The NABJ, NAJA and AAJA have declined to meet with the attorney general.
Citing the stipulation that the meeting would be off the record, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and the news service representing black newspapers said Sunday that they would not attend Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s Monday meeting with journalists of color to refine guidelines on dealing with journalists during leak investigations.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Unity: Journalists of Diversity, Inc., umbrella group have said they would attend.
The Native American Journalists Association, also citing the off-the-record stipulation, has said it would not.
However, NAJA and AAJA would still be represented, since they are members of Unity: Journalists for Diversity, along with the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and NAHJ.
And Corey Dade, an NABJ board member and contributor to theRoot.com, said by email that he will attend the meeting, though NABJ will not be officially present. Dade did not elaborate. NLGJA representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
George E. Curry, editor in chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, said he wrote Sunday to the Justice Department:
"This is to notify you that the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA) is hereby declining your invitation to an off-the-record meeting with the Attorney General regarding DOJ guidelines governing investigations that involve the news media.
"While we would welcome an opportunity to interact with Attorney General Holder on a variety of issues, we must decline this specific invitation for two reasons. First, we feel this is an extremely important First Amendment issue that merits on-the-record comments. We see no value in attending a session in which we will not be able to quote the Attorney General or any other participant.
"Second, and equally important, we are aware that Mr. Holder held a previous session with other members of the media. Consequently, we are unwilling to be relegated to second- or third-tier status that forces us to take a back seat to others who have not only attended a meeting with Mr. Holder on this subject, but have also reported on that session. As a news service that represents 200 African-American newspapers with nearly 20 million readers, we value our readers and don't feel that they should be subjected to receiving news after other news organizations have been allowed to report it beforehand.
"Again, we would welcome an exchange with the Attorney General, but not under these conditions."
Gregory H. Lee Jr., president of NABJ, said by email, "I asked the board that nabj will not have official reps. If individual board members do attend it will not be under nabj representation. Nabj will not attend in . . . any official capacity." Lee added by telephone that NABJ believes in freedom of the press and is "not happy with what's going on at the Justice Department," as stated in its May 15 statement on the Justice Department's secret seizure of office and personal telephone records of journalists at The Associated Press.
Current and former Justice Department officials said the initial meeting was held off the record to allow for a candid conversation, Sari Horwitz reported for the Washington Post.
" 'It's a policy meeting. If you put it on the record, it would become a press conference, and I've never seen a press conference that's a good forum for making policy,' said Matthew Miller, a former Holder aide who remains a close friend. 'If it was on the record, all you would get is posturing from both sides, and that's not useful for anyone.' "
Holder's first meeting with media groups took place Thursday, "attended by a small group of journalists after several news organizations objected to the Justice Department's insistence that it be held off the record," Horwitz reported. "The participants, however, reached an agreement with the Justice Department under which they could describe what occurred during the meeting in general terms. . . ."
And in fact, the news organizations that participated wrote stories about it, quoting the journalists who attended.
On Friday, Reuters reversed itself and attended the second day of meetings, Michael Calderone reported for the Huffington Post.
Calderone wrote that Barb Burg, vice president and global head of communications, said Reuters "did attend a meeting today and only because the off the record ground rules were adjusted. . . ."
Hugo Balta, president of NAHJ, said in announcing his attendance that NAHJ would try that approach. "NAHJ will push for the meeting to be on-the-record because the content of the discussion can impact a journalist's ability to do their work . . . , " he said.
Lee told Journal-isms by telephone, however, that there was "no guarantee that you can go there and change the terms."
NABJ has participated in off-the-record sessions with others. In February, NABJ leaders attended a closed-door meeting on diversity with new CNN president Jeff Zucker and released only a vague statement about the discussion.
However, Lee said the situations are not the same. "Our meeting with CNN was our standing quarterly meeting. Certain portions of our conversation [were] not appropriate for public consumption due to the sensitive nature of talking specific personnel issues. The off-the-record conversation with CNN does not violate our press freedoms. The Department of Justice's actions [were] a threat to the media's constitutional freedoms."
AAJA said in its statement:
"AAJA appreciates the invitation to meet with the U.S. Department of Justice on media policy. But the association has decided not to attend the meeting.
"We advocate fair and accurate media coverage on behalf of our 1,700 members. An off-the-record conversation, however, would not allow us to inform our full membership. Nor would it promote transparency, which is key to building trust between the news industry, our government and the public.
"Should there be an on-the-record meeting to help shape media policy and diversity in the future, AAJA will gladly join the conversation."
President Obama has said he wants the results of Holder's review by July 12.
The journalists of color were not included in the initial talks, although a Justice Department staffer, responding to inquiries from Journal-isms, said Friday that the journalists of color, as well as the lesbian and gay journalists association, the black press and others of color, would be invited to a meeting Monday. The staffer said Holder had intended to include them all along.
Holder's status as attorney general was a topic on the Sunday talk shows, including "the intense criticism for the way he's handling leaks of classified information to reporters," as host Bob Schieffer put it on CBS-TV's "Face the Nation." Republicans criticized Holder while Democrats defended him.
Also at issue is the Justice Department's monitoring of James Rosen, a Fox News reporter based in Washington. Rosen allegedly spoke to Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department contractor, for a story about North Korea's nuclear program.
The Justice Department charged Kim with violating the Espionage Act for his contact with Rosen, whose reporting disclosed that the United States had a source in the Korean leadership. In order to justify its search warrants for Rosen's private correspondence, the Justice Department labeled Rosen a "co-conspirator" with Kim because he made an arrangement with him about how to get him information, the Washington Post reported.
However, as PBS' Gwen Ifill noted on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, no journalist has been prosecuted. "We're just talking about getting information, secret information, for secret information's sake. And so journalists have to look at our motives and our accountability in these matters, as well as the administration. . . ." she said.
On NBC-TV's "Meet the Press," former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said "it's tough to see" how Holder keeps his job, "but it's up to the president." Host David Gregory asked, "Do you think this is a real olive branch to news organizations, an off-the-record meeting to discuss changing the guidelines for how leak investigations are — are pursued?"
"Well, I think the burden is on both the government and the press to work out a more clearer set of guidelines, both for their exchanges with each other and then-- so that the public can be involved in this as well," Brokaw said.
On "Face the Nation," Schieffer asked Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, why her organization refused to attend the off-the-record meetings.
"To have this private meeting with the attorney general not be able to share anything about it with our readers didn't seem to have a point to me," she said. "But the Times and our readers are quite concerned about the six active criminal leak cases that the Obama administration has pursued. That's more than all the other administrations combined. And, yeah, we are concerned that the process of news gathering is being criminalized.
"The First Amendment is first for a reason. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison thought it was crucial for our country to have a free and robust press to help keep the government accountable. And that's the job that Times reporters and other reporters here in Washington are trying so hard to do. . . ."
