Don Lemon

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CNN Pumps Up Don Lemon

CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon is getting a temporary prime-time slot on CNN as some journalists debate whether the network's most visible journalist of color is acting appropriately by simultaneously ramping up his role as a commentator.

"It's going to be amazing. You're going to want to watch it," Lemon said Tuesday night, according to Jordan Chariton, reporting for TVNewser. Lemon added, "to have any time slot on CNN is a pretty big accomplishment." Lemon was part of a "CNN Heroes" event, recorded for a special to air Dec. 1.

Lemon is to fill in at 11 p.m. while Erin Burnett is on maternity leave, Katherine Fung reported Tuesday for the Huffington Post, and will step in for Burnett on "OutFront" some days at 7 p.m. The 11 p.m. show, called "The 11th Hour," will replace 11 p.m. re-runs of "OutFront" and will be produced by Piers Morgan's executive producer Jonathan Wald.

CNN has said that the show is not permanent, and will run until Burnett returns from maternity leave. Lemon will guest host Burnett's show at 7 p.m. for three weeks, while Jake Tapper will guest host in the slot from Dec. 2 to Dec. 20.

"As anchor of CNN Newsroom, Don Lemon is one of pitifully few high-profile African-Americans in corporate media," Josmar Trujillo wrote Tuesday for Fairness & Accuracy In Media, going on to discuss one of Lemon's controversial commentaries. That piece was on black personal responsibility. Another was an Election Day radio commentary on New York's "stop-and-frisk" law.

Tracie Powell wrote Wednesday in Columbia Journalism Review, "Whether or not Lemon's commentaries on the show express his actual opinions, audiences interpreted his Election Day piece as an endorsement of stop-and-frisk — a perception he disputed in an interview days later with Richard Prince. Lemon told Prince that his comments were being misinterpreted. 'I am not supporting stop-and-frisk,' Lemon told him.

"But beyond stop-and-frisk, many are taking issue with the fact that Lemon is acting as a commentator at all.

" 'Actually, you shouldn't be opposing or supporting it,' wrote Ray Suarez, host for Al Jazeera America. His Facebook post echoed what many others are saying — that Lemon should not be commenting on the day’s issues and still expect audiences to trust him as an anchor and reporter.

"But as Kim Pearson, a journalism [associate] professor at The College of New Jersey, pointed out, Lemon wouldn't be expressing opinions without endorsement from the higher-ups. 'Clearly Don Lemon isn't violating his CNN contract, or he would have been [reined] in,' she said. . . . "

Powell also wrote, "Even though CNN still produces more straight news than its two cable news competitors, many media observers believe Lemon's increasing forays into commentary represent a continued blurring of the lines between journalism and opinion. . . ."

Marisa Guthrie, the Hollywood Reporter: Anderson Cooper Renews CNN Contract

Akoto Ofori-Atta, The Root: What Should Don Lemon Call His New Show?

They added, "The two channels with strong ideological identities in prime-time — liberal MSBNC and conservative Fox News — spent far more time on the politically-charged health insurance story than the overseas disaster. And the two organizations that built a brand on global reporting — CNN and Al Jazeera America, an offshoot of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera media network —spent considerably more time on the tragedy in the Philippines.

"The differences in the amount of coverage of each story on Fox News and MSNBC were striking. In the sample studied, MSNBC devoted three hours and eight minutes to the issues surrounding Obamacare, about four times as much as the Philippines typhoon garnered (41 minutes). On Fox, the differences were even greater. In the sample studied, the channel devoted almost eight hours to the health care drama and six minutes to the aftermath of the typhoon. That translates into nearly 80 times more coverage of the health insurance story than the typhoon.

"CNN had the closest balance between the two stories, spending slightly more than three-and-a-half hours on Obamacare and just under five hours on the typhoon. The fledgling Al Jazeera America network devoted three hours and 10 minutes to the typhoon, more than twice as much airtime as health insurance commanded (one-and-a-half hours). . . ."

Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, fierceforblackwomen.com: Black Women’s Health & the Affordable Care Act (Nov. 10)

Rosario Marin, Fox News Latino: White House, You Have A Problem

Mark Trahant, Al Jazeera: Obama falls short on treaty-based healthcare (Nov. 14)

Sheila Solomon, who has "dedicated her life to . . . developing the careers of journalists of color and bringing diversity to the journalism industry," has been chosen as the 2014 recipient of the Ida B. Wells Award, given by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, NABJ announced on Wednesday.

"Currently, she serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia College in Chicago," a news release said. "She is best known as the Cross Media Editor and Senior Editor for Recruitment at The Chicago Tribune. As a manager, one of her most noted contributions was educating and recruiting many journalists of color through Tribune's Minority Editorial Training Program (METPRO). She served as a Tribune Company liaison with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, coordinating scholarships, internships, and cross-training opportunities for both faculty and students. Previously, Solomon was one of the first journalists of color at The Newport News Daily Press and served as staff development editor. . . ."

