Koran-Hating Church Tells Paper to Get Out
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun ran this cartoon Wednesday by Christo Komamitski of Bulgaria.
A request at the Dove World Outreach Center to talk with center founder Terry Jones was met with an order to leave church property, the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun reported on Wednesday. The Dove center, located in Gainesville, plans to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
" 'The Gainesville Sun is no longer welcome here,' a church official said, although media outlets from all over the state and nation were allowed to stay.
"Following a series of stories by The Gainesville Sun on the church throughout the past year, Dove World recently lost tax-free status on part of its property because the church runs a for-profit business in an adjacent building.
"The entire property is for sale."
"In the name of human decency, they can choose to cancel their plan," the Sun editorialized on Wednesday.
"In the name of patriotism they can choose not to endanger our troops.
"In the name of God they can choose to follow Christ's teachings and love, not hate, their neighbors."
A news story in the Sun reported, "Local leaders, including University of Florida President Bernard Machen and Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe (whom Dove World has targeted because he is gay), along with an interfaith group, have uniformly spoken out against Jones' plans. They say burning a Quran would put residents' lives in danger, including the 90,000 people expected to attend Saturday's football game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium between UF and the University of South Florida.
"While the mainstream media picked up on Dove World's most recent story first, social websites also have a piece of the pie. Dove World's Facebook page dedicated to 'International Burn a Koran Day' has 8,578 fans, although some people who have 'liked' the site have posted comments protesting the planned burning. Another page, 'Against International Burn a Koran Day,' has more than 16,500 followers, while 'Burn the Dove World Outreach Center' has four people who like the page.
- CNN: Obama says Quran burning is 'recruitment bonanza' for al Qaeda [Sept. 9]
- Rick Horowitz, Huffington Post: P is for Pastor. (Also for Poison)
- Howard Kurtz, Washington Post: Koran Bonfire: Fanning the Flames [Sept. 9]
"We are proceeding with the community center, Cordoba House," Feisal Abdul Rauf, imam of the Farah mosque in Lower Manhattan, wrote on Wednesday's New York Times op-ed page. "More important, we are doing so with the support of the downtown community, government at all levels and leaders from across the religious spectrum, who will be our partners. I am convinced that it is the right thing to do for many reasons.
"Above all, the project will amplify the multifaith approach that the Cordoba Initiative has deployed in concrete ways for years. Our name, Cordoba, was inspired by the city in Spain where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the Middle Ages during a period of great cultural enrichment created by Muslims. Our initiative is intended to cultivate understanding among all religions and cultures," he said of the center that has drawn opposition because of its proximity to Ground Zero.
Rauf, who had been abroad for the last two weeks representing the United States on a State Department tour in the Middle East, said he had not spoken out sooner because, "I felt that it would not be right to comment from abroad. It would be better if I addressed these issues once I returned home to America, and after I could confer with leaders of other faiths who have been deliberating with us over this project. My life‚Äôs work has been focused on building bridges between religious groups and never has that been as important as it is now."
He was also scheduled to be interviewed on CNN Wednesday night by Soledad O'Brien.
- Zaheer Ali, theRoot.com: Islamophobia Did Not Start at Ground Zero
- Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star: On anniversary of 9/11 attacks, focus on peace, healing
- Earl Ofari Hutchinson, syndicated: Farrakhan Endorsement Makes Ground Zero Mosque Backers Squirm
- Afi-Odelia Scruggs, theRoot.com: What Is the Difference Between Sunni, Shiite and Sufi Muslims?
- Wendi C. Thomas, Memphis Commercial Appeal: Annual Ramadan Interfaith Dinner softens religious divisions
The new management team at Johnson Publishing Co. plans to "take a minute" to develop a new strategy for the company, evaluating its personnel and the content of Ebony and Jet magazines before moving in its chosen direction at the beginning of the year, the company's new marketing director said on Wednesday.
"I need to pull together an overall strategy for all the pieces," Rodrigo A. Sierra, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, told Journal-isms.
Sierra was the first person hired by Desiree Rogers, the business executive and former White House social secretary, when she became the new CEO last month. He spoke after the departure of four executives in recent weeks: Eric Easter, who left a week ago as as vice president ‚Äî digital and entertainment; Wendy E. Parks, assistant director ‚Äî corporate communications and PR; Lisa M. Butler, assistant vice president ‚Äî licensing & consumer products; and Tanya Hines, senior vice president ‚Äî integrated sales and marketing.
Sierra, 49, worked with Rogers at Peoples Gas in Chicago when she headed that company and was a board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in the early 1990s. A former radio reporter for Chicago's WGN and a manager with ABC Radio in New York, Sierra chaired the 1996 NAHJ convention in Chicago, where then-first lady Hillary Clinton spoke.
