Roland Martin Out at CNN

Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Roland Martin told his Twitter followers Tuesday that his last day as a CNN commentator will be April 6, ending speculation about his fate under new CNN President Jeff Zucker.


"Roland I am really missing not hearing your view point on @CNN," a Twitter follower wrote. Martin replied, "Sorry. Can't book myself. My last day at @cnn is April 6."

Responding to a tweeter's question about why he is leaving the network, Martin explained that the "new boss wants his own peeps," referring to Zucker and the recent wave of changes at the network.

Martin sent this message to Journal-isms:

"My agents notified me that they had been informed that at the conclusion of the two month extension granted in February, my last day at CNN would be April 6.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my little over six years there. There are many folks I will miss dearly, especially wonderful colleagues like Josanne Lopez, Soledad O'Brien, Ali Velshi, and so many bookers and producers.

"But I also miss the folks I tried to speak for and represent the most when I was on the air: the men and the women who worked on the crew; the security guards; and even the janitorial workers. Those were the people I most spoke for; those were the people who would cheer me on as I walked down the streets, in the grocery store; and at airports.


"I have had the likes of Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Spike Lee, Halle Berry, and others in sports and entertainment thank me for being an unwavering and unapologetic voice of truth, and unwilling to back down when someone needed to stand up.

"Before I signed with CNN, I sat in the lobby of 1 Time Warner Center and said, 'God, if it's your will to be here, then so be it.' I said the same these last two months.


"I've worked hard to ensure that my voice wasn't heard in one place. I will continue with my show on TV One, a network I was with before CNN; will continue my daily segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show; and will continue my nationally syndicated column.

"In my final days at CNN when I'm on the air, I will to do as the Tuskegee Airmen did, fight to the last hour, last minute, last second, for what is right. And I will do that as long as there is breath in my body."


CNN has increasingly turned to Van Jones, former Obama administration "green czar," as its African American male commentator during special events.

LISTEN: Roland Martin Talks With Eric Deggans About The State Of The Media; African American News Consumption (audio)


"Difficult Year at Best" for African-American Media

"The story about how African American-oriented news media coped last year was a difficult one at best," Emily Guskin, Amy Mitchell and Mark Jurkowitz reported in a section of "The State of American Media."


They said in "African American: A Year of Turmoil and Opportunity":

"In the newspaper sector, many historic African American publications both lost circulation and struggled to find advertising revenue. The Chicago Defender, for example, declined in circulation and laid off two editors because of reduced advertising.


"On television, a platform African Americans turn to for news at even greater rates than Americans over all, news continues to fight for a place in African American programming.

"While several new channels geared toward African Americans emerged in 2012, only one of them planned any news content. Still, BET, the most popular channel geared toward a black audience, gave a news talk show yet another try and TV One, another channel aimed at African Americans, partnered with NBC in coverage of the 2012 presidential election.


"In radio, African American voices became even scarcer in 2012. Black-owned radio stations continued to wither in number and several programs hosted by major African American personalities went off the air. The year also witnessed the consolidation of two of the largest black radio networks," referring to Radio One, Inc.'s consolidation of its Syndication One Urban programming line-up with Reach Media, Inc.

"As traditional media become more difficult to maintain, the digital world offered some hope. African American-oriented websites continue to develop, and survey data suggest, moreover, that African Americans are more likely than web users over all to access social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.


"The handful of African American magazines that carry at least some news had different stories to tell in 2012. One of the most popular, Ebony, enjoyed a solid rebound after years of decreasing circulation, but other magazines did not fare nearly as well. . . ."

David Bauder, Associated Press: Pew State Of The Media Study: Journalism Cutbacks Are Driving Consumers Away


Andrew Beaujon, Poynter Institute: Nearly one-third of U.S. adults have abandoned a news outlet due to dissatisfaction

Eric Deggans, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times: State of the News Media study reveals less reporting power, less content and more disappointed consumers


John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable: Pew Study: News Consumers Turned Off By Coverage Cutbacks

Matthew Schwartz, PR News: What shrinking newsrooms means for media relations

Derek Thompson, the Atlantic: This Is the Scariest Statistic About the Newspaper Business Today


Meenal Vamburkar, Mediaite: MSNBC Coverage Almost Entirely Opinionated, While Fox News Includes More Factual Reporting, Study Says

Early One-Third in Survey Report Deserting News Outlet

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Monday documented "a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands.


