By Marlon A. Walker
The Rev. Al Sharpton urged mourners paying tribute to George E. Curry Saturday to keep alive Curry's dream of reviving online his beloved Emerge magazine and said he would write a check to help.
“If ever we need a strong, independent, ethical black press, we need it now,” Sharpton said. The activist gave the eulogy before about 600 people in a packed Weeping Mary Baptist Church in Curry's hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., discussing Curry with affection but maintaining that Curry called out anyone he thought was wrong, including Sharpton.
"He never let his friendship interfere with his journalism," Sharpton said. "You had to earn a George Curry compliment." That approach made newsmakers such as himself better, he said. "George never knew he was as much a minister to me as I was to him."
Still, Sharpton's relationship with black journalists was not universally affectionate. The civil rights leader told a story of Curry describing his relationship with particular black journalists. Each was fine, Curry told Sharpton as some were named. But when Curry asked about then-Newsday editor and columnist Les Payne, since retired, Sharpton told him, "I don't know if you're going to live that long."
In 1989, Payne had broken the story that the highly publicized tale of African American teenager Tawana Brawley, who said she was raped and abducted by a gang of white men, a case that was championed by Sharpton and had become national news, was a hoax.
Payne also reported that Sharpton was on the payrolls of the FBI and the Republican party, with the job of destabilizing the black community and "snitching" on other black leaders.
Sharpton told the crowd that Payne, who was in the church on Saturday, later introduced himself, asking whether the activist remembered him. Sharpton said he replied, "Negro, does Ali remember Joe Frazier?"
Payne told Journal-isms, "I was laughing like everyone else" at the church and maintained a professional relationship with Sharpton.
Curry was twice editor-in-chief of the news service created by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, trade organization for the black press, but left in October after NNPA halved Curry’s salary in response to financial problems.
He then turned his attention to creating an online version of Emerge magazine, for which he was editor-in-chief from 1993 until its final issue in June 2000. A GoFundMe drive had raised $16,088 of its $100,000 goal at Curry's death Aug. 20 of heart failure, but the figure has since risen to $17,450. Curry was 69.
Elizabeth “Ann” Ragland, Curry's longtime love, told Journal-isms that she would be talking with people this coming week about the future of the site.
Kemba Smith Pradia told mourners that as a story subject, she saw Curry’s influence. Reginald Stuart's 1996 "Kemba's Nightmare" detailed her sentencing under tough mandatory sentencing laws. Pradia, who had been a student at Hampton University, was “one who even prosecutors say never handled or used the cocaine she was convicted of trafficking.”
She served just over six years of a 24-year sentence before being pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2000.
“He put my no-name face on the cover,” Pradia said of Curry.
Emerge made Pradia the face of the excess of a war on drugs that left many facing sentences too tough for their offenses. Her story was told and retold by national newspapers, magazines and television shows.
“He was our hero,” she said of Curry, including her parents in the sentiment.
Benjamin Chavis, NNPA president and CEO, said Curry pushed hard to tell important stories such as Pradia’s, including the signature November 1993 cover story depicting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt Jemima-like handkerchief. Several ads were pulled from the magazine in protest, Chavis said.
“That’s the uncompromising voice that made Emerge the nation’s best black newsmagazine for the past seven years,” Jack E. White wrote in Time magazine when Emerge was shuttered in 2000. “Ferociously militant. Deeply skeptical of white institutions and black leaders like Louis Farrakhan. Nearly devoid of humor. The kind of magazine that nearly always left you angrier at white people than you were before you read it. . . .”
Sharpton told the gathering that Curry knew that depictions like the Thomas cover wouldn't earn him invitations to appear on shows such as CBS-TV's "Face the Nation." But Roland Martin, managing editor and host of TV One's "NewsOne Now," who livestreamed the service on his website and also addressed the crowd, said he and Curry recognized the importance of speaking with a black voice. Working for white-owned institutions was not the only way to be a journalist, Martin said.
Many of the speakers — including Martin, broadcast journalist Ed Gordon, niece Rachel Gandy, executive assistant to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley — shared stories of how Curry’s mentorship helped at different points in their careers.
“He was never reluctant to let the spotlight shine on you,” Gordon said.
