Fund to Honor Memory of Rising Journalist Michael J. Feeney Raises More Than $15,000

Michael J. Feeney
PEARL GABEL/Getty Images
Michael J. Feeney
PEARL GABEL/Getty Images

"Doctors Didn't See This Coming," Mom Says of Fatal Illness

A fund created to honor the memory of Michael J. Feeney, the 32-year-old New York journalist who died on Sunday as he was about to begin a new stage in his career as an entertainment journalist at CNN, raised more than $15,000 of its $20,000 goal in its first day.

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"Join us in the effort to present a monetary donation to the family, honoring Michael J. Feeney," implored "Friends of Michael Feeney" on the youcaring.com website. "Let's pull together and show our love for Michael. This fund has been approved by the family of Michael J. Feeney."

Feeney, "a former New York Daily News reporter, was a rising star among black journalists who became known for his exclusive interviews with celebrities such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna," Deon J. Hampton wrote Monday for NBCBLK.

" 'They (doctors) worked on him, and worked on him but couldn't get him back,' said Feeney's mother, Reba Willis, 63, of Teaneck, New Jersey in a tearful phone Monday interview one day after his death. 'The doctors didn't see this coming.'

"But Feeney, who died from complications from a staph infection to his kidneys, may have.

"And as his conditioned worsened, the former journalist who covered the death of legendary pop singer Whitney Houston nearly four years ago, laid in a hospital bed crafting his own obituary.

" 'I'm going to die in here,' Willis said Feeney told her days before dying.

"He spent a total of three weeks this month as a patient at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.

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"Feeney, who served as the president of the New York Association of Black Journalists from 2011 until December, was known among his colleagues and friends as someone who pushed for diversity in newsrooms across the country.

"He also mentored high school and college students who aspired to be professional journalists. . . ."

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Hampton also wrote, "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Rev. Al Sharpton, political analyst Roland Martin and Hot 97 host Charlamagne Tha God tweeted about Feeney's death. "By Monday morning, Feeney was trending on Facebook, something unthinkable for a newspaper reporter.

" 'The outpouring has been unbelievable,' said Willis, who saved a voicemail from her elated son when he interviewed his idol, retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

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"Funeral arrangements are pending . . . "

Michael Feeney of N.Y. News, NABJ Dies at 32 (Jan. 31)

Benét J. Wilson, alldigitocracy.org: Industry Pays Final [Respects] to Journalist Michael J. Feeney

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Cruz, Sanders Say Iowa Results Have Messages for Media

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who won the Republican Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was locked in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton in the Democratic caucuses, said their showings sent messages to the news media.

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"Let me first of all say: To God be the glory," Cruz told supporters in his victory speech. "Tonight is a victory for the grass roots and all across this great nation."

He then added: "Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment (and) will not be chosen by lobbyists."

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Sanders told his supporters, "I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and by the way, to the media establishment. It is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics . . . What Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution."

Meanwhile, the strong third-place showing of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the Republican caucuses might also have an effect on media coverage and thus the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary, Nate Cohn wrote for the New York Times' TheUpshot.

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"Whether Mr. Rubio's showing will be enough to change the race in New Hampshire is hard to say — there isn't much precedent for a logjam like the one we have in New Hampshire," Cohn wrote. "Four mainstream conservative candidates — John Kasich, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Mr. Rubio — have all been clustered near 10 percent of the vote in New Hampshire surveys.

"If Mr. Rubio's performance in Iowa bestows enough media coverage and credibility for him to break the deadlock, it would be a crucial turning point in the race. . . ."

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Emil Guillermo, NBC Asian America: Asian Americans Turn Out For Iowa Caucus (Feb. 2)

Lee Rood and Tony Leys, Des Moines Register: Clinton vows to fight on with razor-thin lead (video)

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Amanda Terkel, Huffington Post: Donald Trump Surprised Everyone In His Iowa Concession Speech

Palin Squirms When Forced to Defend Blaming Obama

"The 'Today' show’s co-anchors made Sarah Palin squirm by asking her to explain why she appeared to blame President Barack Obama for her son's domestic violence arrest," Travis Gettys reported Monday for rawstory.com.

