Black magazines' ad revenues were hit hard in the first quarter of 2010. But Essence has reported the smallest decline. Are things looking up for the black women's mag?
"Consumer magazine publishers have desperately been trying to scratch a profit from any amount of advertising dollars they can get their hands on, especially since the economic recession last year.
"One group that was hit particularly hard in the marketing pullback was African-American magazines," Jason Fell wrote Thursday for Folio.
According to the Publishers Information Bureau, "Black Enterprise, Ebony, Essence and Jet were down a collective 18 percent in ad pages through the first quarter — about double the industry average. Ad pages slipped 8.2 percent at Black Enterprise while Johnson Publishing’s Ebony and Jet saw dramatic declines of 30.6 percent and 33.1 percent respectively (Johnson points out, however, that Ebony and Jet both published one fewer issue during the quarter compared to last year).
"Time Inc.’s Essence, meanwhile, reported the smallest decline: -0.3 percent. Since then the magazine been taking advantage of the ad rebound, and says ad pages have been on the rise since its March issue. The magazine estimates that ad pages were up 31 percent for May, 14 percent for July and 21 percent so far for August. On the digital side, online ad revenues are up 32 percent during the first half of 2010 . . .
“ 'Beauty, retail, food and pharmaceutical are resilient categories for Essence,' Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications, tells FOLIO: 'In addition, Ford has emerged as a powerful partner, having supported our signature red carpet programs such as ‘Black Women in Music’ and ‘Black Women in Hollywood.'
“'We’re reaching new consumers online and with our live events such as the Essence Music Festival,' Ebanks says. “We have been successful at converting these audiences to subscribers.' "
Lakers' Victory Game Grabs Top NBA Ratings Since '98
"The highly competitive Game 7 of the NBA Finals dunked an 18.2 overnight rating Thursday night, the best performance for an NBA game since 1998 when Michael Jordan was leading the Chicago Bulls over the Utah Jazz," Mike Reynolds reported Friday for Multichannel News.
"The June 17 telecast of Game 7, in which the Los Angeles Lakers edged the Boston Celtics 83-79 to retain their crown and Kobe Bryant was named series MVP, was the highest-rated NBA Finals game ever on ABC, eclipsing the 15.5 overnight mark for Game 5 of the 2004 Finals between the Lakers and Detroit Pistons. (ABC overnight records date back to 2003.)"
The NBA playoffs and then the finals consistently drew high numbers, especially among African Americans. For the week of June 7-13, the Nielsen Co. reported that overall, the games held the top three ratings positions, as they also did among African American and Latino viewers.
But during the week of April 26-May 2, during the playoffs, 11 of the 16 top cable shows watched by African Americans were NBA-related, Nielsen reported. Among Hispanics, only four ranked in the top 16 on English-language cable that week. Turner Network Television carried the playoffs.
Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: ‘King’ James hasn’t begun to match Kobe
Terence Moore, AOL Fanhouse: Kobe's the Best Right Now, but Not Ever
Shaun Powell, NBA.com: Hardly pretty, but title No. 16 plenty sweet for Lakers
Drew Sharp, Detroit Free Press: Historical perspective needed in NBA's 'best ever' debate [June 20]
Michael Wilbon, Washington Post: On Kobe's legacy
Former police officer David Warren denies claims that he knowingly fired the shot that killed Henry Glover. How much of the story remains untold?
"Former New Orleans police Officer David Warren had claimed not to know if he hit anybody when he fired a shot with an assault rifle four days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall," the New Orleans Times-Picayune editorialized on Monday."Given Mr. Warren's award-winning marksmanship, his claim was never believable," it continued. "Friday federal prosecutors accused the former officer of needlessly killing Henry Glover.
"In announcing the indictments against Mr. Warren Friday, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten also announced indictments against two officers accused of setting Mr. Glover's body on fire and two other officers accused of obstructing the investigation into Mr. Glover's death. One can't read the indictments without feeling outrage over what was done to Mr. Glover."
As the New York Times noted, "The circumstances surrounding Mr. Glover's death were first reported in late 2008 in an article that was a collaboration by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute and the nonprofit investigative news service Pro Publica."
