thad_cochran
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

An African American political action group that helped Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., eke out a nail-biting runoff victory Tuesday against a tea party opponent who spent "somewhere in the area of about $20,000" in media targeting black people, the organizer of the PAC told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

The money went to black press publications, to black-oriented radio stations and to three people "paid to get our message out" on social media, Bishop Ronnie C. Crudup Sr. of New Horizon Church International in Jackson said by telephone. The controversial tactic was possible because Mississippi law permits Democrats to vote in the Republican runoff as long as they did not vote in the Democratic primary.

Crudup said his group, All Citizens for Mississippi, was active in at least 50 of Mississippi's 82 counties. With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Cochran beat state Sen. Chris McDaniel, 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent. African Americans make up 37 percent of the state's population. CNN reported that about 61,000 more people voted Tuesday than in the primary two weeks ago.

The African American show of voting prowess came amid 50th anniversary commemorations of "Freedom Summer," when whites and blacks braved violence and murder in Mississippi to secure for its black residents the right to vote.

Reporters covering Tuesday's contest cited full-page ads in black newspapers that trumpeted the $18 million Cochran secured to fund historically black colleges and protections he said he had brought to communities of color.

Alice Tisdale, publisher of the Jackson Advocate, told Journal-isms that the PAC spent approximately $2,600 with her paper, which has a circulation of 8,000.

The Advocate endorsed Cochran in the June 3 primary and again for the runoff. She also published a 538-word piece that she said represented the paper's views:

"THAD COCHRAN has been a gentleman and a Senator from Mississippi. We have never heard of anything he has said negatively about any group in our state. In fact, Thad has brought home to Mississippi federal dollars that have benefited ALL Mississippians. To name a few, he has provided millions in federal funds to HBCU's such as Jackson State University, Alcorn State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Tougaloo College and Rust College. He has secured funding for more than twenty (20) free clinics in neighborhoods across the state and helped to create the Jackson Medical Mall. He also supports the Job [Corps] Program and Head Start Programs. THAD brings home money where it's needed, regardless of the community the funding benefits. . . ."

The issue of advertising in black-owned media has been contentious. On Wednesday, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters complained about a June 2 federal court decision ordering tobacco companies to extend to black media an advertising campaign owning up to the negative health effects of tobacco.

After protests, the order was extended to include 13 black newspapers, but not black radio. "This multi-million dollar media campaign, like so many before it, will fail to effectively reach and connect with the African American community [PDF]," NABOB said in a statement.

Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post called the Mississippi race "the biggest contest of the day, hands down," and "one of the nastiest, most divisive and personal campaigns in recent memory."

In the June 3 primary election, McDaniel, 41, edged Cochran, 76, but finished just shy of the 50 percent threshold, forcing the two into Tuesday's runoff.

Crudup said he had been talking with other blacks who agreed that "the tea party rhetoric is a throwback to the '50s and '60s." He let Republican Party figures know that "I'd like to be involved in this race."

The Republicans were happy to have the support for what was viewed as an unorthodox alliance in the red state. On Friday, Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin reported in the New York Times that, "The 'super PAC' supporting Mr. Cochran, Mississippi Conservatives, is paying African-American leaders, including Mr. Crudup, to help lift black turnout on Tuesday, said Pete Perry, a Republican strategist here who is working for the group.

" 'We're working with a whole bunch of different folks, and Crudup is one of them,' said Mr. Perry, who declined to say exactly how much Mississippi Conservatives was paying to increase African-American turnout. But when asked whether it was in the five-figure range, he said 'sure.' "

However, Crudup said his group was acting independently of the Cochran campaign, although Cochran was "excited" by the work his group was doing. "This is not a bunch of people with their hands out," Crudup said of the Times account. "We came to them and came to a decision to do this. It's not like they hired us."

Writing June 16 in the Times blog TheUpshot, Derek Willis quoted a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission who said the African American PAC could be "potentially problematic" because Crudup's church, a nonprofit organization that is supposed to steer clear of politics, was listed as the address for the PAC. However, Crudup told Journal-isms that the church is in a shopping center, where several buildings share the same address. "Come on, I'm smarter than that," he said. "We're not using the church. The PAC has office space that it rents."

The Mississippi race was only one of several on primary day of particular significance to African Americans.

In Maryland, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown won the Democratic nomination for governor, in line to become only the third black elected governor in the nation's history and the first in Maryland, a blue state. On June 18, the Afro-American newspapers, with editions in Baltimore, suburban Prince George's County, Md., and Washington, published an endorsement of Brown from Ben Jealous, former leader of the Baltimore-based NAACP.

In New York, Rep. Charles Rangel, won the editorial endorsement of the New York Amsterdam News for re-election to his 23rd term in a tough Democratic primary race against State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who would have become the first Dominican American in Congress. Rangel, 84, narrowly defeated Espaillat in unofficial results.

Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Negroes needed in Mississippi.

Jimmie E. Gates, Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.: Black voters key in Cochran's win

Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press: Some Black Miss. Dems Supported GOP's Cochran (June 4)

Ashton Pittman, deepsouthprogressive.com: Cochran ad urges Democrats to vote in GOP primary

Alan Rappeport, New York Times: With History in Mind, Black Voters in Mississippi Aided Cochran (June 25)

Frustrated by the absence of Latinos as sources on local news shows, the National Hispanic Media Coalition has trained more than 100 experts in 12 markets in the ways of television, the coalition announced Wednesday.

Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the coalition, told Journal-isms that he had already secured buy-in from the general managers in those markets to use the experts on the air and that the coalition had launched the Latino Experts Program with a $200,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

"Everybody wants a Latino audience," Nogales said by telephone. "This is giving them [representation] from the Latino community that they haven't had before." While he was "reasonably sure people want to do the right thing," he was also positive that the station managers are attuned to the business imperative of attracting Latino viewers.

"Persisting stereotypes and the underrepresentation of Latinos in news and entertainment media have shaped negative perceptions about Latinos among non-Latinos, according to 2012 studies commissioned by NHMC on the impact of media portrayals of Latinos and immigrants," the coalition said in a news release.

"NHMC identified and trained 10 leaders in each of the top 12 television markets with expertise in fields including education, civil rights, health, immigration, public safety, business, economy, and LGBT issues. Selected markets include: New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Dallas-Ft. Worth; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose; Boston; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; Houston; Detroit; and Phoenix. NHMC has provided the lists of Latino experts to general managers and news directors of local ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX owned-and-operated and affiliate stations in those markets as a resource for future stories. . . ."

Nogales said he first approached network officials in charge of owned-and-operated stations, who were "very accommodating." Later, the coalition visited each of the markets and trained the experts in that city for television appearances.

The Kellogg Foundation grant covers two years, Nogales said. However, he said he plans to seek $150,000 from other sources to expand the program to Miami, Tampa and Denver. In addition, the coalition has already contacted ABC, CBS and NBC about bringing the program to the network level. He said he expects the experts to be used on local morning, midday and evening news shows.

While frustrated by the lack of Latinos on these shows, he said he was heartened by the stations' response. "It just takes time," he said.

The National Hispanic Media Coalition says it has signed on to a petition started by two Atlanta area sisters urging the Spanish-language television networks to "include more positive portrayals of Afro-Latinos and create more opportunities for Afro-Latinos in your daily programming."

The petition by Victoria and Sophia Arzu says, "This is important because there has been a lack of representation of the diversity of the Latino culture, especially regarding the representation of Afro-Latinos. The only explanation for this disparity is discrimination. The younger generation of Afro-Latinos needs role models to look up to. Afro-Latinos have been [oppressed] for too long. We have the right to be represented in Latino media."

Victoria Arzu messaged Journal-isms, "It hasn't gone to Univision and Telemundo yet because we want to reach at least 1,000 signers first before we send it to them." Proyecto Más Color, as their effort is called, had 266 supporters on Wednesday. It also has a Facebook page.

Hispanics can be white, black, Indian, Asian or a combination of those races. A longstanding complaint about Spanish-language television is that only lighter-skinned Hispanics are featured, especially in the telenovelas.

When this column noted in October that the new Fusion network included no Afro-Latinos, Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said, "I agree that it is in the best interest of not only Fusion, but all media (especially networks solely focus on the Latino community) to be inclusive and reflective of all Latinos. And that means light skinned, dark skinned Latinos. It means Latinos from the more than 20 Spanish speaking countries across the globe.

"It also means white, black, Asian and other ethnic groups within the Latino community. It means having a good understanding that a Latino in the west coast is very different than the east coast. I hope that these are the type of conversations being had at Fusion and other media outlets as they work on ways to better serve the emerging majority population of the U.S."

Paul Cheung, director of interactive and digital news production at the Associated Press in New York, is seeking re-election as national president of the Asian American Journalists Association, believed to be the first president to do so in the 33-year history of the organization.

Nominations closed for this year's elections on June 18, Kathy Chow, executive director of the organization, told Journal-isms by email. Cheung is running unopposed for another two-year term.

Also on the ballot, without opposition, are Niala Boodhoo, host of "The Afternoon Shift" at Chicago Public Media and an adjunct lecturer at Medill Graduate School of Journalism, who seeks to be national vice president for broadcast, and Shawn Nicole Wong, project manager for JWA Urban Consultants, Inc. + JWA Roam in Los Angeles, running for national treasurer.

