Journal-isms: Research suggests that race cost the president more votes in 2008 than many realized.
"Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008 and 365 electoral votes, 95 more than he needed," Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a doctoral candidate in economics at Harvard, wrote Sunday in the New York Times. "Many naturally concluded that prejudice was not a major factor against a black presidential candidate in modern America. My research, a comparison of Americans' Google searches and their voting patterns, found otherwise. If my results are correct, racial animus cost Mr. Obama many more votes than we may have realized.
" . . . Can we really quantify racial prejudice in different parts of the country based solely on how often certain words are used on Google? Not perfectly, but remarkably well. Google, aggregating information from billions of searches, has an uncanny ability to reveal meaningful social patterns. 'God' is Googled more often in the Bible Belt, 'Lakers' in Los Angeles.
" . . . many Americans use Google to find racially charged material. I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word 'nigger(s).' This word was included in roughly the same number of Google searches as terms like 'Lakers,' 'Daily Show,' 'migraine' and 'economist.'
" . . . The state with the highest racially charged search rate in the country was West Virginia. Other areas with high percentages included western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, upstate New York and southern Mississippi.
"Once I figured out which parts of the country had the highest racially charged search rates, I could test whether Mr. Obama underperformed in these areas. . . . The results were striking: The higher the racially charged search rate in an area, the worse Mr. Obama did.
" . . . If my findings are correct, race could very well prove decisive against Mr. Obama in 2012. Most modern presidential elections are close. Losing even two percentage points lowers the probability of a candidate's winning the popular vote by a third. And prejudice could cost Mr. Obama crucial states like Ohio, Florida and even Pennsylvania."
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Not Afraid to Talk About Race
Neil Foote video: ObamaRace&Image April2012
Joy-Ann Reid, theGrio.com: Obama campaign releases first black radio ad
The appearance by the vice president, scheduled for Wednesday, is usually a sign that the president will not be present, since Biden is a surrogate for President Obama. Obama addressed the NABJ convention in 2007 and the Unity convention in 2008, both times as a presidential candidate.
Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, is scheduled to address the convention on Saturday night.
Mitt Romney, the putative GOP candidate, was invited to the NABJ convention, but it could not be learned whether he plans to attend the NABJ convention or that of Unity, which is scheduled for Aug. 1-4 in Las Vegas.
"As many of you know, five years ago I beat breast cancer," Robin Roberts announced Monday as she co-hosted ABC's "Good Morning America." I've always been a fighter, and with all of your prayers and support, a winner.
"Sometimes the treatment for cancer can cause other serious medical problems. Today, I want to let you know that I've been diagnosed with MDS, or myelodysplastic syndrome. It's a disease of the blood and bone marrow and was once known as preleukemia.
"My doctors tell me I'm going to beat this -- and I know it's true.
"If you Google MDS, you may find some scary stuff, including statistics that my doctors insist don't apply to me. They say I'm younger and fitter than most people who confront this disease and will be cured. . . .
"Today, I will start what is known as pre-treatment -- chemotherapy in advance of a bone marrow transplant later this year. Bone marrow donors are scarce and particularly for African-American women. I am very fortunate to have a sister who is an excellent match, and this greatly improves my chances for a cure.
"I received my MDS diagnosis on the very day that 'Good Morning America' finally beat the 'Today Show' for the first time in 16 years. Talk about your highs and lows! Then a few weeks ago, during a rather unpleasant procedure to extract bone marrow for testing, I received word that I would interview President Obama the next day. The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back reminds me that God only gives us what we can handle and that it helps to have a good sense of humor when we run smack into the absurdity of life.
"Bottom line: I've been living with this diagnosis for awhile and will continue to anchor GMA. . . ."
Chris Ariens, TVNewser: GMA Staffers Meet to Discuss Robin Roberts Treatment
Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Following Bone Marrow Transplant Revelation, Robin Roberts Says 'Be a Donor'
Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News: Robin's Next Challenge: Myelodysplastic Syndrome
Merrill Knox, TV Newser: WWL's Sally-Ann Roberts to Donate Bone Marrow Cells to Her Sister, 'GMA' Anchor Robin Roberts
"We've recently had a rash of shootings in Seattle," Sharon Pian Chan, associate opinions editor/digital at the Seattle Times, told Journal-isms by email, saying she was inspired to write "after reading your essay on the need to develop minority opinion writers."
"A series of gang related shooting deaths in south Seattle, then a non-gang related shooting in which a man opened fired at a cafe and killed four people, then killed another woman downtown as he was on the run.
"We asked Prometheus Brown, a member of the Blue Scholars, to write an op-ed for us on the shootings. It turned into a song, and we ran the lyrics in our Sunday opinion section with a QR code that linked to an online video of him performing the song.
"Prometheus, also known as George Quibuyen, is Filipino American and he lives in south Seattle. While the Blue Scholars are from Seattle, they are a nationally known group. We want to show the community that things are changing in the opinion section, and this was a way to reach more diverse readers in a format they related to. Music has a long history of social commentary, and this piece spoke to our readers in a way that no news story could."
The Prometheus piece begins:
"Never heard of this, city getting murderous --
"occupation dangerous like Philippine journalists.
"Crazy and deranged they describe him in the same pages
"that would call him terrorist, if not for the melanin deficiency.
"Gang problem bigger than just juvenile delinquency.
"Gangs is survival if environments is grimy.
