Ta-Nehisi Coates has given up his dream of moving back to his old Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood, he wrote on Monday, after the celebrated writer's purchase of a $2.1 million townhouse drew such media attention that he feared for his family's safety should he move in.
". . . No one keep secrets in Brooklyn," Coates wrote. "A few weeks after we bought, another friend sent an item from a local blog gossiping about our possible purchase. We didn’t expect to live anonymously. We thought there might be some interest and we took some steps to dissuade that interest. Those steps failed.
"Last week, the New York Post, and several other publications, reported on the purchase. They ran pictures of the house. They named my wife. They photoshopped me in the kitchen. They talked to the seller’s broker. The seller’s broker told them when we’d be moving in. The seller’s broker speculated on our plans for renovation. They rummaged through my kid’s Instagram account. They published my home address. . . .
"Within a day of seeing these articles, my wife and I knew that we could never live in Prospect-Lefferts Garden, that we could never go back home. If anything happened to either of us, if anything happened to our son, we’d never forgive ourselves. Even the more likely, more benign, examples were disconcerting — fans showing up at your door (this happened once) or waiting for you on your stoop. Our old neighborhood was not as quiet as we thought. Nothing is quiet anymore — least of all us."
Coates also wrote that he was "shocked" by the success of his best-selling "Between the World and Me" and that he wanted to return to the Prospect-Lefferts Garden neighborhood in part because "We imagined ourselves as aiding in the preservation of a black presence. But there were more personal reasons, too. We wanted to be closer to our friends in the neighborhood. And I wanted, in some tangible way, to reward my partner’s investment in me. I think that had a lot more to do with my insecurities than with her stated desires. We all carry our stories. . . ."
Corcoran real estate agent Keith Mack "said that while Coates is still living in Paris, 'his wife is going to move in around June, and he'll move in around August,' " Simone Wilson reported Thursday for Prospect Heights-Crown Heights-PLG Patch under the headline, "Ta-Nehisi Coates Just Bought Brooklyn's Dopest Brownstone."
Meanwhile, Coates, recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, often called a "genius grant," accompanied President Obama to his commencement speech Saturday at Howard University. "Motorcade left WH for Howard Univ commencement @ 1006 Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates a Howard grad accompanying," Eleanor Clift wrote in her pool report Saturday. "Also Valerie Jarrett. Secret Service spotted loading golf clubs so day likely just beginning."
Obama said in his speech, " You can write a book that wins the National Book Award, or you can write the new run of 'Black Panther.' Or, like one of your alumni, Ta-Nehisi Coates, you can go ahead and just do both. . . ."
Associated Press: Ta-Nehisi Coates has 2-book deal, 1 for work of fiction
Jennifer Gould Keil, New York Post: Atlantic mag scribe pens deed on $2.1M Brooklyn brownstone
therealdeal.com: Ta-Nehisi Coates shells out $2.1M for Brooklyn townhouse
Ameena Walker, Curbed New York: Author Ta-Nehisi Coates Buys Landmarked Brooklyn Brownstone for $2.1M
Simone Wilson, Prospect Heights-Crown Heights-PLG Patch: Ta-Nehisi Coates Says He's No Longer Moving to Brooklyn (Update)
Too many in the media are afraid to call out the racial context of topics in the news, including the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and the attraction of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, according to four African American Pulitzer Prize winners in journalism. Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press, left; columnist Cynthia Tucker Haynes; Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson; and Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. were on a panel April 1 on “The Future of Civil Rights and Social Justice Journalism” at the University of South Florida. It was sponsored by the Poynter Institute in conjunction with the100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes
"FIU’s Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center yesterday released the results of a study that found that women in communication professions are three times less likely than men in the same professions to hold a top management position," Isabel Gamarra reported April 22 for Florida International University.
"The study, titled Kopenhaver Center Report: Are Communications Professionals Achieving their Potential?, which surveyed more than 1,000 communications professionals from across the United States, also revealed that women are more likely than men to feel they’ve been bypassed for a better, higher position because of their gender and/or because of their race or ethnicity and are three times more likely than men to have experienced a career interruption.