The journalist of color associations vary in their rules on how long members can serve in leadership positions. The National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists limit their presidents to one two-year term.

AAJA bylaws state that "No national office can be held by the same person for more than three consecutive terms."

At NAHJ, "the other positions have no term limits," executive director Anna Lopez Buck messaged.

The Native American Journalists Association says, "No Board member shall be elected to more than (2) terms in succession," but the terms are three years rather than two.

The NABJ constitution limits its president to one two-year term, and says, "other national officers shall be retained in the same office no longer than two consecutive, two-year terms. Regional Directors shall also serve no longer than two consecutive, two-year terms."

In his campaign statement [PDF], Cheung cited AAJA's accomplishments on his watch but added, "There is so much more to be done. Newsroom diversity has fallen behind the audience our industry serves. The number of minority journalists is still declining. Few Asian American journalists are landing key leadership roles. Meanwhile, unfair coverage of Asian Americans persists. . . ."

Cheung kept the association in the Unity: Journalists for Diversity coalition after NAHJ followed NABJ in pulling out.

The Marshall Project, the new Internet startup on criminal justice issues to be edited by Bill Keller, former executive editor of the New York Times, has hired its first journalist of color. She is Simone Weichselbaum, a reporter for the Daily News in New York.

"She's got a lot going for her, but we were particularly impressed with her street smarts, her instinct for the human heart of a story, and her energy," Keller told Journal-isms by email. "I think she'll be unstoppable."

Weichselbaum messaged, "I have a [master's] degree in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania, and felt this new job would allow me to finally put my degree to some productive journalistic use.

"I start July 8, so at this point I am not sure what I will be covering other than criminal justice issues on more of a national beat."

The Marshall Project, formed late last year by Neil Barsky, a journalist turned Wall Street money manager, was among four startups named by the National Association of Black Journalists in an open letter this year in which NABJ said it "would like to meet with your organizations, both individually and perhaps at a summit, to discuss how we can help each other." The startups were criticized for their lack of diversity.

Keller said in March that the site would have a diverse staff because the subject matter demands it.

Weichselbaum, who covers her Brooklyn hometown, joined the Daily News in 2008 after spending five years as a crime reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News. She was born into a family with German-Jewish and Jamaican roots and last year was awarded the Be’chol Lashon Media Award, "established to recognize outstanding journalism depicting the rich diversity of Judaism and the important place diverse Jews have among the Jewish people."

"Senior U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday they were rethinking the more than $1 billion in military aid Washington sends to Cairo after Egyptian courts handed out mass death sentences to opposition figures and long prison terms for journalists," Patricia Zengerle reported Tuesday for Reuters.

"The chairman of the U.S. Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid said further funds should be withheld until Egypt's leaders demonstrate a commitment to human rights, and a senior member of the equivalent House of Representatives panel offered legislation to redistribute some of the U.S. money.

"On June 21, an Egyptian court confirmed death sentences against 183 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood in a mass trial on charges of violence over an incident in which one policeman was killed. . . ."

"The Detroit News will no longer use the team's nickname, 'Redskins,' in routine football coverage, reflecting the growing view that the term is offensive to many Americans," editors of the News told staffers in a memo Wednesday.

"Last Wednesday, a federal board voted to cancel the Washington Redskins' trademark, deeming the name 'disparaging' of Native Americans. For our platforms, use Washington football team on first reference, except Washington (alone) is acceptable if the reference to the NFL team is clear. On second and subsequent references, use Washington where the context will make it clear to our readers we're talking about the NFL team. It is acceptable to use the Washington Redskins identification in items that refer to the naming controversy."

Marti Davenport, news editor at the News, explained by email, "the item on the use of 'Redskins' was part of an email to Detroit News staffers about style changes and updates. It was the result of discussions by our newsroom style committee and among senior managers."

Suzan Shown Harjo, Politico: The R-Word Is Even Worse Than You Think

Ivan Penn, a business reporter at the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, was awarded a Gerald Loeb Award for beat reporting Tuesday in New York.

Penn told Journal-isms that the award covered a combination of stories, but the primary one was an economic analysis comparing nuclear energy costs and natural gas. The awards are bestowed by the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Penn joined the Times in July 2006 after more than 12 years with the Baltimore Sun. He covers utilities, energy and consumer issues.

Black journalists are underrepresented on business desks. "Business reporting is undervalued in general," Penn messaged Journal-isms. "People care about the pocketbook issues. It's great that the Loebs recognize business reporting in such a spectacular way. The key in much of what we do in holding businesses and government accountable is the core journalistic principle of follow the money."

Alicia Canales, Reynolds Center: Tampa Bay Times' Ivan Penn on bringing power to the energy beat (June 10)

"Co-workers and colleagues are remembering Chicago radio sportscaster Eric Brown as a consummate professional and a genuinely nice guy," Chicago television writer Robert Feder reported Tuesday on his website.