"And findings from our new public opinion survey released in this report reveal that the public is taking notice. Nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to."

"The State of the News Media 2013 — An Annual Report on American Journalism" continued, "At the same time, newsmakers and others with information they want to put into the public arena have become more adept at using digital technology and social media to do so on their own, without any filter by the traditional media. They are also seeing more success in getting their message into the traditional media narrative.


"So far, this trend has emerged most clearly in the political sphere, particularly with the biggest story of 2012 — the presidential election.

"A Pew Research Center analysis revealed that campaign reporters were acting primarily as megaphones, rather than as investigators, of the assertions put forward by the candidates and other political partisans. That meant more direct relaying of assertions made by the campaigns and less reporting by journalists to interpret and contextualize them. . . ."


The report identified six major trends:

"The effects of a decade of newsroom cutbacks are real – and the public is taking notice.


"The news industry continues to lose out on the bulk of new digital advertising.

"The long-dormant sponsorship ad category is seeing sharp growth.

"The growth of paid digital content experiments may have a significant impact on both news revenue and content.


"While the first and hardest-hit industry, newspapers, remains in the spotlight, local TV finds itself newly vulnerable.

"Hearing about things in the news from friends and family, whether via social media or actual word of mouth, leads to deeper news consumption."


Film on Latino Immigration Seeking National TV Audience

The makers of "Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America," a documentary about the reasons behind Latino immigration to the U.S. mainland, are seeking a television network outlet even as the film wends its way around the country in movie theaters, one of the principals told Journal-isms on Monday.


"We decided to do the theatrical release first to generate buzz," Wendy Thompson-Marquez, a co-producer of the film, said. "We are currently reaching out to several networks in hopes to get some carriage."

"Harvest of Empire," based on a 1999 book by Juan Gonzalez, columnist for the Daily News in New York, co-host of Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" and founder and past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, tells the story of migration to the mainland United States from Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.


Gonzalez serves as the film's narrator. The documentary makes liberal use of news footage from the past few decades in making the case that U.S. intervention in each jurisdiction created the conditions that caused residents to emigrate.

It is a useful primer, especially for journalists, and such reporters as Maria Hinojosa, Gonzalez and Geraldo Rivera are among the participants.


The movie's current tour, which began March 1 in Phoenix, opens in San Diego on March 22; in Denver April 6; Chicago, April 19; Houston, May 3; and Philadelphia on a date to date to be determined. It began a run in Washington on Friday, through March 28, and has played in New York; Santa Fe, N.M.; San Francisco; and Berkeley, Calif.

" 'Harvest of Empire' has a journalistic pedigree and a punch that comes from political advocacy," Rachel Saltz wrote last September in the New York Times.


Associated Press: Many Latinos Do Not Identify With Current Census' Race Categories

José de la Isla, Hispanic Link News Service: Harvest of Empire's Healing Power [PDF] (August 2012) (Page 2, El Reportero)


Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: 'Harvest of Empire' review: On immigration

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post: Connecting dots on immigration

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: For Latinos, a left-behind feeling


Eddie Pasa, Reel Film News: Movie Review: Harvest of Empire

Marisa Treviño, Latina Lista: Documentary explores the volatile history of Latino migration to the United States (Sept. 7, 2012)


CNN Criticized for Steubenville Rape Coverage

"CNN's coverage of the verdict in the Steubenville rape case appeared to be curiously weighted on Sunday, focusing on the effect the guilty verdict would have on the lives of the now-convicted rapists and their families, rather than that of the victim and her family," Kia Makarechi reported for the Huffington Post.


"Steubenville High School football players Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, were accused of raping a severely intoxicated 16-year-old West Virginia girl who also attends the Ohio school. Thousands of text messages introduced in the case presented a picture of teens swapping graphic stories about the assault.

"In a Sunday afternoon segment, anchor Fredricka Whitfield followed the straight news of the guilty verdict (which she described as rape occurring 'after a night of heavy partying') by showing the rapists' parents' weeping in court. Footage of Richmond, his mother and father offering emotional appeals to the victim's family dominated the segment.


