Will Unity Address Affirmative Action?
Journal-isms: One writer says that the reinvented diversity organization for journalists needs to tackle the issue.
"Like the Olympics, it happens every four years. But you won't see a lot of spandex at the convention of minority journalists called Unity, happening this week in Las Vegas," Emil Guillermo wrote Monday in his blog for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
"You won't see a lot of black journalists either.
"Unless they're gay.
" . . . For the first time, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), will not be at Unity. It chose to pull out of the major confab and stage its own convention earlier this year. It leaves just the Asian, Hispanic, and Native American journalists of color to unify in the desert with their new full partner, the gay, lesbian, transgender journalists of the National Lesbian [&] Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA).
" . . . Considering the Supreme Court in October will take up the biggest threat to affirmative action in years, I'm surprised I'm hearing little discussion about that issue in the pre-convention buzz.
" . . . more than ever before, we really need unity, especially on an issue like affirmative action. This time around, anti-affirmative action forces are using Asian Americans as a wedge to end the policy. Even without real advocacy on the issue, more stories about this would surely help inform the public prior to the Supreme Court argument on October 10.
"But if the NABJ/Unity split is a harbinger, it seems like we're all intent on dividing and conquering ourselves."
Tracie Powell, Poynter Institute: Factors to consider when choosing a journalism association
Gregory H. Lee Jr., senior assistant sports editor at the Boston Globe and president of the National Association of Black Journalists, has been named executive sports editor of the South Florida SunSentinel, NABJ announced on Monday.
"Lee begins the new post at the end of August, becoming one of three black journalists currently leading the sports departments at major daily newspapers," according to an NABJ release. The others are Lisa Bell Wilson of the Buffalo News and Larry Graham of U-T San Diego.
" . . . In his new role, Lee will lead coverage of four professional teams in South Florida, including the reigning NBA champions the Miami Heat. He will also lead coverage of the state's college programs, more than 300 high schools and the paper's digital efforts in sports.
Leading a journalist of color association has not always been a career-booster, in part because of the time required to fulfill duties at the association. In some cases, the job was not even protection from a layoff. However, Lee enjoyed the support of the Globe.
Sports Editor Joe Sullivan told Journal-isms by telephone, "We all knew that it's been Greg's goal to run his own department. He's deserving, and he'll do well and we're very proud of him."
Lee is the first sports journalist to become president of NABJ and previously led its Sports Task Force. "The past eight years have been very wonderful to me," he told Journal-isms by telephone, echoing Sullivan's comment that leading his own sports section was a goal of his career. "I look at it as a graduation from here," Lee said. "I can't thank the team I have here in Boston enough."
The release continued:
"Lee is also currently on the Board of Directors of the Sports Journalism Institute, an annual nine-week training and internship program for college students interested in sports journalism careers, designed to attract talented students to journalism through opportunities in sports reporting and editing and enhance racial and gender diversity in sports departments nationwide.
" . . . Lee is leaving the Boston Globe after eight years. He currently serves as senior assistant sports editor, managing reporters and leading the section's daily coverage. In 2008, Lee led the section's coverage of the Boston Celtics' championship run and its first NBA title in 20 years and served the Globe as its lead on-site editor at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
"Before heading to the Globe, Lee was an editor at the Washington Post, where he held a number of positions during his five-year tenure. Prior to working at the Post, Lee worked at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans as a copy editor, later advancing to slot editor, where he was responsible for designing the sports section and running the sports desk. Throughout his college years, Lee had worked as an editorial assistant in the sports department for the Times-Picayune. Lee is a 1996 graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans."
SunSentinel Editor Howard Saltz was not available for comment. Mary Helen Olejnik, community programs development manager, said the paper typically does not comment on personnel matters.
"Camille Edwards, vice president of news at WRC Washington, has been named vice president of news at WABC New York," Michael Malone reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable. "Edwards has been at WRC since 2008, following a news director stint at WMAQ Chicago from 2003 to 2008.
"It's a return to ABC for Edwards, who was assistant news director at WPVI Philadelphia from 1997 to 2003, and executive producer at WLS Chicago from 1993 to 1997.