Solomon is a contract recruiter for Journatic, which provides content to publications across the country. She was one of 15 people laid off from the Chicago Tribune's editorial ranks in March 2012.

"I first met Sheila when I became CBS' Diversity Director in 2005," NABJ President Bob Butler said in the release. "She was very helpful in helping me figure out what I needed to do to help increase diversity at my company.”

Solomon told Journal-isms Wednesday by email, "I'm sickened by the dearth of African Americans in the media. We made some progress and while in some ways we seem to have been pushed backward, many bright young people are still entering the industry and becoming innovators. There continue, however, to be fewer of us in decision-making roles. I keep wondering if there's more we as successful veteran journalists — retired or not — can do to help retain and grow those leaders."

"This policy exists despite the recent appointment of a second Inquirer co-owner on the university's Board of Trustees.

"Professor Maida Odom, director of the department's internship office, said the faculty decided as a group to enact the discouragement policy on her suggestion after the Inquirer reassigned its last African-American city desk reporter, Vernon Clark, to the obituaries section.

" 'We felt it was a tipping point,' Odom said. 'We decided we shouldn’t send students into that environment.'

"Before joining the journalism department's faculty in 2006, Odom worked as a reporter for the Inquirer for more than 20 years and worked on the city desk during that time. She said she remains close with staff members at the newspaper.

"Odom said the Inquirer city desk had 'apartheid era staffing,' compared with other newspapers and media outlets where students were interning. . . ."

Gilbride also wrote, "Odom said the policy technically ended after the spring semester when the Inquirer hired a new African-American reporter. She said the department still does not actively encourage internship opportunities at the publication. . . ."

Raul Ramirez, executive director of news and public affairs at San Francisco's KQED Public Radio and longtime lecturer at San Francisco State University, left a $25,000 endowment to be distributed yearly in support of students whose work exemplifies the importance of diversity, Jonathan Ramos reported Tuesday for the Golden Gate Xpress, which is published at the university.

Ramirez died of cancer at 67. "Since his passing Friday, the Raul Ramirez Diversity in Journalism Fund has raised an additional $10,000 through donations from alumni, friends and other journalism professionals in lieu of flowers and gifts at his request," Ramos reported. He said details about the fund's distribution are still in development, according to Journalism Department Chair Cristina Azocar.

Ramirez was to be posthumously awarded the 2013 Distinguished Service to Journalism Award Tuesday by the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, in San Francisco. Last week, Ramirez wrote remarks in preparation for the ceremony, and they were to be read Tuesday by San Francisco State University Professor Jon Funabiki, David Weir reported for KQED.

The remarks, published by KQED, began, "Dear Colleagues:

"In my four decades as a journalist, the power of people's voices has shaped my work. To me, journalism has always been about the power of voices. . . ."

"Eric Harrison, who served as the Houston Chronicle's film reviewer from 2000 to 2005, has died," Andrew Dansby wrote Monday for the Chronicle. "He was 57.

"His body was discovered in his home Saturday. The cause of death was unknown, pending autopsy results.

"Harrison, a Houston native who attended Kashmere High School, began his career in journalism as managing editor of the Daily Texan at the University of Texas. A former correspondent, Atlanta bureau chief and film writer for the Los Angeles Times, Harrison began writing about film in 1998. He reviewed hundreds of movies for the Chronicle that revealed a deep knowledge of cinema. They also were elegantly efficient and inviting to those who viewed movies as entertainment more than art. . . ."

In addition to being one of the few African American film critics at a daily newspaper, Harrison had another calling, as Richard Connelly wrote in 2002 for the Houston Press.

"Harrison, it turns out, has a lively second career as a decidedly lefty, few-holds-barred Herblock-in-the-making," Connelly wrote, referring to the late legendary Washington Post cartoonist. "He has his own Web site . . . featuring an archive of his work. It's not exactly subtle stuff — one shows a monkey-eared George W. Bush giggling stupidly at the funny pages while a secret report on Al Qaeda's plans sits unread on his desk. . . ."

Connelly quoted Harrison, "I actually started out planning to be either a movie critic or a cartoonist." Connelly added, "Both careers got put largely on hold as he spent 17 years as a straight-news reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Los Angeles Times. . . ."

"The Federal Communications Commission Thursday said it is open to allowing greater foreign investment in radio and TV stations, but may in exchange ask companies to free up more airwaves for wireless broadband, Gautham Nagesh reported Nov. 14 for the Wall Street Journal.