In a telephone interview, Sierra pledged that Jet and Ebony would be "recharged and reenergized," topical and relevant, and would provide journalists with "unique content that will help them think through local stories they are writing and developing." For example, he cited the October issue's twin pieces on "Is black leadership dead?" by social commentators Kevin Powell and Michael Eric Dyson. September's issue featured an interview with President Obama and a series on education, to be continued in partnership with NBC.
Writers will be paid, he said, responding to an observation that some had been asked to write for free. "The company has to survive, but you've also got to take care of your employees," he said. They "have to get paid and get the right benefits."
Asked how Rogers is operating as CEO, Sierra said she "pays attention to everything. She watches details very closely. She asks a lot of questions" and wants to create a workplace where "people do their absolute best work every time."
The new strategy for the company "may or may not" involve new people, he said. "A lot of people on the staff may or may not be in the right role." It might be necessary to bring in "a different kind of talent" or to contract out some work out, he added.
A key piece of the company's strategy will be its digital efforts, which he now supervises. Easter's arrival in 2007 signaled an effort to enter the digital arena in a serious way, but the four-member digital unit was consistently understaffed and underresourced.
"Digital has not been where it needed to be for the company," Sierra said. "I don't think that Johnson Publishing Co. has done a good enough job" with the digital efforts "to move the brand forward and monetize that side of the business." He said he also wanted to consider how deeply to become involved in social media.
Sierra also said he wanted the publications, which launched after World War II, to get "back to basics" yet remain relevant to new generations. He pointed to the September issue's perennial feature on campus queens at historically black colleges and universities, noting that this year the queens had to submit videos of themselves.
In ‚ÄúSilencio o muerte," Mexican crime reporter Luis Horacio N?°jera recounts his work in embattled Ciudad Ju?°rez and the threats that forced him to move his family north. (Video)
"In 2004, I traveled to Tijuana to carry out a CPJ investigation into the murder of my friend and colleague Francisco Ortiz Franco, an editor at the muckraking newsweekly Zeta," Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said Wednesday in the preface to a new report from the committee, "Silence or Death in Mexico's Press."
"In the course of my reporting, I came to understand the new ways in which rival cartels were using the media to further their illicit interests.
"First, they suppressed stories about their own violence while paying journalists to play up the savagery of their rivals. More important, they used the media to damage competing operations by planting stories about corrupt officials. The impact of these stories was profound; a corrupt police chief in whom one cartel had invested huge sums might be forced to resign. And not all the journalists who played the game were corrupt. They didn‚Äôt know that their sources, often in law enforcement, were working as public relations agents for the cartels. In the ensuing years, competing cartels throughout the country developed aggressive media tactics. They use corrupt journalists as a key component in their all-out battle for control of the 'plaza,' as the narcos call the drug market.
"The traffickers rely on media outlets they control to discredit their rivals, expose corrupt officials working for competing cartels, defend themselves against government allegations, and influence public opinion. They use the media in a manner not that different from that of a traditional political party ‚Äî except they are willing to use deadly means to attain their public relations goals. It is unsurprising then that as the drug war has intensified, violence against the press has escalated. U.S. correspondents, once ignored, are threatened regularly now."
Simon wrote that "More than 30 journalists have been murdered or have gone missing since December 2006, when President Felipe Calder??n Hinojosa came to power. CPJ has confirmed that at least eight of these journalists were killed in direct reprisal for their work."
"Consistently cover the issue of violence against the media. Treat attacks against journalists, even those from competing news organizations, as worthy of news coverage. Speak out against attacks on the press in on-air commentary and editorial pages."
And this for the U.S. government:
"Ensure that the issue of violence against the press in Mexico is regularly addressed as part of bilateral communications. President Barack Obama and high-ranking officials of his administration should make clear that the United States has deep concern about pervasive violence against the Mexican press and considers the issue to be a priority."
- Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Mexico's drug problems are ours, and vice versa
- Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Fewer illegal immigrants, but more anti-immigrant fury
A new outfit calling itself the nation‚Äôs first nonprofit, digital and bilingual investigative journalism organization has received $100,000 from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the recipient, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, said on Tuesday.
The center said its mission is to work in Florida‚Äôs public interest by exposing corruption, waste and miscarriages of justice. Sharon Rosenhause, retired managing editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, is president of its board of directors.
The organization‚Äôs founding editors and reporters are Mc Nelly Torres and Trevor Aaronson, who are to serve as the associate directors. Torres, a board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, has worked at the Sun-Sentinel and San Antonio Express-News. Aaronson, an investigative reporting fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, has worked at the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and Village Voice Media in South Florida.
"In addition to the $100,000 Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation grant, FCIR has received project grants from the Washington, D.C.-based Fund for Investigative Journalism for individual stories being worked on by Torres and Aaronson," an announcement said.
"FCIR will begin publishing investigative journalism later this year."
