- Look at Results in Close States Such as Wisconsin
- ESPN Suspends Jemele Hill Over New Tweet
- 10 Projects Split $1.8 Million to Boost Trust in News
- NAHJ Ends Partnership with California Chicanos
- Oneida Nation Donates Indian Country Today
Nikole Hannah-Jones, a writer for the New York Times Magazine who specializes in racial issues, had little patience with the direction a panel discussion on the 2016 election was taking Thursday at the annual Online News Association conference.
“We spend an inordinate amount of time looking at angry white voters,” Hannah-Jones said at the convention’s opening session, moderated by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter. “This is the first election after the [weakening of the] Voting Rights Act and voter suppression. Lots of votes were probably suppressed.” It has not been a priority in mainstream post-election media coverage.
The paucity of journalists of color on the campaign trail probably had something to do with that, she said. Hannah-Jones recalled being the darkest journalist in the room when she covered Hillary Clinton at a black church in North Carolina.
Hannah-Jones was not the only journalist of color to push back during the conference, which attracted 3,008 on its opening day, or at the 2017 News Leadership conference, which opened this week in the same Washington hotel with 350 registrants. The latter was convened jointly by the American Society of News Editors, Associated Press Media Editors and Associated Press Photo Managers.
Madhulika Sikka, newly named public editor at PBS, concluded her turn on an NPR ethics panel at ONA by saying, “I care less about conversations about ideology, because conversations about race and gender are not being had. . . . A lot of people of color and women feel shut down” because of that lack of dialogue.
At the News Leadership conference on Monday, syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., a journalist of color like Hannah-Jones and Sikka, delivered a keynote luncheon speech urging editors to maintain their standards in the face of attacks from some that their accurate coverage is unfair to Donald Trump. (Read his speech here).
That message was seconded by international journalists who said that Trump’s attacks on the U.S. media were emboldening authoritarian rulers overseas. At an ASNE panel Monday titled “How the world sees US: Press freedom in Trump era,” Mahfuz Anam, editor of the Daily Star in Bangladesh, urged more introspection by the American news media. John Yearwood, chair of the International Press Institute, and Marty Steffens, IPI board member and a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, said press-freedom advocates plan to visit the interior of the United States, where authorities in a city such as St. Louis have been elevated internationally as threats to a free press.
Anam also said that U.S. media support for the Iraq war under George W. Bush had cost it credibility overseas.
Hannah-Jones’ point about voter suppression is backed up by recent reports from Wisconsin and nationally.
A study from the battleground state of Wisconsin “estimates 16,800 or more people in Dane and Milwaukee counties were deterred from casting ballots in November because of Wisconsin’s voter ID law,” Patrick Marley and Jason Stein reported Sept. 26 for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“The study by University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Ken Mayer concluded 16,800 to 23,250 voters in the two counties — the Democratic strongholds of Wisconsin — did not vote because of the voter ID law,” they wrote. “The $55,000 survey was paid for with property tax money by Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, a Democratic opponent of the law.
“Key portions of those surveyed said they did not vote because they did not have ID that would allow them to or did not believe the IDs they had could be used under the voting law. The study found the ID law disproportionately affected African-Americans and low-income people.
“ ‘As the clerk who serves the largest population of African-Americans in the state, I was shocked by the numbers and am furious to see that Jim Crow laws are alive and well,’ Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson said in a news release. . . .”
Democrat Hillary Clinton lost to Republican Trump in Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes.
Reporting on Clinton’s new book about the campaign, “What Happened,” the Journal Sentinel’s Bill Glauber wrote Sept. 12, “In discussing what she calls ‘voter suppression,’ Clinton references studies and discusses the impact the state voter ID law may have had on the result.
“ ‘States with harsh new voting laws, such as Wisconsin, saw turnout dip 1.7 points, compared with a 1.3-point increase in states where the law didn’t change,’ she writes.
“She adds that a Priorities USA study estimated ‘that the new voter ID law helped reduce turnout by 200,000 votes (in Wisconsin), primarily from low-income and minority areas. We know for sure that turnout in the city of Milwaukee fell by 13 percent.’
“PolitiFact Wisconsin said experts questioned the methodology of the Priorities USA study.”
