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)."
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.
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.
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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.
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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For each one of the film's virtues, prominent African Americans have found a vice.
"Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained' has become embroiled in the second major controversy of awards season," Steve Pond wrote Wednesday for the Wrap. "The director's liberal use of the N-word, and his temerity in tackling the issue of slavery, has drawn fire from some prominent African-Americans and impassioned defenses from others.
"Like the turmoil stirred up by the depiction of CIA-sponsored torture in Kathryn Bigelow's 'Zero Dark Thirty,' the 'Django' fuss has been caused by a filmmaker tackling a hot-button issue.
"Ishmael Reed wrote at Speakeasy . . . that the movie 'was the talk among blacks during two Christmas parties that I attended,' comparing African-Americans who said they wanted to see 'Django' to 'When Time Ran Out: Coming of Age in the Third Reich' author Frederic Zeller, who said that as a child he applauded the Aryan characters in pre-World War II German cinema.
" 'Django,' he wrote, is an 'abomination' that distorts history: 'It's a Tarantino home movie with all of the racist licks that appear in his other movies.'
"On The Root, . . . writer Hillary Crosley said she was one of only about 10 African Americans who attended a screening of the film that was followed by a Q&A with Tarantino moderated by director Peter Bogdanovich.
" '[A] black woman interrupted their conversation, saying, "A lot of black people are not going to like this movie. I'm about to have a heart attack,'" wrote Crosley, who defended the film. 'Then a few audience members began to heckle Tarantino from the balcony, shouting: "This is bulls---." ' Tarantino, she said, offered to speak to the hecklers later.
"The movie has become both a flash point and a free-for-all, and the issue is particularly sensitive among African-American viewers -- not a large audience for the film, but a key one for principals like Jamie Foxx, who plays the title role.
" 'If this movie does what it does and black people hate it, that doesn't do nothing for me,' Foxx said on BET. 'Because I feel like the reason I exist is the black audience.' "
Released on Christmas, "Django Unchained" ranked second in weekend box office receipts, behind "The Hobbit."
Black writers were of several minds. Every point raised in a given discussion -- that "it's only a movie," that it's really a love story, that it's like a cartoon, that the use of the 'n' word is historically accurate -- could find someone taking an opposing position.
On Facebook Wednesday, Darren Sands, 29, a digital producer/reporter at Black Enterprise, garnered amens when he wrote, "Django commentary by most of the black intelligentsia cannot, for all of its brains and gifts of critical analysis, fathom a fantastical film with an artistic license ... so the analysis comes off as drivel; baseless assumptions about what is lost on our conscience and about what is acceptable and accurate about a bygone era that we must hold dear lest we embarrass our ancestors. Please. At worst, it's grandstanding for attention. At best, it's not knowing how to have a good time at the movies."
By contrast, in a piece posted Wednesday by the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb, 43, recalled teaching a course on American history at Moscow State University and being confronted by Russian students questioning Tarantino's portrayal of World War II in "Inglourious Basterds."
In that film, ". . . The movie's lines between fantasy and the actual myopic perspectives on history were so hazy that the audience wasn't asked to suspend disbelief, they were asked to suspend conscience," wrote Cobb, an associate professor of history and director of the Institute of African American Studies at the University of Connecticut. "With 'Django Unchained,' Tarantino's tale of vengeful ex-slave, what happened in Russia is happening here.
". . .The film's defenders are quick to point out that 'Django' is not about history. But that's almost like arguing that fiction is not reality -- it isn't, but the entire appeal of the former is its capacity to shed light on how we understand the latter.
". . . It seems almost pedantic to point out that slavery was nothing like this. The slaveholding class existed in a state of constant paranoia about slave rebellions, escapes, and a litany of more subtle attempts to undermine the institution. Nearly two hundred thousand black men, most of them former slaves, enlisted in the Union Army in order to accomplish en masse precisely what Django attempts to do alone: risk death in order to free those whom they loved. Tarantino's attempt to craft a hero who stands apart from the other men -- black and white -- of his time is not a riff on history, it's a riff on the mythology we've mistaken for history. . . . "
Saladin Ambar, HuffPost BlackVoices: Django's Djumbles
Rodney Barnes, HuffPost BlackVoices: Lincoln, Meet Django: Slavery's Latest Films Are Controversial, But Not Why You Think
Cecil Brown, CounterPunch: Hollywood's Nigger Joke
Anthea Butler, the Grio: Does 'Django Unchained' get the history of slavery right?