But on Friday, the key member of that collaboration, A.C. Thompson, wrote that the whole story has still not been told.
"When I began investigating the mysterious death of Henry Glover, one of the most notable aspects of the case was the lack of documents," Thompson wrote.
"Here was a New Orleans resident found incinerated in a car just a few hundred feet from a police station in September 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Yet there was no sign that anyone in authority had ever conducted any sort of investigation. The New Orleans Police Department told me in 2008 that they knew absolutely nothing about Glover's demise.
"Today's indictment suggests that was not true. The 11-count indictment accuses police officers of shooting Glover and torching his corpse, physically attacking his brother and another man, and then attempting to conceal it all.
"What's most striking about the charging documents is what they do not address: the extraordinary number of officers in the department who were likely aware of these events as they unfolded. ... Numerous -- possibly dozens -- of other officers were likely present at the site of the alleged beatings."
The indictments are not the only legal action. "Charlene Green, the mother of Glover's child, filed a wrongful death suit this week on behalf of her teenaged son, Henry Glover Jr.," columnist Jarvis deBerry wrote Friday in the Times-Picayune. "The suit follows reporting done by The Times-Picayune and ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom that worked with this newspaper in an investigation of police shootings after Katrina."
And as the New York Times said, "The case is one of at least eight investigations into actions of the New Orleans Police Department being conducted by the federal government.
"Most of the investigations concern events in the chaotic days after the storm. The best known, concerning the shootings of civilians on the Danziger Bridge that left two dead and four wounded, resulted in five guilty pleas from current or former police officers.
"Last month, the Department of Justice announced that it would conduct a full-scale investigation into the patterns and practices of the police force, a step that usually results in a legally binding blueprint for wholesale reform.
"In a sign of just how grim the view of the police force is in New Orleans, the mayor himself formally solicited such a review, citing a need for 'systemic and transformational change.'"
Andrew Langston, 83, Founded Rochester's WDKX
"Andrew A. Langston founded Rochester's only African-American-owned radio station in Rochester in 1974. And from small beginnings, WDKX-FM (103.9) has become a power in the community for discussion and entertainment from a growing audience. Mr. Langston, who was chief executive officer of the station, died Thursday, according to station officials. He was 83," Jeffrey Blackwell wrote Saturday in the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y.
"Shiera Coleman, vice president of broadcast for the Rochester Association of Black Journalists, worked for Langston as an intern and later on-air with the station's morning show.
" 'I had a lot of respect for him - to be able to create this business from the ground up and have it succeed for all these years when a lot of people didn't think that it would succeed,' she said.
"'He overcame all the obstacles, and you know he was just a great man.'"
"WDKX-FM (103.9) went on the air on April 6, 1974, with the initials of Frederick Douglass, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X - African-American leaders revered by Mr. Langston. And in the tradition of his heroes, the station has become a voice for the community and for young people."
The National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters gave Langston its "Pioneer in Broadcasting" award in 1990. Just as his peers did, he complained that ratings services did not count his audience properly and that white advertisers figured they could reach his listeners by buying time on white-owned stations that also played some black music. He told this writer then that WDKX was losing $2 million a year on such audience misreadings.
Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy said, "During times when radio stations were being bought by major corporations, Mr. Langston held on to WDKX, which is now one of the few independently owned radio stations in the country."
Facebook users: Sign up for the "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" fan page.
New census data reveal that nearly 49 percent of babies born last year were of color.
"Record levels of births among minorities in the past decade are moving the USA a step closer to a demographic milestone in which no group commands a majority, new Census estimates show," Haya El Nasser reported Friday for USA Today, in the lead story for its weekend edition.
"Minorities accounted for almost 49% of U.S. births in the year ending July 1, 2009, a record high, according to data released Thursday. They make up more than half the population in 317 counties - about 1 in 10 - four states (California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas) and the District of Columbia.
"The USA TODAY Diversity Index shows increases in every state since 2000. The index was created to measure how racially and ethnically diverse the population is. It uses the percentage of each race counted by the Census Bureau - white, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian - and Hispanic ethnicity to calculate the chance that any two people are from different groups. The scale ranges from 0 (no diversity) to 100.
