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Al Sharpton holds a press conference at the National Action Network’s offices in New York City April 8, 2014.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

"Some of today's New York newspaper front pages were pretty remarkable," Josmar Trujillo wrote Wednesday for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. "Both the New York Post (4/9/14) and the Daily News (4/9/14) sensationalized, for the second day in a row, revelations that Al Sharpton was an informant for the FBI.

"Revelations first alluded to in 1988 by Newsday, to be specific.

"Coverage from the News and the Post, which has never made secret its detestation of Sharpton, exploded after the Smoking Gun website (4/7/14) published documents pointing to Sharpton's cooperation with the feds. But while admitting his role as an informant, Sharpton defended himself from assertions that he was a snitch ('I was not and am not a rat because I wasn't with the rats…. I'm a cat') by pointing out he was helping law enforcement to take down criminals.

"The Post, a staunch proponent of law and order most other times, left out the long-rumored accusations in activist circles that Sharpton tried to lead authorities to Assata Shakur (AKA Joanne Chesimard) — the fugitive black liberation icon. Newsday reported on that in 1988, too.

"So while this week's revelations aren't all that new, for some, they set up an interesting cat-and-mouse game between corporate media, including the right-wing Post, and Sharpton. The Reverend and his National Action Network might be able to point to a media attack as politically motivated — Sharpton's past activism and current close ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio would correctly put him in the crosshairs of conservative media. All of which may lead some on the left to circle the wagons around him.

"But for long-time activists and those in the African-American community, Sharpton's cooperation with the arm of the government that engineered the notorious COINTELPRO operation raises a different set of questions than what local papers are asking. . . . "

Sharpton, host of MSNBC's "PoliticsNation," made several media appearances giving his side of the story, including holding a news conference in New York and appearing on radio's syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show."

William Bastone with Andrew Goldberg and Joseph Jesselli, the Smoking Gun: Al Sharpton's Secret Work As FBI Informant

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report: Al Sharpton: King Rat

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Sharpton should encourage 'brothers' to help police

Harry Siegel, Daily News, New York: Sharpton’s shady snitch story

"No tragedy was heralded to less effect than the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi of Rwanda," Linda Melvern wrote this week for the International Press Institute as part of its commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

"By the time the UN blue helmets arrived to monitor the peace agreement it was probably too late for peacekeeping. Yet no one could have imagined the scale or the brutality of what was to come.

"There is no doubt that the events in Rwanda in April 1994 took everyone by surprise, not the least the British and the American media. The news coverage of Rwanda was certainly handicapped by danger on the ground. Yet the massive failure by the Western press to adequately report the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi cannot be so easily explained away.

"In a startling rebuke afterwards the characterisation by the press of the genocide as 'tribal anarchy' was deemed by an international enquiry to have been fundamentally irresponsible. . . . In reality, a planned annihilation was under way. This was not a sudden eruption of 'long-simmering hatred.' Genocide does not take place in a context of anarchy. This was the deliberate elimination of political opponents and an attempt to exterminate all Tutsi.

"The media's failure to report that genocide of the Tutsi was taking place, and thereby generating public pressure for something to be done to stop it, was said to have contributed to international indifference and inaction, and possibly to the crime itself. It was left to non-governmental organisations — most notably the UK office of Oxfam — to give the crime its rightful name and lead calls for something to be done to try to draw the world's attention. The basic inference in the press was that in the face [of] uncontrollable savagery then nothing could be done. . . ."

As reported in this space on Monday, the U.S. State Department counts three major humanitarian crises: in Syria, in the Central African Republic and in the world's newest nation, South Sudan, but only Syria is commanding much media attention. State Department officials say the inattention could cost lives because nongovernmental organizations fail to receive the necessary contributions.

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Rwandan atrocities showed that 'never again' could happen again

Editorial, New York Times: After Rwanda’s Genocide

John Simpson, International Press Institute: Flashback: Why reporters join the fight

The Rev. Benjamin Chavis, executive director of the NAACP from 1993 to 1994 and one of the Wilmington 10, pardoned in 2012 after a campaign by the black press, attacked this columnist and Clint Wilson II, a Howard University journalism professor, this week in a column transmitted by the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, which serves black community newspapers.

Chavis' complaint, followed by a separate column by George E. Curry, editor-in-chief of the news service, came over a posting two weeks ago reporting on "Whither the Black Press?: Glorious Past, Uncertain Future," a recent book by Wilson. The column was headlined "Time for Change in the Black Press?" on the Maynard Institute website and "Is the Black Press Still Powerful?" on The Root.

