The press corps in the Gulf had been on the story for more than six weeks, despite a tight-lipped disaster communications team.
"Speaking to the people of the Gulf Coast a week ago last Wednesday from Grand Isle, President Obama assured them that his administration would keep focused on the massive oil spill and its consequences," David Carr wrote Monday in the New York Times.
“ 'I am here to tell you that you’re not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind,' he said, but could not resist a sideswipe at the press corps in front of him. 'The cameras at some point may leave; the media may get tired of the story; but we will not.'
"Oops. The press corps in the Gulf had been on the story for more than six weeks, often dealing with a tight-lipped disaster communications apparatus that seemed to be in the hands of BP rather than the government.
"NBC anchor Brian Williams pushed back, politely but firmly, in an interview last Thursday with Mediaite, the media news site.
" 'I got a kick out of President Obama saying that even when the cameras go away, we’ll still be there for you,' he said in a telephone interview with the Web site. 'That ain’t the way this is going to play out. If anything, the cameras being here have compelled outside interests — government, BP — to kick this into another gear. With all due respect, the president might have had his scenario off by 180 degrees.' . . . ”
Buffalo Columnist Tries To Live on Minimum Wage
"As much as I’ve read about and written about poverty, I had no idea what it’s like to really be poor," columnist Rod Watson wrote May 27 in the Buffalo News.
"After taking this week’s Poverty Challenge sponsored by the Homeless Alliance of Western New York, I still don’t.
"But as a middle-class worker, I do know I won’t be so quick to judge low-income people when they make some choices that others can’t comprehend. The one thing the challenge drove home was the structural dimensions of poverty and the sheer hopelessness that can overwhelm those caught in its grip.
". . . The challenge invites people to try for two days to live on the budget of someone mired in poverty or, if that’s too daunting, someone living on the minimum wage. The alliance used government data on the costs of housing, health care, transportation and life’s other expenses and computed a budget. Taking the minimum-wage challenge, I had to live on that budget while bringing home $1,036 a month after taxes.
". . . Seeing things through that lens doesn’t excuse bad decision-making, but it does make it more understandable: What do you do when whatever you do is hopeless?
". . . As we drove through blighted areas on the Lower West Side, walled off by the Niagara Thruway, or East Side neighborhoods destroyed by the Kensington Expressway, the impact of policy decisions that deprived neighborhoods of investment and jobs became clear.
". . . Similarly, it will take deliberate policy decisions to reverse Buffalo’s blight and put people in a position so that they don’t have to throw up their hands and feel there’s no way out."
The American Society of News Editors, which received only seven responses after asking, it said, 28 online organizations to respond to its annual diversity survey, will "do a new census," according to ASNE President Milton Coleman.
ASNE To Try Again on Online Diversity Survey
The American Society of News Editors, which received only seven responses after asking, it said, 28 online organizations to respond to its annual diversity survey, will "do a new census," according to ASNE President Milton Coleman.
Coleman told Journal-isms he hoped to have the survey completed by the end of the summer and that it would be overseen by Bobbi Bowman, the former diversity director at ASNE who has conducted the previous censuses, and the co-chairs of ASNE's Diversity Committee, Karen Magnuson of the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., and Ronnie Agnew of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss.
ASNE has surveyed print newspapers since it set a goal in 1978 of having the nation's newspaper newsrooms reflect the racial demographics of the country. It later extended the survey to include the online operations at newspapers.
The organization reported in April that, "For the first time, ASNE also surveyed the staffs at 28 online only newspapers," but that "Only 25 percent returned their survey forms, compared to a nearly 65 percent response rate for daily newspapers."
At least five online news operations — Slate; the Daily Beast; TPM Media LLC, which publishes the Talking Points Memo; the Salon Media Group and National Public Radio — said they did not remember receiving the request.
In addition, journalist David Cay Johnston wrote that Brant Houston of the Investigative News Network told him "he wants the opportunity to answer the survey questions."
