KTBS news director says that Rhonda Lee was warned about how to respond to viewer complaints.
Responding to an uproar over the firing of Rhonda Lee, a meteorologist who responded to criticism of her short Afro on the station's Facebook site, the news director at KTBS in Shreveport, La., said the firing was over violations of station policy, not her hair.
Randy Bain, KTBS news director, pointed to a memo emailed to staff members on Aug. 30. Lee told Journal-isms Wednesday, however, that the memo referred to viewer complaints, and she viewed the Facebook message as a comment, not a complaint. In any case, Lee said, while she does not deny its existence, "That's the first I'm hearing of this memo."
Bain issued the following late Tuesday:
"Typically this station does not comment on personnel matters, but due to the publicity and interest about this issue, the station has included the following statement.
"On November 28, 2012, KTBS dismissed two employees for repeated violation of the station’s written procedure. We can confirm that Rhonda Lee was one of the employees. Another employee was a white male reporter who was an eight year veteran of the station. The policy they violated provided a specific procedure for responding to viewer comments on the official KTBS Facebook page. Included is an email that was sent to all news department employees informing them of this procedure. This procedure is based on advice from national experts and commonly used by national broadcast and cable networks and local television stations across the country.
"Unfortunately, television personalities have long been subject to harsh criticism and negative viewer comments about their appearance and performance. If harsh viewer comments are posted on the station’s official website, there is a specific procedure to follow.
"Ms. Rhonda Lee was let go for repeatedly violating that procedure and after being warned multiple times of the consequences if her behavior continued. Rhonda Lee was not dismissed for her appearance or defending her appearance. She was fired for continuing to violate company procedure."
The Aug. 30 email is addressed to several people, including Lee [scroll down]. The other names are redacted. It says:
"Over the past few months, we've had a few Facebook Fans complain about commercials, promos, and even our programming and talent. I would like to offer some guidance, although this really is more of a starting point for a 'Social Media Best Practices' policy for our company:
"When we see complaints from viewers, it's best not to respond at all. Responding to these complaints is a very sensitive situation and oftentimes our off-the-cuff first response will be the wrong response. Even if our immediate reaction response to the complaint were exactly what it should be, it still leaves us open to what has a huge opportunity to become an argument. Either way, it's a no-win situation for us, and for the viewer also.
"If you choose to respond to these complaints, there is only one proper response: Provide them with (redacted) contact information, and tell them that he would be glad to speak with them about their concerns. Once again, this is the only proper response.
"And don't forget, if you have a social media question of any sort, please contact me and I will be glad to help you in deciding the best plan of action.
"Thank you for your time,
"Marketing Project Manager|News & Promotions
Lee had messaged Journal-isms on Saturday, "I had a meeting with my ND [news director] and GM [general manager] Friday trying to get my job back. They told me the policy I violated isn't written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting about a month-and-a-half prior. A meeting I didn't attend. So when I asked what rule did I break there isn't anything to point to."
Since Lee's comments appeared in the Monday edition of Journal-isms, "talk about a whirlwind," Lee said. On Wednesday morning, CNN drove her to its Dallas studios to appear on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" [video]. She also fielded calls from radio shows in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Chicago, from MSNBC and from radio's nationally syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show."
The case has reverberated around the Internet, particularly on websites addressing issues of black women and their hair.
"THIS would not have happened if she was a white woman with long, straight hair," said one posting on curlynikki.com. But others agreed with the station. ". . . I understand why such an ignorant post upset her, but she didn't have to take his bait," another said.
On Washington's WPFW-FM Wednesday morning, Eric Deggans, media critic for the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, compared the case with that of Jennifer Livingston, a TV news anchor at WKBT-TV in La Crosse, Wis., who responded on the air in October to a viewer who said she was too fat. "She went on the air and stood up for herself and was supported," Deggans told "Morning Brew" host Askia Muhammad. "I find it interesting. The station managements reacted totally differently. Rather than condemning the viewer's racism, they got rid of her."
On Tuesday, the Poynter Institute's Andrew Beaujon asked Livingston about the Lee case. The Wisconsin anchor emailed that she had not read much about it, but ". . . I don't think when you decide to become a journalist it means you have to put a piece of duct tape over your mouth regarding comments directed at you."
The National Association of Black Journalists took the middle ground early Thursday on the Rhonda Lee situation, urging television stations to "allow greater latitude when it comes to employees defending themselves" in online forums but reminding NABJ members "to continue to employ discretion when responding to complaints to minimize opportunities for targeted, adverse action."
The association said KTBS "missed a golden opportunity to initiate a community dialogue about respect, identity and diversity, particularly as it relates to redefining standards of beauty, what is aesthetically acceptable in television news and the value of on-air journalists beyond appearance."
The NABJ statement said, ". . . We encourage media companies to protect employees on official social media platforms that are used to engage news consumers. We urge managers to be more sensitive to social media comments and attacks on their employees. Many companies employ social media editors or utilize electronic systems to quickly discard offensive comments, but not all organizations do. Therefore, companies should allow greater latitude when it comes to employees defending themselves in these forums.
"When Wisconsin news anchor Jennifer Livingston was ridiculed as overweight by a viewer, managers quickly came to her defense and allowed her to address the issue in an editorial-style response. This reaction facilitated a greater discussion in which Livingston emerged as a role model and a tremendous asset to her employer. NABJ believes Lee's managers missed a golden opportunity to initiate a community dialogue about respect, identity and diversity, particularly as it relates to redefining standards of beauty, what is aesthetically acceptable in television news and the value of on-air journalists beyond appearance.
"What happened to Lee is disturbing. Although the nation continues to become more diverse, biases based on race, ethnicity, gender and culture persist in newsrooms.
"We want to remind every journalist, especially NABJ members, to review your company's social media policy and employee handbook for guidelines about using these evolving, yet essential, news delivery and audience engagement tools. We also remind our members to continue to employ discretion when responding to complaints to minimize opportunities for targeted, adverse action."
Rebecca Aguilar, Latino Communicators: KTBS-TV Breaks Its Own "Unwritten" Policy To Speak Out On Firing of African-American Meteorologist
Jenice Armstrong blog, Philadelphia Daily News: Meteorologist fired after responding to viewer who didn't like her hair
Michael Cottman, Black America Web: Black Woman Fired Over Response to Short Hairstyle
Adam Duvernay, the Times, Shreveport, La.: Two firings at KTBS reach the national stage
Cord Jefferson, Gawker: Should This Louisiana TV Reporter Be Fired for Responding to Racists on Facebook?
Julie Moos, Poynter Institute: TV station says it fired meteorologist for replying to viewer on Facebook
Christine Roberts, Daily News, New York: Black meteorologist in Louisiana, Rhonda Lee, touched by support after getting canned for defending natural hair from racial comments on Facebook
Jeff Sonderman, Poynter Institute: TV station firing renews questions about whether journalists should respond to critics online (Dec. 13)
Sporty Afros.com: Rhonda Lee Fired For Responding to Comments About Her Natural Hair
Angela Stefano, WBLK-FM, Buffalo, N.Y.: Friday is 'Black Fro-Day' -- Add an Afro to Your Profile Pic to Show Support For News Anchor Rhonda Lee, Win Rihanna Tickets!
"NPR has formed the core reporting team for its initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture," the network announced on Thursday.
"Gene Demby, founder of the blog PostBourgie and former journalist at the New York Times and Huffington Post, will be the team's blogger and correspondent. Shereen Marisol Meraji returns to NPR as a reporter, joining correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates at NPR West in Culver City, CA. Two additional positions of apprentice reporter and apprentice digital journalist will be hired soon.
"The team, which will ultimately include six journalists, will deliver a steady flow of distinctive coverage on every platform, including a new branded space within NPR.org expected to launch this spring. Demby and Meraji will join Bates in producing compelling stories and presenting new voices and conversations online and on-air."
A year ago, Demby was promoted to editor of HuffPost BlackVoices, then stepped down to become political editor. Last month, the Huffington Post confirmed that he had left the company.
Matt Thompson, the NPR journalist who is heading the race-relations reporting team, said in September that NPR had received more than 1,300 applications for four positions.
"White people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2043, according to new census projections, part of a historic shift that is already reshaping the nation's schools, workforce and electorate," Hope Yen reported for the Associated Press.
"The official projection, released Wednesday by the Census Bureau, now places the tipping point for the white majority a year later than previous estimates, which were made before the impact of the recent economic downturn was fully known.
"America continues to grow and become more diverse due to higher birth rates among minorities, particularly for Hispanics who entered the U.S. at the height of the immigration boom in the 1990s and early 2000s. Since the mid-2000 housing bust, however, the arrival of millions of new immigrants from Mexico and other nations has slowed, pushing minority growth below its once-torrid pace.
"The country's changing demographic mosaic has stark political implications, shown clearly in last month's election that gave President Barack Obama a second term -- in no small part due to his support from 78 percent of non-white voters. . . "
The bureau reported, "The black population is expected to increase from 41.2 million to 61.8 million" from 2012 to 2060. Its share of the total population would rise slightly, from 13.1 percent in 2012 to 14.7 percent in 2060.
"The Asian population is projected to more than double, from 15.9 million in 2012 to 34.4 million in 2060, with its share of nation's total population climbing from 5.1 percent to 8.2 percent in the same period.
"Among the remaining race groups, American Indians and Alaska Natives would increase by more than half from now to 2060, from 3.9 million to 6.3 million, with their share of the total population edging up from 1.2 percent to 1.5 percent. The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population is expected to nearly double, from 706,000 to 1.4 million. The number of people who identify themselves as being of two or more races is projected to more than triple, from 7.5 million to 26.7 million over the same period.
"The U.S. is projected to become a majority-minority nation for the first time in 2043. While the non-Hispanic white population will remain the largest single group, no group will make up a majority."
"In a world with hundreds of cable channels and thousands of websites, it must sound as quaint as talk about VHS players and Walkmans to worry about how many media outlets any one company gets to own," Eric Deggans wrote Tuesday in his media blog in the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times.
"But even in a media landscape with countless options, the nation's biggest media companies also control our biggest TV stations, radio outlets and online destinations, wielding an influence that can be magnified far beyond the actual platforms they own.
"In the Tampa Bay market, just three companies -- Clear Channel, CBS Radio and Cox Radio -- own 20 radio stations, including the top 16 outlets reaching more than 80 percent of people listening in November's ratings period.
"And some of media's biggest websites, from the Huffington Post to the Drudge Report, are built around 'aggregating' stories already reported by other news outlets, allowing the New York Times or Wall Street Journal to echo across a wider swath of the Internet than you might imagine. . . ."
John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: NAA: FCC Rule Change Would Have Little or No Impact on Minority Ownership
John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: NABOB: FCC Should Delay Ownership Vote
Jenn Ettinger, freepress.net: Congressional Opposition Growing to FCC Media Ownership Proposal
Edward Wyatt, New York Times: G.O.P. Balks at Plan to Add Airwaves for Mobile Internet and WiFi
"The Chicago Sun-Times declared Jenni Rivera 'a heroine' and quoted an entertainment executive who lauded her 'extraordinary gifts,' " Paul Farhi wrote Wednesday in the Washington Post. "The New York Times compared her to Diana Ross and Tina Turner. Numerous media accounts labeled her a superstar.
"Chances are, this was news to you. Chances are, you'd never heard of Rivera until you learned that she died in a plane crash in Mexico on Sunday.
"The American-born Rivera has sold at least 15 million records -- more than many other successful and widely acclaimed singers in the United States. But she did not enjoy much attention from the English-language media. Although she was bilingual, Rivera sang only in Spanish. Her most ardent, record-buying fans reside primarily in the American Southwest and farther south, across Mexico.
"Rivera's life and death suggest once again that it's possible to live in parallel Americas, with the larger part only dimly aware of the enormous things happening in the other one. For all our instant connectivity, it's possible for someone to be hugely famous and perfectly obscure -- all at the same time. . . . "
Kevin Roderick, LAObserved: How the media missed Jenni Rivera: part two
A week after a shakeup in the programming of WPFW-FM, Washington's community radio station, the general manager, John Hughes, remained the most unpopular person in the room.
Hughes addressed a packed "town hall meeting" of about 180 station listeners at Howard University that ran over its two-hour limit Tuesday night.
He heard an earful as his boss, Summer Reese, interim executive director of the Berkeley, Calif.-based Pacifica Foundation, which supervises the five Pacifica stations around the country, sat in the audience. Hughes again apologized for the way more than a dozen of the station's on-air programmers were abruptly let go.
But Hughes repeated that listenership is dwindling, the station is "reeling under economic conditions" and it needs to "be smarter about what we put on the air."
The audience, mostly veterans of the civil rights era, reminded Hughes of the unique nature of much of the station's programming. It is almost as unique as the structure that, in theory at least, gives listener representatives a role in governing the station.
In her turn at the microphone, Sofiyyah Abdullah, a Muslim and Native American, told the crowd that "most of the Muslims on the station have been canceled" and that "the only radio station that carries Native American news" in the area, hosted by Jay Winter, had been moved from Friday night to 1 p.m. Fridays, in "the middle of the afternoon."
Nasar Abadey, a jazz drummer who teaches at Peabody Preparatory, a community school for the performing arts in Baltimore, said he used the station as a teaching tool. "My youngest son was raised to listen to WPFW 24/7," he added. Referring to the station's progressive political stance and its "Jazz and Justice" slogan, Abadey said, "jazz is a music of protest."