"To begin with -- speaking of which, let's be consistent --
"Today is called a tragedy, yesterday a statistic. . . . "
Editorial Page Editor Kate Riley added by email that the video "was shot by our intern Aaron Levinsky. The song lyrics were packaged with an oped by two academics discussing the mass shooting and how more gun control won't dissuade a mass murderer -- a well written, well-reasoned oped.
"Then there was Mr. Brown's song, which was good medicine for a city hurting. All heart, all irony, all painful truths. Especially poignant [are] Brown's comments about people being upset about the mass murder in the northend, perhaps more so than they were about those in Rainier Beach. Maybe yes, maybe not. But he also has a moment where he acknowledges the music is influential. The words are powerful, but the video really makes these moments. . . ."
The Washington Post commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in on Monday, and although there was little ethnic diversity among the journalists in attendance,
investigative journalists of color are making their mark, according to Manny Garcia, executive editor and general manager of El Nuevo Herald and president of Investigative Reporters and Editors.
Garcia told Journal-isms in an email:
"The number of investigative journalists of color has increased, and that is a very positive sign. First, I see it at the university level, where there is a hunger by students to dig into institutions. I also have seen a change for the better in some news organizations, and I see it at the non-profit level. I see the change mostly across beats, municipal governments, school boards, cops, immigration.
"I routinely get calls from news editors looking to hire investigative journalists of color, so I think there is an awareness by those newsroom leaders that if they really want to cover their communities credibly, they need a diverse and aggressive team on the beat or on projects.
"Still, despite the advances, we are not where we need to be as an industry, especially with our changing demographics. We don't have nearly enough journalists of color on I-teams — whether as investigative reporters or editors. The talent is out there.
"I see the successes in our newsroom where a diverse group of watchdog reporters has uncovered everything from child trafficking in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to illegal campaign contributions in the local mayoral races."
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is sorting through its 168 lifetime members, many of whom voted in the last NAHJ election two years ago, and disqualifying as voters those whose principal means of support is not "earned in the gathering, editing, or presentation of news," Anna Lopez Buck, NAHJ interim executive director, told Journal-isms by email on Sunday.
"Lifetime members that didn't meet the qualifications should not have been voting in the past. That was a mistake that no one caught," she said.
In the 2010 election, Michele Salcedo beat Hugo Balta for president, 137 to 124, a margin close enough for lifetime members to have affected the outcome. Lopez Buck said she had not yet determined how many lifetime members are ineligible to vote.
The culling of the lifetime membership list prompted a robust exchange on NAHJ Facebook pages over the weekend, coinciding with Saturday's deadline for seeking NAHJ office. Balta, a coordinating producer at ESPN, and Russell Contreras, an Associated Press reporter who is NAHJ vice president/print and chief financial officer, are seeking the NAHJ presidency.
Members speculated about the political leanings of lifetime members who would be purged and the motives for and desirability of purging them. They said some had signed nominating petitions with signatures that might no longer be valid.
"Lifetime members can vote if they qualify as an academic or regular member," Lopez Buck said. "Lifetime membership is not one of the 7 classes of membership as defined in the NAHJ bylaws. It was created in 2002/2003 as a fundraising tool, and a way to increase membership.
"In order for all Lifetime members to vote or hold office there would have to be an amendment passed by the membership and then it would be reflected in the bylaws.
"The bylaws state that a regular member's [principal] means of support must be earned in the gathering, editing, or presentation of news. . . . Check out our bylaws at http://nahj.org/nahj-bylaws/
"Lifetime members that didn't meet the qualifications should not have been voting in the past. That was a mistake that no one caught.
"In fact, in previous years I contacted the NAHJ office during election cycles informing them that I was receiving nomination requests and an electronic ballot when I shouldn't have. My calls and emails went unanswered. I am a lifetime member. Should I be voting[?] no. I'm not a working journalist or an academic as defined by the bylaws.
"I can't say if there were invalid signatures submitted in the past. I wasn't working with NAHJ from July 2003 - June 2011."
Suzanne Gamboa, campaign manager for the Contreras slate, did not respond to a request for comment.
Balta said by email, "I've been reading many of the FB exchanges in regards to some lifetime members not being eligible to vote. I will be making inquiries like many other members. The communication (specifically the process for candidates and voters alike) has been inconsistent. I believe that is what's causing some of the angst (for members). The Elections committee along with the NAHJ leadership should have communicated or clarified the information in the bylaws, etc. in advance of the nomination process."
Manuel De La Rosa, vice president/broadcast, said in an email, ". . . nobody asked our executive director to do this. she's just doing her job and I am glad we are cleaning up this mess and only allowing the people who are eligible to vote in elections to vote."
Elizabeth Zavala, a lifetime member who is a content editor for MultiBriefs, the publishing subsidiary of MultiView, Inc., based in Irving, Texas, said by email, ". . . Because I work for an online media company that does association-branded eNewsletters, I'm probably not considered a regular lifetime member anymore. I'm probably considered an associate lifetime member by our bylaws. Those bylaws were written a very long time ago, and they probably need to be re-invented like all of us are re-inventing ourselves in this new media world.
"But I'd rather NAHJ continue to shore up its finances before we rewrite membership categories. Getting the organization financially stable and on comfortable footing is more important because to me, it gets us closer to meeting the mission of NAHJ, the betterment of its members and journalism overall because of it."
A first-person story by Shalise Manza Young, who this fall will begin her seventh season as a beat writer covering the New England Patriots, highlighted a special section on diversity in Sunday's Boston Globe.