“ 'Women and minorities continue to struggle to receive equal treatment and pay across the different communications disciplines' said Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, director of the center and dean emeritus of the FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 'As an industry we must analyze what is the root of this severe inequity and implement strategies to help bridge the gap.'
"This is one of the most comprehensive surveys of the industry, having queried communication professionals in six communication disciplines: newspaper, magazine, online/mobile journalism, broadcast, advertising and public relations. . . ."
Michael Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, told his Facebook friends on Saturday, "Don't think I have ever travelled this far to witness a graduation. But could not miss the opportunity to see Shaheed M. Morris cross that stage, diploma in hand. Congratulations!"
Kevin Shea told Morris' story the same day for NJ.com:
"It was a code word family members used to explain someone who was in prison.
"Years later, Morris figured it out.
"It was one of many harsh revelations Morris would learn about his family growing up in the city.
"He overcame them, and other obstacles and odds, and embarked on a journey that ends and begins today when he graduates from college, the four-year kind.
"The 28-year-old is the first in his family to earn a degree.
"It's a journey that started in the now-demolished Miller Homes housing project, where he lived as a child and traveled through Trenton's East Ward, where he came of age surrounded by poverty and police action.
"For the past two years, the trip has been going through the wide-open prairie of South Dakota, where he studied journalism at South Dakota State University.
"Others have traveled similar, rough roads through the Trenton school system to college degrees and beyond, Morris acknowledges.
"Morris just wants others — especially young city kids — to see a living example of it, so he talks about his experiences as often as possible, often on social media.
" 'The purpose of telling my full story uncensored is to inspire others,' Morris said. 'There are millions of people who are like me and have to fight their way through layers of oppression — a poor family, a high-crime environment.' . . . "
"If he could advise every pupil on how to do it, he says: "Find something you're very passionate about and work hard to improve in that area. Your passion will stand out, and whatever it is, there will always be help for you."
"For Morris, that help came in the form of several mentors over the years, which include city businessman Tracey Syphax, African American Chamber of Commerce President John Harmon, as well as Michael Days, a Trenton resident who is editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. . . ."
Shea also wrote, " 'A few days after my birth on April 12, 1988 at Mercer Medical Center my mother got dressed and walked out of the hospital leaving my care to the hospital staff. At the time of my birth my father was incarcerated," Morris wrote about himself recently.
"His father died last year after 'throwing his life away to drugs and alcohol.' His memory of him is as a drunk and the two getting into fistfights when he was around.
"Because of his father's addictions, Morris does not drink or smoke.
"His paternal grandmother Lucinda Dockery stepped in to raise him after his mother left the hospital so he would not be sent into the foster system.
"My mother used drugs and alcohol heavily during her pregnancy. As a result, I couldn't move my neck for months. My grandmother, who doesn't drive, used public transportation and took me to therapy every day for nearly a year," he wrote.
" 'My mother and I have had less than five actual conversations,' Morris said. He does not know when he last saw her. 'I believe she lives in Trenton, but I wouldn't know how to contact her.'
"Morris' two brothers have been in trouble with the law, he said. One was shot last year while breaking into a home in Trenton, which was written about by NJ Advance Media.
"All of it, he said, shaped and pushed him to seek a better future. . ."
Days messaged Journal-isms, "Shaheed is a young man with a great deal of potential. Despite his very humble beginnings, he has been lucky enough to have a village to guide him, nurture him, and uplift him. So many of us, including some of the most prominent people in Trenton, see it, recognize it. He also has more determination and drive that just about anyone you know. And he can network with the best of them. He knows more NABJ members than I do.
"I went to South Dakota to celebrate with him because I know how hard he’s worked, how he decided to take himself away from everything he knew to get a quality education at an affordable school.
"He’s like a son to me. So why wouldn’t I be there?"