Chavis wrote, "Whenever there is a steady series of public questions being raised about the 'power' of Black Americans, you should always first consider the motive and purpose of the questions. Such was the case recently when Richard Prince wrote a column, which was posted on The Root, titled: 'Is The Black Press Still Powerful?' Of course the answer is 'Yes, the Black Press in America is still powerful.'

"What was the underlying motive for this question being asked? I wonder if Prince, a long-time employee of the Washington Post, has ever written a column titled, 'Is The White Press Still Powerful?' I seriously doubt it. . . ."

Chavis apparently did not realize that at The Root and many other news organizations, the writers do not write the headlines or that the question of power was not raised in the column. Nor has this columnist worked at the Washington Post for several years. While power cannot be measured solely by circulation, a February survey of African Americans by Lester & Associates for Ebony magazine found that "Only 1 percent report relying on African-American newspapers." Hence the question, "Time for Change in the Black Press?"

Chavis justifiably pointed to the case of the black-press crusade for the Wilmington 10, nine black men and one white woman, as a triumph for the black press and others who sought their pardons. The Ten were falsely convicted and imprisoned in connection with a racial disturbance in Wilmington, N.C., in 1971. Chavis spoke Saturday night in Wilmington, N.C., at the premiere of the National Newspaper Publishers Association – CashWorks HD Productions documentary, "Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten," Curry reported.

Wilson has his own reaction to Chavis' piece. He told Journal-isms by email Wednesday:

"It appears the book has caught the attention of some folks. Predictably, it is also drawing comment from some who have not read it. Otherwise, the false assumption by Mr. Chavis that I don't introduce Black newspapers to my classes after learning how few are aware of them is an interesting leap in logic. The book discusses in detail various reasons why the younger generation is not exposed to the Black press and nowhere does it 'fault' them for that circumstance.

"As an advocate for the Black press, I'm hopeful that those who actually read the book will find the 'reality check' to which Chavis alludes and begin serious discussions about what can be done to address the issue in 21st century America. In that respect, the book concludes that in today's media environment: 'The media are different, the audience is different, and the issues are different. It remains to be seen whether African American newspapers — the traditional Black press — or their new media cohorts can muster the resolve and the means to meet the challenges before them."

Meanwhile, on Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting Morocco, pledged U.S. support for reforms and efforts to promote regional stability, while highlighting social challenges, Agence France-Press reported. Morocco, which is seeking to build a better public-relations profile, offered NNPA an expenses-paid trip to the country, which the association accepted in January, prompting a debate over journalistic ethics.

Reporters Without Borders wrote an open letter to Kerry last week expressing concerns about press freedom in Morocco, "including the case of Ali Anouzla, a journalist who is being prosecuted under Morocco's anti-terrorism law."

The press freedom group said, "The situation of freedom of information in Morocco, ranked 136th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, is the source of a number of other concerns that require concrete measures by the authorities in order to improve respect for the right to inform and be informed.

"Reporters Without Borders has often stressed the need for legal reforms that would fully guarantee the principle of freedom of information. The promises of reform announced by the Moroccan authorities after the 2011 constitutional referendum have been slow to materialize. . . ."

Lucius Gantt, South Florida Times: Black Media Our Hope for Future Progress

"Al Jazeera America is set to debut a new original series called 'Borderland' that will attempt to take viewers beyond the debate on illegal immigration and tell the stories of the undocumented immigrants who attempt to cross illegally into the United States and the residents on the border," Solange Uwimana reported Wednesday for Media Matters for America.

"Al Jazeera America's focus on the human side of the border story is in sharp contrast to the way Fox News and other right-wing media outlets discuss illegal immigration and undocumented immigrants.

"In a press release announcing the series, which is set to begin on April 13, Al Jazeera America stated that 'Borderland' 'reflect[s] the channel's commitment to outstanding investigative journalism focusing on the human side of important, underreported stories, arising out of such national issues as immigration.' Al Jazeera America president Kate O'Brian went on to say:

" 'Immigration is one of the most divisive topics in our country, and it is easy for the real issues to get lost in the noise of politics. ... Borderland looks at the issue in an entirely fresh and compelling way — allowing the viewer to become immersed in the experiences of actual border runners.'

"In 'Borderland,' six Americans of all ideological stripes are tasked with retracing the journey of three migrants who died while attempting to cross illegally at the U.S.-Mexico border. 'To make the story relatable,' Al Jazeera America stated, 'the filmmakers said participants on the trip faced the same dangers as the migrants whose stories they were charged with retelling.' . . ."

