"A newspaper publisher who is allowing Occupy Richmond protesters to camp in his yard next door to the mayor's house was slapped Tuesday with a zoning-violation notice," Reed Williams reported Tuesday for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch.
But Raymond H. Boone, editor and publisher of the Richmond Free Press, an African American weekly, told Journal-isms, speaking of the notice, "It's vague, it's contradictory, it's counterproductive" and that he "will not put the brakes on."
In fact, Boone said, he plans to have Thanksgiving dinner on his lawn with the protesters, whom he calls his "special guests."
Williams' story continued, "The notice to Raymond H. Boone and his wife, Jean, says the property is being used for purposes that are not expressly permitted in the single-family residential zoning district.
"The notice requests immediate correction of the violation. 'Cease the unlawful use and occupancy of the property,' the notice states. 'In addition, remove the temporary sanitary facilities from the property.'
"City officials did not immediately respond to questions seeking an explanation of specifically how the property is in violation. The notice gives Boone 30 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The appeal must indicate grounds for the appeal and include a filing fee of $250."
The 30-day window prompted Boone to scoff at the notice. "It's not specific in terms of what the violations are. It gives a sense of urgency, but I have 30 days before it goes into effect." He said he did not expect that the Occupy protesters planned to stay that long, but "this gives me the incentive to keep the 30 days and go beyond."
He added that 35 to 40 protesters were on his lawn Wednesday and that some left for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Boone has compared the Occupy demonstrations to the civil rights movement, saying they put a needed spotlight on economic justice. "We need to wake up and know that we are not powerless," he said. "Money is not the only resource in politics." The others are numbers, that is votes, and "cerebral power."
Tammy D. Hawley, press secretary for Mayor Dwight C. Jones, said the action was taken by city zoning officials and was prompted by complaints from neighbors in the Brookbury subdivision in South Richmond, the Times-Dispatch said.
" 'The mayor did not initiate this action, so the mayor did not take a "low road," ' Hawley said in an email Tuesday night."
*Shartia Brantley, theGrio.com: Black Wall Streeters on the fence about Occupy
*Michael Powell, New York Times: Reporters Meet the Fists of the Law
*Brian Stelter, New York Times: News Organizations Complain About Treatment During Protests
*Kat Stoeffel, New York Observer: NYPD or City Hall: Who’s Responsible for Reporter’s Rights?
A layoff of 16 newsroom employees last week at the Orlando Sentinel included Akili Ramsess, executive photo editor and the last middle manager of color at the newspaper, Ramsess confirmed on Tuesday.
Also affected were Latina reporters Christine Show and Jeannette Rivera-Lyles, according to newsroom sources.
"It was a blessing in disguise as it's given me the opportunity to relocate back to my home in Atlanta and enjoy a much needed respite with my family," Ramsess said by email.
Ramsess, then deputy director of photography at the San Jose Mercury News, was brought to the Sentinel in 2007 amid high praise,
"Akili (pronounced [a-KEE-lee]) brings a wealth of experience as a photojournalism visionary and multimedia pioneer. During her eight years in San Jose, she directed work that won the highest honors from NPPA, POYi and SND. In 2004, she was an editor on the paper's Pulitzer finalist for feature photography, the California recall election," Bonita Burton, associate managing editor/visuals at the Sentinel, told the staff at the time. The references are to the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and the Society of News Design.
". . . Prior to San Jose, Akili was a photo editor with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for four years, which included the bombing at the 1996 Olympics. Before Atlanta, she was interim director of photography at the Valley edition of the Los Angeles Times, where she led the photo staff in the Times' Pulitzer-winning coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. She also shares in a Pulitzer for feature photography for the AP's 1992 presidential campaign."
Mark Russell, a black journalist who is the Sentinel's editor, referred questions to the company's spokeswoman, Lisa Jacobsen, with a caution that the newspaper does not comment on personnel matters. "The Sentinel remains committed to diversity in its staff and in our coverage," he said. "Our diversity enriches our coverage and makes the Sentinel a stronger news organization." Jacobsen did not respond to an email request.
Ramsess told Journal-isms, "As to my new direction, in the last few years I have been very involved in digital multimedia producing and will be looking for other opportunities in that area. In the meantime, I will be working on developing my own multimedia photography, video editing and production company, Eye of RAmsess. I will also continue my participation with NABJ's Visual Task Force and photography team leader for its Student Project," a reference to the National Association of Black Journalists.
