Petitions to cancel the show caught Oxygen's attention.
"Author Sabrina Lamb was looking forward to kicking off her New Year with a bottle of champagne and a quiet walk on the beach. Instead, on the first day of January she was greeted with a video link from a friend of a brand-new reality show that sent chills down her spine," Allison Samuels wrote Monday for the Daily Beast.
"The video was for All My Babies' Mamas, a new show developed by Oxygen Media featuring rapper Shawty Lo, his 11 kids, and 10 different mothers.
" 'My blood curdled just thinking about it,' Lamb told The Daily Beast.
"So did mine," Samuels continued. "And apparently that was the reaction of the nearly 40,000 people who signed a petition demanding that the show not air. Though the network denies it, Oxygen is expected to announce that All My Babies' Mamas won't ever see the light of day, according to my sources -- and that's a good thing. Still, I'm more concerned with how it ever reached this point. How could a network ever assume that a show about an African-American rapper with 11 kids by 10 women would be OK and not immediately deemed racist? How could it not see that it was offending, insulting, and mocking an entire segment of the African-American community? The answer is pretty simple. The network saw it; the network just didn't care. . . . "
Sil Lai Abrams, the Grio: Are blacks to blame for the popularity of reality TV?
Mary C. Curtis, Washington Post: Black family life -- the reality, and the reality show
Student journalists at Florida A&M University, their newspaper "delayed" until Jan. 30 on orders of new Dean Ann Kimbrough of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, published online instead Monday.
"We're covering all the news that we would normally be covering," Karl Etters, editor of the Famuan, the student newspaper, told Journal-isms by telephone.
The website is called Ink and Fangs.
The publication delay is indirectly related to accreditation issues and to drum major Robert Champion's well-publicized hazing death in November 2011. "Investigations revealed many band members were not enrolled in the music course as required. Since then all student organizations on campus have come under more strict requirements," Jennifer Portman reported last week in the Tallahassee Democrat.
". . . A Dec. 2, 2011, article in the student newspaper incorrectly stated senior Keon Hollis was one of four drum majors suspended in connection with Champion's death. Three days later, The Famuan posted a revised article on its website omitting Hollis' name and noting the fourth suspended student could not be identified. On Feb. 14, 2012, The Famuan published a correction, but the lawsuit noted it failed to say Hollis had nothing to do with Champion's death or the crime of hazing.
"Hollis' lawsuit, filed in Leon County Dec. 3 against the newspaper, university and its board of trustees, alleges the student newspaper failed to 'exercise ordinary care,' lacked a credible source for its information and failed to investigate what amounted to 'nothing more than unverified and unsubstantiated rumor and gossip.' The complaint contends Hollis' reputation was damaged by the implication he played a role in the hazing that killed Champion. No court dates have been set."
Kimbrough last week ordered additional training for Famuan staff members, which Etters said began on Monday.
Kimbrough messaged Journal-isms Monday night that she had seen inkandfangs.com . She added, "I am thrilled about the strong support of the student journalists from Famuan alums and Famu alums. The alums are interested in helping students via mentoring relationships and many alums are placing ads in the Jan. 30 paper. The Famuan is in financial distress ... one of the critical matters being addressed by the SJGC and university administration to ensure student success in their journalism education endeavors."
In an open letter to Kimbrough Monday, Dan Reimold of College Media Matters, which is sponsored by the Associate Collegiate Press, wrote, ". . . Champion's hazing death is horrendously tragic. The school's subsequent accreditation issues and image troubles are also unfortunate (although apparently at least somewhat deserved). The Famuan's admitted mistake in its Champion coverage last fall is troubling. The related lawsuit is certainly painful to bear. And the unrelated issue with some students' eligibility to serve on the paper is a definite cause for concern.
"But none of these things -- or all of them, combined -- come anywhere close to justifying killing or paralyzing the student press, however soon you may allow it to regain feeling or come back from the dead. Your (overre)action is simply dead wrong, and beneath your university and the position you hold."
Helene Cooper of the New York Times won't be covering the start of President Obama's second term, and the Washington Post's White House team won't include black journalists, according to a staff memo Monday. But other black journalists said they would be back.
Cooper, who moved from the State Department to the White House to cover the Obama administration, will be away for a year on book leave, David Leonhardt, the Times' Washington bureau chief, told Journal-isms. "She just started a book leave, alas. Great for her, but I miss her already. She returns to The Times in a year," he said by email.
Cooper, a native of Liberia, messaged that her book is about Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the women who brought her to power in Liberia. "It's a look at the larger issue of women taking political control in Africa," she said, and will be published by Simon and Schuster.
Cooper's stories were not always White House favorites. Not long after she arrived, Politico reported, Cooper "was the target of a fusillade of complaints from Obama staffers and was for a time essentially frozen out by the administration . . . " Leonhardt said there was no announcement yet on the Times' new White House team.
A Washington Post memo from National Editor Kevin Merida said Scott Wilson, who has been covering the president, would become White House bureau chief, with David Nakamura continuing to be "a key player on our White House team."
Other team members will be Philip Rucker, "two months removed from covering Mitt Romney's quest for the presidency, turning his attention to the victor"; "The unstoppable Felicia Sonmez" as "our point person for digital coverage of the White House"; and Zachary Goldfarb, "who was indispensable explaining the fiscal cliff follies to our readers," joining the others "as an economic policy writer under a joint arrangement between Financial and National."
At the Associated Press, Darlene Superville, who covered the early years of the Obama White House before assuming editing duties, told Journal-isms she would be a general-assignment White House reporter and its primary staffer covering the first lady.
For broadcast, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks said she would return, and that as of Sunday, she had covered the White House for 16 years, including three presidents.
Dan Lothian of CNN, Wendell Goler of Fox News and Kristin Welker of NBC News are also returning, the reporters or their networks told Journal-isms.
As this column noted in November, the composition of the Washington press corps periodically comes under scrutiny. In 2008, Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University found that "Journalists of color make up 13.1 percent of the 495 reporters, correspondents, columnists and editors in the Washington daily newspaper press corps. That's an improvement over the last census four years ago, when just under 10.5 percent of the press corps consisted of minority journalists."
Then Obama took office, and more black journalists were assigned to the new administration. At the Post, the new Obama presidency coincided with a national desk newly led by Merida, with Terence Samuel as a political editor and Krissah Thompson, Perry Bacon Jr., Michael A. Fletcher and Nia-Malika Henderson among its reporters. Bacon left the paper for the Grio, and Fletcher now covers the economy, but Vanessa Williams became a night political editor.
Still, Wayne Dawkins, a Hampton University journalism assistant professor, reported in the Diversity Factor, a subscription-only online journal, "As of 2009, the Washington Press corps was less diverse than the group that covered George W. Bush from 2001-08. Media downsizing wiped out experienced journalists of color who were prepared to compete for those top beats, meanwhile, cuts in state and local gov't and political reporting dried up the pipeline of new recruits."
Politico hired Joseph Williams as deputy White House editor in 2010, but Williams left the publication last year after his editors disapproved of his comments and tweets about Romney.
Ebony magazine was the only major black title to post an increase in advertising pages during 2012, while all four major Hispanic magazines did, the Publishers Information Bureau reported on Monday.
"For the seventh straight year, ad pages declined for the industry, down 8.2 percent, from 164,190.17 to 150,698.57 during 2012, according to new data from the Publishers Information Bureau," Bill Cromwell reported for medialifemagazine.com .
However, Ebony showed a gain of 22.9 percent, second only to Reader's Digest Large Edition, which was up 30.9 percent.
Stephen G. Barr, senior vice president of Johnson Publishing Co. and group publisher of Ebony and Jet, attributed Ebony's success to sales and marketing team efforts to secure more first-time advertisers, an increase by existing advertisers who increased their overall spending and "advertiser/reader feedback [that] recognizes the editorial excellence of the book."
Among other African American titles, Black Enterprise ad pages declined by 9.5 percent, Essence dropped by 10.3 percent and Jet by 13 percent.
The Hispanic parenting magazine Ser Padres, published by the Meredith Corp., increased its advertising pages by 28.8 percent.
A year ago, Enedina Vega, vice president and publisher of Meredith Hispanic Ventures, attributed increases to growing awareness among advertisers of the importance of the Hispanic market and the growth of that market's numbers and affluence.
"My previous comments still hold true," Vega said by email on Monday. "In the case of Ser Padres we are the only Spanish language parenting book in the market, and although birth rates in the U.S. are down for every segment of the population, the Hispanic segment still has the highest growth rate. 33% of [moms] between the ages of 18-24, which most likely represents first time moms, are Hispanic."
Among other Hispanic magazines, Latina's ad pages increased by 2.1 percent, People en Español by 18.6 percent and Siempre Mujer, another Meredith publication, by 17.2 percent.
Mona Zhang, FishbowlLA: All Sections of Ebony are Open to Pitches
"In the days, weeks and months to come, there will be many amazing tributes to Eugene Patterson, the accomplished, talented former editor of the St. Petersburg Times who set the stage for so much of how we do journalism at the Times and in the Tampa Bay area while speaking out on one of the most important issues of his time -- racial equality," Eric Deggans wrote Monday for the Times.
". . . But I wanted to pay tribute here to Patterson, who died Saturday at age 89 after a long illness, for serving as one of the best examples of an editor, columnist and journalist who made a difference by taking the right stand at the right time -- challenging many who would eventually acknowledge they stood on the wrong side of history -- in a way every person who slings opinions for a living dreams of accomplishing.
"Pick up The Changing South of Gene Patterson, the wonderful selection of Patterson's columns in the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper from 1960 to 1968 for a look at how his willingness to advocate strongly for the rights of black people at a time when may corners of white society resisted racial equality, proved a brilliant template for how to push social change in prescient writing. . . . "
The Associated Press added, ". . . His famous column of Sept, 16, 1963, about the Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four girls -- 'A Flower for the Graves' -- was considered so moving that he was asked by Walter Cronkite to read it nationally on the 'CBS Evening News.'
" 'A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning in front of a Baptist Church in Birmingham,' Patterson began his column. 'In her hand she held a shoe, one shoe, from the foot of her dead child. We hold that shoe with her.
" 'Every one of us in the white South holds that small shoe in his hand. … We who go on electing politicians who heat the kettles of hate. … (The bomber) feels right now that he has been a hero. He is only guilty of murder. He thinks he has pleased us. We of the white South who know better are the ones who must take a harsher judgment.'
" 'It was the high point of my life,' Patterson later said in a June 2006 interview from his home in St. Petersburg. . . ."
Eugene Patterson, Atlanta Constitution: "A Flower for the Graves" (1963)
Attendees at the taping of the annual all-star "BET Honors" came Saturday night with their glamor on, their hair twisted, teased, wigged, weaved, extended, straightened and/or dreadlocked. But the CEO presiding over the festivities, in contrast, wore hers in a short, natural style.
Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of Black Entertainment Television, told Journal-isms she had been wearing her hair that way since July. "I just wanted to," she said on the stage of Washington's Warner Theatre. "It was time for a change. I do it every now and then.
"The great thing is that we have choices now. I've heard other women say I've inspired them."
Although natural hairstyles are regaining popularity, how black women wear their hair can still be an issue in the workplace. Rhonda Lee, the meteorologist who lost her job at KTBS-TV in Shreveport, La., after she responded to a Facebook post questioning her natural hair, is just one example. (The station said she violated policy by responding to the viewer.)
Lee told Essence magazine last week, "I'm okay if Solange wears a weave, or Wendy Williams a wig. My only concern is my having the freedom to wear my hair the way I want to. That's the freedom we enjoy as Black women. My industry is a visual medium, and I understand that, but I feel like my White co-workers are told things like, 'Get a nice little cut to frame your face.' They're not told to be completely, biologically different. And that is the burden that I have. I want my biology to be honored and respected."
Blogger Chime Edwards wrote in November that when she saw Debra Lee's hair, ". . . I was shocked, amazed and excited all at once!" She added, ". . . There are many black women who have made the decision to go natural but there are tons who are hesitant because of their profession. Some women believe, "Natural hair isn't professional. How can I expect to move up in a company with my hair in an Afro? . . ." Edwards reassured readers that their fears might be unfounded, citing Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO OF Xerox Corp.
The event Lee headed, the sixth annual "BET Honors," paid tribute to music-industry entrepreneur Clarence Avant, actress Halle Berry, Bishop T.D. Jakes, veteran singer Chaka Khan and retired WNBA all-star Lisa Leslie. Joining them on stage were host Gabrielle Union, actress Phylicia Rashad, comedian Cedric the Entertainer, singers Erykah Badu, Kem, Kelly Rowland, Brandy and Alicia Keys, music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the rhythm 'n' blues acts S.O.S. Band and Mint Condition, entertainer Wayne Brady and actor Anthony Anderson.
