Networks 'Never Seem to Find That Person of Color'

Gwen Ifill will begin her new role as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour in September. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Gwen Ifill will begin her new role as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour in September. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

"PBS and Al Jazeera America are shaking up the status quo by hiring a diverse group of journalists for key on-air positions. The moves reflect the networks' conscious effort to become more multicultural in their approach, executives tell TheWrap," Sara Morrison wrote Sunday for The Wrap.


"When Gwen Ifill. . . and Judy Woodruff were named the co-anchors of PBS [NewsHour] on Tuesday, it was hailed as a historic advancement for both women and minorities in TV news, where both have been largely underrepresented.

"Along with Ifill and Woodruff, Indian-American Hari Sreenivasan became the show's senior correspondent, adding to his upcoming responsibilities as the anchor of the show's new weekend edition. Behind the camera, Linda Winslow serves as the show's executive producer. Previously Ifill and Woodruff rotated hosting duties on the program long anchored by Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil. . . ."

Enumerating further progress, Morrison's story continued, "But it's hardly enough for Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

" 'I've been in the business quite a while and I have watched with chagrin as the cable companies and the broadcast networks never seem to find that person of color to be an anchor,' Butler told TheWrap.

"Butler said the NABJ has met with networks several times over the years about the issue, often to hear that they're just looking for the 'right person,' so he or she will have every chance to succeed. But, he said, 'it is 2013 and you'd think that there'd be some kind of movement.'

"Ifill agreed: 'We haven't come as far as we should. The fact that it's news in 2013 that Judy and I are doing a broadcast together shows that.' . . . "


Michael Calderone, Huffington Post: Al Jazeera America In Discussions With Time Warner Cable

Gwen Ifill, PBS: Gwen's Take: Making History | Turning A Page At The PBS NewsHour


Ben Mook, Yet another puzzle for public TV fundraisers: Donors who give the most watch the least, study shows

Roger Yu, USA Today: Al Jazeera America: Will U.S. viewers buy it?

Judge Rules Policy Singled Out Blacks, Hispanics

The "stop and frisk" policy that a federal judge in New York ruled Monday unconstitutionally singled out blacks and Hispanics was opposed by the New York Times and the black weekly New York Amsterdam News but supported editorially by the city's tabloids, the Daily News and the New York Post, and by the Fox television station, WNYW-TV.


Outside of New York, the policy was portrayed as of a piece with the racial profiling that some say led to the Trayvon Martin shooting death in Florida and countless other profiling incidents around the country.

"For those who doubt scholarship matters, the ruling that found Stop and Frisk unconstitutional specifically referenced Michelle Alexander's book 'The New Jim Crow,' " William Jelani Cobb, the historian, professor and author, wrote his Facebook friends. "It's also worth noting that the ruling included a block quote from [President] Obama's speech regarding the [George] Zimmerman verdict and a footnote referencing Charles Blow's column on Trayvon Martin's death," wrote Cobb, an associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut.


As Colleen Long reported Monday for the Associated Press, "The nation's largest police department illegally and systematically singled out large numbers of blacks and Hispanics under its controversial stop-and-frisk policy, a federal judge ruled Monday while appointing an independent monitor to oversee major changes, including body cameras on some officers.

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would appeal the ruling, which was a stinging rebuke to a policy he and the New York Police Department have defended as a life-saving, crime-fighting tool that helped lead the city to historic crime lows. The legal outcome could affect how and whether other cities employ the tactic.


" 'The city's highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner,' U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote in her ruling. 'In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting "the right people" is racially discriminatory.'

"Stop-and-frisk has been around for decades in some form, but recorded stops increased dramatically under the Bloomberg administration to an all-time high in 2011 of 684,330, mostly of black and Hispanic men. The lawsuit was filed in 2004 by four men, all minorities, and became a class-action case. . . ."


Overall, "the news coverage has been positive," Dorothee Benz, a spokeswoman for one of the plaintiffs, the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Journal-isms by telephone. By "positive," Benz said she meant "giving credence to the voice of New Yorkers who are testifying over and over again to the experience of being stopped for no other reason than they're black or brown in ways clearly unconstitutional."

The New York Times was "very supportive," she said.

Last year, the Times website featured "The Scars of Stop-and-Frisk," a short documentary by freelance contributors Julie Dressner and Edwin Martinez that focused on Tyquan Brehon, a young man in Brooklyn who said he had been stopped by police more than 60 times before age 18. The Times called the piece an "Op-Doc."


