AOL Cuts 900 Jobs, Says Black Voices Spared

Ken Strickland, a veteran producer in NBC News’ Washington bureau, was named deputy bureau chief Friday by Antoine Sanfuentes, the recently named Washington bureau chief.

The appointment means a Hispanic journalist and a black one will remain in the top two spots in the bureau.

"He will work with me to manage the day-to-day operation of the bureau and oversee and drive all aspects of our coverage," Sanfuentes said in a memo.


"You all know Ken as the stately force on Capitol Hill, where he has been Senate Producer since 2003. In this role, he has reported on and off air on every major story that came through the United States Senate, including four Supreme Court confirmation battles, the bank bailouts, and health care reform. In 2008, he won an Emmy for breaking news coverage on the collapse of the bank bailout talks in Congress.

"Some of us have had the pleasure of working with Ken since he became a member of the NBC News team in April 1995, when he joined as an Associate Producer for 'Dateline NBC.' On his third day on the job, the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed and Ken was immediately dispatched to the scene to coordinate NBC’s coverage with the local affiliate.

"In June 1997, he joined me as a White House Producer — a position he held for six years, spanning the last three years of the Clinton administration and the first three years of the Bush administration. During this time, he produced coverage of President George W. Bush’s trip to Ground Zero in New York City in the days following the 9/11 attack. We travelled countless miles together witnessing Presidential history and I have always been grateful for that. I am really looking forward to our partnership."

Sanfuentes, already a vice president of NBC News, was named Washington bureau chief in January after Mark Whitaker jumped ship to CNN, assuming the newly created position there of executive vice president and managing editor. Having Whitaker and Sanfuentes also meant a black journalist and a Hispanic one were in the top two bureau positions. Strickland will not hold a vice president's title, however.

AOL Latino, Black Voices Spared as Company Cuts 900 Jobs

AOL Latino and AOL Black Voices were spared layoffs, an AOL spokesman told Journal-isms on Friday, as AOL slashed 900 jobs worldwide, or nearly 20 percent of its workforce.


The two sites were "not affected at all. If anything we will be ramping up our multicultural offerings with the addition of The Huffington Post," Graham James said. He said he could not disclose how many work at the two sites.

Others at AOL were not so fortunate.

"The layoffs include veteran journalists from AOL’s top news sites, including PoliticsDaily, DailyFinance (where this author worked before joining three months ago) and WalletPop," Sam Gustin reported for


" 'There was no contact at all from whomever was making decisions,' said one AOL editorial insider who was let go. 'Not a single person on our team was interviewed, and they didn’t even ask for resumes. It’s really a big mess.'

"The layoffs include PoliticsDaily‘s editor-in-chief Melinda Henneberger, a veteran political journalist who spent 10 years at The New York Times, according to FishbowlDC."


Talking Biz News added, "Two of the AOL Money & Finance sites — and — will be shut down as part of AOL’s merging its editorial operations with The Huffington Post, according to business journalists who work at AOL.

"Another AOL Money & Finance site,, has been gutted of virtually its entire salaried staff and is now being overseen by three contract editors."


Gustin's story continued, " 'I have just laid off dozens of the most talented journalists & product folks I know,' Jonathan Dube, AOL’s senior vice president of news, tweeted around noon. 'Need talent? Let me know!'

". . . The layoffs, which were expected, are part of a companywide reorganization following AOL’s $315 million purchase of Huffington Post."


Nicholas Carlson, THE GORY DETAILS: Tim Armstrong's Layoffs Memo

Paid Content: Interview: Armstrong On Layoffs: 'News & Finance Was Losing $20 Million’ 


N.Y. Times Accused of Blaming Victim in Child's Gang Rape

"The New York Times finds itself embroiled in controversy after publishing an article on a horrific gang rape that occurred in Cleveland, Texas. Citizens . . . are striking back, taking to to demand that the Times apologize and also deftly illustrating how advocacy can serve to illuminate bias in how stories are reported," Latoya Peterson wrote Friday for the Poynter Institute.


"The piece, written by James C. McKinley, Jr., came under fire for stacking the coverage so that the piece heavily quoted from those who blamed the victim for her predicament, mentioned precious little about the boys and men involved in the assault, and focused heavily on revealing class markers instead of illuminating the details of the case."

Peterson's piece mentioned class, not race, as an element in the coverage, but race was a factor in reaction to the incident.