"The 2009 national index is 52, up from 47 in 2000. That means that the chance of two randomly selected people being different is slightly more than half. In 1980, the index was 34, a 1-in-3 chance.
"The level of diversity varies widely from region to region - from as high as 79 in Hawaii and 68 in California to as low as 10 in Maine and Vermont and 13 in West Virginia.
"Much of the rapid growth in diversity is driven by an influx of young Hispanic immigrants whose birthrates are higher than those of non-Hispanic whites, creating a race and ethnic chasm and a widening age gap. 'There are more than 500 counties which have a majority of minority children,' says Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute. 'The population is changing to minority from the bottom up.'"
The American Society of News Editors has set a goal of having the percentage of minorities working in newsrooms nationwide equal to the percentage of minorities in the nation's population by 2025. Currently, minorities make up 33 percent of the U.S. population. The percentage of minorities in the most recent newsroom survey was 13.26 percent.
At least three African American journalists - Kevin Blackistone of AOL Fanhouse,Jemele Hill of ESPN andWilliam Rhoden of the New York Times - are in South Africa covering the World Cup, an event expected to be the most watched in television history.
In addition, "Univision... well, they're maximizing the fact they own the exclusive Spanish-language broadcast rights to 'el mundial' in the U.S. There's cross-promotion galore on all their shows and it seems like all of the network's on-air talent is in South Africa," Veronica Villafañe reported on her Media Moves site.
Also in South Africa: "Daniela Rodriguez, an aspiring TV reporter from Houston," who "beat out more than 1,000 other contestant on ESPN Deportes 'Dream Job: The Reporter' reality show last month, winning the opportunity to do on-air reporting on the Mexican World Cup team from South Africa," Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reported from Johannesburg. Rodriguez is an account executive for an advertising agency who entered the competition on a lark in December.
Glen Dickson of Broadcasting & Cable reported that "Cable sports giant ESPN's latest network, ESPN 3D, launched successfully at 9:30 am EST Friday with the stereoscopic 3D broadcast of the 2010 FIFA World Cup match between Mexico and South Africa."
And as reported previously, professor Joe Ritchie of Florida A&M University planned to take six FAMU students to South Africa, meeting six journalism students from Shantou University in China. The two groups are collaborating on multimedia coverage of the Cup and of life in South Africa in general. Their work is being posted atwww.famustu.net/worldcup.
Blackistone used his column from South Africa Wednesday to call for a sports boycott of Israel, though not of individual Israeli athletes.
"The reason South Africa was readmitted to the world's sports arena in the early '90s was because an armed struggle waged by the country's oppressed, coupled with international pressure - like that from those world sporting bodies, and protesters I joined who marched and sported anti-Krugerrand buttons - made apartheid defunct," he wrote.
"South Africa is a shining example of the good sports can do for society. In the wake of widespread international condemnation of Israel's botched commando raid last week that killed nine people on a humanitarian aid flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip - where Palestinians live under what Nobel-prize winning South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, also on my flight, once said is Israel's apartheid-like thumb - could it not be time for sport to illuminate Israel's deadly occupation of Palestinians?
"Maybe a sports boycott of Israel, where sports are beloved the same as in South Africa, could help foster a round of truly meaningful peace talks between Israel and Palestinians. Maybe such a collective effort could exercise the same leverage on Israel that it did for nearly 30 years with South Africa."
Facebook users: Sign up for the "Richard Prince's Journal-isms" fan page.
In a telephone interview initiated by Journal-isms, three of them said Thomas was expressing her opposition to the disputed Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
The sisters of Helen Thomas say her statements about Israel — which cost the White House correspondent-turned-Hearst columnist her job — have been widely misinterpreted.
In a telephone interview initiated by Journal-isms, three of them said Thomas was not calling for the destruction of Israel or the return of all Israelis to Europe or the United States, as has been the running narrative, but was expressing her opposition to the disputed Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
"They should stop confiscating the land that belonged to the Palestinians. We feel that there should be a two-state solution in Palestine," said one sister, who did not want to be identified. The sisters, who spoke from the home of one of them in the Detroit area, which houses the nation's largest concentration of Arab Americans, range in age from 87 to 95. Thomas is 89. A brother is 100. The family is Lebanese-American.
