The film's collectors' items proved too controversial for its audience.
"The controversial 'Django Unchained' action figures have officially been DISCONTINUED ... after several African American groups called for a boycott of the dolls ... TMZ has learned," the TMZ website reported Friday.
Later in the day, the Weinstein Co., the film's producer, said in a statement, "We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone," Christy Lemire reported for the Associated Press. Toy maker NECA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
". . . The studio said Friday that such collectibles have been created for all of director Quentin Tarantino's films, including "'Inglourious Basterds,' and that they were meant for people 17 and older, the audience for the film," Lemire wrote.
The earlier TMZ dispatch said, "Sources connected to the toy production tell us ... shortly after advocacy groups like Al Sharpton's National Action Network and Project Islamic Hope spoke out against the figurines ... the Weinstein Company (which produced the film) reached out to the toy company and told them to put the kibosh on the toy line ASAP.
"We're told the toy company agreed, insisting they never intended to offend anyone ... and halted production immediately.
"Sources tell us ... the toymakers only released somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 dolls before shutting down production."
As reported in this space on Jan. 7, among journalists, the most common reaction to the news of the action figures was a version of "oh, no, they didn't!"
"Civil rights groups argued that the toys trivialized the horrors of slavery," the AP story said.
Nicole Sperling noted in the Los Angeles Times, " 'Django Unchained' has earned close to $130 million in the U.S. since it opened on Christmas Day. Despite the controversial subject matter, the film has become Tarantino's highest-grossing movie of his career."
Dexter Gabriel, Colorlines: Hollywood's Slavery Films Tell Us More About the Present Than the Past
Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root: Did Dogs Really Eat Slaves, Like in 'Django'?
Adam Howard, the Grio: Why Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio were snubbed by the Oscars
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: PBS trumps Hollywood examining slavery
Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: The language in 'Django' is harsh, just like the era it portrays
Jermaine Spradley, HuffPost BlackVoices: Django Unchained Controversy: A Look at the Conundrum Tarantino's Latest Created in Progressive Black America
Eisa Nefertari Ulen, EisaUlen.com: Broomhilda in Chains
Kirsten West-Savali, the Grio: 'Django Unchained': The fallacy of famous detractors' uninformed criticism
DeWayne Wickham, USA Today: 'Django' really about blaxploitation
Jazmyne Z. Young and Asani Shakur, Richmond (Calif.) Pulse: 'Django Unchained': The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
"Lance Armstrong may have lied to Oprah Winfrey during his so-called confession Thursday night about his doping during the Tour de France bicycle race, investigators told ABC News today," Neal Karlinsky and Anthony Castellano reported Friday for ABC News.
Preliminary figures from the Nielsen ratings company reported that 3.2 million people watched Winfrey interview Armstrong on a special edition of "Oprah's Next Chapter" on OWN, Alex Weprin reported Friday for TVNewser. The show drew an additional 1.2 million viewers in its re-air at 10:30 p.m.
Karlkinsky and Castellano reported, "Armstrong, 41, admitted for the first time that his decade-long dominance of cycling and seven wins in the Tour de France were owed, in part, to performance-enhancing drugs and oxygen-boosting blood transfusions. He told Winfrey that he was taking the opportunity to confess to everything he had done wrong, including angrily denying reports for years claiming that he had doped.
"Investigators familiar with Armstrong's case, however, said today that Armstrong didn't completely come clean. They say he blatantly lied about when he stopped doping, saying the last time he used the drugs and transfusions was the 2005 race.
" 'That's the only thing in this whole report that upset me,' Armstrong said during the interview. 'The accusation and alleged proof that they said I doped [in 2009] is not true. The last time I crossed the line, that line was 2005.'
" 'You did not do a blood transfusion in 2009?' Winfrey asked.
" 'No, 2009 and 2010 absolutely not,' Armstrong said.
"Investigators familiar with the case disagree. They said today that Armstrong's blood values at the 2009 race showed clear blood manipulation consistent with two transfusions. . . ."
This columnist called Thursday for members of the National Association of Black Journalists and their friends to come up with a new business model for financing "Journal-isms."
The occasion was the NABJ's Hall of Fame gala in Washington, where Richard Prince was presented with the Ida B. Wells Award, given to "an individual who has made outstanding efforts to make newsrooms and news coverage more accurately reflect the diversity of the communities they serve."
"As Coretta King's husband said, 'I have a dream.' Mine is to be the first to break even doing this kind of work for a nonprofit and to pass it on," Prince said. " 'Journal-isms' should be a financially solvent institution with others waiting in the wings to carry on its work.
"And so I challenge us today to come together and figure out a way to create that." The text of the acceptance speech is at the end of this column. The video of the introduction to the speech is here.
Unofficially, the gala attracted 342 attendees, said NABJ Secretary Lisa Cox, adding that NABJ is reconciling final figures. Tickets were $150, with early-bird tickets at $100.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame at the gala, held at the Newseum in Washington, were:
Simeon Booker, first black reporter at the Washington Post and longtime Washington bureau Chief, Jet magazine. (Video)
The late Alice Dunnigan, first black woman credentialed to cover the White House, State Department and Congress. (Video)
Sue Simmons, longtime anchorwoman at WNBC-TV, New York. (Video)
Cynthia Tucker, visiting professor at the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, commentator and former Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Video)
Booker's memoir, "Shocking the Conscience," is being published by the University Press of Mississippi in April. A digital app in the program book provided downloadable copies. Booker is 94.
Actor Andre Holland told attendees he is playing Smith in the Warner Brothers movie "42," about Jackie Robinson, which will open in April. LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, who is about to become president of the Baseball Writers Association, accepted the award for Smith. Neal told Journal-isms he is the only African American major league baseball beat writer at a mainstream newspaper.
Dunnigan's 80-year-old son, Robert Dunnigan, and granddaughter Suzette Dunnigan Whythe accepted her award. Morrow recalled his mother's midnight runs to the post office in order to send Associated Negro Press dispatches.
Proceeds of the gala are to benefit NABJ scholarship and fellowship programs. The event was hosted by Byron Pitts, contributor to CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" and chief national correspondent for the "CBS Evening News," and Isha Sesay of CNN International and HLN.
Wayne Dawkins contributed to this report.
"The last inauguration was notable because of the nature of what was happening," Bill Cromwell wrote Friday for medialifemagazine.com.
"Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African-American president, and that resulted in historic ratings as well, with 37.8 million total viewers tuning in, according to Nielsen, the most since 41.8 million people watched Ronald Reagan's swearing in in 1980."
"Monday's inauguration, when Obama is sworn in for a second term, will have another historical aspect to it. It will be the first true internet inauguration.
"The event will be streamed across dozens of sites online, and has the potential to become one of the most-streamed events ever.
"And the networks have all added special new media elements to enhance their coverage. . . ."
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report: Don't You Dare Conflate MLK and Obama
Wil Haygood, Washington Post: Inauguration will cement ties between Obama, Martin Luther King Jr.
Dave Jamieson and Arthur Delaney, HuffPost BlackVoices: Obama's Job One: Middle-Class Employment Problems Loom Over Second Term
Ned Martel, May-Ying Lam, Grace Koerber and Kat Downs, Washington Post: The Age of Obama
Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Attending inauguration is an honor, costly
Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel: Obama should be channeling Bill Cosby
Lonnae O'Neal Parker, Washington Post: Four years later, feminists split by Michelle Obama's 'work' as first lady
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: Obama in Strong Position at Start of Second Term
Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: Obama, MLK forever connected by divine providence
Walter Shapiro, Columbia Journalism Review: Can the media avoid inaugural over-hype?
In a YouTube video circulating on various websites, comedian Eliot Chang ticks off the "Things Asians Hate," described by the Angry Asian Man site as "a brief rundown of all the ridiculous things people say to Asians."
"My fellow Asians, you know you've heard it all before, all day every day," the site's author says. (Video)
Student journalists at Florida A&M University are picking up support from editors at other campus publications as they publish independently online while their student newspaper, the Famuan, is "delayed" by the administration until Jan. 30.
". . . The beauty of the news is that it keeps happening, every day, and you can't just 'suspend' it until you feel comfortable again," Kristina Bui wrote Monday in the Arizona Daily Wildcat at the University of Arizona.
The Daily O'Collegian at Oklahoma State University editorialized on Thursday that the decision by Dean Ann Wead Kimbrough of FAMU's School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) "to regulate the publication of the newspaper is not teaching the right lesson. Instead of getting real-world experience about how to respond to such a situation, the staff will start its semester in constant fear of retribution by FAMU's journalism school administrators."
The support is also coming from professionals. The students' independent site, Ink and Fangs, published this message Monday from Sonny Albarado, president of the Society of Professional Journalists:
"Congrats to Famuan staff for keeping the light of press freedom glowing. Best wishes."
Student editor Karl Etters told the Tallahassee Democrat that the support "makes me feel we aren't in this alone and that we are doing something that matters."
In December, senior Keon Hollis filed a lawsuit against the newspaper, the university and its board of trustees over a Dec. 2, 2011, Famuan article that incorrectly said Hollis was one of four drum majors suspended in connection with the November 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.
The publication delay is also indirectly related to accreditation issues. "Investigations revealed many band members were not enrolled in the music course as required. Since then all student organizations on campus have come under more strict requirements," Jennifer Portman reported Jan. 9 in the Tallahassee Democrat.
In an interview with Dan Reimold of College Media Matters, which is sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press, Etters said alumni have been the student journalists' greatest support.
"I think people do notice the newsstands are empty," Etters said. "I've seen some stuff on social media from people outside the journalism school who have noticed and support us. . . . I have had some support [privately] from journalism professors but they're probably in a position where they want to keep their jobs.
"Alumni have probably been our greatest support. . . . The fact is not a whole lot of [journalism students] have come forward to say 'I want to help you guys. I want to write for you guys' within the school. I hoped [Ink and Fangs] would have made more of a difference in our school. I think people are supportive but to be supportive in this aspect you have to contribute, if you consider yourself a journalist.”
Asked for comment on Friday, Kimbrough said Dr. Valerie White, an assistant professor who chairs the Black College Communication Association, would respond.
But in a message Monday, Kimbrough also cited alumni support. "I am thrilled about the strong support of the student journalists from Famuan alums and Famu alums," she said then. "The alums are interested in helping students via mentoring relationships and many alums are placing ads in the Jan. 30 paper. The Famuan is in financial distress ... one of the critical matters being addressed by the SJGC and university administration to ensure student success in their journalism education endeavors."
Kimbrough noted Saturday that the school named Kanya Simon Stewart, a 2004 graduate and journalism/magazine production major, as adviser to the Famuan for the spring 2013 semester. Since 2006, Stewart has been the owner/operator, publicist and content writer for Proclaim Creative & Marketing Group. She succeeds Andrew J. Skerritt, a veteran journalist who teaches journalism at FAMU, who was removed as adviser.
Editorial, Oklahoma Daily, University of Oklahoma: Student newspapers play vital role in protecting students
Michael Koretzky, Society of Professional Journalists: Punished for a crime they didn't commit
Peter McKay, The FAMU Hazing Blog: Famuan stories welcome here (Jan. 10)
Michael R. Triplett, the president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association who died at age 48 on Thursday, wrote on his last birthday about the tongue cancer that eventually took his life.
"This year, my 48th birthday will also mark the first anniversary of my tongue cancer diagnosis," Triplett wrote on April 20. "Oh, and did I mention the anniversary of my boyfriend confirming he was taking a job out of the country for a year? Good times.
"In the past year, I've had: three surgeries, 42 days of traditional radiation treatment, five rounds of chemotherapy, and five days of advanced radiation treatment. My medical bills have surpassed the $600,000 mark — thank God for my employer's great insurance plan." Triplett was assistant managing editor at Bloomberg-BNA.
"I've lost over 50 pounds and all my facial hair, had almost half of my tongue removed, undergone two high-tech robotic procedures, used up over 70 percent of my accumulated sick leave, and had my 76-year old mother living with me for about 12 weeks to assist in my care.