Schieffer turned to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, saying, "you know a little something about leaks down through the years. Your editor went to this meeting. What did he find out?"
"Well, I don't know that you find out anything in a session like that," Woodward replied. "What you do — and I — I think you have to step back a little bit and say what's going on here? And this isn't just a legal issue or a journalism issue. It's a practical issue for the administration. And what they're doing here I think is self-defeating that since the Pentagon papers decision, 1971, which said there can be no prior restraint on publication, the media — and I know myself — several dozen times have gone to the White House or the CIA or the Pentagon and said, "I have these details about this operation. What do you think?" And then they make their arguments about what part shouldn't be published or it shouldn't be published at all. And it actually helps the government and helps the press, and, if you can say it, helps national security and to chill all of this by saying, oh, if you go, if they find out that you have got some state secret, they're going to get your phone records, they're going to sever that relationship."
Schieffer said to Daniel Klaidman of the Daily Beast, "Dan, you — you actually interviewed the attorney general. And as far as I know you're the one single reporter who has interviewed him since all of this. What did you come away from the interview? What did you think about it?"
"Well, look, I think he was — wanted to publicly acknowledge that that balance that the Justice Department says it wants to strike between cracking down on national security leaks but at the same time protecting the free flow of information, allowing reporters to do their job of aggressively reporting on the government, that that balance had gotten out of whack," Klaidman said. "And that he and his department wants to try to recalibrate it, wants to update and— and— and reform the guidelines that cover interactions between the Justice Department and the press. They've begun that process. . . ."
Peter Baker, Charlie Savage and Jonathan Weisman, New York Times: Seeking a Fresh Start, Holder Finds a Fresh Set of Troubles
Matthew Cooper, the Atlantic: Why a Media Shield Law Isn't Enough to Save Journalists
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Huffington Post: The Never-ending War on Eric Holder
"John White's 44-year career at The Chicago Sun-Times has been rooted in faith and professionalism. It's a career he refers to as 'an assignment from God,' " Kenneth Irby, director of community relations and diversity programs at the Poynter Institute, wrote Friday for Poynter.
"Earlier this week, that career came to an end on what some photographers have called the darkest day in Sun-Times photojournalism history. The paper announced Thursday that it had laid off its entire photojournalism staff and would rely on freelance photographers and reporters instead.
"White — who has seen the paper go through many owners and changes — says he never imagined that his and his colleagues' careers would end so abruptly.
"In a phone interview, the 1982 Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist and teacher recalled a day that he is still 'trying to make sense of.'
" 'This is what I remember hearing: "As you know we are going forward into multimedia and video, and that is going to be our focus. So we are eliminating the photography department.' Then they turned it over to HR,' White recounted.
"White said it all began with an email alert on Wednesday evening directing the staff to attend a 9:30 am meeting on Thursday — which White said was 'only the second meeting with the new managers.' He called the meeting 'intimidating' and said 'there was a toxic and unkind spirit in the office.'
"White said the 28 full-time photography department staffers who received the news seemed shocked: 'It was as if they pushed a button and deleted a whole culture of photojournalism.'
"Those being laid off were asked to return company equipment, White said, and their access badges were demagnetized while they were receiving their layoff packages.
"The Sun-Times plans to rely on reporters to take photos and videos and has begun mandatory 'iPhone photography basics.' Its decision is just the latest example of a disconcerting trend in American media: professional photojournalism is being downsized and devalued, with news organizations increasingly turning to wire services, citizen-submitted content and independent/freelance contributions. . . ."
White is among the photographers on display in "Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project" at the National Archives in Washington. One hundred eighty of his photos of Chicago life during the 1970s are posted on this Flickr site.
Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke, New York Observer: A Sun-Times Vet on the Paper Laying Off Its Photo Department
Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune: Chicago Sun-Times lays off all photographers
Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune: The Idiocy of Eliminating a Photo Staff
Cord Jefferson, Gawker: A Sad Shot of Photojournalists Learning They'd Been Laid Off
Lynne Marek, Crain's Chicago Business: Chicago Sun-Times cuts entire photography staff
Whet Moser, Chicago magazine: Black Chicago in the 1970s, Through the Lens of John H. White
TheGrio, NBC's news site targeting African Americans, is being moved from the bailiwick of NBC News to that of MSNBC, with co-founders David Wilson and Dan Woolsey leaving to start another entrepreneurial venture, Wilson told Journal-isms on Friday.
Yvette Miley, MSNBC senior vice president and executive editor, will add executive editor of the Grio to her portfolio, MSNBC President Phil Griffin and Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and chief digital officer at NBC News, announced on Thursday.
Wilson, 36, told Journal-isms he expected theGrio, which he co-founded in 2009 and sold to NBC in 2010, to reflect more of MSNBC's "sensibility" with the switch. While NBC News does middle-of-the-road reporting, Wilson said by telephone, "MSNBC has a more progressive lean to it." MSNBC is by far African Americans' favorite cable news channel.
He said his new project would be created for the "digital entertainment space for African Americans," and would be "something that no one else is doing." Wilson called himself an entrepreneur at heart.
TheGrio recorded 1,413,000 visitors during April, according to the comScore, Inc. research company, behind such competitors as HuffPost BlackVoices and The Root but ahead of others such as NewsOne and Black America Web.
Thursday's announcement said Wilson and Woolsey would stay on in advisory roles. "As you know, Yvette is a fantastic leader with a strong editorial vision," the announcement continued. "She has been instrumental in evolving MSNBC's daytime and weekend programs and is a natural fit to join Joy-Ann Reid, who continues as Managing Editor of theGrio, to lead theGrio's team of talented journalists and contributors.
"TheGrio will be managed by MSNBC going forward, with Yvette continuing to report to Phil. Vivian's team at NBC News Digital will support the site's operations and technology. Under MSNBC, theGrio will be able to further build on its existing position of strength as a community for smart and engaging dialogue, opinions and perspectives, and continue to be an incubator for great stories and ideas for the entire NBCUniversal News Group. . . ."
It's also unclear whether journalists of color will be at the off-the-record session, where the attorney general will address outrage over the Justice Department's leak investigations.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is following up on his promise to meet with news media representatives Thursday and Friday in the wake of outrage over the Justice Department's leak investigations, but it's an open question whether journalists of color will be present.
Holder "is expected to meet this week with the Washington bureau chiefs of several major media outlets to discuss the Justice Department's guidelines for dealing with journalists in leak investigations," Michael Calderone reported Wednesday for Huffington Post.
Ken Strickland, Washington bureau chief of NBC News and a black journalist, was expected to be among the bureau chiefs, but with word that the Justice Department wants the session to be off the record, "We're still discussing whether we plan to attend," NBC spokeswoman Liz Fischer told Journal-isms by email.
CNN said Thursday morning that it will join the New York Times, the Associated Press and the Huffington Post in refusing the off-the-record invitation, Jack Mirkinson reported Thursday for the Huffington Post. Politico will attend but McClatchy will not, Mackenzie Weinger reported for Politico. Later Thursday, Calderone added Reuters to the list of those not going.