"Camille Edwards's proven commitment to excellence in local TV news, along with her innovative work expanding news content to new-media platforms, made her the ideal choice for the top news post at WABC,' said Dave Davis, WABC-TV president and general manager. . . ."
Lori Waldon, news director at WISN-TV in Milwaukee, has been appointed news director at two Hearst stations in Sacramento, Calif., Duane Dudek reported Tuesday for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She succeeds Anzio Williams, newly named vice president of news at NBC-owned WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.
"According to a release from the station 'Waldon's promotion is a result of her outstanding job performance leading the news team during her tenure' at WISN-TV. While here she oversaw the station's news coverage . . . of some of biggest local stories including the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl run, the budget battle in Madison and the recall election," Dudek wrote.
"WISN-TV is locked in a [pitched] battle for news ratings supremacy with WTMJ-TV (Channel 4). . . . A national search will be conducted to find her replacement. Whoever they hire could have his or her hands full. The station's 10 p.m. newscasts lost about 50,000 viewers during its week long blackout on Time Warner Cable . . ."
Mark Glover added Monday in the Sacramento Bee, "Waldon previously served as assistant news director at Sacramento stations Channel 13 (KOVR) and Channel 31 (KMAX). She also spent 13 years in news management at KPIX-TV in San Francisco, serving as managing editor, executive producer and news producer."
The Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto television market is ranked No. 20 in size; Milwaukee is No. 34.
"Staffing the Olympics used to be a no-brainer for major newspapers. The Games are a major worldwide event and you air-mail as many reporters as possible," Ed Sherman wrote Monday for the Sherman Report.
"I was among 15 staffers for the Chicago Tribune during the 2000 Games in Sydney.
"Obviously, times, priorities, and most importantly, economics have changed. It's no longer automatic to send an army of staffers to cover an Olympics.
"In fact, the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer initially decided skip the trip to London. They returned the five credentials issued to the papers. However, at the last minute, the editors decided to send Phil Sheridan.
" . . . On the other side of the spectrum, there's the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. The Times isn't cutting back. It has 13 staffers in London. Dave Morgan, senior VP for content and editor in chief for the USA Today sports media group, noted the staffing breakdown: 'We have about 48 reporters/editors, about 20 photographers, 11 attached to video and 5 for office administration and support (which includes circulation of our International edition). . . ."
Philip Hersh, Los Angeles Times: Greatest Olympian? Sorry Michael Phelps, it's still Carl Lewis
HuffPost LatinoVoices: 13 Latinos To Look For In The London Olympics (PHOTOS)
TheRoot.com: The Root's London 2012 Black-Olympian Watch
"Kevin Torres is a multimedia journalist for KUSA-TV, the NBC station in Denver," Al Tompkins wrote Friday for the Poynter Institute. "Usually he shoots, writes and edits his own stories.
"On Tuesday, the key interview in his story was shot by the ABC station in town. On Wednesday, the Fox affiliate shot the interview for his story.
"What began as a routine way for Denver stations to share the most mundane coverage of everyday press conferences and staged events has turned into a way for victims of last week's theater shooting, and their families, to do one TV interview rather than dozens.
" 'The rules that we operate under are that a station can't even look over what they shot until they feed it out to everybody,' Torres told me by email. 'You can't post it online, you can't write about it until everybody in the pool has it.'
"The stations started pooling coverage in 2009 when KUSA and KMGH agreed to share a news helicopter.
"While journalists, of course, would like to do their own interviewing, Torres said the pool system is easier on the families."
Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe: Start the conversation on guns
John McWhorter, Daily News, New York: The bizarre right to bear arms
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: Views on Gun Laws Unchanged After Aurora Shooting
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: The real heroes in Aurora
Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Focus on keeping assault weapons off America's streets
Ruben Rosario, Pioneer-Press, St. Paul, Minn.: Stillwater mom has unique perspective on Colorado tragedy
Gregory Stanford blog: Martyrs to the Second Amendment Deserve Monument
David Squires, a veteran of several news organizations, including the New York Times and the Black Voices website, which he edited, is joining the Sporting News as an assistant managing editor who will work on the publication's digital efforts, Editor in Chief Garry D. Howard told Journal-isms on Tuesday.