"From this birthday forward, my gifts better be pretty damn spectacular.
"My cancer is part of a growing 'epidemic' of oral cancer unrelated to smoking and drinking. Instead, there is an increase — primarily in middle-aged, white men — of tongue and other mouth cancers connected to the human papillomavirus (HPV). . . . "
Triplett, who said he lived just outside Washington, died in Alabama while visiting his family, according to queerty.com.
NLGJA said in its Thursday announcement of his death that its board would meet in the coming days to elect an interim president. The board had a previously scheduled meeting set for Saturday, David Steinberg, immediate past president, told Journal-isms.
"Reporters Without Borders calls on the Malian and French authorities to allow journalists to freely cover the military operations under way in Mali since 11 January," the press freedom organization said on Thursday. "Both foreign and local journalists have been kept more than 100 km from the fighting ever since the start of the military intervention.
" 'In war time, it is up to journalists and their news organizations, not the military, to determine the risk they are prepared to take in order to gather information,' Reporters Without Borders said. . . ."
David Amanor, "The Fifth Floor," BBC World Service: Reporting Mali (second story) [audio]
"A suburban New York newspaper that outraged gun owners by posting the names and addresses of residents with handgun permits removed the information from its website Friday," Jim Fitzgerald reported for the Associated Press. "The Journal News took down the data just three days after the state enacted a gun control law that included privacy provisions for permit holders."
Eugene Kane, former metro columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is joining OnMilwaukee.com, Milwaukee's daily magazine, the digital publication announced on Friday. Kane plans to continue writing for the Journal Sentinel's Sunday edition. The columnist told Journal-isms by email he would be writing "As often as possible . . . a column, regular blog updates, features."
"Lolis Eric Elie — filmmaker, author, former Times-Picayune columnist and staff writer, story editor and official HBO blogger for 'Treme' during its first three seasons — has landed a spot on the writing staff of the AMC transcontinental-railroad drama 'Hell on Wheels,' for which he'll also serve as executive story editor," Dave Walker reported Friday for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.
Jeff Ballou, a producer in Washington at Al Jazeera English, began a term Friday on the board of governors of the National Press Club.
The indictment Friday of former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin on charges that he lined his pockets with bribe money, payoffs and gratuities ". . . punctuates the reversal of political and personal fortune for Nagin, who had what New Orleans Magazine editor Errol Laborde called 'rock star status' soon after his election in 2002," Michael Kunzelman wrote for the Associated Press. "Nagin, a former cable television executive, took office with an image as a largely apolitical businessman ready to root out corruption. 'The media bought into that 100 percent. They used the term "crackdown on corruption",' Laborde said Friday."
"The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired 50 16" x 20" black & white photographs from the book Soul Sanctuary: Images of the African American Worship Experience by award winning photographer Jason Miccolo Johnson," Johnson announced.
BuzzFeed, which calls itself "the leading social news organization, intensely focused on delivering high-quality original reporting, insight, and viral content across a rapidly expanding array of subject areas" and is based in New York, has hired Shani Hilton, morning editor at nbcwashington.com and formerly of Washington City Paper, as senior editor to write and edit culture coverage, and Saeed Jones to be LGBT editor, Ben Smith, editor-in-chief, told Journal-isms. Both are black journalists.
"Chicago finance executive Mellody Hobson, recently engaged to Star Wars creator George Lucas, has been named a CBS News finance and economy analyst," Chris Ariens reported Thursday for TVNewser.
"New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is going into the magazine business" [second item], Keith J. Kelly reported Friday for the New York Post. "The forward's apparently taken a 10-percent stake in HauteTime.com, an off-shoot of the luxury publisher Haute Living, which is already putting out local editions of its luxury magazines in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco."
"At 8 o'clock Tuesday morning roughly 50 Burundian journalists silently marched around the courthouses in the capital, Bujumbura, and the offices of the justice minister, protesting the imprisonment of their colleague, Hassan Ruvakuki," Tom Rhodes reported Wednesday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. ". . . A week earlier, on Tuesday, January 8, an appeals court in Burundi had sentenced Ruvakuki, a reporter for Bonesha FM and the French government-backed Radio France Internationale, to three years imprisonment for 'working with a criminal group.' "
When South African journalists arrived at Groenpunt Maximum Security Correctional Centre, site of a violent demonstration by prisoners a week earlier, "they observed a commotion with warders donning bullet-proof vests and taking up shields," the South African National Editors' Forum said Friday. "They took pictures when they saw a group of warders," or wardens, "assaulting a prisoner dressed in an orange garb. They said they saw him being brutally beaten as he was pushed from warder to warder. After the prisoner was taken away, according to a reporter, 'they came for us', subjecting the journalists to an 'hour-long traumatic experience'."
"A Televisa sportscaster and his American pilot died when their small plane crashed in Cozumel, an Island in Mexico's Caribbean region, while performing stunts, emergency management officials said," according to the EFE news service. Jorge "Chori" Lopez Vives, who worked for Televisa Deportes, and pilot Fred Cabanas " ... were working on a show about extreme sports that was to be broadcast in the next few days, officials said."
As a journalist and newspaper publisher in Memphis, Tenn., and New York, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931), namesake of the award for diversity activism in the news media sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Medill School at Northwestern University, led an anti-lynching crusade in the 1890s and went on to found and become integral in groups striving for African American justice.
Following is the text of Richard Prince's remarks accepting the Wells Award on Thursday:
By Richard Prince
Thank you. NABJ and "Journal-isms" were made for each other. Not only did "Journal-isms" begin in the NABJ Journal 20 years ago, but NABJ has reinforced much of the philosophy that guides it. I'm thinking particularly of our breakthrough 1984 convention in Atlanta, when our organization was only nine years old.
Jesse Jackson, fresh off his run for the presidency, told us, ". . . there's another power not on the table: the fight for appraisal power."
Andy Young added: ". . . We are constantly being threatened by the fact that other people are defining our situation for us."
"Journal-isms" attempts to articulate the ideas and aspirations of journalists of color, and to empower them with information.
I thank Dori Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, for the idea that resulted in an online version of "Journal-isms" 10 years ago. Now it's available alongside all the other news about the media that is produced daily by white journalists. It's also published on the Root.
But there is a crucial difference. The others are largely backed by the financial power of institutions that recognize the media's importance. We have found ourselves subject to the same forces that have affected the cause of diversity itself: Indifference, lack of attention, marginalization and economic demands that divert focus elsewhere.
After 10 years, we are still dependent on benefactors for whom diversity may or may not be the flavor of the month.
So just as within NABJ we talk about the need to build our own institutions and "doing for self," so must we with "Journal-isms."
As Coretta King's husband said, "I have a dream." Mine is to be the first to break even doing this kind of work for a nonprofit and to pass it on. "Journal-isms" should be a financially solvent institution with others waiting in the wings to carry on its work.
And so I challenge us today to come together and figure out a way to create that. I must thank Clark Bell of the McCormick Foundation for his support. And I must give a special shout-out to Calvin Sims, a former New York Times journalist now with the Ford Foundation, for taking extra steps in his current role to be sure that "Journal-isms" has financial underpinnings. He's not the only one, but as a black journalist himself, and an NABJ member, he recognizes the importance of this kind of work and is in a position to support it.
I am so honored to be associated tonight with Ida B. Wells.
I asked Wells biographer Paula Giddings about Wells' relevance to black journalists today.
In part, Giddings said, "She lived and worked in an era like this one: an era that called for reform, that was wrought with division and economic uncertainty. Interestingly, the black elite had unprecedented educational, political and economic opportunities . . . and so there was pressure to abandon protest and to believe that education and hard work alone would inevitably result in racial progress."
But " . . . Wells understood that unprecedented achievement and targeted racial violence and exploitation could happen simultaneously and developed strategies accordingly."
NABJ, and friends of NABJ, let's work on our strategies. And let's include "Journal-isms" in the mix.
Thank you very much.
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.
In the South, militias were also called "slave patrols," and they were regulated by the states.
As Hollywood puts slavery back in the American consciousness and the reaction to the Newtown, Conn., shootings has the Second Amendment on the front burner, an author and talk-show host links the two in an intriguing way.
"The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery," reads the headline over a piece by Thom Hartmann posted Tuesday on Truthout, a site that "works to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis."
It begins, "The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says 'State' instead of 'Country' (the Framers knew the difference -- see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.
"In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the 'slave patrols,' and they were regulated by the states.
"In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.
". . . So Madison, who had (at [Thomas] Jefferson's insistence) already begun to prepare proposed amendments to the Constitution, changed his first draft of one that addressed the militia issue to make sure it was unambiguous that the southern states could maintain their slave patrol militias.
"His first draft for what became the Second Amendment had said: 'The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country [emphasis mine]: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.'
"But Henry, Mason and others wanted southern states to preserve their slave-patrol militias independent of the federal government. So Madison changed the word 'country' to the word 'state,' and redrafted the Second Amendment into today's form:
" 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State [emphasis mine], the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' . . . "
Journalist Charles E. Cobb Jr., former field secretary of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, is writing a book that argues that "without the armed protection given to civil rights workers by farmers and others, there would have been a lot more deaths" during the civil rights movement, he told Journal-isms by telephone Wednesday. Still, Cobb favors gun control, saying, "What I think is essential is registration."
Asked about the coverage of today's gun debate, Cobb said, "I wish there were more discussion about the culture of guns in the United States, in this kind of society. Guns are romanticized, and you don't hear anything about black resistance, like slave rebellions. . . . This is a frontier society, [and] in that it can't be compared to France or England or Germany," as is often done when gun violence is discussed.
Cobb said that when the Constitution was written, there were two major strands of concern: African slave rebellions and Indian attacks. "The larger question is who gets away with killing people," he added. "Blacks never get away with it. Minorities never get away with it." Cobb's book, "This Nonviolent Stuff Will Get You Killed," is due from Basic Books next year.
A USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday showed that the number of whites wanting stricter gun laws increased from 23 percent a year ago to 34 percent this month, but rose more sharply -- from 32 percent to 49 percent -- among nonwhites.
"Hollywood and the video game industry received scant attention Wednesday when President Barack Obama unveiled sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence [video] in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting," Jake Coyle reported Wednesday for the Associated Press.
"The White House pressed most forcefully for a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
"No connection was suggested between bloody entertainment fictions and real-life violence. Instead, the White House is calling on research on the effect of media and video games on gun violence.
"Among the 23 executive measures signed Wednesday by Obama is a directive to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and scientific agencies to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence. The order specifically cited 'investigating the relationship between video games, media images and violence.'
"The measure meant that media would not be exempt from conversations about violence, but it also suggested the White House would not make Hollywood, television networks and video game makers a central part of the discussion. It's a relative footnote in the White House's broad, multi-point plan, and Obama did not mention violence in media in his remarks Wednesday. . . . "
"The Radio-Television Digital News Association is calling on New York lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore automatic public access to the state's gun permit records," the association said on Wednesday.
Portions of New York's new gun control law (Senate Bill 2230/Assembly Bill 2388), adopted by the legislature and signed by Cuomo this week, will require journalists and other citizens to seek special permission from either local public officials or the courts in order to access the records, which until now had been available without such restrictions.
"The provisions were included in the legislation after a suburban New York City newspaper and its website, as part of its coverage in the aftermath of the December 14 school shooting in nearby Newtown, Connecticut, published the names and addresses of gun permit holders in two Lower Hudson Valley counties. The publication of the names and addresses provoked the ire of some New York state lawmakers who believed it violated gun permit owners¹ rights to privacy and security.
" 'This is clearly a wild overreaction to the decision to publish the names,' said Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director. 'Closing off public records is an excessive and inappropriate response, and we respectfully urge Governor Cuomo and New York legislators to restore the public¹s access to this information.'