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"Palin appeared Monday morning on the NBC News program to discuss the Iowa caucuses, where she batted down questions about Donald Trump's religious sincerity and political flip-flopping by comparing the Republican frontrunner to Ronald Reagan.

" 'Who are we to judge one another's level of faith — our Christian quotient, if you will?' Palin said. 'Hopefully people are looking for he who has that record of success that proves he will be able to get the job done for us, finally.'

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"Then co-anchor Savannah Guthrie appeared to blindside the former half-term governor of Alaska and failed vice presidential candidate by asking about her suggestion that Obama caused her son to allegedly punch his girlfriend in the head.

" 'I never said that,' Palin said, pursing her lips in anger. 'No, I never said that.'

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"Guthrie pressed on, and Palin argued the anchors had tricked her.

" 'You guys brought me to talk about Iowa politics and the caucus tonight, not to talk about my kids — and that was a promise,' Palin said. 'But as things go in the world of media, you guys don't always keep your promises, evidently.'

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" 'I never blamed President Obama,' Palin continued. 'What I have blamed President Obama in doing, though, is this level of disrespect for the United States military that is made manifest in gutting budgets and not trying to beef it up and let our military do the job that they are trained to do.

"And in specific issues that we're talking about that are so hot today — specifically, let's get there and let's utterly destroy ISIS as we know our United States military can do, yet we have a commander-in-chief who seems to kind of want to kowtow and allow the enemy to be poking at us — and that's unacceptable to most Americans, certainly to me.'

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"Palin said Jan. 20 that her eldest son, Track Palin, had come back 'hardened' and suffering from PTSD after serving in Iraq, and she said Obama had made the situation worse because he had not shown sufficient respect to military service members and veterans. . . ."

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Iowa's Black Caucusgoers

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Hillary Clinton's Crucible

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: A warning to warring Democrats in the Clinton-Sanders race

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Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: The importance of what Hillary Clinton did and said in Philadelphia

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Martin O'Malley, unable to seal the deal, exits the fight

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Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Boko Haram hardly mentioned as candidates pledge to destroy ISIS

Ansel Herz, thestranger.com: "New Jim Crow" Author Michelle Alexander on Hillary Clinton's Embrace of Mass Incarceration

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Harold Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer: Sanders' rise evokes an earlier race

Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas Morning News: Can Trump campaign get his supporters to Iowa caucuses?

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Deron Lee, Columbia Journalism Review: A newspaper publisher joins the effort to boost Latino turnout at the Iowa caucuses

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Hispanic group makes improper endorsement

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Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: What this politically (in)correct campaign tell us

Manny Roman, Fox News Latino: Ted Cruz will dominate the Hispanic vote

Corey Robin, Salon: The Clintons' sordid race game: No one will say it, but the Clintons' rise was premised on repudiating black voters

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Rick Sanchez, Fox News Latino: Jeb Bush proves he's what Rubio and Cruz are not

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, NBC News Latino: Opinion: What's the Matter with Iowa? Mucho!

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Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times: Get ready for battle of the unelectables

Randall Yip, AsAmNews: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Train for Iowa Caucuses

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This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

Baron "Grateful" for Work of Blacks Leaving for Undefeated

"Clinton Yates is the latest Washington Post journalist to get poached by ESPN's The Undefeated," Andrew Beaujon reported for Washingtonian magazine on Monday. But Martin  Baron, executive editor of the Post, appeared unfazed by the departures in a message to Journal-isms.

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"Kevin knows how talented Post journalists are," Baron told Journal-isms by email, referring to Kevin Merida, his former managing editor who left late last year to head the ESPN project. "So it's natural he'd want to recruit them. A handful have decided to join him. We're grateful for their good work at The Post, and we wish them luck."