Morris is seeking a job in journalism, he said in a message to Journal-isms.
"At the Fact Checker, we have often said we do not write fact checks to change the behavior of politicians. Fact checks are intended to inform voters and explain complicated issues," Glenn Kessler wrote Saturday for the Washington Post.
"Still, most politicians will drop a talking point if it gets labeled with Four Pinocchios by The Fact Checker or 'Pants on Fire' by PolitiFact. No one wants to be tagged as a liar or misinformed, and we have found most politicians are interested in getting the facts straight. So the claim might be uttered once or twice, but then it gets quietly dropped or altered.
"But the news media now faces the challenge of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Trump makes Four-Pinocchio statements over and over again, even though fact checkers have demonstrated them to be false. He appears to care little about the facts; his staff does not even bother to respond to fact-checking inquiries.
"But, astonishingly, television hosts rarely challenge Trump when he makes a claim that already has been found to be false. For instance, Trump says he was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but research by BuzzFeed found that he did express support for an attack. He said the White House even sent a delegation to tell him to tone down his statements — and we found that also to be false.
"Yet at least a dozen television hosts in the past two months allowed Trump to make this claim and failed to challenge him. There is no excuse for this. TV hosts should have a list of Trump’s repeated misstatements so that if he repeats them, as he often does, he can be challenged on his claims. . . ."
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: G.O.P. Has Only Itself to Blame
Editorial, Dallas Morning News: What now, Ted Cruz?
Eli Francovich, Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.: Spokane-based African-American paper originally denied credentials to Trump event
Chava Gourarie, Columbia Journalism Review: Trump’s repeated lies about his record on Iraq go unchallenged on TV news
Harold Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer: Trump's success repudiates conservative ideology
Shaun King, Daily News, New York: Why anarchists might secretly vote for Donald Trump
Alexios Mantzarlis, Poynter Institute:
Media Matters for America: Tom Brokaw Calls Out Media: Trump "Has Never Been Held Accountable" For His Lies
Susan Mulcahy, Politico Magazine: Confessions of a Trump Tabloid Scribe
Ali Noorani, Fox News Latino: Republicans would do well to heed the lessons of Proposition 187
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: The GOP crowned Trump its king
Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Is there a way out of our nation’s two-party stranglehold?
Bankole Thompson, Detroit News: This may deny Hillary the presidency
Erik Wemple, Washington Post: Police report reflects the ugliness of the Trump era
David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Trump a master media manipulator in his prime
"The Stonewall Inn and its Greenwich Village surroundings, a birthplace of the gay-rights movement, are slated for designation as a national historic site by President Obama, the first gay-related locale in the national park system," the Daily News in New York editorialized on Sunday. "The landmarking will make a powerful statement about America’s continuing fight for universal equality.
"The nation has come a long way in the almost half century since a police raid on the Christopher St. bar provoked an uprising by the tavern’s fed-up gay patrons — a revolt now viewed as a milestone in a journey that led last year to same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.
"Millions of people, businesses and institutions have traveled a long road away from social ostracism based on sexual orientation. The Daily News is among those who have evolved.
"You need only read The News’ Stonewall coverage to meet a newspaper that was complicit in reflecting the demeaning and discriminatory attitudes that were so prevalent during the era.
"Homosexual sex was illegal in every state but Illinois in the late 1960s. Stonewall was one of the few New York City establishments that welcomed openly gay and lesbian patrons. (It was also Mafia-owned.)
"In the early-morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the bar for alleged illicit alcohol sales. The next day’s News ran a 13-paragraph story that referred to 'a reputed Greenwich Village homosexual hangout' and told of a 'two-hour melee . . . as customers and villagers swarmed over the plainclothes cops.'
"Given little significance, the story appeared on page 30 under the headline '3 Cops Hurt as Bar Raid Riles Crowd.'
"On July 6, the News offered a fuller rendition, this time under the headline 'Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees are Stinging Mad.'