On the other hand, a spokeswoman for Yahoo told Journal-isms flatly, "We do not release our diversity statistics."
Anthony Moor of Yahoo is an ASNE board member.
So is Politico's editor-in- chief, John F. Harris, who has said, 'Our corporate policies don't allow me to release numerical data."
And the Labor Department confirmed last month that Yahoo, Google and three other Silicon Valley companies felt so strongly about not disclosing the information that they persuaded federal officials two years ago to block public disclosure. Moreover, the Labor Department agreed that to be forthcoming would be revealing "trade secrets."
AOL, which now claims to employ 4,000 journalists, 3,500 of whom are part-time or freelance, was another operation listed as not responding to the ASNE survey. Nor has it answered inquiries from Journal-isms about the diversity among its journalists. The Web site for the "AOL News Team" shows 19 writers and editors who all appear to be white, with people of color among the "contributors."
Coleman said that ASNE's initial 2010 survey "came when the organizational staff was in transition. We don't think it was a good survey, a telling survey. We may not have had the best lists and the best conditions. We seek people's help," he said, as ASNE "casts a much broader net."
Coleman, senior editor at the Washington Post, stressed that ASNE discloses only percentages and not actual numbers and that ASNE considered the survey essential to measuring progress on diversity as news is delivered on a growing number of platforms.
Was New Ebony Editor Really a First? It Depends.
In announcing the appointment of Amy DuBois Barnett this week as the new editor-in-chief of Ebony magazine, Johnson Publishing Co. said, "Barnett held top masthead positions at Teen People, entering history books as the first African-American woman in the country to head a major mainstream consumer magazine."
It was a description that had been used before. In 2008, the Associated Press called Barnett's 2003 hiring as editor of Teen People "another milestone — she was the first black woman to head a major mainstream magazine."
For at least one alert reader, the Johnson news release statement set off an alarm: What about the other black women who had edited mainstream magazines?
1988: Audreen Ballard, executive editor of the then-new Lear's magazine, founded by Frances Lear, former wife of television producer Norman Lear.
1988: Marcia Ann Gillespie, executive editor of Ms. magazine, later editor-in-chief.
1995: Sheryl Hilliard Tucker named editor of Your Company, a controlled-circulation small-business quarterly published by Money magazine and American Express Publishing Corp. She rose to become one of two executive editors of Time Inc.
1999: Corynne Corbett, promoted from executive editor to editor-in-chief at Mode, magazine for full-figured women. She went on to become executive editor at Real Simple and is now beauty director at Essence.
"By 'head' we mean 'Editor-in-Chief,' not Executive Editor," Johnson Publishing spokeswoman Wendy E. Parks told Journal-isms. "In Time Inc. nomenclature, the Managing Editor is the EIC. That's why the release carefully stated 'major mainstream consumer.' "
But wasn't Tucker the top editor and didn't Corbett and Gillespie hold the title of editor-in-chief? "'Major mainstream consumer' is defined as not controlled circulation or niche," Parks replied. "Teen People had a circ of 1.5 million and a readership of 12 million. But, I really hope in your reporting that you mention that the bottom line for Amy DuBois Barnett is that she deeply respects her colleagues in the industry and their related accomplishments. Each woman you’ve mentioned has helped to strengthen the industry overall in various meaningful ways."
"I congratulate her," Gillespie, who now consults and is working on a book, told Journal-isms.
Amy DuBois Barnett, deputy editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar magazine and former editor of Honey, was named editor-in-chief of Ebony magazine, effective immediately, Johnson Publishing Co. announced.
Updated on June 2 at 11:20 p.m. ET.
Amy DuBois Barnett, deputy editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar magazine and former editor of Honey, on Wednesday was named editor-in-chief of Ebony magazine, effective immediately, Johnson Publishing Co. announced. Harriette Cole, the magazine's creative director and its acting editor-in-chief since Bryan Monroe left as editorial director in April 2009, is leaving the publication "to pursue other opportunities."