"A 26-year veteran of CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9, Brown died of cancer Tuesday at 58. He had been on a leave of absence since last fall.

"Eric was a reporting mainstay for the Bears successes in the 90's, for the Bulls six championships, and it gave him a lot of joy to report and talk about two Blackhawks Stanley Cup champions in 2010 and 2013, the station reported on its website. . . ."

"We’ve taken two steps forward and now two steps back," Karen M. Turner of Temple University's journalism department wrote Wednesday. She was reacting to the ABC announcement that Diane Sawyer will step down as anchor of the nightly "ABC World News" and begin a new role doing specials and interviews. David Muir is to replace her as anchor in September, and George Stephanopoulos will be given the title of chief anchor, leading special events, breaking news and election coverage. A Huffington Post headline read, "With Diane Sawyer Leaving, The Evening News Will Be All White Guys Once Again."

"Facebook became the latest tech company to release its demographic data publicly with a post from global head of diversity Maxine Williams on Wednesday. The company has 'more work to do — a lot more,' she wrote," Julie Balise reported Wednesday for the San Francisco Chronicle. She also wrote, "Fifty-seven percent of all employees identify as white. Thirty-four percent are Asian, four percent are Hispanic, three percent are two or more races, and two percent are black, according to the company. . . ."

"For years now, advocates of new forms of journalism have been blasting away at impartiality as a hopeless goal," Thomas Kent, deputy managing editor and standards editor of the Associated Press, wrote Tuesday for the Huffington Post. "They're still blasting. . . . Yet impartial journalism is remarkably resilient, despite the mocking and stereotyping it has endured. There's plenty of room for other models, but it's worth recognizing the value impartiality delivers. . . ."

"The Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University shuttered nonprofit news website AxisPhilly June 13 after two years of reporting that earned national recognition but failed to meet the school’s expectations for local impact," Sean Meehan reported Wednesday for Current.org. "Yet CPIJ, which is operated by Temple's School of Media and Communications, is embarking on another digital news venture. It is helping to launch Brother.ly, a Philadelphia-focused news startup headed by Jim Brady, former editor-in-chief of Digital First Media. . . ."

"Meredith Corp. is extending its Parents publication to speak to the Millennial Latina market," Alexandra Steigrad reported Tuesday for Women's Wear Daily. "According to the New York-based publishing firm, it will launch Parents Latina in spring 2015. The magazine, which will be in English, will focus on serving U.S. Hispanic young mothers, a growing demographic. . . ."

The Osage News has won the 2014 NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award from the Native American Journalists Association, NAJA announced Wednesday, in "recognition of their work in highlighting public officials' responsibility in following open records laws." Freelance reporter Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa) was chosen for the Richard LaCourse/Gannett Foundation Al Neuharth Investigative Journalism Award and Bryan Pollard (Cherokee), executive editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, won the 2014 NAJA Medill Milestone Achievement Award.

Audie Cornish, co-host of the long-running, "All Things Considered" newsmagazine on NPR, is one of seven individuals or media organizations who will receive the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism, the Missouri School of Journalism announced on Monday.

Television "magazines had the hot hand in the week ending June 15, fueled by coverage of the numerous tributes — including those of Oprah, Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton — to the late civil rights icon and poet Maya Angelou," TVNewsCheck reported on Tuesday. "In fact, every one of the top six magazines, except TMZ, saw its ratings jump from the prior session. . . . "

"The small details of everyday life and more profound events that get to the heart of the black experience in America are part of an ambitious video history called The HistoryMakers that will become part of the Library of Congress, the library is expected to announce Tuesday," Tanzina Vega reported Tuesday for the New York Times. "The collection includes 9,000 hours of video interviews with 2,600 African-Americans in more than 35 states.organizations in print, digital and electronic journalism, photojournalism and advertising. . . ." The interviewees include several journalists of color, including this columnist.

"After an extensive nationwide search, we are happy to announce that award winning anchor-reporter Alex Holley will be joining Mike Jerrick on the Good Day Philadelphia desk at the end of the Summer," WTXF-TV reported on Tuesday.

Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday it was "shocked by the heavy-handed arrests of two journalists by drug police during separate operations in the past two weeks, and the arrests of the daughters of a third journalist in one of the incidents, especially as violence against journalists is rare in the Dominican Republic. In both cases, local prosecutors endorsed the arrests by members of the National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD), whose actions were condemned as 'anti-journalistic, anti-democratic, anti-citizen and illegal' by Olivo de León, the head of the Dominican Journalists' Union (CDP). . . ."

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

Follow Richard Prince on Twitter.

Facebook users: Like “Richard Prince’s Journal-isms” on Facebook.

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