Jeffrey W. Schneider, spokesman for ABC News, told Journal-isms on Thursday, "Yes we will attend and press for the meeting to be on the record."
Sonya McNair, a spokeswoman for CBS News, told Journal-isms on Thursday, "CBS News does not plan to participate in the off-the-record meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder. We would be willing to consider an on-the-record discussion."
The original Justice Department announcement said a week ago, "The Attorney General will consult a diverse and representative group of media organizations. In the coming days, he looks forward to meaningful engagement with these media representatives as well as other experts inside and outside government. . . ."
However, Univision spokesman Jose Zamora said Thursday his network was told it was not invited because it does not have a permanent presence at the Justice Department. "Univision does cover the DOJ, but we do not have a full time DOJ reporter," Zamora told Journal-isms.
George Curry, who runs the Washington-based National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, representing the nation's black community newspapers, was asked whether he was invited. "Of course not," Curry replied by email.
Gregory Lee Jr., president of the National Association of Black Journalists; Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; and Walt Swanston, interim executive director of Unity: Journalists for Diversity, said that to their knowledge, their groups had not been asked.
Each group issued statements of alarm about the Justice Department's acknowledgement that it had secretly obtained telephone records of Associated Press reporters and editors. Holder opened NABJ's 2011 convention in Philadelphia, telling the audience that he was once better known as "Ricky from Queens" and that he considered journalists "essential partners in the administration and achievement of justice."
President Obama ordered a review last week of the Justice Department's procedures for legal investigations involving reporters, "acknowledging that he was 'troubled' that multiple inquiries into national security leaks could chill investigative reporting," as Mark Landler reported then for the New York Times.
However, the Justice Department's condition that the meetings be off the record proved a stumbling block almost as soon as plans for the first meetings were reported on Wednesday.
Ron Fournier of the National Journal tweeted, "Re Holder convening bureau chiefs on leak probes: He may ask that meeting be off record. Chiefs should decline, record and report."
Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, said flatly, “It isn't appropriate for us to attend an off-the-record meeting with the attorney general. Our Washington bureau is aggressively covering the department's handling of leak investigations at this time," the Huffington Post's Calderone and the Washington Post's Erik Wemple each reported.
The Associated Press gave Journal-isms this statement: "We believe the meeting should be on the record and we have said that to the Attorney General's office. If it is on the record, AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll will attend. If it is not on the record, AP will not attend and instead will offer our views on how the regulations should be updated in an open letter. We would expect AP attorneys to be included in any planned meetings between the Attorney General's office and media lawyers on the legal specifics."
Wemple added, "And Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief of the Huffington Post, said, 'Off-the-record would not fly. … I don't need to go in there with a tape recorder and wiretap the meeting. But I imagine I'm free to talk about what's said in there.' "
However, Martin Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, said he would attend. He told Wemple, "I prefer that any meeting be on the record. That said, journalists routinely participate in off-the-record sessions, whether they prefer those conditions or not, and then continue to report on events. I am going to this meeting in order to represent our interests as journalists and to raise our concerns. I'll also listen to what the Attorney General has to say. I trust that our journalists will report on this as vigorously as they would any other subject."
Adora Andy, Justice Department press secretary, did not respond to an inquiry from Journal-isms. But Wemple reported that a Justice Department official, "asked why on earth the meeting about media stuff between media people and the government would be off the record," responded on the condition that the official not be named: "This format will best facilitate the candid, free-flowing discussions we hope to have in order to bring about meaningful engagement."
Meanwhile, Jonathan Easley reported Tuesday for the Hill that the House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Holder "lied under oath during his May 15 testimony on the Justice Department's (DOJ) surveillance of reporters. . . ."
In addition, Calderone reported that "Associated Press president and chief executive Gary Pruitt told staff at a Wednesday town hall meeting that the phone records obtained by the government included 'thousands and thousands' of calls in and out of the news organization, according to a staffer who attended. . . ." [Updated May 30]
Editorial, Chicago Tribune: Now Obama wants to protect the press?
Martha T. Moore and Aamer Madhani, USA Today: Is Obama at war with journalists?
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: A drone war against the press?
Walter Pincus, Washington Post: Circling the media wagons
RecordsFerret.com Blog: Journalists: 9 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Sources -- Even if served by a search warrant
Tom Joyner, host of radio's syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show," isn't buying a statement from Tavis Smiley, his former show partner, that members of the Obama administration, whom Smiley didn't identify, have pressured sponsors to drop their support of his projects.
Instead, Michael H. Cottman reported for Joyner's Black America Web, Joyner contends that Smiley's ratings are low and advertisers are jumping ship.
" 'Tavis here's the problem: Your sponsors are pulling out because you don't have numbers,' Joyner told his listeners on Tuesday's show. 'That's your problem. You don't have a platform. You're losing affiliates; you're losing sponsors, not because someone is plotting against you.' "
Asked for specifics, Smiley spokeswoman Leshelle V. Sargent told Journal-isms by email on Friday, "After 10 years and 2,000 shows on PBS, Mr. Smiley appreciates all of his underwriters. We are uninterested in subjecting former, present or future supporters to further scrutiny."
NBCUniversal has begun paying its college interns, Kathy Kelly-Brown, a spokeswoman for NBCUniversal, told Journal-isms on Wednesday.
The move, which began with the spring interns, addresses a long-held contention that requiring interns to work only for the experience or for college credit amounts to favoring students with well-to-do parents. Others disagree, saying the college credit or the experience justifies the lack of salary.
"Not just NBC News – across NBCU," Kelly-Brown said by email. However, she could not say how many interns are affected or what the salaries are.
The NBC action comes with renewed focus on such internships. "In the past few years, unpaid interns have filed three class-action lawsuits against companies alleging the companies owe interns back pay, because the interns performed the same duties as employees," Blair Hickman and Jeremy B. Merrill reported for ProPublica this month.
They wrote, "In April 2010, the Department of Labor [called attention to] a six-point test to help determine whether an internship in the for-profit sector qualifies to be unpaid under federal law. One of the key criteria is that the position must be of more benefit to the intern than of benefit to the company. Companies can't just use interns to replace regular employees. . . ."
Rebecca Greenfield wrote May 9 for the Atlantic, "A judge may have thrown out class-action status for the lawsuit against Hearst for using unpaid interns at its magazines, but the disgruntled former coffee-fetchers will continue the fight. 'The case of the named plaintiffs and the people who opted into the case will go forward,' said Junot Turner, the Outten and Golden lawyer handling the case. That includes the 'Norma Rae' of unpaid interns Diana Wang, who interned for Harper's Bazaar, Erin Spencer, a former Cosmopolitan intern, and six others. . . ."