"Helen Thomas is for peaceful coexistence in the Palestinian territory," said Barbara Isaac, the youngest sister. "What she does not like is that the Palestinians have been completely devastated and made to live under occupation and all the deleterious effects, and the hazardous effects of that, stripped of their ability to live normal lives.
"Helen has lived with this problem for as long as she's been in Washington," she said. Displaced Palestinians become waiters and cooks there, "and would talk to her, and she's heard nothing but their stories of horror for 60 years," Isaac said, referencing the creation of Israel in 1948. "She's out to dinner and they find her.
"If nobody got angry about injustice, then people just go on suffering, knowing that nobody gives a damn."
As Laura Berman wrote Tuesday in the Detroit News, "When asked about Israel during a White House Jewish heritage celebration on May 27, Thomas told RabbiLive.com: 'Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.'
"As the recording continued, Thomas told the interviewer, Rabbi David F. Nesenoff: 'Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land.'
"Asked where they should go, Thomas answered: 'They should go home' to 'Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else.'
"The fallout was quick."
Even President Obama commented, saying Thomas' comments were "offensive" and "out of line." He told NBC that it was a "shame" that her career has ended in controversy, but called Thomas' retirement announcement "the right decision."
According to the sisters, the reference to going home to Poland, Germany and America refers to those who have populated the disputed Israeli settlements.
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen exemplified the prevalent interpretation of Thomas' comments in the news media.
"Well, I don't know about 'everywhere else,' " he wrote, "but after World War II, many Jews did attempt to 'go home' to Poland. This resulted in the murder of about 1,500 of them — killed not by Nazis but by Poles, either out of sheer ethnic hatred or fear they would lose their (stolen) homes."
Helen Thomas was not talking calls, her sisters said, giving a hint at what her life has been like in the past few days. "She has so many bouquets of flowers they can't get into her condo," Isaac said.
Thomas issued this statement on her website on Tuesday: "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."
She has said nothing publicly since then.
Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab-American News in Dearborn, Mich., which claims to be "the largest, oldest and most respected Arab American newspaper in the United States," told Journal-isms there was never any doubt about what Thomas meant.
"Helen Thomas hit it right on the nail. They should get the hell out of Palestine," he said. "It's illegal" -- what is taking place, he said, "confiscating land" and "illegal settlements."
"She's talking about the settlements," he said without hesitation, asked to explain Thomas' reference.
"I saw the video six or seven times and I know what she meant."
Siblani ran a column on his website Monday from Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation magazine, which he called "the fairest" that he had seen. It was titled, "Isn't There Some Room for Helen Thomas?"
For his own editorial, he said, "We're not going to be shy about this. This is a very clear . . . example of the double standard that America has when it comes to Muslims and the rest of the world. You can write attacks on Jesus Christ, but you cannot say anything about Israel. You can criticize and attack the Prophet Mohammed, but you cannot attack the state of Israel, or even be critical of the Jewish state. It is disgraceful and unacceptable in our democracy."
In another development, Ben Burns, director of the journalism program at Wayne State University, clarified reports that the school was considering renaming the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award, which celebrates journalists who bring diversity to the media and was most recently awarded Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald and veteran journalist Lynette Clemetson, founding managing editor of theRoot.com.
"What I thought I said was that the university would certainly review that suggestion which had come from a number of folks in the community," he told Journal-isms. "I also said that I personally oppose changing the name of the award, but that decision would be made by the Board of Governors of WSU on the President's recommendation. I also said that WSU would move deliberately and carefully in reviewing the suggestions and that the final decision was way above my pay grade. We have had some push back from alums suggesting they would end support for the university if we changed the name. All in all a very sad situation."
(Siblani later added by e-mail: "Just for your information. I received her award this year from Wayne State University. And, if they remove Helen['s] name from the award I swear to God I will have a press conference and I will throw it in the garbage.")
Isaac said she was eager to talk because she believed her sister's personality was being misrepresented.
The comments have been the subject of reporting and opinion pieces around the globe — many expressing praise for Thomas' pioneering achievements but condemning her career-ending remarks. One journalism website debated whether Thomas' comments should be considered anti-Israel, anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic.