"Written as if gleefully introducing 'normal' readers to a freak show, the story exploited stereotypes and cartoonishly anti-gay caricatures for ridicule to be enjoyed by homophobes. . . . "
As reported in this space three years ago, the News has yet to apologize for its coverage of 'The Central Park Five,' five black and brown teenagers who were convicted and served prison terms in the savage 1989 rape of a jogger in Central Park, then had the convictions vacated in 2003 because no DNA on the victim matched any of the defendants. The News was among the media outlets characterizing the teenagers as a "Wolf Pack" and using other incendiary language.
"Sports writing has a white, male problem. I mean, water is wet and fire is hot, right? But it’s true: the world of sports journalism is overwhelmingly white. This would be problem enough just for sheer lack of diversity itself, but it becomes especially problematic when you consider the fact that the athletes playing the sports that journalists are writing about are predominantly people of color," Britni de la Cretaz wrote Friday for alldigitocracy.org.
"Take, for example, Houston Chronicle Sports Columnist Brian T. Smith’s recent column about Houston Astros player Carlos Gomez. Pretend for a minute that the column is well-written or provides any sort of compelling analysis of the on-field performance problems Gomez has faced to start the season. Where it would still falter is in the way it talks about Gomez, particularly in the way it quotes him.
"Gomez, who is from the Dominican Republic, speaks Spanish as a first language. Smith chooses to quote him verbatim in broken English as saying, 'For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed.'
"Quoting Gomez in this way is incredibly offensive. It makes him sound unintelligent when, in reality, he’s experiencing a language barrier. In fact, Gomez even took to Twitter to tell Smith exactly that, suggesting, 'next time you want an interview have Google translate on hand.'
"But this is what happens when you have a white journalist who is not attuned to the cultural issues affecting the person he is reporting on. And when you have a largely all-white staff, like the Houston Chronicle does, there’s possibly no one to catch the mistake (or, like in the case of SB Nation’s incredibly misguided piece on convicted rapist cop Daniel Holtzclaw, white editors who refused to listen to the Black woman who told them not to run the story). . . ."
The Associated Press style book advises, "Never alter quotations even to correct minor grammatical errors or word usage," but also, "Do not use substandard spellings such as gonna or wanna in attempts to convey regional dialects or informal pronunciations, except to help a desired touch or to convey an emphasis by the speaker."
Astros County: No One Wants To Look Stupid
Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports: Carlos Gomez calls out a hit piece-writing columnist
Tom Ley, Deadspin: Carlos Gomez Calls Out Columnist For Quoting Him Poorly
"The teenager in custody was suicidal, which meant staffers at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown were tasked with near-constant surveillance," Kate Howard reported Wednesday for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, a new, nonprofit newsroom from 89.3 WFPL News and Louisville Public Media.
"Yet, for more than an hour, the observation check log lay untouched. It was 2:30 a.m. The staffer was asleep at the table in the control room.
"In this 2012 case, the state worker denied the nap, saying he was just distracted — even after a co-worker told him she saw him on the surveillance camera, asleep.
"This was the staffer’s third suspension within 13 months, his fifth overall, for inadequate supervision of the youths in his charge. In another case, his lack of supervision allowed a resident to injure himself. And he eventually resigned amid his sixth internal investigation.
"That type of misconduct isn’t rare in Kentucky’s juvenile justice facilities. Lack of supervision — such as leaving residents unattended, skipping bed checks and falsifying logs — is the most frequent complaint substantiated by the state’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s internal investigations bureau, a review of records since 2010 shows.
"Supervisory failures came under scrutiny earlier this year when 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen was found dead in her room at Lincoln Village. Investigators determined six staffers failed to do required bed checks and falsified logs, though officials said the employees’ mistakes didn’t contribute to the girl’s death. The coroner ruled Gynnya died in her sleep from a rare heart condition known as sudden cardiac arrhythmia. . . ."