Linda Johnson Rice, chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co., told the Chicago Sun-Times that "she has no immediate plans to sell Ebony or Johnson Publishing, the company that her late father, John H. Johnson, fashioned into an iconic and influential voice in the African-American community nationwide," Sandra Guy reported in the Sun-Times.
" 'I have no plans to sell the company. None,' Rice said, adding that she cannot say what might happen in the future. 'I’m really excited about Amy [Barnett] now. That’s my main concentration now,' Rice said.
" 'She's very forward thinking and very interested in our digital space,' Rice said. 'We need to be able to move the magazine forward, and to come up with additional stories and perspectives, and for it to have a stronger voice in the African-American community.' "
In the announcement, Rice said that "Harriette Cole has been an exceptional contributor to EBONY in her role as acting Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director in the continuing evolution of the magazine," said Rice. "She was an integral part of landing key covers including First-lady Michelle Obama, Oscar-award nominee Gabourey Sidibe and musical icon Prince. We wish her well in her future endeavors."
Cole wrote an advice column in the New York Daily News, was editor of Uptown magazine, made appearances on "Oprah" and the "Today" show, and had previously worked at Ebony and Essence. She was based in New York and edited Ebony from that city as well as from Chicago, where Johnson is based, spokeswoman Wendy E. Parks said. Cole is also an author.
Ebony is the largest magazine targeting African Americans, nosing out Essence with its average monthly circulation of 1,169,870 for the six months ending Dec. 31, according to figures reported to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Johnson Publishing Co., a privately held company,has been seeking a buyer in a tough economic climate for all magazines. Earvin "Magic" Johnson confirmed in February that an affiliate of his Magic Johnson Enterprises and Johnson Publishing Co. "were in advanced discussions to do business together," but said that "unfortunately we were unable to reach a definitive agreement."
Parks would say only that Johnson had "a number of qualified candidates" for the editor-in-chief job.
The announcement called Barnett "an award-winning media executive, writer and brand architect. Most recently, she was the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar. Prior to that stint, Barnett held top masthead positions at Teen People, entering history books as the first African-American woman in the country to head a major mainstream consumer magazine, and at Honey Magazine, where she doubled the circulation," it said.
It quoted Barnett: "EBONY has always represented the best of African-African achievement, society and culture, and I couldn’t be more honored to be at the helm as we enhance this icon for the 21st century. I’m excited to bring the EBONY brand to multiple media platforms and to engage new audiences who will surely be moved by its resonant, provocative and authoritative perspective on today’s African-American experience."
In her 2007 book, "Get Yours! The Girlfriend's Guide To Having Everything You Ever Dreamed of And More," Barnett wrote, "Take the initiative in your career: Whether it's updating your resume every few months, networking or dressing for success, Barnett urges women not to wait for that great job to fall in their lap — they have to go out and find it," as the Associated Press reported.
Barnett's appointment puts women in the key positions at Johnson Publishing, a decided change from the days when John H. Johnson, Rice's father, ran the company. Rice is CEO, Anne Sempowski Ward is president and COO, Mira Lowe is editor-in-chief of Jet, Candi Meriwether is Jet managing editor, Terry Glover is Ebony managing editor and Parks is director of corporate communications.
Richard Prince offers "10 Ways to Turn Pages This Summer" with a compilation of the best books by authors in the Washington-area.
Richard Prince's Book Notes™: Focus on D.C.
As the days get longer and voters turn up the heat on our national leaders, Washington becomes the setting for most of the nonfiction work listed here, at least it's where many of the authors make their livings.
The election of Barack Obama was a shot in the arm to the book industry, and it isn't slowing down. But journalists of color were attracted to other subjects as well: the legendary boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, the Little Rock Nine, the workings of the U.S. Senate, financial security and, of course, the news media. Laura Ling, who spent 140 days in North Korean custody along with fellow reporter Euna Lee, has a newly published account of her captivity, co-written with her sister, Lisa Ling. Lisa Ling's counterpoint describes her efforts, in Washington and elsewhere, to get the women freed.