The Amsterdam News had written, "Black and Brown New Yorkers deserve to be treated better. We are all members of this community that we call New York, and for the majority of stops to be of people of color is unjust. What do we tell our children as they leave the house each day? How do we explain to them why they saw their father, brother, uncle or friend spread-eagled against a wall as they were patted down just because they were 'walking while Black'?"

The gay community also weighed in. "In an editorial for Gay City News headlined, 'Why Stop and Frisk Is a Queer Issue,' editor-in-chief Paul Schindler sheds light on the plight of the transgender community, the slice of the 'LGBT' acronym that's perhaps the most vulnerable to police profiling, as we have noted," Jennifer Cheng wrote last year for, a project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.


Quoting Schindler, she wrote: "Police too often assume that any transgender woman they see is a sex worker. Joo-Hyun Kang, the coordinator of Communities United for Police Reform, said trans women, often fearful when approached by police, are 'tricked' into agreeing to a search that stems from their gender nonconformity. Things can turn ugly fast if the woman is carrying condoms. . . ."

Defenders of stop-and-frisk have argued that the practice saves lives and effectively fights crime. The New York Post last year called the program "one of the city's most valuable crime-fighting tools: stopping suspicious individuals, questioning them — and, when appropriate, frisking them for weapons.


"The brickbats have been relentless — even though, as Mayor Bloomberg says, the practice has removed some thousands of illegal guns from city streets in the past eight years and helped save the lives of some 5,600 New Yorkers (mostly minority males)," the Post editorialized.

On WNYW-TV, like the Post owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Lew Leone, vice president and general manager, contended, "The bullets are flying in Chicago. In 2012 the Windy City suffered over 500 murders. That's well more than New York City, where the murder rate is at an all-time low. Why is New York safer while Chicago is slowly turning into a war zone? There is strong evidence that the NYPD's practice of stop and frisk is a major component of New York's success. I have a hard time understanding why this program is so controversial. . . ."


To others, stop and frisk is a continuation of surveillance tactics used against blacks since the days of slavery.

David A. Love wrote in June for the Grio, "The slave patrols, consisting of white slaveholding and non-slaveholding men, were designed to prevent slave rebellions. The patrols were ordered to stop the slaves they found on the road, compel the slaves to produce a pass, and have them prove they were not breaking the law. . . ." 


Love took readers through the decades, concluding, "Finally, African-Americans and Latinos are monitored through stop-and-frisk policies that civil rights groups say are unfair and based on race. . . ." 

Michael Bloomberg, New York Post: Frisks save lives (Aug. 13)

Ta-Nehisi Coates blog, the Atlantic: Ending Michael Bloomberg's Racist Profiling Campaign


Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune: A mother channels pain into action on Oakland killings (Aug. 5)

Editorial, Daily News: City at risk (Aug. 13)

Editorial, New York Post: Death wish, the sequel (Aug. 13)

Editorial, New York Times: Racial Discrimination in Stop-and-Frisk

Editorial, Wall Street Journal: Stopping and Frisking the Cops

John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: Don't run from cops, don't smart off

Trymaine Lee, Ruling confirms what many New Yorkers already knew of 'stop-and-frisk’


Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: I'm trying to go to jail – so prisoners will know I care

Adam Serwer, Judge in 'stop-and-frisk' case cites Trayvon Martin's death


Rev. Al Sharpton, HuffPost BlackVoices: Bloomberg Must Cease and Desist 'Stop and Frisk'

Michele Norris, Husband Host Vacationing Obamas

NPR correspondent Michele Norris and her husband, Broderick Johnson, hosted President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for cocktails Monday as the first family vacationed on Martha's Vineyard.


Johnson was a 2012 Obama campaign adviser. Norris took a leave from co-hosting "All Things Considered" in October 2011 when her husband joined the Obama campaign. She never returned to the co-hosting job, instead becoming an NPR host and special correspondent who produces in-depth profiles, interviews and series, and guest hosts NPR News programs. Norris also leads "The Race Card Project," an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America.

In a pool report for the White House press corps, Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal wrote, "Motorcade was on the move again at 5:46 pm. About 10 minutes later POTUS arrived at a cocktail party at the home of Broderick Johnson, who was an adviser on the Obama 2012 campaign, and his wife, Michele Norris Johnson. FLOTUS is also at the cocktail party.


"No sighting of the first couple. Pool vans pulled off on side of the road while the rest of the motorcade turned onto Nat's Farm Lane.

"Holding in vans nearby.

"Motorcade left the Johnson residence at 7:27 pm and arrived at POTUS's vacation spot at 7:34 pm. Uneventful ride back. No POTUS sighting."