Christopher Alan Chambers website: The Posthumous Journal of Dangerfield Newby ("The Real Django")
Javier David, the Grio: Does 'Django Unchained' make slavery safe for the masses?
Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune: 'Django' expresses an anger not every filmmaker can show
Editorial, Washington Informer: Foxx's Django Deserves High Honors
Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Root: Tarantino 'Unchained,' Part 1: 'Django' Trilogy?
Keli Goff, Huffington Post: The Racial Slurs in 'Django' Aren't Racist But the Racial Violence May Be
Terry Gross, "Fresh Air," NPR: Quentin Tarantino, 'Unchained' And Unruly
Erin Aubry Kaplan, Los Angeles Times: 'Django' an unsettling experience for many blacks
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Tarantino blows up the spaghetti western in 'Django Unchained'
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 'Django' tells tale missing real slave history
Ishmael Reed, Wall Street Journal: Black Audiences, White Stars and 'Django Unchained'
Sergio, Shadow and Act: Boston Globe Film Critic Likens Samuel L. Jackson's 'Django' Character To Black Republicans
Tanya Steele, Shadow and Act: Tarantino's Candy (Slavery In The White Male Imagination)
Jeff Winbush blog: "Django" is Tarantino Unchained
Jordan Zakarin, Hollywood Reporter: Samuel L. Jackson Insists Reporter Say N-Word in 'Django Unchained' Interview (Video)
"Current TV, the small cable news channel that was co-founded by former vice president Al Gore, has been sold to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based media company," Joe Flint reported Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times.
"The acquisition gives Al Jazeera, which is funded by the Qatar government, the opportunity to establish a footprint in the United States, where it already has an English-language version of its Qatar service -- called Al Jazeera English -- but only limited reach.
"Just buying Current does not guarantee instant distribution, however. Time Warner Cable, which offered Current in roughly 10 million of its homes, is dropping the channel. Without Time Warner Cable, which is the largest distributor in New York City and Los Angeles, Current TV is in only about 50 million homes."
The front page of Saturday's Washington Post carried a subtle reminder that the inventors of the English language -- and most of today's arbiters -- have a certain skin tone as a frame of reference.
"Street racers put their terror on tape," it said, followed by "White-knuckle stunts by D.C. area group 'a tragedy waiting to happen.' "
What does the term "white knuckle" mean? Yahoo's Answers site's "best answer": "The act of clenching your hand shuts off the blood flow to your knuckles, so they turn white. You clench your hand on a steering wheel or roller coaster bar when you are scared. So, white knuckles = scared."
But what if your skin isn't the shade that turns white? It could put you in the same category as those who are "tickled pink," but not really, become "red-faced" or once were given "flesh"-colored Band-Aids that didn't match their particular flesh.
Last year during Black History Month, Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer of the Chicago Tribune compiled "10 things you might not know about skin color."
"Crayola once had a color called 'flesh,' which was the color of Caucasian flesh," they noted as their second point. "After complaints from civil rights activists, 'flesh' became 'peach' in 1962. A similar controversy involved 'Indian red.' Crayola said the color was based on a pigment found near India, but some thought it was a slur against native Americans, so the company solicited consumer suggestions for a new name. Among the ideas: 'baseball-mitt brown' and 'crab claw red.' But 'chestnut' was chosen in 1999."
Journal-isms asked Liz Spayd, a managing editor at the Post, about the "white knuckle" headline. She replied by email, "...i think of 'white knuckled' as a common term for something that pumps up anxiety and fear. i've never heard the concern you raise about it."
