Ex-OWN CEO Named Black Voices Top Editor

Illustration for article titled Ex-OWN CEO Named Black Voices Top Editor

White HuffPost Writers to Contribute in "Cross-Pollination"

AOL is relaunching its Black Voices site this week with Christina Norman, the ousted CEO of Oprah Winfrey's struggling OWN cable channel as executive editor, David Kaplan reported Monday for paidContent.org.


White Huffington Post writers will produce content for Black Voices in an effort to "cross-pollinate the sites," Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group, told Kaplan.

Norman is expected to help lead two new women's sites within the Huffington Post Media Group and also will be managing video, Kaplan reported.

"In an interview, Arianna Huffington, the president and editor-in-chief of HPMG, said that the sites also will rely heavily on existing staff, who will be expected to post on HuffPo's vast number of channels," Kaplan wrote. "For example, Michael Calderone, HuffPo's senior media reporter, will have a piece in Black Voices on how issues important to African Americans have been under-reported, while business editor Peter S. Goodman will report on economic inequality for that site as well. On top of those two items, Tom Zeller will be weighing in on the intersection of environmental news and race going forward.

" 'We're trying to cross-pollinate the sites and that is reflected by our newsroom's structure, where we have torn down the cubicles as we've torn down silos between coverage areas,' Huffington said.

". . . 'Our strategy is to be a major journalistic enterprise and a platform,' Huffington said. 'That's why we're aiming wide, not niche.'

"Bringing in Norman as executive editor of the reformed Black Voices reflects another part of AOL's strategy: adding high-profile media names to demonstrate its seriousness as a content company. Huffington also explained Norman's hire as a personal one that is intended to send a message about the new HuffPo Women's values. Norman will kick off her new role with an essay about the circumstances of departing as CEO of OWN. 'It's a great lesson for women, that when one door closes, another one opens,' Huffington said. 'There is enormous pressure on high-profile women to succeed, to constantly prove themselves. I met Christina in Los Angeles when she was the head of OWN. After she left, I asked her if she wanted to do something completely different.'


"In addition to setting the tone for the new Black Voices, Norman, who was president of MTV prior to OWN, will be responsible for creating new video programming across AOL."

Before the OWN Network launched in January, Jenna Goudreau wrote in December for Forbes Woman that Winfrey and Norman were "two African-American, female leaders who single-handedly scaled mountains in the television industry."


Obama Sending a Dozen Reps to NABJ Convention

The Obama administration, its popularity tested in the struggle with Congress to broker a deal to raise the debt limit, plans to send a dozen representatives to the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Philadelphia this week.


The Pew Center for the People & the Press reported last week, "The sizeable lead Barack Obama held over a generic Republican opponent in polls conducted earlier this year has vanished as his support among independent voters has fallen off. Currently, 41% of registered voters say they would like to see Barack Obama reelected, while 40% say they would prefer to see a Republican candidate win in 2012. In May, Obama held an 11-point lead."

An analysis by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that almost twice as many debt ceiling stories focused on Obama as on all GOP officials combined.


During the talks, Obama attempted to sell his point of view with frequent White House briefings by himself and aides, and he urged supporters to pressure their representatives in Congress.

The sales effort with journalists has been on and off the record. Last week, Obama met in an off-the-record session with Joe Klein of Time magazine, David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal, Dan Balz of the Washington Post, Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group and DeWayne Wickham of USA Today.


Kevin S. Lewis, White House director of African American media, and Luis Miranda, its director of Hispanic media, have continued to arrange on the record meetings and conference calls between administration officials and black and Hispanic journalists.

On Tuesday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer is scheduled for a radio appearance on the syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show." Senior aide Valerie Jarrett plans to be on "The Black Eagle With Joe Madison" on Washington's WOL-AM and on the syndicated "Al Sharpton Show" on Radio One.


Lewis told Journal-isms he would appear on an NABJ panel introducing other African American spokesmen for the administration. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is scheduled Thursday, and Obama has prepared a video message for attendees.

Dorothy Brunson, Pioneer Broadcast Owner, Dies at 73

Dorothy Brunson, one of the first African American women to own a radio station and operate a television station in the United States, if not the first, died Sunday at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, State Sen. Catherine Pugh, D-Baltimore, announced. She was 73. Pugh did not disclose the cause of death.


