravens' Brendon
 Ayanbadejo, an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, told
 USA Today that he thought the first player in the three major
 sports to out himself would be a baseball player: 'The religious
 roots are a lot deeper in basketball and football. With that being 
said, I think baseball players are more open-minded,' " Allen
 Barra reported Friday for the Atlantic.

"What Ayanbadejo didn't know was that one baseball player already
 had. This week's coming out by NBA player Jason
 Collins is momentous, but the Jackie
Robinson of gay rights was Glenn Burke, who
 played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's from 1976 to 1979.
 He tried to change sports culture three decades ago — but back then,
 unlike now, sports culture wasn't ready for a change.

"Burke made no secret of his sexual orientation to the Dodgers 
front office, his teammates, or friends in either league. He also 
talked freely with sportswriters, though all of them ended up shaking
 their heads and telling him they couldn't write that in their papers. 
Burke was so open about his sexuality that the Dodgers tried to talk 
him into participating in a sham marriage. (He wrote in his 
autobiography that the team offered him $75,000 to go along with the 
ruse.) He refused. In a bit of irony that would seem farcical if it 
wasn't so tragic, one of the Dodgers who tried to talk Burke into 
getting 'married,' was his manager, Tommy Lasorda, 
whose son Tom Jr. died from AIDS complications in 
1991. To this day, Lasorda Sr. refuses to acknowledge his son's
homosexuality.

"Burke, who also died of AIDS-related causes in 1995, came out to 
the world outside baseball in a 1982 article for Inside Sports and 
even followed it up shortly after with an appearance on The Today 
Show with Bryant Gumbel. But his story was 
greeted by the rest of the news media and the baseball establishment, 
including Burke's former teammates and baseball commissioner
 Bowie Kuhn, with silence. Even his superb
 autobiography, Out at Home, which published the year he died, 
failed to stir open conversation about homosexuality in sports. 
Practically no one in the sports-writing community would acknowledge
 that Burke was gay or report stories that followed up on his
 admission. . . ."

"Out: the Glenn Burke Story," a documentary featuring
 Burke, debuted in November 2010 in a San Francisco theater,
 accompanied by a television broadcast the same night on Comcast
SportsNet Bay Area.

Donna Brazile, CNN: But can the dude play?

Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: Is Jason Collins the Jackie Robinson of 2013?

Reginald Johnson, Metuchen Edison Area Branch NAACP, letter, MyCentralJersey.com | Courier News | Home News Tribune: Tough being gay in sports? Ask Glenn Burke

Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle: Film examines struggle of gay athlete Glenn Burke (2010)

Armstrong Williams, the Shadow League: Jason Collins And The Plague Of Identity Politics

Phillip B. Wilson, Indianapolis Star: Colts notes: Players would accept a gay teammate

Denver Post Joins Papers
 Dropping "Illegal Immigrant"

"I have heard all kinds of arguments. I always tensed up when
 someone argued illegal immigrant was the same as racial epithets used 
to describe blacks and Jews. I still believe those comparisons are
 wrongheaded. But other examples stayed with me. I remember once being 
told that a young girl cried upon seeing a relative described as an 
illegal immigrant.

"Yesterday, I decided The Denver Post will no longer use the term 
'illegal immigrant' when describing a person in the country 
unlawfully. If we know the actual circumstances we will describe them. 
The word 'illegal' will not be applied to a person, only an action. .
. ."

The Denver Post entry on "illegal immigration" now reads:

"Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or
 criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use 
illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, 
but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or
 entering a country illegally or without legal permission.

"Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien,
 an illegal, illegals, undocumented aliens or undocumented workers.
 Use the unmodified word immigrant only for people who have entered the 
U.S. lawfully.

"Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without 
attribution.

"If possible, specify how someone entered the country illegally and
 from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What
 nationality?

"People who were brought into the country as children should not be 
described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a 
temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for 
Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with
 details on the program lower in the story."

Hugo Balta, National Association of Hispanic Journalists: NAHJ Applauds the Denver Post for Its Decision to Drop the I Word

Kevin Bogardus and Russell Berman, African Globe: Caribbean and African Immigrants Getting Blocked in New Immigration Bill

Joel Campbell, Columbia Journalism Review: Four Corners coverage: immigration reform (April 29)

Charles D. Ellison, Uptown: How Black Folks Are Shut Out of the Immigration Debate (April 29)

María Hinojosa with former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, "Latino USA," NPR: Where Is Mexico on U.S. Immigration Reform? (podcast)

Maria Hinojosa, "Latino USA," NPR: Lost Women (podcast)

"A Baltimore broadcaster will become president and
 general manager of WMFE-FM after a national search, the public radio
 station announced Thursday," Hal Boedeker  reported Thursday for the Orlando Sentinel. LaFontaine
 Oliver has held a similar position at Morgan State 
University's WEAA-FM since 2007. "He will start at WMFE late this
 month.

