Philadelphia Magazine Admits It Has a Diversity Problem and Is Doing Something About It

October cover photo of Philadelphia magazine
Twitter
October cover photo of Philadelphia magazine
Twitter

Latest Flap Follows Cover That Omitted Blacks

Philadelphia Magazine reacted Wednesday to a call by black journalists for its editor to resign over the magazine's lack of diversity by announcing "a series of immediate and long-term diversity initiatives."

Advertisement

The magazine's lack of inclusion is reflective of city magazines in general.

Jack Limpert, then retired editor of Washingtonian, wrote two years ago, "The staffs of city magazines are, by and large, woefully behind the times in reflecting the diversity of the communities they cover." Limpert was writing about an upcoming meeting of the City and Regional Magazine Association.

In the Philadelphia initiative:

The parent "Metro Corp. has engaged an outside company to hold diversity training for all mid-level and above managers on a regular basis. . . .

"One additional person of color will be added to the Philadelphia magazine editorial staff in the fall of 2015. . . . 

"Metro [Corp.] will have at least one person of color as part of its senior editorial staffs in each city [Boston and Philadelphia] as soon as resources and staffing allow, with a goal of accomplishing this within approximately one year (end of 2016).

Advertisement

"All job postings will run through our HR department and follow a consistent standardized process designed to ensure that the postings attract a pool of diverse candidates.

"Minority candidates will be interviewed for any and all open positions.

"Beginning in 2016, a summer fellowship for low-income college students will be established in each city (Boston and Philadelphia) for both the editorial and business departments. . . .

Advertisement

"A diversity committee, made up of staff from both offices as well as people outside the company, will meet four times a year and update Executive Management on the company's diversity efforts and opportunities. . . ."

The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists called for the resignation of Editor Tom McGrath last week after the magazine apologized for its October cover, which, in an issue about education, featured a photograph of schoolchildren that included no blacks, with the text reading, "'How to get your kid a great education … without moving to the 'burbs.' "

Advertisement

"The school where the photo was taken, Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School, is 60 percent non-white," Nick Vadala noted Wednesday for philly.com. "Philadelphia public schools, meanwhile, are 52 percent African American, 19 percent Hispanic, 15 percent other races, and 14 percent white. . . ." 

Asked for her response to the magazine's pledges, Cherri Gregg, president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, messaged Wednesday night, "I am an attorney through and through, so I really want to give more thought to our next steps. PABJ plans to issue a formal response tomorrow." 

Advertisement

The magazine caused another uproar two years ago with a cover piece, "Being White in Philly."

Adrienne Simpson, an event planner who was the only full-time black employee at the magazine, wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer then that the story was a "lopsided, conflagrant editorial — that teetered on the brink of fear mongering."

Advertisement

McGrath and writer Robert Huber met at the time with PABJ. 

"A vice president of the association accused both men of being racists," Robert Moran reported then for the Inquirer. "They were subjected to mockery from some of the questioners and threatened with a boycott of the magazine's advertisers. . . ."

Advertisement

Writers Guild Pledges to Monitor Diversity at HuffPost

"The editorial staff at The Huffington Post today announced plans to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO," the Guild said Wednesday, noting that improving diversity at the company will be one of the Guild's aims.

Advertisement

In its statement, the Guild also said, "HuffPost has taken a strong editorial stance in favor of diversity, but this diversity is not reflected among the staff.

"We would like to formalize our commitment to inclusivity in hiring, and keep HuffPost accountable to that commitment. A union is a formal mechanism to advocate for each other and to address systemic issues at the company on an ongoing basis. . . ."

Advertisement

The Huffington Post previously refused to disclose how many people of color worked there, but founder Arianna Huffington told Journal-isms at the 2011 convention of the National Association of Black Journalists that the company was reversing itself and would cooperate with the American Society of News Editors' annual newsroom diversity survey.

"We're going to do that, now that we have the resources," Huffington said.

Nevertheless, Huffington Post spokeswoman Lena Auerbuch declined Wednesday to say how many journalists of color are at the company.

Advertisement

"HuffPost is committed to diversity and to making sure that we have a diverse newsroom. We recently attended the 40th anniversary of NABJ and also work often with AAJ, EIJ and ONA. Additionally, HuffPost features several Voices sites, including Black Voices, Gay Voices and Latino Voices," Auerbuch said.