"That stated, RTDNA believes the controversy could be used as a catalyst for dialog to determine ways to balance the rights of people to access important public information and the obligation of journalists to report on stories of vital interest in a responsible way. . . ."
The Journal News, the newspaper that published the names and addresses of the permit holders, quoted Janet Hasson, president and publisher of the Journal News Media Group. "We are disappointed with the broad nature of several exemptions in the law and lack of opportunity for any reasonable period for public comment or discussion," she said, referring to the provisions that would shield information about gun-permit holders. "We are reviewing the law and the impact it might have on publication of permit data in the future."
Peter Baker, New York Times: In Gun Debate, Even Language Can Be Loaded
David Bauder, Associated Press: A Disconnect Between Violence And TV
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Revolutionary Language
Dylan Byers, Politico: In defense of the 'Journal News' gun map
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Three strikes for the NRA
David Carr, New York Times: Guns, Maps and Data That Disturb
Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star: We should oppose efforts to liberalize gun laws
Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle: Oakland leaders have lost grip on violence
John McWhorter, Daily News, New York: Call it gun murder, not 'gun violence'
Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: On MLK holiday, walking for civil rights and the Second Amendment
Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: Guns on teachers is not the best solution to securing our schools
Ana Veciana Suarez, Miami Herald: In the wake of Sandy Hook, can we really keep kids safe?
Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times: Gunshots, not flu, the real epidemic
"The jobs of 34 Star-Ledger employees -- including nearly 10 percent of the newsroom -- are being eliminated in the first large-scale layoffs in the history of the state's largest daily newspaper, publisher Richard Vezza said this morning," Ted Sherman and Kelly Heyboer reported Wednesday for the Star-Ledger in Newark.
"Eighteen part- and full-time staffers in The Star-Ledger's newsroom of 195 employees are expected to be laid off today, along with 16 positions in other departments. The totals include 19 full-time employees and 15 part-time positions. . . ." It could not be confirmed that journalists of color were among those laid off.
Meanwhile, "A slow economic recovery coupled with industry challenges led to the elimination of 11 jobs at South Jersey Times," like the Star-Ledger owned by Advance Publications, the Times announced Wednesday. The newspaper serves readers in Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland and parts of Camden counties.
In New York, "Digital First Media, which operates MediaNews Group, Journal Register Company and Digital First Ventures, today announced The Oneida Daily Dispatch is launching a new digitally focused publishing schedule that includes expanded online, mobile and electronic offerings and a change to a three-day print schedule," the Oneida paper reported.
Oxygen Media confirmed that it has pulled the plug on "All My Babies' Mamas," a reality special the network was developing about a musician who has fathered 11 children with 10 different mothers, Frazier Moore reported Tuesday for the Associated Press.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Oxygen said that, "as part of our development process, we have reviewed casting and decided not to move forward with the special." Allison Samuels of the Daily Beast reported the cancellation on Monday, citing "my sources."
"The program was initially slated for release this spring as a one hour reality special on Oxygen TV," Courtney Garcia and Chris Witherspoon reported Tuesday for the Grio. "The show would follow Shawty Lo and his 11 children by ten different mothers. According to Oxygen, 'Shawty Lo and his family were considered for the show, but other families were being considered as well.' "
MTV News reported Wednesday, "Now the 'Dey Know' rapper is saying that he understands the public concern, but the people have it all wrong.
" 'Yeah I really understand. They have the right to think that, but at least give the show a chance, to see what's goin' on,' L-O pleaded when he spoke with Emperor Searcy and Mz Shyneka from Hot 107.9 in Atlanta on Wednesday (January 16). 'They makin' their assumptions off a 13-minute trailer and this like the biggest news around the world right now and it's unbelievable. ' "
The rapper told MTV News earlier, "You can hate all you want to, I didn't ask for it. It just happened. Now that it happened, I'm supposed to turn my back against it," he said. "If I wasn't taking care of my kids then you would really dog me out, but I'm taking care of my kids, providing for my family. I don't know what else to say."
"I take care of all my kids. ... Outta all the 10 baby mamas, I just have problems outta one. That's it," he continued. "She has two kids by me, and she feel like I'm supposed to do more for her kids, and she don't wanna work. She just want me to straight take care of them, but it's all love. I handle it ... It's a lot of fathers don't take care of one; I gotta deal with 11."
Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Series is trifling with life's final dignity
The Gannett-owned Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., unveiled "Unite Rochester," a new initiative "designed to promote awareness about racial issues and to find new, more inclusive ways to work together to solve community problems," in a column Sunday by Editor Karen Magnuson.
". . . There is no better time to conduct a communitywide conversation," Magnuson wrote. The Rochester Museum & Science Center is hosting a national touring exhibit [PDF] on the topic, and several local organizations are conducting community events to extend the dialogue.
"The Democrat and Chronicle will publish a series of special reports about race and racism during and after the exhibit. The first installment, to be published Jan. 20, will reveal the results of a poll about racial attitudes and race-related topics in Monroe County. We worked in collaboration with Act Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation to commission the poll by Siena College Research Institute and thank them for their contributions.
"Our Editorial Board also will weigh in regularly with editorials and publish letters and essays from citizens and community leaders.
"The most important contributor, however, is you. If we are going to be successful in conducting a community conversation, we all need to step outside of our comfort zones to share our experiences, ask good questions and provide respectful responses."
Magnuson co-chairs the Diversity Committee of the American Society of News Editors. She told Journal-isms by email that the Unite Rochester Facebook page has already notched more than 200 "likes" and is "building more momentum every day. We were invited by a competing TV news organization to talk about the project for a weekly program that focuses on the diversity of our community. It was taped earlier today and will air Sunday. . . .
"We launched with a simple splash page but [are] rolling out a full web section this weekend along with the results of a scientific poll about racial attitudes in Monroe County. . . ."
Magnuson said she was consulting with other editors of color and with community members.
"Oprah Winfrey's cable network OWN is close to selling out advertising time at premium prices for the highly anticipated televised doping confession by former cycling champion Lance Armstrong, a senior network executive said," Lisa Richwine and Liana B. Baker reported Tuesday for Reuters.
"The network, a joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc, expects to sell all of the remaining commercial time for the two-part version of 'Oprah's Next Chapter,' OWN President Erik Logan said in an interview late on Tuesday.
"Both current and new sponsors have been calling to secure ad time during the telecast, which airs in primetime on Thursday and Friday, Logan said. . . . "
Jenice Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News: Armstrong slinks into Oprah's welcome arms for confession
Andrea Morabito, Broadcasting & Cable: Lance Armstrong is OWN's Latest Grab for Ratings
African Media Quiet on French Intervention in Mali
"African media commentators have been generally muted about the French military intervention in Mali, where however, one paper hailed President Francois Hollande as a saviour," the BBC reported on Monday.
"In the wider world, support for France's actions is mixed, with some Chinese and Middle Eastern writers expressing suspicion about France's motives.
"And in France, some commentators warn that the involvement of troops from a former colonial power is fraught with dire consequences.
"The Russian press appears supportive of the offensive, intended to help the Malian government to free northern Mali from Islamist control, but Chinese pundits suspect the French president of using military action abroad to prop up his popularity at home. . . ."
J. Peter Pham, Gregory Mann, Anouar Boukhars, Mark Schroeder, Robert R. Fowler, New York Times "Room for Debate": A New Line in the Sand Against Terror?
Bruce Whitehouse, Bridges from Bamako blog: Behind Mali's conflict: myths, realities & unknowns
It's becoming less rare for a journalism organization to ban working fellow journalists from its events, but the D.C. chapter of National Association of Hispanic Journalists is doing so for its membership drive and mixer Sunday. The attractions are San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and Telemundo Anchor José Díaz-Balart. "The NAHJ D.C. Chapter Board declared the Chapter Mixer and Membership Drive a private event. So there will not be any media availability for our special guests," Brandon Benavides, chapter president, wrote on the group's web page. "We reached capacity," he wrote.
Dr. Everett C. Parker, who in 1955 founded the modern media reform movement as founding director of the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, turns 100 on Thursday. In the 1960s, Parker played a key role in having the license of WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss., revoked, the only time the government has yanked a station's license for failing to serve the public interest. WLBT attempted to squelch the voices of the civil rights movement of the time. A consortium of groups that included African Americans won the license.
"Native Angeleno and Emmy Award winner Elizabeth Espinosa will host Sin Límites, a new program with CNN Latino that will broadcast on KBEH-DT Channel 63 in Los Angeles," CNN announced Wednesday. CNN Latino is a new Spanish-language programming service tailored for broadcast TV stations that launches Jan. 28.
"Some Latino civil rights groups are questioning the U.S. Census consideration of designating Hispanics a race of their own, fearing the loss of national original designations," Tony Castro reported Jan. 8 for voxxi.com. "The change, making 'Hispanic' a racial instead of an ethnic category, would eliminate the check-off boxes for national origins such as Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican."
In New York, McDonalds is honoring Black History Month with its Black Media Legends and Trailblazers ceremony on Feb. 1, Jerry Barmash reported Tuesday for FishbowlNY. Among the 18 honorees are recently retired WNBC-TV anchor Sue Simmons; WPIX-TV reporter Jay Dow; Errol Louis, host of NY1's "Inside City Hall"; John Noel of WNBC-TV; Deon Levingston of WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM; Fatiyn Muhammad of WBLS-FM; DJ Clue of WWPR-FM and Robert F. Moore, a managing editor of the Daily News.
"The population of people reading newspapers has aged dramatically in the last three years to the point that nearly three-quarters of the audience is aged 45 or older, according to my analysis of survey and census data," Alan D. Mutter wrote Tuesday on his Reflections of a Newsosaur site.
March 15 is the deadline for high school students of any ethnicity to apply for JCamp 2013, sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association. The camp takes place June 21 to 26 at George Washington University in the nation's capital. High school freshmen, sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply to the program. All expenses are paid.
"Israeli soldiers prevented journalists from covering the eviction of a Palestinian campsite in the West Bank on Sunday, according to news reports and local press freedom organizations," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Tuesday. "The journalists worked for international news outlets including The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, CNN, and Al-Jazeera, as well as local media including Raya FM radio station and Palestine TV, according to the same sources."
"Police in Somalia have arrested a journalist who wrote a story about a woman who said she was raped by government security forces, prompting an outcry from human and media rights groups," the Associated Press reported. "Human Rights Watch is demanding the immediate release of Somali journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, a freelance journalist who was arrested by police on Thursday after interviewing the woman. . . . "
"A new report from Microsoft Research highlights the role Twitter users in Mexico play in reporting violence from organized crime as an alternative to the censorship criminal groups exercise against traditional media," Tania Lara reported for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. ". . . The authors hypothesize that curators and Twitter users have moved in to fill the information gap left by many traditional media organizations. . . ."
In Panama, "Journalist Guillermo Antonio 'Niño' Adames, host [of] RPC TV's program Debate Abierto, claimed that two suspects wearing police uniforms stopped him while he was driving his car in a residential zone in Panama City, the capital," Tania Lara reported for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. "The suspects forced their way into his car and the journalist escaped by jumping out of the vehicle while it was still in motion, according to La Estrella. . . . "
In Nigeria, "Unidentified men shot dead Ikechukwu Udendu, editor of Anambra News, a monthly newspaper in southeastern Anambra state, while he was returning home at night from a commercial printing house in the city of Onitsha, news reports said," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Tuesday.
Steve Harvey "will give Clear Channel at least another five years," Radio Ink reported Tuesday. "His morning show, which has been syndicated by Clear Channel-owned Premiere since 2005, is on just under 70 stations. Harvey will also work with Clear Channel on joint ventures including the international expansion of his radio show, development and creation of new programming and promotions, community and charitable events, as well as multimedia projects and events. He will also serve as a spokesperson for the company."
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.
Petitions to cancel the show caught Oxygen's attention.