While paid internships are more common at newspapers, they are not necessarily the norm at magazines and in broadcasting.
Until now, NBC News in general has not paid its interns, but ABC News and CNN have. CBS News and Fox News have arrangements for the college to offer course credit.
On Tuesday, England's Guardian newspaper ran a piece by David Dennis, a recent graduate of at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, that gained traction on social media. Dennis asked, "does your, that gained traction on social media. Dennis asked, "does your publication use unpaid interns as the prevalent mode of determining full-time jobs? If so, then I'm sorry to inform you that your publication is perpetuating a privilege-based upward mobility, and it's ruining journalism. . . ."
Chuck Collins, American Prospect: The Wealthy Kids Are All Right
"As a partner and chief diversity officer at Thompson & Knight, Pauline Higgins was not afraid to press the issue of hiring minorities at the 126-year-old Texas law firm," Nelson D. Schwartz and Michael Cooper wrote Monday for the New York Times. "But when she left in 2008, she was replaced by an associate with less influence.
"Now, current and former partners say, the diversity committee meets less often, and the firm has fewer black lawyers than before. It is a trajectory familiar in many elite realms of American professional life. Even as racial barriers continue to fall, progress for African-Americans [overall] has remained slow -- and in some cases appears to be stalling.
" 'You don't want to be a diversity officer who only buys tables at events and seats people,' Ms. Higgins said recently. 'It's about recruiting and inclusion and training and development, with substantive work assignments.'
"Nearly a half-century after a Texan, President Lyndon B. Johnson, helped usher in the era of affirmative action, the Supreme Court is poised to rule as early as this week on whether the University of Texas can continue to consider race as one of many factors in its admissions policy. It is a case that could have a profound impact on race-based affirmative action programs across the nation, and it has reignited a discussion of how much progress minorities, blacks in particular, have made in integrating into some of the most sought-after professions, especially since the recession.
"Only a little more than 1 percent of the nation's Fortune 500 companies have black chief executives, although there are some prominent exceptions, like Kenneth I. Chenault of American Express and Ursula M. Burns of Xerox. At the nation's biggest companies, about 3.2 percent of senior executive positions are held by African-Americans, according to an estimate by the Executive Leadership Council, an organization of current and former black senior executives.
"While about 12 percent of the nation's working-age population is black, about 5 percent of physicians and dentists in the United States are black -- a share that has not grown since 1990, according to an analysis of census data that was prepared for The New York Times by sociologists at Queens College of the City University of New York. The analysis found that 3 percent of American architects are black, another field where the share has not increased in more than two decades. . . . "
In the news business, African Americans in the newsroom workforce fell from 4.68 percent in 2011 to 4.65 percent, according to the 2012 report from the American Society of News Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists reported then.
Kat Chow, NPR: The Questions People Get Asked About Their Race
Jesse Washington, Associated Press: 'I'm not racist': Common claim after racial slurs
One writer says that he might be accused of not being Hispanic enough.
"Judging from reactions to remarks by the president and first lady during separate commencement speeches recently, I have to imagine that it'll be a bit of a bummer for Hispanics if a Latino is ever elected president," Esther J. Cepeda wrote for the Washington Post Writers Group.
"I don't particularly care for Barack Obama's politics, but I hate seeing him ripped for not being 'black enough,' not giving blacks enough favor or enough credit.
"In the days since Obama addressed Morehouse College graduates, he's become a Bill Cosby figure, labeled a finger-wagger for using his time in front of one of the largest gatherings of young, elite African-American males to restate his belief in the power of hard work and personal responsibility."
She added, "Yet I can easily see that if a Hispanic were to be elected president, similar attacks by Latinos on such seemingly self-evident expressions of character would further confuse a non-Hispanic population that's already mixed up about who Latinos are and what they believe in. . . ."
Jack White, the Root: Obama at Morehouse: Try Another Listen
James E. Hawkins, who retired last year as dean of School of Journalism & Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University, died after a heart attack Monday in Macon, Ga. He was 64.
"He was traveling back from Atlanta this afternoon and decided to stop and have an early dinner with a former student in Macon, Georgia," Kim Godwin, senior producer at CBS News and former interim director of FAMU's Division of Journalism, posted on the school's site.
"We all know that is just one of the reasons we loved Doc. He kept in touch with all of us and made us feel special. He texted the former student at 3:18 to say he had arrived, but when he had not come inside the restaurant by 3:30, she went outside to look for him and found him unresponsive in his car. When EMT's arrived, he could not be revived and was pronounced dead at a local hospital."
The former dean's wife, Leon County, Fla., Judge Judith Hawkins, "asks that we give her at least a day to grieve with her close family and to make arrangements to get the Dean's body back to Tallahassee. Memorial service arrangements will be made shortly afterward. Judge Hawkins says she is thankful that he left this life doing what he loved to do and she's thanking God that he was not driving when it happened. She asks for your prayers and support. In lieu of flowers, she's asking all of us to give donations to the James E Hawkins Endowed Scholarship fund at FAMU. More information about how to give is forthcoming."
Hawkins had been with Florida A&M for 34 years and spent eight of them as dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication.
He was named in 2004 to succeed founding dean Robert Ruggles and was only the second dean at the school, one of the leading journalism schools at a historically black college. Ruggles started the journalism program in 1974 and became dean of the new school in 1982.
In 2010, Hawkins was named Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. In 1990 the National Conference of Editorial Writers awarded him its Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship for an educator who has promoted diversity.
"Dean Hawkins has chartered the School through many successes," the NABJ announcement said in 2010. "Some of his recent accomplishments include seeing its student chapter, FAMU-ABJ, clinch the 2008 NABJ Student Chapter of the Year, as well as sharing the joy of FAMU Alumnus Kathy Y. Times winning the election as being named NABJ President in 2009 and FAMU journalism student Georgia Dawkins' successful bid for NABJ Student Representative.
" 'As a former student of Dr. Hawkins, I can attest to his remarkable and unwavering commitment to making sure journalism students succeed and excel in a competitive profession,' said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. 'He has made it a priority to send FAMU students to NABJ conventions and conferences for more than 20 years. I'm proud to call him a mentor and a dear friend to NABJ.' "
More background on Hawkins' website.
National Association of Black Journalists: NABJ Mourns the Loss of Former Journalism Educator of the Year Dr. James Hawkins (May 28)
Tallahassee Democrat: Former Florida A&M journalism dean James Hawkins dies in Georgia (May 28)
The origins of Memorial Day are not foremost in mind for those who think primarily of a long weekend, barbecues, flags and parades. Besides, there are competing claims for the title of "first," and a 1966 presidential proclamation gave the distinction to Waterloo, N.Y.
Historian David W. Blight of Yale University, however, has awarded the title to Charleston, S.C., and to freedmen who were paying homage to Union troops. Although Blight brought this revelation to light in his 2001 book, "Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory," and wrote about it in the New York Times and elsewhere, the African American connection has yet to pervade the national consciousness, social media alerts Monday notwithstanding.