*Steve Myers, Poynter Institute: 16 laid off from Orlando Sentinel newsroom
*Philip Walzer, Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk: Pilot Media cuts over 50 jobs amid tough economy
" 'Too often in politics, very complex subjects are being turned into sound bites, so it’s easy to take them apart,' says Christoph Niemann, this week’s cover artist," Mina Kaneko and Françoise Mouly wrote Monday for the New Yorker.
"In 'Promised Land,' he says, 'I draw a parallel between current immigrants and early settlers — the hope is that it will provide context, to help keep things in perspective. Cartoonists, not politicians, should be the ones who condense political discussions into simple images.
*Lalo Alcaraz: Thanksgiving Sunday La Cucaracha Cartoon from 2011
*Mark Anthony Rolo, Progressive Media Project: An Indian 'prayer of thanks'
*Charles Trimble, indianz.com: Thanksgiving out among the colonized people
*Vi Waln, indianz.com: A lot to be thankful for on Rosebud Sioux Reservation
*Dennis W. Zotigh, National Museum of the American Indian: Do American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?
"Huffington Post reporter Jon Ward did what reporters should do when covering political campaign ads," Peter Hart wrote Tuesday for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. "He told readers, at the top of his story, that the new Mitt Romney ad was based on a lie:
" 'The 60-second Romney ad quoted [President] Obama as saying, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." '
"It sounds like Obama is talking about his own chances in 2012. But it's actually a clip of Obama mocking his 2008 opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), for not wanting to talk about the economy in the final stretch of that election. McCain's response to the collapse of the financial sector in the fall of 2008 is widely cited as a contributing factor to his loss.
"That's a pretty astounding bit of deception. It's good that Ward is doing this, because when I read about the Romney ad in this morning's New York Times, I saw a headline that read, 'Romney Heats Up Campaign in New Hampshire With an Ad Attacking Obama.' . . . "
The Associated Press reported Wednesday, "Romney told reporters in Des Moines his campaign distributed the ad with a press release noting the words were originally from Obama's opponent.
" 'There was no hidden effort on the part of our campaign. It was instead to point out that what's sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander,' Romney said, after addressing more than 300 employees of a downtown insurance company. 'This ad points out, now, guess what, it's your turn. The same lines used on John McCain are now going to be used on you, which is that this economy is going to be your albatross.' "
*Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Michele Bachmann Demands Apology from NBC for ‘Late Night’ Song Choice
*Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Cain and the black vote: wishful thinking
*Brian E. Crowley, Columbia Journalism Review: Over-the-Top Coverage of Cain’s Gaffe in Florida
*Jordan Fabian, Univision News: Gingrich takes gamble on immigration, gets hit by GOP foes
*Ryan Lizza, New Yorker: Why Didn’t Reporters Call Romney a Liar?
*Max Perry Mueller, New Republic: Has the Mormon Church Truly Left Its Race Problems Behind?
*Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Why Gingrich is back
*The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: Romney’s Mormon Faith Likely a Factor in Primaries, Not in a General Election
*Michael D. Shear, New York Times: Democrats Cry Foul Over New Romney Ad
*Tonyaa Weathersbee, BlackAmericaWeb.com: It's Now Official: Newt Gingrich is Nuts
"South Africa's parliament has approved a contentious bill to protect state secrets that will severely constrict press freedom," Roy Greenslade wrote Wednesday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.
"It will hamper the ability of journalists to report on any information that the Johannesburg government deems to be secret.
"The legislation, which requires further steps before it becomes law, would make it a crime — punishable by lengthy prison terms — to disseminate anything that any state agency regards as classified.
"Critics argue that the Protection of State Information Bill is a throwback to the apartheid regime's harsh anti-press freedom regime.
"It has been widely opposed, with many street protests . . .
"The Mail & Guardian, an influential weekly, has illustrated the dangers to freedom of expression by publishing a story with much of the text blacked out.
"Opponents of the measure, who include white conservatives, black nationalists, church leaders, business chiefs and two Nobel laureates — Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nadine Gordimer — believe it will stifle exposure of government corruption.
"A third Nobel prize winner, Nelson Mandela, is thought to be less than delighted with the ANC government's decision too."
*Committee to Protect Journalists: South Africa lower house passes information bill
*Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the New Yorker: Black Tuesday in South Africa
*Reporters Without Borders: Will secrecy law approved by parliament end investigative journalism?
*South African National Editors' Forum: Press Statement on The Outcome [of] National Assembly Vote on The Protection of State Information Bill
"Clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo and other Egyptian cities have led to at least 17 assaults on the press over the past couple of days, including a shooting, detentions, and a beating by unidentified security personnel while in custody," the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday.