Yates will be a senior writer at the Undefeated, Beaujon reported. He started in 2007 at Express, the Post's free tabloid, as local news editor, "and between 2010 and 2014 wrote a newsletter called Lunchline, a period during which he also began writing columns for The Root DC. In 2014 he moved to Local and then last May came to Sports," a Post memo said.

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Beaujon continued, Merida "announced in October that he planned to leave the Post to run The Undefeated. Since then Soraya Nadia McDonald, Michael Fletcher, and Lonnae O'Neal have joined. Former Posties Steve Reiss and Jason Reid have gone over, and former sports section star Mike Wise announced in November 2014 he'd join the publication, which was at the time headed by Jason Whitlock. . . ."

In Washington City Paper, reporter Steve Cavendish wrote Monday, "Let's just change the name of ESPN's The Undefeated to Washington Post North."

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Journal-isms also asked Baron how the departures were affecting the diversity in the Post newsroom.

"Overall diversity in The Post's newsroom has improved in recent years, with the minority percentage in our newsroom standing at 31%, according to the latest ASNE census," Baron replied.

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"That is among the best records for a major American newspaper. In our recruiting, we continue to make a priority out of diversity, and we expect to make further progress. While we have lost some talented people, it's important to note that we also regularly hire talented people of diverse backgrounds.

"We recognize that there remains work to do in improving diversity of newsroom leadership positions. We take that challenge very seriously."

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Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, owner of the Post and CEO and founder of Amazon.com, met with the paper's staffers in a town hall meeting Monday.

"On diversity issues today, Bezos has been very quick to acknowledge issues, and absolutely cut off all discussions of solutions," Alyssa Rosenberg, who blogs about pop culture for the Post's Opinions section, tweeted.

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Soraya Chemaly, Women's Media Center: Washington Post Appointment Emblematic of Media Industry's Persistent Marginalization of Women (Dec. 9, 2015)

Job openings at The Undefeated

Feds Released Immigrant Teens to Traffickers

"On the phone, the boy was frantic," Abbie VanSickle reported Jan. 26 for the Washington Post. "After traveling hundreds of miles from a village in Guatemala, he had made it across the U.S. border and into a government-funded shelter for unaccompanied minors.

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"But then something went terribly wrong," continued VanSickle, a reporter for the Investigative Reporting Program, a nonprofit news organization at the University of California at Berkeley.

"Instead of sending him to his uncle, Carlos Enrique Pascual, a landscape worker in Florida, authorities said the shelter released the teenager to traffickers who took him to central Ohio, held him captive in a roach-infested trailer and threatened to kill him if he tried to leave.

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" 'Please, how can I get out of this?' Pascual's nephew begged him during a stolen moment with a telephone. 'I'm hungry, and my heart is bursting with fear.'

"Pascual called police and, in December 2014, authorities found his nephew, then 17, and seven other boys living in cramped, dirty trailers about an hour outside of Columbus. Authorities said they were working at Trillium Farms, one of the country's largest egg producers, debeaking hens and cleaning cages nearly 12 hours a day, six days a week, for as little as $2 a day.

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"The boys were part of a surge of children flowing across the U.S.-Mexico border over the past four years, overwhelming federal officials responsible for their safekeeping, child advocates say. Since 2011, more than 125,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America have been stopped at the border, many placed in shelters funded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.

"Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has demanded a response from the Obama administration to whistleblower claims that thousands of those children have been released to sponsors with criminal records that include homicide, child molestation and human trafficking.

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"Legal advocates for the children say many have wound up in abusive situations, where they have been forced to work to repay debts or living expenses. Some children simply stop showing up for immigration hearings and vanish. . . ."

"Welcome To America, Now Spy On Your Friends"

"When Muslim immigrants apply to become citizens, they often find the process delayed for years without explanation. Then, when they are at wit's end, they get a visit from the FBI, with an offer they don't dare refuse," BuzzFeed wrote Thursday over a report by Talal Ansari and Siraj Datoo.