According to "100 Minority Business Enterprises" [PDF], a 2007 publication issued in Maryland, "not only is she the first African American woman to own a radio station and operate a TV station in the U.S., she still has two TV holdings - Channel 54 in Roanoke [Va.] and a Fox affiliate in Montana. She also owns a PR firm and insurance company, finances real estate development projects along the East Coast, is a business consultant for up-and-coming minority companies and a mentor for young people entering the job market. Through her missionary works, she has helped to build a library, school and hospital in Ghana, West Africa. . . .

"Brunson, who graduated from Empire State College in New York, began her communications career as an assistant comptroller at radio station WWRL in New York City in 1961. Seven years later, Brunson became part-owner of Howard Sanders Advertising, the first black-owned advertising agency on Madison Avenue."


["They wouldn't rent the office to us because we were black," she told journalist Kristal Brent Zook in a 2008 interview for the book "I See Black People: The Rise and Fall of African Amercian Owned Television and Radio." Brunson recalled that the janitor, who was black, had to sneak her and her partner into the building at night to show them the space. Afterward, Brunson sent a friend - "a Jewish guy" - to sign the lease. "The following Monday, these two black people walked in," she recalled, "and they almost died. After about a month they calmed down."]

Brunson "moved on three years later to become general manager and vice president of the African American owned Inner City Broadcasting Network. She ran five radio stations, became a key ICB investor and boosted the company's revenues from $189,000 to $22 million her six years there.


"In May of 1979, Dr. Brunson purchased three radio stations and left ICB to run Brunson Communications, Inc. (BCI). She sold the stations in the early 1990s to finance an even larger media venture — the purchase of WGTW TV48 in Philadelphia, a full power TV station that provided 24-hour programming, 365 days a year to a tri-state area.

"Brunson is proud that WGTW helped hundreds of minorities 'get into all aspects of the broadcasting business — from cameramen, to editors to on-screen talent.' And she, as owner 'opened the eyes of the general market to the fact that blacks and women can compete and run an efficient station and be profitable.' After more than a decade of ownership, she sold TV 48 in 2004. 'It was getting more and more difficult to compete with the larger multi-station owners,' Brunson said. 'I opted to sell it while the value was still there.' "|


ABC, NBC Correspondents Reporting on Famine in Somalia

"Although the news cycle this week has been dominated by politics as Republicans and Democrats struggle to come to a deal on the debt ceiling, there is another major story happening far away from Washington — a devastating famine in Somalia," Merrill Knox wrote Friday for TVNewser.


"David Muir, weekend anchor of 'ABC World News,' has been embedded with Doctors Without Borders at a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, since Monday. Muir told The Huffington Post he wanted his reporting to showcase 'the resiliency of kids who made the journey with their parents.'

" 'I think it's heartbreaking and when you walk into these intensive care units, you can't help but look at their mothers and the children lying next to them, and hope that they'll be the ones sitting up tomorrow,' Muir said.


"ABC and NBC both have correspondents in the region — ABC's Lama Hasan has been in Kenya since July 16, and NBC's Rohit Kachroo has been there since July 6."

* Adotei Akwei, Human Rights Now, Amnesty International: US Intervention in Somalia Compounds Dire Humanitarian Crisis


* Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times: Somalis Waste Away as Insurgents Block Escape From Famine

* Stephanie Strom, New York Times: Off Media Radar, Famine Garners Few Donations

* U.S. State Department: How can I help with the situation in the Horn of Africa?


* Photos from World Food Programme

Baltimore Station Calls Cops on Organizers, Elementary Kids

A protest at a Baltimore television station turned into a dramatic spectacle yesterday when community organizers and elementary-school-aged children calling for more coverage of youth and community issues were met with five city police cars, joined by an uninvited mayoral candidate and defended vociferously by one of their own. All as cameras from a rival station rolled," Fern Shen reported Friday for Baltimore Brew.


" 'If young people were out shooting each other, they'd cover it,' thundered Bishop Douglas I. Miles, clergy co-chair of BUILD, outside the offices of WBAL-TV, as children clutching talking points about school construction and rec centers picked their way back down Baltimore's 'TV Hill.'

"Nearly 100 people, roughly half of them children from area recreation centers and churches, had come to the station.


