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9 Layoffs Reversed at Inquirer

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Two Black Journalists Offered Jobs Back

At least nine newsroom employees on the Philadelphia Inquirer's layoff list — including two African American journalists — are said to be coming back to work at the paper after renewed negotiations between management and the Newspaper Guild.

 

 

Diane Mastrull, a development writer who is chair of the Guild's bargaining committee, identified the two black journalists as NBA beat writer and columnist David Aldridge and photo editor Donna Hendricks. However, neither could be reached and an Inquirer colleague, who did not want to be named, told Journal-isms that Aldridge had not made up his mind about returning. Aldridge also does commentary for the TNT Network.

Others who were called back included reporters Thomas Fitzgerald and Jeff Shields, and photo editors Cheryl Shugars, Glen Alen Malott and Jay Gorodetzer, part of a department that was particularly hard-hit. The layoffs of editorial assistants Sherelle McZeal and Rob Copestick were also reversed, Mastrull said. McZeal is African American.

On Jan. 3, the Inquirer's parent company laid off up to 71 newsroom employees, or about 17 percent of the editorial staff.

The National Association of Black Journalists, and then the Asian American Journalists Association and on Saturday, Unity: Journalists of Color, protested the disproportionate numbers of journalists of color on the layoff list; black journalists were twice as likely to be there. Management and the Guild each blamed the other for that outcome.

Employees last week presented Publisher Brian Tierney with a letter signed by 27 African American, Asian American and Hispanic journalists who "collectively request that positive action be taken now, with the immediate object being to reduce the number of minority journalists included in the current list of those to be laid off."

 

 

 

At a meeting Friday, Mastrull said, the Guild argued successfully that certain layoffs were implemented improperly and that Aldridge's job, for example, should be exempt from a layoff. "We protested that they used their rights under the contract to protect a white sports columnist but not one of color who had an equal or better record," Henry J. Holcomb, president of the Guild local, told Journal-isms. "This resulted in the person of color being called back to work."

Reinstating others into beats deemed exempt started a chain reaction that resulted in at least one additional layoff on Friday, that of Kristen A. Graham, who covered city schools.

Fitzgerald, a seven-year employee who covered national politics, said he was "numb" after having been told Friday he had his job back. "The whole thing has just been hell for everybody," he said. "I'm glad to still be employed here. I'm not so glad that my gain is somebody else's loss." Under the Inquirer's new emphasis on local news, Fitzgerald is to return to covering City Hall.

Robert Barron, the company's general counsel, told Journal-isms the reinstatements were part of an ongoing process. "I would expect we'll see the number of folks returning to continue," he said.

Mastrull said the reinstatements were "terrific. We've had two goals here: To make sure that if there were layoffs, that they followed the contract, and just as importantly, to save as many jobs as possible."

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Ben Holman Dies, Pioneer Journalist, Professor

Benjamin F. Holman, a retired professor at the University of Maryland's College of Journalism who worked for 10 years at the old Chicago Daily News, died Saturday, the university said on Tuesday. He was 76 and in 1952, had become one of the nation's first African American newscasters. The cause of death was not immediately available.

 

 

Holman was director of the Justice Department's Community Relations Service from 1969 to 1977, and retired in 2004 from Maryland, where he had been a faculty member since 1978. He was acting dean of the journalism college from 1980 to 1981.

"He served as a guest columnist for the Dallas Morning News, covered the Olympics in Barcelona for 200 black-owned newspapers across the nation, and served as a board member of the Washington Association of Black Journalists," according to the University's Web site. He was also a former CBS News TV assignment editor and ex-NBC-TV producer/correspondent.

A 1986 university news release said Holman had developed and taught a course for Maryland students, "The Black Experience in Journalism," offered both by the College of Journalism and by the campus Afro-American Studies Program.

On his retirement, Holman's faculty colleague Alice Bonner told Journal-isms that, "Holman's voice and insights are laced throughout the mid-1960s discourse on race and news media, especially during the years between the Watts rebellion of 1965, which made newsroom integration necessary, and the Kerner Commission Report of 1968, which made it urgent.