" 'He has energy and enthusiasm, and we thought he would lead us to
 great things,' said Derek Blakeslee, chairman of 
WMFE's board of directors.

"Oliver replaces Jose Fajardo, who left WMFE in 
October. Oliver's challenges will include leading a reduced staff 
through a tumultuous media landscape. WMFE, which got out of public 
television in 2011, now has 15 employees overall and four full-timers
 in the news department. WMFE is working to hire several reporters,
 Blakeslee said. . . ."

Boedeker added, "WMFE listed Oliver's achievements as starting
 Michael Eric Dyson's show, which is now nationally
 syndicated, and leading the New Visions, New
 Voices campaign to increase diversity in public media. Oliver is 
African American. He has been an actor and worked in management at XM
Satellite Radio and Radio One in Washington. . . "

Boedeker noted that Oliver's appointment comes shortly after the 
ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in an April 24
 report, highlighted complaints by activist Jonathan Sebastian
 Blount about a lack of diversity at WMFE. The complaints were 
endorsed by Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla. Blakeslee said 
that Oliver's hiring had nothing to do with Blount's complaint.

Blount, a founder of Essence magazine, told Journal-isms by email, 
"As one of my most admired mentors said at the Inaugural
 Congressional Black Caucus Dinner, 'It's not the man it's the plan.
 It's not the rap, it's the map.' "

Oliver told Journal-isms he had nothing to add to the announcement, 
but that before he leaves Baltimore, WEAA will be adding NPR's "Tell 
Me More" with Michel Martin and expanding the local 
"The Anthony McCarthy Show" from once a week to five 
"as apart of our expanded news and talk schedule."

Four in 5 Americans Oppose
 Changing "Redskins" Name

"The team's nickname, which some consider a derogatory term for 
Native Americans, has faced a barrage of criticism. Local leaders and 
pundits have called for a name change. Opponents have launched a legal 
challenge intended to deny the team federal trademark protection. A 
bill introduced in Congress in March would do the same, though it
 appears unlikely to pass.

"But a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that nationally, 
'Redskins' still enjoys widespread support. Nearly four in five 
Americans don't think the team should change its name, the survey
found. Only 11 percent think it should be changed, while 8 percent 
weren't sure and 2 percent didn't answer.

"Although 79 percent favor keeping the name, that does represent a
10 percentage point drop from the last national poll on the subject, 
conducted in 1992 by The Washington Post and ABC News just before the
 team won its most recent Super Bowl. Then, 89 percent said the name 
should not be changed, and 7 percent said it should. . . ."

Last month, Unity: Journalists for Diversity reiterated its 
opposition to the team name and supported removing federal 
trademark protection for the name.

The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, the Kansas City Star and the Washington City Paper do not allow the team to be
 referred to as "Redskins." The Oregonian in Portland has a similar policy, 
but the name appears frequently on the newspaper's website.

U.S. to Train Central
 American Journalists in Security

"The center will be based in El Salvador and will support 
journalists in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala by providing
 physical and digital security training, offering financial help to 
journalists in 'emergency situations' and developing personalized 
security plans for reporters and their families facing death threats,
reported EFE.

"The deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human 
Rights and Labor, Jane Zimmerman, who made the
 announcement, said the three countries lack the institutional capacity
 to protect journalists or catch those responsible for targeting 
them.

"The center is part of worldwide initiative that will also provide
 security training to journalists in Georgia and Kenya. . . ."

Emily Alpert, Los Angeles Times: Press Freedom Day: Where reporters and their work are 
threatened

Committee to Protect Journalists: Getting Away With Murder

Committee to Protect Journalists: Getting Away With Murder

Cynthia English and Lee Becker, Gallup Organization: Majorities in Most Countries Perceive Their Media as Free

Reporters Without Borders: Libya: World Press Freedom Day

Jillian C. York, PBS MediaShift: Why We Still Need World Press Freedom Day 

Short Takes

The Atlantic won a National Magazine Award in New York Thursday for its website as well as for "Fear of a Black President," a September article by senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates won in the essays and criticism category. James Bennet, editor-in-chief, accepted on Coates' behalf. Coates blogged about the honor the next dayList of winners.