John Constantine, a Haitian American businessman, said that Haitians have taken off from work Saturday nights to listen to "Konbit Lakay," the station's Haitian show. "That's how we got our news," Constantine said. ". . . Haitian people paid a heavy price to be where they are. You serve the people," he said to Hughes. "The station was there for people who had no voice."
Hughes, challenged to provide details on how he would address the objections and urged to roll back his programming changes, proposed to caucus with Reese and some of the community representatives on the elected local governing body, known as the local station board. After continually pointing to the station's dire financial straits, Hughes was asked his salary. He ignored the question, then said when pressed, "I'm not going to divulge that."
Marjan Ali, PressTV: 'US govt. discriminates against Native Americans'
Jonathan L. Fischer, Washington City Paper: The Airing of Grievances: Can WPFW modernize while remaining D.C.'s "jazz and justice" station?
A census of imprisoned journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists identified 232 writers, editors and photojournalists behind bars on Dec. 1, an increase of 53 from 2011 and the highest since the organization began the survey in 1990, the press freedom group said this week.
"We are living in an age when anti-state charges and 'terrorist' labels have become the preferred means that governments use to intimidate, detain, and imprison journalists," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a news release.
"Criminalizing probing coverage of inconvenient topics violates not only international law, but impedes the right of people around the world to gather, disseminate, and receive independent information.
"The three leading jailers of journalists were Turkey (49), Iran (45), and China (32), where imprisonments followed sweeping crackdowns on criticism and dissent, making use of anti-state charges in retaliation for critical coverage."
CPJ said the census "does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year, which are otherwise documented on www.cpj.org. Journalists who either disappear or are abducted by nonstate entities such as criminal gangs or militant groups are not included in the prison census. Their cases are classified as 'missing' or 'abducted.' "
"It all started with my pal Tanya's Facebook post," Annette John-Hall wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer as the holiday season began after Thanksgiving.
" 'Jack and I have decided to reject the out-of-control commercial aspect of the Christmas season,' she wrote recently. 'We will not be giving gifts to any adults. Instead, we hope to share the gift of time and fellowship with the people we love during the holidays.'
". . . Over the years, I've come to know you, dear readers, pretty well. Agree or disagree, you're a passionate, caring bunch. So I have no problem issuing a request:
"Take the Giving Pledge. Tell me what you are doing to give of yourselves this holiday season. I will take the best stories and share them in this space between now and the new year. Just a simple act of giving can change how we think about what has become a receiving season. . . ."
On Wednesday, John-Hall gave readers an update. "Well, just as I suspected, dozens of you responded. And the most wonderful thing is that most of you don't only donate your time, talent and treasure during the yuletide season, but you do it all year round.
". . . . I don't think I've ever met a young person more focused on community uplift than Nehemiah Davis.
"Davis holds at least a half-dozen neighborhood events annually through his nonprofit, the Nehemiah Davis Foundation ( www.davisfoundation.org). He recently served Thanksgiving dinners to 300 people in West Philadelphia and Overbrook during his Food From Heaven Thanksgiving Feast. Now he's knee-deep in organizing his Gifts From Heaven Holiday Party, on Dec. 24 at Shepard Recreation Center, where he'll provide at least 50 kids with a Christmas carnival and presents."
Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel: How to simplify your Christmas season, and be happier for it (Nov. 23)
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: What truly matters during the season (Nov. 28)
Ruben Rosario, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.: This holiday season, I'm watching a film about torture
Ana Veciana-Suarez, Miami Herald: The gift of reading: a true joy (Dec. 1)
Ana Veciana-Suarez, Miami Herald: 21st Century Hanukkah: Vodka, latkes and candles (Dec. 8)
Michael Paul Williams, African American columnist for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, told Tom Silvestri, his publisher, in an interview Sunday, "A lot of what we do as columnists is designed to tick people off. Historically, Richmond has preferred polite to provocative. My subject matter hasn't always gone over very well with a portion of our readership, which over two decades have made their feelings known through snail mail, email, Letters to the Editor and online reader comments. I've been accused of 'fanning the flames' so much that I wondered at times if a bellows was in my column photo." Williams was named one of the humanitarian honorees by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.
"WDTW-AM in Detroit will be donated by Clear Channel to The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council," RadioInk reported on Tuesday. "The donation of WDTW will allow MMTC to offer a complete build-out opportunity of a new, major-market radio station to an entrepreneur or non-profit entering into broadcasting."
"David Gonzales has parted ways with KCAL, the CBS-owned independent station in Los Angeles, a station spokesperson has confirmed to TVSpy," Merrill Knox reported for TVSpy on Tuesday. "Gonzales anchored the station's noon and 2 p.m. newscasts alongside Sandra Mitchell. He was last on the air December 4."
Voting by members of the associations that comprise the Unity Journalists coalition ends at 11:59 p.m. EST Friday. Unity board members will ultimately decide a new name for the coalition, but board members say they want to know their constituents' choices. The coalition includes Hispanic, Asian American, Native American and lesbian and gay journalists.
" . . . Since Comcast took majority control of NBCUniversal in January 2011, it has installed new management at Telemundo and increased the operating budget," Meg James reported Monday for the Los Angeles Times. "Last year Comcast agreed to spend about $600 million for the rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup soccer tournaments in 2015 through 2022 -- nearly double the amount that Univision currently pays."
Jina Moore, a freelance correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor for five years, has been impressed by the response to her October story, "Below the line: Poverty in America," winner of the November Sidney Award, Amber Larkins reported for Wednesday for AJR. "The article focused on how the government measures poverty and what it's like to be poor in America."
"Curators at Smithsonian have included Democracy Now! co-host Juan González's book, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America on their holiday gift guide for history lovers," Amy Goodman announced on Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" "This comes as the film based on his book has won an award for the best use of archival footage at the International Documentary Association Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Harvest of Empire: The Untold History of Latinos in America uses rarely seen archival material to reveal the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and today's immigration crisis."
"ESPN's '30 for 30' season finale 'You Don't Know Bo' earned a 2.3 metered market rating over the weekend to become the cable channel's highest rated documentary on an overnight basis, according to the Nielsen Company," Cherie Saunders reported Monday for EURWeb.com. "Directed by Michael Bonfiglio and produced by @radical.media, the film takes a close look at two-sport athlete Vincent Edward 'Bo' Jackson, the only athlete ever selected to play in the NFL Pro Bowl and the MLB All-Star Game." Watch it here.
A DVD of Stanley Nelson's 1999 film "The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords," the first to chronicle the history of the black press, is being offered as a premium for listeners who pledge $100 to WBAI-FM, the Pacifica station in New York.
"Last Wednesday, on a flight to Washington DC, I read an article in both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times about the horrific fire in Bangladesh two weeks ago in which 112 people died in a factory producing clothes for Wal-Mart," Adam Levy wrote Sunday for Talking Biz News. "Both articles were respectful of the tragedy and the magnitude of the disaster. That's where the similarities end -- and left me thinking one publication dropped the ball on reporting this crucially important story. . . ."
Two cases challenging state and federal laws concerning same-sex marriage couples are not the only significant civil rights cases the Supreme Court has decided to take up this term, Suevon Lee reported Monday for ProPublica. "Last month, the Supreme Court said it will consider the constitutionality of a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the hallmark legislation from the Civil Rights era that has come under increased challenge." Lee offers an explainer.
"Matt Drudge is taking advantage of the criticism directed at filmmaker Quentin Tarantino for the use of a racial epithet in his films to inappropriately splatter that epithet across his webpage seven times, in an apparent attempt to shock readers with racially charged rhetoric," Remington Shepard reported Wednesday for Media Matters for America. "Drudge has a history of featuring racially inflammatory language and images on his website."
Facebook users: "Like" "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" on Facebook.
Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.
The meteorologist was let go after responding to a viewer's racist remarks about her Afro.
A black female meteorologist has been fired from the ABC affiliate in Shreveport, La., she told Journal-isms, because she responded to a racial remark posted by a viewer on the station's Facebook page.
KTBS-TV's action against Rhonda Lee followed a previous response by Lee to a viewer who questioned whether she should wear her short Afro, suggesting she put on a wig or grow more hair.
Lee messaged Journal-isms on Saturday, "I had a meeting with my ND [news director] and GM [general manager] Friday trying to get my job back. They told me the policy I violated isn't written down, but was mentioned in a newsroom meeting about a month-and-a-half prior. A meeting I didn't attend. So when I asked what rule did I break there isn't anything to point to.
"The week I was brought in to discuss [the] last post, I was told by my ND that there were a few unclear things in the policy and that we were going to have a meeting with George Sirven, the GM about it. I was instead fired the next week -- no discussion had. Sirven claims that even if a policy isn't on paper we as employees are responsible for abiding by them. There isn't anything in our employee manual talking about social media dos and don'ts. I was accountable for a rule that essentially isn't in existence."
Sirven told Journal-isms by email, "We do not comment on personnel issues out of respect for the employee and the station."
Lee provided Journal-isms with copies of the relevant Facebook postings to the station's website.
On Oct. 1, a viewer identified as Emmitt Vascocu wrote, "the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq)."
Lee replied the same day, "Hello Emmitt--I am the 'black lady' to which you are referring. I'm sorry you don't like my ethnic hair. And no I don't have cancer. I'm a non-smoking, 5'3, 121 lbs, 25 mile a week running, 37.5 year old woman, and I'm in perfectly healthy physical condition.
"I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. For your edification: traditionally our hair doesn't grow downward. It grows upward. Many Black women use strong straightening agents in order to achieve a more European grade of hair and that is their choice. However in my case I don't find it necessary. I'm very proud of who I am and the standard of beauty I display. Women come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and levels of beauty. Showing little girls that being comfortable in the skin and HAIR God gave me is my contribution to society. Little girls (and boys for that matter) need to see that what you look like isn't a reason to not achieve their goals.
"Conforming to one standard isn't what being American is about and I hope you can embrace that.
"Thank you for your comment and have a great weekend and thank for watching."
Vascocu replied that Lee was right to be proud of who she is and that he is not a racist, but ". . . this world has . . . certain standerd (cq). if youve come from a world of being poor are you going to dress in rags?. . ."
In a Nov. 14 post, viewer Kenny Moreland wrote, "Not to start any trouble, because I think that the annual 'Three Minute Smile' is a great function and I love to see kids so happy. Am I the only one that has noticed that this year, all the kids, lets say, are people of color? This is Channel 3, not KSLA, the 'Project Pride' network, that might as well be part of the BET Channel. Did KTBS slip up on a news story, and owe S'port's criminal mayor Cedric, a favor? Seems like some racism going on to me. Just saying....."
Lee replied the next day, "I'm not sure I understand your comment, '...this is Channel 3 not KSLA...' What are you trying to say?
"The children are picked at random. So there goes your theory that they are selected for their color. I would like to think it doesn't matter who the child is. If you truly just want to see the kids happy your message had a funny way of showing it.
"Happy holidays.--Met. Rhonda Lee"
Referring to that exchange, Lee messaged Journal-isms, "I was the one who brought it to their attention after they let it fester on the page for 6 days, but was then chastised for responding at all. I sent a screen grab to my boss via e-mail telling them that I'm ok with the anti-Rhonda commentary sometimes, but what has been posted at the time was . . . racist, and I asked them to please support me in removing the ones that didn't encourage thoughtful, respectful and civil discourse on our FB page. I never got a reply, only punished. To this day the posts are still there."
Gary Dinges reported in May for the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman that Lee filed a discrimination suit against her former Austin employer, NBC affiliate KXAN. Lee said in the suit that she was "repeatedly subjected to crude and insensitive remarks about her race." She joined the Shreveport station 11 months ago.
Lee told Journal-isms, ". . . Race has been the issue with me since I started. That much is VERY true. Weather is an older white boy business and arms have been less than open for a young black girl -- a polar opposite. As reported I've had more problems here in the south than I have anywhere else in my 25+ years in the business. Perhaps there is a pattern, but I am a glutton for punishment (ha, ha), and I want what I deserve as any professional would so if I have to fight for it I will."
The president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association announced on Facebook Monday that he is voting for the proposed new name for Unity Journalists that does not include the phrase "Journalists of Color" - and hopes others do, too.
The coalition changed its name to "Unity Journalists" in April after it admitted NLGJA, which warned that its members might boycott Unity's summer convention if the words "Journalists of Color" were not dropped from the coalition's name.
However, the name change prompted a backlash from many who said Unity was veering from its history and purpose and that members of the associations had not had a chance to weigh in. Among those who reacted negatively were many members of the National Association of Black Journalists, which left the coalition last year over governance and financial issues, and which Unity is trying to woo back.
The remaining original members of the coalition are the national associations of Hispanic, Asian American and Native American journalists.
Last month, a UNITY Name Task Force came up with three choices for a new name, each including the phrase "journalists of color."
Then, last week, the task force revised the choices to create a new third option, "UNITY: Journalists for Diversity," after association members said some white lesbian and gay journalists were uncomfortable with "of Color."
Michael Triplett, president of NLGJA, announced, "I voted for Unity: Journalists for Diversity and I encourage you to vote the same way. The name reflects the reality of the organization, allows for additional changes to the alliance, and welcomes UNITY's newest partner," NLGJA.
Paul Cheung, incoming national president of the Asian American Journalists Association, "liked" Triplett's posting, but did not respond when Journal-isms messaged to ask whether that meant that Cheung agreed with Triplett. George Kiriyama, an outgoing AAJA representative to the Unity board, wrote that he supported "Unity: Journalists for Diversity."