"We're trying to take it to the digital world," Howard said of the Sporting News. But the digital space also needs experienced journalists, "and David has experience like no other." The publication has developed an iPad app that is "a daily sports section on your iPad," linking to non-Sporting News content as well, and Squires will be working with that, Howard said. It publishes at 5 a.m., and Squires will be working at night, based in Charlotte, N.C.
Squires is a columnist at the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., and was previously a sports columnist and then an urban affairs reporter there. He was laid off in 2008, leaving the Daily Press with no black reporters. He was soon brought back as a news columnist working as a part-time employee. Squires is also a middle-school English teacher in Norfolk and owns a time-share business.
He has also worked at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland; the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas; Newsday; the Detroit Free Press; the Telegraph in Macon, Ga.; and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, now the Tampa Bay Times.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is justified in banning reporters from tweeting from its meeting because "we're not a government entity" and "we're not required to be open to the public," NAHJ President Michele Salcedo told NAHJ members on Thursday.
"We are happy to have members present, but having reporters present is a whole different ball of wax," Salcedo said. The board Tuesday asked a reporter for the student convention news operation to stop reporting its board meeting and leave the room. The UNITY News reporter had been assigned to live tweet the board's discussions, held in Las Vegas at the Unity Journalists conference.
"If you have tweets . . . sent out at every point of the discussion, it doesn't necessarily encapsulate the decisions that have been made," Salcedo said. "It is misinformation because it is not complete.
"Once we make a decision, we do communicate that. We are responsible to the members. We are not a publicly held corporation," Salcedo told Marisol Bello, a USA Today reporter who objected to the board's action.
Bello replied that although NAHJ is a nonprofit organization, "We're a nonprofit organization made up of journalists. You don't represent an organization of baseball players. Everything we're about is about openness and learning about what's going on. I can't be at every meeting. Facebook, Twitter [are] media that's been so helpful. You can't control social media. . . . not to use it doesn't make sense."
Salcedo replied that the laws governing nonprofits make no distinction between organizations of journalists and others, and said she had mentioned NAHJ's policy to representatives of the New York Times, who found it "perfectly understandable." She did not identify the Times representatives.
The conflict between which principles to honor — those of openness advocated by journalists or those of a business wary of critical coverage — is faced not only by journalism associations, but also media companies. Stonewalling and "spin" are used by some media companies and associations even as they criticize others for doing so when wearing their journalist hats.
Likewise, media associations often must decide how much to let lawyers guide their policies. An alternative view expressed in a similar controversy years ago at the National Association of Black Journalists was that the organization sets out its core principles and objectives and has its lawyers advise on how to achieve them.
Regardless, the NAHJ decision did not play well with those outside the room. Media blogger Jim Romenesko began a report on the eviction of the NAHJ student reporter with, "This is incredible." Benét J. Wilson of NABJ noted on Twitter that she began tweeting from the NABJ board meetings in October 2010.
Rafael Olmeda, NAHJ president from 2006 to 2008, wrote on his blog, ". . . Board members are elected by the association's membership and are entitled to communicate with members any way they see fit , including by blogging, tweeting, using Facebook or talking to reporters. True, they may not speak for the association, but no one has the right to stop them from speaking for themselves in their capacity as elected officers.
"NAHJ must adjust its policies around its principles, not the other way around."
Meanwhile, Salcedo and Russell Contreras, vice president for print and chief financial officer, acknowledged that they did not favor a critic of the NAHJ leadership working with the student convention project. Salcedo told Monica Rhor, a Houston Chronicle reporter who has consistently pressed for more information on the organization's finances, that "there is concern that when you handle the stories in the student project that you have a certain bias."
Rhor, an NAHJ member for more than 20 years, replied, "I have recused myself from anything that has to do with NAHJ as an organization." Contreras, who is also a candidate for NAHJ president, answered "yes, I did" to the question of whether he prevented Rhor from working with the students. "I think we do need new blood on the student project," Contreras said, mentioning that there had been problems with corrections. "I wish you would have contacted me instead of going behind my back," Rhor said. Rhor told Journal-isms later that she became a mentor despite Contreras.