"She doesn't hate anybody," Isaac said. One of the older sisters recalled that during the Holocaust, Thomas closely followed first lady Eleanor Roosevelt's efforts to bring German Jews to the United States. "She was very upset about the whole thing, and she had fed them in her apartment building when I used to visit her back in the '40s. They were in the concentration camps. She's very close to all that.
"It's the old cliche. Our best friends are Jewish."
Agence France-Presse: Hezbollah salutes former White House press dean's 'courage'
Darrel Dawsey, Detroit blog, time.com: Hearing Helen
Eric Deggans blog, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: As Helen Thomas exits journalism stage in controversy, a new question arises: Who's next?
Ross Douthat, New York Times blog: The Return of the Repressed
Robert Dreyfuss, the Nation: Gaza: It's Not About Anti-Semitism
Roy Greenslade, the Guardian, England: Helen Thomas went over the top, but why is she gagged in the land of the free?
Errol Louis, New York Daily News: Come to our senses on Gaza: Those vilifying Israel are wrong; so are her knee-jerk defenders
Michel Martin blog, "Tell Me More," National Public Radio: Helen Thomas: The Good And The Bad
Richard Prince and Alicia Shepard on "Tell Me More," National Public Radio: Legendary Journalist Helen Thomas Quits After Israel Gaffe
Sam Sedaei, Huffington Post: Is Helen Thomas an Anti-Semite, or Are Her Critics?
Alicia Shepard, National Public Radio: Don't Take Away Helen Thomas' Front Row Nameplate
The press corps in the Gulf had been on the story for more than six weeks, despite a tight-lipped disaster communications team.
"Speaking to the people of the Gulf Coast a week ago last Wednesday from Grand Isle, President Obama assured them that his administration would keep focused on the massive oil spill and its consequences," David Carr wrote Monday in the New York Times.
“ 'I am here to tell you that you’re not alone. You will not be abandoned. You will not be left behind,' he said, but could not resist a sideswipe at the press corps in front of him. 'The cameras at some point may leave; the media may get tired of the story; but we will not.'
"Oops. The press corps in the Gulf had been on the story for more than six weeks, often dealing with a tight-lipped disaster communications apparatus that seemed to be in the hands of BP rather than the government.
"NBC anchor Brian Williams pushed back, politely but firmly, in an interview last Thursday with Mediaite, the media news site.
" 'I got a kick out of President Obama saying that even when the cameras go away, we’ll still be there for you,' he said in a telephone interview with the Web site. 'That ain’t the way this is going to play out. If anything, the cameras being here have compelled outside interests — government, BP — to kick this into another gear. With all due respect, the president might have had his scenario off by 180 degrees.' . . . ”
Buffalo Columnist Tries To Live on Minimum Wage
"As much as I’ve read about and written about poverty, I had no idea what it’s like to really be poor," columnist Rod Watson wrote May 27 in the Buffalo News.
"After taking this week’s Poverty Challenge sponsored by the Homeless Alliance of Western New York, I still don’t.
"But as a middle-class worker, I do know I won’t be so quick to judge low-income people when they make some choices that others can’t comprehend. The one thing the challenge drove home was the structural dimensions of poverty and the sheer hopelessness that can overwhelm those caught in its grip.
". . . The challenge invites people to try for two days to live on the budget of someone mired in poverty or, if that’s too daunting, someone living on the minimum wage. The alliance used government data on the costs of housing, health care, transportation and life’s other expenses and computed a budget. Taking the minimum-wage challenge, I had to live on that budget while bringing home $1,036 a month after taxes.
". . . Seeing things through that lens doesn’t excuse bad decision-making, but it does make it more understandable: What do you do when whatever you do is hopeless?
". . . As we drove through blighted areas on the Lower West Side, walled off by the Niagara Thruway, or East Side neighborhoods destroyed by the Kensington Expressway, the impact of policy decisions that deprived neighborhoods of investment and jobs became clear.
". . . Similarly, it will take deliberate policy decisions to reverse Buffalo’s blight and put people in a position so that they don’t have to throw up their hands and feel there’s no way out."