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Unity Is Dead, Co-Founders Say

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Remaining Associations Not Ready to Throw In the Towel

FCC Moves on Ownership by Hispanics, Others of Color

Denise Bridges, Maynard Institute Vet, Laid Off in Norfolk

Pineda Retiring from N.Y. Univision After 42 Years

Nonwhites More Likely to Share News Stories on Facebook

Health-Care Operator Fired for Speaking to Media

Columnist: What if Americans Shunned Dominican Resorts?

TV One to Debut Roland Martin's "News One Now" Nov. 4

Sheila Stewart of Radio One Dies in Car Accident

Short Takes

In August, the Unity Journalists conference in Las Vegas   registered members of the Asian Am

Remaining Associations Not Ready to Throw In the Towel

The two men credited with the idea for the coalition of journalists-of-color associations say the Unity organization that sprang from their efforts is dead.

"UNITY? There is no UNITY," said Will Sutton of the National Association of Black Journalists. "There hasn't been a UNITY since NABJ, quite reasonably, left the coalition formerly known as UNITY: Journalists of Color. It simply was a matter of time that the whole thing would fall apart without NABJ, my native journalism organization. . . ."

Juan Gonzalez (left) and Will Sutton.Juan Gonzalez of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said, "Unity as an organization is effectively dead, though it remains strong as an ideal. The reality is the alliance was mortally crippled from the moment NABJ left a few years ago. . . ."

And DeWayne Wickham, who as NABJ president convened the boards of the four journalists-of-color organizations in 1988, messaged Journal-isms, "I think Unity has lost its way and its raison d'etre. What remains of it is no more the Unity we conceived than an Elvis impersonator is The King of Rock and Roll."

The NAHJ board of directors left the coalition now known as Unity: Journalists for Diversity this week, following the 2011 departure of NABJ. Both associations cited financial and governance issues.

Remaining are the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, which was invited to join after NABJ left. The surviving associations do not appear ready to throw in the towel.

David Steinberg of NLGJA, the newly elected Unity president, said in a statement after NAHJ's departure, "Our commitment to the mission UNITY was founded on will not waver. We have an opportunity now to make our alliance stronger and more reflective of the unique environment our industry and our organizations work in today."

Paul Cheung, national president of AAJA, said, "I continue to believe in the mission of UNITY and I am working diligently with the remaining alliance partners to improve its governance and financial structure." But AAJA members writing on the association's Facebook page wondered why AAJA should remain in the alliance, urged a membership vote on staying or leaving and wanted to know what role AAJA leaders played in prompting NAHJ and NABJ's departure.

Mary Hudetz, president of the Native American Journalists Association, the fourth of the original Unity partners, messaged Journal-isms Friday, "NAJA will work with AAJA and NLGJA to develop a future for UNITY. I know a lot of people have expressed concern about the alliance's future this week with news of NAHJ's departure, but the reality is the UNITY mission for diversity and fairness in news is more relevant than ever and should continue. I believe coalitions, not only partnerships, are the best chance for change in promoting diversity, so we (NAJA) will make every effort to join in seeing that UNITY continues -- and even expands again in the future.

"Of course, many others at NAJA and I were saddened to see NAHJ formally part ways. But I know it was a decision the NAHJ board members believed was in the best interest of their organization at this time, and I respect that."

Mark Trahant of NAJA, one of those who in 1988 agreed on the concept of a Unity convention, was likewise optimistic. "The goal of UNITY remains as important as ever. We just need a new strategy," he said by email. "I think there are lots of ways to make the idea of UNITY work again.

"One idea I have is to shift from an organization based on the membership of four organizations to a member-based organization. I would then try to work for a next convention that is, once again, the largest journalism organization of any kind. This would mean that the individual members of all five organizations, not the organizations, would decide the future of UNITY. To me, the success of UNITY was about bringing people together as a force for change. But that does not have to be through organizations. It can be by working together as groups of individuals who might also happen to be members of other journalism organizations. To borrow from a great memory, we need UNITY to become a sovereign entity."

Journal-isms also asked Sutton and Gonzalez, who as reporters for Philadelphia newspapers began discussions in 1986 that led to Unity, what the coalition should do next.

Sutton's message continued, "When the coalition leaders who remained, and those who joined after NABJ's departure, decided to move away from our long-standing focus on journalists of color they killed the concept, the idea, the commitment and decades of work.

"There is no UNITY. I was done with UNITY last year after the previous convention when it became clear that they were not going to course-correct and get back to our roots.

"I really, truly appreciated being recognized at the August 2012 joint convention where NABJ President Gregory Lee Jr. and other NABJ members attended and participated but without an official partnership role, but I refused to accept anything with a new name. Thankfully, my good friend and long-time AAJA and UNITY colleague Janet Cho worked to provide me with an option. She knew what I would say, and I chose to accept the award later with UNITY: Journalists of Color Inc. on it. [Unity presented the same award to Gonzalez, who was not present to accept it.]