A new Web-based public policy journal that "will feature original, long-form reporting across a broad range of domestic public policy issues, taking seriously the idea that the job of journalists is to question and illuminate" plans to launch Oct. 12, its editor, Craig Gurian, said Wednesday.
Gurian put out a call for "reporters who want to do serious, high-quality, non-partisan, long-form journalism." The journal, Remapping Debate, is sponsored by the Anti-Discrimination Center, a "small but highly successful not-for-profit that is perhaps best known for its historic housing desegregation victory over Westchester County," N.Y., last year.
"Among our staff will be Diana Jean Schemo, a long-time veteran of the New York Times who has most recently published a book on the Air Force Academy entitled 'Skies to Conquer,' and Greg Marx, most recently an Assistant Editor at the Columbia Journalism Review. We will also be getting regular contributions from David Cay Johnston, the Pulitzer-prize winning reporter who now teaches the history of tax and regulation at Syracuse University College of Law, and who has published the best-selling books 'Free Lunch' and 'Perfectly Legal.' "
The job listings conclude with, "We affirmatively encourage applications from journalists who are members of one or more protected class groups that have traditionally been under-represented in the news business."
"The McGraw-Hill Companies 2010 Personal Finance Journalism Awards will go to journalists from Mercado De Dinero, Telemundo and The Hartford Guardian for coverage of consumer debt and the housing crisis," the Washington-based International Center for Journalists announced on Wednesday.
"The journalists were among 30 reporters who participated in a 12-week online program, taught in English and Spanish. The program sought to provide in-depth knowledge of consumer finance issues of particular importance to minority communities.
- "First Place: Elizabeth Ostos for her article 'Credit consolidation in a country in debt' in monthly newspaper Mercado de Dinero. The article illustrates the credit crisis in the United States through the lens of an immigrant family.
- "Second Place: Carlos Rajo of Telemundo, Los Angeles, for his article 'A House of Their Own: Is the American Dream too Expensive?' Rajo explains how the mortgage crisis has changed the perception of home ownership among the Hispanic community.
- "Third Place: Ann Marie Adams of The Hartford Guardian for her story 'Losing Ground: Foreclosure Rate Higher Among Minority Homeowners.' Adams details the particular hardships faced by minority homeowners in Connecticut facing foreclosure."
The Atlanta alternative newspaper Creative Loafing, published in the city often called a mecca for the black middle class, ran a cover and story showing "8 Artists to Watch," with none of them African American.
Asked how she hoped to prevent a recurrence, she told Journal-isms:
"I think one of the most valuable lessons, for me personally, is that diversity must be reflected not just in a single issue. The 'Artists to Watch' issue as a whole was actually incredibly diverse. Diversity should be reflected story by story, page by page.
"As far as my role, with very few exceptions, my preference generally has been that our writers and editors ‚Äî a diverse group ‚Äî come up with suggestions for what lands in the paper. I like for that process [to] remain as organic as possible, and I think the process has served us well. We by and large do a great job reflecting the diverse community in which we live ‚Äî this one, glaring incident aside. That said, do I need to further involve myself in such matters as the selection of subjects for '8 Artists to Watch' ‚Äî and do I need to do a better job impressing upon the editors the fact that diversity is essential in those features? Definitely."
Creative Loafing claims a circulation of 112,000 and has an editorial staff of 30, including contributing writers, of which eight are minorities, Shalhoup said. "Also, two of the four staffers at the top of the editorial department's masthead are minorities."
- "Two years after offering a buyout that decimated its newsroom by cutting about one-third of its staff, The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., the state's largest daily paper, is offering another such buyout," Joe Strupp reported Tuesday for Media Matters for America. "In a memo to staff today, Publisher Richard Vezza stated that the paper had lost $9 million in 2009 and was on pace to lose another $10 million this year."
- "NPR, in collaboration with 12 NPR member stations, announced the launch of a dozen topic-focused news sites today, marking the debut of NPR‚Äôs ARGO Network ‚Äî a new online journalism venture created to produce in-depth, local coverage on subjects critical to communities and the nation," the network announced on Tuesday. The ARGO Network includes WBUR iand WGBH-WCAI in Boston, Minnesota Public Radio, Oregon Public Broadcasting, WNYC in New York, WXPN in Philadelphia, KPBS in San Diego, KALW and KQED in San Francisco, KPLU in Seattle, KPCC in Los Angeles and WAMU in the nation's capital.
- OpenTheGovernment.org, a group of organizations dedicated to enhancing and preserving freedom of information in government, states in its newly released annual report that while the Obama administration has strengthened its openness more than the Bush administration ‚Äî which was criticized for its secrecy and unaccountability ‚Äî a true trend toward transparency remains to be seen, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reported. "The group studied the last three months of the Bush administration and the first nine months of Obama‚Äôs administration."