Crayola didn't give up on crayons that mimicked skin tones; it adapted to a multicultural world. Its website now says, "Crayola Large Multicultural Crayons come in an assortment of skin hues that give a child a realistic palette for coloring their world. These thick crayons are easy to grip -- perfect for little hands. The crayon colors are: black, sepia, peach, apricot, white, tan, mahogany and burnt sienna. Each crayon is 4" long and 7/16" in diameter."
"Over the final weekend of 2012, UNITY Journalist's board of directors voted to change the organization's name to UNITY: Journalists for Diversity," outgoing Unity President Joanna Hernandez reported Monday on Unity's Facebook page.
George Kiriyama, departing Unity representative of the Asian American Journalists Association, and Michael Triplett, president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, reported the emailed vote as 12 for "Unity: Journalists for Diversity," three for "Unity: Journalists of Color" and one not voting.
Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, wrote, "Mekahlo Medina, Yvonne Latty and I voted as the majority of our members did: Unity: Journalists for Diversity. Peter Ortiz voted for Unity Journalists of Color."
Separately, Janet Cho of AAJA told Journal-isms she voted for "Unity: Journalists of Color" and Michaela Saunders of the Native American Journalists Association said she chose "Unity: Journalists for Diversity." Cho had previously voted against the change from "Unity: Journalists of Color" and Saunders had abstained.
There were a actually two votes, Hernandez explained to Journal-isms by email.
"An extra step was added to the process because the board wanted to ratify the name-change vote via a motion.
"The original step was that the board of directors would vote on the name via ballot, which they did, and that is where 12 voted for the name UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, 3 voted for UNITY: Journalists of Color, and 1 board member did not vote.
"So after the board received the results of their name-change vote, Sharon Chan, UNITY VP at the time, put forth a motion (seconded by then-Secretary Patty Loew): I hereby respectfully move that: UNITY Journalists change its name to UNITY: Journalists for Diversity.
"The tally for the motion was 9 yes, 1 no, and 6 board members did not vote.
"UNITY will not be releasing how individual board members voted."
The name of the coalition became an issue after the National Association of Black Journalists left the alliance in 2011 over financial and governance issues, and Unity invited NLGJA to join.
In December, members of NAHJ, AAJA, NAJA and NLGJA -- the four journalism associations in the reconstituted Unity coalition -- each voted to replace "Unity: Journalists of Color" with "UNITY: Journalists for Diversity." The final decision was then made by the Unity board of directors.
Tom Arviso of NAJA succeeded Hernandez this week as Unity president.
"NPR News is announcing new appointments for three of its newsmagazine hosts: Michele Norris returns from a leave of absence to take on an expanded new role as a host and special correspondent; Audie Cornish will stay on as co-host of All Things Considered; and Rachel Martin anchors the week as host of Weekend Edition Sunday," the network announced on Thursday.
"Norris returns to the air fulltime in February; Cornish and Martin have been serving as interim hosts of their respective programs."
"Taken together, these three represent the journalistic depth and power of NPR News,' Margaret Low Smith, senior vice president of NPR News, said in a release. "We're incredibly lucky to have such gifted journalists. Each of them has extraordinary range and the ability to connect with audiences in meaningful ways. I'm looking forward to this next chapter for all three."
The announcement continued, "As host and special correspondent, Norris will produce in-depth profiles, interviews and series, and regularly guest host NPR News programs. One of her focuses will be 'The Race Card Project,' an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America that Norris began after her 2010 family memoir The Grace of Silence. . . ."
Cornish replaced Norris as co-host of "All Things Considered" in November 2011 while Norris took a one-year leave from her hosting role. Norris' husband, Broderick Johnson, had accepted a senior adviser position with President Obama's reelection campaign. The move kept an African American woman in the co-host slot. Cornish had begun hosting NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday" just two months earlier. [Added Jan. 3]
Emmitt Vascocu, the viewer whose questioning of meteorologist Rhonda Lee's short Afro hairstyle helped set in motion events that led to Lee's firing, wrote on his Facebook page in October that he was brain damaged.
"To all in ciber land (cq)," Vascocu wrote in an Oct. 29 posting.