Ragland shouted out the “BeBe’s Kids,” the young or aspiring journalists Curry mentored. There were many in the church, from newsrooms across the country and youth journalism programs.
"Sometimes, he's hard on you," Ragland said. "Tough on you. If you were strong enough and willing enough to do it the way he told you to do it, just as hard as he was on you he would be just as complimentary of you, and he would be so proud of you."
Pictures of Curry beamed from screens in the front and back of the chapel. Condolences were read from around the world, including notes from his Druid High School class of 1965 — many of whose members were in the room — and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“The world has lost an outstanding journalist, and I have lost a friend,” Clinton wrote to the family.
Curry's love for the craft played out in key details at the service, including an obituary that included a news release, texts and social media messages, and a letter to the editor from Ragland. Mourners received a copy of the week’s Tennessee Tribune as a keepsake. A story about Curry’s death was on the front page.
Marlon A. Walker is a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and myajc.com.
Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: George Curry was inspiration for young journalists
Chip Scarborough, WVTM-TV, Birmingham, Ala.: Sharpton delivers eulogy at Curry funeral
The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson praised journalist George E. Curry Friday as one whose "mission was greater than his job" and a "freedom fighter for journalists" who rose from humble beginnings to be celebrated by admirers from South Africa to Paris to Mississippi.
Jackson spoke at a program at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Curry's hometown. He said he arrived by private plane after a schedule that included visiting the flood zone around Baton Rouge, La.; delivering the eulogy Friday in Milwaukee for Sylville Smith, who was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer; and particiapting at an education conference in Detroit Thursday sponsored by the A. Philip Randolph Institute.
The funeral for the champion of the black press, who died Aug. 20 at age 69 of heart failure, is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Weeping Mary Baptist Church, 2701 20th St., Tuscaloosa. A viewing on Saturday takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Rev. Al Sharpton is to give the eulogy. The church holds about 1,000 people, according to his fiancee, Elizabeth "Ann" Ragland.
"You have to negotiate with what you have to work with," Jackson said of Curry's early life in the Jim Crow South. Fortunately, Curry had a good mind, was physically strong, and had the courage of his convictions and a point of view.
"You will live as long as we remember you and we will not forget," Jackson said of Curry.
Journalist Roland S. Martin of TVOne, a friend of Curry, arranged for Friday's service to be livestreamed on his Facebook fan page and planned to do the same for the Saturday service.
Editorial, St. Louis American: We will miss you, George Curry
Hazel Trice Edney, Trice Edney News Wire: Famed journalist George E. Curry passes at 69
Florida Courier: The Final Word Is Written — George E. Curry, 1947-2016
Ayana Jones, Philadelphia Tribune: George E. Curry, 69, advocate for the Black press
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times: In Books on Donald Trump, Consistent Portraits of a High-Decibel Narcissist
Cash Michaels, Winston-Salem Chronicle: North Carolina remembers journalist George Curry
Zenitha Prince, Afro-American Newspapers: Black Community Mourns Passing of Journalist and Civil Rights Icon George E. Curry
Kelvin Reynolds, WBRC-TV, Birmingham, Ala.: Tuscaloosa prepares to say goodbye to George Curry
Reginald Stuart, the Undefeated: George Curry’s career is testament to pushing for change and giving back
DeWayne Wickham, the Undefeated: George Curry was indeed a black journalist
"A series of racially charged accusations dominated the presidential campaign Thursday, with Democrat Hillary Clinton accusing Donald Trump of 'taking hate groups mainstream,' while the Republican nominee repeatedly claimed that Clinton is a 'bigot' toward African Americans," John Wagner and Jenna Johnson wrote for the Washington Post.
On the "CBS Evening News" that day, substitute anchor James Brown introduced the program with a graphic that read, "The Race Turns to Race" and declared, "the presidential campaign may have hit a low point today and there are 75 days to go."
Clinton, however, was merely restating what others have reported for months — so what's the low point?