[On Thursday, Jon Jensen of Global Post reported, "A prominent Egyptian-American news commentator and activist described her detention by police following the clashes near Tahrir Square this week, saying she was beaten and sexually assaulted by security forces.
["Mona Eltahawy, a New York-based columnist and public speaker, alerted her followers on Twitter Thursday that she had been arrested by Egyptian police."
[She tweeted Thursday morning, "My left arm and right hand are broken acc to xrays."]
". . . Since Saturday, Cairo's Tahrir Square has been occupied by protesters demanding an end to military rule. They were met by security forces firing live and rubber ammunition, deploying tear gas bombs, and assaulting scores of people, according to news reports. As of Monday, at least 33 people had been killed and thousands injured as a result of the clashes, several news outlets reported."
*Naomi Hunt, International Press Institute: IPI Alarmed Over Journalist Attacks in Egypt
Soledad O'Brien caused a stir this month when she reported the fourth installment in CNN's “Black in America" series, "The New Promised Land — Silicon Valley,” which explored the proposition that while African Americans are big tech consumers, few have been able to develop viable technology businesses.
As if on cue, Ki Mae Heussner of AdWeek wrote this week that "an increasing number of journalists have stopped fantasizing and are becoming a part of the stories they used to cover," that is, becoming part of startups.
But of the five examples cited, none is African American or Hispanic. One, Rafat Ali, who launched paidContent in 2002, is of Asian background.
Mike Green, a Medford, Ore.-based black journalist who has been urging others to become tech entrepreneurs, says there is more to the story.
"There’s nothing like success to attract more success," Green wrote Tuesday on blackinnovation.org, discussing the America21 Project he co-founded.
"The America21 Project produced three successful events in rapid succession preceding its unprecedented gathering of angels and entrepreneurs at Rutgers University in mid-November.
"Silicon Valley in California and Long Island, New York served as coast-to-coast bookends on Nov. 3 and 9 respectively — surrounding the meeting of 70 local leaders in Portland, Oregon on Nov. 4, who came together at the University of Portland to discuss the establishment of a local Urban Innovation Roundtable. The UIR is slated to convene in 2012 for the purpose of implementing strategies focused on developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and job growth in disconnected sectors of Portland."
Some of those who participated at Rutgers "were immediately requested by investors to engage in private discussions regarding funding. Additionally, some were also picked up to participate in Early Stage East," a Dec. 14 event in Baltimore at which entrepreneurs can pitch ideas to venture capitalists, Green told Journal-isms by email.
He added, "Although CNN is focused on the lack of Blacks in the angel and venture capital space (and a new report just came out produced by the NVCA [National Venture Capital Association]), the issue isn't merely . . . a lack of Black representation in the risk capital space. The deeper issue is the space is foreign to Black journalists and therefore not covered to any appreciable degree, which keeps Black folks in a state of perpetual ignorance regarding the space that is responsible for virtually all job growth and wealth creation in the nation.
"I advocate for a gathering of journalists. We've had our gathering of angels. That proved successful. I'm hopeful we can repeat that success with journalists."
*Cheryl Contee (aka Jill Tubman), jackandjillpolitics.com: Black In America on CNN Sun: Is Silicon Valley Racist?
*Joel Dreyfuss, theRoot.com: Silicon Valley's Invisible Blacks
*Mike Green, Washington Post: Black America needs angels to create entrepreneurs, not Superman
*Nick Leiber, Bloomberg Businessweek: Improving Minority Entrepreneurs' Access to Angel Capital
*Frank McCoy, theRoot.com: TechCrunch Founder's Black Amnesia
*Kelly Virella, dominionofnewyork.com: How to Build a Black Silicon Valley?
"So much media attention rightly has been focused on the growth and influence of the Hispanic marketplace, given the results of the 2010 U.S. Census. But that’s no reason for cable programmers, marketers and advertisers to sleep on the still-emerging African-American community," R. Thomas Umstead wrote Tuesday for Multichannel News.
"While its population growth hasn’t been as explosive as that of the Hispanic community, cable programmers and advertisers shouldn’t ignore some 43 million African-Americans who, as a group, watch more than 40% more television than anyone else in America and are projected to have a collective buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau’s new website highlighting research on African-American viewers, reachingblackconsumers.com.
". . . At the forefront of the community is arguably its lifeblood, African-American women. As this week’s cover story outlines, the demographic is just now getting the 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T' that Aretha Franklin sang about from cable networks and advertisers who are recognizing the collective value of the demo and its overall influence in the black community.