"In a post-Watts 1965 speech at the University of Missouri that was echoed in Kerner findings three years later, he charged that journalists had popularized the term 'Negro Revolution' but failed to cover the racial crises as such, thereby encouraging white complacency while black resentment grew. He accurately predicted that Northern cities would be the major battlegrounds for coming uprisings, declaring, 'It is an opportunity for members of the news media to unravel and chronicle this great struggle. . . . It is a responsibility as great as any in the annals of American journalism,'" Bonner recalled.

"In 1967, at a Columbia University conference, as spokesman for the federal Community Relations Service [he was assistant director of media relations from 1965 to 1968], Holman said progress on press desegregation was 'abysmal,' running 'at least a decade behind the rest of the nation.' While other business addressed racial issues with 'radical and revolutionary things, . . . all I hear from the media is "Is he qualified?" As long as you sing that song you are not going to reach the poor Black people in the ghettos of the country,'" she quoted Holman as saying.

"He made history living the subjects he taught long before he began his long-running career as a journalism educator," Bonner concluded.

Services are planned for Friday and Saturday at the New Light Baptist Church in Bloomfield, N.J., the university said.

"How Ben Holman Became a TV News 'First' in 1962" is at the end of this posting. [Added Jan. 23]

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Obama Mud Slung by D.C. Times, Fox, N.Y. Post

"Days after Barack Obama jumped into the presidential sweepstakes, he was hit with a thinly sourced story from his past — 39 years in his past, to be exact," Howard Kurtz reported Monday in the Washington Post.

"The allegation, by a conservative magazine, raised questions about whether the Illinois senator had been schooled in Islamic radicalism when he was all of 6 years old.

 

 

"Insight, a magazine owned by the Washington Times, cited unnamed sources in saying that young Barack attended a madrassah, or Muslim religious school, in Indonesia. In his 1995 autobiography, Obama said his Indonesian stepfather had sent him to a 'predominantly Muslim school' in Jakarta, after two years in a Catholic school — but Insight goes further in saying it was a madrassah and that Obama was raised as a Muslim.

"Fox News picked up the Insight charge on two of its programs, playing up an angle involving Hillary Clinton. The magazine, citing only unnamed sources, said that researchers 'connected' to the New York senator were allegedly spreading the information about her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"The New York Post, which, like Fox, is owned by Rupert Murdoch, also picked up the article, with the headline: ' "OSAMA" MUD FLIES AT OBAMA.'

"Thus, in the first media controversy of the 2008 campaign, two of the leading candidates find themselves forced to respond to allegations lacking a single named source.

"'The allegations are completely false,' says Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. 'To publish this sort of trash without any documentation is surprising, but for Fox to repeat something so false, not once, but many times is appallingly irresponsible. This is exactly the type of slash-and-burn politics the American people are sick and tired of.' Obama, aides note, is a Christian and belongs to a Chicago church."

Meanwhile, columnists of color reacted to Obama's announcement last week that he had formed a presidential exploratory committee:

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"Rough Treatment for 2 Journalists in Pakistan"

"My photographer, Akhtar Soomro, and I were followed over several days of reporting in Quetta by plainclothes intelligence officials who were posted at our respective hotels," Carlotta Gall wrote Sunday in the New York Times. "That is not unusual in Pakistan, where accredited journalists are free to travel and report, but their movements, phone calls and interviews are often monitored.

"On our fifth and last day in Quetta, Dec. 19, four plainclothesmen detained Mr. Soomro at his hotel downtown and seized his computer and photo equipment.

"They raided my hotel room that evening, using a key card to open the door and then breaking through the chain that I had locked from the inside. They seized a computer, notebooks and a cellphone.

"One agent punched me twice in the face and head and knocked me to the floor. I was left with bruises on my arms, temple and cheekbone, swelling on my eye and a sprained knee.

"One of the men told me that I was not permitted to visit Pashtunabad, a neighborhood in Quetta, and that it was forbidden to interview members of the Taliban.

"The men did not reveal their identity but said we could apply to the Special Branch of the Interior Ministry for our belongings the next day.

"After the intervention of the minister of state for information and broadcasting, Tariq Azim Khan, my belongings were returned several hours later. Mr. Soomro was released after more than five hours in detention.