In the audience were presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields and Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, BET's parent company. Tickets went for $500.
"The show will air on Monday, February 11 at 9:00 pm EST," spokeswoman Sheikina Liverpool said by email. "We had approximately 1,500 guests in attendance and raised over $59,000 for Life Pieces to Masterpieces, Inc., an organization that provides opportunities for African American boys and young men in greater Washington, D.C. by developing and unlocking their potential and empowering them to transform their lives and communities."
"Good Hair" on the TV News Set (Oct. 7, 2009)
A majority of African Americans and Hispanics support Israel over the Palestinians, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, despite efforts by many to portray the Palestinians as fellow oppressed people of color.
According to figures provided to Journal-isms Monday by the Pew center, 42 percent of blacks said they sympathized more with Israel, 12 percent said the Palestinians, 13 percent said neither and 33 percent said both or that they did not know.
Among Hispanics, 47 percent said they sympathized more with Israel, 13 percent said the Palestinians, 13 percent said neither and 27 percent said both or they did not know.
Among whites, the figure was 53 percent sympathizing with Israel, 9 percent saying the Palestinians, 14 percent saying neither and 25 percent saying both or that they did not know.
The survey included 1,104 whites, 144 blacks and 128 Hispanics.
The New York-based America's Voices in Israel has been sponsoring all-expense-paid trips to Israel for Hispanic journalists in order to influence the United States' growing Latino population, its director, Irwin Katsof, has told Journal-isms. The Anti-Defamation League, which sponsored a similar trip, has said it was concerned about what it considered an unacceptable level of anti-Semitism among Latinos, particularly new arrivals.
". . . Discussion of the U.S.-Israeli relationship is likely to come to the fore with the nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as President Obama's new secretary of defense," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press said last week. "The choice of Hagel has drawn criticism from some of his former Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, who have questioned whether he has been supportive enough of Israel."
Rick Horowitz, YouTube: The Smearing of Chuck Hagel (video)
Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: Senators shouldn't make another mistake on secretary of defense
"Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press," Jim Vertuno and Jim Litke reported Monday for the AP. "The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey's network." Winfrey said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning" that she came prepared with 112 questions for the 2½-hour interview and that "I was satisfied by the answers (video).
"Robin Roberts, the 'Good Morning America' host who signed off the show last August to receive treatment for a life-threatening bone marrow disorder, says she intends to return to work in February," Brian Stelter reported Monday for the New York Times. "Her announcement, made in grand fashion on 'G.M.A.' Monday morning, is the beginning of a gradual comeback by Ms. Roberts, the biggest star on the ABC morning show, who has been in isolation for months following a bone-marrow transplant."
"Today at the Television Critics Association meeting, PBS announced that, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, it will broadcast a series of specials that continue the public conversation on gun laws, mental illness and school security," PBS said on Monday. "The 'After Newtown' programming airs on PBS stations February 18-22 (check local listings)."
"NBC 6 South Florida announced that it will partner with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting to produce more local, in-depth investigations. The partnership will include developing stories, conducting research and investigations, sharing content, and cross-linking websites," the center announced on Monday. In 2010, the center became the nation's first nonprofit, digital and bilingual investigative journalism organization.
"Vogue Italia, the magazine known for taking a stand against anorexia and promoting the use of black models in fashion, made another statement this week, putting an Asian woman on its cover for the first time," Andrea Plaid wrote last week for Racialicious. "Chinese model Fei Fei Sun covers the magazine’s January issue. . . ."
"ESPN anchor Stuart Scott revealed on Twitter on Monday that he is again battling cancer," the Huffington Post reported early Tuesday. "A short while after tweeting about his diagnosis and treatment, Scott hosted the 11 p.m. EST episode of SportsCenter."
". . . Join me in sponsoring someone for a $50 membership special," Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, urged members on Monday, noting the number of journalists facing hard times. "Is there someone you know who needs a little extra assistance? Help him or her join now before this special deal ends at the end of January. Membership fees go back to $75 on February 1st."
"AOL Jobs recently indicated a recent book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, outlines several fields which are more likely to attract psychopaths than others," Vicki Salemi wrote Jan. 4 for Media Jobs Daily. "Unfortunately for us, media jobs (primarily television and radio) ranked third on the list and journalist follows in seventh place."
"When Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor was interviewed on Sunday night's '60 Minutes,' a finely tuned eye could have spotted a cartoon by LA's Lalo Alcaraz hanging on her office wall," Kevin Roderick reported Monday for LAObserved. " 'The original cartoon, entitled "L'il Judge Lopez," is signed by me and my daughter, who was the model/inspiration for the little girl in the toon,' Alcaraz writes at his website of news y satire, Pocho. He has embedded a clip of the interview on the site."
"Regrettable news from Donna Myrow, who founded L.A. Youth as a newspaper written by and for Los Angeles teenagers 25 years ago," Kevin Roderick reported Monday for LAObserved. "It has been a struggle to keep the paper going in recent years. A desperate fundraising pitch last year bought some more time. But a note in the upcoming February issue will announce that L.A. Youth is closing down."
The Detroit Regional News Hub, a media organization that has been working closely with journalists since its founding in 2008, aims to present a more balanced view of the city's challenges, Jennifer Conlin reported Sunday for the New York Times. "Initiated by a group of Detroit business leaders in conjunction with local reporters and editors, the Hub, as it is known, is an unusual collaboration between civic leaders and journalists, two groups that tend to be adversaries."
"Who knew NBC anchor Lester Holt was a jazz aficionado? On tonight's 'NBC Nightly News' Holt profiles an underground jazz club in Brooklyn," Alex Weprin reported Saturday for TVNewser. "Not content to merely cover it as a journalist, Holt decided to take to the stage himself with his bass, and bust out some tunes." A video accompanies the item.
Kevin Weston, a new media entrepreneur in Oakland, Calif., who was about to start a journalism fellowship at Stanford University when he was diagnosed with acute leukemia, is appealing for a bone marrow match. "Kevin is African-American. Only about 8% of the nation's 10 million registered bone-marrow donors are Black, which makes his chance of finding a bone marrow match quite slim. You are the key to helping Kevin change those odds," his website says.
Neal Boortz is retiring Jan. 18 after more than four decades as a syndicated radio talk-show host, Rodney Ho reported Sunday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He will be replaced by former presidential candidate Herman Cain." At a sold-out farewell at Atlanta's Fox Theatre Saturday night, "Monica Pearson, who worked at Channel 2 Action News for 37 years until last year, said Boortz convinced his radio audience over the years that she had a hot tub in her office. 'I didn’t even have an office!' she said. 'I had a cubbyhole!'"
A concerned Bill Tammeus, longtime Kansas City Star faith columnist, noted that "Helen Gray, who has been religion editor since The Flood, just retired a few days ago. No one has been named to replace her, though one of the news editors will oversee production of the weekly Faith section.' " Tammeaus was quoted by blogger John Landsberg, who wrote Sunday, "What has happened to the Faith Section of the Star with Gray's departure? Benedictine College's stalwart journalism professor Mike Throop posted his views on his Facebook page today. 'Memo: From The Kansas City Star To: Faith-based readers. Drop dead. As I predicted, save for a couple of 'guest' columns, the entire 'section' is wire copy."
Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote Saturday that Mayor Vincent Gray of the District of Columbia is unlikely to persuade the Washington Redskins to change their name. ". . . But I suspect it would start to make a difference if other media outlets, including this one, joined the Kansas City Star and the Washington City Paper in avoiding the routine use of 'Redskins' in football stories," Zorn wrote.
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.
Mishandled information comes under fire in Pittsburgh.
The mayor of Pittsburgh called the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and "professed outrage" that the city's police chief had distributed to other reporters the questions Post-Gazette journalists were asking about police conduct in the slaying of a young woman and the suicide of the man police said confessed to shooting her, the newspaper said in an editorial Friday.
"Mayor Luke Ravenstahl professed outrage in a call to the Post-Gazette's executive editor at what his chief had done and promised that it will not happen again," the editorial said. "We take him at his word, given that the episode made his police officials look petty and vindictive."
The editorial said, ". . . it was outrageous and illegitimate for the bureau to circulate the Post-Gazette's questions and a summary of the facts its reporters had gathered, in a news release last Saturday to dozens of other journalists.
"The action reveals an obnoxious defensiveness by the bureau on taking legitimate questions from reporters about the murder of a young woman and the suicide of the man police said confessed to shooting her — a tragedy that perhaps might have been prevented by better police work.
"Ka'Sandra Wade, 33, was found shot to death in her Larimer home on New Year's Day. But nearly 24 hours earlier, she had called 911 and the call-taker heard a commotion before the line was disconnected. Two officers responded but went away after speaking only to a man who said nothing was amiss. He turned out to be the woman's boyfriend, Anthony L. Brown, 51, who fatally shot himself Jan. 2 during a standoff with a SWAT team after admitting to the murder.
"Questions naturally arose from these events. Post-Gazette reporters Liz Navratil and Jonathan D. Silver wrote their questions and emailed them to the bureau, as they have sometimes done before, for a response. Subsequently, Diane Richard, the public information officer, issued a press release that quoted Chief Nate Harper as saying that an investigation was in its early stages and the bureau would not provide a statement or answers to anyone. The release ordered by the chief also disseminated the questions of and the information obtained to that point by the Post-Gazette's reporters. . . . "
The editorial continued, "Post-Gazette Executive Editor David M. Shribman said that this was probably the most horrifying and unprofessional PR behavior he had seen in four decades in journalism," and added words of support from the Newspaper Guild and the Public Relations Society of America.
". . . Some members of the public in a media-hostile age may dismiss this as special pleading," the editorial said. "But once a government agency arrogantly decides to punish perceived enemies, reporters from any news organization become candidates for the same treatment — the Post-Gazette one day, WPXI the next, with the ultimate victim the public's right to know. To dismiss this as unimportant is to suggest that a young woman's life was unimportant; it is to suggest that the people of Pittsburgh don't deserve real answers about public safety, police performance and what their tax dollars are buying. . . .
In the Pittsburgh City Paper, Chris Potter wrote on Friday, "It's unclear whether police could have saved Wade, who may already have been dead by the time they arrived. But while city officials, and District Attorney Steve Zappala, are reviewing the incident, Wade's friends are already mobilizing to change how police respond to potential domestic-abuse situations.
" 'Ka'Sandra was moving so fast toward a leadership role here. She was going to be a change-maker,' says Maryellen Deckerd, the Western Regional Director of Action United, the community-justice group where Wade worked. 'One reason we want to hold this vigil is to change people.' "
Media spokesmen for the mayor's office and the police bureau did not respond to requests for comment.
Liz Navratil and Jonathan D. Silver, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Emotional farewell at shooting victim's service in Farrell
Jonathan D. Silver, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh official promises 'thorough' 911 inquiry
Jeff Horseman, Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.: PUBLIC INFORMATION: Reporters’ questions aired for all
"In the wake of Rob Parker's racially insensitive comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III," ESPN President John Skipper "said he's creating a new checks-and-balances system to prevent this type of embarrassment from happening again on ESPN's First Take and other studio programs," Barry Jackson wrote Friday for the Miami Herald.
"And he wants the debate [between] Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless to be spirited but thoughtful, not outrageous.
"ESPN announced this week that it is not renewing Parker's contract — after initially suspending him 30 days for suggesting that Griffin is not authentically black.
" 'I like Rob [but] what he said was clearly inappropriate,' Skipper said. 'The fact nobody caught it and re-aired it showed a significant lack of judgment. I met personally with the producers and told them how disappointed I was and we were going to suspend some of them and I expect them to be more careful in the future.'
"The problem with First Take is that Bayless often seems hell-bent on making outrageous comments simply to see what reaction it will evoke.
" 'It's a debate show and we get a lot of criticism for it,' Skipper said. 'I personally don't have any problem with doing a debate. You just have to figure out where you walk the line [between] being provocative and stepping over it and saying something stupid. We've done that once or twice on this show. We're going to add more checks and balances.'
"How tough is it to find that line? 'Apparently, pretty tough.'
"But Skipper added the segment 'shouldn't be built on people saying outrageous things. It should be built on vigorous discussion and debate. We've got a very successful show, Pardon The Interruption, which is a debate show, but it works because of the judgment and the brains of Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon and [producer] Eric Rydholm.'
"Skipper added that 'Stephen, Skip and [producer] Jamie Horowitz are bright guys. They ought to be able to figure it out. The show has worked. The ratings have gone up.' . . . "
Jemele Hill, ESPN.com: Robert Griffin III's identity (Dec. 27)
As the nation debates measures to stem gun violence, Christine Haughney of the New York Times reported Thursday that "Homicide Watch, the Washington, D.C., Web site that tracks murders, has found another crime-ridden city to cover.