"I have Dementia an also brain damage to my temprealobe. so in saying this if i say something that hurts someone bare in mind that i have this problem.For this is not a good thing ive lost alot of good memoreys.it effects my spelling it effects my mood and many othier things.
"So there it is i ecept that i a a major problem an my othier conditions. But im Blessed By Jesus Christ to still be here to see all of my children to become groun an to see my 9 grandchildren grow."
On Oct. 1, Vascocu wrote on the Facebook page of KTBS-TV in Shreveport, La., that "the black lady that does the news is a very nice lady.the only thing is she needs to wear a wig or grow some more hair. im not sure if she is a cancer patient. but still its not something myself that i think looks good on tv. what about letting someone a male have waist long hair do the news.what about that (cq)."
Lee responded on the same page the same day, in part, ". . . "I am very proud of my African-American ancestry which includes my hair. . . ."
She was fired on Nov. 28, the station said, for responding to viewers in violation of the station's social media policies. The case created an uproar, with most siding with Lee.
In a Christmas posting, Jack Hambrick, identified as former television reporter with KPRC-TV in Houston, WFTV-TV in Orlando, WFOR-TV in Miami and WSFL-TV in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., charged that "Lee launched her media crusade by humiliating and assaulting the character of Emmitt Vascocu, a 57-year-old white KTBS viewer, whom she knew full well was mentally ill.
"Lee had known it for two months before she was fired. . . . "
" 'Hi Emmitt. Thank you for the heartfelt response. I’m very sorry to hear about your Alzheimer disease,' Lee wrote to Vascocu on October 7 in a private message on Facebook.
"But evidently, Lee's sympathy evaporated after she was fired by KTBS on November 28. She brought out the long knives for Emmitt Vascocu," Hambrick wrote on the Digital Texan, a website of which he is publisher and editor.
Asked her response, Lee messaged Journal-isms, "I have seen the article and this 'investigative piece' really doesn't warrant a comment."
However, Lee, who is 37, later responded to Hambrick's statement that she had exaggerated the amount of time she had been in the business. "I never said I was forecasting at a TV station since I was 12. I'm not sure where he got that information. I have always maintained that I been in the business since I was a teenager -- which was 25 years ago," she said.
Pumza Fihlani, BBC News: Africa: Where black is not really beautiful
Ava Thompson Greenwell, Huffington Post: Power to the People: Hair Texture and Gender Matter to TV News Audiences
When the Emancipation Proclamation went on display at the National Archives in Washington for three days ending New Year's Day, and 150th anniversary commemorations were similarly held around the country, A'Lelia Bundles, former journalist, was out front.
Bundles, a former director of talent development for ABC News and producer for ABC and NBC News, became chairman and president of the board of the Foundation for the National Archives a year ago. She is also the biographer of entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, Bundles' great-great-grandmother.
"The things that we learned in elementary school and high school about the Emancipation, was not quite the whole truth," Bundles said Tuesday on NPR's "Talk of the Nation." "In fact, only the slaves who were in states that were in rebellion, where Lincoln actually really had no jurisdiction, were technically freed. But it did open the door and create a wedge for freedom to finally come with the 13th Amendment."
J. Freedom duLac reported in the Washington Post, "On Sunday, as the Emancipation Proclamation went on display, several hundred people were lined up outside the Archives, trying to avoid becoming human statuary in the raw winter wind."
Bundles explained to Journal-isms by email, "I joined the Foundation for the National Archives board in 2006, having been invited at the recommendation of Cokie Roberts, my former ABC News colleague, who was familiar with my writing and research on Madam C. J. Walker. Through the years I'd done research at the National Archives (officially known as NARA for The National Archives and Records Administration), so generally was familiar with the institution, but not with the Foundation.
"NARA is the repository for the records of all federal agencies (from military records and census records to Congressional documents and treaties) and the White House. In addition to the main building in DC and another large building in College Park [Md.], it oversees more than 40 regional facilities and the presidential libraries.
"As a federal agency, its budget is determined by Congress and it can not raise private funds. As a result, the Foundation was created as a private sector partner to raise funds for exhibitions, online educational materials, publications, programs and other initiatives to assist the National Archives in increasing civic literacy and making the records of the agency more accessible to the public."
