Tamron Hall, the first black woman to co-host “Today,” is leaving NBC and MSNBC despite a multimillion-dollar offer to stay and a pledge for an expanded role on other shows, official and unofficial sources said Wednesday.
The network sought to replace Hall and co-host Al Roker, also a black journalist, on the “Today” show’s third hour.
NBC planned to make room for former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, although it has not decided whether Kelly or 10 a.m. ET hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb would take over the third “Today” hour at 9 a.m. ET. Hall’s contract expired this month, and she was in negotiations that apparently broke down over the last two days. She was known to be annoyed by the prospect of being displaced at 9 a.m.
The episode had racial overtones. “NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing,” the National Association of Black Journalists said in a statement Wednesday.
NABJ also said, “Kelly has a well-documented history of offensive remarks regarding people of color. On The Kelly File, her Fox News show, the host said then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s commencement address at Tuskegee University pandered to a ‘culture of victimization.’ . . .” The association asked for a meeting with NBC executives.
An NBC statement said, “Tamron is an exceptional journalist, we valued and enjoyed her work at TODAY and MSNBC and hoped that she would decide to stay. We are disappointed that she has chosen to leave, but we wish her all the best.
“Tamron joined MSNBC and NBC in 2007, and became part of the TODAY team in 2014. She has also worked passionately to bring awareness to domestic violence, highlighting the issue on her show ‘Deadline Crime, with Tamron Hall.’
“She earned an Edward R. Murrow Award for a story that aired on NBC News, and an Emmy in 2010 as a member of NBC News’ live inauguration coverage.
“Al Roker will continue to co-host TODAY’s Take at 9am weekdays until a new morning lineup begins in the Fall of 2017.
“Tamron asked that we share the following. ‘The last ten years have been beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m grateful. I’m also very excited about the next chapter. To all my great colleagues, I will miss you and I will be rooting for you.’ ”
Brian Stelter added for CNN Money, “Some staffers came to Hall and Roker’s defense and questioned the 9 [a.m.] decision. Observers writing for web sites like Jezebel and The Daily Caller drew attention to the racial context of the change — two black hosts being replaced by a white woman who spent a decade at a conservative cable news channel.
“ ‘This news is more than disappointing, since the two most prominent black faces on’ the ‘Today’ show ‘are losing out to accommodate a white conservative with a history of questionable rhetoric with regard to race relations in America,’ Paula Rogo wrote for Essence.com.
“Kelly has said she is an independent, not a conservative. She’s not choosing her new time slot, her bosses are, but Hall’s departure shows how TV news moves sometimes cause domino effects. . . .”
Hall has not said whether she had a new job lined up. She and Roker won their time slot for seven consecutive weeks, but NBC executives apparently believed that record was not permanent enough.
Lloyd Grove reported Wednesday for the Daily Beast, “The 46-year-old Hall, whose final appearance was Tuesday on MSNBC, turned down a multimillion-dollar offer to stay, according to a person familiar with the situation, including a significant role on the first two hours of Today, the weekend Nightly News anchor chair, an expanded role on Dateline NBC — essentially Lester Holt’s portfolio before he was named Nightly’s weekday anchor — and the opportunity to continue hosting her MSNBC show. . . .”
Grove also wrote, “The Daily Beast has learned that she aggressively tried but failed to make a deal with ABC News, where a place on Good Morning America, which is neck and neck with Today in the ratings, might have made sense.
“But there was no room on the couch. . . .”
Hollywood Reporter: Tamron Hall Exits NBC and MSNBC
Don Kaplan, Daily News, New York: Tamron Hall turns down multimillion, multiyear deal at NBC News as ‘Today’ prepares for Megyn Kelly
A.J. Katz, TVNewser: Katie Couric Comments on Megyn Kelly’s Move to NBC News
Sierra Marquina, US Weekly: Tamron Hall Blindsided, Was Told About ‘Today’ Show Shakeup Minutes Before Going on Air
“Do we need another white guy on the Supreme Court?” That question escaped most commentators who evaluated President Trump’s nomination Tuesday of federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat of the late Antonin Scalia.
Joshua Johnson, host of the new “1A,” the NPR show that succeeded “The Diane Rehm Show” last month, asked that question on Wednesday. Johnson, who is African American, also noted the whiteness of the audience present for Trump’s televised prime-time announcement.