". . . Before Newsday promoted Kimberley Martin to be its primary New York Jets writer in April, I was the only African-American woman in the country who was a full-time beat writer for a National Football League team," Young wrote.
". . . I rarely have problems with the players I cover. Sure, I've been around for seven years, so I'm a familiar face to many of them. A majority of NFL players are African-American, and the sad fact is that many of them were raised by single mothers who worked tirelessly to make sure their sons had what they needed. In some ways, I think I am viewed similarly. I am there to do my job, and I work hard at it; I've proven that I can be trusted. I talk to them about more than X's and O's -- I learn about their wives and children, and what makes them tick off the football field.
"Sometimes they'll tell me things that they might not tell a male reporter, maybe because of some macho attitude or being afraid of being viewed a certain way, or perhaps I just asked a question a man wouldn't think to ask.
"Those often bring about the best days, when the trust I've built up leads to my breaking a story, or when I produce a profile of a player who's been written about a hundred times before, but through my eyes, his story has new details and readers get a different perspective."
Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of the day that "Journal-isms" debuted in this space, having previously existed only on the printed page.
It began about 1991 as a catch-all column of briefs in the NABJ Journal, which was then a newspaper of the National Association of Black Journalists that Richard Prince was co-editing. It continued there for seven years.
Jackie Jones picked up the sequence of events in a 2011 piece for BlackAmericaWeb.com that refers to Dori J. Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education:
" 'When the Internet came along,' Prince said, 'Dori Maynard was looking for something to draw traffic to the Maynard Institute [site], and it's gone from these little briefs to a full-blown column.'
"Among mainstream journalists, a column by media critic Jim Romenesko has become a staple about the news industry. In many ways, Journal-isms serves a similar purpose, only for and about people of color.
" 'That's why we started it, actually,' said Maynard, president of the journalism training institute based in Oakland, California. 'I was so disturbed by Romenesko. There was [rarely] any notice of people of color.' "
Today, many sites aggregate news items about the news business, but only one is devoted to diversity concerns. Thanks to Dori J. Maynard, Bill Elsen, Roberto Delgado and the other colleagues who have posted, edited and supervised Journal-isms for the Maynard Institute, to our partners at theRoot.com, and to the multiracial audience who, with their tips, comments and criticisms, have made it a success.
"Lorenza 'Lori' Rodriguez, a Texas journalist who in 1971 became the first Hispanic editor of the University of Texas newspaper [The] Daily Texan and later a longtime reporter and columnist for the Houston Chronicle, was found dead Thursday at her Houston Heights home," Allan Turner reported Friday for the Chronicle. "She was 62.
" 'Lori was a star in the Latino community,' said Marcario Ramirez, a Houston Hispanic activist and businessman. 'Because of her writing about our culture and tradition, she was admired. … She put our community on the roadmap — in a positive way, for the most part. Our hearts weep for her.'
"Houston City Councilman James Rodriguez called her a 'trailblazer.'
" 'There were not many Latinas covering politics for major newspapers,' he said. "She was a very aggressive, fair and balanced reporter who took the time to develop relationships in this city and cover the growing number of Latino politicians and elected officials.' "
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.
Journal-isms: A new study suggests that racial attitudes may play a substantial role in this year's presidential election.
"After the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, many proclaimed that the country had entered a post-racial era in which race was no longer an issue," Molly McElroy wrote this week for the University of Washington. "However, a new large-scale study shows that racial attitudes have already played a substantial role in 2012, during the Republican primaries. They may play an even larger role in this year's presidential election."
"The study, led by psychologists at the University of Washington, shows that between January and April 2012 eligible voters who favored whites over blacks — either consciously or unconsciously — also favored Republican candidates relative to Barack Obama.
" 'People were saying that with Obama's election race became a dead issue, but that's not at all the case,' said lead investigator Anthony Greenwald, a UW psychology professor."
Greenwald appeared Friday on NPR's "Science Friday" segment of "Talk of the Nation."
"The study's findings mean that many white and non-white voters, even those who don't believe they tend to favor whites over blacks, might vote against Obama because of his race. These voters could cite the economy or other reasons, but a contributing cause could nevertheless be their conscious or unconscious racial attitudes.
" 'Our findings may indicate that many of those who expressed egalitarian attitudes by voting for Obama in 2008 and credited themselves with having 'done the right thing' then are now letting other considerations prevail,' said collaborator Mahzarin Banaji, a psychology professor at Harvard University.
"In the study, a majority of white eligible voters showed a pattern labeled 'automatic white preference' on a widely used measure of unconscious race bias. Previous studies indicate that close to 75 percent of white Americans show this implicit bias."
In background material for the news release [PDF], Greenwald wrote, "These findings do not at all call for a conclusion that politically conservative candidates are racist. It does mean, however, that — for whatever reason — politically conservative candidates are more attractive to voters with White-favoring racial attitudes.
"The obvious questions raised by these observations: After nearly four years having an African American President in the White House, why do race attitudes (including unconscious race attitudes) continue to role in electoral politics?
"One possible answer is that, as President, Barack Obama is now more powerful than he was as candidate Barack Obama in 2008. This increased power and status may have brought out race-based antagonism that had less reason for being activated in 2008. Another possible answer is connected to Republican candidates' frequent assertions that their most important objective is to remove Barack Obama from the presidency. . . ."