"I became chairman and president of the board of the Foundation for the National Archives in January 2012 and will serve a three year term."
Martha M. Boltz, Washington Times: The Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln, a great emancipator or great colonizer?
A'Lelia Bundles, The Root: Slave's Letter Reveals Pace of Freedom
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic: The Wholly Misunderstood Emancipation Proclamation
Jenée Desmond-Harris, The Root: Emancipation Proclamation: Up Close
Eric Foner, New York Times: The Emancipation of Abe Lincoln
Keli Goff, Nieman Journalism Lab: A new window on race (Dec. 21)
Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: An underground story no more
Allison Keyes, "Weekend Edition Saturday," NPR: 'Watch Nights,' A New Year's Celebration Of Emancipation
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Slavery is key part of riveting U.S. history
Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald: Race is the stupidest idea in history
Frank Reeves, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Few were confident of Lincoln signing 'edict of freedom' for slaves
David M. Shribman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: On America's most important New Year's Eve, Lincoln found our better angels
Alicia W. Stewart, CNN: Years later, myths persist about the Emancipation Proclamation
WTTW-TV, Chicago: Early Chicago: Slavery in Illinois
John Yoo, Fox News: The Emancipation Proclamation's unforgettable lesson about presidential power
"The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association is calling for a nationwide boycott of the advertisers of the suburban New York newspaper that published online maps revealing names and addresses of people with pistol permits," Mackenzie Weinger reported Monday for Politico.
"The association on Monday announced it was urging people to stop patronizing any business who advertises with Gannett -- the White Plains-based Journal News' parent company -- until the map is removed. On Dec. 22, the Journal News published interactive maps showing the pistol permit holders in the state's Westchester and Rockland counties. The decision sparked an uproar among conservatives and gun rights advocates, but the paper says it will continue adding names to the map."
Separately, the Journal News hired armed security guards to man the newspaper's Rockland County headquarters in West Nyack, Dylan Skriloff reported Tuesday for the Rockland County Times.
In addition, state Sen. Greg Ball and two Putnam County officials said that they would refuse to release the names and addresses of residents with pistol permits, data requested by The Journal News, which sought the records under the state Freedom of Information Law. John W. Barry of the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal quoted Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, saying the law is clear. "The name and address of any gun licensee are public," he said.
Charles D. Ellison: Politics, race cloud gun control debate
Gregory Ferenstein, TechCrunch: Journalists' Addresses Posted In Revenge For Newspaper's Google Map Of Gun Permit Owners (Dec. 26)
Jeremy Gorner and Robert McCoppin, Chicago Tribune: Police: Chicago ends 2012 with 506 homicides
Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle: Oakland: Happy new year means less crime
Jerry Large, Seattle Times: To vanquish the bad, first study the good
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: NRA vs. common sense
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Stop the gun madness
Bob Ray Sanders, Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas: My diet informs my social commentary
When North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue Monday pardoned the group known as the Wilmington 10, accused of firebombing of a white-owned grocery store in a black neighborhood in 1971, Cash Michaels celebrated. He was more than simply a journalist covering the case.
"I was coordinator of The Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project, which was a special justice outreach effort of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and the Wilmington Journal newspaper, for which I am a staff writer," Michael messaged Journal-isms on Wednesday. "This was an historic accomplishment for the civil rights movement (I'm told), and huge victory for the Black Press!"
Michaels also thanked his supporters on Facebook. "Yesterday was overwhelming, especially, after waiting all morning, to finally get a call from the Governor herself, telling me what she was going to do, but I had to keep it to myself for 15 minutes," he wrote. "Needless to say, I naturally told my wife and Kala, and they made sure I didn't tell anybody else until the Governor's Office made it public.
"These last seven months since we filed the pardon petition papers have taught me a few things for sure -- FIRST, that whatever you do that's worthwhile, you must do it by GOD. I've seen things happen during our campaign that could only be His work, things that that didn't happen when we wanted, but certainly when we needed them, the NY Times editorial for one. -- SECOND, the incredible teamwork and partnerships we created, especially with the NCNAACP, the NAACP, Change.org and others.