- "An accounting firm hired by Al Sharpton's National Action Network found the civil-rights group in such financial disarray that it flunked its record-keeping ‚Äî and may not even survive, The Post has learned," Carl Campanile reported in the New York Post on Tuesday. Sharpton's group fired back, "The NY Post's article this morning is a totally bogus report of NAN's finances and we suspect a response to our standing up to News Corp's partner Glenn Beck and his distortion of Dr. King's dream."
- Kennan Oliphant, investigative reporter and weekend anchor at WDTN in Dayton, Ohio, is joining WMBF-TV in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as executive producer on Sept. 22, WMBF News Director Sarah Miles told Journal-isms on Wednesday. Oliphant said he aspires to become a news director. "His investigative reporting, anchoring and producing is the perfect fit to guide our team to tackle issues important to the community," Miles said. She said an executive producer "oversees newscasts and content. A producer actually puts a newscast together each day. An EP acts as an editor by looking over scripts to make sure they are factually and grammatically correct and to make sure they are written in the style and tone we expect. An EP also does more long term planning of in-depth stories and makes sure the content and product is true to the station‚Äôs brand."
- "President Barack Obama wrote an exclusive column for impreMedia‚Äôs Spanish-language newspapers and digital properties Wednesday, and will give a one-on-one interview to the group‚Äôs Washington correspondent, Antonieta C?°diz, on Thursday," Editor & Publisher reported. "The interview will be published immediately on the digital sites of its newspapers, including El Diario/La Prensa in New York City and La Opinion in Los Angeles, impreMedia said."
- "The National Journal Group has been generating a lot of buzz lately with big-name hires like Major Garrett, Matt Cooper, Marc Ambinder and Michael Hirsh. The latest addition to the team is Beth Reinhard, who‚Äôs leaving her job at The Miami Herald to become chief political correspondent," Holly Yeager wrote Wednesday for the Columbia Journalism Review. "But here‚Äôs the rub: even with Reinhard, a whopping majority of those buzz-generating new names belong to men."
- "A Japanese journalist held hostage in Afghanistan for five months managed to send out a message via Twitter that he was alive when his captors asked him how to use a cell phone," Mari Yamaguchi reported Tuesday for the Associated Press. "Just days before he was freed, Kosuke Tsuneoka said one of the militants brought him his new cell phone and asked the prisoner to set it up. The younger militants were more interested in accessing Al-Jazeera on the phone, but Tsuneoka shifted their attention to Twitter, successfully getting them to ask him to demonstrate how it worked. He then sent the two following tweets: 'i am still allive, but in jail' and 'here is archi in kunduz. in the jail of commander lativ.'"
- "Liz Reyes is returning to WVUE-8-Fox in New Orleans. She joined the station as a freelancer in June, after losing her job of 12 years at WGNO-26-ABC. She took some time off to fly to Bogota to cover Colombia‚Äôs presidential elections. WVUE‚Äôs news director sent an email to staff yesterday saying Reyes will now be working full time at WVUE," the subscription-only NewsBlues site reported on Wednesday.
- "A well-known radio journalist was stabbed more than 20 times early Tuesday and police say they detained a teenager he befriended several months ago," the Associated Press reported Tuesday from San Juan, P.R. "Jose Arriaga Stuart is expected to recover, but he has a collapsed lung and is undergoing surgery, Lt. Jose Arrocho said. Police detained an 18-year-old man who said he got into a fight with Arriaga over payment of sexual favours, Arrocho said, but the man was released until police can question Arriaga."
- "Mark McEwen says he‚Äôs excited to be going back to CBS and national television," Hal Boedeker reported Monday for the Orlando Sentinel. "The former WKMG-Ch. 6 anchor, who is 55, will do the weather for a day ‚Äî this Saturday ‚Äî on 'The Early Show.' He delivered the weather often during 16 years in morning news at CBS. He joined WKMG as a morning anchor in 2004. Then he suffered a massive stroke in 2005 that knocked him off the air."
- Ruben Navarrette, columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group, has joined the 32-member USA Today Board of Contributors, writers "whose interests range from education to religion to sports to the economy."
- "V??ctor Rolando Arroyo Carmona, a Cuban journalist imprisoned since March 2003, was freed and flown to Madrid today, bringing to 15 the number of editors and reporters released following July talks between the government of President Ra??l Castro and the Catholic Church," the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Wednesday.
- In the Gambia, West Africa, the Gambia committee on harmful traditional practices has organized a three-day "capacity building" for journalists, managers and editors, Sarjo Camara Singhateh reported Saturday for the Foroyaa newspapers. Speaking of female genital mutilation, the committee's executive director "said the media needs to play a critical role in shaping opinion and also creating awareness of the general public," Singhateh wrote.
Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.
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