When Johnson joined the Obama campaign, Edward Wycliff Williams wrote for The Root, "Johnson — who will work alongside David Axelrod, Obama's senior strategist and longtime adviser, and Jim Messina, the 2012 campaign manager — is a seasoned political operative. He served in senior roles in the Clinton White House, acting as the president's principal liaison to the House of Representatives. He was an adviser to John Kerry's 2004 campaign for the White House and was a partner at Bryan Cave, a prominent national law firm. . . ."

Mark Landler, New York Times: The First Couple's Chance to Put Themselves First


Why Won't Fashion Industry Recognize Its Race Problem?

"Has outrage over the lack of diversity and racial insensitivity within the fashion industry reached its peak?" Julee Wilson asked Friday in HuffPost BlackVoices. "If not, Thursday's New York Times article entitled 'Fashion's Blind Spot' will certainly ring the alarm.


"The powerful feature, written by NYT editor Eric Wilson, explores the blatant whitewashing of fashion runways, ads and companies, ultimately begging the question: why doesn't the industry recognize it has a race problem? Wilson makes a strong argument that despite efforts to combat the issue, the industry is still in denial and 'nothing has changed.'

"That sentiment is shared by Bethann Hardison, a former model and modeling agency owner, as well as supermodel-turned-mogul Iman. These two ladies are leading the charge to inject some much needed diversity into fashion.


"Hardison, who founded the advocacy group Black Girls Coalition in 1989, told the Times that part of the problem is that 'no one in power slaps these designers around.'

"Taking it a step further, Iman suggested that a boycott might be in order. 'It feels to me like the times need a real hard line drawn like in the 1960s, by saying if you don’t use black models, then we boycott,' Iman said. 'If you engage the social media, trust me, it will hurt them in their pockets. If you take it out there, they will feel the uproar.' . . ."


Yoonj Kim, Slate: GQ's Hottest Women List Separates Out the Indian and Asian Chicks (Jan. 23)

NPR, Ombudsman Differ on Indian Foster Care Series

"After an extensive investigation lasting well over a year, NPR's ombudsman has concluded the network's series on South Dakota's efforts to put Native [Americans] in foster care was fundamentally flawed," David Folkenflik reported Monday for NPR.


"The network and the ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, who is paid to critique NPR's news coverage, have split sharply over his findings.

"The series, which appeared in October 2011 on All Things Considered and was published on, alleged that the state of South Dakota took Native American children and separated them from their families and tribes at an alarming rate. The series won national awards and helped inspire federal and state reviews of such policies. . . . "


CNN's Lemon Responds to Critics of Advice to Blacks

"CNN anchor Don Lemon created quite a stir two weeks ago when he expounded on Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's assessment of the black community, and reaped a whirlwind of criticism in response," Jon Nicosia reported Saturday for Mediaite.


"In particular, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons wrote several scathing tweets, and an open letter to Don Lemon. The heated reaction has not caused Don Lemon to shy away, as evidenced by his revisitation of the topic Saturday night, in which he re-framed his remarks within the context of black leaders like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, President and Mrs. Obama, and Bill Cosby, rather than as agreement with Bill O'Reilly.

"Following several lengthy clips of these leaders speaking about black empowerment and personal responsibility, Lemon responded directly to Simmons' open letter. . . "


Nicosia continued, "Lemon then delivered a point-by-point rebuttal to Simmons' letter, and concluded with another clip of President Obama, saying 'Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination. and, moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured, and they overcame them, and if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.' . . . "

Tommy Christopher, Mediaite: Tim Wise Tells CNN's Don Lemon The 5 Things White People Should Do To Improve Race Relations


Peniel E. Joseph, The Root: Don Lemon and the Complexity of Race (July 31)

Christian Schneider, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Follow this simple rule regarding the 'N' word


Matt Wilstein, Mediaite: Politifact Rates Don Lemon's Statement About Black Community… (July 29)

Sanjay Gupta Apologizes for Past Anti-Pot Stance

"Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called 'Weed,' " Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, wrote Thursday for CNN. "The title 'Weed' may sound cavalier, but the content is not.


"I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.

"Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled 'Why I would Vote No on Pot.'


"Well, I am here to apologize.

"I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis. . . ."


"Weed" aired on Sunday.

Tracy Miller, Daily News, New York: Dr. Sanjay Gupta comes out in support of medical marijuana: ‘We have been terribly and systematically misled’


Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana): Statement on Sanjay Gupta and CNN coverage of marijuana

AOL to Lay Off Hundreds at Patch This Week

"We reported yesterday that AOL's hyper-local news service would lose hundreds of employees today," Darrell Etherington reported Friday for TechCrunch, "and now we have confirmation from a well-placed Patcher privy to the call that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong did indeed confirm to employees that hundreds would be laid off, with notifications of who will be let go coming throughout the coming week. (Disclosure: AOL owns TechCrunch). 