Doris Truong, current national AAJA president, told Journal-isms by email, "I will vote with the majority of AAJA members, as that is my responsibility to the organization."
Rhonda LeValdo, president of NAJA, agreed, "I will go with how our NAJA membership votes."
Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said by email, "I haven't shared w members how I voted (UNITY name) and would want to first tell them before anyone else...not trying to be secretive, just haven't had a chance."
Gregory H. Lee Jr., president of NABJ, messaged, "NABJ is no longer a member of UNITY. NABJ's position remains that our association left UNITY because of finances and governance. not any name change. We will wish them well on their vote."
However, others in NABJ have called the name and mission of Unity of great importance. "We never envisioned a coalition of associations focused on anything but journalists of color," Will Sutton, credited as a co-founder of the Unity idea, said in April.
The same month, DeWayne Wickham, who in 1988 convened the first joint meeting of boards of the NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NAJA, said of the change to "Unity Journalists," "I think it amounts to a final divorce decree. . . . "
Juan Gonzalez of NAHJ, credited with Sutton as a co-originator of the Unity idea, wrote in June that by rapidly incorporating NLGJA, "UNITY leaders effectively discarded the core mission that made the group such a powerful voice in American journalism since its founding conference in Atlanta in 1994. They revealed, moreover, little understanding of the sacrifices and struggles made by so many journalists of color who preceded us."
According to a Unity notice, "Members will vote through their alliance associations. Members will have 10 days to vote, ending 11:59 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 14. No write-ins will be considered.
"After the votes are counted, each association will submit the full results disclosing how many votes each name received to UNITY's Interim Executive Director Walt Swanston. She will inform the Task Force, which will convene to discuss the results and prepare a recommendation to UNITY's board members. Ballots will then be prepared for UNITY board members to vote. (UNITY board members are expected to vote how their organizations voted and respect the wishes of their members.)"
"The media requests for me to opine on the death of Mexican regional superstar (and Long Beach) gal Jenni Rivera are already coming in, and I expect them to only increase as the American media trips over themselves to cover the story," Gustavo Arellano, editor of the OC Weekly and author of its syndicated "Ask a Mexican" column, wrote Monday.
"After all, I'm America's Mexican, right? I'm more than happy to take them, if only to help the MSM correct their pathetic record on reporting on a mega-superstar that operated in plain sight under a media that, like usual, didn't bother to pay attention while she was alive because she was a Mexican and popular mostly to Mexicans - and they never matter unless you can get a diversity grant to cover them.
"Now that she's dead? Look everyone: we cover Mexicans!
"No media outlet is the bigger sinner, however, than the Los Angeles Times, the perpetual pendejos [stupid, ignorant people] when covering Latinos in Southern California. A look through the Proquest archives show that they never did a single full profile on Rivera - not once. . . . "
Lawrence Downes, New York Times: Jenni Rivera, American Diva
"After watching the final newscast involving Dana King on Friday night, I'm reminded as to why station execs are weary of allowing talent to bid viewers a farewell," Rich Lieberman wrote Saturday for his Rich Lieberman report.
"King of course is leaving KPIX to pursue a second career in art. Her move to embrace sculpture was accelerated by management who let King go with another year left on her high-dollar contract. She'd been at KPIX, (CBS5), since 1997.
"Friday's 11 PM newscast was sprinkled with banter between King and co-anchor Ken Bastida and sports anchor, Dennis O'Donnell, who provided dual acts of unintended hilarity on an otherwise compelling bit of local TV news history. The newscast itself with King talking between stories about her passion for art, was fine and perfectly apt and suitable until O'Donnell's hijinks kidnapped an otherwise acceptable broadcast.
"O'Donnell spoke about past stories involving King and himself. He recalled a bet with King involving the Raiders and him being subjected to a haircut performed by King. It was semi-poignant. Then out of nowhere, O'Donnell lost it. Fighting back tears, he implored the cameraman to cut immediately to commercials. Then toward the end of the broadcast, the sports anchor inexplicably popped a bottle of champagne toward the desk and suddenly, everything was kooky and out of place and over the top. Or, to put it more succinctly, this was hardly the kind of show befitting the departure of a beloved anchor. . . ."
KPIX-TV: Dana King Announces Departure From CBS 5 (Dec. 5)
Rich Lieberman, Rich Lieberman Report: King was Forced Out; CBS '08 Directive was First Handwriting on Wall (Dec. 6)
Rich Lieberman, Rich Lieberman Report: Flash: Dana King leaving KPIX; Update (Dec. 5)
Soledad O'Brien said Monday, "We've hit a nerve and in some ways hit a home run" with the CNN "Black in America" special she hosted Sunday night, "Who Is Black in America?"
O'Brien made the comment in a Google+ Hangout discussion [video] with Wendy Wilson, Essence magazine news editor. The show's topic was "colorism" in the black community and how those of mixed race choose to identify themselves. Seventy percent of the comments she had observed about the show since it aired showed people were interested in the discussion, O'Brien said.
That was certainly the case on social media.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same," Julianne Malveaux, the columnist and economist, wrote on Facebook. "Soledad O'Brien's documentary on colorism could have been produced any time between 1830 and today. Too many of us are still playing 'straight and nappy', 'the blacker the berry', 'light is right' and the rest of that cultural silliness. If we, African American people, can't get past this while others claim they are 'post racial' what does that say? What does it mean? Thanks Soledad for raising the question. Now we have to deal with answers."
Bev Smith, a talk-show host on black radio, wrote on Facebook, "Last night during the CNN special I received a call from a dear friend. He is Italian and likes to refer to himself as a Liberal. He has worked with me on many human and civil rights [issues]. He was confused he told me because he feels not enough attention was given to the progress made between Blacks and Whites. He said the young people of today don't face the same kind of racism evident when we were young. I'm sorry I could not agree with him . . . "
Eric Deggans, media writer for the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, wrote Friday that he wanted the multiracial O'Brien, who identifies as black, to discuss more of her own situation. ". . . I can't wait to see the documentary about how a nerdy kid who was told non-white people weren't pretty became a top anchor at CNN eventually named to People magazine's list of 50 Most Beautiful People," Deggans wrote.
Meanwhile, O'Brien, who hosts the CNN morning show, "Starting Point With Soledad O'Brien," told Gail Shister of TVNewser Friday that when she heard that Jeff Zucker - also her old boss - had been named president of CNN Worldwide, "I thought, 'Yes!' He knows news. He knows winning. He knows morning TV."
But Richard Johnson of the New York Post reported Monday, ". . Zucker is looking at Erin Burnett to revive the cabler's moribund morning ratings . . . "
Among the reasons that installing Burnett would be a bad idea, Deggans wrote, "the move would . . . make CNN's already diversity-challenged anchor lineup look even whiter."
"Who Is Black in America?" will repeat on Saturday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST and Sunday at 2 a.m. EST.
Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: CNN series cuts to the core of black identity
Jeanine Poggi, adage.com: Zucker's CNN Will Be About More Than News (Dec. 3)
"On Sept. 2, Ambassador Susan E. Rice delivered a eulogy for a man she called 'a true friend to me,' " Salem Solomon, an Eritrean-American journalist, wrote Monday in a New York Times op-ed. "Before thousands of mourners and more than 20 African heads of state in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ms. Rice, the United States' representative to the United Nations, lauded the country's late prime minister, Meles Zenawi. She called him 'brilliant' -- 'a son of Ethiopia and a father to its rebirth.'
"Few eulogies give a nuanced account of the decedent's life, but the speech was part of a disturbing pattern for an official who could become President Obama's next secretary of state. During her career, she has shown a surprising and unsettling sympathy for Africa's despots.
"This record dates from Ms. Rice's service as assistant secretary of state for African affairs under President Bill Clinton, who in 1998 celebrated a 'new generation' of African leaders, many of whom were ex-rebel commanders; among these leaders were Mr. Meles, Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Jerry J. Rawlings of Ghana, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Yoweri K. Museveni of Uganda. . . ."
Solomon runs Africa Talks, a news and opinion Web site covering Africa and the global African diaspora.
Perry Bacon Jr., the Grio: The GOP's unusual campaign against Susan Rice (Nov. 27)
Helene Cooper, New York Times: U.N. Ambassador Questioned on U.S. Role in Congo Violence
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report: A Second Wave of Genocide Looms in Congo, with Susan Rice on Point (Nov. 28)
Aaron David Miller, Chicago Tribune: What it takes to be a great secretary of state
Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Dr. Susan Rice: Don't Hate the Playa, Hate the Game
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post News Media Services: The Susan Rice whirlwind
Adam Serwer and Dana Liebelson, Mother Jones: Rice vs Rice: Charting Congress' Treatment of Condi and Susan
"The just-filed suit by George Zimmerman against NBC Universal and three employees furnishes some flaming legal invective," Eric Wemple wrote Thursday for the Washington Post. "It claims that NBC News, via its repeated mis-editing of a 911 audiotape, portrayed Zimmerman as a 'racist and predatory villain.' The motivation behind such a portrayal, charges the suit, was to gin up 'topics' for the network's 'failing news programs.'
"The goods to back up the suit's central allegations are all out there on video feeds across the Internet. NBC News editing of that 911 audiotape gave viewers the impression that Zimmerman had volunteered that Trayvon Martin was black, when in fact the 911 dispatcher asked him about the young man's racial appearance.
"For the purposes of a libel case, then, Zimmerman should have little trouble proving that NBC News broadcast false and defamatory material about him. The stiff legal challenge for Zimmerman & Co. lies in another phase of the proceedings, and that is proving damages from NBC's treatment.
"Just why should that be so difficult? Because of media saturation. . . . "
Michael Martinez, CNN: George Zimmerman sues NBC Universal over edited 911 call (Dec. 7)
Brian Stelter, New York Times: Man Charged in Trayvon Martin's Death Sues NBC for Defamation (Dec. 6)
"Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America, and Bounce TV, the nation's first-ever broadcast television network for African Americans, today jointly announced a distribution agreement in which Univision Television Group, which owns and/or operates 62 television stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico, will carry Bounce TV as a multicast channel of their stations in San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Raleigh and Tampa," the two companies announced on Monday.
". . . Bounce TV targets African Americans primarily between the ages of 25-54 with a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, live sports, original and off-net series, documentaries, specials, and inspirational faith-based programs. . . ."
A multicast channel is a subchannel on a station's signal.
Summer Reese, interim executive director of the Pacifica Foundation, owner of Washington's WPFW-FM, said Friday that none of the programs WPFW planned to import from NPR or Public Radio International will air. The listener-sponsored community station planned to broadcast "Tell Me More" from NPR and "Smiley and West" and "The Takeaway" from PRI. Reese told listeners of the "Manager's Mailbox" that she prefers that if shows are imported, they come from among Pacifica's five stations. The station has scheduled a town hall meeting Tuesday night at the Howard University School of Architecture.
In Oakland, Calif., "A KRON television reporter covering a town-hall meeting Wednesday, where the key topic being discussed was crime, returned to his news station's car and found $9,000 worth of equipment stolen," Harry Harris reported for the Oakland Tribune. "Among items taken were a laptop computer and a camera belonging to the station." On Monday, Brandon Mercer, a news director and Region 2 director for California, Nevada, and Hawaii in the Radio Television Digital News Association, wrote for members, "Grand Theft Camera: Is Your Newsroom As Safe As it Can Be?"
Anna Lopez Buck, interim executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, "is now officially our executive director," NAHJ President Hugo Balta told members on Monday, reporting on a weekend board meeting in San Antonio. "The board voted to make her position permanent."
In Detroit, Al Allen ended his nearly 50-year career in broadcast journalism by celebrating his last day at WJBK-TV, B.J. Hammerstein reported Friday for the Detroit Free Press.
Pamala Silas, most recently CEO of the American Indian Science & Engineering Society in Albuquerque, N.M., has been chosen executive director of the Native American Journalists Association, NAJA announced on Friday.
"Former WESH-Channel 2 anchor Wendy Chioji is coming back to Orlando television in a big way later this month," Hal Boedeker reported Thursday for the Orlando Sentinel. "She will start co-anchoring a series of specials on WKMG-Channel 6 that pay tribute to survivors of health crises and personal battles."
"Charles Bassett, formerly with D-FW's CW33, has joined the growing number of reporters opting for public relations positions," Ed Bark reported Thursday for his Dallas-Fort Worth television blog. ". . . His new position, starting on Dec. 17th, will be senior public relations manager in the Dallas offices of AT&T."
In the nation's capital on Thursday, WUSA-TV aired investigative reporter Russ Ptacek's "ambush-style story on cab drivers who decline to drive black customers to the Southeast area," Eddie Scarry reported for FishbowlDC. " . . . two WUSA9 male staffers, one black, one white, attempt to hail cabs that will drive them to Alabama Ave. in Southeast. The black subject is turned down. The driver's reason: The last time he took someone Southeast, he was stiffed. Less than a block up the street, the white subject asks the same driver to be taken to roughly the same area. The driver agrees."
In a Nov. 30 letter, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists told FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that it is "troubled that the Federal Communications Commission is currently considering relaxing our nation's cross-ownership rules without first addressing the impact of any rule change on broadcast ownership by women and people of color." The National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, the Asian American Justice Center and the NAACP separately said they did not support the relaxation of the newspaper/broadcast cross-media ownership rule.
A New York judge dismissed a libel lawsuit by a Brooklyn judge against the New York Daily News and its former columnist Errol Louis, now with NY1, Monika Fidler of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reported Friday. Judge Martin Shulman said the plaintiff, Brooklyn judge Larry Martin, failed to show "clear and convincing evidence that defendants acted with actual malice in publishing the falsehoods."