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Ansari and Datoo wrote, "Pressuring people to become informants by dangling the promise of citizenship — or, if they do not comply, deportation — is expressly against the rules that govern FBI agents' activities.

"Attorney General Alberto Gonzales forbade the practice nine years ago: 'No promises or commitments can be made, except by the United States Department of Homeland Security, regarding the alien status of any person or the right of any person to enter or remain in the United States,' according to the Attorney General's Guidelines Regarding the Use of FBI Confidential Human Sources.

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"In fact, Gonzales's guidelines, which are still in force today, require agents to go further: They must explicitly warn potential informants that the FBI cannot help with their immigration status in any way.

"But a BuzzFeed News investigation — based on government and court documents, official complaints, and interviews with immigrants, immigration and civil rights lawyers, and former special agents — shows that the FBI violates these rules.

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"Mandated to enforce the law, the bureau has assumed a powerful but unacknowledged role in a very different realm: decisions about the legal status of immigrants — in particular, Muslim immigrants. First the immigration agency ties up their green card applications for years, even a decade, without explanation, then FBI agents approach the applicants with a loaded offer: Want to get your papers? Start reporting to us about people you know. . . ."

Tim Graham, newsbusters.org: Crazy Town: MSNBC's Harris-Perry Likens Illegal Aliens in Flint to…the Fugitive Slave Act?

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Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group:  The Supreme Court joins the immigration circus (Jan. 25)

"Teesee," Chicago Defender Columnist, Dies at 80

"Theresa Fambro Hooks, also known as Teesee of the famed Chicago Defender column Teesee's Town, passed away Sunday at 80 years old," WMAQ-TV in Chicago reported on Monday.

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"'It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our own Grand Dame, Ms. Theresa 'Teesee' Fambro Hooks,' the Chicago Defender wrote on its website. 'Teesee passed away a few hours ago in the comfort of her home. She was 80 Years old. We will miss her greatly and are saddened by our loss.'

"Hooks, a longtime socialite and award winning columnist in Chicago, whose popular column captured the lives of the wealthy for decades, was a member of the Black Press since 1961. She stepped down from her role at the Chicago Defender last year. . . ."

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In a comment on the Defender site, Lynn Norment, president of Lynn Norment Media and a former managing editor of Ebony magazine, called Hooks "a long-time, hardworking journalist who put her heart and soul into her 'Teesee's Town' column that ran in the Chicago Defender for many, many years.

"I loved the fact that Teesee covered the positive things happening in our community, and she kept her avid followers informed about what was happening in the arts, social, civic, political and business communities. I always was amazed and admired the fact that even in her later years Teesee loved getting out and staying in the mix of what was going on. When she could not drive herself anymore, she rode the bus or had someone drive her. Her determination was inspiring. I was honored when featured in her column, and she truly will be missed."

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Kai El’Zabar, Chicago Defender: Farewell to famed Theresa "Teesee" Fambro Hooks

Unpublished Photos Unveiled for Black History Month

"Hundreds of stunning images from black history, drawn from old negatives, have long been buried in the musty envelopes and crowded bins of the New York Times archives," Rachel L. Swarns, Darcy Eveleigh and Damien Cave wrote for the New York Times Sunday as Black History Month began.

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"None of them were published by The Times until now.

"Were the photos — or the people in them — not deemed newsworthy enough? Did the images not arrive in time for publication? Were they pushed aside by words here at an institution long known as the Gray Lady?

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"As you scroll through the images, each will take you back: To the charred wreckage of Malcolm X’s house in Queens, just hours after it was bombed. To the Lincoln Memorial, where thousands of African-American protesters gathered, six years before the March on Washington. To Lena Horne's elegant penthouse on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. To a city sidewalk where schoolgirls jumped rope, while the writer Zora Neale Hurston cheered them on, behind the scenes.