Kate Howard, Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting: 3rd Detention Center Staffer Fired In Gynnya McMillen Case (April 27)
Lisa Kim Bach, a longtime reporter and editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, died on April 20 at 49, Bethany Barnes reported April 20 for the Review-Journal.
"She loved words and she knew how to use them: both to tell the story and to get it. Tenacious and trustworthy, the education reporter continued to get scoops even after she was promoted to assistant city editor in May 2008," Barnes wrote.
“ 'She was one of the brightest stars in the universe and one of the great joys of my life,' friend Judy Costa said. 'It was a true privilege to be her friend.
"She loved her family, her friends, journalism, literature, laughter and Harry Potter, although not necessarily in that order.'
"Costa was the Clark County School District’s testing director when she met Bach, then a reporter. Costa, who retired in 2003, said their professional relationship could have been adversarial, but Bach valued honesty and was never out to do anything except to provide an accurate picture of the educational accomplishments of district students.
"Sources, of which Bach had many, knew she cared deeply for her profession and wouldn’t abandon a story that needed to come to light.
"After all, Bach’s arrival in Las Vegas put corruption from Indiana on the front pages of the Review-Journal. As a reporter at . . . The News Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind., she had learned of an investigation into whether a union treasurer had emptied the union’s bank account. Stephen Confer moved amid the scandal, taking a job as executive director of the Clark County Classroom Teachers Association.
"He didn’t count on Bach also landing in Las Vegas. She joined the Review-Journal’s ranks in 1997, and used her insight and inability to be spun to continue her pursuit of the story.
"Bach’s reporting drew criticism and a fair amount of fire at the time, but it ended predictably enough with Confer’s resignation, eventual indictment and, finally, a plea of guilty. . . ."
Asian American Journalists Association: Remembrance: VOICES 1996 mentor Lisa Kim Bach (April 21)
Jane Ann Morrison, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Bach, beloved friend and colleague, enriched everyone who knew her
"A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on, or so the saying goes, and new research has sought to prove just how long it takes fact checking to catch up," Craig Silverman wrote Friday for firstdraftnews.com. "On average, it takes more than 12 hours for a false claim to be debunked online, according to two recent projects that compared how falsehoods and truths spread. . . ."
"The Association of Opinion Journalists announced today that it will be turning over its programming and signature training on the evolving craft of opinion journalism to the American Society of News Editors and The Poynter Institute," the organizations said on Tuesday. "AOJ members will become members of ASNE, one of the nation’s leading proponents of fair and principled journalism, First Amendment rights, freedom of information and open government, following a vote of the full ASNE membership at the organization’s convention in September in Philadelphia. . . ." [Added May 10]
The National Association of Black Journalists has selected Darci McConnell, president and CEO of McConnell Communications, Inc., in Detroit, for the 2016 Patricia L. Tobin Media Professional Award, NABJ announced on Monday. "McConnell founded her company in 2004 after spending over a decade as a print journalist including eight years covering local, state and national politics for The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News."
"The National Association of Hispanic Journalists will bestow the NAHJ Presidential Award of Visibility to Miguel Almaguer of NBC News," NAHJ announced on Monday. " 'Miguel was not only the most visible network reporter in 2015, but he is one of the most hard working, passionate journalists I know,' said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. 'Miguel is a product of NAHJ and I am honored to recognize his work, achievements and career at this year’s conference.' . . .”
Sarah-Ann Shaw, Boston’s first African-American female TV reporter, spoke of the value of perseverance as she accepted Old South Church's Open Door Award "recognizing her three decades of telling the stories of minority communities in Massachusetts. She retired in 2000 as a reporter with WBZ-TV," Jan Ransom reported Monday for the Boston Globe.
Wayne J. Dawkins of Hampton University's Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications has become the first faculty member at the school to achieve full professor rank, B. DàVida Plummer, newly appointed dean of the school, confirmed Tuesday. Dawkins was the first faculty member to achieve associate professor rank there. Plummer had been interim dean since December, when Brett Pulley left the university to join Weber Shandwick, a worldwide public relations firm.