"The Chicago Sun-Times is partnering with Homicide Watch's co-founders, Laura and Chris Amico, to launch a Chicago edition. The [Sun-Times] paid the Amicos for the technology to build the Web site. The paper plans to have its crime reporter, plus several general assignment reporters, cover murders and have interns track and follow up on these cases.
"The Web site (homicides.suntimes.com) is scheduled to be up and running later this month.
"Jim Kirk, The Chicago [Sun-Times'] editor in chief, said that the Web site's launch is especially well-timed.
“'In Chicago, the murder rate is what everybody is talking about,' said Mr. Kirk. 'This is one of many initiatives we want to experiment with, in trying to bring our readers more closely together. What Homicide Watch shows is that people do like to discuss and relate to issues in their backyard.'. . . "
Brooks Boliek and Steve Friess, Politico: Hollywood's take on White House gun summit
Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Martin Luther King Makes Everything Better
Peter Hermann, Washington Post: NBC's Gregory won't be charged for displaying ammunition clip on TV
Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Here's my main target for 2013
Jerry Large, Seattle Times: Guns: What 3 doctors order
Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: NRA Unchained
Stephen A. Nuño, NBCLatino: No one talks about the armed guards already in Latino schools
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Treat Chicago's homicide surge as an epidemic
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Newspaper crosses the line to quash privacy
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Conversation on gun violence excludes a key perspective — that of most likely victims
" 'After a nationwide search, I found the most qualified, natural leader for RTV6 News right here inside our station,' said Larry Blackerby, vice president and general manager of RTV6. 'In just the past few weeks, Terri has done an outstanding job leading our team of journalists in covering two of the biggest local stories of the past year — first with extensive and exclusive coverage of the arrests in the Richmond Hill explosion on the Southside and then with wall to wall reporting of the blizzard the day after Christmas. Terri's news judgment, passion and commitment to local coverage is outstanding.'
"Cope-Walton previously was assistant news director at RTV6 and has been interim news director since November 2012. She has served in many roles and worked with many departments since joining the RTV6 staff in 1998, including leading the station's community affairs efforts and as the lead producer for RTV6 Good Morning, Indiana. . . ."
"Maybe Obama needs to borrow Romney's 'binders full of women,' " Jennifer Vanasco wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. "That's what Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News suggested in her opinion piece wondering why Obama's new Cabinet is looking 'more like the Augusta National Golf Club than America.'
"The Washington Post first brought this story to our attention on Monday, with a piece by David Nakamura noting that President Obama had nominated men to three big Cabinet posts: State (after Susan Rice dropped out of the running), Defense, and CIA. 'The moves have disappointed some supporters who said they fear, with [Secretary of State] Clinton's departure, a paucity of females among Obama's top advisors, particularly in the traditionally male-dominated field of defense and security,' Nakamura wrote.
"But it was The New York Times that took the story and hit it out of the park on Tuesday. First, the paper published White House photographer Pete Souza's damning December photo of male senior advisors circling the President (and noted that if you look closely, you can see Valerie Jarrett's leg just visible in front of the desk. That mostly-hidden Jarrett somehow made the whole thing even worse.) That photo made the story, 'Obama's Remade Inner Circle Has an All-Male Look, So Far' hit on a visceral level.
"Second, the story itself was an outstanding example of enterprise reporting using data analysis. Annie Lowrey, an economic policy reporter, pointed out — as did Nakamura and Carlson — that there were in fact strong female possibilities for the Cabinet posts, including Michèle Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense, and Lael Brainard, Treasury undersecretary for international affairs. Obama just didn't choose them. . . . "
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: The Presidential Boys Club.
Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, CNN: Obama, put a woman in charge of FCC
Viviana Hurtado, Wise Latina Club: President Obama's Missing Latino Senior Administration
Zerlina Maxwell, the Grio: Are there too many white men in the White House?
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Foes exaggerate Obama's 'war on women'
"Major League Baseball is embarrassed that, in a rare turn of events, no player was elected by baseball writers to the Hall of Fame," the San Jose Mercury News editorialized on Tuesday. "The snub of two of the biggest stars in the game's history — Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — is a full-blown marketing nightmare highlighting the very worst aspects of the game.
"Good," wrote the Mercury News, which as a Bay Area publication qualifies as one of Bonds' hometown newspapers. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants.
On the other hand, Jerome Solomon wrote Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle, ". . . Today's news that none of the eligible players, great players mind you, were deemed good enough by enough voters to have earned Hall of Fame induction tells me that I don't belong in that group. . . ."
On ESPN.com, Howard Bryant disclosed, "I didn't vote for any of the players on this ballot, not Bonds or Clemens, not Mike Piazza or Jeff Bagwell, because the damages to the game were real. . . ."
Peter Botte, Filip Bondy, Bill Madden, John Harper and Roger Rubin, Daily News, New York: Hall of Fame voters from New York Daily News share their votes — and reasons why they voted thay way
Tim Kawakami, Bay Area News Group: Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, etc., shut out of Hall
Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: Baseball Writers are Wrong for Hall Passes
Fred Mitchell, Chicago Tribune: Coming clean would only help Sosa (Jan. 4)
Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle: It's a shame Biggio, Clemens didn't get in
"The situation involving Robert Griffin III and the most talked about knee injury since Nancy Kerrigan has been closely watched by everyone — especially the NFL Players Association," Mike Freeman wrote Wednesday for CBS Sports.
"What happened with Griffin could be another step toward forcing the NFL to put independent monitors on the sideline to watch for concussed players, something the NFLPA has wanted for a long time."
Meanwhile, sports columnists debated whom to blame for the Washington Redskins quarterback remaining in the game despite his knee injury in Sunday's playoff against the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks won, 24-14.
Jason Whitlock wrote for Fox Sports, "More than the health of his knee, more than Mike Shanahan's alleged negligence, here's what concerned me about Robert Griffin's first playoff appearance:
Jason Reid wrote in the Washington Post, ". . . this much is certain: Whenever Griffin returns to the football field, he'll have to change his approach in order to stay on it."
Referring to the Redskins head coach, Reid added, "In his biggest moment of this season, Shanahan dropped the ball. Eventually, Griffin would have gotten over any hurt feelings. Even stars don't always get what they want."
Michael H. Cottman, Black America Web: The Blame Game: RG3's Injury
Steve Kelley, Seattle Times: Seahawks could tell Robert Griffin III wasn't right and took full advantage
John Smallwood, Philadelphia Daily News: Redskins lose game, RGIII
Deron Snyder, Washington Times: RG3, Junior Seau evidence of NFL's negligent culture
For critics, armchair and otherwise, Quentin Tarantino's film "Django Unchained" is the gift that keeps on giving. Along with "Lincoln," the more mainstream 2012 film about the slavery era, "Django" was nominated for an Academy Award this week as Best Picture.
Gene Demby wrote Wednesday for NPR, "These are both movies very much informed by our current moment, but in crucially different ways. For Django, this is mostly stylistic — think Jamie Foxx's sunglasses, Rick Ross rapping over action scenes, and Sam Jackson's thoroughly modern approach to profanity. But Django is deeply invested in portraying the unrelenting ugliness of slavery.
"Lincoln, on the other hand, feels like a reverential look at a crucial moment in our history through a contemporary prism that recognizes that the outcome is never in doubt; it's more 'accurate,' but less alive. It's also much more invested in a mythology that doesn't implicate anyone in that ugliness."
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote the same day on his Atlantic blog, ". . . I'm not going to see Django. I'm not very interested in watching some black dude slaughter a bunch of white people, so much as I am interested in why that never actually happened, and what that says. I like art that begins in the disturbing truth of things and then proceeds to ask the questions which history can't.
"Among those truths, for me, is the relative lack of appetite for revenge among slaves and freedmen. The great slaughter which white supremacists were always claiming to be around the corner, was never actually in the minds of slaves and freedman. What they wanted most was peace. It's true they had to kill for it. But their general perspective was 'Leave me the fuck alone.' . . . "
Lawrence D. Bobo, The Root: Slavery on Film: Sanitized No More
Leonce Gaiter, HuffPost BlackVoices: It's Absurd to Associate Django Unchained With Black Culture
Doni Glover, bmorenews.com: Has Slave Doll Controversy Entered the New 'Door of No Return'?
Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report: A Real Life Django
Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: 'Django Unchained' was 'appallingly bloody' but 'I really, really enjoyed' the movie
Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Django — An action figure doll?
Thembisa Mshaka blog, The Cold Part About Django Unchained *Spoilers* (Jan. 1)
Gene Seymour, CNN: Why 'Django Unchained' stirs race debate
H. Lewis Smith, Thy Black Man: Django Unchained…We Have a Truth Problem.
"Hugh Grannum wasn't just a photographer," Cassandra Spratling wrote Friday for the Detroit Free Press. "He was an artist with a camera.
"In his 37-plus-year career at the Free Press, he became known for photographs that captured the heart and soul of Detroit and its people.
"In the process, his warm, engaging manner made him a beloved mentor to reporters and photographers who he worked with and a trusted friend and confidant of the private and public figures he photographed.
"Hugh Parker Grannum, 72, died today at Harper Hospital in Detroit of leukemia and complications from a kidney transplant in 2010.
" 'He had a remarkable eye behind the camera,' said former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, who said he had admired Grannum's work long before becoming mayor in 1993. 'He captured people at their best. And he had a way of establishing rapport quickly and easily with people that made you respect the work that he had to do. It was because of Hugh that I started looking under photographs in the paper to see who had taken the picture.'
"Even the late Mayor Coleman Young — no fan of the news media — maintained an open-door policy with Grannum. . . ."
In an all-too-familiar scenario, the site JournalismDegree.org, which describes itself as "an information resource for current and prospective journalism students, as well as professionals," is asking for help in publicizing its "100 Best Sites for Journalists in 2012." None of the 100 addresses diversity issues or people of color.
Christopher Nelson, a freelance multimedia journalist who is communications chair for the National Association of Black Journalists, has been named an assignment editor at NBC News in New York, NABJ announced. NBC spokeswoman Meghan Pianta told Journal-isms Friday by email, "He will be an assignment editor on the overnight shift, with responsibilities that include screening and researching stories for all platforms, and acting as a liaison with the Rights & Clearances, Standards and Legal departments. He'll be responsible for alerting news executives and managers to news that breaks overnight, and will assist in orchestrating coverage, coordinating with regional chiefs and bureau desks if needed, and communicating editorial and logistical information to NBC News entities as stories are breaking and developing."
Cheryl Mayberry McKissack has been named chief operating officer of Johnson Publishing Co., the company announced on Thursday. "In her role, Ms. Mayberry McKissack will be responsible for media sales, marketing, production, operations, and research; she will also assume the role of President of the company’s digital business unit which houses properties including the EBONY Collection, EBONY.com and JET.com. She joins JPC after serving as a digital strategy consultant for the company for the past 18 months" and is the founder, president and CEO of Nia Enterprises, LLC, a Chicago-based online research, marketing, and digital consulting firm she has operated for the past 12 years.
"When then-National Newspaper Publishers Association Chairman Danny Bakewell, Sr. asked me to emcee the Black Press Week luncheon at the National Press Club in 2011, I had no idea that I would be witnessing history," George E. Curry wrote this week for the NNPA News Service. "At the urging of Wilmington [N.C.] Journal Publisher Mary Alice Thatch, the NNPA decided to launch a national campaign to win pardons for the Wilmington 10, a group of activists who were falsely convicted and sentenced to a combined total of 282 years." The Wilmington 10 were pardoned this month. It was "the Black Press at its best," Curry wrote.
"Stephanie Mehta has been promoted from executive editor, technology and Washington coverage, to deputy managing editor of Fortune," Chris O'Shea reported Thursday for FishbowlNY. "Mehta has been with Fortune since 2000, when she joined the magazine as a senior writer. She was bumped up to assistant managing editor in 2008, then executive editor in 2010."
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart plan to appear at a mixer and membership -recruiting drive in Washington sponsored by the D.C. chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists on Sunday, Jan. 20, the day before President Obama's inauguration. The chapter announced the guests on Thursday, and by Friday reported that based on RSVPs, attendance had reached capacity.
Bobby Caina Calvan, a Boston Globe congressional writer who has filled in as a White House pool reporter, is Betsy Rothstein's latest interviewee for FishbowlDC. Asked whether he has ever had a near-death experience, Calvan related, "Happened during a rafting excursion on the Pano River, near the Ecuadorean town of Tena. Our raft slammed into a boulder and capsized. . . . " Calva is active in the media watch efforts of the Asian American Journalists Association.