"This old timber town of almost 8,000 in East Texas has become a tinderbox that some residents fear could be ignited now by recent charges of racism, political chicanery and child rape," Cindy Horswell wrote Friday in a story for the Houston Chronicle datelined Cleveland, Texas.

"Even before the alleged gang rape of an 11-year-old girl divided Cleveland, tensions were already simmering here. Accusations of racism had been flying over the looming recall election of three black City Council members. Those targeted for removal have expressed concerns that the election could be racially motivated, while their opponents accuse them of mismanagement and squandering tax dollars.


"Meanwhile, Houston community activist Quanell X rolled into town on Thursday evening and held a rally questioning the ongoing investigation that has resulted in 18 black men and boys in Cleveland being charged with sexually assaulting the 11-year-old Hispanic girl."

Arthur S. Brisbane, the Times' public editor, weighed in on Friday.

"Philip Corbett, standards editor for The Times, told me earlier today that the story focused on the reaction of community residents and that there was no intent to blame the victim," Brisbane wrote. "He added, 'I do think in retrospect we could have done more to provide more context to make that clear.'


"The Associated Press handled the story more deftly, I think. Its piece on the crime also noted the community view that the girl dressed provocatively and even the view of some that the girl may have been culpable somehow. But the AP also quoted someone in the community saying: 'She’s 11 years old. It shouldn’t have happened. That’s a child. Somebody should have said, "What we are doing is wrong." '

"The Times, I have been told, is working on a followup story. . . ."

Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:  NYT's Retro Rape Reporting Returns to Victim-Blaming Ways


Joe Pompeo, Yahoo: NY Times responds to backlash over reporting of an alleged child rape

Goldie Taylor, Tragedy of 11-year-old's rape leaves black mark on Texas town


What About Our Daughters blog: Three Ring Circus Arrives in Cleveland Texas — Angry Local Women Blame 11 [Year]-Old Rape Victim

Libya Frees Brazilian; British Journalist Still in Custody

"Brazil's Estado de S. Paulo newspaper says a correspondent who had been missing in Libya has left the country after being imprisoned," the Associated Press reported Friday from Sao Paulo, Brazil.


"Executive Editor Luciana Constantino says Andrei Netto is headed to Paris, where he lives.

"Netto was released on Thursday after being held for several days. Libyan Ambassador Salem Omar Abdullah Al-Zubaidi says Netto was arrested because of mistakes he made in forms he filled out to enter Libya."


"We share the joy and relief of Netto’s family and friends, but the situation of journalists in Libya continues to be very worrying," Reporters Without Borders said. "Foreign journalists who enter the country without permits are treated by the Gaddafi regime as Al-Qaeda accomplices." The group said Netto had been held for eight days.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists called for the immediate release of Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, a correspondent for London's Guardian newspaper "whom Libyan officials now acknowledge holding in detention. CPJ also demands that authorities halt ongoing obstruction and intimidation of journalists. A number of foreign journalists invited to cover events in the capital were prevented today from reporting on anti-government protesters in a Tripoli neighborhood, according to news reports.


"After The Guardian this week issued a public plea for information on Abdul-Ahad's whereabouts, the Libyan Foreign Ministry in Tripoli acknowledged that the reporter was in state custody, the newspaper reported late Thursday. The basis of the detention was not disclosed. Abdul-Ahad, an award-winning war correspondent, had been reporting from an area near the coastal city of Zawiya, where there has been heavy fighting between rebels and forces loyal to [Moammar Gaddafi]. He had dropped from sight after contacting his paper through a third party on Sunday, according to The Guardian."

Cate Attwood, Washington Post and Guardian Reporter Is Held In Libya


Committee to Protect Journalists: Safety advisories for journalists covering Libya

Osama Diab, the Guardian, Britain: New Egypt, new media: Egyptians will no longer tolerate paying for the state-run newspapers that peddled Hosni Mubarak's propaganda


International Federation of Journalists: IFJ Accuses Gaddafi Over Brutal Attack on BBC Team

Cord Jefferson, Fascinating: The Definitive Explanation of Why Gaddafi's Name Is Spelled So Many Ways


Reporters Without Borders awards the 2011 Netizen Prize to Tunisian bloggers

Bev Smith Resists Jewish Pressure, Hosts Farrakhan

When Bev Smith opens her radio show on Friday for a town hall meeting, Minister Louis Farrakhan will be on the panel of guests and that is stirring a controversy, Lynne Hayes-Freeland wrote Tuesday for Pittsburgh television station KDKA.