"It breaks my heart, but it is what it is because of a lack of commitment and respect for the focus and because of the lack of commitment to adjust the relationships among the original core four groups in recent years.

Reminded that NABJ and NAHJ are considering a joint convention in 2016, Sutton added, "That would be a good thing, and I support it and would love to see it. It wouldn't be UNITY, but it would be a back-to-the-future moment, getting us back to 1986 in Philly when the NABJ and NAHJ boards of directors met. What a throw-back that would be!"

Sutton is now Grambling State University director of public relations and communications and is a media consultant. He and Gonzalez have been presidents of their respective associations.

Gonzalez, a columnist at the Daily News in New York, continued, "What has happened clearly saddens me. Unity as an organization is effectively dead, though it remains strong as an ideal. The reality is the alliance was mortally crippled from the moment NABJ left a few years ago.

"Unfortunately, the Unity board never moved in a timely fashion to address legitimate concerns about governance and structure that NABJ had initially raised, nor did it seek to actively woo NABJ to return. The Unity board then compounded those problems by its decision to rapidly admit NLGJA without first addressing the existing governance and structural issues, without a plan for how the group's mission would change with its altered membership, and most importantly, without a clear strategy for how any of our associations will survive in this rapidly changing media industry.

"An organizational alliance, like any good marriage, needs constant nurturing. It needs partners willing to put the interests of their mates above their own. When the desire to do so wanes, separation or divorce becomes inevitable. But the memories of the good times remain. So, hopefully, do the lessons learned that will make any future alliance that much stronger."

FCC Moves on Ownership by Hispanics, Others of Color

"As part of its long-standing examination of broadcast diversity issues, the Federal Communications Commission today announced it will conduct a study of the relationships among Hispanic television station ownership, Hispanic-oriented programming, and Hispanic television viewing," the FCC announced on Thursday.

"According to 2012 Census data, 17 percent of the total US population or 53 million people are of Hispanic origin, representing the largest ethnic/racial minority in the country.

"The study will be the Commission's first systematic examination of the Hispanic television market. . ."

It was open to speculation whether the FCC would also study Hispanic employment at media outlets. Hispanic ownership of broadcast outlets, however, should be a challenging enough topic. The two largest Hispanic-oriented television networks, Univision and Telemundo, are not owned by Hispanics.

According to the FCC's 2012 "Report on Ownership of Commercial Broadcast Stations," "Hispanic/Latino persons collectively or individually held a majority of the voting interests in 513 broadcast stations, comprised of 39 full power commercial television stations (2.9 percent) of 1,348 stations; 151 low power television stations, including Class A stations (9.1 percent) of 1,662 stations; 172 commercial AM radio stations (4.5 percent) of 3,830 stations; and 151 commercial FM radio stations (2.7 percent) of 5,611 stations."

Mignon ClyburnMeanwhile, "The Federal Communications Commission is set to raise the 25 percent investment limit on foreign investment in U.S. radio and TV stations," Katy Bachman reported Friday for Adweek. "Acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn put the item on the commission's agenda for its Nov. 14 meeting.

"Had the decades-old 25 percent ownership been eased in the 80s, Rupert Murdoch wouldn't have had to jump through hoops and become a U.S. citizen to purchase the stations that eventually formed the basis of the Fox network. Groups like Univision Communications might also have had an easier time structuring investment.

"Over the years, support for easing the rule has come from all sectors of the business, but particularly from minority groups, as a way to help minority broadcasters that often find it difficult to find capital and new investors."

Bachman also wrote, "Several groups that had lobbied for the rule to be changed praised the action, including the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, the Coalition for Broadcast Investment, the National Association of Media Brokers and the National Association of Broadcasters.

" 'This is a textbook example of a deregulatory initiative that benefits underserved communities,' said David Honig, MMTC president."

The 2012 report also said: "Racial minorities collectively or individually held a majority of the voting interests in 559 broadcast stations, 30 full power commercial television stations (2.2 percent) of 1,348 stations; 96 low power television stations, including Class A stations (5.8 percent) of 1,662 stations; 237 commercial AM radio stations (6.2 percent) of 3,830 stations; and 196 commercial FM radio stations (3.5 percent) of 5,611 stations.

"Ownership of majority interests by racial group was as follows:

  • "American Indian/Alaska Natives owned 64 broadcast stations.

  • "Asians owned 187 broadcast stations.

  • "Black/African Americans owned 231 broadcast stations.

  • "Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders owned 31 broadcast stations.