The Native American Journalists Association's 2013 calendar offers a collection of images that celebrate the diversity of Indian Country as seen through the lenses of American Indian photographers, the association announced.
South Asian Journalists Association members re-elected five incumbents and added two new members to the board for next year. Ten candidates ran for seven open seats. "Those elected at the annual meeting on Dec. 4 were Sree Sreenivasan, Jigar Mehta, Amita Parashar, Sharaf Mowjood, Raakhee Mirchandani, Shefali Kulkarni and Aarti Virani," the association announced Wednesday.
"As a way to develop better social media engagement strategies, journalists should treat Twitter and other outlets as an extension of their interaction with people in their personal life rather than as a separate entity, said Mark Luckie, manager of journalism and news at Twitter, in a conference call with Forbes writers from New York this week," TalkingBizNews reported. ". . . 'Facebook is for people you know and Twitter is for the people who you want to know.' "
"ABC News correspondent Ron Claiborne filed a story this week for 'ABC World News' about 'micro-sleeping,' and driving while being sleep-deprived," Alex Weprin reported Saturday for TVNewser.
In Chicago, "Cortney Hall, morning news anchor and reporter at WKMG-TV in Orlando, Florida, has been hired as morning news anchor at CLTV, the Tribune Co.-owned news channel," Robert Feder reported for TimeOut Chicago. "Starting December 17, she will succeed Tonya Francisco, who shifted to Trib-owned WGN-Channel 9."
"A Nashville television station is offering a $10,000 reward for information in the robbery and shooting of one of its news reporters," the Associated Press reported Saturday. "Nashville Police say in a statement that WZTV is offering the reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who wounded reporter Erika Lathon late Thursday after she withdrew cash from a Bank of America ATM near downtown."
MALDEF, the Mexican American legal defense and education fund, "settled its lawsuit against Sheriff Lee Baca and the County of Los Angeles challenging the Sheriff's attempt to withhold unredacted records regarding the 1970 killing of prominent journalist, Rubén Salazar," MALDEF reported. "MALDEF represents Phillip Rodriguez, a noted documentary filmmaker, who requested the documents as part of his research for the documentary film that tells the story of the life and mysterious death of the prominent civil rights era journalist."
Kenneth Irby, senior faculty, visual journalism and diversity, and director of community relations for the Poynter Institute, defended independent photographer R. Umar Abbas on Monday. Abbas took the photograph Dec. 3 of Ki-Suck Han, of Queens, N.Y., who was pushed into the path of an oncoming subway train. The photo ended up on the front page of the New York Post. ". . . I see a photographer that will suffer for many days with post-traumatic stress. A man that will be, for many days to come, the topic of ridicule and scorn even. . . . A man that at the end of his day, was trying to do his job the best way that he knew how. . . . "
For an Editor & Publisher article Monday on "How to Get More Women and Minorities in Executive Roles," Joseph H. Zerbey IV, 70, president/general manager of the Blade in Toledo, Ohio, told reporter Nu Yang, "being dedicated to that goal" is key. "One has to get past the criticism of hiring them at the 'expense' of Caucasian males equally or better qualified. You have to make a conscious decision to look for and hire talented people -- that must include women and minorities without excluding anyone. In other words, build the talent pool for the position needed, and be certain women and minorities are represented for the interview process. If there is a measure of equiponderance apparent, then don't hesitate to choose the woman or minority. It's not unethical. It's not illegal. It is the right thing to do for the newspaper and for the people it serves."
Facebook users: "Like" "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" on Facebook.
Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.
An award-winning fashion journalist departs Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion journalist, is among those laid off from Newsweek and the Daily Beast, according to Joe Coscarelli, writing Friday for the Daily Intel column of New York magazine.
" 'I plan to work on my book about the 1973 Versailles fashion show and look for a new job,' said Givhan, who will stay on until the end of the year," Coscarelli wrote.
Editor Tina Brown and new CEO Baba Shetty announced in October that the 80-year-old Newsweek would adopt a digital-only format in 2013.
In 2007, while at the Style section of the Washington Post, Givhan won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism "for her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism."
She left the Post in 2010, after 15 years at the paper, purportedly because of disagreements with the then-Style editor.
The editor, Ned Martel, told the staff on her departure, ". . . Robin has demonstrated herself as an extraordinary talent, stretching the definition of fashion beyond the discussion of trends or runway flights of fancy. Thanks to Robin's Pulitzer-awarded acuity, Washington Post readers have learned how to understand world leaders through the way they dress.
"A parka, a pair of stiletto boots, a pair of hiking shorts launched national debates on what political figures must have been thinking when they made such personal decisions, or whether they were thinking through their public image at all. She has not only explained the iconic status of Michelle Obama's inaugural gown, Madeleine Albright's patriotic pins, freshman Rep. Frederica Wilson's Stetsons, she made Washington understand something fundamental about how every public appearance is a self-expression. No one is more in command of her own powers of self-expression than Robin, as her reasoned, elegant columns have proven each Sunday and we will miss her."
For her part, Givhan told Women's Wear Daily, "I obviously didn't make the decision to leave quickly or without a lot of soul-searching," Amy Wicks reported on WWD.com. "I've been a sniffling, blubbering wreck for the last few days. The Post has been an unbelievable place to work. But I think it was time for me to have a new adventure, and Tina's vision of what Newsweek can be is incredibly enticing and, I think, spot-on."
Givhan joined Newsweek and the Daily Beast with the title of special correspondent, style and culture. In July, she also became one of the contributors to a new blog, FashionBeast, Erik Maza of WWD reported.
Givhan told Journal-isms by email on Saturday, "Sad to say that yes, it is true. Quite the 'Merry Christmas.' . . . I'm in New York as we speak doing book research and happily following up on any new career opportunities."
When Journal-isms asked Boston Globe Editor Martin Baron, who becomes executive editor at the Post in January, whether he would want Givhan back, he said that he is not at the Post yet and does not publicly discuss these sorts of subjects.
In-Your-Face Holiday Reads
December 7, 2012
John Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis
Jared A. Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs
Richard Prince's Book Notes™: Stocking Stuffers (Part 1)
Books by and about journalists of color might make provocative holiday gifts, and more of them are available in ebook and audio versions. This list of nonfiction includes humorous, in-your-face takes on being black; collections of columns by legendary opinion writers; an answer to a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on Malcolm X; a 30-years-later look at journalists of the 1970s; a study of how television covered the civil rights era; and an examination of Michelle Obama's multiracial ancestry. A continuation of this list will be published in coming days.
John Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis have edited "Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns" (Overlook, $29.95, cloth; $17.95, paper; Nook version, $10.99), and "Deadline Artists--Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs: More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns" (Overlook, $29.95, cloth; Nook version, $14.99).
The publisher argues that, "At a time of great transition in the news media, when obituaries for newspapers are being written every day, Deadline Artists makes the case for the continued relevance of opinion journalism. Beloved but half-remembered columns that were gathering dust in libraries or moldering on microfilm are now available in one volume, celebrating the near-miracle that stories composed on daily deadlines can resonate with beauty and power decades later."
Bloggers might note the art and skill that accompany good opinion writing.
Avlon is senior columnist for Newsweek and the Daily Beast as well as a CNN contributor. Angelo is editor-in-chief of the Daily, the made-for-iPad "newspaper" that announced this week it was ending publication. Louis, a black journalist, is the political anchor of NY1 News.
Unlike comparable collections, these volumes make an effort at diversity. Alongside Thomas L. Friedman, Ernie Pyle, Red Smith and Mark Twain are Langston Hughes, Frederick Douglass, Carl T. Rowan, Stanley Crouch, William Raspberry, Leonard Pitts Jr., Eugene Robinson, Cynthia Tucker and Bob Herbert, all African Americans. The first volume, released last year, featured no Hispanics, Native Americans or Asian Americans. A sequel, "Deadline Artists--Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs: More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns," was published last month, and slain Los Angeles Times journalist Ruben Salazar is included.
Jared A. Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs, who teach communication studies at Morgan State University, edited "A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable's Malcolm X" (Black Classic Press, $18.95, paper).
The late Manning Marable's "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" won this year's Pulitzer Prize for history despite strong dissent from several politically active black scholars when the book was published. Ball and Burroughs have assembled the contributions of 19 of the critics.
"Marable's 'definitive masterpiece' was to us a mere tombstone: a 600-page eulogy that attempted to lay permanently to rest the Malcolm X that we knew and revered," Ball writes. "Indeed, it aimed to bury the very ideas that produced Malcolm X and those he made his own, our own. The book attacked the very ideas that made Malcolm X and all Black people then, and now, dangerous." Burroughs writes that the book had to be written to correct the record. ". . . Our larger commitment to historical memory dwarfs any concerns about offending Manning Marable's admirers, colleagues, friends, and students."
Aniko Bodroghkozy, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, has "Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement" (University of Illinois Press, $50, cloth).
"Equal Time" examines the news media's contemporary coverage of the civil rights movement, including that by the black press, and the effects of the movement on prime-time television entertainment in the 1960s and '70s. Chapters are devoted to coverage of the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma-to-Montgomery march of 1965, and in entertainment to Diahann Carroll's "Julia" and the Norman Lear-produced "Good Times."
Bodroghkozy writes, "Both civil rights activists and Southern segregationists understood the political power of television, and both were interested in using this new instrument to speak to national (read: non-Southern) audiences.
"The former were clearly more successful in negotiating with the medium, but network television was not interested in doing the bidding of even the most moderate of civil rights groups, nor was television bent on always demonizing and dismissing the segregationist position. If a civil rights group could be labeled 'militant' — and we will see NBC's Chet Huntley so label the NAACP in 1959 — then that group could be legitimated as a political player as segregationists cheered and welcomed Huntley in as potentially one of their own."
In an epilogue on the Obama era, Bodroghkozy writes, "While it is both reductive and simplistic to suggest that network television's circulation and audiences' embrace of certain types of black representation have led to the election of a black president, this book has traced the mobilization of a certain type of image that, when appropriately paired with figures of whiteness, were presumed to make whites less anxious about social change."
Television news personnel, engaging in "a certain amount of utopian gushing" after Obama's election, "probably had no idea that they were borrowing from an old script. . . . "
Donna Britt, former columnist for the Washington Post, has "Brothers (& me): A memoir of loving and giving" (Little, Brown and Co., $25.99, cloth and audio; $12.99 ebook; Kindle edition, $11.04; Nook version, $12.99.)
Britt wrote a version of this message to fellow columnists last year as this book was released:
"The holidays are perfect for diving into and for sharing with readers Brothers (and me), an exploration of women's intriguing penchant for giving. Library Journal calls the book 'more personal but no less significant' than Condoleezza Rice's memoir, and the Boston Globe describes it as 'alternately raw and elegant… a wrenching examination of a life through the prism of racism, sexism, and unconditional devotion.'
"Brothers traces how my male-steeped life as the twice-married sister of three brothers and mother of three sons taught me to give — sometimes unwisely— to men, a problem shared by millions of women. My own giving was inspired by loss: The inexplicable, decades-ago death of my brother at the hands of hometown police, an uncalled-for killing that years later would be echoed in Trayvon Martin's slaying.
"Darrell's death taught me how inextricably loss and giving are intertwined for black women, whose experiences with the endangerment, diminishment and deaths of our husbands, lovers, sons and, yes, brothers causes many of us to reflexively protect, support and give to them in response. Brothers (and me) encourages giving women to trace their own journeys to giving and to utilize this gift more wisely."
Britt believes in plumbing her emotions and has delivered an Oprah-ready saga that includes some surprises about her personal life. She also adheres to a principle followed by the best writers: every word is carefully selected.
This month, Britt writes on her website, "in the spirit of the holiday, I'll for the next 25 days give in to the giving impulse that's all too natural to me. Each day until Christmas, I'll offer a different mindful gift: to students, seniors, friends, total strangers, even to myself. . . . Brothers (and me) described my journey from questioning to celebrating my giving. My goal now is to demonstrate that mindful giving expands the giver regardless of how the gift is received. But real life is unpredictable, so stay tuned as I test my theory while blogging — frankly, honestly — about each day's gift and what emerges."
Wayne Dawkins, assistant professor of journalism at Hampton University, has "City Son: Andrew W. Cooper's Impact on Modern-Day Brooklyn" (University Press of Mississippi, $35, cloth and ebook; Kindle edition, $19.25; Nook version, $22.75.)
As Dawkins writes on the book jacket, the City Sun was "a feisty Brooklyn-based weekly that published from 1984 to 1996. Whether the stories were about Mayor Koch or Rev. Al Sharpton, Howard Beach or Crown Heights, Tawana Brawley's dubious rape allegations, the Daily News Four trial, or Spike Lee's filmmaking career, Cooper's City Sun commanded attention and moved officials and readers to action."
The weekly tabloid broke the mold for the black press, criticizing African American officials along with other powers that be.
Cooper, who died in 2002, gave Dawkins a start in journalism at Trans Urban News Service in the 1970s. Cooper's widow, Jocelyn C. Cooper, asked Dawkins to write her husband's biography. In a cover blurb, Dawkins' Hampton colleague Earl Caldwell, the veteran journalist and Maynard Institute co-founder, calls the book "chock full of significant and compelling stories not previously told."