"Whitfield threw the story to reporter Poppy Harlow, but not before reiterating that Mays and Richmond's 'family members tried their hardest to plead for some forgiveness from the victim's family, as well as from the judge. . . .' "

Huffington Post: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC Air Name Of Steubenville Rape Victim

Zerlina Maxwell, the Grio: Steubenville case: Why acquaintance rape is not a myth


Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post: CNN's Steubenville Rape Coverage Draws Petition Demanding Apology

Andy Moore, The Onion Scarily Predicted CNN's Coverage of the Steubenville Rapists


Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, ESPN Radio: His & Hers: Michael Smith and Jemele Hill have a candid conversation about the Steubenville rape verdict with LZ Granderson and Katie Hnida. (audio)

Philadelphia Magazine Editor Faces Critics at Forum

"Philadelphia Magazine editor Tom McGrath and Robert Huber, author of the controversial 'Being White in Philly' cover story, faced their critics at a forum Monday night at the National Constitution Center," Robert Moran reported for the Philadelphia Inquirer.


"McGrath opened by saying he was sorry to anybody who was hurt by the article because that was not his intent, but he did not regret publishing the story.

"Huber told the packed auditorium of about 200 that the purpose of the article was to explore 'how white people relate to black people in the inner city, or don't relate to them.'


"In his piece, Huber wrote: 'We need to bridge the conversational divide so that there are no longer two private dialogues in Philadelphia — white people talking to other whites, and black people to blacks — but a city in which it is okay to speak openly about race."

"The cover story, however, was criticized for dwelling on negative experiences that whites had with blacks that often fit into racial stereotypes.


"In a scathing letter, Mayor [Michael] Nutter last week requested that the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission consider whether the magazine and Huber deserve to be rebuked for the article.

"Nutter said Huber ignored positive anecdotes 'to feed his own misguided perception' that African Americans are 'lazy, shiftless, irresponsible, and largely criminal.'


"McGrath served as a moderator for a panel that included Huber, journalists Solomon Jones and Christopher Norris, People's Emergency Center president Farah Jimenez, and University of Pennsylvania lecturer Walter Palmer, who teaches about racism and social change."

The story added, "When Editor Tom McGrath was questioned about his staff's lack of diversity, he replied: 'I'm committed to having a more diverse staff' and 'I am committed to do something.' "


Jenice Armstrong, Philadelphia Daily News: Human Relations Commission disappointed with "Being White in Philly" article

Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Being happy at Philly Mag, and searching for a time machine for CPAC.


Editorial, Philadelphia Tribune: Race-baiting at Philly Magazine

Robert Moran, Philadelphia Inquirer: Nutter goes after Philadelphia Magazine over race article


Adrienne Simpson, Philadelphia Inquirer: The only black person in the room

Linda S. Wallace, Tri-State Defender, Memphis, Tenn.: 'Being White in Philly'

Some Blacks Make Self-Defense Case for Guns

"While African-Americans on either side of the debate agree gun violence is a scourge in the inner-city, they disagree on another vital fact: whether gun control hurts more than it helps," Claire Gordon wrote Monday for HuffPost BlackVoices.


Gordon quoted Yale University sociology professor Elijah Anderson, "These black people living in these hyper-ghettos feel like they're on their own." Anderson is author of the classic "Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City" and has spent most of his adult life studying these communities.

" 'To protect yourself from criminals, to protect your daughter, to protect your son, you have to show this person in no uncertain terms that if the police don't deal with you, I'll deal with you. I'll kick your ass,' he told The Huffington Post. 'This is a decent person who goes to church. An old lady who's 65 years old, who has a gun.'


"For many black gun rights activists, policies that disarm minorities eerily echo old racist claims that blacks were unfit for citizenship. Throughout the country's history, it's been harder for minorities to get their hands on firearms. . . ."

Melissa Block, NPR: Among Thousands Of Gun Deaths, Only One Charles Foster Jr.

Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune: A community under siege by crime

Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle: Oakland gang raids may be 1st of many

Chip Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle: Oakland's crime plan off to good start (March 7)


Tom Joyner, Black America Web: Follow The Money, It’s in the NRA's Pockets

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: People should get angry over gangs killing innocent people


Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press: Chicago's violent streets offer lessons for Detroit

Columnist Says Fix Is In: Affirmative Action for Whites

"Waiting for the Supreme Court ruling in Fisher? Forget it. The fix is in," Emil Guillermo wrote Monday on his blog for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. "Affirmative Action for Whites is coming as more colleges use class to trump race in college admissions.


"Didn't you read the front page of the New York Times on Sunday?

"The right column front is always where editors place 'the big story,' and there on the right column was the story on the new report that is likely to redefine affirmative action as it's practiced now — regardless of what the Supreme Court does on the Fisher case.


"The headline, 'Better Colleges Failing to Lure Poorer Strivers,' (that's the slightly different headline in my national edition), and its subhead, 'Qualified but Unaware; Study Says Most Don't Apply Despite Skills, Hurting Diversity,' isn't exactly as earth shattering as, say, 'Budget issues solved; GOP comes to its senses; World Peace next."

"But you'd understand it to be front page news, if they just gave the news to us straight: 'Influential report to become new justification for affirmative action — for white people.'


"That's a big deal.

"The comprehensive national study by two longtime Harvard and Stanford researchers analyzed everyone who took the SAT recently.


"What they found was that only 34 percent of low-income students (defined as students from families with incomes under $41,472) attended the country's 238 most selective colleges.

"Meanwhile, 78 percent of students from families earning more than $120,776, attended the best schools. . . . "


Esther J. Cepeda, Washington Post Writers Group: Chasing diversity in education (Feb. 28)

Nikole Hannah-Jones, ProPublica: A Colorblind Constitution: What Abigail Fisher’s Affirmative Action Case Is Really About


David Leonhardt, New York Times: The Liberals Against Affirmative Action (March 9)

Julianne Malveaux, syndicated: Black Unemployment has Not Improved

Ari Melber, the Grio: What the New York Times gets wrong about affirmative action


Dan Slater, New York Times: Does Affirmative Action Do What It Should?

Pundits Differ Over Crackdown on Sugary Soft Drinks

"As obesity and diabetes batter African-American and Latino communities, advocacy groups should be a fortress against the efforts by soda companies to defeat legislation to tax or place limits on their products," Derrick Z. Jackson wrote Saturday for the Boston Globe. "Instead, too many of them are allies of the soda industry.


"The most recent example was this week, when a New York state judge struck down the 16-ounce limit on sugary drinks about to go into effect in New York City. Joining the beverage industry in opposing the law was the New York state chapter of the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, a Northeast coalition of community service agencies.

"The organizations said the law discriminated against small-business owners of color. They did have a small point because regulatory limits exempted supermarkets and convenience stores. But if civil rights groups were truly concerned about obesity, they would have appealed to convenience stores to voluntarily join the ban. . . ."


Other columnists of color disagreed. Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote in the Miami Herald that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban was "the very definition of liberalism run amok, a good idea (people should limit their intake of sugary soft drinks) driven headlong into the weeds of overkill, over regulation and basic preposterousness. The resemblance to conservative extremism and its resort to unwieldy laws to govern behaviors it disapproves (did someone say transvaginal ultrasound?), is doubtless unintended, but no less real even so. . . ."

Hillary Crosley, the Root: Keep the Big-Soda Ban and Live Longer

Merlene Davis, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader: We need to curb our cravings for 'death food'


Emil Guillermo blog, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: New York's Soda Ban: When good ideas become bad laws

Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe: FDA must act on sugar, salt

Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: For Duke professor, New York's big soda ban didn't go far enough


Three Hired at CNN

Pamela Brown, left, George Howell and Alina Machado have joined CNN as correspondents, the network announced Monday. "Brown will report primarily for CNN's new morning program and will be based in New York. Howell will report for the network and will be based out of Chicago. Machado will report for CNN, CNN en Español and CNN Latino, and will be based in Atlanta." (Credit: CNN)


Short Takes

Steve Coll, a former managing editor at the Washington Post, was named Monday as dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Among the people of color on the search committee were A'Lelia Bundles, a vice chairman of the board of trustees; faculty members Howard French, Duy Linh Tu, Mirta Ojito and Sree Sreenivasan, who is also Columbia's chief digital officer; graduate student KC Ifeanyi; and Tim Wu, faculty member at Columbia Law School. Coll succeeds Nicholas Lemann on July 1.


