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$2.5 Million to Study Blacks and Media

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Johnson Publishing Teams with Annenberg School

Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, has pledged $2.5 million to the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication to fund a program at the school on "the interests of the African-American community" at the school, USC announced on Thursday.

The program includes scholarships for two or three students a year and will involve such USC professors as Jay T. Harris, former publisher of the San Jose Mercury News; Adam Clayton Powell III, veteran broadcast executive and specialist in New Media; and Herman Gray, author of "Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for Blackness," as well as Linda Johnson Rice, the Johnson Publishing CEO and USC alumna, Annenberg spokesman Geoffrey Baum told Journal-isms.

Rice, who is also on the USC board of trustees, established the program and was on campus for the announcement on Thursday, along with new Dean Ernest J. Wilson III, one of the few African Americans to head a journalism program at a predominantly white university.

The new center is expected to work with the John H. Johnson School of Communications at Howard University, Dean Jannette L. Dates told Journal-isms on Friday. The school was renamed in Johnson's honor in 2003 after Johnson, who died in 2005, donated $4 million to the school. Dates noted that Wilson was born in Howard University's old hospital, where the school now stands, and that his father and grandfather were Howard graduates.

The USC announcement said, "In addition to the Johnson Scholarships, the center will engage in significant scholarly activities designed to advance knowledge on the role of African-Americans in the media.

"Studies might explore such subjects as: the depiction of blacks on the screen or in the press; the ownership and leadership of media companies; the composition of the newsroom; the distribution of advertising dollars; the role of online communities for African-American audiences; or the use of the Internet and the debate over the digital divide. Research will be conducted by USC Annenberg faculty as well as by fellows of the Johnson Leadership Center. Each year, the center will invite a select group of industry leaders and/or top scholars to serve as fellows."

Baum said Rice and Geoffrey Cowan, who retired as dean on June 30, had been discussing such a program for years. An agreement was reached in the spring, and two students — Anita Little, a print journalism major from Fort Worth, Texas, and Leigh Lockhart, a communication major from North Hollywood, Calif., were admitted to the school as recipients of the Johnson scholarship money, designed to help defray USC's annual $40,000 tuition.

Dates said Howard had been working with USC for more than a year on creating a "huge project" together that she said it would be premature to disclose. Howard has been trying to raise $10 million to break ground on a new communications school building by 2009, and an expanded board of visitors has been named to move contributions past the current $6 million mark. In all, the new building will cost $40 million, she said.

Bailey Murder Suspect Points to Bakery Leader

As his client sits behind bars charged with murdering Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, "LeRue Grim, attorney for Your Black Muslim Bakery handyman Devaughndre Broussard is making a public case that the real culprit is bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV," Paul T. Rosynsky reported Tuesday in the Oakland Tribune.



"'You would think he is the main guy responsible for all of this,' Grim said Monday during a telephone interview. 'That is just logical, he is in charge of the whole place.'

"Grim's comments come as he revealed new details about what was going on at the bakery weeks before the Aug. 2 slaying of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey and what Bey IV told Broussard while both were placed in the same interview room during a police interrogation.

"Grim said the details were told to him by Broussard during a jail house interview Sunday night.

"'My client tells me that Yusuf IV came in and said, "Everything is on the line for us and the bakery and we're in survival mode,"' Grim said of the conversation he had with Broussard. 'He tells him, "If you take this, you're young, we will get you an attorney, we will get you manslaughter, we will get you probation and a year in county jail."'

"Broussard is facing the possibility of life behind bars for allegedly killing Bailey. Oakland police said the 19-year-old handyman confessed to the killing, saying he did the shooting because he was 'a good soldier.'

"He also told police that he was angry at Bailey for stories he was working on regarding the bakery's troubled finances and the Bey family feud, police said.

"But ever since police said his confession was taken, Broussard has said he is not the person who pumped three shotgun blasts into Bailey."

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Killing Bailey Put Bakery Under More Scrutiny




"Killing a reporter is akin to killing a judge or a police officer. You're not just murdering the person, you're attacking the role: the robe, the badge, the notebook, the camera," columnist Patt Morrison wrote Thursday in the Los Angeles Times. She noted that reporters groups — which are the National Association of Black Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, and now the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley — are planning how to keep slain Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey's work alive.