Salcedo maintained that the board has been transparent with members and replied to Rhor's criticism that the board leadership had disrespected members by saying, "I think there's been plenty of disrespect back and forth. . . there have been character assassinations all over Facebook." She said there are ". . . 14 people approximately, who carry on on Facebook constantly."
Responding to a question from presidential candidate Hugo Balta about the association's financial plans, Salcedo said recent national conventions had been money-losers — only 400 to 500 paid registrants attended the 2011 convention at Walt Disney World near Orlando — and that the organization was exploring less costly venues such as Albuquerque, N.M. NAHJ plans to rely more on regional conferences, she said.
Contreras said the association's severe spending cuts took NAHJ from a $16,000 negative balance in 2010 to a $117,000 surplus in 2011. "We will end 2012 with at least an excess of revenue of $100,000," he said. "Revenues are higher than we expected. . . . This is the strongest NAHJ has been in months. We have more than $200,000 in the bank."
Much of the savings was accomplished by firing most of the staff, using a virtual office and contracting with the Society of Professional Journalists to process membership and accounting functions.
Salcedo cautioned, however, "We're going to need some transition time. We didn't get into the present (situation) overnight and won't get out of it overnight." Her term as president ends this week.
Emily Goldblum, Unity News: Even in absence, NABJ is a presence at UNITY
Carol Kuruvilla, Unity News: NAHJ meeting gets heated over finances, alleged censorship
Tanzina Vega, New York Times: Financial Dispute Weakens Journalists' Push for Unity
Saying he is "delivering on our promise for NPR to look and sound like America," Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of NPR since December, announced Thursday a $1.5 million, two-year grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting "to launch a major journalism initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture."
A six-person team will "deliver a steady flow of distinctive coverage on every platform. Reporting will magnify the range of existing efforts across NPR and its Member Stations to cover and discuss race, ethnicity and culture. NPR will also create a new, branded space within NPR.org," NPR said in an announcement at the Unity '12 convention in Las Vegas.
"This is really important," Knell said at a reception at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the convention headquarters. "We want to make a statement about the changing demographics in this country, and we need to be better at what we do so this is everyone's public media."
Knell has said he made diversity a key part of his pitch to the NPR board when he was hired. Joseph Tovares, senior vice president for diversity and innovation at CPB, told Journal-isms at the reception, "When Gary came in, he announced that his No. 1 priority was going to be diversity." He called Knell "a breath of fresh air" and said Knell had approached CPB about the project.
Hiring is under way for the six-member team. Matt Thompson, an editorial product manager at NPR, will supervise the team, working with Ellen McDonnell, executive editor of NPR News programming. Luis Clemens, NPR's senior editor for diversity, will be senior editor, and Karen Grigsby Bates, Los Angeles-based correspondent, will also be part of the team.
Still to be hired are a blogger on race, ethnicity and culture; a digital journalist; and two reporters. NPR's diversity issues stretch back more than 20 years, with the NPR corporate culture seen as a chief impediment to greater diversity. But also important, Knell has said, is diversity at the independent, NPR member stations. Keith Woods, NPR's vice president for diversity, has been working with the local stations as part of his portfolio.
Gregory H. Lee Jr., president of the National Association of Black Journalists, told Journal-isms he met with Knell about diversity. Lee "said he recognizes it takes time to change a culture," Suzanne Gamboa reported for the Associated Press. "The grant will be a chance for NPR to hire journalists capable of working on the stories that will reach more diverse audiences. . . .
" 'I hope this project serves as an example that these issues should be discussed and covered,' Lee said. He added that he hopes to see the journalists and content integrated within the organization's overall coverage, not pushed to a corner."
Because African Americans and Latinos disproportionately use mobile devices, Knell said the initiative will take advantage of mobile platforms to reach these audiences, similar to the apps developed for "Planet Money," a multimedia show about the economy that has its own podcast.
As Gamboa noted, "NPR does not receive direct federal funding but it competes for grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and from federal agencies, which annually total about $2 million to $3 million." Knell said the CPB grant was only "to get us going," that the project would exceed two years.