"Since President Obama came to the White House in 2009, federal regulatory and science agencies have taken measurable steps — on paper, at least — toward improving their relationships with the press, according to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)," Curtis Brainard reported Friday for Columbia Journalism Review. He added, "Even so, not everybody made the honor roll, and the report stressed that practice doesn't always live up to policy in some offices. . ."

"MundoFox has decided to expand its national news coverage starting today," Veronica Villafañe reported Monday for her Media Moves site. "A new nightly weekday edition of Noticias MundoFox premieres tonight at 10:30 pm ET/PT. Rolando Nichols will also anchor the evening newscast. . . . "


Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez figured in a report by Erik Maza in Women's Wear Daily last week on best and worst sellers at the newsstand. The November issue of Vogue with Rihanna on the cover was Vogue's second worst seller of the time period, 32 percent below the six-month average that ended in December. At In Style, Lopez was hot: She took the number-two ranking for her September cover. Meanwhile, some are using first lady Michelle Obama's second Vogue cover appearance, for the April 2013 issue, as an occasion to attack her for a range of reasons, Alexis Garrett Stodghill reported Thursday for the Grio.

"NBC Sports Radio announced today that weekend talker Newy Scruggs will expand his duties with a new show premiering April 1st," RadioInk reported Monday. "Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs will air during the 12noon-3p ET Monday-Friday slot. Scruggs is the Sports Director and weeknight sports anchor at KXAS-TV (NBC 5) in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. NBC Sports Radio will launch its full 24/7 talk programming on April 1. . . ."


Kelly Virella, who founded a New York-based digital magazine, Dominion of New York, is starting the Urban Thinker, a "monthly thought magazine featuring America's best black writers and their friends. We explore current affairs and personal narratives through well-crafted, in-depth writing and showpiece photography and we host salons and other social events for our readers. We are set to launch in May 2013 and will be available on tablets, smartphones and desktops. . . ."

The two-part "180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School," tells the story of Washington Metropolitan High School (DC Met) and its first graduating class, and premieres on PBS March 25 and 26 . Check local listings. Jacquie Jones, executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium, told Journal-isms by email, "whether or not you should watch really depends on how interested you are in the top-down, privately-funded school reform 'movement' currently shaping our national education policy and the impact it's having on black and brown children. . . . 180 Days was imagined as a kind of counterpoint to films — such as Waiting for 'Superman' or The Lottery — highlighting instead the voices and experiences of the kids, teachers, principals and parents who are actually on the front lines of all of this." Jones wrote a piece for Tuesday's Huffington Post.


Jeff Ballou, Al Jazeera producer, is shown next to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in photos accompanying reports of Priebus' National Press Club appearance Monday. Ballou organized the event as part of the speakers committee and a member of the club's board of governors. " Priebus said Republican policies were sound, but he portrayed a conservative party that had been outmaneuvered strategically and that had sometimes appeared intolerant of women, minorities and others in a heated campaign season," Susan Heavey reported for Reuters.

"Seven former members of the former secret service in Colombia, the Administrative Department for Security (DAS), face charges of  'psychological torture and intimidation' inflicted on prominent journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, the office of the national human rights prosecutor announced on 10 March," the International Federation of Journalists reported Friday, welcoming the charges.


"A Somali judge on Sunday freed a journalist who was jailed last month for interviewing an alleged gang-rape victim in a case that sparked international condemnation over how Somali authorities treat victims of sexual violence and press freedom," Feisal Omar reported Sunday for Reuters.

"Hugo Chavez may be dead, but the offensive he led against democratic institutions in Venezuela and across Latin America has not slackened. In fact, it may be accelerating, especially with regard to independent media," the Washington Post editorialized on Saturday. The Post called for resistance to efforts by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, "who aspires to replace Mr. Chavez at the head of the region's anti-democratic left," to defund "the most valuable institution of the Organization of American States . . . its independent Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its rapporteur on press freedom."


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