"Photographers for The Times captured all of these scenes, but then the pictures and negatives were filed in our archives, where they sat for decades.

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"This month, we present a robust selection for the very first time.

"Every day during Black History Month, we will publish at least one of these photographs online, illuminating stories that were never told in our pages and others that have been mostly forgotten. . . ."

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In other commemorations:

"This year, Black Voices is once again commemorating Black History Month by inviting you to enjoy our 'Black Future Month' series," Lilly Workneh, senior Black Voices editor, wrote Monday for the Huffington Post. "Throughout the month, we are not only paying tribute to the achievements of yesterday but are also reflecting on how to create a better tomorrow for black America. . . ."

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"For the next month, NBCBLK will honor 28 game changers, all 28 years and younger, for 28 days," Erin Miller, NBC News communications director, said in an email to Journal-isms Monday. "Debuting today, February 1st and each day following, NBCBLK will reveal a profile of an entrepreneur, policy maker, athlete, entertainer, activist, or artist in honor of Black History Month. . . . The complete list can be found here: www.nbcblk28.com and readers are invited to join the conversation on social media with #NBCLBK28. . . .

The Lima (Ohio) News began a weeklong series, "Lima in Black and White," "which was instigated by an online statistical analysis that ranked Lima as one of the 10 worst cities for African-Americans," Managing Editor David Trinko told readers on Saturday.

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"We understand there are people who don’t think this is news," Trinko wrote. "It isn’t particularly new; we’ve had racial disparity in this city since the beginning. But it is news that the disparity is still this big in 2016. . . ."

In a coincidental development, "The United States should consider reparations to African-American descendants of slavery, establish a national human rights commission and publicly acknowledge that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity," Jesse J. Holland reported Friday for the Associated Press.

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"The U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent released its preliminary recommendations after more than a week of meetings with black Americans and others from around the country, including Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, the District of Columbia and Jackson, Mississippi.

"After finishing their fact-finding mission, the working group was 'extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African-Americans,' chair Mireille Fanon Mendes-France of France said in the report. 'The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the U.S. remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent.' . . . "

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In addition, the Michigan State University School of Journalism and Joe Grimm, editor in residence at the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, have released "100 Questions and Answers About African Americans" as part of "Bias Busters" cultural diversity guides featuring "100 Questions and Answers" about specific ethnic groups.

The new guide, edited by Geneva Smitherman and Pero Gaglo Dagbovie, was published Jan. 17 and "answers 100 of the basic questions people ask about African Americans and Black people in everyday conversation. . . ."

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Eric Barrow, Daily News, New York: Unsung Heroes of Civil Rights

Zeba Blay, Huffington Post: Today's Google Doodle Is Honoring Frederick Douglass

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John Bush, Lima (Ohio) News: Lima in Black and White: Linking students with jobs 

BuzzFeed: Black History Month coverage

Gregory Carr, Ebony: The History of Black History Month

Amy Eddings, Lima (Ohio) News: Segregation: How Lima, Allen County, rate

Editorial, Daily News, New York: Yes Black History Month and celebrate the struggles and triumphs of America

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Kristen Hare, Poynter Institute: How The New York Times is using unpublished images from the archives to tell stories it missed the first time (Feb.2)

Richard Horgan, FishbowlNY: Lee Daniels Is Looking for Fan Footage of the Apollo Theater

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Allen Johnson, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.: Aycock and Boyd legacies intersect at a Greensboro corner

PBS: 10 Little-Known Black History Facts

Lily Rothman and Liz Ronk, Time: For Black History Month, See the Books That Helped Travelers Navigate a Segregated U.S.

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David Trinko, Lima (Ohio) News: An opportunity gap: Lima’s blacks feel disparity

Bene Viera, Teen Vogue: This Is Why We Still Need Black History Month

How Publishing's Whiteness Affects Our Reading, Writing

"A 2015 survey by Publishers Weekly found that 89 percent of people working at publishing houses are white," (audio) Sarah Mirk wrote Thursday for her "Popaganda" column onbitchmedia.org.