In another development, NPR officials said that "Tell Me More," the multiculturally oriented show hosted by Michel Martin, had grown to 132 from the 100 stations that carried it when Knell arrived. Recent additions include Miami, Boston, Atlanta, New Orleans and Savannah, Ga.
"A nearly 200-page independent oversight report released by a group of human rights lawyers this week found that New York police officers often violated the rights of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests and arrested at least 18 of them," Amanda Simmons reported Friday for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
"A recent investigation by Nashville NBC-affiliate WSMV has resulted in an arrest and the discovery of two runaway girls," Merrill Knox reported Friday for TVSpy. "During a series of ongoing reports on Ashley King, a man who was living in a foreclosed home and clashing with the neighbors, the WSMV crew noticed two teenage girls at the house. After the report aired, investigative reporter Jeremy Finley received a call from a woman who identified one of the girls as her runaway teenage cousin." Finley added more to the story on Monday.
"Former CNN host T.J. Holmes was pulled over on Monday, and documented the experience over Twitter," HuffPost BlackVoices reported on Monday. "Holmes did not indicate where he was driving, but tweeted that he was pulled over one mile from his house with two cop cars behind him. He snapped a photograph of a police car in his rear view mirror with the caption 'Driving while black ain't no joke!' " Holmes also discussed the incident on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" with guest host Michael Eric Dyson [video].
"An NBC News White House producer was among two women shot in an incident in Northwest Washington D.C. early Saturday morning," Chris Ariens reported Monday for TVNewser. "NBC News says Shawna Thomas was grazed by a bullet in what appears to be a random shooting. " 'There is an ongoing case, and she is working with the police,' an NBC spokesperson says. 'We are grateful Shawna was treated and released soon after being admitted to the hospital, and we ask for respect for her privacy.' "
" . . . In the afterglow of Barack Obama's historic victory, most Americans believed that race relations would improve," Jesse Washington reported Sunday for the Associated Press. "Nearly four years later, has that dream come true? Americans have no shortage of thoughtful opinions, but no consensus."
In Fargo, N.D., "Starting today, The Forum will accept for publication the announcements of gay marriages, engagements and anniversaries if the marriage takes place in a state or country where it's legally recognized," Editor Matt Von Pinnon wrote Monday for inforum.com. " . . . Before today, The Forum would not publish same-sex marriage announcements, using as a guidepost for the policy the marriage laws of both Minnesota and North Dakota. Neither state recognizes gay marriages legally performed in other states."
"Former FCC Commissioner and veteran media consolidation critic Michael Copps is getting a new platform to take aim at media concentration," John Eggerton reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable. "Common Cause said Monday that Copps, who joined its governing board last March, would spearhead a national Media and Democracy Reform Initiative "spotlighting and countering the growing political and economic power of the communications industry."
"The international media has had an appalling record of balanced reporting on Zimbabwe over the last 12 years," Ian Scoones, co-author of the book "Zimbabwe's Land Reform: Myths and Realities," wrote last week for his zimbabweland blog. Scoones said, "A single narrative, repeating the myths we attempted to demolish in our book, is endlessly repeated. All is disaster, the land reform was a catastrophe and punitive sanctions are the only route to punishing [Robert] Mugabe's rogue regime. Even the move to a coalition government and the stabilisation of the economy gets barely a mention." However, Scoones notes recent exceptions to the narrative, from Peter Oborne of the London Telegraph and Lydia Polgreen, Johannesburg bureau chief of the New York Times.
"The Washington Post seems to be incapable of preventing its opinion writers from making racist statements about Palestinians and Africans in columns about the demography of Israel," according to Nima Shirazi, writing Thursday in Foreign Policy Journal, which describes itself as "an online publication dedicated to providing critical analysis of U.S. foreign policy outside of the standard framework offered by political officials and the mainstream corporate media."
Novelist Colson Whitehead was among three offering essays about the craft of writing Sunday in the "How To" issue of the New York Times Book Review, along with Roger Rosenblatt and Augusten Burroughs. Some of Whitehead's advice will be familiar to journalists -- "Never use three words when one will do" — while others might be familiar to creative writers, such as "What isn't said is as important as what is said. In many classic short stories, the real action occurs in the silences."
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.