Below is how some of the conversation went, with guests Elizabeth B. Wydra, president of the Constitution Accountability Center; Kenneth Josh, author of “The Supreme Court Yearbook”; and Josh Blackman, associate professor at the South Texas College of Law, who are white. The show originates at WAMU-FM in Washington.
Johnson: “Josh Blackman, do we need another white guy on the Supreme Court?”
Blackman: “What a loaded question.”
Johnson: “But it’s an honest one. Is there room for more diversity on the Supreme Court?”
Blackman: “Oh, I think there’s room for geographic diversity as well. Judge Gorsuch is the first person to be nominated who is not from the coasts since John Roberts.”
Johnson: “And he’s a white guy. I mean, there have got to be conservative jurors who are women, who are people of color; they may not lean as far to the right as Judge Gorsuch does . . . but aren’t there anybody we could pick other than another white guy?”
Blackman: “So if you want to go back in history, there were a couple of prominent minority judges that the Bush administration who appointed that did not go well,” naming Miguel Estrada, a Bush administration nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and Janice Rogers Brown, another Bush appointee who was confirmed to the federal appeals court in Washington.
“She was put through hell,” Blackman said. “The pipeline perhaps dried up a bit because Democrats recognized that these might be viable candidates” for higher office. . . .
Johnson: “Well, let me flip it around a little bit to you, Elizabeth, or you, Kenneth. What difference does it make? If the primary responsibility is to have someone who interprets the law as the law is intended, and not to bring their own political litmus tests into it, why does the complexion of the court even matter?
Wydra: “I think, obviously, anyone, no matter what they look like, what nation they’re from, and their ancestry, should be focused on the Constitution and the law. But I think that, as we’ve seen with some of the recent opinions, it does make a difference if you have a broad view of the realities in which law plays out on the ground.
“We’ve seen some very powerful opinions from Justice [Sonia] Sotomayor on the way that policing, and particularly intrusive policing, violent policing, affects communities of color.
“And I think that was very powerful, not just in informing the way that the law and the opinions were written from the Supreme Court, but in the way that people hear the Supreme Court speaking to them. The way that she writes, and I think the affirmative action is another example, is something that people can see themselves in, they can see their experience reflected in, and that’s incredibly important when you have the Supreme Court issuing opinions that govern the most intimate aspects of our lives.
“And I disagree that there aren’t any conservatives out there who are people of color or women on the bench. . . .”
Chris Ariens, TVNewser: 33 Million Watch TV Nets For Trump’s Supreme Court Reveal
Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today Media Network: Trump Chooses Neil Gorsuch for US Supreme Court
Editorial, Denver Post: A Coloradan on the highest court in the land
David Montgomery, Washington Post Magazine: Meet Joshua Johnson, Diane Rehm’s successor — and a bold move for WAMU (Feb. 2)
“When I was 13 years old, my family fled our home for the United States,” Helene Cooper, who covers the Pentagon for the New York Times, wrote Tuesday.
“We were refugees, even though we came here on visitor visas that we simply outstayed. The country of my birth, Liberia, had just seen a military coup, where enlisted soldiers took over the government, disemboweled the president and launched an orgy of retribution against the old guard.
“My father was shot. My cousin was executed on the beach by firing squad. My mom was gang-raped by soldiers in the basement of our house after she volunteered to submit to them on the condition that they leave my sisters and me, ages 8 to 16, alone.
“In the hours after it happened, my sisters and I huddled on the floor in my mom’s bedroom while she sat, silently, on the love seat, like a sentry keeping watch over us. In her lap she held a pistol. Twice that night, the soldiers came back, but each time they left again without entering the house.
“In the ensuing weeks, my mom worked steadily to get us out of Liberia. . . .”
Cooper also wrote, “On Saturday, when I read reports of the refugees and Muslims from seven countries who were being denied entry into the United States, one passage in particular jumped out at me, in our lead story about the executive order: ‘In Istanbul, during a stopover on Saturday, passengers reported that security officers had entered a plane after everyone had boarded and ordered a young Iranian woman and her family to leave the aircraft.’
“That single sentence took me back — to another plane on another tarmac, and another family, more than 37 years ago. To my mom and my sister and myself, as we sat fearfully looking at the door of the plane, praying that no one would come on and take us off. . . .”