"Author Sabrina Lamb was looking forward to kicking off her New Year with a bottle of champagne and a quiet walk on the beach. Instead, on the first day of January she was greeted with a video link from a friend of a brand-new reality show that sent chills down her spine," Allison Samuels wrote Monday for the Daily Beast.
"The video was for All My Babies' Mamas, a new show developed by Oxygen Media featuring rapper Shawty Lo, his 11 kids, and 10 different mothers.
" 'My blood curdled just thinking about it,' Lamb told The Daily Beast.
"So did mine," Samuels continued. "And apparently that was the reaction of the nearly 40,000 people who signed a petition demanding that the show not air. Though the network denies it, Oxygen is expected to announce that All My Babies' Mamas won't ever see the light of day, according to my sources -- and that's a good thing. Still, I'm more concerned with how it ever reached this point. How could a network ever assume that a show about an African-American rapper with 11 kids by 10 women would be OK and not immediately deemed racist? How could it not see that it was offending, insulting, and mocking an entire segment of the African-American community? The answer is pretty simple. The network saw it; the network just didn't care. . . . "
Sil Lai Abrams, the Grio: Are blacks to blame for the popularity of reality TV?
Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: Black family life -- the reality, and the reality show
Student journalists at Florida A&M University, their newspaper "delayed" until Jan. 30 on orders of new Dean Ann Kimbrough of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, published online instead Monday.
"We're covering all the news that we would normally be covering," Karl Etters, editor of the Famuan, the student newspaper, told Journal-isms by telephone.
The website is called Ink and Fangs.
The publication delay is indirectly related to accreditation issues and to drum major Robert Champion's well-publicized hazing death in November 2011. "Investigations revealed many band members were not enrolled in the music course as required. Since then all student organizations on campus have come under more strict requirements," Jennifer Portman reported last week in the Tallahassee Democrat.
". . . A Dec. 2, 2011, article in the student newspaper incorrectly stated senior Keon Hollis was one of four drum majors suspended in connection with Champion's death. Three days later, The Famuan posted a revised article on its website omitting Hollis' name and noting the fourth suspended student could not be identified. On Feb. 14, 2012, The Famuan published a correction, but the lawsuit noted it failed to say Hollis had nothing to do with Champion's death or the crime of hazing.
"Hollis' lawsuit, filed in Leon County Dec. 3 against the newspaper, university and its board of trustees, alleges the student newspaper failed to 'exercise ordinary care,' lacked a credible source for its information and failed to investigate what amounted to 'nothing more than unverified and unsubstantiated rumor and gossip.' The complaint contends Hollis' reputation was damaged by the implication he played a role in the hazing that killed Champion. No court dates have been set."
Kimbrough last week ordered additional training for Famuan staff members, which Etters said began on Monday.
Kimbrough messaged Journal-isms Monday night that she had seen inkandfangs.com . She added, "I am thrilled about the strong support of the student journalists from Famuan alums and Famu alums. The alums are interested in helping students via mentoring relationships and many alums are placing ads in the Jan. 30 paper. The Famuan is in financial distress ... one of the critical matters being addressed by the SJGC and university administration to ensure student success in their journalism education endeavors."
In an open letter to Kimbrough Monday, Dan Reimold of College Media Matters, which is sponsored by the Associate Collegiate Press, wrote, ". . . Champion's hazing death is horrendously tragic. The school's subsequent accreditation issues and image troubles are also unfortunate (although apparently at least somewhat deserved). The Famuan's admitted mistake in its Champion coverage last fall is troubling. The related lawsuit is certainly painful to bear. And the unrelated issue with some students' eligibility to serve on the paper is a definite cause for concern.
"But none of these things -- or all of them, combined -- come anywhere close to justifying killing or paralyzing the student press, however soon you may allow it to regain feeling or come back from the dead. Your (overre)action is simply dead wrong, and beneath your university and the position you hold."
Helene Cooper of the New York Times won't be covering the start of President Obama's second term, and the Washington Post's White House team won't include black journalists, according to a staff memo Monday. But other black journalists said they would be back.
Cooper, who moved from the State Department to the White House to cover the Obama administration, will be away for a year on book leave, David Leonhardt, the Times' Washington bureau chief, told Journal-isms. "She just started a book leave, alas. Great for her, but I miss her already. She returns to The Times in a year," he said by email.
Cooper, a native of Liberia, messaged that her book is about Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the women who brought her to power in Liberia. "It's a look at the larger issue of women taking political control in Africa," she said, and will be published by Simon and Schuster.
Cooper's stories were not always White House favorites. Not long after she arrived, Politico reported, Cooper "was the target of a fusillade of complaints from Obama staffers and was for a time essentially frozen out by the administration . . . " Leonhardt said there was no announcement yet on the Times' new White House team.
A Washington Post memo from National Editor Kevin Merida said Scott Wilson, who has been covering the president, would become White House bureau chief, with David Nakamura continuing to be "a key player on our White House team."
Other team members will be Philip Rucker, "two months removed from covering Mitt Romney's quest for the presidency, turning his attention to the victor"; "The unstoppable Felicia Sonmez" as "our point person for digital coverage of the White House"; and Zachary Goldfarb, "who was indispensable explaining the fiscal cliff follies to our readers," joining the others "as an economic policy writer under a joint arrangement between Financial and National."
At the Associated Press, Darlene Superville, who covered the early years of the Obama White House before assuming editing duties, told Journal-isms she would be a general-assignment White House reporter and its primary staffer covering the first lady.
For broadcast, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks said she would return, and that as of Sunday, she had covered the White House for 16 years, including three presidents.
Dan Lothian of CNN, Wendell Goler of Fox News and Kristin Welker of NBC News are also returning, the reporters or their networks told Journal-isms.
As this column noted in November, the composition of the Washington press corps periodically comes under scrutiny. In 2008, Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University found that "Journalists of color make up 13.1 percent of the 495 reporters, correspondents, columnists and editors in the Washington daily newspaper press corps. That's an improvement over the last census four years ago, when just under 10.5 percent of the press corps consisted of minority journalists."
Then Obama took office, and more black journalists were assigned to the new administration. At the Post, the new Obama presidency coincided with a national desk newly led by Merida, with Terence Samuel as a political editor and Krissah Thompson, Perry Bacon Jr., Michael A. Fletcher and Nia-Malika Henderson among its reporters. Bacon left the paper for the Grio, and Fletcher now covers the economy, but Vanessa Williams became a night political editor.
Still, Wayne Dawkins, a Hampton University journalism assistant professor, reported in the Diversity Factor, a subscription-only online journal, "As of 2009, the Washington Press corps was less diverse than the group that covered George W. Bush from 2001-08. Media downsizing wiped out experienced journalists of color who were prepared to compete for those top beats, meanwhile, cuts in state and local gov't and political reporting dried up the pipeline of new recruits."
Politico hired Joseph Williams as deputy White House editor in 2010, but Williams left the publication last year after his editors disapproved of his comments and tweets about Romney.
Ebony magazine was the only major black title to post an increase in advertising pages during 2012, while all four major Hispanic magazines did, the Publishers Information Bureau reported on Monday.
"For the seventh straight year, ad pages declined for the industry, down 8.2 percent, from 164,190.17 to 150,698.57 during 2012, according to new data from the Publishers Information Bureau," Bill Cromwell reported for medialifemagazine.com .
However, Ebony showed a gain of 22.9 percent, second only to Reader's Digest Large Edition, which was up 30.9 percent.
Stephen G. Barr, senior vice president of Johnson Publishing Co. and group publisher of Ebony and Jet, attributed Ebony's success to sales and marketing team efforts to secure more first-time advertisers, an increase by existing advertisers who increased their overall spending and "advertiser/reader feedback [that] recognizes the editorial excellence of the book."
Among other African American titles, Black Enterprise ad pages declined by 9.5 percent, Essence dropped by 10.3 percent and Jet by 13 percent.
The Hispanic parenting magazine Ser Padres, published by the Meredith Corp., increased its advertising pages by 28.8 percent.
A year ago, Enedina Vega, vice president and publisher of Meredith Hispanic Ventures, attributed increases to growing awareness among advertisers of the importance of the Hispanic market and the growth of that market's numbers and affluence.
"My previous comments still hold true," Vega said by email on Monday. "In the case of Ser Padres we are the only Spanish language parenting book in the market, and although birth rates in the U.S. are down for every segment of the population, the Hispanic segment still has the highest growth rate. 33% of [moms] between the ages of 18-24, which most likely represents first time moms, are Hispanic."
Among other Hispanic magazines, Latina's ad pages increased by 2.1 percent, People en Español by 18.6 percent and Siempre Mujer, another Meredith publication, by 17.2 percent.
Mona Zhang, FishbowlLA: All Sections of Ebony are Open to Pitches
"In the days, weeks and months to come, there will be many amazing tributes to Eugene Patterson, the accomplished, talented former editor of the St. Petersburg Times who set the stage for so much of how we do journalism at the Times and in the Tampa Bay area while speaking out on one of the most important issues of his time -- racial equality," Eric Deggans wrote Monday for the Times.
". . . But I wanted to pay tribute here to Patterson, who died Saturday at age 89 after a long illness, for serving as one of the best examples of an editor, columnist and journalist who made a difference by taking the right stand at the right time -- challenging many who would eventually acknowledge they stood on the wrong side of history -- in a way every person who slings opinions for a living dreams of accomplishing.
"Pick up The Changing South of Gene Patterson, the wonderful selection of Patterson's columns in the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper from 1960 to 1968 for a look at how his willingness to advocate strongly for the rights of black people at a time when may corners of white society resisted racial equality, proved a brilliant template for how to push social change in prescient writing. . . . "
The Associated Press added, ". . . His famous column of Sept, 16, 1963, about the Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four girls -- 'A Flower for the Graves' -- was considered so moving that he was asked by Walter Cronkite to read it nationally on the 'CBS Evening News.'
" 'A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning in front of a Baptist Church in Birmingham,' Patterson began his column. 'In her hand she held a shoe, one shoe, from the foot of her dead child. We hold that shoe with her.
" 'Every one of us in the white South holds that small shoe in his hand. … We who go on electing politicians who heat the kettles of hate. … (The bomber) feels right now that he has been a hero. He is only guilty of murder. He thinks he has pleased us. We of the white South who know better are the ones who must take a harsher judgment.'
" 'It was the high point of my life,' Patterson later said in a June 2006 interview from his home in St. Petersburg. . . ."
Eugene Patterson, Atlanta Constitution: "A Flower for the Graves" (1963)
Attendees at the taping of the annual all-star "BET Honors" came Saturday night with their glamor on, their hair twisted, teased, wigged, weaved, extended, straightened and/or dreadlocked. But the CEO presiding over the festivities, in contrast, wore hers in a short, natural style.
Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of Black Entertainment Television, told Journal-isms she had been wearing her hair that way since July. "I just wanted to," she said on the stage of Washington's Warner Theatre. "It was time for a change. I do it every now and then.
"The great thing is that we have choices now. I've heard other women say I've inspired them."
Although natural hairstyles are regaining popularity, how black women wear their hair can still be an issue in the workplace. Rhonda Lee, the meteorologist who lost her job at KTBS-TV in Shreveport, La., after she responded to a Facebook post questioning her natural hair, is just one example. (The station said she violated policy by responding to the viewer.)
Lee told Essence magazine last week, "I'm okay if Solange wears a weave, or Wendy Williams a wig. My only concern is my having the freedom to wear my hair the way I want to. That's the freedom we enjoy as Black women. My industry is a visual medium, and I understand that, but I feel like my White co-workers are told things like, 'Get a nice little cut to frame your face.' They're not told to be completely, biologically different. And that is the burden that I have. I want my biology to be honored and respected."
Blogger Chime Edwards wrote in November that when she saw Debra Lee's hair, ". . . I was shocked, amazed and excited all at once!" She added, ". . . There are many black women who have made the decision to go natural but there are tons who are hesitant because of their profession. Some women believe, "Natural hair isn't professional. How can I expect to move up in a company with my hair in an Afro? . . ." Edwards reassured readers that their fears might be unfounded, citing Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO OF Xerox Corp.