"My job was to know what to do, and when to do it. But I had incredible wisdom and talent from the great people working with us, and I'm eternally grateful to them. Teamwork is a jewel, in my book. And FINALLY, the scariest part of this whole experience was knowing that six human beings, and the families of four who had deceased, trusted us, and were counting on our efforts, to bring justice and truth to the fore. It was hard work just to earn that trust. Once earned, it was even harder to build on, because the way forward was not easy. GOD allowed us to stay focused on what this cause was all about from the very beginning, and because of that, and His blessed guidance, we were able to make HISTORY!
"So thank you, everyone. We have a few loose ends to tie up, but now I can go back to being only a journalist and troublemaker. I'll never, ever forget this experience, and the many lives we touched with it.
"And I'll never forget a courageous Governor, whose heart has always proven to be pure when it comes to issues of justice."
Editorial, New York Times: When Justice Grinds Slow
"Former CNN anchor T.J. Holmes, who left the network a year ago to join BET was back on cable news today, on MSNBC," Chris Ariens reported Saturday for TVNewser. "MSNBC tells us Holmes is doing some holiday fill-in work for them, today sitting in for Alex Witt." Holmes tweeted on Saturday, "To clear this up: last 'Don't Sleep' episode of 2012 was last wk. Look forward to it in 2013. But, u can see me other places, like #MSNBC." He returned to MSNBC on Sunday.
"When I moved to Tegucigalpa last March several friends back home in Spain wanted to know why," Alberto Arce reported from Honduras Sunday for the Associated Press. "The big story was in Egypt, Libya and Syria; what was I planning to do on the other side of the globe? 'Bear witness,' I said, 'to the most violent place in the world, to a country in crisis.' I am the only foreign correspondent here, with no press pack to consult on questions of security, or to rely on for safety in numbers. I fall back on instincts honed in war zones, but they are not always sufficient when you are covering a failing state."
NBC News Wednesday denied a widely distributed story by RadarOnline.com that said, "Former TODAY co-anchor Ann Curry has formally asked her NBC bosses to let her out of her contract with the Peacock network so she can formally accept a position at CNN, where her old boss, Jeff Zucker, will officially take over the fledgling news channel in February." NBC spokeswoman Megan Kopf told Journal-isms, "There is no truth to this story."
Jet magazine, whose cover more often than not seems to feature an entertainer or similar celebrity, devotes its first cover story of 2013 to 17-year-old Jordan Davis, the latest victim of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. " 'Standing Our Ground' written by acclaimed journalist Denene Millner . . . exposes yet another murder of a young Black male just months after Trayvon Martin was also killed in Florida," Tonya Pendleton wrote for BlackAmericaWeb.
"The Senate Tuesday approved the renomination of FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, this time for a full five-year term retroactive to July 1, 2012, when her current term expired," John Eggerton reported Wednesday for Broadcasting & Cable.
"While the U.S. Congress has been kicking the can down the road and inching closer to the fiscal cliff, the word gurus at Lake Superior State University have doubled-down on their passion for the language and have released their 38th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness," Detroit's WDIV-TV reported on Monday. [Italics added.]
"Reporters Without Borders is shocked to learn that the Gaza Strip's Hamas-led government has banned Palestinian media and journalists from cooperating with the Israeli media because of the latter's 'hostility,' " the press freedom group said on Wednesday. " 'Offenders will be prosecuted,' the Hamas government said in a 25 December press release announcing the prohibition."
"Myanmar said Friday it will allow private daily newspapers starting in April for the first time since 1964, in the latest step toward allowing freedom of expression in the long-repressed nation," Aye Aye Win reported for the Associated Press.
"MundoFox, the new U.S. Spanish-language broadcast network launched in August by Fox International Channels and the RCN Television Group (RCN) of Colombia are have signed WGEN Miami," TVNewsCheck reported on Monday. "WGEN takes over the Miami MundoFox affiliation from the previously announced low-power WJAN-CD."
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