" 'My intent is to have a discussion with black people about their obligations, their responsibility to correct some of the ills within, internally,' said host Bev Smith of the American Urban Radio Networks."

But "as word spread quickly about the broadcast, so did opposition. The Jewish Chronicle newspaper printed a full editorial in protest to the appearance by Farrakhan."


" 'He is considered by many in this country to be an anti-Semite,' Rabbi Alvin Berkun said. 'He’s had opportunities to back off his position, he won’t and he doesn’t.'

A.M. Muhammad of the National Newspaper Publishers Association reported Wednesday in the New Pittsburgh Courier, "If they thought their threats would undermine support for the event, their efforts have backfired. It is being reported that there are no more tickets available to the event and, according to a spokesperson for the August Wilson Center, the nearly 500-seat auditorium will be filled with an overflow room set up in order to accommodate even more people interested in solutions to the problems plaguing Pittsburgh’s Black community.


"On March 4, Bev Smith, who is spearheading the town hall meeting themed 'The Disappearing Black Community' wrote an open letter responding to Jewish pressure for inviting Min. Farrakhan to the March 11 gathering. Her guests are Min. Farrakhan, Congressman James Clyburn and Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation."

The Post-Gazette reported Friday night that the event was "attended by more than 600 enthusiastic and vocal audience members."


Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburghers should shun Farrakhan

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Outside Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan is nobody's leader


Bev Smith, Pittsburgh Urban Media: Jewish Pressure Results in . . . Guest Scheduled to Appear at the Bev Smith Town Hall Meeting, March 11th in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Farrakhan's appearance in Pittsburgh stirring controversy


NABJ Fears CEO's Ouster at NPR Will Set Back Diversity

"The National Association of Black Journalists is very concerned about NPR's commitment to diversity in the wake of Vivian Schiller's resignation as President and CEO and Cheryl Hampton's departure as Director of News Staff Development," the association said Thursday in a statement. "When Schiller arrived at NPR in 2009, she inherited a culture that was dismissive of diversity. NPR Senior Vice President of Communications Dana Davis Rehm said Schiller identified transforming NPR's diversity as a top priority.


"Following several critical letters from NABJ, Schiller met with NABJ's president and vice-president of broadcast in 2009. She committed to creating a more diverse work force. Within days of the meeting, Schiller announced the hiring of Keith Woods as Vice President of Diversity, News. Over the next few months, Jeff Perkins was hired as Vice President of Human Resources and Chief People Officer, and former Radio One executive Deborah Cowan was hired as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Under Schiller's direction, NPR created two new positions related to diversity: a senior editor to diversify the voices heard on NPR and the sources used by NPR and a diversity correspondent to cover race, ethnicity, community, and culture. . . .

"Debra Delman, NPR's Senior Vice President for Strategic Operations and Finance, said the commitment to diversity will not end with Schiller's departure.


" 'Our priorities in diversity and in digital media will not stop,' she told NABJ on Wednesday. 'I am personally committed to our diversity goals as are my colleagues on the executive team.'

"Delman's words are encouraging, but they are not consistent with the company's actions in changing the reporting structure — and thereby the priority and prominence — of the journalism recruiting role in a company where half the employees are journalists. NABJ is greatly concerned that this change, combined with the expertise lost with Hampton's departure on Friday, will prove a setback to NPR's progress.


"NABJ challenges NPR to go beyond the relationship we had with Schiller and make a commitment to diversity at the highest level."

Jon Bershad, Mediaite: The Blaze Finds That The NPR ‘Sting’ Video Used ‘Questionable Editing & Tactics’


Jay Bobbin, Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. finds possible PBS funding cuts 'disgusting'

Eric Boehlert, Media Matters: This Is Why Conservatives Hate NPR?

Eric Deggans blog, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: New NPR video: Does it show executive discussing hiding donation from fake group from federal audit?


Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, "On the Media," NPR: Oy, What a Week for NPR

Howard Kurtz, the Daily Beast: Bob Edwards: NPR Is Cursed

Simon Maloy, Media Matters: Tea Party Activist: NPR's Coverage Of My Group Was "Fair"


James Oliphant, Los Angeles Times: NPR journalists denounce former executive's 'tea party' remarks

Sue Schardt, Can public radio live up to its name?

Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter Institute: NPR’s next CEO faces 4 key challenges as staffers’, stations’ funding needs escalate and conflict


Dr. Boyce Watkins, Is Juan Williams right about 'all-white' NPR?