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"There's been a lot of organizing to diversify the publishing industry. For example, a campaign called We Need Diverse Books has been publicizing the demand for more books by and about people of color. But change has been slow. The publishing industry often seems to move at a glacial pace.

"On today's show, we're exploring the impact that the overwhelming whiteness of the publishing industry has on how Americans write, read, and respond to books. We talk with journalists about the complexities of writing about race and hear from authors in Los Angeles, Colorado, and Montana about what it’s like to be a writer of color in a very white industry.

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"This show features interviews with author Erika T. Wurth, Northwestern journalism professor Deborah Douglas, and writer/journalism student Rebekah Frumkin, plus essays by Lisa Lee and Ari Laurel. Tune in!"

Richard Horgan, FishbowlNY: 3 Journalists of Color Discuss an Ironic Aspect of #OscarsSoWhite

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Janice Min, Hollywood Reporter: Academy Chiefs Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Drama That Led to Historic Change (Exclusive)

Falling Tree Seriously Injures Pair on Weather Story

"Two of our own — a 10News photographer and reporter — were injured Monday when a tree came down while they were covering a weather story," the 10News Digital Team reported Monday for KGTV in San Diego.

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"The incident happened in the 10100 block of Maya Linda Road in Mira Mesa. A number of trees were down in the area and the team was there doing live reports for the morning newscasts.

"When the tree fell, 10News Photographer Mike Gold managed to call 911 for help. He suffered a compound leg fracture and was undergoing surgery Monday morning. 10News Reporter Marie Coronel was seriously injured and will also require surgery. . . ."

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Short Takes

"ESPN is joining TV's morning fray," Brian Steinberg reported Monday for Variety. He also wrote, " 'SportsCenter:AM' launches on the Walt Disney-controlled cable network on February 8, the day after the Super Bowl, at 7 a.m. — the earliest ESPN has ever aired an original hour of the program. Over the course of three hours, hosts Jay Harris, Kevin Negandhi and Jaymee Sire, along with contributor Sarina Morales, will deliver a new take on sports news that is tailored to the behavior of the early-morning viewer. . . ."

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Sharon Chan, director of journalism initiatives at the Seattle Times, has been promoted to deputy managing editor for audience and initiatives, Chan announced on her website. "I'll lead a team of Avengers-like experts in building online audiences and engaging the community," Chan wrote. She added, "I'll also work on newsroom recruiting, with the goal of increasing diversity in our newsroom so that our stories and our staff reflect the diversity of the community we serve. . . ." Chan is a past national president of the Asian American Journalists Association.

"Virginia will commemorate its first statewide Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution this year, becoming the sixth state to officially commemorate Jan. 30 this way as civil rights advocates continue to push for a national holiday," Frances Kai-Hwa Wang wrote Wednesday for NBC News Asian America. She also wrote, "During World War II, Fred Korematsu refused to comply with Executive Order 9066, which incarcerated over 120,000 Japanese Americans, more than two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens like himself. After he was arrested and convicted, he appealed his case to the Supreme Court, which ruled against him in 1944 but vacated the decision in 1983. Korematsu received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, the highest civilian honor in the United States. . . ."

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"The last MundoMax station to have a local newscast has pulled the plug on its news operations, Veronica Villafañe reported Friday for Media Moves. "WGEN-TV, the Mundomax affiliate in Miami, aired its last newscast at 5 pm today. A source tells Media Moves about 25 to 30 news staffers are out of a job. Noticias MundoMax aired 5 and 10 pm newscasts, anchored by Andrea Linares and Freddy Wiles. Andrea and Freddy, as well as weather anchor Alfredo Finalé, sports anchor Jorge Carlos Díaz, reporters Giselle López and Ronald Acha, producers, photographers, editors and other news personnel were told today was the last newscast and their last day at work. . . ."

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