"Where are Britain's black journalists?" asks the headline over a piece Thursday in Britain's Guardian newspaper by Anne Alexander, who describes herself as of "African-Caribbean origin." Alexander writes that black reporters were so rare that a politician showing around a new staff member introduced white reporters by their media affiliations but assumed that Alexander was their personal assistant and introduced her that way.
On Thursday, American journalist Paul Salopek "departed a small Ethiopian village and took the first steps of a planned 21,000-mile (34,000-kilometer) walk that will cross some 30 borders, where he will encounter dozens of languages and scores of ethnic groups," Jason Straziuso reported Thursday for the Associated Press. "The 50-year-old's quest is to retrace man's first migration from Africa across the world in a go-slow journey that will force him to immerse himself in a variety of cultures so he can tell a global mosaic of people stories. . . ." The trip is sponsored by National Geographic, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.
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 network grew its African-American viewership by 60 percent.
MSNBC ". . . enjoyed significant (around 20%) ratings increases across the board" in 2012, "but made astonishing gains with their already-large African American audience, growing that audience by 60.5% for the Mon-Sun 8pm-11pm period," Tommy Christopher reported Monday for Mediaite.
"MSNBC President Phil Griffin told me, in a phone interview, that he is 'thrilled' with that result, and that it 'says a lot about what we've been doing over the last few years.'
"In that same time period, CNN grew its black audience by 23.7% (from 131,000 in 2011 to 162,000 in 2012, 23.9% of their total audience), while Fox News' declined by 23.7% (38,000 in 2011 to 29,000 in 2012, 1.4% of their total audience), but MSNBC had more black viewers than both of those nets combined (from 177,000 in 2011 to 284,000 in 2012, 31.4% of their total audience).
"What's more impressive is that MSNBC attained 60% growth after being number one in that demographic last year, and the year before.
" 'This has been steady growth for us for some time,' Griffin noted. 'I think we made a commitment, we decided, that in order for this channel to succeed, that we had to reflect the country. This meant that we had to be part of the country in ways that the other channels weren't.'
"Part of that commitment, according to Griffin, is the 'look' of the channel. 'We have a diverse on-air group of people,' Griffin said, 'because that matters, and people want to know that we reflect their world. And it's not just a single show - [it's] across the board. You look at the guests every hour and we make sure that we have women, African Americans, everything, and I think to spend a day watching MSNBC is to see America as we have seen it.'
"That diverse array of talent, including hosts like Tamron Hall, Touré, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Rev. Al Sharpton, and ubiquitous contributors like Joy Reid, Goldie Taylor, Karen Finney, Prof. Michael Eric Dyson, [former Republican National Committee] Chairman Michael Steele, Eugene Robinson, and Jonathan Capehart, is an organic result of the network's editorial philosophy, rather than an end unto itself, says Griffin.
" 'It wasn't like we said "Oh, we have to have a diverse person on here and there," ' he said. 'We made a decision. We made a commitment in ideas, issues and everything - the audience followed, and that goes back to four or five years ago. As we grew, we recognized that it was the right thing to do. It's giving a voice to people in these kinds of programs who don't always get a voice. Our look is as diverse as any on mainstream TV. I'm incredibly proud of it. It's not like we decided 'We're going to increase our African American viewership by 60%,' but I'm thrilled that it happened, and it says a lot about what we've been doing over the last few years.' . . . "
An MSNBC spokeswoman was unable to provide figures for Hispanic and Asian viewership.
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: MSNBC OR BET?
Rob Parker's 30-day suspension for comments he made on ESPN's "First Take" has become permanent, ESPN announced Tuesday.
"Rob Parker's contract expired at year's end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew his deal," spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.
The announcement was made after Parker defended his comments once again on Detroit television Sunday, but Krulewitz told Journal-isms that the ESPN decision was based on his earlier "First Take" remarks.
In a story posted on the ESPN website, the network noted that during a Dec. 13 episode of "First Take" on ESPN2, Parker was discussing Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III's answer to a question about Griffin's role as an African American quarterback. "In questioning Griffin's 'blackness,' Parker cited that Griffin has a white fiancée and is rumored to be Republican."
Parker had said, "My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is ... is he a 'brother,' or is he a cornball 'brother'? He's not really ... he's black, but he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kind of black, but he's not really like the guy you'd want to hang out with. I just want to find out about him. I don't know, because I keep hearing these things. . . ."
At first, ESPN said it was "conducting a full review." Then, on Dec. 20, the network said it had decided to suspend Parker for 30 days, tighten editorial oversight of the "First Take" show and was taking "appropriate disciplinary measures" against employees who played a role in allowing Parker's remarks on the air.
Richard Deitsch reported for Sports Illustrated on Tuesday that a "First Take" producer was suspended for a week. "Sources said other First Take behind the scenes staffers were disciplined," Deitsch wrote.
"With criticism of the show putting the network in a bad light, ESPN began enhanced editorial oversight on the program last week. Asked specifically what that oversight consisted of with the program, an ESPN spokesperson told SI.com on Tuesday that it meant active participation of ESPN's news desk in show planning meetings."
Parker did not keep silent during the suspension. He continued to work as a contributor to "Sports Final Edition," which airs Sunday nights on WDIV-TV, News Director Kim Voet told Journal-isms. He has been on the show since 1993.
James Jahnke reported in the Detroit Free Press Monday, "Asked on WDIV whether he could believe the force of the backlash, which resulted in a 30-day suspension, Parker said: "I can't believe it. Looking back on some of the comments, I can see where people could take it out of context and run with it. But the response and what happened over the past 30 days is just shocking."
"Parker said his comments were never meant to 'condemn the young man. RGIII is a great young man with a bright future. It was more about concerns, not condemning him.
" 'The one thing that I'm proud about being on that show, "First Take," for the last six years is that we are willing to tackle a lot of stuff that most shows won't even touch. I think it's important. I think we've done it in a really good way, and this is the first time, really, we've been in hot water.'
"Parker went on to say that 'you can't be afraid to talk about race. I haven't been my whole life ... that's what I bring to the table. I don't want to be a guy that's going to turn his back or run away from issues.' "
Parker could not be reached for comment after Tuesday's announcement that his ESPN contract was not renewed.
"It appears that the NWU has a settlement with the publishers of Heart & Soul magazine (H&S)," Barry Hock announced Wednesday for the National Writers Union. However, Larry Goldbetter, the union president, cautioned that nothing has been signed.
"We expect to have something signed by the end of the week," Goldbetter told Journal-isms by telephone.
Hock wrote, "NWU first got involved in this fight in October 2011. H&S focuses on health and wellness issues for black women -- unless, that is, you are one of the unpaid black women writers and editors who works there.
"H&S will sign a confession of judgment and pay the writers in six installments. The first payment was wired to an NWU member owed half the total amount and facing imminent foreclosure. As a result, she will keep her home. Another payment next week will keep another NWU member in her home.
"This is a big win and a good start to the New Year. It was made possible by the H&S writers themselves, who stuck together and kept organizing more writers to join the fight; the persistence of the NWU; and the UAW Legal Dept. closing the deal. As one writer said, 'Thanks [to] the whole NWU team! Your work is invaluable. I'm renewing my membership.' "
Journalist George Curry and his partners in Brown Curry Detry Taylor & Associates, LLC of Silver Spring, Md., announced in January 2012 that they had bought the 18-year-old publication from Edwin V. Avent, a Baltimore-based businessman who now heads a nascent cable network, Soul of the South.
The new Heart & Soul owners promised to compensate a group of angry writers who said they were owed more than $200,000 in back pay. Goldbetter told Journal-isms Wednesday that the figure now is 15 people owed $156,000.
Curry said in November that he had resigned as executive vice president/content and editorial director. Clarence I. Brown, president and CEO, and Patrick H. Detry, executive vice president, advertising, could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Publication of the student newspaper at Florida A&M University, considered one of the best among historically black colleges and universities, is being "delayed" until Jan. 30, according to new Dean Ann Kimbrough of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, while she implements training for staff members.
"I did not do anything out of line," Kimbrough told Journal-isms by telephone on Wednesday. "There is nothing that I did that is not in keeping with our students' rights and privileges." She said "there had been neglect on the part of our administration" to ensure that students were sufficiently protected.
Students will continue working on the Famuan even though it will not be published, Kimbrough said.
Karl Etters, the student editor of the Famuan, had a different view. "I'm really hurt by it," he said of the delay. "This is my senior semester. Everyone is really excited to get started. It took the wind out of our sails. . . . We're being almost forced into opposing the administration." Etters noted that the delay would take place during President Obama's second inauguration and that some student journalists plan to be on buses to Washington.
Etters said he had talked with the Arlington, Va.-based Student Press Law Center, which advocates for student media.
"I'm frightened," Adam Goldstein, an attorney-advocate at the center, said of the development. "It really sounds like the dean is taking the position that the school can suspend publication for a month for no reason," he told Journal-isms by telephone. His organization issued a "news flash" on the development.
The publication delay is indirectly related to accreditation issues and to drum major Robert Champion's well-publicized hazing death in November 2011. "Investigations revealed many band members were not enrolled in the music course as required. Since then all student organizations on campus have come under more strict requirements," Jennifer Portman reported Wednesday in the Tallahassee Democrat.
Portman's story continued, "The publication postponement comes amid an ongoing review of the journalism school's student media outlets and associated student organizations, which revealed more than 20 of the roughly 100 various group members failed to meet grade-point and enrollment requirements last fall.
"Kimbrough, who came to FAMU as dean of the journalism school in August, said such requirements were in place but learned they weren't being followed after she ordered a check of student group member records from fall 2011 to fall 2012." She told Journal-isms that students are applying for the student newspaper positions because not all who were interested had a chance to do so.
". . . Such institutional control issues were among those flagged by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools last month when the accreditation body placed FAMU on a year's probation. State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan also recently pointed to the failure of FAMU personnel to enforce existing policies as contributing to deep-rooted problems at the university."
Moreover, "A Dec. 2, 2011, article in the student newspaper incorrectly stated senior Keon Hollis was one of four drum majors suspended in connection with Champion's death. Three days later, The Famuan posted a revised article on its website omitting Hollis' name and noting the fourth suspended student could not be identified. On Feb. 14, 2012, The Famuan published a correction, but the lawsuit noted it failed to say Hollis had nothing to do with Champion's death or the crime of hazing.
"Hollis' lawsuit, filed in Leon County Dec. 3 against the newspaper, university and its board of trustees, alleges the student newspaper failed to 'exercise ordinary care,' lacked a credible source for its information and failed to investigate what amounted to 'nothing more than unverified and unsubstantiated rumor and gossip.' The complaint contends Hollis' reputation was damaged by the implication he played a role in the hazing that killed Champion. No court dates have been set."
Andrew J. Skerritt, a veteran journalist who teaches journalism at FAMU, is no longer advising the Famuan, Kimbrough said. The change is "still a personnel issue" that took place "in another administration," she said, adding, "He's a stand-up guy."
Etters said he was "very, very upset" by Skerritt's departure as adviser. "Professor Skerritt has been my mentor since I've been at FAMU," he said. Skerritt has not responded to requests for comment.
"Harvey Shapiro would have likely preferred to be remembered as a poet, and perhaps also as one of the better editors of the New York Times Book Review," Timothy Noah wrote Wednesday for the New Republic.
"But his Jan. 7 Times obituary plays up another aspect of his life of which I was previously unaware. It was Shapiro, then an editor at the New York Times Magazine, who assigned Martin Luther King Jr. to write his 1963 'Letter From Birmingham Jail,' [also called "Letter from Birmingham City Jail"] which today ranks as one of the preeminent literary-historical documents of the 20th century.
"The assignment would have assured Shapiro a place in magazine-editor heaven if the Times Magazine had published the result. But it didn't. Rejected, the letter ended up (under the headline, 'The Negro Is Your Brother') in the Atlantic."
". . . The Times, S. Jonathan Bass reports in Blessed Are The Peacemakers: Martin Luther King, Eight White Religious Leaders, and the 'Letter From Birmingham Jail,' initially scheduled the letter for publication in late May. But first it wanted (in the recollection of King adviser Stanley Levison) a 'little introduction setting forth the circumstances of the piece.' Then it decided, no, what it really wanted was for King to 'write a feature article based on the letter.' Or, possibly, it wanted both. Before King had a chance to jump through these hoops, the New York Post (in those distant days a plausible rival to the Times) got a copy of the letter and published unauthorized excerpts, killing the Times's interest. . . ."
Addressing black journalists in 1984, King lieutenant Andrew Young used King's jailhouse letter to illustrate the power of the written word. He said at a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in Atlanta:
"We give a lot of credit to the demonstrations in the civil rights movement. But those demonstrations wouldn't have meant a thing in Birmingham had it not been for the letter from a Birmingham jail," Young said. "It was the articulation of the ideas coming from that black community in an eloquent written statement by Martin Luther King, a statement that he wrote around the ridges of the New York Times. They wouldn't let him have any paper to write on, but they would bring the newspapers, so every day he would write on the margins of the newspaper and would get it out, and when he got through with that, he would write on the toilet paper that was left.