"Since then it has become clear that intelligence agents copied data from our computers, notebooks and cellphones and have tracked down contacts and acquaintances in Quetta.

"All the people I interviewed were subsequently visited by intelligence agents, and local journalists who helped me were later questioned by Pakistanâ??s intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence.

"Mr. Soomro has been warned not to work for The New York Times or any other foreign news organization."

Gall's piece accompanied her "At Border, Signs of Pakistani Role in Taliban Surge," which led Sunday's paper.

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"A Reality-Based State of the Union"

"For those of you who can't wait until Tuesday's big speech, my fellow Americans, here's the real state of the union," the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson began his column Friday:

"A president who reduces the near-infinite variety of humankind to 'with us' or 'against us' has mired the nation in a disastrous, unnecessary war. Comparisons to Vietnam are imprecise — the American casualties in Iraq are lower, the geopolitical stakes are much higher and the damage to our nation's standing in the world has been incalculable."

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Is Obama "a Black" or "a Black Man"?

"Using color as a noun reduces the person to a species, and an imprecise one at that, particularly where Obama is concerned," Keith Woods, dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute, said in a column Monday on the Poynter Web site. Speaking of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Woods said, "He's bi-racial and, thus, more than a 'black.' But the larger issue for me is that it's an act of dehumanizing the person, summoning up their essence by rendering them an inanimate color.

"It's no more complicated than that, and the solution is as simple as turning race/color into an adjective and adding man, woman, politician, father, etc. If that takes more effort to craft a headline, lead, super or crawl, well, that's a problem for journalists that the subjects of their journalism and the rest of the consuming public ought not have to shoulder."

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On the Web, Conversations with the Insightful

For the last six months, New York Times reporter Calvin Sims, a former correspondent in Japan and Los Angeles now assigned to the Times' video/TV unit, has been producing "Conversations" for the Times' Web site. They are with people his boss, Lawrie Mifflin, calls some "who had insightful things to say but who aren't typically interviewed or out on the lecture circuit at the moment."

 

NYTimes.com

Calvin Sims and Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson.

"We started 'The Conversation' about six months ago. I was asked to develop some web-exclusive programming for The Times web site," Sims told Journal-isms via e-mail. "We had a very limited budget — so I decided the easiest thing to do was an interview show, but one that would be different from those on television and cable, one that would explore issues in greater depth and ask those questions that nobody was asking in a way that would actually elicit answers. The program is produced by me and another editor/producer. I choose the guests and convince them, with much cajoling, to appear. We also try to offer a diversity in the guests and issues on the program.

"If you go to the 'Conversation' page, you can see all our interviews, which stay up on the web site forever. We seek interviewees who are not only knowledgeable of the issues but also 'personify' the issue in some way that helps make them accessible. It's a challenge getting people to appear because it's a new format. So far we've had good luck —" author and activist Eli Wiesel; the Rev. Calvin Butts of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church; lawyer John Yoo; Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson; Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium; Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize-winning author, etc. "I really liked the interview with Luke Visconti, editor of Diversity Inc.

"We decided to 'chapterize' like a mini-book so viewers wouldn't have to spend a full 20 minutes in front of the small computer screen. They could watch one or two chapters and then return later to finish, like a book, or they could skip to chapters they found more to their liking. We currently produce two per month. It's a work in progress."

Mifflin, who is the executive director of television and video for the Times Web site, says she doesn't follow hit counts on principle — "We try to reflect very much the same range of things that are in the newspaper itself," regardless of popularity, but says most have attracted advertisers, and viewers who say they'd like to publish the interviews.

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Some San Jose Latinos Have Long Memories

Some Latinos attending a "town hall" meeting with the San Jose Mercury News have long memories.

Among the 60 community folks who were there on Jan. 9, in addition to about 20 people from the Mercury News, "Some had mentioned a series on gangs that the Merc had done which included a controversial photo depicting a young Latina wearing tattoos and holding a bottle of tequila up to her mouth," Kevin Olivas, Parity Project director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, told Journal-isms.

"They could not recall when this ran," and neither could Editor Susan Goldberg, since this was before her time at the paper," Olivas said. But Joe Rodriguez, a Mercury News staff writer and former columnist, recalled that the series ran in 1992.