The references are apparently to the Asian American Journalists Association, the Excellence in Journalism convention (in which the National Association of Hispanic Journalists participated this year) and the Online News Association.

Advertisement

Cosmo Crowns Kardashians the New First Family

"Move over, Barack and Michelle Obama!" Nicole Spector wrote Monday for the website of NBC-TV's "Today" show. "Apparently, America just got a new first family. And they won't be staying in the White House — they prefer their swanky West Coast digs.

Advertisement

"According to Cosmopolitan, the Kardashians are the new reigning family. The magazine recently unveiled the cover for its November 2015 issue, featuring the Kardashian and Jenner women.

"Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner pose in all-white. Bold pink font reads, 'America's First Family.'

Advertisement

"The 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' stars really have America wrapped around their well-manicured fingers!

"Or do they?

"Social media activity suggests otherwise. Some people are downright disgusted by Cosmo's bold move, and are tweeting their frustration at the publication. . . ."

Advertisement

Michael H. Cottman, BlackAmericaWeb.com: First Family? There's Only One

Damon Young, The Root: Cosmo Was Right: Why the Kardashians Are America's First Family

Advertisement

Sidmel Estes Fund Turns Attention to Funeral, Sons

A fund begun to assist Sidmel Estes with her medical costs will now aid with funeral and other expenses for the late former president of the National Association of Black Journalists and longtime producer at WAGA-TV in Atlanta.

Advertisement

[NABJ announced on Thursday, "The funeral service for former NABJ president Sidmel Estes takes place Saturday, Oct. 10. A visitation will begin at 1:30 p.m. followed by the service at 2 p.m. at Elizabeth Baptist Church at 4245 Cascade Road in Atlanta."]

"As many of you know Sidmel made her transition yesterday," Ce Cole Dillon wrote on the fundraising page she created during Estes' illness. "Services are pending, and we will post information as soon as it becomes available. We started this fund to help Sidmel be able to get back on her feet. We just didn't know that she would get her wings.

Advertisement

"We are going to leave the fund open for now, and request that you join us in helping her sons to give her the services worthy of her exemplary life, and that when they go on with their lives without their mother, it can be done knowing that everything related to Sidmel is taken care of.

"If you gave before Sid transitioned, I have one last request. My request is that you allow us to use these funds for her home going, and final expenses. I know that Sid would want us to leave her boys 'straight.' Let's do this for Sid. . . ."  Estes leaves two sons, Joshua, 26, and Sidney, 21. 

Advertisement

Dillon also wrote, "Enough people remembered Sid yesterday to make her trend on Twitter. . . ."

Wayne Dawkins, LinkedIn: 1st NABJ woman president confronted status quo

C.G. Freightman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Sidmel Estes, 60: Media trailblazer was admired mentor

Advertisement

Herbert Lowe, Remembering Past NABJ President Sidmel Estes (Comments section)

Patrick L. Riley, alldigitocracy.org: Estes remembered as trailblazer who helped widen industry door for women and journalists of color

Advertisement

WAGA-TV, Atlanta: Longtime FOX 5 Employee Sidmel Estes Passes Away

Washington Post's Merida Said to Be Sought by ESPN

A highly opinionated piece on the fall of sports columnist Jason Whitlock at ESPN's black-oriented website The Undefeated contains this reference to ESPN president John Skipper:

"(Multiple sources have told Deadspin that one man Skipper is pursuing for the role is Kevin Merida, managing editor of The Washington Post. Merida is interested; he met with Skipper in Los Angeles last month, and according to a source, he's been quietly asking if some of his favorite Post employees would be open to following him to ESPN.)"

Advertisement

Merida did not respond to a request seeking comment.

The story by Greg Howard of Deadspin, published Tuesday, offers less-than-flattering assessments of many of the key players involved with The Undefeated.

Advertisement

Whitlock responded with a rant on Twitter, as Nina Mandell reported Wednesday for USA Today. One tweet referred to Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer for the Atlantic. "If Deadspin cared abt Howard, they'd take the baby off his head, put away his Coates starter kit, let him work out identity issues n therapy," Whitlock wrote.