Robin Givhan, fashion writer at the Washington Post, provided the text for "Michelle: Her First Year as First Lady, a Photographic Journal" (Triumph Books, paper, $14.95). Givhan won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2006 for her commentary in the Post, and this coffee table-style book is a Post production.
"It is illustrated with some of the most candid photos I’ve yet seen by Post photojournalists Marvin Joseph and Bill O’Leary," Jean Patteson wrote in the Orlando Sentinel. "This is not the first book featuring the first lady. But it is the first that is more — much more — than a mere clothing catalog." Patteson called the book "insightful and thought-provoking. And wonderful though the photographs are, it is the text that is the real gem. 'Michelle' is written by someone very like the first lady — an intelligent, successful and articulate African-American woman. And although the author’s pride and affection for the first lady is palpable, she doesn’t hesitate to point out some of Mrs. O’s shortcomings and missteps."
A sample: "It may be that no matter what she does during her tenure as first lady, nothing will surpass the cultural resonance of her mere presence. Michelle Obama is Clair Huxtable made real. She is undeniable evidence of what accomplished, stylish black women and their functional black families had known for so long. We exist. Michelle is extraordinary. But she is not exceptional. She represents a community larger than herself — a world of middle-class success and achievement. A black community free of pathology and dysfunction. A place of normalcy that seemed beyond the capacity of Hollywood, Seventh Avenue and even Madison Avenue to truly imagine. And it is thrilled to be brought out of the shadows."
Wil Haygood, reporter for the Washington Post, wrote "Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson" (Knopf, $27.95).
Tim Rutten said in the Los Angeles Times, "With this book, Haygood — a feature writer for the Washington Post — completes a biographical trilogy that includes earlier prize-winning volumes on Sammy Davis Jr. and the Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., pivotal African American personalities whom the author clearly sees as having tilled the cultural furrows in which the seeds of the civil rights movement ultimately took root.
" 'Sweet Thunder' is by far the best of these books and, in describing an athlete now universally acknowledged as the greatest prizefighter who ever lived, better also than Robinson's own collaborative autobiography." (That would be "Sugar Ray," written with the New York Times' Dave Anderson and published in 1969.)
Haygood touches on Robinson's relationship with the press. On the whole, Haygood said at Washington's Politics and Prose bookstore, Robinson "did not like sportswriters at all. He had no friends in the media. The sportswriters thought he was uppity and arrogant. I think that was a shame." In 1952, Robinson asked W.C. Heinz, a highly respected New York sportswriter, to help him write his autobiography. Heinz refused after determining that he could not resolve conflicting stories about whether Robinson had gone AWOL during World War II. (The fighter claimed amnesia, and his early honorable discharge was said to be given for expediency.) Heinz would later say of Robinson, "He was a guy you'd like to have as a friend. But you couldn't trust him. He was a great con man."
Robinson said of his time promoting the book, released in October: "The amazing thing personally is that some of Sugar Ray's old friends — dancing partners, former sparring partners — have come out to see me give readings. A youth boxing team came out to see me in Watertown, NY, where Sugar Ray made his amateur mark back in the late 1930s, and they presented me with a pair of boxing gloves.
"Also, I gave a reading in Sugar Ray's Harlem that was so touching. It was at Hue-Man bookstore and Cong [Charles] Rangel, who knew Sugar Ray, was there. The New York Times even wrote a feature about me giving the reading in Harlem; feature was written by Corey Kilgannon," Haygood said via e-mail.
Gwen Ifill, the moderator and managing editor of PBS' "Washington Week" and senior correspondent of PBS' "The NewsHour," has written a new afterword for her best-selling "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama" (Doubleday, $24.95; Anchor Books, paper, $15.)