Olivas also reported the following: Others praised Rodriguez' work and coverage by Merc Latino Affairs beat writer Kathy Corcoran, who coincidentally has just left the paper to teach journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and at San Francisco State University.

Members of the Merc's Latino Readership Panel, formed a couple of years ago after the paper decided to discontinue its Spanish-language weekly, Nuevo Mundo, said they were concerned about the paper's use of such terms as "illegal immigrant," saying that tended to make people feel criminalized, rather than focusing on the act of undocumented immigration.

The paper's managing editor, David Satterfield, has said that the paper had discussed use of this term internally and said it tries to use the phrase "illegal immigration" and the term "undocumented person" in describing someone in the United States without proper documentation, but said there are times when the paper does use "illegal immigrant."

While the Parity Project is ongoing at the paper, NAHJ plans to be back in the city from June 13 to 16 for its national convention at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

As part of the Parity Project, which aims to increase the number of journalists of color in its partner news organizations, the association co-sponsors community forums attended by management, news staffs and Latino civic and social leaders. "The community forums will bring together people who have a stake in seeing that coverage of Latinos is done in a fair and accurate manner. These representatives will be encouraged to work with each paper on a continuous basis to offer recommendations on what each can do to improve coverage of Latinos," according to NAHJ.

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7 Black Colleges to Produce Mini-Documentaries

In connection with the re-release of the civil rights documentary "Eyes on the Prize," the National Black Programming Consortium sponsored a competition for 15 historically black colleges and universities to create their own new media projects to explore contemporary civil rights. Seven projects were chosen to receive $5,000, and those projects are now Webcast on its site.

Now the project has selected seven more winners for its second round, and announced a new contest.

The new one is for completed podcasts, around the theme of the death penalty and race, in conjunction with the upcoming film "Race To Execution." The deadline for that submission is Feb. 28.

Winners in the second round are, according to Nonso Christian Ugbode, the consortium's programs and new media coordinator:

  • Howard University — "From Black Power To Black Monday." A multimedia project that offers a decade-by-decade look at the issues and events that drove students out of the classrooms and into the streets. The 10-minute video will be augmented with interactivity on the Internet and begins in the 1960s during the era of Howard alumnus Stokely Carmichael, later Kwame Ture.
  • Morehouse College — "A Man & A Movement — Forgotten & Ignored." Mukasa Dada, born Willy Ricks and formerly the field secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, was well known during the civil rights movement and is often credited with creating the phrase "Black Power." For a number of years, Mukasa was a fixture on the Morehouse College campus, until a 2005 incident with campus police that Mukasa claimed left him badly injured. Some students on the campus see the civil rights leader as a joke, others, a hero. The project is to profile his life.
  • Savannah State University — "From West Broad Street to MLK Blvd." This project seeks explore the effects of integration, urban renewal and gentrification on the West Broad Street / Martin Luther King Boulevard Business District in Savannah, Ga. The district included black-owned hotels, doctor's offices, pharmacies, barbershops, nightclubs, and restaurants. This short film will discuss the various circumstances leading to the businesses' decline.
  • Florida A & M University — This project will capture the participation of FAMU students who participated in three significant civil rights struggles — the 1954 bus boycott, a 2000 march on the capital to protest the reversal of affirmative action; and a recent student protest into the death of 15-year old Martin Lee Anderson in a Florida boot camp.
  • Texas Southern University — This project is to provide a compelling perspective on Houston's civil rights movement from 1960 to 1963, when 12 Texas Southern University students took on Houston's segregated laws and won.
  • Prairie View A&M — "PV: Rap The Vote." A short documentary tells the story of Prairie View A&M University students' struggle to affirm their voting rights in Waller County, Texas, challenging the county District Attorney's intimidation and threats to persecute students who declared their college town their place of residence for voting purposes.
  • Fort Valley State University — "A Forgotten History: The 1906 Atlanta Race Riots." Sparked by white men's claims that black men were attacking white women, the four-day Atlanta race riots started on Sept. 22, 1906. By the time the bloodshed ended three days later, at least two dozen Atlantans were dead, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Short Takes