Publisher in Roseburg, Ore., Says Obama Isn't Welcome

"President Barack Obama's remarks in favor of gun control a few hours after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College is sparking anger in Roseburg about his upcoming visit to the city," Jeff Mapes reported Tuesday for the Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland.

Advertisement

"David Jacques, a Republican activist who publishes a weekly newspaper in Roseburg, warned on national TV on Monday night that the president 'is not welcome in the community.' "

However, "Douglas County Commissioners at an afternoon news conference Wednesday said they were looking forward to President Barack Obama's visit Friday as 'his show of support' for the grieving community, regardless of their differences on policy issues," Stuart Tomlinson of the Oregonian and OregonLive reported on Wednesday.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch, the founder of the global News Corp. media empire, suggested that Obama isn't a "real black president," the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

"Murdoch was praising Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and his wife on Twitter Wednesday evening when he wrote: 'Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide?' . . ."

Advertisement

Charles M. Blow, New York Times: On Guns, Fear Is Winning

Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Ben Carson's tasteless joke about police shooting fleeing suspects

Advertisement

Editorial, Daily News, New York: Another Republican loon: Ben Carson spouts more gun nonsense

Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Gun law paralysis is the real insanity

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Clinton signals willingness to regulate guns by executive action

Advertisement

Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Bush's latest misfire on guns

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

C-SPAN to Cover "Justice or Else" March Live

C-SPAN plans live coverage of Saturday's "Justice or Else" march commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, C-SPAN spokesman Howard Mortman said Wednesday.

Advertisement

The march and coverage begins at 10 a.m. ET on C-SPAN television and radio, with convener Minister Louis Farrakhan scheduled to speak at 1 p.m.

BET does not plan live television coverage. Spokesman Luis DeFrank would say only, "BET.com's news division and our millennial focused BET digital vertical #whatsatstake will have a team of multimedia journalists covering the event."

Advertisement

BET spent $130,000 to advertise the original 1995 march with a full page in USA Today, and on the "Millions More March" 10-year sequel, said it had "BIG plans for sure." 

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell wrote Wednesday that the march's focus might be misplaced.

Advertisement

"I can’t say the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March planned for this weekend in Washington slipped up on me," she began.

"I knew it was coming. But I had little interest in trying to resurrect a movement that has proven ineffective when it comes to addressing black-on- black violence.

Advertisement

"While the theme for the historic gathering, 'Justice or Else,' strikes the right tone given the number of controversial police-involved shootings, the demand fails to capture a black family's most pressing concern: the daily violence that is threatening their future.

"Police-involved murders are negligible compared with the thousands of black men, women and children who have been gunned down by black men since the 1995 march.

Advertisement

"Yet, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is asking black men to come to the nation's capital to demand justice for a host of ills directed at African-Americans. . . ."

Mitchell went on to quote Ishmael Muhammad, a son of Elijah Muhammad and Farrakhan's assistant.

Advertisement

"We are not going to Washington to make a demand on the government as if we have done everything that needs to be done and should be done to stop the senseless violence. We will be making a demand on ourselves and renewing the pledge of 20 years ago," he said.

Tom Rowley, Washington Post: How the Million Man March changed one man's life

Mistreatment of Intellectually Disabled Spotlighted

"A ProPublica story that uncovered the shocking ways children with intellectual disabilities are physically disciplined in schools across the country has won top honors in the 2015 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the National Center on Disability and Journalism announced on Wednesday.

Advertisement

"The contest, the only one devoted exclusively to disability reporting, is administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. It was created in 2013 under a grant from Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who has been blind since birth and who also supports the national Schneider Family Book Awards.

"This year's second-place award went to the Hartford Courant for a story that profiled a mother and her son, who has autism. Judges awarded third place to North Carolina Public Radio, WUNC-FM, for a multimedia piece examining the fallout of a state-sponsored eugenics program . . . ."

Advertisement

"ProPublica reporter Heather Vogell's first-place story, 'Violent and Legal: The Shocking Ways School Kids are Being Pinned Down, Isolated Against Their Will,' profiled Carson Luke, a young boy with autism, who sustained broken bones after educators grabbed him and tried to force him into a 'scream room.' The story underscored the common practice of educators secluding and physically restraining uncooperative school children, sometimes with straps, handcuffs, bungee cords or even duct tape, documenting hundreds of thousands of cases a year. . . ."