George E. Curry, editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, traveled to southern Africa with Jesse Jackson Sr. on a nine-day trip that ended Friday. In Pretoria, South Afria, Jackson was presented the Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo, the highest award a non-South African can receive, for his efforts to held end apartheid in the country. Jackson condemned sanctions on Zimbabwe.

"Al Jazeera executives have been touring the country and rolling out announcements of new bureaus ahead of Al Jazeera America's launch later this year," Dylan Byers reported Thursday for Politico. Al Jazeera plans 12 bureaus, in New York; Washington; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; Chicago; New Orleans; Detroit; Dallas; Denver; Los Angeles; San Francisco and Seattle. Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director for international operations for Al Jazeera Media Network, told Journal-isms the network had 22,000 job applications for 800 positions.

"Mountain Dew's problems with cultural sensitivity this week culminated with the pulling of its 'Felicia the Goat' spot today, after suffering similar marketing damage when the family of Emmett Till during the last several days denounced the brand's sponsorship of rap artist Lil' Wayne," Christopher Heine wrote Wednesday for Adweek. He added, "It appears obvious that some brands desperately want to tap young urbanites while signing up their edgiest musical heroes, such as Lil' Wayne, Ross and Tyler, The Creator — who produced Mountain Dew's spot. But do six-figure-salaried marketers actually know what they are doing while attempting to reach the street? And are these examples once again showing the advertising world's lack of diversity? . . ."

"FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has turned into a hero for AM Broadcasters," RadioInk reported April 25. "His desire to save the AM band, stemming from his love for AM radio stations, is exactly what AM broadcasters need at such a crucial time. With interference at an all-time high and so many other ways to consume much clearer content, AM radio might simply die without such an important advocate in such an important position. . . ."

In a profile Thursday of Geneva Overholser, leaving in June after five years as director of the journalism school at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Rachel Bracker of the student Daily Trojan quoted Overholser, "I'm really proud of how diverse our faculty is and how diverse our student body is. We know that the future of journalism is not all white and it's not all men." Last year, Annenberg was awarded the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Equity & Diversity Award.

"Does everything on your airwaves and website get a second set of eyes? Are those eyes trained to find more than grammatical errors?" Amy Tardif asks for the Radio Television Digital News Association. "Apparently not every newsroom is doing enough. But now there's a guide book that will help." RTDNA has produced a book on plagiarism. "The book defines the problem, tells how to build barriers to plagiarism including who does it and why as well as policies that can help. The writers agree the solution is attribution," Tardif wrote.

"Eight days after getting a press pass from San Diego police, freelance videographer J.C. Playford saw his media credential confiscated and revoked Tuesday after a standoff at the San Ysidro border crossing," Ken Stone wrote Wednesday for Patch in Ramona, Calif. He added, "Playford posted three YouTube videos Wednesday depicting his exchanges with authorities on and near the bridge, where he says he had stopped to film a K-9 drug search of a car passing into the United States. 'This is what a dictatorship looks like,' Playford says in one video during his time talking to police. . . ."

It's not exactly the same as chronicling what happens to the only person of color in a newsroom, but some situations might seem familiar. Heben Nigatu of BuzzFeed posted "27 Things You Had To Deal With As The Only Black Kid In Your Class" on Thursday.

Asked why the media don't draw more attention to the racial dynamics surrounding the nation's first African American president, poet and essayist Ishmael Reed replied in an interview with PolicyMic, "The media knows there are racial angles, but they don't want to alienate their white subscribers. They view their audience as the so-called majority, and to bring up racism as a factor would be seen as a turn-off. They couldn't sell their products. They coddle their white subscribers by ignoring white pathology and blaming all of the social ills on blacks in order to get ratings. . . ."

On Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 a.m., C-SPAN is rebroadcasting a discussion of the coverage of the Trayvon Martin case led by New York Times op-ed columnist Charles M. Blow, who also talks about the differences between opinion journalism and straight news reporting. At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the Tavis Smiley Forum discusses "Latino Nation" with Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and GOP strategist Ana Navarro.

The International Press Institute Friday "hailed the approval by the Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago of a bill that would partially decriminalise defamation in the country," Scott Griffen wrote for IPI. "The bill has now been sent to Parliament, for what is hoped to be swift passage. . . ."

"The prize-winning investigations editor of Colombia's top newsmagazine said Thursday that he believes a roadside attack on him by gunmen who put five bullets in his car was related to his work," Libardo Cardona wrote Thursday for the Associated Press. "Ricardo Calderon, 42, was uninjured in Wednesday night's shooting by at least two gunmen after he had stopped by the roadside to urinate in Girardot, a valley town southwest of Bogota. . . ."

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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.