The event Lee headed, the sixth annual "BET Honors," paid tribute to music-industry entrepreneur Clarence Avant, actress Halle Berry, Bishop T.D. Jakes, veteran singer Chaka Khan and retired WNBA all-star Lisa Leslie. Joining them on stage were host Gabrielle Union, actress Phylicia Rashad, comedian Cedric the Entertainer, singers Erykah Badu, Kem, Kelly Rowland, Brandy and Alicia Keys, music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the rhythm 'n' blues acts S.O.S. Band and Mint Condition, entertainer Wayne Brady and actor Anthony Anderson.
In the audience were presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields and Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, BET's parent company. Tickets went for $500.
"The show will air on Monday, February 11 at 9:00 pm EST," spokeswoman Sheikina Liverpool said by email. "We had approximately 1,500 guests in attendance and raised over $59,000 for Life Pieces to Masterpieces, Inc., an organization that provides opportunities for African American boys and young men in greater Washington, D.C. by developing and unlocking their potential and empowering them to transform their lives and communities."
"Good Hair" on the TV News Set (Oct. 7, 2009)
A majority of African Americans and Hispanics support Israel over the Palestinians, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, despite efforts by many to portray the Palestinians as fellow oppressed people of color.
According to figures provided to Journal-isms Monday by the Pew center, 42 percent of blacks said they sympathized more with Israel, 12 percent said the Palestinians, 13 percent said neither and 33 percent said both or that they did not know.
Among Hispanics, 47 percent said they sympathized more with Israel, 13 percent said the Palestinians, 13 percent said neither and 27 percent said both or they did not know.
Among whites, the figure was 53 percent sympathizing with Israel, 9 percent saying the Palestinians, 14 percent saying neither and 25 percent saying both or that they did not know.
The survey included 1,104 whites, 144 blacks and 128 Hispanics.
The New York-based America's Voices in Israel has been sponsoring all-expense-paid trips to Israel for Hispanic journalists in order to influence the United States' growing Latino population, its director, Irwin Katsof, has told Journal-isms. The Anti-Defamation League, which sponsored a similar trip, has said it was concerned about what it considered an unacceptable level of anti-Semitism among Latinos, particularly new arrivals.
". . . Discussion of the U.S.-Israeli relationship is likely to come to the fore with the nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as President Obama's new secretary of defense," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press said last week. "The choice of Hagel has drawn criticism from some of his former Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, who have questioned whether he has been supportive enough of Israel."
Rick Horowitz, YouTube: The Smearing of Chuck Hagel (video)
Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: Senators shouldn't make another mistake on secretary of defense
"Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press," Jim Vertuno and Jim Litke reported Monday for the AP. "The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey's network." Winfrey said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning" that she came prepared with 112 questions for the 2½-hour interview and that "I was satisfied by the answers (video).
"Robin Roberts, the 'Good Morning America' host who signed off the show last August to receive treatment for a life-threatening bone marrow disorder, says she intends to return to work in February," Brian Stelter reported Monday for the New York Times. "Her announcement, made in grand fashion on 'G.M.A.' Monday morning, is the beginning of a gradual comeback by Ms. Roberts, the biggest star on the ABC morning show, who has been in isolation for months following a bone-marrow transplant."
"Today at the Television Critics Association meeting, PBS announced that, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, it will broadcast a series of specials that continue the public conversation on gun laws, mental illness and school security," PBS said on Monday. "The 'After Newtown' programming airs on PBS stations February 18-22 (check local listings)."
"NBC 6 South Florida announced that it will partner with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting to produce more local, in-depth investigations. The partnership will include developing stories, conducting research and investigations, sharing content, and cross-linking websites," the center announced on Monday. In 2010, the center became the nation's first nonprofit, digital and bilingual investigative journalism organization.
"Vogue Italia, the magazine known for taking a stand against anorexia and promoting the use of black models in fashion, made another statement this week, putting an Asian woman on its cover for the first time," Andrea Plaid wrote last week for Racialicious. "Chinese model Fei Fei Sun covers the magazine’s January issue. . . ."
"ESPN anchor Stuart Scott revealed on Twitter on Monday that he is again battling cancer," the Huffington Post reported early Tuesday. "A short while after tweeting about his diagnosis and treatment, Scott hosted the 11 p.m. EST episode of SportsCenter."
". . . Join me in sponsoring someone for a $50 membership special," Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, urged members on Monday, noting the number of journalists facing hard times. "Is there someone you know who needs a little extra assistance? Help him or her join now before this special deal ends at the end of January. Membership fees go back to $75 on February 1st."
"AOL Jobs recently indicated a recent book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, outlines several fields which are more likely to attract psychopaths than others," Vicki Salemi wrote Jan. 4 for Media Jobs Daily. "Unfortunately for us, media jobs (primarily television and radio) ranked third on the list and journalist follows in seventh place."
"When Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor was interviewed on Sunday night's '60 Minutes,' a finely tuned eye could have spotted a cartoon by LA's Lalo Alcaraz hanging on her office wall," Kevin Roderick reported Monday for LAObserved. " 'The original cartoon, entitled "L'il Judge Lopez," is signed by me and my daughter, who was the model/inspiration for the little girl in the toon,' Alcaraz writes at his website of news y satire, Pocho. He has embedded a clip of the interview on the site."
"Regrettable news from Donna Myrow, who founded L.A. Youth as a newspaper written by and for Los Angeles teenagers 25 years ago," Kevin Roderick reported Monday for LAObserved. "It has been a struggle to keep the paper going in recent years. A desperate fundraising pitch last year bought some more time. But a note in the upcoming February issue will announce that L.A. Youth is closing down."
The Detroit Regional News Hub, a media organization that has been working closely with journalists since its founding in 2008, aims to present a more balanced view of the city's challenges, Jennifer Conlin reported Sunday for the New York Times. "Initiated by a group of Detroit business leaders in conjunction with local reporters and editors, the Hub, as it is known, is an unusual collaboration between civic leaders and journalists, two groups that tend to be adversaries."
"Who knew NBC anchor Lester Holt was a jazz aficionado? On tonight's 'NBC Nightly News' Holt profiles an underground jazz club in Brooklyn," Alex Weprin reported Saturday for TVNewser. "Not content to merely cover it as a journalist, Holt decided to take to the stage himself with his bass, and bust out some tunes." A video accompanies the item.
Kevin Weston, a new media entrepreneur in Oakland, Calif., who was about to start a journalism fellowship at Stanford University when he was diagnosed with acute leukemia, is appealing for a bone marrow match. "Kevin is African-American. Only about 8% of the nation's 10 million registered bone-marrow donors are Black, which makes his chance of finding a bone marrow match quite slim. You are the key to helping Kevin change those odds," his website says.
Neal Boortz is retiring Jan. 18 after more than four decades as a syndicated radio talk-show host, Rodney Ho reported Sunday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He will be replaced by former presidential candidate Herman Cain." At a sold-out farewell at Atlanta's Fox Theatre Saturday night, "Monica Pearson, who worked at Channel 2 Action News for 37 years until last year, said Boortz convinced his radio audience over the years that she had a hot tub in her office. 'I didn’t even have an office!' she said. 'I had a cubbyhole!'"
A concerned Bill Tammeus, longtime Kansas City Star faith columnist, noted that "Helen Gray, who has been religion editor since The Flood, just retired a few days ago. No one has been named to replace her, though one of the news editors will oversee production of the weekly Faith section.' " Tammeaus was quoted by blogger John Landsberg, who wrote Sunday, "What has happened to the Faith Section of the Star with Gray's departure? Benedictine College's stalwart journalism professor Mike Throop posted his views on his Facebook page today. 'Memo: From The Kansas City Star To: Faith-based readers. Drop dead. As I predicted, save for a couple of 'guest' columns, the entire 'section' is wire copy."
Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote Saturday that Mayor Vincent Gray of the District of Columbia is unlikely to persuade the Washington Redskins to change their name. ". . . But I suspect it would start to make a difference if other media outlets, including this one, joined the Kansas City Star and the Washington City Paper in avoiding the routine use of 'Redskins' in football stories," Zorn wrote.
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.
Mishandled information comes under fire in Pittsburgh.
The mayor of Pittsburgh called the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and "professed outrage" that the city's police chief had distributed to other reporters the questions Post-Gazette journalists were asking about police conduct in the slaying of a young woman and the suicide of the man police said confessed to shooting her, the newspaper said in an editorial Friday.
"Mayor Luke Ravenstahl professed outrage in a call to the Post-Gazette's executive editor at what his chief had done and promised that it will not happen again," the editorial said. "We take him at his word, given that the episode made his police officials look petty and vindictive."
The editorial said, ". . . it was outrageous and illegitimate for the bureau to circulate the Post-Gazette's questions and a summary of the facts its reporters had gathered, in a news release last Saturday to dozens of other journalists.
"The action reveals an obnoxious defensiveness by the bureau on taking legitimate questions from reporters about the murder of a young woman and the suicide of the man police said confessed to shooting her — a tragedy that perhaps might have been prevented by better police work.
"Ka'Sandra Wade, 33, was found shot to death in her Larimer home on New Year's Day. But nearly 24 hours earlier, she had called 911 and the call-taker heard a commotion before the line was disconnected. Two officers responded but went away after speaking only to a man who said nothing was amiss. He turned out to be the woman's boyfriend, Anthony L. Brown, 51, who fatally shot himself Jan. 2 during a standoff with a SWAT team after admitting to the murder.
"Questions naturally arose from these events. Post-Gazette reporters Liz Navratil and Jonathan D. Silver wrote their questions and emailed them to the bureau, as they have sometimes done before, for a response. Subsequently, Diane Richard, the public information officer, issued a press release that quoted Chief Nate Harper as saying that an investigation was in its early stages and the bureau would not provide a statement or answers to anyone. The release ordered by the chief also disseminated the questions of and the information obtained to that point by the Post-Gazette's reporters. . . . "
The editorial continued, "Post-Gazette Executive Editor David M. Shribman said that this was probably the most horrifying and unprofessional PR behavior he had seen in four decades in journalism," and added words of support from the Newspaper Guild and the Public Relations Society of America.
". . . Some members of the public in a media-hostile age may dismiss this as special pleading," the editorial said. "But once a government agency arrogantly decides to punish perceived enemies, reporters from any news organization become candidates for the same treatment — the Post-Gazette one day, WPXI the next, with the ultimate victim the public's right to know. To dismiss this as unimportant is to suggest that a young woman's life was unimportant; it is to suggest that the people of Pittsburgh don't deserve real answers about public safety, police performance and what their tax dollars are buying. . . .
In the Pittsburgh City Paper, Chris Potter wrote on Friday, "It's unclear whether police could have saved Wade, who may already have been dead by the time they arrived. But while city officials, and District Attorney Steve Zappala, are reviewing the incident, Wade's friends are already mobilizing to change how police respond to potential domestic-abuse situations.
" 'Ka'Sandra was moving so fast toward a leadership role here. She was going to be a change-maker,' says Maryellen Deckerd, the Western Regional Director of Action United, the community-justice group where Wade worked. 'One reason we want to hold this vigil is to change people.' "
Media spokesmen for the mayor's office and the police bureau did not respond to requests for comment.
Liz Navratil and Jonathan D. Silver, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Emotional farewell at shooting victim's service in Farrell
Jonathan D. Silver, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh official promises 'thorough' 911 inquiry
Jeff Horseman, Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.: PUBLIC INFORMATION: Reporters’ questions aired for all
"In the wake of Rob Parker's racially insensitive comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III," ESPN President John Skipper "said he's creating a new checks-and-balances system to prevent this type of embarrassment from happening again on ESPN's First Take and other studio programs," Barry Jackson wrote Friday for the Miami Herald.