"In a call Armstrong held with the Patch team today, he explained that 'AOL is going to be running the show' at the restructured Patch along with new CEO Bud Rosenthal. Rosenthal replaces outgoing CEO Steve Kalin, who was reported to be getting the boot earlier this week.

"400 Patch sites will be closed or partnered with outside sites over the coming week as part of the changes being made at Patch to try and turn things around, Armstrong explained on the call, but also reassured the Patch staff that the company is behind the initiative and told them not to 'worry about what [they] read in the press,' calling it 'bullshit.' Nonetheless, he encouraged any Patch non-believers still remaining at the company to get out now, emphasizing that there's no room for equivocation in turning the effort around. . . ."


Jim Romenesko blog: Reporter: Patch hired me in July, then let me go 'due to changing business needs'

Higher Education System Growing More Racially Polarized

"The nation's system of higher education is growing more racially polarized even as it attracts more minorities: White students increasingly are clustering at selective institutions, while blacks and Hispanics mostly are attending open-access and community colleges, according to a new report," Michael A. Fletcher reported July 31 for the Washington Post.


"The paths offer widely disparate opportunities and are leading to widely disparate outcomes, said the report released Wednesday by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

"Students at the nation's top 468 colleges are the beneficiaries of much more spending — anywhere from two to five times as much as what is spent on instruction at community colleges or other schools without admissions requirements. And students at top schools are far more likely to graduate than students at other institutions, even when they are equally prepared, according to the report. In addition, graduates of top schools are far more likely than others to go on to graduate school.


"The financial implications of those differences are huge. . . ."

Julianne Malveaux, syndicated: Student Loan 'Solution' is not Good Enough

Short Takes

"El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA is under fire for its coverage of KTSM anchor Adrienne Alvarez's recent arrest on suspicion of domestic violence," Kevin Eck reported Thursday for TVSpy. "After teasing the story of Alvarez's arrest off the top of its 10:00 p.m. news, anchor Ashlie Rodriguez told viewers the station sent a crew to Alvarez's house to get her side of the story. They then aired footage of a KVIA intern approaching Alvarez in what appeared to be Alvarez's driveway. When Alvarez backed away from the intern, the intern said, 'That's fine. Thank you for your time,' which was echoed by what sounded like the photographer saying the same thing. . . . KVIA apologized to viewers for its coverage. . . ."


Sean Jensen, Chicago Bears/NFL beat writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, has left the newspaper amid staff reductions and returned to the Twin Cities, where he was a beat writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press from 1999 to 2009, covering the Minnesota Vikings. "I've committed to teach a journalism course at the University of Minnesota this fall, and I'll be a regular contributor to K-TWIN (96.3)," Jensen told his Facebook friends. "In addition, on a temporary basis, I'll be covering the Vikings for my old paper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press." Jensen, 37, told Journal-isms he was open to new job opportunities. As a high school student in Alexandria, Va., Jensen, a Korean American, was the first non-African American to receive a scholarship from the Washington Association of Black Journalists. headlined the story, "Obama to Honor Oprah, April Ryan with Freedom Medal," even though Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, was nowhere in the report Friday. "I thought it was a joke when Richard Prince sent it to me," Ryan told Journal-isms by email on Monday, when her name was still in the headline. "Things happen. But Oprah, Former President Clinton and the others in this class have worked tirelessly at what they do and I just cover their greatness."


The New York Times Sunday posted what was once called a "puff piece" about, the celebrity gossip site for African Americans. "His business philosophy is to give his audience what it craves: unvarnished tidbits on celebrities of interest to minorities who are passed over by more mainstream gossip outlets like People and Us," Leslie Kaufman wrote of owner Fred Mwangaguhunga. The story never addressed issues of accuracy, as one would imagine the Times would with the site's supermarket tabloid cousins.

"This is the last Slate article that will refer to the Washington NFL team as the Redskins," Slate Editor David Plotz wrote on Thursday. Franklin Foer, editor of the New Republic, followed suit: "The @davidplotz case against the moniker of DC football team is air-tight. We're changing @tnr stylebook," Foer tweeted.


The Daily News in New York is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who tips police to the culprit who defaced a statue of Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn, N.Y., placing an image of a swastika above a Hitler reference and the word "N —–s" scrawled twice on the base, just above the inscription detailing the monument's significance, Richard Horgan reported for FishbowlNY.