Obama lost the white vote to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in 2008, 55 percent to 43 percent, but in exit polls dating to 1972, Democrats have never carried a majority of the white vote, Alan Fram reported in 2008 for the Associated Press.
Referring to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the putative Republican presidential candidate, "electionate" wrote in April for the Daily Kos, "If the non-white vote supports Obama to the extent it did in 2008, Romney will need to compensate by holding Obama to 38% of the white vote.
"In the modern political era, it has taken extraordinary circumstances for Democrats to do so poorly. The last Democratic candidate to fall so low was Walter Mondale, who only won 35% of the white vote in 1984. Even Michael Dukakis won 40% of the white vote in 1988. In 2010, House Democrats only won 37% of the white vote, demonstrating that Romney's task is not achievable, even if the House GOP benefited from a relatively friendly electorate."
Associated Press: Iowa judge rejects theory of 'implicit bias' (April 18)
Danny Westneat, Seattle Times: Race still an issue for voters, 4 years on
MSNBC host Tamron Hall told guest Tim Carney, "You're not gonna come on and insult me, you're not gonna come on and insult the network when you knew what we were gonna talk about. Done." (Video)
"MSNBC's Tamron Hall handily shut down guest Tim Carney on Friday, in an exchange so fiery that she immediately began trending on Twitter," Katherine Fung wrote for the Huffington Post.
"Hall asked Carney about Mitt Romney's testy reaction to a reporter asking about marijuana on Thursday. Before addressing the question, he alleged that she and the rest of the media were focusing too much attention on the candidate's past — including his bullying of two classmates in high school.
" 'What you're doing here is a typical media trick,' Carney charged. 'You hype up a story and justify the second-day coverage of the story.'
"That set Hall off. She began to tell him that he didn't have to 'answer a single question' she asked or 'accept the invitation to come on' and speak. Carney tried to interject, but she told him, 'You're kind of in my house,' and proceeded to smack him down for over a minute. . . ."
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Bullying story cuts into Romney's image
"Like many black Americans, Dorsey Jackson does not believe in gay marriage, but he wasn't disillusioned when Barack Obama became the first president to support it," Errin Haines and Jesse Washington wrote Friday for the Associated Press. "The windows of his suburban Philadelphia barbershop still display an 'Obama 2012' placard and another that reads 'We've Got His Back.'
" 'If Obama needs to endorse same-sex marriage to be re-elected, said Jackson, so be it: 'Look, man — by any means necessary.'
"With that phrase popularized by the black radical Malcolm X, Jackson rebutted those who say Obama's new stand will weaken the massive black support he needs to win re-election in November. Black voters and especially black churches have long opposed gay marriage. But the 40-year-old barber and other African-Americans interviewed in politically key states say their support for Obama remains unshaken."
Meanwhile, in an essay Thursday for the Huffington Post, Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, wondered, "Why has CNN turned to Tony Perkins three times in the last few days to represent the 'other side?'
". . . when Perkins gets interviewed, a responsible journalist needs to tell the audience exactly who Perkins is speaking for. Based on his own statements — Tony Perkins represents people who believe supporting LGBT equality is akin to being a terrorist. Who believe marriage equality is the same as bestiality. . . . If CNN wants that side represented in this discussion, then Perkins is absolutely the right man for the job. But they need to make it clear to the audience that that's what he's there for. And by not doing so, they have not told the whole story. Wolf Blitzer's interview with Perkins is a perfect example of this."
At the Poynter Institute, Kelly McBride, senior faculty, ethics, reporting and writing, wrote Wednesday about how journalists reacted to Obama's new stance:
". . . the way you frame this issue — as religious, political or civil rights — puts you in a camp," McBride wrote. "Of course gay marriage could be placed in any or all three of those categories, but the one you put first tilts your hand.
"Whether you voice your reaction publicly, on Facebook or in any other forum, has more to do with what your boss expects and whom you want to consume your work."
McBride advised, "If you work for a newsroom that wants to reach an audience with diverse beliefs on gay marriage . . . try embracing the notion of being a conduit for everyone."
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: This "race war" will not be televised.
Dylan Byers, Politico: Gay marriage: Why Robin Roberts got the exclusive
Mary C. Curtis with Warren Olney, "To the Point," Public Radio International: President Obama Supports Gay Marriage
Michael Eric Dyson with Bishop Harry Jackson and Obery Hendricks, "The Ed Show," MSNBC: Church vs. Marriage Equality
Fannie Flono, Charlotte (N.C.) Observer: Legal discrimination will eventually lose
Sam Fulwood III, Center for American Progress: Race and Beyond: President Obama Can Come Out on Gay Marriage
Jeneba Ghatt, Politic365.com: Black Christians Outraged at Obama – But Where Else Will They Go?
Cynthia Gordy, theRoot.com: Blacks Won't Check Out Over Gay Marriage
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: It Was Never Whether, But When President Obama Would Say Yes to Gay Marriage
Harry A. Jessell, TVNewsCheck: TV Helps A Nation Come Out Of The Closet
Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Hallelujah for President's stance on gay marriage
Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com: Reactions to Obama's Gay Marriage Stance
Brooke Obie, ebony.com: President Obama Has My Christian Vote
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: In Obama's stance on gay marriage, a return to hope
Allison Samuels, Daily Beast: African-Americans Support Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Stance
Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Who will amendment backers target next?