“A CNN editor and producer who was detained Sunday at Atlanta’s airport has filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration order,” Ellen Eldridge reported Wednesday for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Mohammed Tawfeeq is an Iraqi national who has been a permanent legal resident of the United States since 2013.
“As an editor, Tawfeeq frequently travels to the Middle East as part of his reporting duties, the lawsuit states.
“Tawfeeq was detained Sunday at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where he was subjected to additional screening that delayed his entry into the United States.
“Defendants used Trump’s recent executive order to unlawfully detain Tawfeeq, who is a legal permanent resident of the U.S., an immigrant from Iraq, an award-winning Middle Eastern journalist and the current manager of CNN’s International Desk, the lawsuit states. . . .”
“Ali Hamedani, a reporter for BBC World Service, told CPJ that border agents detained him at Chicago O’Hare airport for over two hours and questioned him when he arrived in the U.S. on January 29 to interview a Persian singer. The journalist, who said he was traveling on a Media I Visa, told CPJ that agents searched his phone and computer and read his Twitter feed.
“Hamedani told CPJ that when he traveled to the U.S. on the same visa in November he did not have any issues at the border. . . .”
Stephany Bai, NBC Asian America: Remembering Executive Order 9066, the ‘Single Act’ that Began Internment
Gary Bullert, Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, Wash.: Was the relocation of West Coast Japanese racist?
Elvia Díaz, La Voz | azcentral.com: It’s not OK to remain silent in Trump’s America
Chris Fuchs, NBC Asian America: The Parallel Between Trump’s Immigration Ban and Past U.S. Anti-Asian Policies
Joseph Shoji Lachman, Angry Asian Man: I Can’t Believe I’m Responding to Another Pro-Japanese Incarceration Piece.
Gene Meyer, eugenelmeyer.com: Never again? Think again.
Ron Nixon, New York Times: More People Were Affected by Travel Ban Than Trump Initially Said
Steven Perlberg, BuzzFeed: Wall Street Journal Editor: Stop Calling The Travel Ban Countries “Majority Muslim”
Liz Robbins, New York Times: Refugees Welcome. Volunteers Embrace Congolese Family in the Hudson Valley.
“Oprah Winfrey will contribute several stories to the coming season of ‘60 Minutes,’ CBS announced Tuesday,” Brian Stelter reported for CNN Money.
The deal joins one of the most famous women in the world with the most prestigious newsmagazine on television.
“Winfrey will be a ‘special contributor,’ CBS said. This means she’ll have several stories on the upcoming season of the newsmagazine. The first story will air sometime in the fall. . . .”
Stelter also wrote, “’Winfrey’s main outlet remains OWN, the cable channel she co-owns with Discovery Communications. But ‘60 Minutes’ will allow her to reach many more people with a single segment. The program regularly draws 10 to 20 million viewers a week. . . .”
“In a statement on Tuesday, she said, ‘I’ve been a big admirer of 60 MINUTES since my days as a young reporter. I’m so excited and proud to join forces with this historic news program, which for me represents the bastion of journalistic storytelling.’
“She added: ‘At a time when people are so divided, my intention is to bring relevant insight and perspective, to look at what separates us, and help facilitate real conversations between people from different backgrounds.’ . . .”
Sophie Schillaci, etonline.com: EXCLUSIVE: Oprah Winfrey Breaks Down in Tears Over Mary Tyler Moore’s Death: ‘She Paved the Way’ (Jan. 25)
The world between Ta-Nehisi Coates and NYU is about to become much smaller — the university announced yesterday that Coates officially signed a three year contract with the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute,” Natasha Roy and Diamond Naga Siu reported Tuesday for Washington Square News, the student newspaper at New York University.
“Prior to joining, he worked as a fellow at NYU’s Institute for the Humanities.
“Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and authored the NYU required reading ‘Between the World and Me,’ a letter addressed to his son that tackles how to navigate modern America as a black male. He is critically acclaimed for his work regarding race relations in the United States, especially those regarding politics and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts and Diversity Ulrich Baer said that Coates will start in the Fall 2017 semester after conversing regularly with him. Baer said that Coates will greatly contribute to the university’s ongoing dialogue surrounding diversity and inclusion. . . .”