"Emmy-award winning journalist José Díaz-Balart will be based in Los Angeles the week of May 9-13, where he will co-anchor Telemundo 52 Los Angeles / KVEA’s local weekday newscast," Telemundo announced on Monday. He will continue to present, "also from Los Angeles, the 'Noticiero Telemundo' national newscast at 6:30 PM/5:30 C in collaboration with María Celeste Arrarás."
"He was shot and paralyzed in the South Bronx last year but wouldn’t tell the police which area gang member had done it," the Marshall Project's Bill Keller wrote Monday in summarizing a lengthy New York Times investigation that appeared Sunday. "Instead, Bruce Purdy insisted he’d take his own revenge. That never happened. After a torturous period of ill health and poor treatment, Purdy died with the police nowhere closer to solving the case." The Times is examining the life and death of each person whose murder is recorded this year in the 40th Precinct in the South Bronx.
North Korea expelled BBC journalist Rupert Wingfield-Hayes on Monday over his reporting, the broadcaster and a North Korean official said, as a large group of foreign reporters visited the isolated country to cover a rare congress of its ruling Workers’ Party, Reuters reported Monday. "The British reporter had 'distorted facts and realities' in his coverage, North Korean official O Ryong Il said in announcing that Wingfield-Hayes, who is based in Tokyo, was being expelled and would never be let in again. . . ."
Blanca Torres, who has worked at the Seattle Times since 2014 as an editorial writer, columnist and economics reporter, is returning to the San Francisco Business Times as real estate and economic development reporter, Chris Roush reported Friday for Talking Biz News. Torres, a former board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, also has worked as a business writer at the Contra Costa Times.
Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press, Allen Johnson of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., and Rembert Browne of New York magazine, weighed in on Larry Wilmore's routine at the April 30 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. Riley wrote Saturday, " I'm not talking about the n-word, no matter how it is spelled. I'm not talking about the two sides that have been battling each other all week over the word's meaning, its power and who gets to say it. No one should. I'm talking about Larry Wilmore calling the President 'Barry.' " Johnson wrote Sunday, "I won’t use the n-word in any setting, with anyone. Nor will I tolerate anyone who does." Browne wrote Saturday, "There’s an agreed-upon, passed-down code of respectability that surrounds language, actions, and presentation, with regard to how black people ought to behave in front of white people. It’s always been important to learn these things from the black people who came before you. And with that understanding seared into the front of your head, finally, it’s important to know when to completely disregard the rules."
"Don't look an online video and data gift horse in the mouth," John Eggerton reported Monday for Multichannel News. "That is the message from the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council. The group's focus is on media diversity and it says the FCC's investigation on mobile broadband zero-based plans is a threat to another kind of diversity — pricing, though it says the two are related." A new white paper extolls the economic virtues of zero-based pricing — carving out some online services, like video streaming, from a customer's data usage . . ."
"ESPN’s NFL coverage will look dramatically different next year," Ryan Glasspiegel reported Monday for the Big Lead. "Our site already reported that Mike Ditka is out from his Countdown gig (though will remain with the network in an emeritus role), and that Matt Hasselbeck and Charles Woodson are on their way in. Trent Dilfer has also been widely reported to be leaving Bristol. In addition to this, The Big Lead has learned that Cris Carter and Ray Lewis are also expected to be on their way out, and that Randy Moss is expected to be on his way in. . . ."
"Somalia’s Federal government has announced that it will investigate allegations made against its national security agency of using children who defect from militant groups as spies," Horseed Media, "established by a dynamic and intellectual group of Somali Diaspora in Netherlands and Finland," reported Monday. Kevin Sieff reported Saturday in the Washington Post, "The Somali agency’s widespread use of child informants, which has not been previously documented, appears to be a flagrant violation of international law. It raises difficult questions for the U.S. government, which for years has provided substantial funding and training to the Somali agency through the CIA, according to current and former U.S. officials …"