"BUILD was protesting what they say has been skewed coverage of the Baltimore mayoral race by WBAL and other local broadcast and print media - in particular, the focus on the city's high property tax rate as the major issue of the election.

". . . A WBAL official, meanwhile, defended the station's decision to call police rather than come talk to the protesters ('we can't control how many police cars come') and said the property tax issue is the big issue of the campaign, in part because that's what the candidates are talking about.


". . . BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development) has been trying to tip the tenor of talk around the city election with their own agenda. They're calling, for example, for the building of 55 rec centers and 28 new schools and dollar-for-dollar subsidies uptown that match spending for tourist attractions and other development downtown."

N.Y. Times Kept DSK Exclusive Out of Story Budgets

"In a new issue of the Times' 'Inside the Newsroom' email newsletter, which is sent to subscribers, Metropolitan Editor Carolyn Ryan describes how she tried to keep a lid on the Times' June 30 story that the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn was falling apart," Steve Myers reported Monday for the Poynter Institute.


"To avoid tipping off our competitors, especially our ferocious tabloid rivals, I told Bill [Keller, executive editor] I was not including the story on our daily news budget, which is widely distributed around the building and to our news service clients. I also did not talk about the story at our 4 p.m. news meeting, when the senior editors gather to select stories for Page 1.'

"Ryan also includes a detail that surely will be noted in debates about the costs of original reporting vs. aggregation: 'Our West Africa bureau chief, Adam Nossiter, traveled from our foreign bureau in Senegal to her home [in Guinea], 10 hours over rutted roads from the capital city of Conakry, to talk to relatives and people who knew [the accuser] growing up.' "


Several other reporters were involved in the story, the newsletter explains:

"Our reporters — mainly Willy [Rashbaum] and the ever-relentless courts reporter John Eligon — pieced together the movements of Mr. Strauss-Kahn in the hours after the alleged attack. (Willy spent way too many meals at McCormick & Schmick's Midtown seafood restaurant, where Mr. Strauss-Kahn met his daughter for lunch after the encounter.) Our transportation reporter, Michael Grynbaum, tracked cab drivers to their mosques in Queens, looking for the driver who took Mr. Strauss-Kahn from the restaurant to the airport, so we could better understand the Frenchman's demeanor during those critical hours," Ryan wrote.


". . . It was getting close to 6 p.m., and we were still drafting the piece, debating how strongly we could signal to readers that the case was in trouble.

"That's when Jim Dwyer, our Pulitzer Prize-winning Metro columnist, a remarkably plugged-in New York newspaperman, came forward with crucial — and potentially explosive - details.


"A trusted law enforcement source of Jim's, who had once believed the victim was a devout and truthful woman, now said there were major problems with her credibility. The housekeeper had lied on her taxes and on her immigration asylum application, where she falsely claimed she had been raped. And she had ties to people involved in criminal activities, including an incarcerated man she had a conversation with the day after the encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

"Jim's breakthrough seemed to loosen John and Willy's sources, so they confirmed the account and gathered other details. And Jim kept turning up more."


Al Jazeera English Debuts on New York Cable System

"Six months after New York City news junkies flocked to Al Jazeera English's website for up-to-the-second coverage of the Egyptian uprising, they'll now have a chance to watch the 24-hour news network on its original platform: television," Michael Calderone wrote Monday for the Huffington Post.


"At midnight, Al Jazeera English launched in New York City on Time Warner Cable, a major step in the network's goal of expanding further into the U.S. cable market and a chance to reach two million households in a world capital of culture and commerce. The network will also launch on Verizon FiOS in the coming days.

"Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English, told The Huffington Post that AJE's website receives more online traffic from New York City than from any other city around the globe — evidence of high demand in the Big Apple. Now that the network will be reaching cable viewers, too, Anstey hopes to make further inroads into the media capital.


" . . . While AJE is available on television in over 100 countries, until earlier this year, the 24-hour-a-day network could only be watched in three U.S. cities: Washington D.C., Burlington, Vt., and Toledo, Ohio. Since the Arab Spring protests began to occur, cable channels in other U.S. cities have begun airing the network at various times daily, but not always in its full format. That's left potential U.S. viewers to turn to AJE's site, where they can watch a 24-hour livestream of the network's broadcast."

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