Maria Hinojosa, "Latino USA," NPR: The Other Border: Puerto Rico's Seas (March 28)

Maria Hinojosa, "Latino USA," NPR: Immigration Status Can't Stop La Santa Cecilia (March 7)

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Through the immigration looking glass

James Spring, "This American Life," WBEZ Radio, Chicago: "Flight Simulation" (audio) (March 14)

"The television news network has been in the middle of major overhaul undertaken by CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, as it looks to reverse ratings declines and pull in more advertising revenue. In the meantime, the company also wants a bigger piece of digital advertising budgets, particularly the rush toward more Web video advertising.

'To that end, the network is rolling out CNN Digital Studios. Among its first projects: a bite-sized video news series built specifically to be viewed and shared on Twitter called Your 15 Second Morning. That project seems to be CNN’s answer to mobile-first news startups like NowThis News and Circa.

"Beyond that show, which executives hope will become a daily habit among younger news consumers, CNN has lined up some top talent for a slew of original franchise series of the news/entertainment variety. . . ."

Matt Dornic, a spokesman for CNN Worldwide, told Journal-isms by telephone that there would "absolutely" be a role for journalists who are interested in "being digital first and where you can host your own web series, [and] appear on CNN live TV" and on other platforms. Those interested should contact Andrew Morse, the network’s senior vice president for the United States, or Chris Berend, CNN’s vice president for video content development, Dornic said.

"One of my preferred topics for editorial cartoons has always been American mistreatment of indigenous people," Chicano artist Lalo Alcaraz wrote Monday on his website. "Nothing makes me feel better than dreaming up a solid cartoon that reminds us all about the sordid history of our country's crimes against Indians. The only thing more satisfying is seeing my ideas validated.

"This weekend POCHO Florida Burro Jefe Santino J. Rivera sent me a 'heads-up' about a Tweet featuring one of these editorial cartoons. I clicked the link and just about fell out of my chair.

"The graphic in the Tweet was a side-by-side presentation of my cartoon showing a Native American confronting an Indian-mascot-garbed sports fan next to a photograph of a Native American confronting an Indian-mascot-garbed sports fan (image, above.)

"They are eerily similar. The strange part was that I drew my cartoon in 2002, and the photo was taken last week in Cleveland, home of the Cleveland 'Indians':

"At first I thought it was just a hilarious comparison. Then I began examining the two images more closely and got a little weirded out. . . ."

Ruth Hopkins, Last Real Indians: Heidi Klum's Redface Photo Shoot

Jacqueline Keeler, Indian Country Today Media Network: I'm Not Your Disappearing Indian (April 3)

Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: The raging politics of a hat consumes this baseball town (April 4)

"The number of African Americans who lacked health insurance dropped dramatically in 2014's first quarter compared to 2013's fourth quarter thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Republicans threaten to repeal if they win control of both houses of Congress in November's national elections," NorthStar News & Analysis reported Tuesday.

"The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index reported on Monday that the uninsured rate for African Americans fell from 20.9 percent in 2013's fourth quarter to 17.6 percent in 2014's first quarter, a drop of 3.3 percentage points.

"When Open Enrollment began on October 1, 2013, 6.8 million African Americans lacked health insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Blacks reported the highest drop among ethnic and racial groups. The percentage of uninsured whites declined from 11.9 percent in the fourth quarter to 10.7 percent in the first quarter, a drop of 1.2 percentage points.

"As for Hispanics, the percentage of uninsured was 38.7 percent in 2013's fourth quarter compared to 37.0 percent in 2014's first quarter, down 1.7 percentage points. . . ."

Meanwhile, Charles Babington of the Associated Press reported, "Several big corporations have reaped millions of dollars from 'Obamacare' even as they support GOP candidates who vow to repeal the law. This condemn-while-benefiting strategy angers Democrats, who see some of their top congressional candidates struggling against waves of anti-Obamacare ads partly funded by these companies.

"Among the corporations is a familiar Democratic nemesis, Koch Industries, the giant conglomerate headed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. They and some conservative allies are spending millions of dollars to hammer Democratic senators in North Carolina, Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and elsewhere, chiefly for backing President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. . . ."

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: After huge Obamacare milestone, Bobby Jindal begs for attention (April 2)

Ralph Matthews Jr., a former editor of the Baltimore-based Afro-American newspapers who followed his father into the newspaper business, died April 3 after a brief illness, his wife, Sharon, told Journal-isms by telephone. He was 87 and lived in Hyattsville, Md., outside Washington.