On Memorial Day, that was true even in the Charleston news media. Cleve O'Quinn, night editor of the Post and Courier, the city's daily, was in charge of the newsroom on Monday. Asked whether the newspaper recognized the city's role in the celebration, O'Quinn replied by email, "We have nothing regarding that scheduled for Wednesday's paper. And I'm sorry, but our research staff is off for the holiday."
The local tie-in didn't make WCIV-TV's list of "Memorial Day events and deals around the Lowcountry."
"The media is very habit-ridden," Simon K. Lewis, who teaches African and Third World literature at the College of Charleston, explained by telephone. "They do certain things on Memorial Day. It takes a long, long time to nudge consciousness along."
Last year, Blight was present as the city installed a marker on the old Washington Race Course, site of the Decoration Day in question. Next year, Lewis said, he hopes to celebrate the event as part of the Jubilee Project, continuing the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation, or perhaps along with the 50th anniversary of desegregation milestones. He'd like to match the 10,000 attendance recorded at the original event.
Blight's discovery wasn't news to everyone. He sought and received confirmation from local historian Damon Fordham, Lewis told Journal-isms. Here is how Blight described his findings in a 2011 piece for the New York Times:
"For the earliest and most remarkable Memorial Day, we must return to where the war began. By the spring of 1865, after a long siege and prolonged bombardment, the beautiful port city of Charleston, S.C., lay in ruin and occupied by Union troops. Among the first soldiers to enter and march up Meeting Street singing liberation songs was the 21st United States Colored Infantry; their commander accepted the city's official surrender.
"Whites had largely abandoned the city, but thousands of blacks, mostly former slaves, had remained, and they conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war.
"The largest of these events, forgotten until I had some extraordinary luck in an archive at Harvard, took place on May 1, 1865. During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the city's Washington Race Course and Jockey Club into an outdoor prison. Union captives were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand.
"After the Confederate evacuation of Charleston black workmen went to the site, reburied the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, 'Martyrs of the Race Course.'
"The symbolic power of this Low Country planter aristocracy's bastion was not lost on the freedpeople, who then, in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged a parade of 10,000 on the track. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing 'a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.'
"The procession was led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song 'John Brown's Body.' Several hundred black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantrymen. Within the cemetery enclosure a black children's choir sang 'We'll Rally Around the Flag,' the 'Star-Spangled Banner' and spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible.
"After the dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantrymen participating were the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th United States Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite.
"The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders' republic. They were themselves the true patriots.
"Despite the size and some newspaper coverage of the event, its memory was suppressed by white Charlestonians in favor of their own version of the day. From 1876 on, after white Democrats took back control of South Carolina politics and the Lost Cause defined public memory and race relations, the day's racecourse origin vanished. . . . "
David W. Blight blog: "The First Decoration Day"
Stanley Crouch, Daily News, New York: Honest imagery, saluting sacrifice
Jim Downs, Huffington Post: Who Invented Memorial Day? (May 2012)
Colbert I. King, Washington Post: Memorial Day deserves better
Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel: Taps for man's lost WWII cousin brings closure
Jerry Large, Seattle Times: Memories that make history real
Campbell Robertson, New York Times: Birthplace of Memorial Day? That Depends Where You're From (May 2012)
Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: Words of American poet have special meaning in time of mourning
Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Children of Civil War veterans bring history to life
Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have repeatedly used chemical weapons against rebel fighters in Damascus, according to first-hand accounts in France's Le Monde newspaper," Ingrid Melander reported Monday for Reuters.
"The newspaper, in a report issued on its website on Monday, said one of its photographers had suffered blurred vision and respiratory difficulties for four days after an attack on April 13 on the Jobar front, just inside central Damascus.
"Assad's government and the rebels fighting to oust him have accused each other of using chemical weapons. U.N. investigators have been ready for weeks, but diplomatic wrangling and safety concerns have delayed their entry into Syria.
"Undercover in and around the Damascus area for two months alongside Syrian rebels, a Le Monde reporter and photographer said they had witnessed battlefield chemical attacks and had also talked to doctors and other witnesses of their aftermath.
"They describe men coughing violently, their eyes burning, their pupils shrinking. . . ."
Three weeks ago, President Obama said he would act against Syria if it were proved that the Assad government uses chemical weapons, David Jackson reported May 7 for USA Today, "but he warned against precipitate action based on 'perceptions,' citing the Iraq war as a cautionary tale.
Obama promised in August 2012 that use of such arms by authorities in Damascus would constitute the crossing of a 'red line' that would lead to a foreign intervention in Syria against the regime, Le Monde recalled.
The Le Monde report, by Jean-Philippe Rémy in Jobar, Syria, began:
"A chemical attack on the Jobar front, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, doesn't look like anything much at first. It's not spectacular. Above all, it's not detectable. And that's the aim: by the time the rebel fighters of the Free Syrian Army who have penetrated furthest into Damascus understand that they've been exposed to chemical products by government forces, it's too late. No matter which type of gas is used, it has already produced its effects, only a few hundred meters from residential areas of the Syrian capital.
"At first, there is only a little sound, a metallic ping, almost a click. And in the confusion of daily combat in Jobar's Bahra 1 sector, this sound didn't catch the attention of the fighters of the Tahrir al-Sham ('Liberation of Syria') Brigade. 'We thought it was a mortar that didn't explode, and no one really paid attention to it,' said Omar Haidar, chief of operations of the brigade, which holds this forward position less than 500 meters from Abbasid Square.
"Searching for words to describe the incongruous sound, he said it was like 'a Pepsi can that falls to the ground.' No odor, no smoke, not even a whistle to indicate the release of a toxic gas. And then the symptoms appear. The men cough violently. Their eyes burn, their pupils shrink, their vision blurs. Soon they experience difficulty breathing, sometimes in the extreme; they begin to vomit or lose consciousness. The fighters worst affected need to be evacuated before they suffocate. . . ."
Reporters Without Borders: German freelancer held by Assad regime (May 14)
Will Eric Holder consult journalists of color during the Justice Department's review?
President Obama ordered a review on Thursday of the Justice Department's procedures for legal investigations involving reporters, acknowledging that he was 'troubled' that multiple inquiries into national security leaks could chill investigative reporting," as Mark Landler reported for the New York Times.
Later Thursday, the Justice Department announced that "As part of that review, the Attorney General will consult a diverse and representative group of media organizations. In the coming days, he looks forward to meaningful engagement with these media representatives as well as other experts inside and outside government. . . .," Michael Calderone reported for the Huffington Post.
It was unclear whether the "diverse and representative group of media organizations" would include the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists or Unity: Journalists for Diversity, all of which have issued statements of alarm about the Justice Department's acknowledgement that it had secretly obtained telephone records of Associated Press reporters and editors.