"RNC Spokesperson Can’t Name A Single Inaccuracy From Clinton’s Speech Linking Trump To The 'Alt-Right,' " read a headline Media Matters for America. Another read, 'Sound Of Silence': No Republican Leaders Have Defended Trump After Clinton Linked Him To The 'Alt-Right.' "
CBS was engaging in false equivalence, and it wasn't alone. Ed Kilgore wrote Friday for New York magazine, "if major media organizations treat everything Trump says as equivalent in gravity and proximity to the truth as everything Clinton says, it could get even worse. After all, Trump throws out insults all the time, at nearly everybody. If insults equal fact-based attacks, the sheer volume of insults could win in the end. . . ."
Journal-isms asked CBS News about the "low point" comment.
Kim Godwin, senior broadcast producer who works on the "CBS Evening News," replied, "The reporting was an accurate depiction of the day's political activity. We presented a balanced, thorough look at the charges and counter-charges from each campaign as well as the underlying issues. While doing so, we accurately noted the level of political discourse in this presidential campaign has sunk to a new low."
Michael Barbaro, New York Times: Media as Referee? Not Anymore
Dylan Byers, CNNMoney: Hillary Clinton slams Trump for ties to 'alt-right' media
Michael Calderone, Huffington Post: AP’s Bombshell Clinton Foundation Report Comes Under Scrutiny
Lane Filler, Newsday: What African-Americans have to lose by voting for Donald Trump
Leonard Greene, Daily News, New York: Donald Trump, black people have everything to lose if they vote for you
Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post: A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced. Here’s how she responded.
Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Hell freezes, pigs fly, Browns win Super Bowl, Trump courts black voters
Alex Kaplan, Media Matters for America: After Trump Calls Clinton A "Bigot," Cable News Pushes His Narrative
Victoria McGrane, Boston Globe: Clinton says Trump is ‘taking hate groups mainstream’
Media Matters for America: On CNN, Trump Denies The Existence Of The "Alt-Right"
Albor Ruiz, Al Día, Philadelphia: Rudy Giuliani’s Enormous Teeth
Kelefa Sanneh, New Yorker: What Do People Mean When They Say Donald Trump Is Racist? (Aug. 18)
Oliver Willis, Media Matters for America: What Is The “Alt-Right”? A Guide To The White Nationalist Movement Now Leading Conservative Media
Matthew Yglesias, vox.com: The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess
An Asian American intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who was thrown to the ground and punched repeatedly by a group of people as he reported on the city’s racial disturbances two weeks ago has written his reflections on the incident.
"The voice that stuck in my head over the next few days, as I talked to my relatives and friends about it, belonged to a woman who’d come up to me in the afternoon scrum: 'You’re Asian, right?' she said to me. 'Why are you even here?'," Aaron Mak, a Yale University student, wrote Tuesday for Politico Magazine.
"In one sense, the answer was obvious: I am a journalist," Mak continued. "I’ve covered protests against police brutality before, and see it as a responsibility of the press to convey the pain and grief that can result from misuse of power.
"But as an Asian-American who’s concerned with systemic racism, it would be naive for me to pretend — especially in moments like this, when anger over the treatment of African-Americans bubbles over into violence — that race wasn’t part of why people came out to protest in Milwaukee, or part of sifting out who belongs there.
"As race and police violence become a higher-profile issue in America, many Asian-Americans are still trying to figure out where — or if — we fit in to the movement. . . . Should Asian-Americans like me count ourselves part of the same effort to fight for minority rights, or are we at odds with it? . . ."
Fatma Tanis, "The World," Public Radio International: Reporting on police brutality is complicated for some minority journalists
"Revolt CEO Keith Clinkscales has stepped down from his role at the company, TheWrap has learned," Reid Nakamura reported Thursday for TheWrap.com
"In a memo sent to staffers on Thursday, Clinkscales announced his departure from the music-themed network that was founded by Sean 'Puffy' Combs, thanking his team and assuring them that the company remains on 'exceptional footing.'
"Chief Operating Officer Derek Ferguson will temporarily take the reins while Revolt searches for Clinkscales’ replacement. . . ." Clinkscales did not disclose the reason for his departure.
"The Baltimore Police Department on Wednesday acknowledged testing aerial surveillance technology over the city since January and defended the previously undisclosed program against critics," Monte Reel reported for BloombergBusinessweek. "A police spokesman said the aerial surveillance program would continue for at least a few more weeks.