"And he wants the debate [between] Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless to be spirited but thoughtful, not outrageous.
"ESPN announced this week that it is not renewing Parker's contract — after initially suspending him 30 days for suggesting that Griffin is not authentically black.
" 'I like Rob [but] what he said was clearly inappropriate,' Skipper said. 'The fact nobody caught it and re-aired it showed a significant lack of judgment. I met personally with the producers and told them how disappointed I was and we were going to suspend some of them and I expect them to be more careful in the future.'
"The problem with First Take is that Bayless often seems hell-bent on making outrageous comments simply to see what reaction it will evoke.
" 'It's a debate show and we get a lot of criticism for it,' Skipper said. 'I personally don't have any problem with doing a debate. You just have to figure out where you walk the line [between] being provocative and stepping over it and saying something stupid. We've done that once or twice on this show. We're going to add more checks and balances.'
"How tough is it to find that line? 'Apparently, pretty tough.'
"But Skipper added the segment 'shouldn't be built on people saying outrageous things. It should be built on vigorous discussion and debate. We've got a very successful show, Pardon The Interruption, which is a debate show, but it works because of the judgment and the brains of Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon and [producer] Eric Rydholm.'
"Skipper added that 'Stephen, Skip and [producer] Jamie Horowitz are bright guys. They ought to be able to figure it out. The show has worked. The ratings have gone up.' . . . "
Jemele Hill, ESPN.com: Robert Griffin III's identity (Dec. 27)
As the nation debates measures to stem gun violence, Christine Haughney of the New York Times reported Thursday that "Homicide Watch, the Washington, D.C., Web site that tracks murders, has found another crime-ridden city to cover.
"The Chicago Sun-Times is partnering with Homicide Watch's co-founders, Laura and Chris Amico, to launch a Chicago edition. The [Sun-Times] paid the Amicos for the technology to build the Web site. The paper plans to have its crime reporter, plus several general assignment reporters, cover murders and have interns track and follow up on these cases.
"The Web site (homicides.suntimes.com) is scheduled to be up and running later this month.
"Jim Kirk, The Chicago [Sun-Times'] editor in chief, said that the Web site's launch is especially well-timed.
“'In Chicago, the murder rate is what everybody is talking about,' said Mr. Kirk. 'This is one of many initiatives we want to experiment with, in trying to bring our readers more closely together. What Homicide Watch shows is that people do like to discuss and relate to issues in their backyard.'. . . "
Brooks Boliek and Steve Friess, Politico: Hollywood's take on White House gun summit
Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Martin Luther King Makes Everything Better
Peter Hermann, Washington Post: NBC's Gregory won't be charged for displaying ammunition clip on TV
Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Here's my main target for 2013
Jerry Large, Seattle Times: Guns: What 3 doctors order
Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: NRA Unchained
Stephen A. Nuño, NBCLatino: No one talks about the armed guards already in Latino schools
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Treat Chicago's homicide surge as an epidemic
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Newspaper crosses the line to quash privacy
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Conversation on gun violence excludes a key perspective — that of most likely victims
" 'After a nationwide search, I found the most qualified, natural leader for RTV6 News right here inside our station,' said Larry Blackerby, vice president and general manager of RTV6. 'In just the past few weeks, Terri has done an outstanding job leading our team of journalists in covering two of the biggest local stories of the past year — first with extensive and exclusive coverage of the arrests in the Richmond Hill explosion on the Southside and then with wall to wall reporting of the blizzard the day after Christmas. Terri's news judgment, passion and commitment to local coverage is outstanding.'
"Cope-Walton previously was assistant news director at RTV6 and has been interim news director since November 2012. She has served in many roles and worked with many departments since joining the RTV6 staff in 1998, including leading the station's community affairs efforts and as the lead producer for RTV6 Good Morning, Indiana. . . ."
"Maybe Obama needs to borrow Romney's 'binders full of women,' " Jennifer Vanasco wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "That's what Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News suggested in her opinion piece wondering why Obama's new Cabinet is looking 'more like the Augusta National Golf Club than America.'
"The Washington Post first brought this story to our attention on Monday, with a piece by David Nakamura noting that President Obama had nominated men to three big Cabinet posts: State (after Susan Rice dropped out of the running), Defense, and CIA. 'The moves have disappointed some supporters who said they fear, with [Secretary of State] Clinton's departure, a paucity of females among Obama's top advisors, particularly in the traditionally male-dominated field of defense and security,' Nakamura wrote.
"But it was The New York Times that took the story and hit it out of the park on Tuesday. First, the paper published White House photographer Pete Souza's damning December photo of male senior advisors circling the President (and noted that if you look closely, you can see Valerie Jarrett's leg just visible in front of the desk. That mostly-hidden Jarrett somehow made the whole thing even worse.) That photo made the story, 'Obama's Remade Inner Circle Has an All-Male Look, So Far' hit on a visceral level.
"Second, the story itself was an outstanding example of enterprise reporting using data analysis. Annie Lowrey, an economic policy reporter, pointed out — as did Nakamura and Carlson — that there were in fact strong female possibilities for the Cabinet posts, including Michèle Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense, and Lael Brainard, Treasury undersecretary for international affairs. Obama just didn't choose them. . . . "
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: The Presidential Boys Club.
Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, CNN: Obama, put a woman in charge of FCC
Viviana Hurtado, Wise Latina Club: President Obama's Missing Latino Senior Administration
Zerlina Maxwell, the Grio: Are there too many white men in the White House?
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Foes exaggerate Obama's 'war on women'
"Major League Baseball is embarrassed that, in a rare turn of events, no player was elected by baseball writers to the Hall of Fame," the San Jose Mercury News editorialized on Tuesday. "The snub of two of the biggest stars in the game's history — Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — is a full-blown marketing nightmare highlighting the very worst aspects of the game.
"Good," wrote the Mercury News, which as a Bay Area publication qualifies as one of Bonds' hometown newspapers. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants.
On the other hand, Jerome Solomon wrote Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle, ". . . Today's news that none of the eligible players, great players mind you, were deemed good enough by enough voters to have earned Hall of Fame induction tells me that I don't belong in that group. . . ."
On ESPN.com, Howard Bryant disclosed, "I didn't vote for any of the players on this ballot, not Bonds or Clemens, not Mike Piazza or Jeff Bagwell, because the damages to the game were real. . . ."
Peter Botte, Filip Bondy, Bill Madden, John Harper and Roger Rubin, Daily News, New York: Hall of Fame voters from New York Daily News share their votes — and reasons why they voted thay way
Tim Kawakami, Bay Area News Group: Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, etc., shut out of Hall
Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: Baseball Writers are Wrong for Hall Passes
Fred Mitchell, Chicago Tribune: Coming clean would only help Sosa (Jan. 4)
Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle: It's a shame Biggio, Clemens didn't get in
"The situation involving Robert Griffin III and the most talked about knee injury since Nancy Kerrigan has been closely watched by everyone — especially the NFL Players Association," Mike Freeman wrote Wednesday for CBS Sports.
"What happened with Griffin could be another step toward forcing the NFL to put independent monitors on the sideline to watch for concussed players, something the NFLPA has wanted for a long time."
Meanwhile, sports columnists debated whom to blame for the Washington Redskins quarterback remaining in the game despite his knee injury in Sunday's playoff against the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks won, 24-14.
Jason Whitlock wrote for Fox Sports, "More than the health of his knee, more than Mike Shanahan's alleged negligence, here's what concerned me about Robert Griffin's first playoff appearance:
Jason Reid wrote in the Washington Post, ". . . this much is certain: Whenever Griffin returns to the football field, he'll have to change his approach in order to stay on it."
Referring to the Redskins head coach, Reid added, "In his biggest moment of this season, Shanahan dropped the ball. Eventually, Griffin would have gotten over any hurt feelings. Even stars don't always get what they want."
Michael H. Cottman, Black America Web: The Blame Game: RG3's Injury
Steve Kelley, Seattle Times: Seahawks could tell Robert Griffin III wasn't right and took full advantage
John Smallwood, Philadelphia Daily News: Redskins lose game, RGIII
Deron Snyder, Washington Times: RG3, Junior Seau evidence of NFL's negligent culture
For critics, armchair and otherwise, Quentin Tarantino's film "Django Unchained" is the gift that keeps on giving. Along with "Lincoln," the more mainstream 2012 film about the slavery era, "Django" was nominated for an Academy Award this week as Best Picture.
Gene Demby wrote Wednesday for NPR, "These are both movies very much informed by our current moment, but in crucially different ways. For Django, this is mostly stylistic — think Jamie Foxx's sunglasses, Rick Ross rapping over action scenes, and Sam Jackson's thoroughly modern approach to profanity. But Django is deeply invested in portraying the unrelenting ugliness of slavery.
"Lincoln, on the other hand, feels like a reverential look at a crucial moment in our history through a contemporary prism that recognizes that the outcome is never in doubt; it's more 'accurate,' but less alive. It's also much more invested in a mythology that doesn't implicate anyone in that ugliness."
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote the same day on his Atlantic blog, ". . . I'm not going to see Django. I'm not very interested in watching some black dude slaughter a bunch of white people, so much as I am interested in why that never actually happened, and what that says. I like art that begins in the disturbing truth of things and then proceeds to ask the questions which history can't.
"Among those truths, for me, is the relative lack of appetite for revenge among slaves and freedmen. The great slaughter which white supremacists were always claiming to be around the corner, was never actually in the minds of slaves and freedman. What they wanted most was peace. It's true they had to kill for it. But their general perspective was 'Leave me the fuck alone.' . . . "
Lawrence D. Bobo, The Root: Slavery on Film: Sanitized No More
Leonce Gaiter, HuffPost BlackVoices: It's Absurd to Associate Django Unchained With Black Culture
Doni Glover, bmorenews.com: Has Slave Doll Controversy Entered the New 'Door of No Return'?
Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report: A Real Life Django
Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: 'Django Unchained' was 'appallingly bloody' but 'I really, really enjoyed' the movie
Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Django — An action figure doll?
Thembisa Mshaka blog, The Cold Part About Django Unchained *Spoilers* (Jan. 1)
Gene Seymour, CNN: Why 'Django Unchained' stirs race debate
H. Lewis Smith, Thy Black Man: Django Unchained…We Have a Truth Problem.
"Hugh Grannum wasn't just a photographer," Cassandra Spratling wrote Friday for the Detroit Free Press. "He was an artist with a camera.
"In his 37-plus-year career at the Free Press, he became known for photographs that captured the heart and soul of Detroit and its people.
"In the process, his warm, engaging manner made him a beloved mentor to reporters and photographers who he worked with and a trusted friend and confidant of the private and public figures he photographed.
"Hugh Parker Grannum, 72, died today at Harper Hospital in Detroit of leukemia and complications from a kidney transplant in 2010.
" 'He had a remarkable eye behind the camera,' said former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, who said he had admired Grannum's work long before becoming mayor in 1993. 'He captured people at their best. And he had a way of establishing rapport quickly and easily with people that made you respect the work that he had to do. It was because of Hugh that I started looking under photographs in the paper to see who had taken the picture.'
"Even the late Mayor Coleman Young — no fan of the news media — maintained an open-door policy with Grannum. . . ."
In an all-too-familiar scenario, the site JournalismDegree.org, which describes itself as "an information resource for current and prospective journalism students, as well as professionals," is asking for help in publicizing its "100 Best Sites for Journalists in 2012." None of the 100 addresses diversity issues or people of color.
Christopher Nelson, a freelance multimedia journalist who is communications chair for the National Association of Black Journalists, has been named an assignment editor at NBC News in New York, NABJ announced. NBC spokeswoman Meghan Pianta told Journal-isms Friday by email, "He will be an assignment editor on the overnight shift, with responsibilities that include screening and researching stories for all platforms, and acting as a liaison with the Rights & Clearances, Standards and Legal departments. He'll be responsible for alerting news executives and managers to news that breaks overnight, and will assist in orchestrating coverage, coordinating with regional chiefs and bureau desks if needed, and communicating editorial and logistical information to NBC News entities as stories are breaking and developing."