Adora Andy, press secretary for the Justice Department, did not respond to a request for comment.
In his wide-ranging speech on counterterrorism Thursday, Obama said, "I'm troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.
"Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law. And that's why I’ve called on Congress to pass a media shield law to guard against government overreach. And I've raised these issues with the Attorney General, who shares my concerns. . . ," referring to Eric H. Holder Jr.
Landler's story continued, "Mr. Obama instructed Mr. Holder to report back to him by July 12.
"Among the issues likely to be discussed is how broadly the government should be allowed to subpoena telephone, e-mail or other records belonging to journalists who have reported on classified information.
"Asking Mr. Holder to lead the review, however, puts the attorney general in the awkward position of scrutinizing investigations that his department has pursued.
"Mr. Obama's remarks came amid deepening concern among many news organizations that the government is breaking new ground in how it investigates leaks of national security secrets. In a case involving The Associated Press, the government seized records of 20 office and home phone lines for A.P. reporters and editors.
"In a case involving a Fox News correspondent, James Rosen, prosecutors obtained a search warrant for Mr. Rosen's phone and e-mail records, after describing him as a possible 'co-conspirator' for publishing information about a potential North Korean missile test.
"On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Mr. Holder had signed off on the search warrant. . . ."
Meanwhile, on Friday, the advocacy group Free Press and more than 60 civil liberties, digital rights, press freedom and public interest groups sent a letter to Holder demanding a full, transparent account of the Justice Department’s targeting of journalists and whistleblowers.
The groups included the Society of Professional Journalists, the Newspaper Guild-CWA, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, NABJ, the Committee to Protect Journalists, ColorOfChange.org and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The letter was prepared and signed before Obama's Thursday speech. Asked whether its contents still stand, Free Press spokeswoman Jenn Ettinger replied by email, "Yes — everything in the letter still stands. We welcome what Obama said about how journalists must be able to do their jobs. But we'll need to results and changes at DOJ to demonstrate this is a real commitment and not just an attempt to shift the conversation.
"Our call is for a full and transparent accounting — that is all the more relevant now that Obama has asked the agency to review its own rules. In addition, Obama has asked Holder to meet with media groups and media executives to discuss the agency's guidelines, but our letter makes clear that concerns about this issue extend beyond just the press. Ideally, the DOJ would hold a transparent process with ample opportunities for feedback from the public and other stakeholders."
Steve Benen, the Maddow Blog, MSNBC: Watching a scandal slowly 'metastasize'
Columbia Journalism Review: Must-reads of the week: Obama's war on journalism
George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Obama's Troubles Not Comparable to 'Watergate'
Leonard Downie Jr., Washington Post: Obama's war on leaks undermines investigative journalism
Editorial, Chicago Tribune: Obama won't ground aerial strikes that kill terrorists. Good.
Editorial, New York Times: The End of the Perpetual War
Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times: Fox News CEO Roger Ailes blasts administration, praises his team
Michael Isikoff, NBC News: DOJ confirms Holder OK'd search warrant for Fox News reporter's private emails, official says
Alex Pareene, Salon: Eric Holder versus journalism
Tavis Smiley, marking his 10th year on PBS, "contends that members of the Obama administration, whom he didn't identify, have pressured sponsors to drop their support of his projects, including his anti-poverty initiatives," Lynn Elber reported Friday for the Associated Press.
Elber also reported, "Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the PBS show's underwriter since the start, has 'consistently stood by our side,' said a Smiley spokeswoman. But others have dropped out or donated money to his projects on the condition of privacy because they've heard from a displeased White House, according to Smiley."
Leshelle V. Sargent, a spokeswoman for Smiley, offered no evidence of such pressure nor named any underwriters who had heard from the White House. She told Journal-isms by email, "After 10 years and 2,000 shows on PBS, Mr. Smiley appreciates all of his underwriters. We are uninterested in subjecting former, present or future supporters to further scrutiny."
Smiley, 48, "has drawn the ire of conservatives and, because of his insistent criticism of President Barack Obama's policies, that of some liberals and African-Americans," Elber wrote. She quoted Smiley saying, "This administration does not like to be criticized. And the irony of it is, there's nothing I have tried to hold the president accountable on that my white progressive colleagues have not. They're labeled courageous critics, but if I say it, I'm an 'Obama critic.' There's race at play in the very question."
Elber began her piece, "Tavis Smiley has stood out in 20 years in broadcasting, and he has no intention of changing his style or substance.
"He's the rare black host with national TV and radio platforms, one who sees his job as challenging Americans to examine their assumptions on such thorny issues as poverty, education, and racial and gender equality.
"In other words, he doesn’t squander his opportunities on PBS' daily talk show 'Tavis Smiley,' which marks its 10th year this month, or on public radio's 'The Tavis Smiley Show' and 'Smiley & West,' the latter a forum for commentary he shares with scholar and activist Cornel West.
"His quarterly 'Tavis Smiley Reports' specials for PBS, in-depth looks at topics such as the relationship between the juvenile justice system and the teenage dropout rate, fit the same bold pattern.
"Smiley, marking two decades in broadcasting this year, considers himself engaged in a calling as much as a career: 'This is the kind of work I think needs to be done. I’m trying to entertain and empower people.' . . ."
Janet Rollé, CNN Worldwide's executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the last two years, is the latest African American to leave the network under its new leadership, Chris Ariens reported Friday for TVNewser.
"In a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker writes, 'In a busy time of new show launches and ongoing campaigns underscoring the strength of CNN and all its platforms, Janet led her team to successfully spread the word in creative, engaging ways. I want to thank her for that, and all that she has done in her tenure here.' Rick Lewchuk who is SVP of creative services will lead the department in the interim. Structural changes to CNN’s marketing department may be in store."
In January, Mark Whitaker, the former Newsweek editor who as executive vice president and managing editor of CNN Worldwide became the highest-ranking African American at CNN, resigned to give Zucker "his own team and management structure and the freedom to communicate one clear vision to the staff."
CNN contributor Roland Martin's contract was not renewed, and Soledad O'Brien's morning "Starting Point" show was eliminated. O'Brien formed a production company and is to continue to supply documentaries to CNN — and others — on a nonexclusive basis.
A CNN spokeswoman noted that of Zucker's nine hires, five are of color, though they are of less prominence. They are Stephanie Elam, who rejoins the network as a correspondent based in Los Angeles, and correspondents Alina Machado, Zain Asher and George Howell, as well as news anchor Michaela Pereira of the new morning program "New Day."
Rollé previously worked at BET, MTV Networks and HBO. Last year, the National Association of Black Journalists gave her its Pat Tobin Media Professional Award [video], recognizing a public relations, advertising or marketing professional "who has had a distinctive impact in the media realm, resulting in positive media coverage of the black community."