Kyle Munson, Des Moines Register: Desperate Iowans flock to Ta-Nehisi Coates for honest answers on race
Tiffany Walden, Chicago magazine: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Race, Power, and Why He Loves Chicago
He also wrote, “I believe every newsroom in America should reflect on their content as it describes or involves Arabs and Muslims, both here and abroad. Look for examples that depict them in everyday jobs and concerns.
“If you cannot find such examples, or don’t know how to find them, it may be time to flip the switch. Until we see Arabs and Muslims working with us in the newsrooms, playing beside us on the soccer fields, dispensing our medicines in the pharmacies, we won’t have a prayer of achieving the kind of tolerance and understanding that will lead us to the place where America deserves to be.”
“Addressing a small group of African American aides and supporters to kick off Black History Month, the new president not only offered pro forma praise for the usual suspects — Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr. — but also singled out somebody who recently caught his attention.
“ ‘Frederick Douglass,’ Trump said, ‘is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.’
“Amazing job, Frederick! Great work!
“It’s unlikely anybody could recognize Douglass today, because he died in 1895. . . .”
Steve Adler, Reuters: Covering Trump the Reuters Way
Mark Berman, Washington Post: #PressOn campaign wants you to support facts by paying for journalism
Isabella Caito, Daily Pennsylvanian: At MLK event, journalists discuss media under a presidential administration that ‘lies blatantly and luxuriously’
Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call: Black History Month Lessons for ‘Trump World’
Editorial, Los Angeles Times: Jeff Sessions isn’t the attorney general we need
Matt Gertz, Media Matters for America: Here Are The Hacks In Charge Of Broadcasting Trump’s Propaganda Internationally
Glenn Greenwald and Betsy Reed, the Intercept: Secret Docs Reveal: President Trump Has Inherited an FBI With Vast Hidden Powers
Alex Griswold, Mediaite: Donald Trump Uses Black History Month Event to Attack CNN: ‘I Don’t Watch Fake News’
Katie Hawkins-Gaar, Poynter Institute: Should journalists protest in Trump’s America?
Daniel Holloway, Variety: Donald Trump White House Breaks CNN Boycott
Adrienne LaFrance, the Atlantic: Calling Out a Presidential Lie
Rachel Percelay, Media Matters for America: Journalists: Don’t Let Trump Pretend He’s “Supportive” Of LGBTQ Rights
Carmen Sesin, NBC News Latino: Latino Trump Supporters Stand By Him After Flurry of Executive Orders
Mashaun D. Simon, NBCBLK: Analysis: Do We Still Need Black History Month?
Holger Stark, Der Spiegel: Megalomania & Small-Mindedness: How America Lost Its Identity
Black Television News Channel, which calls itself the nation’s only African American news network, announced a multiyear carriage agreement with Charter Communications, the nation’s second largest cable operator, on Jan. 25. “Under the agreement, Charter Communications will launch BTNC to Spectrum TV subscribers in 14 of the top 25 African American TV markets.” These include New York; Atlanta; Los Angeles; Dallas; Detroit; Boston; Tampa; Orlando; Cleveland; Charlotte, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; Norfolk, Va.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and New Orleans. No launch date was announced.
NBCBLK, a portal of NBCNews.com, is releasing its second annual NBCBLK28 list to honor young African American leaders, all under 28, the network announced Wednesday. “This year’s honorees include Chance the Rapper (Rapper/Activist), Kane Brown (Country Music Singer), Yara Shahidi (Actress), Michael Tubbs (Stockton, California’s first and youngest Black Mayor), Derrick Morgan (NFL Player – Tennessee Titans) and Claressa Shields (Olympian). . . .”
“Lewis Wallace first got into journalism, four years ago, with the help of a fellowship that encouraged diversity,” Margaret Sullivan wrote Wednesday for the Washington Post. “And he brought his experience as a transgender man to his new job last year as a reporter at American Public Media’s ‘Marketplace,’ a sometimes-offbeat business show and website based in Los Angeles. Now, the 32-year-old has been fired after writing a post on Medium suggesting that journalists — especially those who are members of a minority group — need to rethink objectivity in the Trump era. . . .”