Cheryl Mayberry McKissack has been named chief operating officer of Johnson Publishing Co., the company announced on Thursday. "In her role, Ms. Mayberry McKissack will be responsible for media sales, marketing, production, operations, and research; she will also assume the role of President of the company’s digital business unit which houses properties including the EBONY Collection, EBONY.com and JET.com. She joins JPC after serving as a digital strategy consultant for the company for the past 18 months" and is the founder, president and CEO of Nia Enterprises, LLC, a Chicago-based online research, marketing, and digital consulting firm she has operated for the past 12 years.
"When then-National Newspaper Publishers Association Chairman Danny Bakewell, Sr. asked me to emcee the Black Press Week luncheon at the National Press Club in 2011, I had no idea that I would be witnessing history," George E. Curry wrote this week for the NNPA News Service. "At the urging of Wilmington [N.C.] Journal Publisher Mary Alice Thatch, the NNPA decided to launch a national campaign to win pardons for the Wilmington 10, a group of activists who were falsely convicted and sentenced to a combined total of 282 years." The Wilmington 10 were pardoned this month. It was "the Black Press at its best," Curry wrote.
"Stephanie Mehta has been promoted from executive editor, technology and Washington coverage, to deputy managing editor of Fortune," Chris O'Shea reported Thursday for FishbowlNY. "Mehta has been with Fortune since 2000, when she joined the magazine as a senior writer. She was bumped up to assistant managing editor in 2008, then executive editor in 2010."
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart plan to appear at a mixer and membership -recruiting drive in Washington sponsored by the D.C. chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists on Sunday, Jan. 20, the day before President Obama's inauguration. The chapter announced the guests on Thursday, and by Friday reported that based on RSVPs, attendance had reached capacity.
Bobby Caina Calvan, a Boston Globe congressional writer who has filled in as a White House pool reporter, is Betsy Rothstein's latest interviewee for FishbowlDC. Asked whether he has ever had a near-death experience, Calvan related, "Happened during a rafting excursion on the Pano River, near the Ecuadorean town of Tena. Our raft slammed into a boulder and capsized. . . . " Calva is active in the media watch efforts of the Asian American Journalists Association.
"Where are Britain's black journalists?" asks the headline over a piece Thursday in Britain's Guardian newspaper by Anne Alexander, who describes herself as of "African-Caribbean origin." Alexander writes that black reporters were so rare that a politician showing around a new staff member introduced white reporters by their media affiliations but assumed that Alexander was their personal assistant and introduced her that way.
On Thursday, American journalist Paul Salopek "departed a small Ethiopian village and took the first steps of a planned 21,000-mile (34,000-kilometer) walk that will cross some 30 borders, where he will encounter dozens of languages and scores of ethnic groups," Jason Straziuso reported Thursday for the Associated Press. "The 50-year-old's quest is to retrace man's first migration from Africa across the world in a go-slow journey that will force him to immerse himself in a variety of cultures so he can tell a global mosaic of people stories. . . ." The trip is sponsored by National Geographic, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.
The network grew its African-American viewership by 60 percent.
MSNBC ". . . enjoyed significant (around 20%) ratings increases across the board" in 2012, "but made astonishing gains with their already-large African American audience, growing that audience by 60.5% for the Mon-Sun 8pm-11pm period," Tommy Christopher reported Monday for Mediaite.
"MSNBC President Phil Griffin told me, in a phone interview, that he is 'thrilled' with that result, and that it 'says a lot about what we've been doing over the last few years.'
"In that same time period, CNN grew its black audience by 23.7% (from 131,000 in 2011 to 162,000 in 2012, 23.9% of their total audience), while Fox News' declined by 23.7% (38,000 in 2011 to 29,000 in 2012, 1.4% of their total audience), but MSNBC had more black viewers than both of those nets combined (from 177,000 in 2011 to 284,000 in 2012, 31.4% of their total audience).
"What's more impressive is that MSNBC attained 60% growth after being number one in that demographic last year, and the year before.
" 'This has been steady growth for us for some time,' Griffin noted. 'I think we made a commitment, we decided, that in order for this channel to succeed, that we had to reflect the country. This meant that we had to be part of the country in ways that the other channels weren't.'
"Part of that commitment, according to Griffin, is the 'look' of the channel. 'We have a diverse on-air group of people,' Griffin said, 'because that matters, and people want to know that we reflect their world. And it's not just a single show - [it's] across the board. You look at the guests every hour and we make sure that we have women, African Americans, everything, and I think to spend a day watching MSNBC is to see America as we have seen it.'
"That diverse array of talent, including hosts like Tamron Hall, Touré, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Rev. Al Sharpton, and ubiquitous contributors like Joy Reid, Goldie Taylor, Karen Finney, Prof. Michael Eric Dyson, [former Republican National Committee] Chairman Michael Steele, Eugene Robinson, and Jonathan Capehart, is an organic result of the network's editorial philosophy, rather than an end unto itself, says Griffin.
" 'It wasn't like we said "Oh, we have to have a diverse person on here and there," ' he said. 'We made a decision. We made a commitment in ideas, issues and everything - the audience followed, and that goes back to four or five years ago. As we grew, we recognized that it was the right thing to do. It's giving a voice to people in these kinds of programs who don't always get a voice. Our look is as diverse as any on mainstream TV. I'm incredibly proud of it. It's not like we decided 'We're going to increase our African American viewership by 60%,' but I'm thrilled that it happened, and it says a lot about what we've been doing over the last few years.' . . . "
An MSNBC spokeswoman was unable to provide figures for Hispanic and Asian viewership.
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: MSNBC OR BET?
Rob Parker's 30-day suspension for comments he made on ESPN's "First Take" has become permanent, ESPN announced Tuesday.
"Rob Parker's contract expired at year's end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew his deal," spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.
The announcement was made after Parker defended his comments once again on Detroit television Sunday, but Krulewitz told Journal-isms that the ESPN decision was based on his earlier "First Take" remarks.
In a story posted on the ESPN website, the network noted that during a Dec. 13 episode of "First Take" on ESPN2, Parker was discussing Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III's answer to a question about Griffin's role as an African American quarterback. "In questioning Griffin's 'blackness,' Parker cited that Griffin has a white fiancée and is rumored to be Republican."
Parker had said, "My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is ... is he a 'brother,' or is he a cornball 'brother'? He's not really ... he's black, but he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kind of black, but he's not really like the guy you'd want to hang out with. I just want to find out about him. I don't know, because I keep hearing these things. . . ."
At first, ESPN said it was "conducting a full review." Then, on Dec. 20, the network said it had decided to suspend Parker for 30 days, tighten editorial oversight of the "First Take" show and was taking "appropriate disciplinary measures" against employees who played a role in allowing Parker's remarks on the air.
Richard Deitsch reported for Sports Illustrated on Tuesday that a "First Take" producer was suspended for a week. "Sources said other First Take behind the scenes staffers were disciplined," Deitsch wrote.
"With criticism of the show putting the network in a bad light, ESPN began enhanced editorial oversight on the program last week. Asked specifically what that oversight consisted of with the program, an ESPN spokesperson told SI.com on Tuesday that it meant active participation of ESPN's news desk in show planning meetings."
Parker did not keep silent during the suspension. He continued to work as a contributor to "Sports Final Edition," which airs Sunday nights on WDIV-TV, News Director Kim Voet told Journal-isms. He has been on the show since 1993.
James Jahnke reported in the Detroit Free Press Monday, "Asked on WDIV whether he could believe the force of the backlash, which resulted in a 30-day suspension, Parker said: "I can't believe it. Looking back on some of the comments, I can see where people could take it out of context and run with it. But the response and what happened over the past 30 days is just shocking."
"Parker said his comments were never meant to 'condemn the young man. RGIII is a great young man with a bright future. It was more about concerns, not condemning him.
" 'The one thing that I'm proud about being on that show, "First Take," for the last six years is that we are willing to tackle a lot of stuff that most shows won't even touch. I think it's important. I think we've done it in a really good way, and this is the first time, really, we've been in hot water.'
"Parker went on to say that 'you can't be afraid to talk about race. I haven't been my whole life ... that's what I bring to the table. I don't want to be a guy that's going to turn his back or run away from issues.' "
Parker could not be reached for comment after Tuesday's announcement that his ESPN contract was not renewed.
"It appears that the NWU has a settlement with the publishers of Heart & Soul magazine (H&S)," Barry Hock announced Wednesday for the National Writers Union. However, Larry Goldbetter, the union president, cautioned that nothing has been signed.
"We expect to have something signed by the end of the week," Goldbetter told Journal-isms by telephone.
Hock wrote, "NWU first got involved in this fight in October 2011. H&S focuses on health and wellness issues for black women -- unless, that is, you are one of the unpaid black women writers and editors who works there.
"H&S will sign a confession of judgment and pay the writers in six installments. The first payment was wired to an NWU member owed half the total amount and facing imminent foreclosure. As a result, she will keep her home. Another payment next week will keep another NWU member in her home.
"This is a big win and a good start to the New Year. It was made possible by the H&S writers themselves, who stuck together and kept organizing more writers to join the fight; the persistence of the NWU; and the UAW Legal Dept. closing the deal. As one writer said, 'Thanks [to] the whole NWU team! Your work is invaluable. I'm renewing my membership.' "
Journalist George Curry and his partners in Brown Curry Detry Taylor & Associates, LLC of Silver Spring, Md., announced in January 2012 that they had bought the 18-year-old publication from Edwin V. Avent, a Baltimore-based businessman who now heads a nascent cable network, Soul of the South.
The new Heart & Soul owners promised to compensate a group of angry writers who said they were owed more than $200,000 in back pay. Goldbetter told Journal-isms Wednesday that the figure now is 15 people owed $156,000.
Curry said in November that he had resigned as executive vice president/content and editorial director. Clarence I. Brown, president and CEO, and Patrick H. Detry, executive vice president, advertising, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Publication of the student newspaper at Florida A&M University, considered one of the best among historically black colleges and universities, is being "delayed" until Jan. 30, according to new Dean Ann Kimbrough of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, while she implements training for staff members.
"I did not do anything out of line," Kimbrough told Journal-isms by telephone on Wednesday. "There is nothing that I did that is not in keeping with our students' rights and privileges." She said "there had been neglect on the part of our administration" to ensure that students were sufficiently protected.
Students will continue working on the Famuan even though it will not be published, Kimbrough said.
Karl Etters, the student editor of the Famuan, had a different view. "I'm really hurt by it," he said of the delay. "This is my senior semester. Everyone is really excited to get started. It took the wind out of our sails. . . . We're being almost forced into opposing the administration." Etters noted that the delay would take place during President Obama's second inauguration and that some student journalists plan to be on buses to Washington.
Etters said he had talked with the Arlington, Va.-based Student Press Law Center, which advocates for student media.
"I'm frightened," Adam Goldstein, an attorney-advocate at the center, said of the development. "It really sounds like the dean is taking the position that the school can suspend publication for a month for no reason," he told Journal-isms by telephone. His organization issued a "news flash" on the development.
The publication delay is indirectly related to accreditation issues and to drum major Robert Champion's well-publicized hazing death in November 2011. "Investigations revealed many band members were not enrolled in the music course as required. Since then all student organizations on campus have come under more strict requirements," Jennifer Portman reported Wednesday in the Tallahassee Democrat.
Portman's story continued, "The publication postponement comes amid an ongoing review of the journalism school's student media outlets and associated student organizations, which revealed more than 20 of the roughly 100 various group members failed to meet grade-point and enrollment requirements last fall.
"Kimbrough, who came to FAMU as dean of the journalism school in August, said such requirements were in place but learned they weren't being followed after she ordered a check of student group member records from fall 2011 to fall 2012." She told Journal-isms that students are applying for the student newspaper positions because not all who were interested had a chance to do so.