"So although you didn't hear a lot about Bailey's murder, you may, in the end, hear a lot more about his story. In death, Bailey might expose more corruption and malfeasance than he ever could have as just one guy with a notebook," Matthew Felling added Thursday on CBS's Public Eye blog.

"This isn't inside baseball or journalistic delusions of grandeur here. Killing a journalist — a symbol of justice and freedom — ends up attracting more attention to the story and raising the stakes. Now the bakery is under far more scrutiny than it ever would have been otherwise.

". . . this is the risk that many journalists accept as part of their vocation: that the story is bigger than them; that wrongdoing must be exposed and that digging deeper, while dangerous, is their way of contributing to society. And that's the aspect of journalism that gets lost in the cable shoutfests and reality TV shows."

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Pat Buchanan: Blacks "Real Repository of Racism"

Conservative columnist and onetime presidential candidate Pat Buchanan takes off from the Chauncey Bailey killing and the execution-style slaying of three college students in Newark this month to claim that, "The real repository of racism in America — manifest in violent interracial assault, rape and murder — is to be found not in the white community, but the African-American community. In almost all interracial attacks, whites are the victims, not the victimizers.

In his syndicated column, published this week, Buchanan takes after the Washington Post, saying, "Why does the Post not report such statistics? My guess: Because the stats would shatter the Post's cultivated image of America as a land where white racism is the great lurking malevolent monster. Stories that conform to the image get play. Stories that contradict it are buried."

The Buchanan attack follows a line promoted by right wingers in June after a white Knoxville couple were both carjacked, kidnapped, raped and murdered and three black men and a black woman were charged.

A white supremacist leader's Web site targeted syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., who had replied, ". . . Black crime against whites is underreported? On what planet? Study after study and expert after expert tell a completely different story."

Pitts continued then:

"For instance, there's OffBalance: Youth, Race and Crime in the News, a 2001 report that concluded that:

  • "African Americans and Latinos are underrepresented in news media as victims of crime and significantly overrepresented as perpetrators, based on crime statistics.
  • "Newspaper articles about white homicide victims are longer and more frequent than those about black ones.
  • "Interracial violent crime is more likely to be reported even though it is just about the rarest kind of violent crime."

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"Prez on the Rez" Said to Change the Dialogue

"This is probably the first you're reading about Prez On The Rez," Mark Trahant wrote Friday for his column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "It wasn't considered a big deal because of who wasn't here, the so-called big three: Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards. The Democratic forum was designed to find out how the candidates would deal with concerns of American Indians and Alaskan Natives," wrote Trahant, who is also board chairman of the Maynard Institute.

"Some 75 communities were represented from mostly the West and Midwest. I was the forum's moderator."



Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico "said flat out that failure of the federal government to adequately fund the Indian Health Service is a 'breach of the U.S. commitment to Native Americans.'

"If elected he said he would elevate the issues by creating a Secretary of Native American Indian Affairs — a cabinet level post. 'You need to raise these issues to the highest levels to send a signal that other government agencies need to take Native American issues seriously,' he said.

"Rep. Dennis Kucinich said the model of peacemaker courts — alternative justice systems — that are used by some tribal communities ought to be replicated. He said he would create a Department of Peace and Non-Violence that would highlight, fund and promote such programs.

"Kucinich made a poetical pitch to Indian Country: 'Take the time to tell them that there's someone running for president who understands their heart, that there's someone running for president who understands their needs.'

"Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel had the best line of the forum. He said he understands the importance of elders in a tribal community. 'I know how you honor people my age,' he said. 'And that's why you will support me.'

"The content of the discussion was so different from those on the main tracks," Trahant wrote. "Now every candidate might be asked without warning: What about Indian health? Is the United States in breach of its treaty promises? What about a cabinet-level agency? What would you do? And for that matter: What about Leonard Peltier?"

Peltier is a Turtle Mountain Chippewa convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975.

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"Read a Book!" Video Stirs BET Controversy

"Long criticized for showing gangsta rap videos and those with scantily clad female dancers, Black Entertainment Television is now taking those images — spiced with profanity and frequent use of the N-word — and remixing them into an audacious animated video promoting literacy and black pride that is drawing both praise and condemnation," Greg Braxton reported Friday in the Los Angeles Times.

"Employing a catchy variation on Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, the satire, which is airing with BET's afternoon programming, orders viewers to "read a book, read a book, read a [expletive] book" with a bouncy rap lyric.