"Following a Bloomberg Businessweek report about the program published on Tuesday, several civil liberties groups expressed outrage over the surveillance, which is conducted by a private company based in Dayton, Ohio, called Persistent Surveillance Systems Inc. The national office of the ACLU in Washington issued a statement saying the program shouldn’t have been launched without a public debate. . . "
Reel also wrote, "At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, police spokesman T.J. Smith cast the program as a natural extension of Baltimore’s CitiWatch program, which uses more than 700 ground-based cameras to keep an eye on city streets. The aerial program, however, operates on a vastly larger scale than ground-based cameras, capturing a continuously updated image of an area measuring roughly 30 square miles. The images are archived, and police can effectively follow the movements of vehicles or individuals backward and forward in time using the technology. . . ."
Kevin Rector and Luke Broadwater, Baltimore Sun: Report of secret aerial surveillance by Baltimore police prompts questions, outrage
"The University of Chicago was widely praised this week when a letter to incoming freshmen decried so-called 'trigger warnings' and intellectual 'safe spaces' in the interest of preserving freedom of expression and intellectual curiosity," Angie Leventis Lourgos reported Friday for the Chicago Tribune.
"Except some student leaders were quick to point out the elite South Side college does, in fact, maintain what it calls 'safe spaces.' The University of Chicago website includes an LGBTQ 'Safe Space Ally Network' where students can find haven with trained peers and faculty across campus. And one of those Safe Space allies listed on the website is Jay Ellison — the dean who authored the letter to the Class of 2020 that set off the internet firestorm. . . ."
“I have these moments where I’m like, ‘Wow, what will this feel like?’ said Wendy Tokuda on the eve of the final television broadcast of her decades-long career in California," Bill Disbrow reported Wednesday for sfgate.com.
"Tokuda, a Bay Area television staple for more than 30 years, retired from broadcast journalism on Friday, Aug. 19. But that night’s sign-off wasn’t the first time Tokuda has stepped out of the Bay Area spotlight.
"The veteran journalist established herself as the face of KPIX for more than a decade before leaving for a job in Los Angeles in the early 1990s. The Seattle native would later return to Bay Area living rooms as an anchor for both the local NBC and CBS affiliates, and then gave up the anchor chair in 2010.
"Now, after six years working primarily as a feature reporter, Tokuda is retiring from local television for good. . . ."
Wendy Tokuda on the eve of the final television broadcast of her decades-long career in California," Bill Disbrow reported Wednesday for sfgate.com.
"Tokuda, a Bay Area television staple for more than 30 years, retired from broadcast journalism on Friday, Aug. 19. But that night’s sign-off wasn’t the first time Tokuda has stepped out of the Bay Area spotlight. "Tokuda, a Bay Area television staple for more than 30 years, retired from broadcast journalism on Friday, Aug. 19. But that night’s sign-off wasn’t the first time Tokuda has stepped out of the Bay Area spotlight.
"The veteran journalist established herself as the face of KPIX for more than a decade before leaving for a job in Los Angeles in the early 1990s. The Seattle native would later return to Bay Area living rooms as an anchor for both the local NBC and CBS affiliates, and then gave up the anchor chair in 2010. "The veteran journalist established herself as the face of KPIX for more than a decade before leaving for a job in Los Angeles in the early 1990s. The Seattle native would later return to Bay Area living rooms as an anchor for both the local NBC and CBS affiliates, and then gave up the anchor chair in 2010.
"Now, after six years working primarily as a feature reporter, Tokuda is retiring from local television for good. . . ." "Now, after six years working primarily as a feature reporter, Tokuda is retiring from local television for good. . . ."
"Rather than covering race all at once or assigning a single reporter to the topic, The New York Times has created a team of journalists in different departments throughout the newsroom who conceive and develop stories related to the subject," Benjamin Mullin reported Monday for the Poynter Institute. "The team reflects a philosophy held by Executive Editor Dean Baquet that race is a story that permeates every beat rather than a subject that can be handled by one reporter or tackled in a single story, said National Editor Marc Lacey, who leads the team. . . ."
Wayne Dawkins, professor in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University, has won the American Journalism Historians Association's National Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award "honors a college or university teacher who excels at teaching in the areas of journalism and mass communication history, makes a positive impact on student learning, and offers an outstanding example for other educators. An honorarium of $500 accompanies the prize."