Written for academic audiences as well as a more general audience, Dawkins told Journal-isms, "Since July publication, City Son is listed in at least 110 mostly campus libraries [dominant states, NY-NJ, Calif., Miss.-Tenn.], including Canada, Wales, Australia and the Netherlands.
"Journalists of color should read this book if they want to understand the resurrection of Brooklyn as a destination [AWC can take credit for the Brooklyn Nets dribbling along Flatbush and Atlantic avenues]. 'City Son' also chronicles the hot-button cases of the '80s: Howard Beach/Tawana Brawley/Central Park Jogger assault [subject of a new Ken Burns documentary]. And, it's a good read about a newspaper that had a remarkable 12-year run. Dozens of their journalists continue to practice at other outlets."
Patrice Evans, a staff writer for grantland.com who created the "Ghetto Pass" column for gawker.com, has "Negropedia: The Assimilated Negro's Crash Course on the Modern Black Experience" (Three Rivers Press, $14, paper; Kindle and Nook versions, $9.99).
Evans told the New Yorker's Jason Parham in October 2011: "In a way, when you write a book like 'Negropedia,' that's the moment when you turn into a character or persona. When the straight-forward, intellectual territory has been mined, it's tough, at least from a creative standpoint, to be fresh and original. Negropedia is a very personal, idiosyncratic, and quirky manifestation of my perspective on race. Hopefully, it's a gateway drug of sorts to more 'Negropedias.' This is a time when minority Americans can use the voice of the Internet to post content and find an audience. The whole beauty and joy of this moment is that we aren't constrained by the paradigms of the past, the orthodoxy surrounding the conversation about civil rights, politics, and social activism.
"Now, even though many of the same issues still exist, there are more outlets and opportunities to voice your quirky, personal take on something — and it can become a joke, or a play, or a Web series like Awkward Black Girl, or it becomes a Web site like the Root or Black Voices, or even gets channeled into more mainstream cultural or political entertainment. I think that's where the conversation goes. It becomes a sort of prism, some fractured perspective that you can’t predict."
Stephen Hess, senior fellow emeritus in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, has "Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters, 1978-2012" (Brookings Institution Press, $29.95, cloth and ebook; Kindle edition, $16.17; Nook, $16.77).
In 1978, Hess surveyed 450 journalists who were covering national government for U.S. commercial news organizations. A generation later, Hess and a team from Brookings and George Washington University tracked down 90 percent of the original group, interviewing 283 of them.
"Diversity" gets its own chapter in this book on the results. Fifteen African Americans were surveyed in 1978, including Roy Betts, Warren Brown, Diane Camper, Karen DeWitt, Mal Johnson, Harold J. Logan, Barbara Reynolds, Marilyn Robinson, Lee Thornton, Carole Simpson and Betty Anne Williams. Hess has accounted for all but three. The late television anchor David Garcia, whose obituary called him "a pioneering Latino journalist with a velvet voice," is also among the interviewees.
Hess is disappointed at the lack of more diversity progress. ". . . None of the black network correspondents have reached the highest rung since Ed Bradley died in 2006, although Byron Pitts of CBS Evening News is starting to appear on 60 Minutes," he writes. The chapter closes with a 2005 quote from Frank James, formerly a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune who is now at NPR:
"When I go to press conferences in Washington, D.C., I'm often the only black reporter. I'm lucky if there's another one. This might be twenty or thirty people, and I'm the only black. It makes me ask myself, 'How could it be that in 2005 you have a press conference in Washington, D.C., a city that is majority black, and I'm the only black reporter here?' . . . Does it have a personal effect on me? Sure, it saddens me that here we are in 2005 and I'm the only. I don't want to be the only."
Rachel L. Swarns, a Washington-based New York Times reporter, has "American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama" (Amistad, $27.99 cloth; ebook, $16.99; audio, $23.62; Kindle version, $12.99; Nook editions, $16.99 and $17.99, enhanced).
The Dec. 2 print edition of the New York Times Book Review listed this book among the "100 Notable Books of 2012," and John McMurtrie of the San Francisco Chronicle included it among his gift guide for stocking stuffers and doorstoppers.
"American Tapestry" started as a Times story by Swarns and Jodi Kantor in October 2009.
"I found the first lady's family story fascinating — and I think many journalists of color will as well — because it reflects the history of this country in all of its complexities," Swarns told Journal-isms by email.
"Her ancestors were African American slaves, mixed race people who lived free for decades before the Civil War, and Irish Americans who fought for the Confederacy. And they had front row seats to some of the biggest moments in our history: slavery, the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Great Migration. So many of us have similar stories in our own families. I hope that 'American Tapestry' will inspire journalists — who spend so much time reporting on the lives of other people — to take the time to dig into their own family stories."
Writing in the Washington Post, Martha Southgate said circumstances conspired against complete success for Swarns: "What works against her, and against the full success of the book, is the sketchiness of the history that the system of slavery created and enforced and the rareness of literacy among slaves and their immediate descendants," Southgate wrote. "Few letters, journals or notes have survived, all the written ephemera so crucial to the historian in discovering the mindset of his or her subjects. Further, many of those in the generations immediately after slavery maintained a staunch silence about the experience, as though to blot out the horror. . . ."
Baratunde Thurston, director of digital at the Onion, cofounder of Jack & Jill Politics and a stand-up comedian, has "How to Be Black" (Harper, $24.99, cloth; $14.99 paper; Nook version, $2.99). Thurston added in this message posted on Facebook Friday: "Are you afraid to read How To Be Black in public? Now you can get it for just $2.99 on Amazon Kindle."
Reading the book in public can draw curious reactions, as a white woman calling herself Cinnamon explained on goodreads.com:
"I am loving this book so far. If nothing else, the conversations, smirks, giggles, and very confused looks I've gotten while reading this book in public have been great.
"Having an older African American woman point at the book, smirk and say 'Good luck with that!' was a highlight of my week. And then just a few days later an older African American gentleman went on a rant to me about 'in his day' black people were trying to be white and now there were too many white folks trying to act black, but you have to be born black, you can't become black. And when I explained that it was humorous social commentary intended to discuss subtle or latent racism, he scoffed even louder and told me 'of course y'all take that from a funny black guy, if he was angry y'all would ignore him and run away from him. . . .' "
Thurston keeps busy. His website says, "In the past two years alone he has spoken at South by Southwest, Google Atmosphere, the Online News Association Conference, Netroots Nation, the Mashable Awards, Web 2.0 Expo, Personal Democracy Forum, Internet Week NY, Social Media Week, TribeCon, the ACLU Annual Dinner (Mass., Mich. and Okla.), Surf Summit 14 (Mexico), The AtlanTech Dinner (Paris), The FD Summit (Amsterdam), The Guardian Changing Media Summit (UK) and Digital Directions (Australia). In May 2011, he spoke at the presidential palace in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country) on the role of satire in a healthy democracy, and he advises The White House on digital strategy.
"Baratunde performs standup comedy regularly in New York City, resides in Brooklyn, lives on Twitter and has over 30 years experience being black."
Program Note: "Black in America"
"The issue of racial identity within the African-American community will be the focus of a Dec. 9 CNN Black In America documentary, according to network officials," R. Thomas Umstead reported for Multichannel News.
"Hosted by Soledad O'Brien, Who is Black in America? — the fifth installment of CNN's Black In America documentary franchise — will examine how much race and identity are personal choices versus reflections of what society thinks and believes. . . . "
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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.
Wikileaks uncovered the story. Why didn't we hear much about it in the news?
Perhaps understandably, a court ruling that a Zimbabwean mining executive must pay U.S. $10 million in defamation damages because of comments published by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks did not get much Western news coverage.
Andrew Cranswick, CEO of African Consolidated Resources, allegedly told U.S. diplomats that the country's spy chief, Happyton Bonyongwe, and other officials were looting diamonds from the country's diamond fields, according to U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks in 2009.
Cranswick says he never spoke to U.S. embassy officials. Still, Radio France International, which reported the judicial ruling last month, said the judgment was likely to encourage piling on by other officials linked to President Robert Mugabe's party. They, too, have launched lawsuits over WikiLeaks.
Closer to home, a military trial at Fort Meade, Md., has begun for Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and classified reports while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010. The cables involved the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as U.S. relations with Third World countries.
Left-wing groups have accused much of the mainstream media, particularly the New York Times, of downplaying the start of Manning's trial.
On Wednesday, the New York Times public editor agreed. "In failing to send its own reporter to cover the fascinating and important pretrial testimony of Bradley Manning, The New York Times missed the boat," Margaret Sullivan wrote. ". . . The testimony is dramatic and the overarching issues are important. The Times should be there."
The media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting said Tuesday, "These dramatic developments, in particular the testimony from Manning (11/29/12), were mostly unreported in corporate media. The New York Times ran a brief Associated Press wire story (11/30/12). Manning's story was mentioned by just one of the three big network newscasts (CBS Evening News, 11/29/12). There was a brief mention on the PBS NewsHour (11/30/12), mostly about suicide risk."
What were these reporters missing? Eliza Gray wrote Wednesday for the New Republic, "Last week, in a Grisham-like courtroom scene, Bradley Manning -- the Army private charged with leaking hundreds of thousands of classified war logs and State Department cables to WikiLeaks -- testified publicly for the first time since his arrest in May of 2010. For more than five hours, Manning described the two months he spent in a 'cage' inside a dark tent in Kuwait and the nine months that followed in 23-hours-a-day solitary confinement on a Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia. In one theatrical moment, Manning got up from the stand and paced inside a 6 by 8 tape outline on the courtroom floor to demonstrate the size of his prison cell. In another, he donned the suicide smock he had to wear."
The case is far more important than the fate of one man, however.
It places some members of the news media in collusion with what could be ruled an illegal act. It makes some journalists uncomfortable.
"The Times has always had a rocky relationship with WikiLeaks, Manning, and other leakers of state secrets," Gray wrote. "After publishing the cables, Bill Keller, the Times executive editor at the time, wrote an 8,000-word New York Times Magazine story in which he compared Julian Assange," editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, "to a 'bag lady.' 'We regarded Assange throughout as a source, not as a partner or collaborator,' he wrote." In Britain, "The Guardian, on the other hand, sought 'partnership between a mainstream newspaper and WikiLeaks: a new model of cooperation aimed at publishing the world's biggest leak,' as Yochai Benkler described it in the Harvard Civil-Rights Civil-Liberties Law Review."
The State Department would not detail the damage done by the released cables. A spokesman told Journal-isms by email, "The Department of State does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked. Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for the lives of identified individuals that are jeopardized, but also for global engagement among and between nations. Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches."
Andy Greenberg, author of "This Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim To Free The World's Information," speaking in September on "The Diane Rehm Show," an NPR program originating at Washington's WAMU-FM, compared the WikiLeakers with the now-celebrated Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg released "The Pentagon Papers" on the Vietnam War in 1971, first to the New York Times, then to the Washington Post. That case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the government could not restrain publication even if there was some danger to national security.
The difference? ". . . Assange was just more interested in these record-breaking leaks, the act of leaking, than even the content of the information," Greenberg said. ". . . I do believe that Manning erred in releasing this kind of unfiltered, just massive mega leak of information. I believe he should have done more what Ellsberg did, which is to read it all himself, to filter himself and not put these innocent sources in danger."
In a piece Thursday in the Huffington Post, Assange asserted, ". . .The material that Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked has highlighted astonishing examples of U.S. subversion of the democratic process around the world, systematic evasion of accountability for atrocities and killings, and many other abuses." Included was a revelation that two journalists, one a Spaniard, were killed during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq when a U.S. tank fired on a Baghdad hotel, and that the United States sought to have Spain drop plans to prosecute three U.S. solders who were involved.
". . . It is the case that WikiLeaks' publications can and have changed the world, but that change has clearly been for the better," Assange wrote. Perhaps unaware of the case of the Zimbabwe mining executive, he added, "Two years on, no claim of individual harm has been presented . . ."
David Leonhardt, the Times' Washington bureau chief, defended the Times' coverage of Manning's military hearing, explaining, Sullivan said, "that, in essence, The Times did not think the hearing itself demanded coverage.
". . . Again, though, readers can definitely expect more coverage of Mr. Manning in the weeks to come," Leonhardt added. The subject also came up Wednesday in Leonhardt's online chat with readers.
Because of technology, there will be more such cases to cover -- or be part of, author Greenberg indicated on the Rehm show. "Use the right cryptographic tools, keep your mouth shut and you too can anonymously, frictionlessly eviscerate an entire institution's information," the author said. "There may not be many Daniel Ellsbergs in the world ready to push through the 20th Century's stubborn barriers to leaking, but the 21st Century would be wise to expect more Bradley Mannings."
Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: Julian Assange, Erin Burnett and the Battle Over Press Freedom
J. Nicholas Hoover, InformationWeek: State Department CIO: What's Changed Since WikiLeaks (April 5)
Peter Kornbluh, the Nation: WikiLeaks: The Latin America Files (July 25)
Richard Tofel, Pro Publica: Why WikiLeaks' 'War Logs' Are No Pentagon Papers (July 26, 2010)
Members of the associations in the Unity Journalists coalition will have a choice for a new name that does not include a return to "Journalists of Color" or a variation, the coalition announced Tuesday.
"Over the weekend, UNITY board members met online to discuss the UNITY Name Task Force's process, and as a result, a tweak has been made to the ballot in which members will be voting on a new name for UNITY," according to a notice posted on the Unity website.
"We ask for patience and understanding. And in particular, we apologize to AAJA members," referring to the Asian American Journalists Association. "Some AAJA members have already cast their votes and will be asked to do so again on this new ballot, which will be made available to members by their associations on Wednesday.