"Ifill's fine book is the first to put the Obama phenomenon in the larger context of African-American political empowerment," the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson wrote for theRoot.com after the book's Inauguration Day publication. "A new generation of black politicians has indeed found new ways to win elections and govern effectively." Ifill's afterword for the paperback edition, published in October, updates readers on the African American politicians she examined and reports on the surprise of others that Obama's election did not bring a "post-racial" society.
The public first heard of Ifill's book when she was about to moderate the Joe Biden-Sarah Palin vice presidential candidates debate in 2008. Although the chapter on Obama had not even been written, the book's very title, critics suggested, betrayed a vested interest in an Obama victory. As it turned out, the book really is not all about Obama, as Robinson noted:
"There are full chapters on Alabama congressman Artur Davis, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Another chapter offers mini-profiles of a host of other rising stars, such as former congressman Harold Ford Jr., Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty . . . One of Ifill's most striking discoveries is the extent to which these ambitious young turks have encouraged, supported and learned from one another."
One rap on Ifill's book was that she was too dispassionate in her analysis — "If anything, in her book she is too neutral a moderator," the Post's Alan Cooperman said. But in her afterword, Ifill is anything but neutral about the need for more conversation about race. As she promoted her book, she wrote, "I discovered that once the pressure valve is released, people are desperate to talk about race — as long as the conversation is leached of accusation, guilt and blame. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case."
Jon Jeter, a former Washington Post foreign correspondent who also was a producer for "This American Life" at Chicago Public Radio, wrote "Flat Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People" (W.W. Norton, $25.95). Jeter builds on his experiences as a bureau chief in Southern Africa and in South America to bring readers to impoverished communities there and in the United States.
He argues that, "From Argentina to Zambia, from Chicago to Soweto and D.C., to Rio, the restructuring of the global economy has ripped a hole through the earth, city by city, block by block, house by house. Globalization has widened inequality, corrupted politicians, estranged neighbors from one another, unraveled families, rerouted rivers, emptied ports of ships and flooded streets with protesters."
Writing in the Boston Globe, Rich Barlow said, "In the end, Jeter fingers a real problem, exaggerates its consequences, and manages to propose a sensible solution. Two out of three ain't bad."
Laura Ling and Lisa Ling have just published "Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home" (William Morrow, $26.99).
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for Al Gore's San Francisco-based Current TV, spent 140 days in North Korean custody before they were pardoned and freed last year after talks between former president Bill Clinton and the reclusive communist leader Kim Jong Il. The women had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for entering the country illegally in pursuing a story.
The chapters of "Somewhere Inside" alternate between Laura's account of her captivity and the efforts of her sister, Lisa Ling, a correspondent for the "Oprah Winfrey Show," to secure the women's release. The book promises insights into the media campaign Lisa Ling undertook to free them, taking us "deep into the drama involving people at the highest levels of government," according to the publicity material.
"Laura Ling's story, obviously, is the more compelling. Hers is a sometimes harrowing, sometimes surreal, sometimes mundane account of her nearly five months in prison," Julie Williamson wrote Sunday in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City.
"The written word is not these broadcast journalists' forte, and passages of 'Somewhere Inside' that should pull at the heartstrings are dry and flat. Yet the bond between the two sisters and the account of their ordeal is compelling enough to keep readers turning the pages."
Laura Ling writes that she is hoping for "an increased awareness of what's happening along the Chinese-North Korean border. North Korean defectors have endured unimaginable hardships and suffering within their homeland and beyond its borders, and their stories are in grave need of attention."
Adds Lisa Ling, "There are literally thousands of people who live in the shadows, unable to be free in China because they fear being caught and repatriated to North Korea, where they would face near certain death. Their stories are heartbreaking."
A portion of the authors' proceeds is being contributed to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the group Liberty in North Korea, which aids the refugees the women describe.
Lisa Frazier Page, articles editor at the Washington Post Magazine, co-wrote "A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School" by Carlotta Walls LaNier (Ballantine/One World, $26). LaNier is the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, the black students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. She soon commemorates the 50th anniversary of her 1960 graduation — the only woman of the Nine to participate in a graduation exercise. Two others received diplomas, but the schools were closed during that time.