"And the secretary that transcribed it didn't have sense enough to keep it, because we are not appreciative of the written word. We don't understand that the pen is as powerful - more powerful - than the sword, still in this day and time."
David Griner, Poynter Institute: How KKK rally image found new life 20 years after it was published
A reporter who stayed in Haiti for more than a year after its devastating January 2010 earthquake estimates that of the $2.43 billion spent on ostensible humanitarian relief by the end of 2010, a mere 7 percent actually made its way to Haiti, Justin Peters reported Wednesday in Columbia Journalism Review.
Peters reviews Jonathan Katz's "The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left a Disaster."
". . . Katz, a former AP correspondent, was the only full-time American reporter stationed in Haiti when the quake hit; he stayed for more than a year thereafter, reporting on the charitable aftershocks - as small donations were mishandled by ngos [non-governmental organizations], as big donations never materialized, and as the world gradually lost interest and left Haiti to fend for itself.
"The book is both a primer on how and why reconstructions fail, and an indictment of the benign paternalism that motivates donors, developers, and other do-gooders to impose their will on distraught places that they pity but don't bother to understand.
". . . Throughout, Katz questions the wisdom of entrusting the reconstruction to people who didn't live in Haiti, weren't personally affected by the earthquake, and would be on the first plane out when telegenic tragedy struck elsewhere.
". . . The Big Truck That Went By is, among other things, a testament to the value of journalists who are actually familiar with the countries they cover; of [searchers] like Jonathan Katz, who reject the oversimplified narratives that characterize so much of crisis journalism, and know that the more time you spend in a troubled place, the harder it becomes to understand. Shortly after the earthquake, he writes, foreign journalists played a game in which they attempted to describe Haiti in a single word. 'Diseased' was one entry. 'Violent' was another. Katz's response was different. 'I took the paper and wrote: HERE.' "
"The next time Notah Begay is inside the ropes on the PGA Tour, he'll be holding a microphone instead of a golf club," Doug Ferguson reported for the Associated Press Wednesday from Kapalua, Hawaii.
"Begay starts a new line of work this week at the Sony Open as a full-time member of the broadcast team for NBC Sports and Golf Channel. He will be a walking course reporter at Waialae Country Club.
"An opening was created when Dottie Pepper, who joined the board of the PGA of America, retired from NBC last year to pursue programs geared toward junior golf.
"Begay is a Navajo, the only full-blooded American Indian to play on the PGA Tour. He won four times on the Tour until his career was slowed by back injuries.
". . . A former teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford, Begay has been devoting much of his time to his foundation that he established in 2005, providing health and wellness education for Indian youth. He hosts the annual NB3 Challenge at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in New York, which attracts Woods and other top players. . . ."
"Teresita 'Tita' Dioso Gillespie, a longtime editor at 'Newsweek' magazine, died on December 18 at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland, after suffering several complications following a heart attack a few weeks ago," GMA News Online, which calls itself "The Go-To Site for Filipinos Everywhere," reported on Tuesday.
"She was 70 and is survived by her husband of 42 years, Brette Gillespie, a retired Navy officer.
"Ms. Gillespie was a trailblazer for Asian women - and Filipino women in particular - in the field of magazine editing. In its June 2000 issue, 'Filipinas' magazine gave Gillespie an Achievement Award for being the first Filipina to serve as 'Newsweek's' general editor, noting 'Gillespie belongs to a short list of top-caliber Filipino journalists who have increasing influence in the international print media.'
"She took her role as a pioneering Filipina editor in the U.S. seriously, speaking about her experiences at seminars and mentoring several Asian American journalists, including her nephew, John Dioso, who went on to become a managing editor of 'Rolling Stone,' 'Martha Stewart Living' and 'Us Weekly.' . . . "
"Django Unchained" and "Lincoln," two films addressing slavery, won multiple Academy Award nominations, Philip Yu reported Thursday for Yahoo News. "Django Unchained" was nominated for best picture, best supporting actor (Christoph Waltz), best original screenplay, best cinematography and best sound editing. "Lincoln" led with 12 nominations: best picture, best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best supporting actress (Sally Field); best supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones), best director (Steven Spielberg), best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best costume design, best film editing, best original score, best production design and best sound mixing. Denzel Washington was nominated for best actor for "Flight." [Added Jan. 10]
. . When Bridgette Lacy lost her state government job, she created a new career for herself [audio], writing an unemployment column for the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina," Dick Gordon reported Tuesday for "Jobs in America," a series he began on his "The Story" radio program on American Public Media. Lacy has been a reporter in Binghamton, N.Y., and Raleigh, N.C., and has written fiction and battled a brain tumor.
Two weeks ago, the Journal-News published the names and addresses of handgun permit holders -- a total of 33,614 -- in the two suburban New York counties in which it circulates, Westchester and Rockland, and put maps of their locations online, Christine Haughney reported Sunday in the New York Times. Since then, "Personal information about editors and writers at the paper has been posted online, including their home addresses and information about where their children attended school; some reporters have received notes saying they would be shot on the way to their cars; bloggers have encouraged people to steal credit card information of Journal News employees; and two packages containing white powder have been sent to the newsroom and a third to a reporter's home (all were tested by the police and proved to be harmless). . . . "
Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy tied the "bad karma" that accompanies the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team to the team's playoff loss Sunday. "So, Washington football fans, how's that offensive team name and demeaning sports mascot working out?" Milloy wrote Tuesday. "Whooping and hollering as RGIII goes on a 'Redskins' warpath only to leave a trail of tears when his wounded knee gets buried at FedEx Field," he continued in a reference to quarterback Robert Griffin III. Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray suggested that any deal to move the stadium within city limits would require a name change, or at least discussion of one, the Post's Mike DeBonis reported.
" 'Reportero,' which debuted Monday night on POV on PBS, follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, 'as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media,' " Kevin Roderick noted Tuesday for LAObserved. ". . . Watch the trailer below or stream the entire 55-minute film online until February 6."
In Pittsburgh, NewsGuild, also known as The Newspaper Guild-CWA, denounced Pittsburgh police Wednesday over an incident in which Jonathan Silver and Liz Navratil of the Post-Gazette "wrote a polite, professional email to the department's public information officer about a New Years' homicide/suicide and the police response to it. The email described what the reporters knew about the incident, followed by a detailed series of questions. Their response came via press release sent to 200 reporters: The chief's office would be making no statement about the investigation. Instead, police attached the full transcript of Silver and Navratil's email and all of their questions, revealing the extent of the reporters' own investigation." Diane Richard, the department's public information officer who was identified as having sent out the press release, did not respond to an email from Journal-isms.
In China, "Propaganda officials in the southern province of Guangdong have agreed to loosen some controls over an embattled newspaper whose struggle against censorship has galvanized free-speech advocates across China, according to journalists at the newspaper," Edward Wong and Jonathan Ansfield reported Wednesday in the New York Times.
"The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) to mobilize and address the security of journalists after the arrests and detention in communicado of a journalist in The Gambia," the federation said on Tuesday. "Authorities in The Gambia must reveal the whereabouts of journalist Abdoulie John and release him immediately. This journalist was literally kidnapped yesterday by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He is in grave danger since he has been undertaking never ending questionings at the NIA all these last two weeks."
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Swaziland Wednesday condemned the violent assault of Swazi Observer journalist Eugene Dube on Friday while he was covering a funeral in an area where the chieftancy was in dispute. When a deputy sheriff stopped the funeral, the mob began "meting out mob justice" to the deputy, then turned on the journalist, who was taking pictures. Soldiers came to his rescue.
"At least five independent bloggers were sentenced today to harsh jail terms in Vietnam, according to local and international news reports," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday. The committee condemned the sentences and called on Vietnamese authorities to reverse the charges on appeal and release the bloggers.
"A radio journalist in Tanzania's western region of Kigoma was found dead on Tuesday with medical reports showing that he was hanged by unknown assailants," the Xinhua News Agency reported. "Police identified the journalist as 45-year-old Issa Ngumba working with an independent radio station called Radio Kwizera. . . . Observers in Kakonko said Ngumba's death might be connected to his report about a pastoralist, Imani Paulo, who was reported to have eaten parts of his shepherd's body."
"The International Press Institute's (IPI) Nepal National Committee today welcomed the decision of police in Dailekh, in mid-western Nepal, to prosecute suspects allegedly involved in the 2004 abduction and subsequent killing of Dailekh-based journalist Dekendra Thapa," the IPI said Tuesday. "Dailekh district police arrested five individuals all belonging to the then-Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)."
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.
Among journalists, reactions to the toys were mostly a version of "Oh, no, they didn't!"
The controversy over Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," in which slavery is the backdrop for a spaghetti Western, ratcheted up a notch over the weekend when freelance entertainment journalist Karu F. Daniels, writing in the Daily Beast, reported that the movie characters -- slaves and slavemaster -- are being marketed as action figures.
"Little White kids can play Calvin J. Candie and make Django and Stephen 'Mandingo fight' or they act like they're selling Broomhilda or just call them 'nigger' all day long. The possibilities are endless," Columbus, Ohio, blogger Jeff Winbush wrote on Facebook when he heard the news.
On amazon.com Monday, a customer reviewer identified as E. Tucker wrote:
"I have to say, I never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that, unlike myself, my kids would someday have the opportunity to re-enact America's slave trade the way my great-grandfather did! How exciting for them! Never mind those silly dolls showing racial equality and putting "black americans" (hah! is that the word we want to really use here?) in a positive light -- no! With this, my kids can experience first-hand what it might have been like to own their very own slave! . . . "
By Monday, Hassan Hartley of Chicago had started a petition on change.org asking Tarantino to "Stop the sale and distribution of 'slave' action figures." And in Los Angeles, "A coalition of civil rights and African-American community leaders," led by Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope, planned a news conference for Tuesday calling for a national boycott of the action figures, EURWeb.com reported.
As news, the story was a no-brainer, right? Wrong, Daniels told Journal-isms. "This story shouldn't have been ignored -- especially by editors at mainstream outlets," he said by email. "i was even shocked. I pitched this two weeks ago to prominent 'news' outlets. so happy the Daily Beast editor (who's British) GOT IT." The British editor was Gabe Doppelt; Daniels wouldn't identify those who turned it down, saying he still does business with them.
Asked for comment, the Daily Beast provided this statement from Allison Samuels, the senior writer who edited the piece:
"An action figure made of a black man, real or fictitious is not something that happens every day so we felt it was well worth discussing. Given the controversy already swirling around 'Django' taking a deeper look at a doll based on a freed slave has certainly been of great interest to our readers on The Daily Beast."
Here's how the story made it online, as Daniels explained it in an email:
"I got a press release about the product line/partnership a few months before the movie came out, but seeing the actual images of them later on took it to another level. I didn't see the movie until after it opened. I'm no Spike Lee, but something about it didn't sit too right with me," Daniels said.
"And I like some of Tarantino's stuff and love the actors' works. But the idea of dolls -- which were put on sale a week before -- stirred something inside of me. Granted, there's an 'action figure' of the Brad Pitt character from 'Inglourious Basterds.' I saw that was selling for $700. But he wasn't a slave. Certain types of people can try to rationalize it how they want to, but the fact remains: none of those characters in Tarantino's other movies were slaves.
"If you want take [a] light and lively approach to the 'idea of these dolls,' Django could work (he was free, kicking ass and taking names throughout most of the movie. But Stephen and Broomhilda weren't. And that's not funny.)
"The radio silence about the dolls was quite jarring, to say the least. I'm always encouraged to pitch pieces that are 'broad' and 'timely' to editors. And you can't get no more broad and timely than this piece. Hollywood and the entertainment media have had a romantic love affair with this movie. People can form their own opinions why. So it's pretty obvious why some outlets wouldn't touch it. And The Weinstein Company spent a lot of dollars in advertising. But the facts are the facts. The dolls were made and marketed in tandem with a controversial movie about slavery."
In his Daily Beast story, Daniels wrote, ". . . Last fall, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association, Inc. (NECA), in tandem with the Weinstein Company, announced a full line of consumer products based on characters from the movie. . . . After repeated attempts to get someone to go on record about the collection, NECA spokesperson Leonardo Saraceni declined to make anyone available, would not comment and referred all queries to the Weinstein Company. No one at the Weinstein Company was available for comment by deadline and no one responded to questions posed."
Daniels continued for Journal-isms, "In a sense, I understand why publicists from the movie studio and toy company wouldn't speak, but getting some of our folks to talk was another ball of wax. I reached out to many talking heads, pundits and self-styled image experts, who I thought would've been perfect for the piece. All silent.