Gail Shister, TVNewser: Want To Interview The President? How And Why The White House Chooses The Interviewer
Charlie Warzel, adweek.com: Twitter Erupts Over Obama Gay Marriage Interview
"Gregory Moore, editor of the The Denver Post, and Thomas L. Friedman, bestselling author and foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, have been elected co-chairs of the Pulitzer Prize Board, Columbia University announced today," the Pulitzer board said Thursday.
"Both have served on the board since 2004. They replace co-chairs Jim Amoss, editor of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans; Kathleen Carroll, executive editor and senior vice president of The Associated Press; and Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Board members serve a maximum of nine years while a chair serves for only one year. The new co-chairs will share responsibilities over the course of the year.
"Moore has been editor of the Post since coming to Denver in June 2002. He joined the newspaper after 16 years at The Boston Globe, the last eight as managing editor."
The chair leads the board, appointing committees, presiding at board meetings and helping to set board priorities, Sig Gissler, Pulitzer administrator and board member, told Journal-isms.
The South African media company that employed Beauregard Lucian Tromp, the journalist accepted into the Nieman Fellowship program at Harvard University who was forced to quit his job because his employer would not let him accept the fellowship, said Friday that Tromp could return to eNews after his fellowship ends.
"His future is in no way compromised by the decision to resign in order to take up the Nieman offer," said the statement from eNews, where Tromp, 36, was a television field producer.
The company explained that Tromp had worked at eNews only since last year and that it had imposed a requirement that staff members must have been employees "for a minimum of three years before being eligible for special leave. Regrettably, this policy was instituted after past employees have abused this privilege and have failed to return to our employment, despite contractual obligations, or have resigned with immediate effect upon returning to the country."
The eNews statement lashed out at criticism it had received from former Nieman fellows in South Africa, who select the South African Nieman fellow and help finance his or her stay in the United States. "We find these mean spirited statements to be unbecoming of this prestigious fellowship and will engage with the Nieman Foundation in the US directly to raise our concerns in this regard," the statement said.
While journalists who accept U.S. mid-career fellowships are expected to return to their employer, they do not always do so. Nor do employers always support their employees' applications.
Referring to Tromp's case, Bob Giles, curator at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism for a decade before retiring last June, told Journal-isms by email, "Sad as this story is, it is not uncommon.
"During the financial crisis, beginning 2008, we heard from a number of potential Nieman applicants who reported that their editors would not support a Nieman application.
"Moreover, they were told that if they applied anyway and got a fellowship, they would have to resign to come to Harvard. A number of editors were quoted as saying that their paper would no longer support long-term fellowships. Others told Nieman aspirants that they could not afford to let them be away from the newsroom for a year.
"Many journalists applied anyway and I don't recall any instances of a forced resignation to accept a fellowship.
"As the economic crisis ebbed, beginning in 2010, the attitude of editors seemed to change; they once again wrote supporting letters and celebrated their journalists who were selected as Nieman Fellows. It is true, however, that the exact circumstances in the South African case this year are different in that Beauregard Tromp apparently was told only after he had been awarded a Nieman that his choice was to resign if he intended to accept the fellowship.
"While most fellows return to their news organizations after the fellowship, there have been increasing instances in the past five years or so where fellows chose to go another way at the end of the Nieman year."
Abigail Dennis, Cape Times, South Africa: SA Nieman fellow forced to quit job
Glenda Nevill, themediaonline.co.za, South Africa: Nieman Fellows and eNews tussle over Tromp
"They don't make journalism careers like this anymore," Richard Horgan wrote Monday for FishbowlLA.
"To put it in perspective, when Yet Lock first began his long service with downtown LA's City News Service, Samuel L. Yorty was our mayor, Wilt Chamberlain was getting ready to lead the Lakers to their first post-Minneapolis NBA championship and X-rated flick 'Behind the Green Door' would go on to earn a domestic theatrical gross of $50 million.
"Although Lock (pictured) is still tying up a few loose ends, CNS tells FishbowlLA he is essentially already retired. He joined the service as vp in January of 1972 and held that same post for 40 years, making him quite possibly the longest-service news executive in Southern California."
New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof won support this week for his call to boycott Anheuser-Busch over what he calls its exploitation of residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They cannot buy alcohol on the reservation, but they can do so in adjacent Whiteclay, Neb., which "sells more than four million cans of beer and malt liquor annually — because it is the main channel through which alcohol illegally enters" Pine Ridge," Michael Yudell, an associate professor at Drexel University School of Public Health who blogs for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote on Tuesday.
"And even if the beer companies walk away, as Kristof himself admits, some residents may just drive farther to get their fix. But it would be a start. And Anheuser-Busch and the other companies involved should do the right thing and not only walk away, but dedicate some of the $39 billion towards making the lives of those at Pine Ridge just a little bit better. If they don't, I wouldn't underestimate the power of one New York Times reporter's ability to move the public on this issue."
Luiz F. Edmond letter, New York Times: Alcohol and the Reservation: Anheuser-Busch’s View
"With her child's birth, an adoptee discovers a priceless bond," reads the headline over a Mother's Day story posted Thursday in the Los Angeles Times. "Abandoned in Korea and arriving in the U.S. at 2 not knowing how to hug, a mother who had feared that detachment was part of her nature takes joy in her infant son." Times staff writer Corina Knoll wrote the first-person story. (Credit: Christina House for the Los Angeles Times)
John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: My best asset: A mother who gave reason to hope
In New York, "The Daily News has shut down its weekly Spanish-language publication, Hora Hispana, just a little over a year after relaunching it, Capital has learned," Joe Pompeo wrote Friday for capitalnewyork.com. "Maite Junco, a longtime News journalist who oversaw Hora Hispana and edited the paper's monthly 'Viva' section (as well as running the Latino vertical of nydailynews.com) has been let go, as have Hora Hispana editor Rodolfo Quebleen and sales rep Jose Santiago."