"BET encouraged viewers to join the network's online discussion after it began airing the video about a month ago. But the debate — both pro and con — escalated after unedited versions of 'Read a Book' recently surfaced on YouTube. Most of the discussion centers on the negative stereotypes of African Americans, rather that the language."

". . . The video was written and produced by Bomani [Armah], who uses the animated rapper D-Mite to deliver the message, and was developed by BET Animation, a new division established by the network's president of entertainment, Reginald Hudlin."

In January, the Washington Post wrote of Armah: "He is 28, grew up in Mitchellville," a prosperous Maryland suburb, "and has spent the years since graduating from the University of Maryland working on 'positive rap' — a goopy-sounding term that nonetheless is fiercely based in reality.

"When he does music programs with students, he mentions that, in the hip-hop world, seven of the top 10 artists will be gangbangers or drug dealers. He'll ask the kids, 'Are seven out of every 10 of the people you know gangbangers or drug dealers?'"

Meanwhile, Donnie Simpson, a former host of BET's "Video Soul" who is celebrating 30 years in broadcasting, was asked about BET by Michel Martin on National Public Radio's "Tell Me More." "I wish it were a little less of the booty shaking, a little less of the gangsterism, you know? I just wish it were more that they did some more things that were more positive, that put us in a more positive light," Simpson said.

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Flame-Thrower Bob Grant Back on WABC Radio

"Bob Grant, the flame-throwing talk show host who was axed from WABC-AM in New York in 1995 for his comments about the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, is returning to the air waves and his old station. Beginning Thursday, 'The Bob Grant Show' will air weekdays 8 to 10 p.m., following Mark Levin," Katy Bachman wrote Thursday in MediaWeek.

"Grant announced his return Wednesday during the 'Sean Hannity Show.'

"Considered a pioneer in talk radio, Grant began working in radio in the 1940s. His talk show premiered on WABC in 1984 and drew consistently high ratings in afternoon drive. When Grant was fired in 1995, Hannity got Grant's old time slot.

"Grant's return was in part, made possible by the change in ownership of WABC, which, along with 22 other ABC Radio stations, was acquired by Citadel Broadcasting earlier this year.

In 1996, the National Association of Black Journalists awarded a "thumbs down" to Buckley Broadcasting Corp. of Greenwich, Conn., for syndicating Grant after he was dropped by WABC after a string of racially offensive comments.

The group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting said in 1994: "Grant's favorite words for blacks include 'savages' and 'subhumanoids.' When black college students gathered at a New Jersey beach, Grant talked of 'the savage mind, the primitive, primordial mentality.... As far as that stretch of beach there at Belmar, it's being written off by, shall we say, civilized people.'"

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Short Takes

  • In Mississippi, James Ford Seale, 72, received three life sentences Friday in connection with the abducting, beating and drowning of two black teenagers 43 years ago. As the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger said in a June 25 editorial, "In 2000, the FBI reopened the case after The Clarion-Ledger reported that federal charges were possible since the two were beaten in a national forest." The lead reporter has been Jerry Mitchell. "As The Clarion-Ledger series 'Forgotten Killings: The 1964 Slayings of Two Black Teens' showed, old wrongs can be righted and justice found even after decades," the editorial said.
  • Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons quarterback, will appear live on the syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show" on Tuesday, making his first public comments made to any media outlet after his Monday court hearing, where Vick is expected to "accept full responsibility" for his role in a dog-fighting ring and plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges, the Joyner radio show announced on Friday.
  • "Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin may have offered an apology, but it appears not to have helped. Some minority groups are still angry about his comments, which they said suggested cable company donations helped tailor the groups' stance about whether consumers benefit from picking cable channels a la carte," Ira Teinowitz reported Thursday in TV Week. Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, president of the Hispanic Federation, contended that a la carte would reduce the number "of