In the Washington Times, John Greenya wrote, "The author, with the very skillful help of her co-author Lisa Frazier Page (who must be credited for infusing Carlotta Walls LaNier's first-person account with just the right amount of anger and indignation, and letting the brutal facts speak for themselves), takes us inside Central High. The reader walks the halls and experiences, vicariously, being hit by gobs of saliva, jostled so books fall to the floor and then being knocked over by the next faceless assailant, feeling her heels being stepped on from behind, day after day, as well as any number of other small indignities that add up to a mountain of hurt.
"But Carlotta Walls survived. She did get to college, and she did graduate, but she did not become a doctor. Just as she had feared, the turmoil of her high school years left her with an insufficient grasp of the science courses needed for medical school. Instead, she carved out a successful career in real estate, married Ira LaNier and had two children, and for many years told no one, in print, that she had been one of the Little Rock Nine. Until now."
Page told Journal-isms, "Her story is our story, our history. I thought I knew the story of the Little Rock Nine, but while working with Carlotta on this book, I learned so much that I didn't know. I think my colleagues will, too."
A paperback edition is to be published on July 26.
Andrea Seabrook, "Talk of the Nation," National Public Radio: 'A Mighty Long Way' From Little Rock
Byron Pitts, contributing correspondent for CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" and chief national correspondent for CBS News, wrote "Step Out on Nothing: How Family and Faith Helped Me Conquer Life's Challenges" (St. Martin's Press, $24.99).
After Pitts went to Haiti in the wake of its devastating earthquake in January, Kenny Irby of the Poynter Institute asked what advice he had for journalists covering such a tragedy. "On big stories the facts scream out, so whisper," Pitts said. "Get small. Go narrow and deep. Find the voiceless and give them voice. As a friend of mine told me once, 'Do the archeology.' Go deep. Find the nuggets."
For the paperback edition of "Step Out on Nothing," due this fall, Pitts told Journal-isms he is adding a chapter about Haiti "and the power lessons for all us about the strength we can find in the midst of struggle."
Struggle is one of the themes of Pitts' memoir, published last fall and immediately bolstered by appearances before the National Association of Black Journalists.
"I didn't learn to read until I was 12 and stuttered until I was 20. Today I'm on 60-MINUTES. Tell me God ain't good! :)," Pitts wrote to Journal-isms then.
He added, "I pray there is a word there for people of faith, people in the midst of struggle, people on the way up on the way down or just holding on in the middle of our profession. And a word to those who need encouragement and to those who encourage others (teachers, coaches, mentors, the old school souls in the newsrooms around the country)."
In another example of struggle, Pitts recalls that he was filling in as weekend anchor in a city he does not name, but the company wasn't offering him the job. "Finally, I pressed my news director, who was a friend. 'What's the deal?' I insisted. His response shocked me. His boss, a station executive, had said, 'A nigger would never anchor one of his broadcasts.' My news director reluctantly passed on the quotation.
"'You can sue if you'd like. Then you'll be blackballed and never work in TV. . . . Or you can press on,' he said, with a mix of sadness and disgust in his voice."
After praying and discussing the incident with family members, Pitts writes, he decided that "the point wasn't about a man's judgment of me; it was about what God had planned. Later that day, I went to my news director, thanked him for his honesty, and asked for his support when the chance came to move along. He agreed. A few months later I moved on.
"Perhaps I should rephrase that. I didn't move on. God moved me along."
Pitts says, "People who've read the book say they've been encouraged by my story. Gotten great support from journalists of course... but also teachers, parents and the faith based community."
Ishmael Reed, the social critic, novelist and poet, has a collection of essays, "Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers" (Baraka Books, Montreal, paper, $19.95).