Zoe Saldana is the female star of the highest grossing movie of all time (James Cameron's "Avatar"), and the female lead in J.J. Abrams' popular "Star Trek" franchise, Lee Hernandez wrote Friday for HuffPost LatinoVoices. "With that kind of resume, you would think actress Zoe Saldana could grace the cover of any magazine in the world. 'There are a lot of magazines that are still sort of...that only cater to a certain demographic and only put certain people on their covers,' she added. 'And that's fine — I never lose hope that one day certain big magazines can broaden their exposure of what is an American face,' added the half-Dominican, half-Puerto Rican actress."
". . . despite countless hours of heated debate, shockingly little is known about the origins of the growing Latino presence in the U.S.," reads the blurb. "The new documentary 'Harvest of Empire' examines the direct correlation between long-standing U.S. intervention in Latin America and today’s immigration crisis. Adapted from the landmark book written by award-winning journalist Juan González of Democracy Now!, the film by Wendy Thompson and Eduardo López in conjunction with director Peter Getzels and editor Catherine Shields of Getzels Gordon Productions details the social conditions and U.S. government actions that led millions of Latino families to flee their homelands, triggering an unprecedented migration that is transforming America’s cultural and economic landscape." The film was to have been shown Wednesday at Hostos Community College in New York and is scheduled for the Brookings Institution in Washington on Tuesday.
"Writer-director Robert Rodriguez recently returned to his Alma Mater, the University of Texas at Austin, for a casual conversation moderated by his former professor Charles Ramirez Berg," Richard Horgan wrote Friday for FishbowlLA. "One of the central topics of discussion was El Rey, the national cable channel that Rodriguez will unleash in 2014 with help from Comcast. He has been traveling the country to promote the in-the-works outlet, which is designed to give Latino filmmakers a much needed public airwaves boost."
Quoting from Dan Rather's new book "Rather Outspoken," Justin Moyer wrote for the Washington Post, "CBS's focus on desegregation in the 1960s earned the network the nickname 'Colored Broadcasting System' and put Rather at the center of a historic movement. 'Dr. King and I were cordial, but we maintained a carefully defined separation,' he writes. 'I was closer to Medgar Evers, and our relationship was much less formal than the one I maintained with Dr. King. I considered Medgar a friend."
New York Post sports columnist Phil Mushnick, who was criticized last week for a hyphenated reference to a well-known racial epithet, made a mistake he had not considered, media writer Eric Deggans wrote Thursday for the National Sports Journalism Center: ". . . Thinking that someone has to be racist to say something racially insulting or rooted in prejudice."
"CBS News has added Manuel Bojorquez as a correspondent for the network, based out of Dallas, Texas, and M. Sanjayan as a science and environmental contributor," Alex Weprin reported Friday for TVNewser. "Bojorquez comes to CBS News from ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta, where he has been a reporter since 2006. . . . Sanjayan is lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy, where his fields of study focus on human well-being and conservation, wildlife ecology and environmental education."
The International Press Institute "welcomed the decision by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to work toward the repeal of criminal defamation laws in her country, which came amid other recent positive developments with respect to libel laws around the world," Steven Ellis and Naomi Hunt wrote Friday for the institute.
"The International Center for Journalists will offer two online courses in English and Spanish on covering marketing concepts such as how to plan for retirement, understanding your [401(k)], stock and bond markets, mutual funds and private and public companies, among others," TalkingBizNews reported this week. "These courses will be available to U.S. journalists who report in minority communities. . . . At the end of the online courses, three participants will receive a McGraw-Hill Personal Finance Award and cash prizes of $2,000, $1,000 and $500."
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 president has pitched a mix of ideas. Do they stand a chance?
Among the many criticisms of President Obama's leadership style is an admonishment that he doesn't use the bully pulpit enough to take his case to the people. Running counter to that argument, this week the president embarked on a three-day bus tour through the Midwest with a laser focus on the nation's flagging economy and his prescriptions for fixing it.
From Monday to Wednesday, he engaged with the public at four town halls and an economic forum in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. In between digs at Republicans ("Some in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than America win"), the president also expounded on his ideas for creating jobs -- ideas that, he said, were it not for GOP obstructionists in Congress, could be realized now.
1. Extend the payroll tax cut.
In last December's notorious deal, in which unemployment benefits were extended in exchange for a two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, Obama also managed to get a 2 percent payroll tax cut for all working Americans. That extra bit of cash that showed up in everyone's paychecks expires at the end of this year. "I want to cut the payroll tax again to help families make ends meet," the president said at a forum in Peosta, Iowa. "That's meant an extra $1,000 in the pockets of typical American families. That means more customers for your business, more buyers of your products."
2. Rebuild our roads, bridges and railways.
Obama has been pushing infrastructure investment since 2009's Recovery Act, which put $105 billion toward constructing roads and broadband development. Now he wants the government to push those road, bridge and railway efforts further. The president's six-year plan, originally proposed in his 2012 budget, would provide an economic jolt of $50 billion in the first year, construct a high-speed-rail network, create a national infrastructure bank that would supplement federal funding with private capital and modernize our aviation system, among other provisions.