"The new ballot will contain three choices; although Nos. 1 and 2 remain the same, No. 3 was tweaked:
"1. UNITY: Journalists of Color
"2. UNITY: Journalists of Color & Diversity
"3. UNITY: Journalists for Diversity
"The first two names on the ballot were the most suggested during the month-long suggestion phase, when the public was asked to submit ideas via email to UNITYname@gmail.com. The third name was also one of the suggestions submitted, although it was not one of the top three.
"Members will vote through their alliance associations. Members will have 10 days to vote, ending 11:59 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 14. No write-ins will be considered."
The coalition of Hispanic, Asian American, Native American and lesbian and gay journalists last month unveiled three choices for a new name. The third choice, "UNITY: Journalists of Color & for Diversity Inc.," was dropped in favor of "UNITY: Journalists for Diversity" after association members said some white lesbian and gay journalists were uncomfortable with "of Color."
National Association of Hispanic Journalists: Cast Your Vote For A New Name For UNITY
"A New York Post front page picture of a man about to be killed by an oncoming subway train provoked fury from readers left wondering why nobody, particularly the photographer, tried to pull the victim to safety -- and why the tabloid published the image," Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.
"Police say the victim, identified as Ki Suk Han, 58, was thrown onto the tracks during a fight Monday with a deranged man in a Manhattan subway station. He then staggered to his feet and tried, but failed to get out the way of the train, which killed him -- in full view of a crowd of passengers.
"One of those bystanders was a freelance photographer from the Post who managed to take a series of photos, including the one occupying the whole front page Tuesday under the headline: 'This man is about to die.'
"In a video report on the story, the Post appeared to suggest that the picture and two others in a double-page spread inside the newspaper, were just unintentional byproducts of the photographer's rescue attempt.
" 'Not being strong enough to physically lift the victim himself, the photographer used the only resources available to him and began rapidly flashing his camera to signal the train conductor to stop,' the report said.
"But readers quickly slammed the Post's photographer and editors for what they saw as a callous attitude to the tragedy. . . ."
R. Umar Abbasi, New York Post: Anguished fotog: Critics are unfair to condemn me
Jeff Bercovici, Forbes: New York Post's Subway Death Photo: Was It Ethical Photojournalism?
Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Help wanted: New York subway horror
David Carr, New York Times: Train Wreck: The New York Post's Subway Cover
Richard Esposito and Colleen Curry, ABC News: Suspected NYC Subway Pusher Charged With Murder
Leonard Greene, New York Post: Seasoned straphangers turning into wall huggers
J. Bryan Lowder, Slate: What Disturbs Us Most About the N.Y. Post Subway Death Cover
Julie Moos, Poynter Institute: Irby: Blame NY Post editors, not photographer, for subway death photo
Hamilton Nolan, Gawker: New York Post Commenters Have Some Interesting Racist Thoughts on This Tragic Subway Death
Kelly McBride, Poynter Institute: Would you snap a picture or pull the man to safety?
Leigh Weingus, Huffington Post: Witnessing a Tragedy on My Way to Work
". . . Hearst has a huge PR problem on its hands in the form of a big-news lawsuit -- and its lawyers have begun to prepare by contacting affected parties in order to solicit positive testimony," Patrick Coffee wrote Tuesday for PRNewser. "We're not quite sure that will work.
"The story: When Diana Wang applied for an internship at Harper's Bazaar, her only real goal was to make her mark on the fashion industry. She knew that it wouldn't amount to a full-time job (it was her seventh unpaid internship), and she told New York Magazine of saving every penny in order to afford the opportunity to work as 'head accessories intern' at Bazaar.
"The work was considerable: Wang supervised eight other interns, and she claims that editors at the magazine told her that her internship 'should be considered a real job.'
"Unfortunately, the internship did not lead to the fashion gig she craved -- or any other gig. Her supervisor was bold enough to tell her that she wasn't ready for a job in fashion and that she should consider another internship. With that, she started considering her options. Given the fact that she worked a full-time schedule and drew no discernible benefits from the internship, Wang decided to file a lawsuit claiming that the internship was actually an unpaid job -- and 3,000 other former interns joined her. . . ."
Alice Hines, Huffington Fashion Week 2012: Unpaid Internships Questioned After Diana Wang's Harper's Bazaar Suit (Feb. 14)
Josh Sanburn, Time: The Beginning of the End of the Unpaid Internship (May 2)
Kayleen Schaefer, New York magazine: The Norma Rae of Fashion Interns (Sept. 11)
The management of Washington community radio station WPFW-FM "was hit with two charges last Friday as the union representing workers there demanded back pay and documentation from the local Pacifica station," the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO reported Wednesday.
" 'We're going all the way now,' said a frustrated Pat O'Donnell, executive director of SAG-AFTRA's Washington-Mid Atlantic Local. 'It's just too, too long, waiting to be paid what we're owed and given information we've been promised.'
"The union filed with the American Arbitration Association for raises owed since 2011, as well as an Unfair Labor Practice with the [National Labor Relations Board] for WPFW's failure to provide documentation about its financial situation. 'They've been threatening layoffs and crying poverty, yet after months of promising us documentation, we haven't seen a single thing,' O’Donnell told Union City."
Meanwhile, syndicators of "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin; "The Takeaway" with John Hockenberry and "Smiley & West" with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West denied a posted statement from WPFW supporters that the shows did not go on as planned this week because WPFW had not paid for them. The programs were to be imported to the station as part of a controversial reformatting that saw the departure of more than a dozen people, including Bobby Hill, the interim program director who implemented the orders to remove the targeted hosts.
"Payment is not an issue," NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher Bross told Journal-isms by email.
"We negotiated broadcast rights for Tell Me More with WPFW. Our understanding is that WPFW is determining the content of the streaming service it offers because streaming rights to NPR programming are limited to NPR Member stations."
Julia Yager, vice president for brand management and marketing strategy for Public Radio International, said by email, "PRI bills stations after they begin airing content, and we would not yet have expected payment from WPFW for programming that was to begin airing this Monday. I do understand that there have been some technical hiccups in receiving the content, and we expect that is why the programs didn't begin airing." PRI distributes "The Takeaway" and "Smiley & West."
Yager said by telephone that "The Takeaway" has no underwriters or sponsors, removing a possible objection by Pacifica staffers who said programs with corporate underwriters would be in conflict with the Pacifica anti-corporate mission.
"The Takeaway," originally a four-hour morning-drive program that competed with NPR's "Morning Edition," has been retooled as an midday hourlong show. It was designed to attract younger and more diverse listeners, Yager said.
While the median age of NPR listeners is 48, "The Takeaway aims at those in their mid-20s to mid-30s," Yager said, and seeks to attract more African Americans and Hispanics. Its listenership is 18 percent African American, compared with an average of 10 percent for NPR shows, Yager said. Four months into its shortened format, it airs on 73 stations.
Jonathan L. Fischer, Washington City Paper: WPFW Suspends Some Programming Changes
"The newest issue of Jet magazine, which hits newsstands today, features its first black male couple in its weddings section, according to GLAAD," Marquise Francis reported Tuesday for the Grio, referring to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"Ravi Perry, an assistant professor of political science at Mississippi State University, and Paris Prince, a licensed real estate broker and compliance officer for Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination, were married in August at their home in Worcester, Mass.
"The feature of the newlyweds includes a short bio of the couple and explains how the two fell in love."
Jet Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller said in a statement, "Personally and as a policy here at JET Magazine, we respect and embrace all humanity regardless of sexuality. There is no reason not to include same sex couples in our celebration of Black love."
"Looking to tap the wealth of U.S. Latinos, CNN is planning to introduce a Spanish-language programming service tailored for broadcast TV stations next year," Meg James reported Monday for the Los Angeles Times.
"The service, CNN Latino, is being designed as an eight-hour programming block featuring news, documentaries, talk shows and lifestyle programming. It is expected to launch in late January in Los Angeles on independent station KBEH-DT Channel 63 and eventually be carried by TV stations in other cities.
"CNN Latino comes 15 years after the Atlanta-based news organization launched CNN en Español, a 24-hour Spanish-language news network available in about 30 million homes in Latin America and 7 million homes in the United States. CNN en Español also provides news feeds for Spanish-language radio stations.
"With CNN Latino, the company is attempting to diversify by providing a syndicated block of entertainment shows -- not just news -- to share in the increasing amount of advertising dollars being steered to Latino outlets. CNN's goal is to compete with established Spanish-language networks. . . ."
"Egypt's independent and opposition newspapers did not publish their Tuesday (December 4th) editions, saying they are protesting a lack of press freedom in the country's draft constitution," Egypt's Al Shorfa reported. ". . . The Egypt Independent announced on its website that it suspended publishing because it 'objects to continued restrictions on media liberties, especially after hundreds of Egyptians gave their lives for freedom'."
After 19 years at the Miami Herald, where she covered Latin America, Frances Robles is heading for the New York Times. "She starts early next year," Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Journal-isms by email. "She'll be in Metro (in NY) for a few months of orientation, then go to Miami as a joint National-Foreign correspondent in Florida and the Caribbean." Robles is also a former board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a current board member of the South Florida chapter.
"American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama," by Rachel L. Swarns of the New York Times, was named one of the 100 notable books of 2012 in the Dec. 2 print edition of the New York Times Book Review.
Tony Cox, veteran journalist and radio host, is temporarily hosting "Marketplace Money" for American Public Media. "Marketplace Money is currently hiring a new full-time host to replace Tess Vigeland, who left Marketplace last month," Jen Keavy of American Public Media told Journal-isms by email. "Tony Cox is one of several Los Angeles-based radio presenters who will be hosting Marketplace Money on an interim basis while we complete that hire. We're fortunate enough to have Tony hosting the show through the end of the year, and we may draw on his expertise in February too, if we haven't completed our search for a full-time host by that time. Meanwhile, Tony will continue to perform his duties an Associate Professor at California State University, Los Angeles."
Adena Andrews, a columnist for the woman-focused espnW, is joining CBSSports.com as a CBS Sports blogger working on seasonal programming and events, CBS spokeswoman Jennifer Sabatelle told Journal-isms. In June, Andrews was a member of the inaugural class of the Associated Press Sports Editors Diversity Fellowship Program, which trains sports journalists of color for management jobs.
President Obama met at the White House with Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O'Donnell and Ed Schultz, MSNBC's nighttime hosts, Jennifer Bendery reported Tuesday for the Huffington Post. "Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, was also in the meeting." Obama is also seeing African American leaders and appearing on black radio shows to build support for his position in budget negotiations with Congress.
The Root's Keli Goff, among the journalists at a White House holiday party Wednesday night, wrote on Facebook that she said to President Obama: "My mom is such a fan of yours. She gets upset if I write something that's even the least bit critical of you." The president replied, "Then I will be calling her from now on about your writing." Michael Cottman of Black America Web said first lady Michelle Obama wished him a happy birthday after his wife, Melanie Trottman of the Wall Street Journal, told her it was coming up. It's on Sunday.
Lynn Jimenez, business reporter for KGO-AM radio in San Francisco, has been off the air since Nov. 18 to tend to her ailing father, Rich Lieberman reported Tuesday for the Rich Lieberman Report. "In fact, Jimenez donated one of her kidneys to her father and wrote extensively about it and what it felt like."
Irving W. Washington III, formerly program manager for the National Association of Black Journalists and consulting scholarship manager for the Online News Association, has been promoted to director of operations at ONA. "In this role, Irving will be responsible for directing the overall business operations of the organization, managing the annual conference, and overseeing programmatic objectives for the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship, MJ Bear Fellowship and Online Journalism Awards," ONA announced on Tuesday.
"More than 60 percent of federal agencies have not responded to calls by Congress or President Barack Obama to update their Freedom of Information Act regulations, according to a National Security Archive report released today," Lilly Chapa reported Tuesday for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Lauren Harper, a research assistant at the Archive, "said that many agencies, particularly the smaller ones, say they suffer from a lack of resources when it comes to their FOIA work."
"According to multiple Fox sources," Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes "has issued a new directive to his staff: He wants the faces associated with the election off the air -- for now," Gabriel Sherman reported Tuesday for New York magazine. "For Karl Rove and Dick Morris -- a pair of pundits perhaps most closely aligned with Fox's anti-Obama campaign -- Ailes's orders mean new rules. Ailes's deputy, Fox News programming chief Bill Shine, has sent out orders mandating that producers must get permission before booking Rove or Morris."
"Gawker Media, the online-only publisher that owns brands such as Jezebel, Gizmodo and, of course, Gawker, has taken a strategic move to expand its network into the Hispanic marketplace with the acquisition of Guanabee Media," TJ Raphael reported Tuesday for Folio:. Raphael interviewed Daniel Mauser, publisher and founder of Guanabee Media and Gawker Media's new head of International Business, Latin America.
David Honig, president and executive director of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, is urging the Federal Communications Commission to relax its prohibition against a company owning both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city. ". . . We must ensure that journalism -- particularly at the local level -- does not continue to deteriorate," Honig wrote Tuesday. "Relaxing the cross-ownership ban would provide newspapers with immediate relief. Cross-owned newspapers and television stations pool resources and collaborate on investigative projects. FCC-commissioned studies have concluded that television stations that are cross-owned with newspapers provide more public affairs programs and local news than other stations."