"Reed's output has been labelled by some as incoherent, muddled and abstruse, and by others as multicultural, revolutionary and visionary. What is undeniable is that it is prodigious and multifaceted and has earned him international repute," Hubert Bauch wrote in the Montreal Gazette.
"The new book levels the charge that American mainstream media, dominated by white conservative-minded pundits, have set on a mission to 'break' the country's first black president," the reviewer wrote, "whose progressive ideals and objectives are anathema to the entrenched white moneyed establishment, which owns big media and manipulates it to inflame paranoid and racist sentiment among the white middle and underclass. He likens the process to the chastisement of insubordinate slaves in antebellum days administered by so-called 'nigger breakers' in what was the common American vernacular of the time."
Reed added in an interview with writer Jill Nelson, "Moreover, with the firing, and buyouts of the hundreds of minority journalists, black institutions, blacks in general, black celebrities and even the president are being judged by a mostly white media jury and a handful of acceptable right wing blacks, a few of whom are farther to the right than the white right."
Reed said he was unable to get the book published in the United States because "Serious fiction and non fiction by blacks are becoming extinct, except for that which upholds the current line coming from the media owners and the corporations that all of the problems of Africans and African Americans are due to their behavior."
The book gives a shout-out to reporting in "Journal-isms" and is partially dedicated "to the Maynard Dynasty" and to the memory of Nancy Maynard, co-founder of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
Terence Samuel, chief congressional correspondent for U.S. News & World Report from 2000 to 2005, has "The Upper House: A Journey Behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate" (Palgrave/Macmillan, $26.)
Samuel was deputy editor of theRoot.com and also worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer and AOL Black Voices. He is so plugged in that he helped kick off promotion of this book with an hour-long May 23 appearance on C-Span's "Q &A," followed two days later by an interview on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition."
When C-Span host Brian Lamb asked him about the effect of spending his early years in Trinidad, Samuel replied that he approaches his work — and this book— with a sense of wonder, bringing "an outsider's view of an inside system."
In "The Upper House," Samuel follows four people from the Senate freshman class elected in 2006: John Tester, D-Mont.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Jim Webb-D.Va.; and Bob Corker, R-Tenn. "The more interesting personal portraits come when Mr. Samuel accompanies some of the senators to their home states," Claude R. Marx wrote Friday in the Washington Times. "We see Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, explaining arcane policies to constituents and fixing a faulty motor on his farm's tractor. Readers also get a side view of Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar's encounters with the constituents and foods at the Minnesota State Fair.
"These vignettes give readers a more complete version of the lives of senators and the influences that shape their approach to lawmaking. Mr. Samuel's use of those stories, combined with an elegantly written analysis of the Senate's workings, make the book eminently worthwhile."
A friend commented, "I'm thrilled to see a black author receiving accolades for a political book that is not about Obama."
Michelle Singletary, syndicated personal finance columnist for the Washington Post, has "The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom" (Zondervan/HarperCollins, paper, $14.99), her third book.
Singletary is the winner of this year's Community Service Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. She created and directed "Prosperity Partners Ministry," a program in which men and women who handle their money well mentor others who are having financial challenges.
"The key feature of this book is the financial fast," Singletary writes in the book. "But if you think you can do this 21-day financial fast on your own, you are mistaken. It's going to take faith. It's going to take examining your relationship with God. It's going to take discipline. . . . This isn't going to be like any fast you've done before or heard about. Rather than eliminating only food or certain types of food, you're going to curtail your consumption in everything you buy. The path to prosperity begins by breaking the yoke to buy and buy and then buy some more."
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Twin Cities anchor Robyne Robinson ended 20 years at the local Fox station Wednesday as a prospective candidate for lieutenant governor, with critics questioning the ethics of how she and the station handled that prospect.
"Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza picked Robyne Robinson, who left her anchor post at Fox 9 Wednesday, to run on his ticket," the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported on Thursday.