"At first I thought it was the holiday weekend. But it's 2013. People are more accessible than ever before. How do you think I corralled an Academy Award winner (Louis Gossett, Jr.) and a real, legendary image activist (Bethann Hardison). I was told by a black film expert that they couldn't talk to me for the piece because they didn't want to infuriate Harvey Weinstein.
"Another told me, 'oh, it's just a movie. It's just toys.' Contrast always makes a great story and I was really hoping for more of a reaction from some but it's like what Nick Charles (a former boss) used to say to me, 'everyone is always waiting for the shoe to drop.' And once the story finally went live on Sunday, the social networks were ablaze."
Among journalists, the most common reaction to the news of the "Django Unchained" action figures was a version of "oh, no, they didn't!"
Journal-isms asked some who had written or otherwise opined about director Quentin Tarantino's so-called "revenge fantasy" whether the existence of the action figures should change one's opinion about the movie and/or the phenomenon. They replied by email:
Amy Alexander, media writer
News of the "Django Unchained" 'action figures' creates a bad taste, doesn't it? Even if it is the case that the studio marketing division cooked up this 'tie in,' it still ultimately circles back to the creative team behind the film itself, in particular Tarantino. At the very least, it is in poor taste, considering the fact that the bondage of blacks is the main theme of the story. It does make you wonder who officially 'green-lit' such a dubious and insulting marketing strategy. And correctly or not, it feeds the escalating criticism of Tarantino as an out of control hipster who thinks he gets 'the Black Thing' but doesn't really.
Amy Alexander website: Three Ways of Considering Tarantino's "Django Unchained"
Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history and director of the Institute of African American Studies, University of Connecticut
It doesn't change my opinion of the movie since I thought the film was exploitative of slavery in the first place. I do think this adds a new level of distaste. It should be fairly obvious that making slave action figures is problematic. That the studio didn't recognize this supports my belief that this director lacked the sensitivity to handle a project like this.
Jelani Cobb, the New Yorker: Tarantino Unchained (Jan. 2)
Jarvis DeBerry, columnist, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune, New Orleans
In his book "Why Black People Tend to Shout," Ralph Wiley talks about taking a field trip from school -- I think it was to the circus -- and being sold a Confederate battle flag that he proudly waved all the way back home. When he walked into the house, his mother took a match and incinerated it.
I wish I had a story as dramatic, but I don't. I seem to recall a Hot Wheels car in my house -- OK, in my room -- that had the Confederate flag logo on it. It was the General Lee of "Dukes of Hazard" fame. I bring that up to say that I guess there's a history of regrettable images fashioned into toys.
I'm going to link to this email a column I wrote a while back not about toys but about play, and how even that can be fraught for black children.
I wouldn't necessarily mind the figure of Django being sold as an action figure, but if you sell Django, it would seem to me, you'd have to sell his nemeses. And in that, you're going to run into problems. Who's going to buy the white action figures? White children? And do we really want them to play the role of little budding slave owners? And if black children buy the white slave owner figures, then we got a whole 'nother problem on our hands.
I don't know that this information changes my mind about the movie itself. There's enough reason already to raise eyebrows at Tarantino. But it does make me shake my head and wish somebody had -- to borrow a line from Blazing Saddles -- cut this off at the pass.
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune: 'Django' expresses an anger not every filmmaker can show (Dec. 31)
Tony Norman, columnist, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
I think I dislike the film even more, now . . . LOL! Action figures? Really? A Stephen doll? I know there's an unseemly nostalgia in some quarters for Jim Crow and slavery-related collectibles, but this is ridiculous. This is either a very elaborate joke or a sign that we're on the verge of losing our collective minds. This is what happens when we go out of our way not to talk about race. The conversation we should be having gets sublimated into soul sucking nonsense like this. Who will buy this? Irony-drenched white hipsters? Blacks with non-existent self-esteem? Clueless movie nerds? If nothing else avails itself, I'll write a parody column for Friday. Tomorrow's column is already written.
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 'Django' tells tale missing real slave history (Dec. 25)
Ishmael Reed, poet, novelist, cultural critic
It's like a virtual slave auction and shows that Weinstein and Co. will go to any length to make money from this vile film, which, like "Amistad," "Lincoln" and "Django Unchained" has blacks as onlookers, while whites debate their fate, when, without black direct action, there would have been no Emancipation. My idea for an action figure would be one showing [Jamie] Foxx carrying [Leonardo] Di Caprio and [Christoph] Waltz on his back, because they're getting all of the nominations, while, so far, Foxx and Kerry Washington are receiving none. This latest racist travesty is not unique in Hollywood, which makes you wonder why there has been no outcry about segregated Hollywood's receiving over $400 million in tax write-offs, while the latest figures show $10 billion in earnings.
Finally, the spin from Weinstein Co. is that this movie is similar to Tarantino's other mess, "Inglorious Basterds." Not so. In "Django Unchained," the leader of the state, "Hitler," is murdered. Foxx does not get to murder the prospective confederate president Jefferson Davis. That would have turned off southern audiences, who have had a veto over Hollywood content for decades. [W.E.B.] Du Bois, [Marcus] Garvey and Walter White would turn over in their graves to see this thing nominated for awards by the NAACP.
Ishmael Reed, Wall Street Journal: Black Audiences, White Stars and 'Django Unchained' (Dec. 28)
Touré, co-host, "The Cycle," MSNBC; contributor, Time magazine
I will never understand how Django action figures are somehow over the line for some people.
Touré, blog: Django Unchained is a heroic love story (Dec. 24)
Touré, "The Cycle," MSNBC: America is ready for 'Django Unchained' (video)
Jeff Winbush, blogger, Columbus, Ohio:
I broke down, woke up Saturday morning, grabbed my son and went off to catch a screening of Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino's mash-up of spaghetti westerns, blaxploitation films and revenge fantasies. I came out two hours and 45 minutes later feeling it wasn't Tarantino's best and it wasn't his worst. It was okay. Nothing more. It certainly never rose above pure escapist fare. I have no problem with junk food movies, but let's not pretend like Tarantino has anything new, fresh or original to say about race or slavery. He just knows how to kill the maximum number of cartoon bigots in the most graphic way possible.
However, the Django action figures go far beyond bad taste. It's not kitsch. It's not memorabilia. It's not a gag. It's making a buck off the backs of Black people and it's insensitive as hell at best and borderline racist at worst.
Tarantino's status as a White Hipster who is down with the brothers and sisters has been reaffirmed by the enthusiastic support of African-American audiences for Django Unchained. Goody-goody gumdrops for him. But he has no ghetto pass to profiteer from America's original Holocaust and even if it means I won't be considered one of the cool kids, I refuse to join the stampede to anoint Tarantino as some great thinker on the Original Sin.
He's not. He's just another race hustler.
Jeff Winbush blog: "Django" Is Solid Entertainment, But Lousy History (Jan. 6)
Jeff Winbush blog: Quentin Tarantino: Slave Profiteer (Jan. 7)
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Escaping Slavery
Rembert Browne, Grantland: Django, the N-Word, and How We Talk About Race in 2013
Kenya N. Byrd, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Django: More Than Just Another Slavery Movie
Rebecca Carroll, Good: 'Django Unchained': Quentin Tarantino's Misappropriation of the N-Word (Dec. 18)
Courtney Garcia, the Grio: Hollywood Unchained: Will the success of 'Django' spawn more slave epics?
Sherry Howard blog: The error of asking "Django" to save black people
Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Slavery as fantasy in 'Django'
Daniella Gibbs Léger, Essence: 'Django': What If a Black Director Had Pitched It?
Rashod Ollison, Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.: All the n-word outrage over 'Django' misses the point (Jan. 8)
Allison Samuels, Daily Beast: Spike Lee's Dissing of 'Django Unchained' Earns Both Ire and Indifference
Adam Serwer, Mother Jones: In Defense of Django
The commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation got underway around the nation on Jan. 1, but the humanitarian crisis created when the slaves were liberated escaped most accounts.
"As former slaves left their places of servitude behind, they entered a world of freedom, but also a war zone devastated by disease, poverty and death," Jim Downs, an associate professor of history at Connecticut College, wrote Sunday in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times.
"More soldiers, as Ric Burns’s recent documentary, 'Death and the Civil War,' reveals, died of disease than from battle. Slaves became exposed to the same outbreaks of dysentery, smallpox and fever that decimated Union and Confederate ranks, and they died by the thousands: an estimated 60,000 former slaves died from a smallpox epidemic from 1863 to 1865.
"There were no protections, no refugee programs or public health services, in place to help freed slaves ward off the disease that plagued the Confederate South. As one 19th-century reformer observed, 'You may see a child well and hearty this morning, and in the evening you will hear of its death.' . . . "
Downs is author of "Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction."
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic blog: The Myth of Harriet Tubman
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Slavery is key part of riveting U.S. history
Darryl E. Owens, Orlando Sentinel: 150 years after emancipation, blacks are bound by their own chains
The Radio Television Digital News Foundation plans to honor the online micro-blogging service Twitter with its First Amendment Award at the 23rd Annual First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 14 in Washington, the foundation announced on Monday.
"The award honors an individual or organization that has played a significant role in dissemination of news and information. Notable examples of Twitter's growing role include natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, tragedies like the Connecticut and Colorado mass killings, as well as coverage of major world events like the Arab Spring revolts. Social media has added a new and important dimension to information dissemination and Twitter has been in the forefront of those efforts," the announcement said.
Mike Cavender, RTDNF executive director, said in the announcement, "It's difficult to quantify the impact that Twitter has on news dissemination not only here, but all around the world. Millions of people turn to Twitter as an instant source of information, especially in times of crisis. We're proud to honor this organization for its support and defense of our First Amendment freedoms.”
Twitter has a special appeal to African Americans. The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project reported last year, "More than one quarter of online African-Americans (28%) use Twitter, with 13% doing so on a typical day."
However, a survey released Monday by Technorati Media found that only 15 percent of the consumers it polled ranked Twitter among its "most trusted information sources."
The rankings were:
Online news sites (New York Times, CNN), 51%
Retail sites (Amazon, Walmart), 31%
Online magazines (People, Motor Trend), 22%
Brand websites (Honda, Nike), 21%
"Fox Nation and Fox News Latino are once again selling different versions of the same story to pander to conservative audiences while simultaneously attempting to court Latino readers," Hilary Tone reported Thursday for Media Matters for America.
"As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the Obama administration announced Wednesday that it would create an easier process for undocumented immigrants who are relatives of American citizens to apply for permanent residency in the United States. . . ."
Fox News Latino: Obama Plans to Push Immigration Reform By End of January
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post News Media Services: Scholarships for illegal immigrants (Dec. 30)
Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN.com: If I offended demanding DREAMers, I'm not sorry (Dec. 28)
Within a few days of becoming Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, Jodi Rudoren ". . . sent some Twitter messages that brought criticism, and had people evaluating her politics before she had dug into the reporting work before her," Margaret Sullivan, New York Times public editor, wrote on Nov. 28.
"Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in The Atlantic, summarized them: 'She shmoozed-up Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian activist who argues for Israel's destruction; she also praised Peter Beinart's upcoming book ('The Crisis of Zionism') as, 'terrific: provocative, readable, full of reporting and reflection.' She also linked without comment to an article in a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper." The headline on Mr. Goldberg's article was, 'Twitterverse to New NYT Jerusalem Bureau Chief: Stop Tweeting!' "
". . . Now The Times is taking steps to make sure that Ms. Rudoren's further social media efforts go more smoothly. The foreign editor, Joseph Kahn, is assigning an editor on the foreign desk in New York to work closely with Ms. Rudoren on her social media posts."
The issue of how neutral to appear is one that has long separated the black and alternative presses, which stress advocacy journalism, from the mainstream media. But it is an issue for the mainstream media as well, and Sullivan returned to the subject in her Sunday column.
"Jay Rosen, a New York University journalism professor, believes that traditional notions about impartial reporting are fundamentally flawed," Sullivan wrote. "For starters, he thinks journalists should just come out and tell readers more about their beliefs.
" 'The grounds for trust are slowly shifting,' he told me recently. 'The View from Nowhere is slowly getting harder to trust, and "Here's where I'm coming from" is more likely to be trusted.'
"Pushing back are editors like Philip B. Corbett, The Times's associate managing editor for standards. 'I flatly reject the notion that there is no such thing as impartial, objective journalism -- that it's some kind of pretense or charade, and we should just give it up, come clean and lay out our biases,' he said. 'We expect professionals in all sorts of fields to put their personal opinions aside, or keep them to themselves, when they do their work -- judges, police officers, scientists, teachers. Why would we expect less of journalists?'