The voter suppression story is ongoing, media attention or not.
While at the Nation, Ari Berman, who has written a book on the subject, told readers on May 11, “Two days after firing FBI director James Comey and creating a full-blown constitutional crisis, Donald Trump signed an executive order today creating a presidential commission on ‘election integrity,’ based on his debunked claims that millions voted illegally in 2016.
“Vice President Mike Pence will be the chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will be the vice chair—two men with very long histories of making it harder to vote, especially Kobach. Given the lack of evidence of voter fraud, the commission seems designed for one purpose: to perpetuate the myth of fraud in order to lay the groundwork for enacting policies that suppress the vote.
“If you want to know what such voter intimidation looks like, take a look at Pence’s home state of Indiana, where state police in October 2016 raided the offices of a group working to register African-American and low-income voters. They seized thousands of voter-registration applications, even though only 10 were suspected to be fraudulent and no one has been charged. . . .”
The Kansas City Star has frequently ridiculed Kobach’s quest, editorializing in July that his “quixotic search for virtually nonexistent voter fraud has alternately frustrated and amused Kansans for years.”
Journalism students have been among the debunkers of the idea of voter fraud. In 2012, students at the News21 project at the University of Arizona found, “A News21 analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.”
In August, Emily L. Mahoney wrote for the project, “With the presidential election less than three months away, millions of Americans will be navigating new requirements for voting – if they can vote at all – as state leaders implement dozens of new restrictions that could make it more difficult to cast a ballot.
“Since the last presidential election in 2012, politicians in 20 states passed 37 different new voting requirements that they said were needed to prevent voter fraud, a News21 analysis found. More than a third of those changes require voters to show specified government-issued photo IDs at the polls or reduce the number of acceptable IDs required by pre-existing laws. . . .”
Meanwhile, the Online News Association announced winners of the 2017 Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. “Each project will receive $35,000 to support local news experiments. The fund supports universities to partner with news organizations and explore new ways of providing information to their local communities. For 2018, the Scripps Howard Foundation joins as the sixth partner to the Fund managed by ONA, in addition to the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation.”
Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed: Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream
fivethirtyeight.com: Does The Media Cover Trump Too Much? Too Harshly? Too Narrowly?
Lloyd Grove, Columbia Journalism Review: Best press he’s ever had
Connor Sheets, al.com: Too poor to vote: How Alabama’s ‘new poll tax’ bars thousands of people from voting
“Of all its selective discipline for on-air talent over the years, ESPN management has made it very clear that the subject where it offers little flexibility for employees is when management ‘believes an employee has said something that could impact the company’s bottom line,” Richard Deitsch reported Monday for Sports Illustrated.
“On Monday afternoon the network suspended commentator Jemele Hill for two weeks for a series of tweets she made Sunday night calling for an advertiser boycott of the Cowboys following Dallas owner and GM Jerry Jones saying his players will stand for the national anthem and not disrespect the flag, and if they do, the player or players will not play.
“Hill said that a more powerful protest than Cowboys players Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott personally boycotting would be to stop watching and buying Cowboys merchandise.
“ ‘If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers,’ Hill tweeted at 10:50 p.m. ET Sunday. ‘Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.’ Responding to a tweet from a Twitter follower that listed some Cowboys’ sponsors, Hill tweeted, ‘This play always [works]. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.’
“ESPN is a longtime television and digital rights-holder of the NFL. In 2011 the company renewed its partnership with the league for $15.2 billion through 2021. That equals a payment of $1.9 billion a year.
“ ‘Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,’ ESPN said in a statement. ‘She [previously] acknowledged letting her colleagues down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.’ . . .”
Columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, announced that he and other civil rights leaders are demanding that ESPN CEO and President John Skipper immediately reinstate Hill.
“Hill simply exercised her right to express her views and she did it on her own personal time and made clear her views on Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones stance on the national anthem were hers and not those of ESPN,” Hutchinson said, “If Hill’s suspension two week stands, it sends the dangerous message that individuals off the job and on their own personal time are forbidden to express their views.”