  • "'Roots' was serendipitous: the right TV project at the right moment with the right people," Debra Kaufman wrote Monday in TV Week for "Special Report 'Roots' Anniversary: TV's Breakthrough Miniseries Turns 30." "The Civil Rights movement was close enough in time to retain its power, but far enough away to be put in perspective. Still, there were few African American faces on TV, and a miniseries about an African American family's journey through slavery to freedom was an audacious choice of subject matter."
  • Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to stop trying to compel two San Francisco Chronicle reporters to identify the source who leaked confidential grand jury testimony in the steroid abuse investigation, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.
  • A memorial service for Gerald M. Boyd, the former New York Times managing editor who died on Thanksgiving, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in the J. C. Penney Auditorium at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The university has been the site of the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists Minority Journalism Workshop started by Boyd and others. The association is organizing the service.
  • In Detroit, "Emery King, whose day job is marketing for the Detroit Medical Center, whose past job was beloved anchor for WDIV-TV (Channel 4) and whose heart job is helping his neighbors understand why we don't get along, is at it again," Rochelle Riley wrote Sunday in the Detroit Free Press. "Next week, his Kingberry Productions will host a second of five town meetings on race, a session that will be taped for a prime-time, one-hour telecast in February. King will cohost the forum, 'Bridging the Racial Divide II,' with WJR radio's Paul W. Smith, and audiences will gather at seven locations to watch and react to it."
  • "Yesterday was John H. Johnson's birthday and to celebrate the arguably most-renowned black entrepreneur, the John H. Johnson School of Communications held a commemoration in the school's lobby," Traver Riggins wrote Friday in the Howard University student newspaper, the Hilltop. The school initiated a contest that requires students to compile a business plan for a business they would like to start, with winners receiving awards ranging from $500 to $2,000.
  • Asian American rapper Jin has released a diss record aimed at "The View" talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, after O'Donnell made what many felt were racist comments directed toward Asian Americans last month, Nolan Strong reported Friday on allhiphop.com. The Asian American Journalists Association protested when O'Donnell gave an impression of what a Chinese newscaster sounded like, claiming that the reporter spoke in nothing but "chings and chongs."
  • Metro reporter Luis Zaragoza, one of two Hispanic journalists laid off in December when the San Jose Mercury News trimmed 10 editorial employees, starts Monday as a higher education reporter at the Orlando Sentinel, the Sentinel confirmed today.
  • "An arbitrator ordered television station WFAA/Channel 8 and corporate parent Belo Corp. to pay more than $660,000 in back wages, damages and attorneys' fees to longtime news anchor Scott Sams, who was fired from the station in 2004," Trebor Banstetter reported Saturday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The arbitrator ruled Thursday that WFAA and Dallas-based Belo had retaliated against Sams after he complained to management and human resources about discrimination, said attorney Hal Gillespie. 'This was because of his religion, his age and the fact that he's a white guy,' Gillespie said."
  • When Miami anchor Eliott Rodriguez was sued for divorce by his wife of 13 years, Univisión anchor Maria Elena Salinas, Rodriguez decided to ask for alimony, the Miami Herald reported on Sunday. "However, as women increasingly outpace their husbands in earnings — the percentage of women who earned more jumped from nearly 18 percent in 1987 to more than 25 percent in 2004 — the number of men receiving alimony will surely rise, some say," according to the story.
  • "The story of the young woman at the center of the Duke rape scandal is far more complicated than we have been allowed to say on television, because most cable and broadcast news outfits are simply not interested in investigative reporting or deep thinking," Kristal Brent Zook wrote Monday for the Women's Media Center. "For example . . . In addition to working as an exotic dancer, the 28-year-old woman had held a variety of other jobs while putting herself through college and raising two small children (she now has a third). She had sold cars at a local dealership, worked in an automobile assembly plant, and lifted and bathed elderly patients in a nursing home. She had to give up the latter after injuring her back on the job. She knew how to drive a forklift too, said her father with obvious pride."

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How Ben Holman Became a TV News "First" in 1962

Paul Weingarten wrote this in 1986 in the Chicago Tribune magazine about Ben Holman, who died Saturday at age 76:

"In earlier days, the days of black-and-white television, it was sometimes difficult to tell who was black and who was white.