"Neither of these thoughtful journalists, though, is black-and-white on the subject. . . . "
"The Sports Journalism Institute is set to welcome its 20th anniversary class this summer in Columbia, Mo.," the institute annnounced on Monday. "A group of six men and six women (four African-Americans, four Latinos, three white females and one Asian-American) make up the Class of 2013, which will be in residence at the University of Missouri School of Journalism from May 31-June 8, after which students will move on to internships around the country. . . . "
Hundreds of people gathered outside the headquarters of a newspaper company in southern China on Monday, intensifying a battle over media censorship that poses a test of the willingness of China's new leadership to tolerate calls for change," Edward Wong reported for the New York Times. "The demonstration was an outpouring of support for journalists at the relatively liberal Southern Weekend newspaper, who erupted in fury late last week over what they called overbearing interference by local propaganda officials."
"A paparazzo who took photographs of the daughters of President Barack Obama walking along a Hawaiian beach last week made a big mistake -- at least, in the eyes of the Oval Office," Celebuzz reported on Monday. "Because as soon as the images of Sasha and Malia were sent out to news outlets around the world, the photographer received an official letter from the White House telling him to immediately stop their release, Celebuzz has exclusively learned."
As Inauguration Day approaches, the editors of Essence magazine have produced a commemorative book, "A Salute to Michelle Obama" (Time Home Entertainment, Inc.), the magazine announced on Monday. The soft-cover version is on newsstands; the hardcover is to be available Tuesday. The book, edited by Patrik Henry Bass, editorial projects director, features an introduction by Editor-in-Chief Constance C.R. White and tributes from author Dr. Maya Angelou, life coach Iyanla Vanzant and "First Grandmother" Marian Robinson.
"The Pittsburgh Police Department on Sunday put out a press release that included two Post-Gazette reporters' email to the department with several questions for a story they were working on," Jim Romenesko reported Monday on his media blog. "Diane Richard, the department's public information officer, tipped other news organizations off to the P-G's investigation when she sent the release to about 200 journalists."
Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion writer who learned last month she was being laid off from Newsweek and the Daily Beast, has the lead piece in the Washington Post Style section on Tuesday, a lengthy one on inaugural gowns. While the online version does not identify Givhan as a freelancer, the print-edition version says "special to the Washington Post,' Post spokeswoman Kris Koratti told Betsy Rothstein of FishbowlDC. [Added Jan. 8]
". . . Word on the Street is believed to be Baltimore's first street newspaper," Yvonne Wenger reported Sunday in the Baltimore Sun. "Attempts have been made in the past to circulate news about homelessness and poverty, but the previous efforts came in the form of newsletters in the 1980s."
"Comcast executive VP David Cohen will receive the Champion of Digital Equality award at the upcoming Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Broadband and Social Justice Summit on Jan. 16 in Washington," John Eggerton reported for Broadcasting & Cable. "Cohen, who heads up policy for Comcast, is being cited for 'visionary leadership in promoting minority entrepreneurship; universal broadband access, adoption and informed use; diversity; and success in America's most influential and important industries.' . . . "
Marianna Kay Siblani, executive editor of the Arab American News for the last 28 years, died on New Year's Day after a long struggle with breast cancer, Oralandar Brand-Williams reported from Dearborn, Mich., for the Detroit News. "During her time at The Arab American News, she was a powerful voice and an advocate for Arab and Muslim Americans on local and national issues," the Arab American News added.
" '2013 starting off with a bang! Newsweek printed its last issue and with that came layoffs and buyouts. I took a buyout, What's next? Who knows. But it's exciting,' wrote María Elena Fernández on her Facebook page," Veronica Villafañe reported Monday in her Media Moves column. "Her departure from The Daily Beast comes less than 2 years since she was hired as senior entertainment reporter. Prior to joining the now struggling publication, María Elena spent 12 years as an entertainment reporter at the L.A. Times."
In Miami, "WPLG reporter Johanna Gomez has switched broadcast mediums," South Florida TV News reported on Monday. "As of today she's part of the DJ Laz Morning Show on 106.7FM, which is also heard [throughout] the country. You'll be able to hear her weekdays from 6am to 10am. In a Facebook and Twitter post late last night Gomez announced her move . . . "
"The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in India to refrain from pressing charges against a media group that televised an interview with the companion of the Delhi rape victim who died last week," the committee said Friday. "The December 16 case has garnered global attention. . . . New Delhi police said they would charge the broadcaster under section 228(A) of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the disclosure of identity of victims of certain crimes, including rape, according to The New York Times. . . ."
". . . Mexico is one of the most dangerous places to commit journalism, due to the impunity of drug syndicates," Judith Matloff reported for Columbia Journalism Review. "More than 80 journalists have been killed and 16 kidnapped over the past dozen years, because they wrote about the activities of warring gangs. Many reporters have gone into hiding, and still more have been silenced by fear. Desperate for help, a loose network called Journalists On Foot (PDP) began to reach out to Colombia colleagues for tips, and over the past couple of years, seasoned experts . . . have flown over to meet with reporters across Mexico. . . ."
"Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly has drawn the ire of at least one member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation," the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday. "U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa says the conservative talk show host owes Hawaii and all Asian-Americans an apology for his characterization of the isles' population. . . . 'You know what’s shocking?' O'Reilly said. 'Thirty-five percent of the Hawaiian population is Asian, and Asian people are not liberal by nature, they’re usually more industrious and hard-working.' "
"South Sudan has arrested two state broadcast journalists for failing to ensure coverage of a crucial speech by President Salva Kiir, a government official said on Sunday, prompting an outcry from an international media watchdog," Reuters reported.
"Every year, the American Dialect Society nominates and then votes on a word of the year, and for 2012 it's 'hashtag,' " Dieter Bohn reported Saturday for theverge.com. "It beat out other nominated words like 'YOLO,' 'Fiscal cliff,' and 'Gangnam style.' The ADS' chair of the New Words Committee, Ben Zimmer, said that the word was a 'ubiquitous phenomenon in online talk' in 2012. . . ."
Gene Demby, a black journalist who has just joined NPR as a reporter covering ethnicity and race, made his first on-air appearance last week in a "Morning Edition" segment last week on the decline of Kwanzaa. "I think you're supposed to say the name of the principle of the last day of Kwanzaa," Demby told host David Greene. "I'm not sure what that Kwanzaa principle is. But I think Happy Kwanzaa is a sufficient response for a salutation." NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos wrote Monday, "There is nothing wrong with a journalist not knowing something. But in a two-way with a reporter, that unknown is usually about a fact that is not public or is unconfirmed. In this case, however, Demby was presented not just as a reporter, but also as an expert and -- crucially here -- a personal example." The lack of knowledge offended some listeners.
Facebook users: "Like" "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" on Facebook.
Veteran journalist joins the new highbrow sports and pop culture website Grantland.
Wesley Morris, the African-American film critic for the Boston Globe who won a Pulitzer Prize last year, is leaving for Grantland, the ESPN-affiliated sports/pop culture website that specializes in longform journalism, his Globe editor told staffers Thursday night.
"I just didn't have a reason to say no any longer," Morris told Journal-isms by telephone on Friday. Morris had already been writing for Grantland, and this presented an opportunity to write about film for the site full-time, he said. Moreover, "I can do my job from anywhere. That's very appealing."
Globe Editor Martin Baron started this week as executive editor at the Washington Post and was replaced by Brian McGrory. "Things are changing," Morris said of the Globe. "This seemed like a pretty good interval to try to think of things I wanted to do."
A memo from Douglas S. Most, the Globe's deputy managing editor/features, began, "There are so many reasons why it's difficult to write the words: Wesley Morris is leaving us.
". . . For a moment, forget about the writing. The superb, brilliant writing. Wesley's presence in our world has been about so much more than just his wonderful film criticism and insightful takes on pop culture," continued the memo, published on the Jim Romenesko website.
"Wesley is a true friend to so many of us. We love him for his infectious sense of humor, his generous heart, and of course his marvelously snappy sense of fashion, as he bounds in from the Red Line wearing one of his many stylish caps. . . .
"Wesley is leaving us after 10 years to write for Grantland, where he has had a column on style in the sports world and will write on film and other cultural subjects."
Morris' move was announced on Facebook and Twitter last Friday afternoon by Bill Simmons, founder of Grantland, Stephen Silver reported that Friday for the Technology Tell website. The Grantland name honors legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice.
Morris "had written occasionally for Grantland since its launch last year, writing a column about athletes' wardrobes called The Sportstorialist. The 37-year-old Philadelphia native and Yale graduate joined the Globe in 2002," Silver reported.
"Grantland splits its coverage about evenly between sports and popular culture, but has not ever employed a full-time film critic. A rival site, the Gawker Media-owned Deadspin, runs a regular movie review column by Tim Grierson and Will Leitch."
Last year, Grantland snagged Jonathan Abrams, another well-regarded black journalist, then in the sports department of the New York Times.
Simmons launched the site in June 2011 with Malcolm Gladwell, the New Yorker magazine writer and author and one of the most commercially successful black journalists, as a consulting editor.
Morris said he planned to remain on the East Coast, but not necessarily in Boston. His departure from the Globe depletes the number of film critics of color at daily newspapers. Remaining are Lisa Kennedy of the Denver Post and Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald. Craig D. Lindsey was laid off at the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., two years ago but continues to write about film, as in this review of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."
When he won his Pulitzer last year, Morris said it was important to have "everybody in on the conversation."
"I will say this," he told Michel Martin on NPR's "Tell Me More." "You know, Margo Jefferson and Robin Givhan and I are three African American people who've won this prize and I think that we have won it for doing work that is beyond the purview of race, but is not unaware of it and is willing to take it into consideration.
"I think that what it actually says to me — it's something that I've been thinking a lot about with this Trayvon Martin situation — which is that it's really important to have everybody in on the conversation. It's really important to have everybody looking at things and perceiving things and have other people listening to what other people are seeing. . . ."
CNN, under fire for the lack of diversity among its prime-time anchors, hired a "key talent development executive to help build a diverse slate of anchors," Eric Deggans writes in his new book, "Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation."
A CNN spokeswoman identified the executive as Amy Entelis, hired in January 2012 to a newly created position of senior vice president, talent and content development for CNN Worldwide.
In listing her credentials, the announcement noted, ". . . ABC News President Roone Arledge recruited Entelis for her first management role with a mandate to develop women and minorities for on-air positions."
In August, Entelis hired Ramon Escobar, a veteran of the Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo, as vice president of talent recruitment and development for CNN Worldwide.
To date, no anchors of color have surfaced during CNN's prime-time schedule.
Last month, Jeff Zucker, the former NBC executive, was named president of CNN Worldwide, and any high-profile assignments are likely awaiting development of Zucker's strategy to lift CNN from its third-place ratings among the cable news channels.
In July 2011, Kathy Y. Times, then president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said that she and Bob Butler, NABJ's vice president for broadcast, raised the prime-time issue with then-CNN President Jim Walton. Walton delegated the task to Mark Whitaker, the African American former Newsweek editor who became CNN executive vice president and managing editor. Six months later, Whitaker hired Entelis, who reports directly to him.
Whitaker told Eric Deggans, media critic for the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, "that CNN's challenge is finding journalists who can deliver a point of view and personality on news stories without being partisan or overly political," Deggans wrote in his book.
"A lot of training that journalists of all colors get, say in local news or a certain kind of news, doesn't really translate that well anymore into being host of a primetime show. You have to have a point of view, you have to have personality, conduct a lot of interviews and be spontaneous . . . that's a very, very high bar for any anchor, no matter what their color," Whitaker was quoted as saying.
The new president of the Unity alliance disclosed Friday that he was the third vote for returning the Unity Journalists coalition to its previous name, "Unity: Journalists of Color."
In the emailed balloting last weekend, 12 Unity board members voted for "Unity: Journalists for Diversity," three for "Unity: Journalists of Color," and one board member did not vote.
Tom Arviso Jr. of the Native American Journalists Association, publisher of the Navajo Times in Window Rock, Ariz., explained his preference for "Journalists of Color" by telephone.
"I think it's really just a reflection of who we are as Unity. I still believe in why the organization was started," he told Journal-isms. "Its message was to advocate on behalf of all the minorities . . . in my heart and my mind, I still feel strongly about the name.
"There's still a lot of members of Unity who still like the name 'Unity: Journalists of Color.' "
Despite his preference, Arviso said, "I accept and will respect" the board's choice, "Unity: Journalists for Diversity."