A television version of the Root 100, the annual list of African American achievers and influencers between 25 and 45, debuted Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ASPiRE, a new black-oriented cable network. The interview series is called "The Root 100" and is hosted by Suzanne Malveaux, a 2010 and 2011 honoree, Stacy-Ann Ellis reported for the Root. ASPiRE was founded by Magic Johnson. The weekly show is to highlight 24 honorees for 2012.
Latina magazine's "Inspiring Latina of the Week" is Cindy Rodriguez, an editor at CNN who writes and edits content for Latinos. "Part of my job will be serving as a liaison between CNN Español, CNN Mexico and CNN International to help spot newsworthy topics and trends that best serve the acculturated Latino audience in the U.S.," Rodriguez said. Rodriguez, 29, who is Peruvian-American, was instrumental in the launch of Latino Voices at the Huffington Post and worked there as an editor, Laura Hernandez reported Tuesday.
"Although the goals were set independently," Discovery CEO David Zaslav "says that his joint venture with Oprah Winfrey is growing fast enough that it doesn't have to expand to 85M homes -- from 80M now -- to fulfill his prediction that it will break even in the second half of 2013," David Lieberman reported Tuesday for Deadline New York. " 'The ratings growth has been fantastic,' he told investors and analysts on Day 2 of the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference."
The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, hometown newspaper for Washington Post writer Wil Haygood, wrote Sunday about the movie adaptation of Haygood's 2008 story about butler Eugene Allen, who worked for eight presidents in his 34 years at the White House. "With Lee Daniels (Precious) directing, the cast includes a roster of A-list actors, including Robin Williams and Melissa Leo as the Eisenhowers, Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda as the Reagans, and Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lenny Kravitz as other butlers," Amy Saunders wrote.
"Reporters in Tunisia say they face pressure that undermines their financial and editorial independence," Houda Trabelsi wrote Tuesday for Magharebia, a website sponsored by the United States Africa Command targeting Northwest Africa but based in Washington. "We noticed that there was a clear improvement in the freedom of press in Tunisia after the revolution," researcher Judith Pies said. "Yet, we still observed attempts by the government to interfere in the media sector."
"The International Press Institute (IPI) is deeply concerned for the well-being of jailed Cuban journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez, who has been on a hunger strike since Nov. 10 to protest prison conditions," Scott Griffen reported Wednesday for the International Press Institute.
"Journalists were among the many victims when police and protesters clashed violently during President Enrique Peña Nieto's inauguration in Mexico City on 1 December, resulting in more than 80 arrests and leaving around 20 people seriously injured," Reporters Without Borders reported. "Those arrested including two photographers -- Mircea Topoleanu, . . . a 32-year-old Romanian freelancer, and Brandon Daniel Bazán, a freelancer working for the magazine Café MX. They are still being held in the city's Reclusorio Norte prison."
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Did the media pay enough attention to domestic violence and the NFL star's slain girlfriend?
News outlets were praised and criticized for their coverage of the murder-suicide involving Jovan Belcher, the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker who killed his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself Saturday.
Not only did commentators evaluate coverage of the tragedy by CBS, ESPN and the NFL Network as a news event, but they also faulted or praised the emphasis given by print and broadcast outlets to the slain girlfriend, to the issue of domestic violence and to gun control as part of the story. NBC's Bob Costas and Fox Sports Network's Jason Whitlock were singled out for attention.
Richard Deitsch wrote Sunday for Sports Illustrated, ". . . CBS's The NFL Today show disgraced itself on Sunday.
"Viewers understand that networks have bills to pay and can tolerate mild product placement. But common sense and decency should always carry the day, and 24 hours after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered Kasandra Perkins (the mother of their three-month old daughter, Zoe), The NFL Today opened its pregame show with a ham-handed live advertisement for Garmin that featured host James Brown hawking the product ('We would like to thank our friends from Garmin for helping navigate our open!') like a GPS-happy P.T. Barnum."
Deitsch continued, ". . . Yesterday, on ESPN's Sunday Countdown, host Chris Berman began the show on the appropriate somber note, with the producers showing a live shot inside Arrowhead Stadium. Berman then sent the audience to reporter Ed Werder, a longtime journalist who had traveled to Kansas City. Werder provided what Werder always does: credible reporting. Given the news in Kansas City, ESPN, to its credit, canceled its comic segment with Frank Caliendo and its frivolous 'Come On, Man' segments."
In the Times Union in Albany, N.Y., Pete Dougherty also praised ESPN but panned the NFL Network. "ESPN, still the place to turn for any major breaking sports story, followed journalist principles today before reporting the [identity] of the Kansas City Chiefs player who killed his girlfriend and then himself," he wrote Saturday.
"Meanwhile, the NFL Network proved itself to be a fraud when it comes to breaking news.
"ESPNews reported the story when it broke and continued to update viewers, but did not identify the player as linebacker Jovan Belcher -- even though numerous Internet reports did -- until police released the name."
Deitsch noted, ". . . Covering crime is not easy for a sports network, but it does reveal something about its journalistic DNA. As news broke Saturday morning from Kansas City, the NFL Network opted to continue airing its regular-scheduled programming (in this case, a repeat of Playbook AFC with Sterling Sharpe) while using the scroll at the bottom of the screen to update coverage.
"I kept popping back to the network, and the only hint of coverage I saw was someone from a makeshift studio giving a 60-second news brief. The Golf Channel's Damon Hack, who covered the NFL for years for the New York Times and Sports Illustrated, spoke for many viewers when he tweeted, 'What's up w NFL Network? S Sharpe is dancing? [Matt] Millen says he's going to show how P Manning 'kills people' w play action? Can't be live.'
". . . Here's spokesperson Alex Riethmiller. 'NFL Network became aware of the breaking news in Kansas City shortly before 8 a.m. PT (NFLN's studios are located in California) on Saturday. Immediately, a story went up on NFL.com, which was composed of information from NFL.com reporters Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer, as well as wire services. At 8 a.m. PT, NFL Network broke into regularly scheduled programming (a repeat of Playbook) to report the news. NFL Network continued to give live updates from the newsroom every 30 minutes, providing the latest news and developments.'"
CBS Sports spokeswoman Jennifer Sabatelle did not reply to a request from Journal-isms for comment, but Deitsch wrote, "Asked by USA Today Sports how CBS covered the Belcher story, CBS Sports executive vice-president/production Harold Bryant said, 'We covered it very well.' And so it goes."
On NBC, meanwhile, the Associated Press reported, ". . . Bob Costas used his halftime segment on 'Sunday Night Football' to advocate for gun control . . . causing an immediate debate on social media. . . .
". . . In a segment about 90 seconds long, Costas paraphrased and quoted extensively from a piece by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock."
"The online reaction to Costas' segment was swift, with many people criticizing the broadcaster for expressing his personal views on a program meant for entertainment."
Whitlock had written Saturday, "Football is our God. Its exaggerated value in our society has never been more evident than Saturday morning in my adopted hometown. There's just no way this game should be played."
Jemele Hill of ESPN advocated a different approach. "Rather than hanging Jovan Belcher's jersey inside his locker as an awkward tribute and having a moment of silence for domestic violence victims before Sunday's game, the Kansas City Chiefs should have handed out this fact sheet from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to every player and all the fans who attended the game," Hill wrote on Monday.
alexthechick, doublplusundead blog: An open letter to Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock
Editorial, Kansas City Star: Seeking help, not succumbing to violence, is best response
Mike Freeman, CBS Sports: Agree or not, Chiefs want to play Sunday in wake of Belcher murder-suicide (Dec. 1)
Kansas City Star special section: Chiefs Murder-Suicide
David J. Leonard, Feminist Wire: Kasandr a Michelle Perkins: We Must Say Her Name
Roland Martin Talks With Jason Whitlock About His Column About Jovan Belcher's Murder-Suicide (podcast)
Greg Mitchell blog: Update: Costas Sparks Guns (and Football) Debate
Monte Poole, Oakland Tribune: Kansas City Chiefs tragedy won't stop NFL
Dave Skretta, Associated Press: Chiefs begin picking up pieces after heartache
Deron Snyder, Washington Times: Who's big enough to bring NFL to a halt?
Rachel Binns Terrill, Seattle Times: How Jovan Belcher tragedy reveals dark side of love in NFL
Travis Waldron, Think Progress: Bob Costas Was Right To Talk About Gun Violence During Sunday Night Football
The closing of the Daily, the standalone daily iPad newspaper from News Corp., publisher of the New York Post and owner of Fox News, marks the end of an experiment in a daily "newspaper" made expressly for tablets.
The restructuring, announced on Monday, also demonstrates that digital journalists can lose their jobs just as those in the print media, and shows that staff diversity can exist even online and at a News Corp. product.
"The newspaper had a high profile launch in February 2011, but had apparently struggled to pay its way -- recent reports suggested the losses were looking like $30 million a year, and rumors that Rupert Murdoch would kill the publication have been around since at least early summer," Adam Taylor and Julia La Roche reported for businessinsider.com.
". . . the brand will live on in other channels. Technology and other assets from The Daily, including some staff, will be folded into The Post."
Derek Rose, a copy editor at the Daily who was among those laid off over the summer, messaged Journal-isms, "though not without some frustrations associated with starting a new venture, it was really a good place to work, with a diverse workforce. I worked with some really talented journalists, of all different ethnicities. I know however much this might have been rumored, the reality of it is still a blow -- but I'm confident they'll land on their feet."
Rose is now writing a daily public health newsletter for a nonprofit and working part-time as a producer at SkyeAol.com. He recalled these other journalists of color working at the Daily:
Quindell Willis, a photo editor; Nadia Wynter and Carlton Christopher on the copy desk; Mara Gay, staff writer; Hasani Gittens, a news editor; reporter Myles N. Miller; Daniel-Johnson Kim, designer, and Peter Ha, tech editor. Rose, Christopher and Kim were let go over the summer; Ha said he left in April but was not let go. He said he had a short stint with TechCrunch and is now the news editor at Gizmodo.
Ha wrote a piece for Gizmodo on Monday, "What It Was Like Launching the Doomed iPad Magazine The Daily."
It began, "I was the 19th employee hired by The Daily. My first day as the tech editor was on November 1, 2010, and the plan was to launch the next month. Needless to say, I was scared shitless."
Ha told Journal-isms by email, "While I was only one of two section leads at The Daily of color [Dan Woo led the video team], I remember it being a fairly diverse and eclectic staff. As a person of color, I usually pay attention but it never crossed my mind in the 18 or so months that I was there. The design and video teams were the most vibrant. . . . As far as the business side is concerned, it was predominantly white."
Miller, 19, a freelance political reporter who covered the White House and Congress before being laid off in July, messaged, "There was much diversity at The Daily, across all teams at the paper. Very proud of all they've accomplished."
News Corp. declined to discuss the staff diversity. "Unfortunately, I am not able to provide you with information about our employees," spokesman Nathaniel Brown said.
John Biggs, TechCrunch: The Daily's Final Day: About 100 Employees In The Newsroom, Little Inkling Of Layoffs
"Aiming to cut costs in an increasingly troubled advertising environment, The New York Times announced on Monday morning that it would offer buyout packages," Christine Haughney reported Monday for the Times. "While the primary goal of the buyout program is to trim managers and other nonunion employees from its books, the company is offering employees represented by the Newspaper Guild the chance to volunteer for buyout packages as well.
"In a letter to the staff, Jill Abramson, executive editor of The Times, said she was seeking 30 managers who are not union members to accept buyout packages. She stressed that the paper had been reducing as many newsroom expenses as possible, like leases on foreign and national bureaus. But the hiring The Times has done in recent years to help make it more competitive online has restored the newsroom to the same size it was in 2003 -- about 1,150 people."
Meanwhile, Haughney reported Sunday, "While workers at many newspapers owned by Advance Publications have tried to brace themselves for what seems to be the inevitable -- layoffs and the end of a daily print product -- reporters and editors at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland are fighting back in an unusual way: they are taking their case directly to the public.
"The staff there has started a campaign to rally community support and to try to prevent cuts like the ones Advance has made in other cities. Using money provided by Local 1 of the Newspaper Guild and a grant from the Communications Workers of America, organizers have produced a television commercial, created a Facebook page that has attracted nearly 4,000 'likes' and started a petition that has nearly 6,000 signatures so far. They have also enlisted some celebrities, like the 'Hot in Cleveland' star Valerie Bertinelli, to support their cause."
Afi-Odelia Scruggs blog: From the Newspaper Guild: Plain Dealer Could Lose One-Third of Its Newsroom
Roger Yu, USA Today: Cleveland 'Plain Dealer' mulls layoffs, restructuring
Bobby Hill, the interim program director at Washington's WPFW-FM, the Pacifica-owned community radio station, tendered his resignation Monday after removing program hosts to fulfill the general manager's order for a station reformatting.
"After 30 years of varied service to WPFW, I sincerely regret that, in my second and current term as Interim Program Director, I have been involved in implementing a grid change that has caused such discomfort to many programmers and listeners," Hill wrote in a letter posted on a website created by dissatisfied WPFW staffers.
". . . The new grid was finalized late last week, resulting in notifications of impacts being shared with programmers with very little lead time," Hill continued.
"This was far different from the then new grid that I implemented as Program Director in the spring of 2008, which had a 5-month collaborative development process, and provided a one month lead time for impacted programmers and listener notification. When I had concerns that caused me to tender my resignation from my current interim position late in this new grid development process, I reconsidered and rescinded such tender, and instead worked hard and earnestly to implement the new grid as best I could. I have offered to meet with our General Manager John Hughes to revisit our new grid.