"Whites collectively or individually held a majority of the voting interests in 9,610 broadcast stations, comprised of 935 full power commercial television stations (69.4 percent) of 1,348 stations; 1,248 low power television stations, including Class A stations (75.1 percent) of 1,662 stations; 2,960 commercial AM radio stations (77.3 percent) of 3,830 stations; and 4,467 commercial FM radio stations (79.6 percent) of 5,611 stations. . . ."

Denise Bridges, Maynard Institute Vet, Laid Off in Norfolk

Denise BridgesDenise Bridges, director of newsroom operations and staff development at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., and a veteran of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, is one of 32 people being let go by the newspaper, Bridges said Friday.

"This is the end of my journalism career. After a glorious kick-start in 1977 thanks to the Summer Program for Minority Journalists, six newspapers, five states, two media associations and one wire service, I doubt I'll be working for any more news organizations," Bridges said by email. "I may go into communications, teaching or even operations. I've managed the newsroom budget here at The Virginian-Pilot for five years, so I've gained some nifty skills."

Bridges worked with Robert and Nancy Maynard at the Oakland Tribune, which the Maynards owned from 1983 to 1992.

"After two years at The Associated Press, I had the wonderful experience of working for Bob & Nancy at the Oakland Tribune," Bridges wrote when Nancy Maynard died in 2008. "I remember Bob strolling through the newsroom with his sleeves rolled up, his tie loosened, and his glasses precariously perched on the end of his nose. I remember Nancy coming through quite pregnant with their son Alex, and later going to law school.

"I can state unequivocally that had it not been for this program — which Bob and Nancy both quit their jobs to start — I would not be a working journalist today. In fact, there are very few minority journalists who in some way haven't been influenced by the work of the Maynard Institute. For a season there, throughout most of the '70s and '80s, just about the only way for a person of color to get a newspaper job was by way of the Institute for Journalism Education (its name before Bob died in 1993)."

Bridges came to the Virginian-Pilot from the Virginia Press Association, where she was director of professional development, responsible for managing statewide training programs. "Before joining VPA, Denise worked as a reporter and editor at the AP and four newspapers – The Daily Press, The Tennessean, The Albuquerque Tribune and The Oakland Tribune. She also was director of programs for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education," according to an announcement at the time.

Pineda Retiring from N.Y. Univision After 42 Years

Rafael Pineda"After months of rumors and Univision's denial that Rafael Pineda was retiring, the company announced today that December 20th will be the long-running anchor's last newscast," Veronica Villafañe reported Thursday for her Media Moves site.

"Rafael has been WXTV-41's main anchor since 1972. He is the longest-serving television news anchor in the New York area and is considered to be an institution in the industry.

"The Emmy award-winning anchor has established a reputation of credibility and integrity and has contributed to leading 'Noticias 41' to first place in local ratings. . . ."

Nonwhites More Likely to Share News Stories on Facebook

Among nonwhite users of Facebook, a greater percentage use the service for news than is true for whites [PDF], and they are more likely to share news stories with others than are whites, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

The center's Facebook News Survey, conducted Aug. 21 to Sept. 2, found that nonwhites represented 37 percent of the 1,429 news consumers and 37 percent of the 507 Facebook "likers" but 49 percent of the 155 Facebook "sharers."

By contrast, white non-Hispanics were 63 percent of the news consumers and 63 percent of the "likers" but only 51 percent of the "sharers."

Of the Facebook news consumers, nonwhites were 37 percent of the total but 29 percent of other Facebook users, who visit the site for reasons other than seeking news. Whites were 63 percent of the total Facebook news consumers but 71 percent of other Facebook users.

Health-Care Operator Fired for Speaking to Media

"After an Obamacare helpline operator was fired for speaking to Sean Hannity on his radio show earlier this week, the Fox News host has offered to pay her salary and help her find a new job," Merrill Knox reported for TVNewser Friday.

Earline Davis"Appearing on 'Hannity' last night, Earline Davis said she was escorted out of the building for speaking with the media. In their initial conversation, Hannity disclosed that she was on the radio and asked if that was okay with her. She told Hannity last night that she was not aware of a company policy preventing her from speaking with the media. . . ."

Meanwhile, Farah Ahmad and Sarah Iverson, in a report for the Center for American Progress, noted that women of color will make up an increasing share of the population by 2050 and still face significant inequalities.

"The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is an example of what can be done to address the challenges that women of color face," they wrote. "This law has the potential to improve the disproportionately poor health of women of color through better access to affordable health insurance and health services. Improved health can increase the livelihood of women of color as poor health can impact one's ability to work or attain an education and thus affects an individual's and a family's economic security. Healthier people contribute to a robust workforce, which, in turn, strengthens the economy. . . ."