Peter Baker, New York Times: Trump Threatens N.F.L. and Attacks Jemele Hill
“More community involvement in investigative reporting,” Laura Hazard Owen reported Wednesday for Nieman Lab. “New messaging tools to increase contact between journalists and readers.
“Better comments. More diverse hires.
“The News Integrity Initiative (NII), the $14 million news project launched earlier this year out of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, on Wednesday announced its first 10 grantees.
“The projects are getting a combined $1.8 million to focus on projects that build trust between newsrooms and the public, make newsrooms more diverse and inclusive, and make public conversations more fruitful and less polarized.
“For instance, Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications is getting $300,000 to support the News co/lab, a newly launched collaborative lab that helps local news organizations and communities work together.
“The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal Labs is getting $250,000 to create engagement around investigative reporting and develop new ‘public-powered’ investigative projects. The Center for Media Engagement (formerly the Engaging News Project) at the University of Texas, Austin, is getting $75,000 to support the ‘Making Strangers Less Strange’ research project.
“The Maynard Institute received $100,000 to support its Maynard 200 initiative, which seeks to train and support 200 journalists of color over the next five years. (That grant was matched by another $100,000 from the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund; Newmark is a member of NII’s executive committee.) The Coral Project is getting $200,000 to bolster newsroom adoption of its tools. . . . “
“On the evening of Friday, October 6, 2017, the national board voted 14-0 to dissolve the Memorandum of Understanding” between the California Chicano News Media Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, NAHJ announced. “Before moving to take a vote, the NAHJ members who had signed up to address the board publicly expressed their positions on the MOU.
“ ‘CCNMA and NAHJ exist to further the same purpose so we must work together, rather than fight to take each other down,’ commented Brandon Benavides, NAHJ President. ‘The NAHJ board of directors will continue to fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to its members first, protecting its members from any liability.’
“ ‘After reviewing the past and current financial state of CCNMA, as well as the parameters of the current MOU, it was decided that NAHJ would be put in a position of liability. During the call on Friday evening, all current board members expressed their willingness and hope to explore a mutually beneficial partnership between the organizations, or [an] affiliate relationship similar to what the NAHJ has with Hispanic Communicators in Dallas and ALMA in Phoenix, which are separate non-profit 501(c)3 organizations.”
The partnership began in March 2016 with high expectations.
“This is a historic moment for Latino journalists in the U.S.,” Antonio Mejias-Rentas, NAHJ Los Angeles president, said at the time. “By building on the legacy of these two important organizations, we can increase our ability to meet our shared goals of increasing Hispanic representation in mainstream media and providing training opportunities for our membership, including those working in Spanish-language media.”
Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ president when the memorandum of understanding was signed and a reporter for KNBC-TV in Southern California, is now volunteer interim executive director of CCNMA.
The National Congress of American Indians is assuming control of the assets of Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN), the result of a donation to the organization by the Oneida Indian Nation, NCAI announced Wednesday, pechanga.net reported.
“ ‘NCAI’s Executive Officers and I are humbled by this donation from ICTMN and the Oneida Indian Nation,’ said NCAI President Brian Cladoosby. ‘Their love for Indian Country carries through their every word and has inspired our tribal communities to tell their own stories. This is an immense responsibility; NCAI will approach this responsibility thoughtfully and deliberately with an eye towards strengthening Indian Country’s voice.’
“ICTMN recently halted operations to evaluate its next steps in the face of unprecedented changes in the publishing industry, changes that have presented complicated challenges for every media organization across the country.
“ ‘ICTMN has been the flagship publication producing unique and original reporting about Indian Country — and the Oneida Indian Nation has played a pivotal role in forging that legacy,’ said NCAI Executive Director Jacqueline Pata. ‘After years of strong investments, we appreciate the Oneida Nation now turning over ICTMN’s assets to our organization, and we look forward to convening meetings with key stakeholders over the next several months to construct a blueprint for how to best respectfully carry on ICTMN’s mission.’
“Over the past four decades the ICTMN has evolved from a local weekly print newsletter, to a national magazine, and now an online news syndicate reporting on the ground from — and for — Indian Country about the critical issues impacting Native nations and peoples in the United States and around the globe. . . .”
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.
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Journal-isms is originally published on journal-isms.com. Reprinted on The Root by permission.