"She represents the very essence of this award; the behind the scenes force helping to create on-air successes," NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr. said at the time. "Rolle is one of our industry's brightest stars. . . . "
"A year ago today, news leaked that The Times-Picayune would cease daily publication, cut staff and focus on its website, NOLA.com, Eve Troeh reported for the Lens in New Orleans. "The paper and ink edition now hits doorsteps and newsstands just three days a week: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
"History and tradition play an outsized role in New Orleans. So perhaps it is no surprise that The Times-Picayune’s move has led to a modern-day version of a relic of media history: the newspaper war.
"The Advocate, which launched its daily New Orleans edition when the Picayune stopped its own, is now beefing up under a new local owner, John Georges. The Times-Picayune now plans a tabloid paper, TPStreet, for three days that it had abandoned.
"Last year, photographer Bevil Knapp captured images of the daily newspaper ritual around New Orleans. This week I joined her to see how, nine months into this new era of news, people and communities are adapting. . . ."
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune : New Orleans' murder problem is its crime problem
Taylor Miller Thomas, Poynter Institute: Online campaign raises $15,000 for reporter who was shot in New Orleans
"Angie Tennyson and her teenage daughter Taylor were sitting in folding chairs in front of the ruins of Tennyson's sister-in-law's home on the corner of Seventh Street West and Telephone Road. Little remained of the home after Monday's tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb, but the Tennysons were occupying prime media real estate," Jay Newton-Small reported for Time magazine from Moore, Okla.
"The [Tennysons'] block — a few dozen homes, most of them devastated, halfway between city hall and the press center set up in front of Dick's Sporting Goods — lent itself to media attention. And a destroyed hospital and bowling alley across the street from the family offered a dramatic backdrop for the television cameras — all the more so after police restricted access to the Plaza Towers Elementary School across town, where seven children died after the building was torn down by the cyclone.
"So for hours the family sat patiently as reporter after reporter approached them, asked for their story, then moved on.
" 'I’m sorry,' said one Good Morning America producer to the family, 'do you mind our cameras pointed right at you?'
" 'Not at all,' replied Angie Tennyson.
"At least 200 journalists swarmed the two-square-block area, accompanied by two dozen satellite trucks. Japanese radio competed with British tabloids, German television and American networks. The families attempting to recover anything from their ruined homes found themselves hosting television satellite trucks in their driveways and replying to reporters' questions as they dug through the remnants of their damaged homes. And yet, like the Tennysons, most were remarkably gracious about fielding questions while salvaging their lives. . . ."
John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: Ad Council Launches Tornado Relief PSA Campaign
Ruben Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: When nature unleashes disaster, we respond with hope, resiliency
Joshua Hornsby's daughter Ja'Nae, who was 9 years old, was among seven people found dead on Monday.
The first fatality identified as a casualty of the Oklahoma tornado was Ja'Nae Hornsby, 9, an African American student who was among seven people found dead Monday, drowned under the rubble at Plaza Towers Elementary School in suburban Moore, Okla.
Ja'Nae's father, Joshua Hornsby, released her name, and tearful family members told her story to reporters.
"On Monday, Ja'Nae went off to Plaza Towers Elementary School while her father, Joshua, headed into Oklahoma City for work," Tracy Connor reported for NBC News.
"As the tornado bore down on the suburb of Moore just before dismissal time, the father of two tried to race back home to get Ja'Nae from school and his two-year-old, Jia, from daycare, Angela Hornsby," an aunt, said.
"The highways were jammed, though, and by the time he got to Moore, the grade school had been reduced to a pile of rubble, its parking lot transformed into a triage area for surviving students being pulled from the debris.
"There was no sign of Ja'Nae, though. Her father and other relatives shuttled from shelter to shelter, 'looking for answers,' Angela Hornsby said. She dialed all the hospitals that had taken the injured but could not find her niece.
"As night fell, Joshua Hornsby went to St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, where a dwindling number of parents waiting for reunions were camped out.
" 'He would not leave until he found out what happened to his baby,' his sister said. 'They received a call while they were at the church this morning.
" 'My sister called to tell me. They were just sobbing.'
"Joshua Hornsby also lost his house to the twister. His youngest child, who was picked up from daycare by her grandmother, survived. . . ."
On Wednesday, the state medical examiner released the names of 24 people killed in the EF-5 tornado that ripped through Moore and Oklahoma City Sunday and Monday, hitting two schools head on and destroying hundreds of homes. Ten children were among the dead, KJRH-TV in Tulsa reported. Three of the 24 were identified as black, two as Hispanic and one as "other."
Those casualties included Sydnee Vargyas, seven months old, and her sister, Karrina Vargyas, 4.
"According to the Daily Mail, the girls were at home with their mother, Laurinda Vargyas, when the tornado ripped the house apart," the Huffington Post reported. "The mother managed to survive the ordeal, as did the two oldest children, Damon, 11, and Aria, 8, who were at school at the time."
Were it not for the news media, the toll might have been higher.
"The Oklahoma City TV stations are getting high marks for timely coverage that some feel may have prevented scores of deaths as a devastating tornado leveled much of Moore, Okla. May 20," Michael Malone reported for Broadcasting & Cable.
"While the number of fatalities has varied dramatically before appearing to settle in around two dozen on Tuesday afternoon, pinpoint warnings from the stations' meteorological crews and sobering aerial footage sent a clear message that this storm was nothing short of a monster.
" 'Channels 4 [KFOR], 5 [KOCO] and 9 [KWTV] did an outstanding job of covering this' says Vince Orza, who runs the independent KSBI . . . . 'The total could have been in the hundreds but for their coverage. The press is the reason people are alive today.' . . ."
State officials agreed. "Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin thanked her state’s media Tuesday for saving lives with early storm warnings and non-stop coverage of the recovery efforts," Al Tompkins reported for the Poynter Institute.
He continued, "The storms found two Oklahoma City TV stations between news directors. KOCO is advertising for a news director and KFOR's new news director arrives next week from Tulsa. But neither lacked for leadership. . . ."
NewsOK, the Oklahoman website, saw its highest traffic ever, Fry told Journal-isms, exceeding 2½ million page views on Monday and Tuesday. Forty-five percent of Tuesday's traffic went to the photo galleries, she said, and Twitter was the top source of referrals to the site.
"Everything we've done has been a miracle. It's really been working against the odds," Kelly Dyer Fry, editor of the Oklahoman and vice president of news, told Journal-isms by telephone. The paper added four pages on Monday and Tuesday and saw a 20 percent increase in street sales despite an inability to circulate in the damaged areas. It also distributed free copies.
Clytie Bunyan, a black journalist who is director of business and lifestyles, helped to supervise the coverage.
The national networks rushed to send anchors and top reporters, the Hollywood Reporter reported on Monday.
"As of Monday night, all three cable [news] networks were sticking with wall-to-wall coverage of the devastation in Oklahoma," the Hollywood Reporter said. (CNN later defected. "Of course CNN made sure that momentum didn't last by bailing on Oklahoma to cover Jodi Arias addressing the court pleading for her life, Inside Cable News reported on Tuesday.)