Explaining the hit that construction workers took after the housing bubble burst, the president said if Congress passed an infrastructure bill, it would revive the industry. "We could be rebuilding roads and bridges and schools and parks all across America right now," he told a town hall in Cannon Falls, Minn. "Could put hundreds of thousands of folks to work right now."
3. Give veterans employment support.
Earlier this month, the president proposed several initiatives to help veterans navigate the labor market. Among his ideas are the Returning Heroes Tax Credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans; the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit, which increases an existing tax credit for firms that hire veterans with service-related disabilities; and a challenge to the private sector to train or hire 100,000 unemployed veterans by the end of 2013.
"Right now we've got our veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, who've taken their place among the greatest of generations, have made extraordinary sacrifices," Obama said in Cannon Falls. " ... Let's put them back to work, and let's let them use their skills to get this country moving again. Congress could do that right now."
4. Pass those trade agreements.
In 2010 and 2011, President Obama finalized trade agreements with India, South Korea, Panama and Colombia. The agreements stipulated the protection of environmental and labor standards and would significantly increase American exports. The deal with India, for one, would boost U.S. exports by $10 billion a year, supporting 50,000 jobs.
"We've got a whole bunch of Kias and Hyundais here in the United States of America on our roads, and that's fine and good," Obama said in Decorah, Iowa, of the South Korea agreement, which would expand the U.S. auto industry. "But I want some Chryslers and some GMs and some Fords on the roads of South Korea as well. We should go ahead and get those trade deals done."
5. Pass the patent-reform bill.
President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to reform the nation's patent system, which currently requires an average three-year wait to get a patent. "There's a bill pending in Congress right now that's called the America Invents bill. It basically says if entrepreneurs are coming up with good ideas ... and they wanted to patent it in some way, make it easier for them so that they can market it and make money off it and hire people for it," he told a town hall in Atkinson, Ill. "We could do that right now. The only thing that's holding us back is our politics."
If these old, familiar -- but motionless -- ideas sound underwhelming in the face of the economy's overwhelming needs, there's more. On Wednesday the White House announced that the president has more-immediate plans for jump-starting the economy, to be unveiled in a major speech next month. But for now, this five-point agenda is what he's working with.
"There are two questions around the president's proposals," Margaret Simms, an economist and director of the Urban Institute's Low-Income Working Families Project, told The Root. "Are they big enough and broad enough? And how soon will they kick in? Patent reform and trade agreements may be good ideas for repositioning the U.S. economy in the long run, in terms of making it more competitive internationally and spurring innovation, but those things won't make significant dents in unemployment in the next six months."
However, Simms also pointed out that, with a Congress that's largely dead set against federal spending, the president would have scant support for the "more stimulus" approach favored by many economists. "If I were to think about the context in which the president is making his proposals, I can see how it would be difficult to put together a package that would be bold and comprehensive," she said. "If he's going to propose it and have any hope of passing it, he really does have to engage the public because right now Congress is not so inclined. Trying to use the bully pulpit is probably the only way of generating significant support to get things moving."
Now that he's trying to do just that ... do you think President Obama is making a compelling case for his jobs agenda?
In a major role reversal, the GOP is proposing raising the debt ceiling without requiring major budget cuts. Why is the president against it?
In a Friday press conference on the debt ceiling, his third in three weeks, President Obama continued to push for a "big deal" that includes both cuts in domestic spending and tax-revenue increases. With Republican leaders refusing to make concessions on ending tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, desiring spending cuts alone, talks had appeared hopelessly deadlocked -- until Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) put forth another option to potentially table the whole mess. McConnell's plan would authorize the president to increase the debt limit, in three separate increments, without substantial budget cuts. But the president is against that idea, too.
"During the course of these discussions with congressional leaders, what I've tried to emphasize is we have a unique opportunity to do something big," Obama said, explaining his preferred approach of raising the debt ceiling while also addressing the underlying deficit issue in a balanced way. "We have a chance to stabilize America's finances for a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years, if we're willing to seize the moment."
Obama went on to repeat the claims that he outlined a few days before in his Monday press conference: He is prepared to compromise to get this done. His proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security would not affect current beneficiaries but would modify the programs in a way that makes them stronger for the future. Tax breaks and corporate loopholes for the wealthy are unnecessary, while ending them provides vital revenue. And if the country doesn't pay for its obligations by increasing the debt ceiling, then everybody faces a range of adverse financial consequences.
Eyes on 2012
Aside from the president's "go big" argument against McConnell's plan, it's also likely that he's wary of the political strings attached to the deal. At each of the three times that Obama would be authorized to raise the debt limit on his own, Congress would also be allowed to vote on a "resolution of disapproval" to further distance themselves from the action -- a position that might be advantageous during the 2012 election.
Not that the president is above playing politics himself. On Friday he suggested that if Republicans don't budge, he'll be able to use it against them come Election Day. "I think increasingly the American people are going to say to themselves, You know what, if a party or a politician is constantly taking the position, ‘My way or the highway' ... then we're going to remember at the polls. The American people aren't paying attention to the details of every aspect of this negotiation, but I think what the American people are paying attention to is who seems to be trying to get something done, and who seems to be just posturing and trying to score political points," he said.
Who Has the Advantage?