"The FCC voted unanimously to allow exemptions to the decades-old 25% foreign-ownership limit on TV and radio stations on a case-by-case basis. The commissioners argued the move would open up new sources of capital and boost diversity among station owners. . . ."

Katy Bachman wrote last month for adweek.com, "Over the years, support for easing the rule has come from all sectors of the business, but particularly from minority groups, as a way to help minority broadcasters that often find it difficult to find capital and new investors. . . ."

Meanwhile, new "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Tuesday met with public interest groups to talk about his agency plans, according to some of those public interest groups, and included his pledge of support for an open Internet and hit on other general themes," John Eggerton reported Wednesday for Broadcasting & Cable.

Among those present was Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Institute and vice president of the New America Foundation, who had been "a fairly harsh public critic of the Wheeler appointment," Eggerton wrote. "Others present included representatives of Free Press, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, The Leadership Council on Civil Rights, the United Church of Christ, NAACP and several others.

"To insure such a line of communications with those and other groups, Wheeler named Gigi Sohn, former president of public interest group Public Knowledge, to be his special counsel for external affairs. . . ."

In another development, Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, told FCC staffers that he thought upcoming incentive auctions for spectrum space would reduce the number of women and people of color who own TV stations, Eggerton reported Wednesday.

The FCC has explained, "Incentive auctions are a voluntary, market-based means of repurposing spectrum by encouraging licensees to voluntarily relinquish spectrum usage rights in exchange for a share of the proceeds from an auction of new licenses to use the repurposed spectrum."

Nogales contended, "The FCC will be looking for spectrum primarily in urban markets and most likely from independent stations since major market affiliates have mostly signaled they are staying in the business. In those major markets, those independent stations the FCC is most likely to woo are also more likely to be owned by minorities and women and with programming targeted to diverse audiences," Eggerton reported.

"We are delighted to announce that Helena Andrews will be joining Style as a columnist for the Reliable Source," the Washington Post's gossip column, Style editor Frances Sellers wrote to the Post staff Tuesday. Andrews is likely the first person of color assigned to the column.

"Many of you already know Helena from the weekly pop culture column she has been writing for The Root. She has also been a contributing editor of the online women's magazine xoJane," the memo said.

"A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Helena says she first came to Washington to answer phones and find plastic forks as a news assistant in the DC bureau of the New York Times.

"She went on to cover Capitol Hill as a style reporter for then-fledgling Politico. Highlights included interviewing actor-vist Ryan Gosling and style guru Tim Gunn, who, at the 2007 White House Correspondents' Dinner, told Helena her dress was among his 'top six of the night.' To chronicle her roaring late twenties in Washington, Helena wrote a collection of essays, 'Bitch is the New Black,' published by HarperCollins in 2010. Her essay on 'Reserve' is featured in the anthology 'Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness' (Soft Skull Press).

"We look forward to welcoming Helena to the newsroom next month. She and her fellow Sourcette, Emily Heil, will begin focusing their discerning eye and indomitable reportorial instincts on Washington's social scene in early 2014."

Andrews confirmed for Journal-isms Wednesday that "Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes' production company, has optioned my book for Fox Searchlight. That deal is still in place. It hasn't gone anywhere. In Hollywood speak we're 'in development.' "

The book of essays about Andrews' 20-something years might reflect a brashness new to "Reliable Source" readers. As her mother watched, Andrews declared at party for her book in 2010, "I have a vagina and I like to use it."

Nick Valencia has been promoted to reporter/producer for CNN, the network announced Tuesday. "He has been with CNN since 2006, and most recently served as a news editor on CNN's National Content Center desk across the network's many platforms. He is bilingual, and has covered the Mexican drug war and other breaking news stories in the United States and Latin America. In 2013, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) awarded him its inaugural 'Si Se Puede' Excellence in Leadership award for his work empowering Latino journalists, and he is the president of the NAHJ Atlanta chapter. . . ."

"James McBride's 'The Good Lord Bird,' the comic and terrifying adventures of a disguised black child caught up in John Brown's abolitionist crusade, was the winner Wednesday night of the National Book Award for fiction," the Associated Press reported. McBride is a former Washington Post, Boston Globe and People magazine writer. "McBride, the picture of style in a tux and pork pie hat, confided during his acceptance speech that in recent years his mother and niece had died and that his marriage had collapsed. He found consolation in his novel and its protagonist, a boy pretending to be a girl and nicknamed 'Onion' by Brown, who recruited him for his ill-fated attempt to free the slaves," the AP reported.

"It looks like the right-wing media has finally turned on George Zimmerman," Zerlina Maxwell wrote Wednesday for the Grio. "The conservative media outlets and personalities that once defended Trayvon Martin's killer appear to have changed their tune this week, after Zimmerman was arrested yet again for domestic violence. In August, Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter charges in the killing of Martin. . . ."