Matthews was last in this column in 2004, when he and his son, screenwriter David Matthews, appeared on CBS-TV's "Sunday Morning." David Matthews had written a memoir about his passing for white.

"Ralph Matthews told Journal-isms he started at the Afro as a cub reporter in 1950, working for the Afro newspapers on and off until 1986. By then he had been managing editor for 10 years," this column reported.

"According to 'The Baltimore Afro-American: 1892-1950' by Hayward Farrar, David Matthews has quite a newspaper lineage. His grandfather, Ralph Matthews Sr., was the Afro's answer to H.L. Mencken, who was writing for the Baltimore Sun. He 'became a power in the Afro, serving as the theatrical editor, city editor, managing editor, and editor of the Washington Afro-American. A witty and acerbic man, Matthews had one or two columns in the Afro-American from the 1920s onward. In them he lampooned sacred cows in the black community, such as the black church and its ministers, black politicians, black society and the institutions of marriage and family.'

"David Matthews was 'raised entirely by his father after his mother returned to Israel,' the CBS piece said. Asked what he thought of his son's 'passing,' Ralph Matthews said on the show, 'I call it doing what you have to do.' "

Bret McCabe wrote in 2007 in the Baltimore City Paper, "Ralph Matthews Jr., also light-skinned, graduated from Frederick Douglass High School, attended Syracuse University, graduated from Morgan State University, and was part of that generation who invented 'cool' in the 1950s and '60s. He worked for a number of black publications in New York and hung out at jazz spots with people like James Baldwin, wrote puff pieces about upstarts like Miles Davis, and eventually helped found a newspaper, New York Citizen Call, through which he befriended Malcolm X. . . . "

David Matthews wrote in his book, "Ace of Spades: A Memoir," that both his grandmother and father had the opportunity to pass for white but rejected it. David Matthews "knew some of his family's history but had to revisit his father to get the particulars. 'My dad is sort of a natural raconteur, so ever since I was born I've always listened to all the stories about all the people he had known and hung out with," Matthews says. "So, you know, it was like, 'That's great, Dad, Malcolm X and you were blah blah blah. Got it.' I was a kid — I didn't know better.' . . ."

Sharon Matthews said that her husband willed his body to science and that she plans a memorial service next month.

In the obituaries of actor Mickey Rooney, who died Sunday at 93, "there’s one thing the newspapers have generally danced past, and it happens to be the role that has cast the longest shadow out of a career of thousands: His performance as Mr. I.Y. Yunioshi in the classic 1961 film 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s,' " Jeff Yang wrote Tuesday for the Wall Street Journal. "In the decades since the film was released, Rooney's portrayal of Yunioshi — taped eyelids, buck teeth, sibilant accent and all — has become one of the persistent icons of ethnic stereotype, brought up whenever conversation turns to the topic of Hollywood racism. . . ."

 "On April 3, Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend and president Bob Sauerberg, Jr., announced the hire of Cosmopolitan executive editor Joyce Chang as Self editor-in-chief, effective May 1," Steve Cohn reported April 3 for minonline.com. Cohn also wrote, "Chang was the top lieutenant to editor-in-chief Joanna Coles at Cosmo (since Sept. 2012) and before that at Marie Claire. Earlier stops were as People StyleWatch deputy editor, People senior writer and Lucky fashion news editor. The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism alumna began her career in 1999 as an assistant to Allure founding editor-in-chief Linda Wells. . . ."

"ProPublica announced today that Ginger Thompson of The New York Times will join its staff next month as a senior reporter," Nicole Collins Bronzan reported Wednesday for ProPublica. "In her 15 years at The Times, Thompson has written award-winning and important stories on topics ranging from the secret role of the U.S. government in Mexico's drug war to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the first in-depth profile of Bradley Manning. She was also part of a team of reporters on The Times's Pulitzer Prize winning series 'How Race is Lived [Is] America.' " Thompson said of ProPublica by email, "I am impressed by their mission and their track record, and I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of it."

"Nine members of the Pacifica Foundation's board of directors opposing last month's firing of executive director Summer Reese filed a lawsuit Thursday asking the court to void the action and reinstate her," Ben Mook reported Monday for Current.org. "Calling themselves the Pacifica Board Members for Good Governance, the group filed a civil lawsuit in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda. According to the lawsuit, Reese’s March 14 firing violated Pacifica's bylaws and was 'improper, unlawful and fiscally reckless.' . . .” Separately, Arlene Englehardt, the previous executive director, wrote Monday for Current.org that "Pacifica is not only failing, it is nearly moribund . . . ." Reese was interviewed Monday by Heather Gray of WRFG-FM in Atlanta (audio).