"After more than 30 years in journalism, Dino Chiecchi is moving to a career in academia," Veronica Villafañe reported Monday for her Media Moves site. "He left his position as Managing Editor for presentation and website at the El Paso Times, where he worked since April of 2015. . . . He starts a new job today as associate professor of practice at the University of Texas at El Paso. . . .
"Tribune’s New York CW affiliate WPIX is dropping its 6:30 p.m. newscast nine months after it launched," Kevin Eck reported Aug. 19 for TVSpy. "The news was first written about on FTVLive. For now, there won’t be any major changes behind the scenes. There’s no word yet what will happen to anchors Kaity Tong or Brenda Blackmon. . . ."
"Josh Innes has hosted his last show for WIP," Rob Tornoe reported Wednesday for philly.com. The controversial sports talk host has been fired, sources within the station have told Philly.com. Crossing Broad was first to report the firing. . . ." Tornoe also wrote, "Innes had been previously suspended by WIP back in January after using a racial epithet on air to describe Eagles center Jason Kelce. The controversial host has had a history of using racially-offensive language on his show. . . ."
"Michelle Tan, the editor in chief of Seventeen, has been let go after about two years in the job, WWD has learned," Alexandra Steigrad reported Monday for Women's Wear Daily. "A spokeswoman from Hearst declined to comment but did confirm the departure. Tan, who joined Hearst in November 2014, came from Time Inc.’s People where she served as special projects editor. At Hearst, Tan reported to Cosmopolitan editor in chief Joanna Coles, who also holds the role of editorial director of Seventeen. According to sources, Tan was notified that she would no longer be needed at Seventeen while on maternity leave. . . .
"Nancy Han, formerly an executive producer at ABC News, will join CBS This Morning as senior producer of the program’s 8 a.m. hour," A.J. Katz reported Aug. 18 for TV Newser. "She will begin on Monday, September 5th. . . ."
"Today, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a national nonprofit newsroom in the San Francisco Bay Area, launched a project-based fellowship for journalists of color," the center announced on Aug. 2. "The Reveal Investigative Fellowship will help strengthen a field in which diversity of background and perspective are more crucial than in any other corner of media. . . . Former Oakland Tribune Editor Martin G. Reynolds will lead the effort while also continuing his work as senior fellow for strategic planning at The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. He will report to CIR Editor in Chief Amy Pyle. . . ."
"Interactive One, the definitive digital destination for African American and Millennial audiences, today announced the hiring of Jamilah Lemieux, as the new Vice President of News and Men's Programming, effective August 25, 2016," the company announced on Thursday. "The former Ebony Senior Editor, both print and digital, is an award-winning writer and popular public speaker on race and culture. . . ."
On C-SPAN2 Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, "Urban Radio Networks Washington Bureau Chief April Ryan moderates a discussion on race in relation to the news, politics, and American culture, including an examination of the rise in racial incidents, their origins and possible solutions," the network announced. "She is joined in conversation by . . . Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author, Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul; Julianne Malveaux, president emerita of Bennett College and author, Are We Better Off?: Race, Obama and Public Policy; Victoria Christopher Murray, author, Stand Your Ground: A Novel; and F. Michael Higginbotham, author, Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America."
"Nigeria is not only one of Africa’s most populous countries, but it also has one of the youngest populations on the continent," Jessica Davies reported Wednesday for digiday.com. "That’s why CNN International is focusing its efforts there, setting up its first digital bureau in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. Leading the operation is Nigerian native Stephanie Busari, who was assigned six weeks ago in the role of supervising producer, Africa. She’ll be driving the editorial mandate for the brand, which will focus on creating content for local audiences and appealing to the entire African continent. . . .'
"Journalists in Iran are sounding the alarm over a government-drafted media regulation bill that is expected to be sent to the parliament for approval soon, after a two-year delay," Golnaz Esfandiari reported Tuesday for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. "The government has said that the bill, which will call for the creation of a media oversight organization, is aimed at supporting media rights and freedoms and regulating the media. But some critics say its approval would mean an end to any form of independent journalism in the Islamic republic. . . ."
Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.