Leroy Moore, National Black Disability Coalition: Journalism & Police Brutality Against Black Disabled People

Advertisement

Embedded Reporters See Other Side of Police Blue Wall

"As news organizations play catch up, the police embed, sometimes known as a 'ride-along,' has resurfaced in recent months as an immersive, if problematic, reporting tool: Put a photographer in a squad car for a few days or spend a day walking with a beat cop and see what happens," Nina Berman wrote Tuesday for Columbia Journalism Review.

Advertisement

Berman also wrote, "Time had a lot at stake with its August 24 cover story, 'What it’s like to be a cop in America,' set in Philadelphia's 19th police district. Freelance photographer Natalie Keyssar was assigned to spend five 12-hour days riding in the back seat of squad cars on patrol in the West Philadelphia neighborhood. . . ."

She continued later, "The better, more investigative pictures focus squarely on street interactions, where we see the power dynamics of a police stop, and the politics of those interactions through the body language and expressions of both police and civilians. Keyssar wore a bulletproof vest and, by her own admission, was 'inherently perceived as part of the police' by neighborhood residents.

Advertisement

"She used that perceived alliance to her benefit. 'What was amazing about being on the other side of the blue wall is you get to see how people look at the police, and I was very interested in these passing faces, flickers of fear, complexity on the faces of the children. That was one of the big things I was thinking about on this assignment,' she told CJR.

"Time published several of those flickering faces in an online slide show, though none appeared in the print edition. These images show the police as a kind of occupying power, closed off in their vehicles, completely separated from those outside. What we see is the gaze of residents as police power passes in front of their eyes, and this is extraordinary. . . ."

Advertisement

Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press: Name of police officer who shot man still secret after 3 years as prosecutor sits on case

Robert Lang, WBAL-AM, Baltimore: Judge Rules Freddie Gray Trials To Remain In City 

Advertisement

Mark Reutter, Baltimore Brew: Woman who accused Baltimore police of "rough ride" to be awarded $95,000

Scotsman Explores Ties With Slavery in Jamaica

"Growing up in Scotland, Stephen McLaren was drawn to a land on the other side of the Atlantic, a garden paradise he discovered years later had landscapes that reminded him of home," Fayemi Shakur wrote Wednesday for the New York Times "Lens" blog.

Advertisement

" . . . While the sun-soaked island may seem to be the polar opposite of Scotland, he would learn that it had a shared — and disturbing — heritage with his homeland, dating to an era when Scottish plantation owners built their fortunes on slave labor. . . ."

Shakur also wrote, "When Anne Lyden, photography director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, asked Document Scotland, a collective that includes Mr. McLaren, to produce a series of works in response to the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum, he decided to explore that history. Produced over two months, 'A Sweet Forgetting' revives a forgotten aspect of his country's past. . . ."

Advertisement

Short Takes

"On Monday, Tribune Publishing (TPUB) announced a new 'Employee Voluntary Separation Program' (read: buyouts) and warned that ' there may or may not be a need for additional involuntary reductions' (read: layoffs) if Tribune fails to meet its staff reduction goals," Dylan Byers reported Monday for CNNMoney.com. "The cuts will come across Tribune Publishing, which owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and some regional papers. But no paper is expected to be harder hit than the Times. At least 50 editorial positions are expected to be cut, whittling the Times newsroom down to fewer than 450 staffers, sources with knowledge of the situation said. . . ." 

Advertisement

"The archives of the monthly Black Alumni Network newsletter from 1982 to 2010 were donated to the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library by founding editor Wayne Dawkins, J-'80," Dawkins announced in the October issue of the newsletter. "The gift includes 1,500 newsletter pages, photographs, correspondence, subscription lists and other printed material. Columbia promised to organize, process, conserve and provide access to the collection. The intent of both Columbia and donor, said the Aug. 31 Deed of Gift agreement, is that 'the collection, once processed and available for use, will be open to all researchers, regardless of affiliation or other considerations.' . . ." 

"Twenty-seven women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby will speak exclusively to NBC News on Friday (Oct. 9) in a 'Dateline' special titled, 'The Cosby Accusers Speak,' . . ." EURWeb.com reported Wednesday.