"Ratings for some of the top reality and scripted shows on BET, TV One, VH1 and Bravo are driven by African-American women, who watch twice as much TV in a given week than their Hispanic female counterparts and 25% more than white female viewers."
*In Cleveland, "Stacey Bell says goodbye to WJW Channel 8 viewers with Wednesday's edition of 'Fox 8 News at Ten,' " Mark Dawidziak wrote Tuesday for the Plain Dealer. "She is leaving the Cleveland Fox affiliate to join her husband, New York Jets running back coach Anthony Lynn, in New Jersey. Bell has been with Channel 8 for 13 years, joining the station as a reporter for 'Fox 8 News in The Morning.' She was named co-anchor of "Fox 8 News at Five' in 2000. She was named co-anchor of 'Fox 8 News at Ten' in 2005." The station posted a tribute.
*Mary Hudetz, a member of the Crow Tribe and an editor on the Associated Press' West Regional Desk in Phoenix, and Robert L. Ortiz, an enrolled member of the Taos Pueblo Indian Tribe in Taos Pueblo, N.M., have been named to the Native American Journalists Association board of directors, the association announced. Board president Darla Leslie and member Brent Merrill resigned this month citing concern over the organization's finances. Ortiz has been with the Southern Ute Drum, the tribal newspaper of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, in Ignacio, Colo., for 11 years and is the composition technician, in charge of production — design and layout of the newspaper, the announcement said.
*In Minneapolis, "WCCO has attempted to scrub any evidence of its notorious Chinatown dog meat story from the internet. Well, we’ve got the video and here it is," Andrew Gauthier wrote Tuesday for TVSpy. In the words of the New York Post this month, New York "State inspectors raided a Chinatown meat market after a crusading Minneapolis TV newsman confused dogs and ducks and reported that Fido might wind up on somebody’s dinner plate."
*In El Paso, Texas, "Lauren Macias-Cervantes, a familiar name among local media circles, has been named the news director of KTSM/KDBC. She starts Dec. 5," the El Paso Times reported on Tuesday. "Macias-Cervantes will replace Hollis Grizzard, who recently announced he's leaving the station at the end of the year." "After 11 wonderful years in Seattle… I'm leaving Q13 and moving home to Houston," Lily Jang, co-anchor at KCPQ-TV, wrote this week on her Facebook page. "My immigrant parents worked their entire lives for my brother and me and gave us our American dreams. Now that dad's facing Parkinson's, I'm leavng a job I love for my family that comes first. The next chapter is still unwritten…."
*"When news breaks in Nigeria, Omoyele Sowore is there. His Web news operation was the first to publish a photo of the Nigeria-born 'underwear bomber' arrested in December 2009, and when a suicide bombing this summer shook a United Nations building in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, he was the first to publish on-the-ground reports and photos," Brendan Spiegel reported Saturday for the New York Times. ". . . Mr. Sowore, 40, is not based in Abuja, Lagos or anywhere nearby, but in a cluttered seventh-floor office on a gritty stretch of West 29th Street in Manhattan. Armed with a laptop and a server, he has established his Web site, Sahara Reporters, as a major player in the Nigerian press, despite being 5,000 miles away."
*"The Chicago Police Department is investigating a Loyola University journalism professor's complaint that police detained him and deleted footage of an arrest he was filming," J.C. Derrick reported for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "Ralph Braseth, who said he is a credentialed journalist, was arrested on Nov. 12 while he himself was filming the arrest of a young black man who had jumped a turnstile at a subway station. Police spotted Braseth, who was about 40 feet away recording the incident for a documentary on urban black teens, and promptly arrested him for 'obstructing an investigation,' the journalism professor said."
*"Detained without charge for 18 days, tortured, and released without explanation, South Sudanese journalist Peter Ngor plans to fight back," Tom Rhodes wrote Tuesday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. ". . . On November 1, security agents arrested Ngor and detained him at the national security headquarters in the interim capital, Juba. . . . For the next 18 days, Ngor said, security agents tortured him with repeated beatings. Someone walked on his back. They forced him to stand for two days straight.. . . "
*"Two years ago today, 32 journalists, along with 26 civilians, were slaughtered on a grassy hilltop in the Philippine province of Maguindanao. A convoy of supporters of a local gubernatorial hopeful, Ismael Mangudadatu, had been on its way that morning to file Mr. Mangudadatu’s official candidacy papers," Scott Griffen wrote Tuesday for the International Press Institute. Reporters Without Borders said it "reiterates its full support for the families of the victims and voices its concern about the continuing impunity and the judicial system’s slowness."
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.