"The mystery of Vickie Burns at WPIX is about to be revealed," Jerry Barmash wrote for his site. "Tuned In has learned exclusively that the former WNBC news director will officially put on payroll at Channel 11. All indications are she'll be named a consultant alongside news director Mark Effron. As we reported, it's a role that the veteran news executive has held since earlier this summer. . . ." Burns' last TV job was as news director at KNBC-TV in 2012.


Ebony Editor-in-Chief Amy DuBois Barnett says she and her staff scrambled to pull together an 18-page look at the issues raised by the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin death, "including four separate cover shots featuring Martin's parents and their surviving son, along with NBA star Dwyane Wade, filmmaker Spike Lee and actor Boris Kodjoe — each posing with their sons in gray, hooded sweatshirts to symbolize the 'hoodie' Martin wore the night of his death," Eric Deggans reported for the Poynter Institute. "We came up with the cover concept on Tuesday and had to execute four shoots by Friday to have the [completed magazine] moved on Monday," Barnett said.

"WBAI-FM, the noncommercial radio station that has been a liberal fixture in New York for more than 50 years, laid off about two-thirds of its staff last week, including its entire news department, because of long-simmering financial difficulties . . .," Ben Sisario reported Sunday for the New York Times.


"I was livid Thursday night when the tweets questioning my integrity filtered onto the Internet," Detroit News sportswriter Terry Foster wrote on his blog. "I was a victim of Lions cover your ass theater after my story about the relationship of Louis Delmas and Tony Scheffler hit the Detroit News and became a national story. Delmas told me he used the word cracker when he talked to his friend Scheffler. He said Scheffler uses the N word toward Delmas in playful banter between friends. . . ." Foster added, "I did not make this story up. I did not get played. . . ."

A day before Vernon E. Hawkins, a D.C. political operative with long-standing ties to Mayor Vincent C. Gray, was charged Monday with lying to federal authorities investigating an alleged off-the-books campaign on his behalf, Washington Post investigative reporter Nikita Stewart talked on C-SPAN about the overall scandal, highlighted by her article, "The Governor of D.C.: The Rise of Jeffrey E. Thompson and the Fall That Has Rattled District Politics."


NPR began airing a series by Karen Grigsby Bates Sunday on the children of civil rights heroes, interviewing the offspring of Martin Luther King Jr., Viola Liuzzo and Medgar Evers.

"Belo Corp.'s CBS affiliate WWL New Orleans (DMA 51) announced Wednesday that Thanh Truong will return to the station's news team as anchor and reporter (he worked there in 2005 and covered the impact and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina)," TVNewsCheck reported.  "He will anchor Saturday evening newscasts and report. His first day will be Wednesday, Sept. 18. For the last three years, Truong has worked as an NBC News correspondent based in Atlanta. . . . "


"Reporters Without Borders condemns in the strongest terms the murder in Benghazi yesterday of Azzedine Kousad, a presenter on the satellite TV station al-Hurra," the press freedom organization said Saturday, referring to the Libyan city. "Three gunmen opened fire on his car, fatally wounding him with six shots, before fleeing. . . ."

"Angola's attorney-general should immediately drop all criminal defamation charges against an investigative journalist, Rafael Marques de Morais, because they undermine free expression rights," Human Rights Watch said on Monday. "The Angolan government should repeal the country's criminal defamation laws — the basis for the charges. . . ."


In South Africa, editors wrote above an article in the Daily Maverick by Rebecca Davis, "At the end of June, a magistrates' court in Gauteng convicted a former Sowetan journalist of criminal defamation, with a sentence of R10,000 or 10 months in prison, suspended for four years. Criminal defamation has seldom been prosecuted in post-Apartheid South Africa, and this appears to be the first time since the advent of democracy that a journalist has been convicted of the crime. Now there are fears that, if nothing else, worries about being prosecuted for criminal defamation may lead to more tentative journalism."

Introducing a special report by Tom Rhodes, the Committee to Protect Journalists told readers last week that "The Tanzanian government enjoys good international publicity for transparency, but news of public discontent is not being heard. A spike in anti-press attacks is sowing fear and self-censorship among journalists. . . ."


The Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday it welcomed the conviction for the 2010 murder of Brazilian radio journalist and blogger Francisco Gomes de Medeiros. João Francisco dos Santos was sentenced to 27 years in prison on charges of shooting and killing the journalist in the northeastern city of Caicó, according to news reports. The individuals, reports said, had grievances with Gomes in relation to his coverage of local crime, corruption and drug trafficking.

Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education ( Reprinted on The Root by permission.


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