Dozens of Haitian-born demonstrators demand their Dominican citizenship in Santo

Columnist: What if Americans Shunned Dominican Resorts?

"If thousands of American tourists suddenly started boycotting idyllic Dominican resorts like Puerto Plata and Punta Cana, they'd get the message down there that racism is bad for business," Juan Gonzalez, columnist for the Daily News in New York, wrote Friday.

Gonzalez was discussing a decision by the top court in the Dominican Republic "that has declared that the children of undocumented Haitian migrants — even those born on Dominican soil decades ago — are no longer entitled to citizenship, throwing into doubt the status of tens of thousands of people here who have never known any other national identity," as Randal C. Archibold wrote Thursday for the New York Times.

The development is also the subject of a segment on this week's edition of the NPR show "Latino USA."

Alicia Anabel Santos wrote this month for Latina, "It was October 1937 when dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the killing of an estimated 30,000 Haitians living in the country. Many who were black or suspected of being from the neighboring country, and those who were unable to pronounce the word 'perejil' (parsley in Spanish) without an accent, were executed. Many of the murdered had been born in the Dominican Republic. This was Trujillo's attempt at mass ethnic cleansing. The notoriously racist Trujillo wanted to blanquear la raza — 'whiten' the race. . . ."

TV One to Debut Roland Martin's "News One Now" Nov. 4

"News One Now," "the first morning news program in history to focus on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports, and culture from an explicitly African American perspective, will premiere on TV One Monday, November 4, 9AM/ET," TVOne announced Thursday.

"Host and managing editor Roland S. Martin, the 2013 National Association of Black Journalists' Journalist of the Year and former host of TV One's long-running, award-winning weekly news program, Washington Watch with Roland Martin, leads News One Now doing what he does best: sifting through the headlines of the day to spotlight matters that greatly impact the African American community. . . ."

Sheila Stewart of Radio One Dies in Car Accident

"A local radio personality was killed in a car accident in Atlanta, Ga., Thursday morning," Erica Jones wrote Thursday for WRC-TV in Washington.

"A veteran of more than 20 years in the media industry, Stewart most recently served as the News and Community Affairs Director for a cluster of Radio One stations in the D.C. area," WJLA-TV added.

"She was most often heard providing news updates on Radio One's D.C. affiliates, which include 93.3 WKYS, Praise 104.1, News Talk 1450, Majic 102.3 FM and Spirit 1340."

Stewart was a onetime resident of Prince George's County, Md. "County Executive Rushern Baker said in a statement that Stewart was a model citizen who always gave back. . . ."

Short Takes

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health care operator

"women of color will make up 53 per cent of the population by 2050..." That means the other 47 pct, will be white males and females and males of color of what I assume is the U.S. population. As an affectionate admirer of women of color, I want to cheer, even though I won't be around to enjoy. As a journalist, I'd send this stat back for a recheck.

Editor's note: Thanks, Joe! The 53 percent figure has disappeared from the item.

Many of us would be no where without Denise

No way will the journalism world be without Denise Bridges.  In addition to her journalism talents, she has mad cool business skills and a business degree in her side pocket.  I should know.  When I was unemployed, she let me roam around in her shit-kicking jeep pretending to be Shania Twain in New Mexico while she was there obtaining that degree.  And if you look in a Thesaurus under the words "bounce back", you will see the face of Denise Bridges.  Professionally and personally, Denise has always been there for so many of us.  I have no doubt that someone she reached out a hand to will be doing the same for her.  Obligado.

Cross-Postings From The Root


This is unfortunate but evolutionary. When this group started, Asians and Indians were in the shadows of Blacks. Blacks are not the only minority group with issues. Other groups are competitive and will grow more competitive as generations are born. That's what happened. Other minorities don't want to be in The Black Struggle's shadow anymore. They benefited from Civil Rights' initiatives spearheaded by Blacks but they can function on their own. They don't want to get behind us anymore. Even if its crafted as a coalition, they think it's all about us. And we have to wonder if it is all about us. I know honestly if I was around Asians, I would think nothing to really remember that they have stories, issues, and lifestyle different than mine. My focus is about my people and those I associate with the most. That's natural. I have to practice to think about others and that's what we focus upon. It's just so humanistic to think you're the only one in the thick of it that it starts to annoy others. They pull away and then compete against you.

Asians have no need to seek help from Blacks. They usually side with Whites. They interlope "white" easier and are asked to interlope The Whites from Whites. As far as Native Americans--they are exotic and such a fringe at this point that they are appealing to anyone as an asset partner.

IMA Human Being likes this.

IMA Human Being

Aside from Black americans, most of the "other" minorities "think they white", disassociate themselves from anything Black, and identify with "white only". Pitiful and sad state of affairs !!!

icantrememberallofmyaliases and docbhub like this.

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