This played perfectly into the strategy: Who was that gray-looking guy? Chicago viewers who weren't paying close attention one morning in the fall of 1962, just after 7 a.m., could have missed it. There was no fanfare when Ben Holman debuted as an interviewer/commentator on WBBM-Ch. 2's "Morning News." What he said doesn't matter. What he did doesn't matter. What matters is the image. A black face — a light-complexioned black face but black nonetheless — had appeared on television in a way that had never been seen before. Holman had become one of the first — if not the first — black newscasters in the nation. Shortly thereafter Holman delivered a story on the evening news. Holman, then 31, made history, but he wasn't too impressed. "I knew I was the only black at WBBM," he says. "But really it was the days before we were conscious about these things. It's almost embarrassing now."

In 1962 America was just beginning to see itself reflected — no, defined — by the gawky glowing box with the vacuum tubes in back. The image was power. The image hawked cars and detergents and deodorants. It provoked intense desires. It delivered the news. It elected a president.

And in the process it created a portrait of America.

America the white. America the male. America the bland.

The television image communicated even without sound. It said as much by what it excluded as what it included. It said that women and minorities, at least in any significant numbers, need not apply, most notably in the news department. And they didn't because they could not find themselves in the image.

Ben Holman's parents and friends had tried to discourage him from a career in journalism. "They said I was a fool," he recalls with a smile. As a junior at the University of Kansas "I sat down and wrote personal letters to over 100 newspapers in the United States. I started a year in advance. I knew it was going to be a struggle. I said, 'Well, even if every paper in the United States has to say no, I'm still going to apply for a job.'" Only a handful of papers replied, one the Chicago Daily News. None offered jobs.

After graduating in 1952, Holman, a New Jersey native, decided to come to Chicago and work his way East, applying in person. He scraped together all the money he had earned doing yard work and other odd jobs in Lawrence, Kan. That summer he checked into the YMCA hotel. After interviews at the Daily News and The Tribune, he heard nothing. His money ran out. "I was penniless. I finally wrote a letter to my mother. I was very ashamed. Here her son was — she'd made all the sacrifices, scrubbing floors as a maid so her son could go to college — and he's out of college and he's writing her (for money). I was down to walking around the Loop, having a bowl of soup once a day for survival." A few days later — "it seemed like weeks" — the Daily News offered him a job. His first assignment was the police beat. In the police station press room the other reporters — all white — announced that they would not work with him. "The night that I walked into that news bureau, all of them stood and walked out of the room. And this went on for several weeks. They wouldn't talk to me. It was pretty rough. But as you can see, I didn't discourage easily. I was getting beat (on stories) like crazy, scrounging around trying to cover stories, but I didn't get canned." Eventually, grudgingly, Holman was accepted. He later became a general assignment reporter.

There wasn't much to dislike about Ben Holman. He was earnest and affable, two qualities that turned out to be quite useful when breaking the color barrier in television. When Holman was hired by WBBM, in 1962, two years had passed since the first nonviolent civil rights sit-ins. A major civil rights act had been proposed in Congress, but it wouldn't be enacted for another two years. In the network executive suites, however, the realization had struck: 'We don't have any black reporters on the air.' (At the time, network news was only 15 minutes, and local operations included only a handful of on-air reporters and anchors.) The logical place to look was the newspapers. Back then each Chicago paper had its black reporter —one and only one. "The job was to go out in the ghetto and get the black stories," recalls Burleigh Hines, who was hired by the Daily News to replace Holman.

Holman had just finished an undercover expose of the Black Muslims for the Daily News when he was offered the job at WBBM. "I didn't even own a television set," he says with a reverberating laugh. "I wasn't interested in television. I was from the old school; I thought it was a bore."

He took the job, however, because even then television paid more —almost double his $175-a-week Daily News salary. For him, being the only black was routine.

Thus Holman was somewhat baffled when he became an overnight celebrity in Chicago. He moved from his studio in the Prairie Shore Apartments on South Park Avenue (now —Martin Luther King Jr.— Drive) to a Hyde Park apartment and "got a bedroom for the first time in my life." After six months, he did what most Chicago celebrities ultimately do: He went to New York, to the network. [Added Jan. 23]

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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