The Associated Press offered a video in which Sue Ogrocki, an Oklahoma City-based AP photographer, described rescuers pulling children from a tornado-flattened school school.
Among the television journalists of color in the area were NBC's Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Lester Holt, Ann Curry and Gabe Gutierrez, with Craig Melvin reporting for MSNBC; and ABC's Byron Pitts, Alex Perez and Cecilia Vega. Univision had Ricardo Arambarri, Viviana Ávila and Maria Elena Salinas reporting from Moore, with others reporting from Miami, Houston, New York, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Nick Valencia, a reporter for CNN in Atlanta and president of the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, was in Oklahoma, too.
He posted Tuesday on Facebook, "I've finally been able to grab a couple of hours of sleep after non-stop coverage of the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma. My crew got on scene before some of the first responders. We heard the screams from loved ones looking for their families, saw the shock on people's faces as the walked around their neighborhood bewildered by storm that shredded their community, and smelled things I'd rather not remember. I don't think I'll ever forget this assignment. Such a tough one to cover. Pray for Oklahoma."
The Indian Country Today Media Network reported on Oklahoma's Indian tribes. "The Citizen Potawatomi Nation, whose tribal complex is located in the Shawnee area, was one tribal jurisdiction affected," according to a story by Brian Daffron.
"The nation's police department was assisting with rescue efforts, and the nation's emergency management department provided food and water to first responders, according to a press release on the tribe’s website." Daffron added, "Other tribes in Oklahoma have been pulling their resources together to help, even if the tornadoes did not touch down within their tribal jurisdiction. . . ."
The Oklahoma Eagle, a black newspaper based in Tulsa, apparently was not directly affected, but alerted readers to relief efforts.
Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star: not improved): Like Joplin, Mo., and Greensburg, Kan., Moore, Okla., should be rebuilt green
Radio Ink: PDs [Talk] About Tornado Coverage
Lynn Hoppes, senior director/entertainment at ESPN, former newspaper sports editor and former president of Associated Press Sports Editors, is out of a job, according to the Deadspin website, one of his critics.
"ESPN's Dancing with the Stars correspondent Lynn Hoppes -- a man who drooled over swag, recruited a scam artist, plagiarized Wikipedia, and stole my girlfriend -- has been laid off, three sources have confirmed," Deadspin posted on Wednesday. "ESPN is also shutting down Playbook, Hoppes's home for the past year. . . ."
Josh Krulewitz, spokesman for ESPN, said the network would have no comment on the report. ESPN announced Tuesday it would implement an unspecified number of layoffs.
Last year, Hoppes was scolded for "journalistic laziness" after Deadspin found that he had been "shall we say, over-reliant on Wikipedia as a research tool," as Deadspin put it.
Krulewitz told Journal-isms at the time, "This obviously fell short of our editorial standards. Even though he used multiple legitimate news sources to gather background information, we should always recite even the most basic facts in an original voice, and source as warranted. That wasn't the case here. It was an example of journalistic laziness, and we've addressed it."
Hoppes has been sports editor at the Orlando Sentinel and a radio host at Clear Channel Communications. In 2008, he became the second person of color to become president of Associated Press Sports Editors. His LinkedIn profile lists him as "In charge of entertainment, video games, music, style/fashion and humor for ESPN.com. In charge of all serious commentary on ESPN.com."
Hoppes, who is Asian American, also made news last year during a spike in interest in NBA phenom Jeremy Lin.
In a column for ESPN headlined, "Stop the Linsanity insanity," Hoppes wrote of Lin, "Please don't automatically assume that every Asian-American is rooting for him to become a star and help the Knicks make the playoffs.
"President Obama told advisers this week that he is not interested in prosecuting reporters for soliciting information from government officials, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday," Ann E. Marimow and Scott Wilson reported Tuesday in the Washington Post.
" 'If you're asking me whether the president believes that journalists should be prosecuted for doing their jobs, the answer is no,' Carney said in his daily briefing. . . "
They added, "The news comes a day after Carney had refused to answer questions about a Justice Department leak investigation into the newsgathering activities of a Fox News reporter.
"Carney told reporters Tuesday that he spoke to the president after that briefing about the controversy over the case involving the network’s chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, and a former State Department arms expert, Stephen Kim. . . ."
Meanwhile, Walter Pincus, the Post's national security correspondent, broke with the near-uniform media criticism of the administration. He wrote that "Whoever provided the initial leak to the Associated Press in April 2012 not only broke the law but caused the abrupt end to a secret, joint U.S./Saudi/British operation in Yemen that offered valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."
Pincus added, "As journalists and politicians focus on what they say are too-broad subpoenas for records of 21 phone lines for AP offices and individuals, what's lost is the damaging and criminal leak.
"Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s initial comment to reporters last Tuesday that "it is within the top two or three most serious leaks that I've ever seen" has been rejected. Journalists have heard that over the years.
"This is different.
"The AP was working on a story where lives really could be at risk. Also at risk were the relationships between U.S., Saudi and British intelligence. . . ."
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: The political truce is over.
Mariah Blake, Columbia Journalism Review: True the Coverage
Stephanie Condon, CBS News: WH says criticism of its handling of IRS story is "legitimate"
Editorial, Denver Post: Muzzling a free press
Nick Gillespie, Daily Beast: Obama's War on Journalism: 'An Unconstitutional Act'
Rick Horowitz, YouTube: Ridiculous Nixon Comparison-gate
Lucy Madison, CBS News: Poll: Most think IRS targeting was deliberate
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Is Obama Richard Nixon?
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Obama administration mistakes journalism for espionage
Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: Maybe some good things will come from all the "scandals"
Alex Weprin, TVNewser: Editorials Condemn Government Snooping Of Journalists, As Rosen Investigation Expands
Commentators continued to debate the weekend commencement addresses by President Obama at Morehouse College and first lady Michelle Obama at Bowie State University in Maryland, historically black institutions where the Obamas spoke about issues of personal responsibility.
Some agreed with the first couple, others called it unwarranted "scolding" not delivered to nonblack audiences.
James Braxton Peterson, director of Africana Studies and associate professor of English at Lehigh University, wrote for the Grio, "Whether you love them or hate them, Mr. and Mrs. Obama’s speeches at HBCU’s this year certainly suggest that a longer, more sustained dialogue between the Obamas and black America is a few years overdue. . . . "
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Obama can't win with some black critics
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Dr. Dre a philanthropist? Barack Obama a scold? and other interesting reads on the web
Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe: Obamas' message not just for black students
Courtland Milloy, Washington Post: As commencement speakers at black schools, the Obamas pile on the homework
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Obamas stress blacks' need for education
Roland Martin on "Tom Joyner Morning Show": Morehouse Grad Leland Shelton On President Obama’s Shout-Out (audio)