Advertisement

"Earlier this week, The Herald published two opinions columns that were not only controversial but also deeply hurtful," the editorial board at the Brown Daily Herald at Brown University wrote Wednesday. "Errors in the editing process aside, we understand that these columns contained racist content that has no place in our paper or community. The first ('The white privilege of cows,' Oct. 5) was built on eugenics and invoked the notion of biological differences between races — a concept that has been repeatedly [disproved.] The second ('Columbian Exchange Day,' Oct. 6) made the racist argument that Native Americans should be thankful for colonialism (despite the massacres and erasure of peoples and histories). . . ."

A Dallas Morning News editorial Tuesday rightfully asked, "How did error confusing slaves, immigrants make it into Texas textbook?"

Advertisement

"In the year since 18-year-old Michael Brown died, a grand jury declined to indict former officer Darren Wilson and the Department of Justice followed up by clearing Wilson of a civil rights violation," Rahel Gebreyes reported Wednesday for HuffPost BlackVoices. "But according to filmmaker Jason Pollock, there are a number of issues in the case that have not received enough attention. Pollock, whose documentary 'Ferguson Cover-Up' is in the making, joined HuffPost Live on Monday to discuss why he hopes to shed a light on the details surrounding Brown's death. . . ."

In Dothan, Ala., "Dothan District 2 Commissioner Amos Newsome was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with third-degree assault following an incident which resulted in Newsome striking a television reporter twice with an open hand," Lance Griffin reported Wednesday for the Dothan Eagle. Newsome, 82, "struck WTVY reporter Ken Curtis in the face following Tuesday's Dothan City Commission meeting as Newsome was leaving to get in his van. . . ."

Advertisement

"Students and media professionals took over Rice University for a day-long journalism conference, News Gathering: Diversity in the Digital Age, on Oct. 3," Ajalee Pulley reported Monday for KPRC-TV in Houston. "The university's Multicultural Community Affairs joined forces with seven journalism advocacy groups to create this first-ever event aimed to deliver pertinent and practical information about the current affairs of journalism for future journalists and professionals. . . ."

Sunday's New York Times Magazine features its first piece from Wesley Morris in his new capacity as a Times critic at large. Morris, a black journalist, won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2012 while at the Boston Globe, and then wrote for Grantland, an ESPN site that features longform journalism. Morris' piece, posted Tuesday, is headlined, "The Year We Obsessed Over Identity: 2015's headlines and cultural events have confronted us with the malleability of racial, gender, sexual and reputational lines. Who do we think we are?"

Advertisement

Viewing of J. Whyatt Mondesire, the Philadelphia journalist and activist who died Sunday at 65, is scheduled for Oct. 13 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Savin Funeral Home, 802 N. 12th St. in Philadelphia, Bobbi Booker reported Wednesday for Philadelphia Weekly. The celebration of life is planned for 11 a.m. on Oct. 14 at Bright Hope Baptist Church, 1601 N. 12th St.

"TV One, a programmer targeting African-American viewers, has signed a distribution agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative, which will make it easier for the smaller cable providers that belong to the cooperative to add the network to their lineups," Kent Gibbons reported Wednesday for Multichannel News. "TV One, which is owned by Radio One, is in about 56 million households currently, down slightly from the start of the year. . . ."

Advertisement

"TV One will exclusively debut the remastered, high definition version of the Emmy® Award winning film ROOTS, beginning Sunday, October 18 at 8PM/ET," broadwayworld.com reported on Tuesday. "The six-part, special enhanced version of Roots, the highest rated television series, will air in its entirety during the week each night at 8PM/ET (preempted on Friday, October 23) and finale on Saturday, October 24. . . ."

"A Saudi blogger who was sentenced to prison and publicly flogged on charges that he had insulted Islam was awarded a major free-speech prize on Tuesday in London," Ashley Southall reported Tuesday for the New York Times. "The blogger, Raif Badawi, was named the international co-recipient of Britain's PEN Pinter Prize. . . . A Saudi court fined him one million riyals, about $267,000, and sentenced him to receive 1,000 lashes spread out over 20 floggings. . . ."

DISCUSSION