"None of this sits well with me. Should the aforementioned meeting/grid revisit occur, I would return in this position, if it were the greater will of John and the staff/programmers. . . ."
As reported last week, WPFW has decided to eliminate much of its music programming in favor of syndicated talk, including the Tavis Smiley radio show and Smiley's "Smiley and West," with activist Cornel West; and NPR's "The Takeaway," produced and hosted by John Hockenberry, and Michel Martin's "Tell Me More," which already airs on public radio's WAMU-FM. More than a dozen people have been let go in this effort to boost listenership.
The changes were to take effect Monday, but an archived speech by the late novelist James Baldwin aired instead of "Smiley & West," the rights for which the station would have to purchase.
Hughes has said the changes were required because the politically progressive station is in financial trouble, its ratings have declined and its demographics skew too old.
At a two-hour meeting attended by about 60 people Saturday night, one of two held that day, WPFW staffers and supporters said they were demanding restoration of the previous program grid and the removal of Hughes by the national Pacifica office.
The meeting concluded with intentions to seek a court injunction against the proposed changes, on the grounds that they violated the station's and Pacifica's mission. The imported programming is underwritten by corporations, at least one of which makes weapons, they said, while the community-funded Pacifica network was founded by a conscientious objector, considers itself pacifist and does not accept underwriting.
Esther Iverem, a WPFW host who is a former Washington Post Style reporter, told Journal-isms by email, "after a monday meeting, organizers are still exploring options."
Jonathan L. Fischer, Washington City Paper: An Early Look at WPFW's New Schedule (Nov. 30)
Jonathan L. Fischer, Washington City Paper: WPFW's Programming Director Resigns
Matthew Lasar, Radio Survivor: Rough notes: towards the end of Pacifica Radio (and the start of something new) (Aug. 5)
Clinton Yates, Washington Post: A part of WPFW died over the weekend
"For the better part of four years, progressive media has had President Barack Obama's back," Dylan Byers wrote Sunday for Politico.
"Now that he's won re-election, it is faced with a choice: Should the left continue always to play the loyal attack dog against the GOP, blaming the opposition at all hours of the news cycle for intransigence? Or, should it redirect some of that energy on the president, holding him to his promises and encouraging him to be a more outspoken champion of liberal causes?
"Already, there are rumblings of change.
"In the days and weeks following Obama's victory, progressive voices, primarily in print media, have made efforts to push the president on key parts of the unfinished liberal agenda -- including climate change, drone strikes, troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, civil liberties and gun control. . . ."
Perry Bacon Jr., the Grio: President Obama plays hardball in 'fiscal cliff' talks
Stanley Crouch, Daily News, New York: The base attacks on Susan Rice
George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Income Inequality Grows in U.S.
Tim Giago, indianz.com: Indian Country remains out of sight and out of mind
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian, Britain: Progressive media claims they'll be 'tougher' on Obama now
Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal and Education Defense Fund: Dis co-dancing toward the Fiscal Cliff
Eric Hananoki, Media Matters for America: CBS Analyst Frank Luntz Praised Paul Ryan While His Firm Received Money From His Campaign
Joel Jaeger, Council on Hemispheric Affairs: John Kerry vs. Susan Rice -- The View from Latin America (Nov. 29)
Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: Obama Should Take the Fight to the GOP Over Rice
Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Fiscal Cliff Is Still about Slavery, Not Money
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post News Media Services: GOP dug its own hole with Latinos
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Capitol Hill cronyism targets Rice
Geraldo Rivera, Fox News Latino: Too Little, Too Late on Immigration
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Why Medicare and Medicaid remain popular programs
"Bounce TV, the thriving African- American-targeted multicast network, was supposed to get stiff competition in what looked like the fastest growing niche in the programming world. But while would-be competitors Kin TV and Soul of the South have missed multiple launch dates, casting their very existence into question, another digi-net in the urban space quietly reached a year on the air," Michael Malone reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable. The text of the article is available only to subscribers.
"Punch TV, broadcasting to African-Americans, English-speaking Hispanics and anyone else 18-45 who identifies with the urban concept, adds 16 partner stations on Dec. 12, giving it a total of 35 -- and reaching 55 million U.S. households, according to Joseph Collins, Punch TV founder and CEO.
"The affiliates are low-power stations. But Collins, who got his start in broadcasting as a teenage intern at WVTV Milwaukee, says Punch offers something fresh, with a programming mix that's 70% original.
" 'The [others] are doing black nostalgia television,' he says. 'I am focused on something different.'
"Soul of the South had initially pegged the first quarter of 2012 for its debut, while Kin TV shot for August. Kin appeared to suffer a setback upon the announcement last month that Lee Gaither, its former CEO, had joined Africa Channel as executive vice president and general manager. Gaither would not comment, and Kin TV execs could not be reached. One person with knowledge of Soul of the South's plans said the network was targeting a Martin Luther King Day launch, and set the odds at 50-50 that it would happen. . . . "
"Fox received an 'F' from the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition and the National Latino Media Council today in the groups' annual network report cards," Dominic Patten reported Thursday for Deadline Hollywood. "But it's not because the network that airs The Mindy Project doesn't have enough Asian Pacific Americans or Latinos on their shows and in their company -- it's because Fox missed its deadlines to report its numbers.
"The APAMC says that on November 1 it gave Fox a deadline of November 15 to get back to them with the ethnic mix of their programming on both sides of the camera. . . . At the same time, the group, which gave Fox a C- overall last year, praised the network as being the only one that met its 2011 challenge to cast an Asian Pacific American in a lead role on a TV series: Debuting this season, Mindy Project stars and was created by Mindy Kaling whose heritage is Indian. The National Latino Media Council also criticized Fox today for not meeting its November 8 deadline.
". . . In response, Fox said today that they wanted to provide 'more accurate data' but were unable to do so within the APAMC's and NLMC's timelines. . . . "
The Asian group's report said, "Overall, NBC, with a B- (down one notch from last year's B), again ranked highest overall [PDF] in this year's APAMC report card, which marks the 11th anniversary of judging the inclusion of APAs in eight categories: actors, unscripted (reality) show participants, writers/producers, directors, development, procurement, executives, and network initiatives. . . ."
The Hispanic group's report said, "NBC's diversity strength comes from their behind the camera talent [PDF], and although they lack in the key area of in front of camera actors, they have pulled forward as leader of the diversity network pack. NBC gets an overall 'A-' for the 2011-12 season and they deserved it. Comcast's 2011 acquisition of NBC-Universal seems to have accelerated the progress NBC has made in its diversity programming efforts and we commend Comcast for it."
The Hispanic group gave ABC a "B" and CBS a "B+." The Asian group gave CBS and ABC a "C+."
"Lincoln is the first major biopic in more than 70 years of the man many consider our greatest president," Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote Monday in his blog for the Atlantic. "The result has been a fascinating back and forth among scholars and writers about what the film does and doesn't do, who it portrays and who it doesn't.
"Last week I spent some time (off-line) with New York Times film critic A.O. Scott debating the film's meaning and impact. We've decided to bring that discussion online and add in some other voices, including historian Kate Masur, who has examined how Lincoln deals with the role of African-American activism at the end of the Civil War.
"We pick up the conversation with the following note addressed to Scott and Masur, taking up our conversation from last week. The major theme under debate is simple: Why haven't more liberals defended Lincoln? . . ."
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Lincoln, Liberty and Two Americas
Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Slightly Longer Thoughts on 'Lincoln' (Nov. 30)
Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: What 'Lincoln' leaves out, and why it matters
Gary L. Flowers, Tri-State Defender, Memphis, Tenn.: 'Lincoln,' the movie: 'We' are what's missing
Nick Jimenez, Caller-Times, Corpus Christi, Texas: 'Lincoln' reminds us that politicians can have noble intentions
"The sixth Phyllis T. Garland/BA Network scholarship recipient is to be named this month, Columbia University J-school officials confirmed at press time," Wayne Dawkins reported for the December issue of the Black Alumni Network newsletter. ". . . This means the $5,000 scholarship opportunity will resume after a two-year dormancy. . . . The $5,000 helps underwrite the $81,000 cost of attending the graduate school."
"The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council has sold KYHN-AM in Ft. Smith, Arkansas to Kim Girdner," RadioInk reported on Monday. "KYHN was one of six radio stations donated to MMTC by Clear Channel in 2009, most of which have been placed with minority or women owner/operators."
"Univision's evening and late night newscasts had a strong November sweeps period, particularly among younger viewers," Merrill Knox reported Sunday for TVNewser. . . . "Compared to ABC's 'Nightline,' CBS' 'Late Show with David Letterman' and NBC's 'Tonight Show With Jay Leno,' " "Noticiero Univision," the network's evening newscast, anchored by Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas, "was the only program to post a year-over-year increase among younger viewers."
". . . far less than half of Americans are positive about the honesty of journalists, lawyers, insurance salespeople, HMO managers, stockbrokers, and advertising practitioners -- all of which have honesty ratings below 25%," Frank Newport, editor in chief of The Gallup Poll, reported on Monday.
"For those who refuse to believe that an innocent person could be convicted in a country founded on equal protection under the law, just consider the case of a young Texas Tech student from Fort Worth who was charged, tried, found guilty and sent to prison for a crime he did not commit," Bob Ray Sanders wrote Saturday for the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas. His subject was the case of the late Timothy Brian Cole. "But, as a documentary series premiering Tuesday on BET (Black Entertainment Television) shows, Cole is just one of many in this country who have been victims of a terribly flawed criminal 'justice' system based on bad policing, over-zealous prosecution and, yes, racism."
"Radio One, Inc. will consolidate its Syndication One Urban programming line-up with Reach Media, Inc. in 2013. The assembly of top talent, programming and prime national advertising inventory make Reach Media the leading radio network with the ability to speak directly to the African-American audience," the organizations announced on Monday. Marty Rabb, a spokesman for Reach Media, told Journal-isms the arrangement was intended to attract more advertisers, bringing "a mass and depth to that audience base."
"In the first issue of Symbolia, a publication that launches on the iPad today, you'll find a dispatch from Iraqi Kurdistan, a profile of a Zambian psychedelic rock band, and an article about environmental devastation in California's Salton Sea," Jessica Weisberg reported for Columbia Journalism Review. "All of these stories are told with comics."
"I've noticed in the last few years that some police, politicians and other public officials are extremely reticent to speak candidly," Lewis W. Diuguid wrote Sunday in the Kansas City Star. ". . . That's how social media have changed the flow of information from knowledgeable sources. Twitter, blogs, Facebook and YouTube have turned everyday people into citizen journalists who are too eager to 'expose' public officials."
Cesar Arredondo, Southern California freelance reporter, has been elected president of the new Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Nu Yang reported Monday for Editor & Publisher. SAG-AFTRA union representative Ray Bradford said in August there had been no NAHJ chapter "out of respect for the leadership, the long time leadership of the California Chicano News Media Association, which preceded the formation of NAHJ. . . . "
"Add former Democratic FCC commissioner and media consolidation critic Michael Copps to those criticizing Democratic FCC chairman Julius Genachowski for his media ownership proposal," John Eggerton reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable. ". . . Instead of hurrying in the wrong direction, wouldn't the Commission's time be better utilized by considering (and actually voting on) some of the dozens of recommendations that have been put before it by civil rights and public interest groups to establish programs and incentives to encourage minority and female ownership?" Copps said.
Comedian Steve Harvey of the nationally syndicated "Steve Harvey Morning Show" saved a small struggling lingerie shop in South Philadelphia Thursday by reading aloud a desperate letter begging for his help in saving the business, Jenice Armstrong wrote Friday in the Philadelphia Daily News. ". . . Within minutes, listeners had overloaded the website."
The Future Journalism Project describes itself as a "multiplatform documentary exploring the present state, current disruption, and future possibilities of American journalism," Nu Yang reported for Editor & Publisher. "This summer, FJP launched its Latin American counterpart at la.thefjp.org with editors José L. Leyva and Roberto Juárez-Garza."
"Judith Miller and Kirsten Powers were on Fox News this morning during a weekly media segment on 'Happening Now,' " Chris Ariens reported Friday for TVNewser. "The hot topic: MSNBC's Toure describing Sen. John McCain this week as a member of an 'old, white, establishment,' who 'wrongly and repeatedly attacked a much younger black woman [U.N. Amb. Susan Rice.]' "
"It's a race to be the best of the second best," Tanzina Vega reported Sunday for the New York Times. "On Monday, Univision, the dominant Spanish-language network in the United States, will announce a new name and look for its second-largest network, TeleFutura. The move is a direct shot at Telemundo, a rival for second place among domestic Spanish-speaking viewers. . . . The new name for the network will be UniMás."
Robin Washington, editor of the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, told readers Sunday how he had promoted his 1995 public television documentary about a 1947 Freedom Ride in an online poll seeking views on the "greatest documentary ever." ". . . I can still truthfully -- and shamelessly -- say 'You Don't Have to Ride Jim Crow!' was voted the 53rd greatest documentary of all time."
"According to a report published by Ventures Africa, an African business magazine and news service, Oprah Winfrey is no longer the richest black woman in the world," Ventures Africa announced Friday. "Folorunsho Alakija, a Nigerian Fashion designer and Oil tycoon is the richest black woman in the world, and is worth an estimated $3.3 billion." Forbes magazine estimated Winfrey's wealth at $2.7 billion in September.
"The head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today expressed disappointment at a recent decision taken by national authorities to suspend the transmissions of Radio Okapi, a radio station backed by the world body," the U.N. News Service reported on Monday.
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