". . . Such institutional control issues were among those flagged by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools last month when the accreditation body placed FAMU on a year's probation. State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan also recently pointed to the failure of FAMU personnel to enforce existing policies as contributing to deep-rooted problems at the university."
Moreover, "A Dec. 2, 2011, article in the student newspaper incorrectly stated senior Keon Hollis was one of four drum majors suspended in connection with Champion's death. Three days later, The Famuan posted a revised article on its website omitting Hollis' name and noting the fourth suspended student could not be identified. On Feb. 14, 2012, The Famuan published a correction, but the lawsuit noted it failed to say Hollis had nothing to do with Champion's death or the crime of hazing.
"Hollis' lawsuit, filed in Leon County Dec. 3 against the newspaper, university and its board of trustees, alleges the student newspaper failed to 'exercise ordinary care,' lacked a credible source for its information and failed to investigate what amounted to 'nothing more than unverified and unsubstantiated rumor and gossip.' The complaint contends Hollis' reputation was damaged by the implication he played a role in the hazing that killed Champion. No court dates have been set."
Andrew J. Skerritt, a veteran journalist who teaches journalism at FAMU, is no longer advising the Famuan, Kimbrough said. The change is "still a personnel issue" that took place "in another administration," she said, adding, "He's a stand-up guy."
Etters said he was "very, very upset" by Skerritt's departure as adviser. "Professor Skerritt has been my mentor since I've been at FAMU," he said. Skerritt has not responded to requests for comment.
"Harvey Shapiro would have likely preferred to be remembered as a poet, and perhaps also as one of the better editors of the New York Times Book Review," Timothy Noah wrote Wednesday for the New Republic.
"But his Jan. 7 Times obituary plays up another aspect of his life of which I was previously unaware. It was Shapiro, then an editor at the New York Times Magazine, who assigned Martin Luther King Jr. to write his 1963 'Letter From Birmingham Jail,' [also called "Letter from Birmingham City Jail"] which today ranks as one of the preeminent literary-historical documents of the 20th century.
"The assignment would have assured Shapiro a place in magazine-editor heaven if the Times Magazine had published the result. But it didn't. Rejected, the letter ended up (under the headline, 'The Negro Is Your Brother') in the Atlantic."
". . . The Times, S. Jonathan Bass reports in Blessed Are The Peacemakers: Martin Luther King, Eight White Religious Leaders, and the 'Letter From Birmingham Jail,' initially scheduled the letter for publication in late May. But first it wanted (in the recollection of King adviser Stanley Levison) a 'little introduction setting forth the circumstances of the piece.' Then it decided, no, what it really wanted was for King to 'write a feature article based on the letter.' Or, possibly, it wanted both. Before King had a chance to jump through these hoops, the New York Post (in those distant days a plausible rival to the Times) got a copy of the letter and published unauthorized excerpts, killing the Times's interest. . . ."
Addressing black journalists in 1984, King lieutenant Andrew Young used King's jailhouse letter to illustrate the power of the written word. He said at a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in Atlanta:
"We give a lot of credit to the demonstrations in the civil rights movement. But those demonstrations wouldn't have meant a thing in Birmingham had it not been for the letter from a Birmingham jail," Young said. "It was the articulation of the ideas coming from that black community in an eloquent written statement by Martin Luther King, a statement that he wrote around the ridges of the New York Times. They wouldn't let him have any paper to write on, but they would bring the newspapers, so every day he would write on the margins of the newspaper and would get it out, and when he got through with that, he would write on the toilet paper that was left.
"And the secretary that transcribed it didn't have sense enough to keep it, because we are not appreciative of the written word. We don't understand that the pen is as powerful - more powerful - than the sword, still in this day and time."
David Griner, Poynter Institute: How KKK rally image found new life 20 years after it was published
A reporter who stayed in Haiti for more than a year after its devastating January 2010 earthquake estimates that of the $2.43 billion spent on ostensible humanitarian relief by the end of 2010, a mere 7 percent actually made its way to Haiti, Justin Peters reported Wednesday in Columbia Journalism Review.
Peters reviews Jonathan Katz's "The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left a Disaster."
". . . Katz, a former AP correspondent, was the only full-time American reporter stationed in Haiti when the quake hit; he stayed for more than a year thereafter, reporting on the charitable aftershocks - as small donations were mishandled by ngos [non-governmental organizations], as big donations never materialized, and as the world gradually lost interest and left Haiti to fend for itself.
"The book is both a primer on how and why reconstructions fail, and an indictment of the benign paternalism that motivates donors, developers, and other do-gooders to impose their will on distraught places that they pity but don't bother to understand.
". . . Throughout, Katz questions the wisdom of entrusting the reconstruction to people who didn't live in Haiti, weren't personally affected by the earthquake, and would be on the first plane out when telegenic tragedy struck elsewhere.
". . . The Big Truck That Went By is, among other things, a testament to the value of journalists who are actually familiar with the countries they cover; of [searchers] like Jonathan Katz, who reject the oversimplified narratives that characterize so much of crisis journalism, and know that the more time you spend in a troubled place, the harder it becomes to understand. Shortly after the earthquake, he writes, foreign journalists played a game in which they attempted to describe Haiti in a single word. 'Diseased' was one entry. 'Violent' was another. Katz's response was different. 'I took the paper and wrote: HERE.' "
"The next time Notah Begay is inside the ropes on the PGA Tour, he'll be holding a microphone instead of a golf club," Doug Ferguson reported for the Associated Press Wednesday from Kapalua, Hawaii.
"Begay starts a new line of work this week at the Sony Open as a full-time member of the broadcast team for NBC Sports and Golf Channel. He will be a walking course reporter at Waialae Country Club.
"An opening was created when Dottie Pepper, who joined the board of the PGA of America, retired from NBC last year to pursue programs geared toward junior golf.
"Begay is a Navajo, the only full-blooded American Indian to play on the PGA Tour. He won four times on the Tour until his career was slowed by back injuries.
". . . A former teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford, Begay has been devoting much of his time to his foundation that he established in 2005, providing health and wellness education for Indian youth. He hosts the annual NB3 Challenge at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in New York, which attracts Woods and other top players. . . ."
"Teresita 'Tita' Dioso Gillespie, a longtime editor at 'Newsweek' magazine, died on December 18 at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland, after suffering several complications following a heart attack a few weeks ago," GMA News Online, which calls itself "The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere," reported on Tuesday.
"She was 70 and is survived by her husband of 42 years, Brette Gillespie, a retired Navy officer.
"Ms. Gillespie was a trailblazer for Asian women - and Filipino women in particular - in the field of magazine editing. In its June 2000 issue, 'Filipinas' magazine gave Gillespie an Achievement Award for being the first Filipina to serve as 'Newsweek's' general editor, noting 'Gillespie belongs to a short list of top-caliber Filipino journalists who have increasing influence in the international print media.'
"She took her role as a pioneering Filipina editor in the U.S. seriously, speaking about her experiences at seminars and mentoring several Asian American journalists, including her nephew, John Dioso, who went on to become a managing editor of 'Rolling Stone,' 'Martha Stewart Living' and 'Us Weekly.' . . . "
"Django Unchained" and "Lincoln," two films addressing slavery, won multiple Academy Award nominations, Philip Yu reported Thursday for Yahoo News. "Django Unchained" was nominated for best picture, best supporting actor (Christoph Waltz), best original screenplay, best cinematography and best sound editing. "Lincoln" led with 12 nominations: best picture, best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best supporting actress (Sally Field); best supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones), best director (Steven Spielberg), best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best costume design, best film editing, best original score, best production design and best sound mixing. Denzel Washington was nominated for best actor for "Flight." [Added Jan. 10]
. . When Bridgette Lacy lost her state government job, she created a new career for herself [audio], writing an unemployment column for the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina," Dick Gordon reported Tuesday for "Jobs in America," a series he began on his "The Story" radio program on American Public Media. Lacy has been a reporter in Binghamton, N.Y., and Raleigh, N.C., and has written fiction and battled a brain tumor.
Two weeks ago, the Journal-News published the names and addresses of handgun permit holders -- a total of 33,614 -- in the two suburban New York counties in which it circulates, Westchester and Rockland, and put maps of their locations online, Christine Haughney reported Sunday in the New York Times. Since then, "Personal information about editors and writers at the paper has been posted online, including their home addresses and information about where their children attended school; some reporters have received notes saying they would be shot on the way to their cars; bloggers have encouraged people to steal credit card information of Journal News employees; and two packages containing white powder have been sent to the newsroom and a third to a reporter's home (all were tested by the police and proved to be harmless). . . . "
Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy tied the "bad karma" that accompanies the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team to the team's playoff loss Sunday. "So, Washington football fans, how's that offensive team name and demeaning sports mascot working out?" Milloy wrote Tuesday. "Whooping and hollering as RGIII goes on a 'Redskins' warpath only to leave a trail of tears when his wounded knee gets buried at FedEx Field," he continued in a reference to quarterback Robert Griffin III. Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray suggested that any deal to move the stadium within city limits would require a name change, or at least discussion of one, the Post's Mike DeBonis reported.
" 'Reportero,' which debuted Monday night on POV on PBS, follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, 'as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media,' " Kevin Roderick noted Tuesday for LAObserved. ". . . Watch the trailer below or stream the entire 55-minute film online until February 6."
In Pittsburgh, NewsGuild, also known as The Newspaper Guild-CWA, denounced Pittsburgh police Wednesday over an incident in which Jonathan Silver and Liz Navratil of the Post-Gazette "wrote a polite, professional email to the department's public information officer about a New Years' homicide/suicide and the police response to it. The email described what the reporters knew about the incident, followed by a detailed series of questions. Their response came via press release sent to 200 reporters: The chief's office would be making no statement about the investigation. Instead, police attached the full transcript of Silver and Navratil's email and all of their questions, revealing the extent of the reporters' own investigation." Diane Richard, the department's public information officer who was identified as having sent out the press release, did not respond to an email from Journal-isms.
In China, "Propaganda officials in the southern province of Guangdong have agreed to loosen some controls over an embattled newspaper whose struggle against censorship has galvanized free-speech advocates across China, according to journalists at the newspaper," Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield reported Wednesday in the New York Times.
"The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) to mobilize and address the security of journalists after the arrests and detention in communicado of a journalist in The Gambia," the federation said on Tuesday. "Authorities in The Gambia must reveal the whereabouts of journalist Abdoulie John and release him immediately. This journalist was literally kidnapped yesterday by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He is in grave danger since he has been undertaking never ending questionings at the NIA all these last two weeks."
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Swaziland Wednesday condemned the violent assault of Swazi Observer journalist Eugene Dube on Friday while he was covering a funeral in an area where the chieftancy was in dispute. When a deputy sheriff stopped the funeral, the mob began "meting out mob justice" to the deputy, then turned on the journalist, who was taking pictures. Soldiers came to his rescue.
"At least five independent bloggers were sentenced today to harsh jail terms in Vietnam, according to local and international news reports," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday. The committee condemned the sentences and called on Vietnamese authorities to reverse the charges on appeal and release the bloggers.
"A radio journalist in Tanzania's western region of Kigoma was found dead on Tuesday with medical reports showing that he was hanged by unknown assailants," the Xinhua News Agency reported. "Police identified the journalist as 45-year-old Issa Ngumba working with an independent radio station called Radio Kwizera. . . . Observers in Kakonko said Ngumba's death might be connected to his report about a pastoralist, Imani Paulo, who was reported to have eaten parts of his shepherd's body."
"The International Press Institute's (IPI) Nepal National Committee today welcomed the decision of police in Dailekh, in mid-western Nepal, to prosecute suspects allegedly involved in the 2004 abduction and subsequent killing of Dailekh-based journalist Dekendra Thapa," the IPI said Tuesday. "Dailekh district police arrested five individuals all belonging to the then-Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)."
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.