The other two votes for "Unity: Journalists of Color" came from Janet Cho of the Asian American Journalists Association and Peter Ortiz of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Cho, Ortiz and Arviso voted in April against changing the coalition's name from "Unity: Journalists of Color" to "Unity Journalists" to accommodate the wishes of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
In an advisory vote that ended last month, the NAJA members' vote was "UNITY: Journalists for Diversity," 49, or 67 percent; "Unity: Journalists of Color and Diversity, 14, or 19 percent; "Unity: Journalists of Color," 10, or 13.7 percent. NAJA has 232 members, Rhonda LeValdo, president, said.
Milton Coleman, who joined the Washington Post as a Metro reporter in 1976 and mastered its newsroom politics well enough to become, as deputy managing editor, its highest ranking black journalist, is leaving the newspaper.
"The end of 2012 also brought an end to Milton Coleman's remarkable run in this newsroom," Shirley Carswell, who succeeded Coleman as deputy managing editor, wrote Post staff members on Thursday. Coleman "thought he was going to slip out quietly this week. But we couldn't let him go out like that . . ., " she continued, announcing a newsroom celebration for next Thursday.
Coleman, 66, stepped out of the day-to-day running of the newsroom in 2009 to concentrate on leading the American Society of News Editors and then the Inter-American Press Association. He continued to run the Post newsroom from time to time as part of a rotation of top managers.
Coleman is a 1974 graduate of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's summer program for minority journalists, which evolved into the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
He has said that his obituary is sure to include high up the furor that erupted when he reported in 1984 that Jesse Jackson, as a Democratic presidential candidate, had uttered the words "Hymie" and "Hymietown" to refer to Jews and to New York. The revelation, deep in a story written by another reporter, led to death threats and a discussion of whether Jackson's preceding the remarks by saying, "let's talk black talk" meant the comments should not have been used.
Coleman responded to the criticism in Atlanta in a speech at the 1984 convention of the National Association of Black Journalists, saying, " . . . Our job is not to censor news and distort reality for black people, but to offer all we can to broaden their horizons. The people can make up their own minds."
Coleman was city editor in 1981 when Janet Cooke, a young black reporter deceived her editors (including Bob Woodward, who was assistant managing editor/metro) with a hoax about an 8-year-old heroin addict. The story won a Pulitzer Prize, which Cooke had to return. The scandal became part of journalism history, though it was eclipsed two decades later by the Jayson Blair fabrication scandal at the New York Times.
In his report on the Cooke scandal, ombudsman Bill Green described Coleman as "a rangy, tall man," and added, "His quietness is deceptive. He pursues news as though it's his quarry, and admiring colleagues regard him as highly competitive. When he sits, he sprawls. He likes to work in a vest."
In May 2009, when Coleman stepped down as deputy managing editor to become senior editor, then-executive editor Marcus Brauchli recapped the positions he had held. "Milton was first promoted from metro reporter into management as assistant city editor and then city editor in 1980. He went back to reporting on the national staff for a stint before he was named AME/Metro in 1986. He became Deputy Managing Editor in July 1996, and in that role has been a mentor, advisor and leader to so many here, including us.
"Milton has accomplished much in his career, and he has done a huge amount for our profession beyond these walls, too," Brauchli's memo continued. "He has judged prize competitions and worked with groups promoting journalism education. He is an officer of the Inter-American Press Association, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Multicultural Media Executives and, of course, the American Society of News Editors. He has been an ardent advocate of the vitally important role of diversity in our newsroom and industry."
When the noted African American historian John Hope Franklin died in March 2009, the Post was one of the few papers to accord him front-page treatment. Coleman was running the Post newsroom that week.
Coleman learned Spanish using an immersion method, became liaison to the Post-owned Spanish-language El Tiempo Latino and eagerly tackled the job of working with Latin American journalists in IAPA.
He told that group when he took office, "As a young man, I fought for human rights in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, was arrested and spent time in jail. As a young journalist, I challenged authority in the name of the people's right to know. I was arrested and spent time in jail. As an experienced reporter, my life was threatened by those who disliked what I reported. So now, as an elder statesman in the rights struggle we all fight now, I feel very much at home. I’m no stranger to this cause."
Helen T. Gray, the Kansas City Star's longtime religion editor, retired on Friday.
"It's time," Gray told John Landsberg of Bottom Line, a Kansas City website, saying that she will not only retire from the paper but also plans to relocate to New Jersey to attend to her 91-year-old mother, Landsberg reported on Dec. 17.
"I need to do this," she said.
" 'Helen is the closest thing to a saint that any newsroom has ever had,' says former reporter/editor Jim Fitzpatrick who retired in 2006 after a 37-year career at the paper and currently operates the jimmycsays.com blog," Landsberg continued.
"In the midst of a gritty stew of anxiety, hand wringing, newsroom politics and back biting, Helen presented a picture of peace and goodwill when she would occasionally drift into the second-floor newsroom, from the arts and letters labyrinth on the third floor. Her departure will be a great loss to Kansas City. But, as usual, she’s going where she believes God wants her to be."
Gray was said to be the second black person hired in the Star's newsroom. In 2005, the Kansas City Association of Black Journalists described her as the longest-working journalist of color in the Kansas City area. The group also inducted her into its Hall of Fame. Gray was a first-place winner in religion category of the Kansas Press Association's writing competition.
As a 20-year-old senior at Syracuse University, Gray dated the late Syracuse running back Ernie Davis, the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy, as Robert W. Butler wrote for McClatchy Newspapers in 2008 and William Nack wrote for Sports Illustrated in 1989.
Edward M. Eveld, Kansas City Star: Retiring religion editor Helen T. Gray looks back on her years at The Star (Jan. 5)
"Houston police have arrested a man charged with stalking KPRC-TV anchor and traffic reporter Jennifer Reyna, authorities said," Mike Glenn reported Wednesday for the Houston Chronicle.
"An HPD spokesman said police investigators captured Christopher Olson, 38, about 10 a.m. Wednesday at his apartment in Webster. . . .
"Olson was at the Harris County Jail later Wednesday with bail set at $80,000.
"Police said Olson had been trailing after the popular local news figure since mid-September. . . . Olson's apparent infatuation with Reyna has been ongoing for several years. In addition to the latest rash of stalking incidents, HPD investigators said he ignored a May 2007 court order for him to have no contact with her.
"Olson also drove his car through the front door at the news station on two separate occasions in May 2007, causing several thousands dollars in damages. . . ."
A 2009 story identifies Reyna as "a proud member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists."
"When four journalists linked to a British media institution were bundled-up and jailed on frivolous espionage charges by Liberia's dictator Charles Taylor, the world barked," the New Democrat of Monrovia, Liberia, wrote Monday in an editorial headlined, "Woes Of The African Journalist."
"Nelson Mandela sent pleading messages to the 'strongman', a man he had once lavishly entertained as a visiting, fellow African president. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, always keen on not missing an opportunity to champion good causes for media and public attention, stormed the CNN pleading the men's case. International media institutions threw their influence behind the men. The arrests became a global media sensation which human rights organizations were just too happy to exploit for the needed headlines.
"Now that four poor Liberian journalists working for an obscure media outlet have been grabbed on an identical charge and dumped into a madman's dungeon, their plight remains the reserve of their families and a few media organizations with human rights agendas. The jailed men are Africans. Their agony makes no news on a continent buried in ghastlier horrors.
"Caught firmly in the clutches of intolerance and senile tyranny, the African journalist continues to pay the thankless price for independent thinking. From Sierra Leone to Algeria (where at least 69 journalists have been killed since 1993), Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, etc., the story of the African journalist is the basically same: summary executions, arbitrary arrests, closure of media outlets, economic deprivation, and exile. Africa has registered one of the highest numbers of killed journalists in recent times. . . . "
Committee to Protect Journalists: Nigerian journalists freed, but equipment still held
Patrick Foster, USA Today: Kristof to take student on reporting trip to Africa
Reporters Without Borders: Journalist convicted — it's time to decriminalize press offences (Dec. 28)
The brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapist on a bus in Delhi, India, has outraged a nation, prompted worldwide looks at crimes against women, and led to Sunday's front page, at right, in India's Hindustan Times.
"It is that time of year again for lists and the first one to catch my attention, in a negative light, was the Sports Business Journal's list of The Most Influential People in Sports Business," Kenneth L. Shropshire wrote Monday for the Huffington Post. "To be clear, the authors did not do anything wrong. What that list reaffirms is that although Blacks dominate on the field of play in most sports we are woefully absent from the highest levels of sport on the business side. What is particularly striking about this most influential list is that of the fifty individuals there is only one Black person, DeMaurice Smith, way down at slot number 42. . . ." Smith is executive director of the National Football League Players Association.
"The Online News Association today announced the appointment of Benét Wilson, eNewsletters/Social Media Editor, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, to its 2013 Board of Directors," the ONA announced on Friday. Jim Brady, ONA president, told Journal-isms by email, "ONA has held back one board seat to address diversity for the past few years now. Rob King from ESPN.com served last year, but he had to step down because of time constraints, so the seat was open again this year, and the board voted to appoint Benet, who has been an avid ONA supporter and volunteer for years. We also had three women leave the board this year, and only one was elected, so Benet's appointment also helped address that deficiency."
". . . For blacks, our fortunes have exactly reversed," Los Angeles writer Erin Aubry Kaplan, a former Los Angeles Times columnist, wrote Thursday for Southern California's KCET public television, discussing the Times. "In 1992 the Times showed a flurry of interest in what was happening in black neighborhoods besides mayhem; that interest faded like a trend, pushed aside by economic realities and a burgeoning Latino population that was remaking South Central demographically and politically. The black story became one of simply holding on, not exactly a sexy topic or arresting visual that would appeal to editors. . . . " Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan told Journal-isms, "We don't have comment on Erin Aubry Kaplan's personal reminiscence."
"Eric Ludgood is out as news director for WGCL, the Meredith owned CBS affiliate for Atlanta," Kevin Eck reported Thursday for TVSpy. "Ludgood had been assistant news director at WGCL before leaving for three months in 2010 to work as news director for WNCN in Raleigh, NC. He returned to WGCL as news director in February 2011 replacing Steve Schwaid."
"Fox News Channel's Hispanic-targeting website Fox News Latino is adding Hernán Rozemberg as its senior editor," Alex Weprin reported Friday for TVNewser. "Rozemberg had been a senior correspondent for National Public Radio, on its 'Fronteras: The Changing America Desk.' That desk focused on issues like border control and immigration. . . ."
"According to journalist and educator Miguel Perez, 2013 is a very important year for the United States — it's the 500th anniversary of the nation's discovery," the Latina Lista blog reported on Friday. ". . . Ponce de León was looking for that elusive 'Fountain of Youth' when he ran into some land and christened it Florida in April 1513. Yet, instead of crediting Ponce de León with discovering the United States, historians only gave him credit for discovering the state of Florida. . . ."
"After last year's hugely successful SAJA Editors Challenge (11 top editors across the country challenged all of us to help raise $20,000 for SAJA scholarships), we are now launching the SAJA Broadcast Challenge," the South Asian Journalists Association announced on its website. "Some fabulous current and former broadcast folks have come together to create a challenge grant for SAJA members and friends. Their special pool of money will match, dollar-for-dollar, all donations made, up to a total of $7,500. We have till Feb 1, 2013 to complete this challenge! Ali Velshi, chief business anchor, CNN, helped launch this at SAJA Gala Dinner in DC this year. . . . "
"Houston film reviewer Jake Hamilton, who has a segment called 'Jake's Takes' on Fox 26 Morning News Extra, has received a positive reaction from viewers after he refused to say the 'n-word' on the air, at the provocation of Samuel L. Jackson," Dana Guthrie reported Thursday for the Houston Chronicle.
". . . In the 'media' industry — a category that includes television, movies, print journalism and music, there were 5,641 layoffs in 2012 compared with 7,720 the year before, amounting to 27 percent fewer announced layoffs year over year," according to the firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Paul Bond reported Thursday in the Hollywood Reporter.
"When I looked at the state of reporting on mental-health issues after the Newtown, Conn., shootings, I saw a forbidding landscape," Andrew Beaujon wrote Thursday for the Poynter Institute. "John Head sees improvement. When he started reporting on mental health for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the turn of the century, a diagnosis or even a suggestion that a violent person was mentally ill 'was end of story,' he said in a telephone interview. 'That explained it. . . . ' "
"As the editor of the fledgling literary journal, The American Reader, Uzoamaka Maduka, a 25-year-old Princeton graduate, is proof that even in this iPhone age, some paper-based dreams have not died," Amy O'Leary wrote Wednesday in the New York Times. "Bright young things, it seems, are still coming to New York, smoking too much and starting perfect-bound literary journals. . . ."
"The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a series of investigations into independent Egyptian newspapers on accusations of insulting the president or reporting false news," the press freedom organization said on Thursday. "Some newspapers and media professionals face formal charges in connection to their critical reporting, according to news reports. . . ."
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