"There's a new New York-based wine magazine to savor. Grape Collective is officially launching today and features a number of very recognizable food and wine journalism names," Richard Horgan wrote Wednesday for FishbowlNY. "Former Wall Street Journal wine columnist Dorothy J. Gaiter, who wrote for the paper from 1998 to 2010 and conceived her 'Tastings' column there with husband John Brecher, is senior editor. . . ."

"ABC's Elizabeth Vargas announced on Tuesday that she has completed her treatment for alcohol abuse," the Huffington Post reported Tuesday. "The ABC News '20/20' co-anchor checked herself into rehab early in November, stating that she 'was becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol.' . . ."

Karen Grigsby Bates wrote a tribute Tuesday to Barbara Cheeseborough, Essence magazine's first cover girl, for NPR's "Code Switch" blog. Cheeseborough died Oct. 24 at 67 in Pomona, Calif. Bates wrote, "Ask any black girl who was in college back then, and chances are she can tell you what that first cover looked like — some people still have it squirreled away somewhere, after all these decades. 'Iconic' is an overused word, but that's what the first Essence cover was for millions of us - iconic." Essence debuted in May 1970.

Lourdes Torres, Univision News director of special projects, has been promoted to  vice president of regional news and director of special projects, the network announced Wednesday. In addition, "Jairo Marin will serve as executive producer of award-winning newsmagazine program 'Aquí y Ahora' (Here and Now); and Maria Martinez-Henao has been promoted to managing editor of Network News." Torres "will be responsible for ensuring that all news programming aired on Univision’s owned and operated local stations, as well as news content featured on Univision’s local digital platforms, meet the highest journalistic and production standards," the announcement said.

"When ESPN's Jason Whitlock showed Boardwalk Empire and HBO tremendous love on Twitter, @BoardwalkEmpire was quick to ReTweet igniting a conversation," Natan Edelsburg wrote Tuesday for Lost Remote. Edelsburg explained, "When it comes to one on one social TV engagement, the value is often underestimated. While it's impossible to respond to every single fan who tweets about a show, social TV teams are definitely fine tuning the art of engaging with the loudest influencers who can then engage with their own followers. . . ."

James Ragland, whose Dallas Morning News column was suspended two years ago while a domestic assault charge was pending, became a columnist again Wednesday. "There are, to paraphrase a famous line from The Naked City, 1.2 million stories unfolding every day in Dallas and countless more across the region," Ragland wrote. "I aim to explore a few of them each week in my new column, which will focus on four core areas — race and culture, schools, social services and public health, all vitally important topics for our readers. I will lean heavily on my aged instincts, on relevant data and on respected experts to engage readers in thoughtful conversations about these issues and the personalities influencing or affected by them. . . ."

"The New York Times on Wednesday announced a reorganization of its Washington bureau, including the elevation of Carolyn Ryan to bureau chief and the start of two new ventures," Christine Haughney reported for the Times. "In a memo to the staff, Jill Abramson, the executive editor, said that Ms. Ryan, currently the top political editor, would succeed David Leonhardt, who will head up one of the new initiatives, in a role that combines data with analytical reporting." No journalists of color were named as part of the initiatives, but spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Journal-isms by email, "As Jill's memo says, the work on both initiatives will be done by existing and new staff and we'll have more to say on that soon. The hiring process for both is in the beginning stages."

"The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today has joined its African regional group the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) to condemn vigorously the sacking of 60 media workers including journalists in Uganda," the IFJ said Wednesday. "According to the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU) an IFJ/FAJ affiliate, Channel Wavah Broadcasting Services (WBS) a TV channel based in Kampala, capital city of Uganda, has sacked the workers in a major exercise that management says is aimed at cost-cutting. . . ."

Reporters Without Borders called Wednesday for a thorough investigation into Tuesday's attempted murder of TV journalist Diego Gómez Valverde in Colombia's eastern city of Cali. "Cali police chief Nelson Rincón said Gómez, the head of Canal Universitario, the University of Valle de Cali's TV station, was driving in his car and had stopped at a red light when a motorcyclist pulled up alongside and shot him nine times. Nothing was taken from the victim," the press freedom group reported. 

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, an autonomous judicial institution, has issued key decisions supporting press freedom, including a 2004 landmark ruling that struck down a criminal defamation conviction of a Costa Rican journalist, Carlos Lauría of the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote Tuesday. "So, when the court's latest ruling was announced two weeks ago, free press advocates were dismayed. In its decision, involving Carlos and Pablo Mémoli, Argentine publishers of the small newspaper La Libertad in San Andrés de Giles, a town in Buenos Aires province, the court decided for the first time that a criminal sanction for defamation didn't affect freedom of expression as established in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights. . . . "

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Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.