“Today, Univision’s stations went dark on Charter Spectrum cable systems,” the National Hispanic Media Coalition noted Wednesday. “By denying access to Univision programming to its customers across the nation, and continuing not to offer Fusion, Charter Spectrum cable has shown little regard for its Latino subscribers,” Alex Nogales, president and CEO, said in a statement. L.A. Latino residents are caught in the crossfire over Univision channel blackout
“I’m sorry if I crept into your Facebook feed this week,” Melissa Luck wrote Wednesday for the Radio Television Digital News Association. “A ‘rant’ I posted Sunday night has taken on a life of its own . . . it seems, with journalists nationwide who are clearly trying to send a message to their family and friends: not all media is the same and we’re not part of a vast conspiracy to promote one candidate or political view or another. . . .”
“I literally know every black woman photojournalist in the United States, and I can count them on both hands,” Akili-Casundria Ramsess, executive director of the National Press Photographers Association, told James Estrin of the New York Times “Lens” blog on Wednesday. “The news industry has been in ‘triage mode for the last decade’ as thousands of jobs have been lost,” Ramsess said. “Unfortunately, that can put diversity concerns on a back burner, leaving newsrooms to suffer journalistically in lacking women and minorities. . . .” Estrin examined the status of female photographers in journalism.
“Dr. John Torres, who has been a contributor to NBC News, has joined the network as medical correspondent,” Chris Ariens reported Tuesday for TV Newser. Torres, an Air Force Academy and University of New Mexico Med School grad, was an ER doctor in southern Colorado where he got his start in TV news, contributing to KOAA. . . .”
“Dax Tejera is leaving Fusion and joining ABC News in Washington, D.C. as a senior producer,” Chris Ariens reported Wednesday for TVNewser. “Tejera was part of the launch of Fusion which, until last year, was co-owned by ABC/Disney. The former NBC News and MSNBC producer worked primarily with Univision/Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos. . . .”
“Today, in a unanimous decision rendered during its first open meeting of 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to eliminate the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letter and emails from the public in a public inspection file known as the correspondence folder,” the National Hispanic Media Coalition said on Tuesday. Carmen Scurato, director of policy and legal affairs, said he was concerned that the practice “has been deemed too burdensome a task in the face of the urgent need for media accountability. . . .”
“KLEW news director Anna Velasquez is returning to the anchor desk for the Lewiston, Idaho CBS affiliate,” Kevin Eck reported Monday for TV Spy. “Velasquez has been the news director since July 2015. She first started at the station in 1997 and worked there until 1999. In between, she’s worked in Bakersfield and Seattle. . . .”
At Northwestern University, “Professors Loren Ghiglione, a champion of Native American scholarship and inclusion on campus, and E. Patrick Johnson, a prolific arts scholar and performer who founded the community-focused Black Arts Initiative, are the inaugural recipients of the Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Equity,” Kayla Stoner wrote Jan. 23 for the university’s Northwestern Now publication.
On Friday, Northwestern University journalism professor Loren Ghiglione is “taking 14 Medill master’s students to Johannesburg for a week of reporting,” he told Journal-isms by email on Wednesday. “This will be my last group of students to South Africa; I plan to retire from teaching at Medill in June (but not retiring from writing). I’m guesstimating that the three SA programs I started — Emory, USC, Northwestern — have gotten more than 500 students to South Africa” since the Emory program started 20 years ago.
“It had appeared that Tegna’s pink slip express was slowing down, but maybe it was just refueling,” Scott Jones reported Wednesday for ftvlive.com. “After 7 years at Tegna owned KING in Seattle Weather Anchor Keisha Burns is out the door. Burns joined the now defunct NWCN back in 2009 and also worked for sister station KING. . . .”
“Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab is facing a lengthy prison sentence simply for stating that journalists and international NGOs cannot enter Bahrain,” Roy Greenslade reported Jan. 26 for the Guardian. Greenslade also wrote, “As I reported last September, Rajab was arrested on a charge of ‘defaming the state’ by publishing ‘false news... and malicious rumours that undermine the prestige of the kingdom’ following the publication of an article by him on the op-ed page of the New York Times. . . .”
“Richard, I cite your reporting virtually every week in my journalism history course at Medill. Thanks to you, I can better connect our past to the present and help students think about journalism’s future.”
— Loren Ghiglione, professor, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, veteran of 45 years in journalism and journalism education. Photo by Irene Fertik from a 2000 visit to South Africa when Loren was director of USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism.
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.