The press conference certainly afforded Obama another chance to give his view of the proceedings, but it's less clear whether his strategy of strong-arming Republicans to go big will work. With GOP leaders adamantly against tax increases, and McConnell's proposal, which would at least ward off a defaulting-on-our-loans catastrophe, they don't have much incentive to go for the president's choice.
"The Republicans think they've got the advantage here, and I think they're right," Vincent Hutchings, a professor at the University of Michigan's Center for Political Studies, told The Root. "You can't on the one hand say that the world's going to hell in a hand basket if we don't raise the debt limit, and then on the other hand say that you won't sign any efforts to address it unless we do all these other things that aren't as urgent. If missing the debt=-ceiling deadline is catastrophic, then you will do anything in order to avoid that catastrophe."
Furthermore, Hutchings doesn't understand Obama's insistence on making cuts to entitlements. "I think it is reprehensible," he said. "The shortfall in Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit, and it won't come to a head until 25 years from now. As for Medicare, didn't we just solve the cost issues with the Affordable Care Act? So why exactly are we talking about these now?"
Selling Budget Cuts to Progressives
The president explained that constant debate about the deficit not only takes too much time away from everything else that the government needs to do but is also too often used as an argument to block the government from doing anything else.
"If the only thing we're talking about over the next year, two years, five years, is debt and deficits, then it's very hard to start talking about how do we make investments in community colleges so that our kids are trained, how do we actually rebuild $2 trillion worth of crumbling infrastructure," Obama said.
"If you care about making investments in our kids and making investments in our infrastructure and making investments in basic research, then you should want our fiscal house in order so that every time we propose a new initiative, somebody doesn't just throw up their hands and say, 'Ah, more big spending, more government.' "
It's an interesting perspective, but with just two weeks left to get our fiscal house in order before the debt-ceiling deadline hits on Aug. 2 ... time is running out to fully sell the idea to Congress.
Cynthia Gordy is The Root's Washington reporter.
Knowing HIV/AIDS awareness alone isn't enough, today government officials are issuing a direct call to action. Are you in?
Over the past couple of decades, numerous HIV/AIDS observance days have been established to address the epidemic’s impact in different communities. Among others, there are:
* National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (February 7)
* National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10)
* National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 20)
* National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (May 19)
* National Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (June 8)
* National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (October 15)
* World AIDS Day (December 1)
While these days are observed by community organizations through health fairs and screening events, or in the media with stories on the challenges and advancements in fighting the disease, they don’t always involve a stark, individual call to action. More people may become aware, but without a specific goal in mind, it’s less clear whether they're actually altering their behavior in any way to reduce their risk of infection.
Today, National HIV Testing Day, is a bit different. Founded in 1995 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), it has a singular, focused objective for everyone: Get tested. “Test-and-treat is not the whole answer to ending the epidemic,” says the NAPWA website, “But it's an indispensable first step.” To find a testing site near you, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at hivtest.org.
Check out how government officials in the beltway, including the president, public health leaders, and several members of Congress who walked the walk last Friday – getting tested themselves – are also encouraging Americans to “celebrate” today by taking action.
“National HIV Testing Day reminds each of us to do our part in fighting HIV/AIDS and get tested. It has been thirty years since we witnessed the emergence of HIV, an illness from which roughly 600,000 Americans have died and with which more than one million Americans live. … One in five Americans living with HIV is not aware of their infection and [recent] research highlights the imperative of making sure people know their HIV status and getting those who do have HIV into care. All of us have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us to know our status and reduce our risk. So on this National HIV Testing Day and every day, I encourage every American to join the fight against HIV/AIDS and get tested.”
--President Barack Obama
“On this National HIV Testing Day, we have good news to report. In just three years, CDC’s expanded HIV testing efforts facilitated almost 3 million HIV tests in hard-hit areas across the nation, helping nearly 20,000 Americans living with HIV learn their status for the first time. …While these signs are promising, our work to end the HIV epidemic is far from over. … The majority of Americans have still never taken an HIV test. Many people don’t recognize that they’re at risk for HIV infection, even if they engage in behaviors that put them at risk. Others may fear what a positive diagnosis could mean for them, despite the effective treatments now available. And many people don’t yet realize that testing today is quick, easy and confidential.
On this National HIV Testing Day, don’t let fear or misinformation stop you from getting tested. I strongly encourage all Americans to get tested for HIV, and to text and tweet hivtest.org to your friends and family to encourage them to do the same.”
--Kevin Fenton, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
“Today I received a rapid mouth swab HIV test in Washington where I was found to be negative. I wanted to show the importance of being tested on a regular basis; it’s the only way you can know your status. ... The stigma of being tested for HIV is still present in many communities. By renewing my commitment, I hope to show those in my district and around the country that this simple test could possibly stop the transition of HIV to another person.”
--Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
“Of course, HIV testing is not enough. We must also make sure that those who test positive can get the treatment they need. … I am deeply concerned that the progress we have made against this devastating disease is in danger of being reversed. There are growing numbers of infected Americans who are on waiting lists for ADAP [AIDS dug assistance programs] because Congress has not provided sufficient funding for this life-saving program. … Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has made repeated efforts to repeal, defund and dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and allow health insurance companies to continue to deny coverage to Americans living with HIV/AIDS.
I call upon all Americans to take responsibility for their health and get tested for HIV, and I call upon my colleagues in Congress to maintain funding for HIV/AIDS research, prevention, testing and treatment and support full implementation of the Affordable Care Act so that people living with HIV/AIDS can continue to be productive members of our society.”
--Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)