  • black and brown faces" on cable. She and other group leaders said money from the cable industry represented less than 1 percent of their budget.
  • "Robin Roberts' prognosis is 'quite good.' 'The cancer is out of my body and I'm healing from the surgery,' the 'Good Morning America' co-host told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. 'Hopefully, the plan now is to keep it out,'" the AP's Kathy Hanrahan reported.
  • The wedding announcements in Jet magazine "are hugely popular, both for readers and the couples being announced. But under the surface these announcements have provided tangible affirmation of the progression of fortunes, and the impact of greater opportunity and education on Black America," Eric Easter wrote Thursday on ebony/ "A sample of successive years in the JET library shows a clear pattern of growth in educational attainment and career advancement."
  • "Diversity gave birth to L.A." read the headline Wednesday over a Column One story by John L. Mitchell in the Los Angeles Times. "More than half the city's founders were of African ancestry. Some of their descendants celebrate that. Others deny it."
  • In addition to African American columnists raising the issue of increasing violence, noted here a week ago, public radio station WYPR in Baltimore has been running a year-long series, "The Toll: Coping With Crime And Violence in Baltimore." Contributing staffers include Taunya English, Donna Marie Owens, Garland Thompson, Korva Coleman, Rasheim Freeman and managing editor Sunni Khalid. An editorial Thursday by Fraser Smith urged City Council candidates to address the rising homicide rate.


William F. Woo

  • "Letters from the Editor: Lessons on Journalism and Life," collects informal essays written by the late William F. Woo, who edited the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and taught at Stanford University. Royalties from the book will go toward the Asian American Journalists Association's internship program, the association announced.
  • Jason Reid of the Los Angeles Times is joining the Washington Post to help cover the NFL's Washington Redskins, "our most important beat," Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, Post assistant managing editor for sports, told the Post staff on Wednesday. "Jason covered just about everything for the Times over the last decade, from the Dodgers to the Clippers, making his mark as a relentless, scrappy reporter, exactly what we need on the ultra-competitive Redskins beat."
  • Kwong Wah Po, the only remaining Chinese newspaper in Cuba, is a biweekly, "funded by the Cuban government and subject to its inspection . . full broadsheet sized, with three Chinese pages and one Spanish." But "the newspaper's 74-year-old editor, Guillermo Chiu (Chiu Siu Sheung, in Chinese) . . . has no one to pass on his expertise to," Ying Ying Joyce Choi wrote for New America Media.
  • "The Korean media in the Bay Area have launched an environmental campaign with local Korean Americans to correct some of the more wasteful and polluting household practices. The campaign Zero Waste seeks to reduce the amount of waste generated by individual households through practicing recycling and choosing healthier diets and environmentally friendly household products," Aruna Lee, reported Friday for New America Media.
  • More than 800 low-power FM stations have been licensed to community groups across the country, "But because of the needless restrictions, thousands of community groups, churches and schools have been stopped from getting licenses," Joseph Torres of the Free Press media advocacy organization wrote Thursday in the Nashville Tennessean. He urged support for the bipartisan Local Community Radio Act (H.R. 2802/S. 1675), which "would repeal the misguided restrictions."
  • "Michael Rodriguez has taken the reins as interim general manager of Telemundo's KVEA-TV Channel 52 in Los Angeles," Marketing y Medios reported on Aug. 17. "Rodriguez replaces Manuel Abud, who was relieved of his duties as the station's general manager in light of news that he was aware of KVEA newscaster Mirthala Salinas' relationship with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. She continued to report on the mayor's personal life. Telemundo has yet to reassign Abud to a new position."
  • Michelle Singletary, the Washington Post's syndicated financial advice columnist, "is taking her financial frugality advice to radio with the debut of her call-in show on XM Satellite radio, Sundays from 8-10 p.m. EDT on XM 169 The Power," Jackie Jones reported Friday for
  • "When a case is closed for 25 years, it usually stays that way," Mandy Oaklander wrote Wednesday for New America Media, in a piece on the Atlanta Daily World. "But one newspaper changed all that. It interviewed Wayne Williams — the black Atlanta man convicted of killing two men and on whom 22 child murders were controversially pinned — and sparked so much public interest that the evidence from the closed 1980s cases underwent inspection again. This DNA evidence was tested last June, and the inconclusive results cast doubt on the validity of Williams' charge as a serial killer. Now, some jurisdictions are wondering if they should reopen the 30 closed cases assumed to have been the dark work of Williams."
  • Less than two weeks after two Somali journalists were assassinated as the leader of their union was being honored at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Las Vegas, another Somali journalist, Abdulkadir Mahad Moallim Kaskey of Radio Banadir, was killed, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists. Abdulkadir died after gunmen opened fire on the minibus he was riding in early Friday, according to fellow journalists in the province and Radio Shabelle.

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 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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