Gary Dauphin, whose resume includes stints as director and editor-in-chief of AOL BlackVoices and editor-in-chief of the old Africana.com, is leaving KCETLink in Los Angeles, where he is vice president, digital, to become editor-in-chief of annenberg.usc.edu. "I'm very proud to have helped turn the station's site from an anemic compendium of listings to a full-featured editorial, video, and fundraising product," he told his Facebook followers. "Among other things, I'll be managing annenberg.usc.edu (with an eye towards a digital relaunch to go with the new building) . . . "

"Fox News host Bill O’Reilly gives vigorous coverage to stories in which white people suffer crimes at the hands of black people," Erik Wemple reported Tuesday for the Washington Post. Wemple also wrote, "This particular 'O’Reilly Factor' series continued last night, with a discussion of the horrible Detroit incident of April 3, when 54-year-old Steve Utash hit a 10-year-old boy with his pickup truck, got out to help and ended up being beaten. Utash is now in a medically induced coma. The boy, David Harris, sustained a leg injury. . . .This one has the look of an O’Reilly staple for the weeks ahead, as Detroit Police Chief James Craig has stated that their investigation will consider the possibility that what happened to Utash was a hate crime. . . ."

"Giannina Segnini, an internationally known investigative reporter, and Lonnie Isabel, an accomplished writer and editor with extensive experience in politics, international news and features, will join the faculty this fall" as visiting professors, Columbia Journalism School announced on Wednesday. Segnini has taught investigative journalism at the Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica. Isabel, who worked for 16 years at Newsday, is director of the International Reporting Program and a Distinguished Lecturer at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Gabriela Guaracao, director, strategy and operations, Al Día News Media, and Jessica Puente, audience development manager at the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., made Editor & Publisher''s list of "25 Under 35," "people who are young, bright, and capable of tackling whatever the changing newspaper climate throws at them. People with business acumen to lead through trying times and vision to implement bold, new strategies to move their newspapers forward.”

Tim Golden, a senior writer at the New York Times, has been named managing editor for investigations and news coverage at the Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization rolling out later this year targeting criminal justice news. Bill Keller, the former New York Times executive editor who is editing the site, told Journal-isms that there had been no other appointments.

"Formerly known as BET on Jazz, BET Jazz, and BET J, and launched in September 1996, Centric is a spin-off cable television channel of BET, created originally to showcase jazz music-related programming, highlighting black jazz artists," Tambay A. Obenson reported Tuesday for Shadow and Act. She also wrote, "And now it looks like Centric is being rebranded yet again by BET — this time as a black woman-focused network, starting with the pickup of the canceled VH1 drama series Single Ladies, as was announced this morning. . . ."

Reporting on climate-change coverage in 2013 on the cable news networks, "Fox News was the least accurate; 72 percent of its 2013 climate science-related segments contained misleading statements," the Union of Concerned Scientists reported Monday. "CNN was in the middle, with about a third of segments featuring misleading statements. MSNBC was the most accurate, with only eight percent of segments containing misleading statements. . . ."

"Media sources forecast Vogue's controversial issue with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on its cover is on track to sell 300,000 to 400,000 copies, putting it on par with top-selling issues with Beyoncé and First Lady Michelle Obama," Stephanie Smith reported Tuesday for the New York Post's Page Six.

Stay-at-home mothers "stand out from other married stay-at-home mothers in that they are disproportionately white or Asian," the Pew Research Center reported Tuesday. "About seven-in-ten (69%) are white, and fully 19% are Asian. Only 7% are Hispanic, and 3% are black.

"Authorities in the Philippines must conduct a thorough and efficient investigation into the murder of a local reporter on Sunday and do their utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday. "Two assailants fired multiple shots at Rubylita Garcia, 52, after entering her home in Bacoor City in the province of Cavite, according to news reports. . . ."

"The Egyptian authorities arrested on Wednesday a correspondent for Al Jazeera on charges of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and inciting violence," the Aswat Masriya website reported. "Ali AbdelRahman Shaheen, who works for the Qatar-based television network, is also accused of broadcasting false news that mislead the public. . . ."

"Human Rights Network for Journalists has released an analysis of media laws in Uganda that limit freedom of expression," the Toronto-based International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House reported on Tuesday. "A 40 page analysis by Catherine Anite, the head of HRNJ's legal department and James Nkuubi, a Human Rights Lawyer, Media freedom in Uganda: Analysis of inequitable legal limitations looks at a number of media laws in Uganda that unjustifiably criminalize free expression. . . ."

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

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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.