"The pick, announced in person on the Minnesota Capitol steps a few minutes after Entenza announced it on Twitter, ended a week's worth of speculation fueled by Robinson's confirmation that she had been asked to run with him," Rachel E. Stassen-Berger wrote.
" 'It’s my distinct pleasure to announce Robyne Robinson @robynempls as my choice for lieutenant governor! Please welcome her aboard,' Entenza's staff announced on his Twitter account."
Robinson, the first African American anchor in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market, said her goodbye to viewers Wednesday night after she had already confirmed that she might be picked as a candidate, and amid criticism questioning the ethics of how she and the station handled that prospect.
"On her last 5 p.m. newscast, she read a poll about the Minnesota governor's race, which included the candidate whose ticket she was about to join. The next thing on the air was an Entenza ad," the Star Tribune noted.
"She and her station say there's no conflict of interest until she officially announces she's a candidate. Bull," Neal Justin had written Wednesday in his Star Tribune blog. "The minute she said openly that she'd think about it should have been the minute Fox officials thanked her for her service and showed her the door."
Thursday's Star Tribune story continued, "In a news release from the Entenza campaign, Robinson said: 'Whether it's his vision for the clean energy economy, his dedication to reinvesting in schools, or his commitment to civil rights, Matt has spent his career standing up for Minnesota families. I am humbled and honored that he asked me to join his campaign. I look forward to traveling the state over the next months on the campaign trail and then getting to work making Matt's bold vision a reality.'
"The mere possibility of an Entenza-Robinson ticket generated more heat for Entenza’s campaign than he’d been able to produce on his own, despite his year long campaign and his first-in-the-race television ad presence. While Fox 9 isn't seen in every corner of the state, she has fans all over and adds star power to his campaign.
"If the ticket wins, Robinson would be the first African-American lieutenant governor. But she’s not the first African-American candidate for the spot. Back in 1990, Independent-Republican candidate for governor Doug Kelley picked doctor and Eden Prairie City Council member Jean Harris as his running mate."
"Robinson hasn’t been directly involved in Minnesota elections — she hasn’t made any political donations, according to state and federal records. But her leanings haven’t been a mystery. More than a decade ago, she had a wall’s worth of political buttons that included, 'I believe Anita,' 'Jesse Jackson,' and 'U.S. Out of Persian Gulf.'"
- David Brauer, MinnPost: Fox9's Robinson good-bye 'will someday be taught in journalism schools as an example of how not to do it'
- Joe Kimball, MinnPost: Entenza touts TV anchor Robyne Robinson as 'outsider' running mate who will resonate with voters
Reporter's Intrusion Into Late Pianist's Home Criticized
"Last Sunday, the legendary jazz pianist Hank Jones died peacefully at the age of 91, at a Bronx hospice," journalists who write about the New York Times anonymously for the nytpicker website noted on Sunday.
"By the next day, NYT reporter Corey Kilgannon had talked his way into Jones's room in an Upper West Side apartment. On Tuesday, Kilgannon (sharing a byline with City Room editor Andy Newman) posted a piece on the City Room blog that portrayed Jones as a lonely old man in a messy studio — setting off a firestorm of complaints from Jones's family and friends that he'd invaded Jones's privacy, and besmirched his legacy.
"We'd say the complainers are right on both counts. Intentionally or not, the City Room post reads like an attempt to make Jones's life look lonely and sad, made even worse by the reporter's brazen disregard for Jones's privacy by snapping — and publishing — a photo from inside his room."
Kilgannon replied on the same blog. "I found it touching that Mr. Jones chose such an isolated life, towards the end, and I probably could have been better at describing that it seemed by-choice, out of passion for his art, not out of depression or some sense of shame," he wrote.
"This was not intended to define Mr. Jones and his legacy by the condition of his room, but rather to attempt to glimpse him as a human, to add to the official and public image we already have of him. If he lived in a mansion, I would have been just as eager to visit and write about that."
VeTalle Fusilier, ebonyjet.com: The Song is You: Hank Jones: An Appreciation