AOL Claims to Employ 4,000 Journalists
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
AOL celebrates its 25th anniversary by inviting its alumni back to the company's Dulles, Va., campus to celebrate with co-founders Steve Case and Jim Kimsey, and Ted Leonsis, vice chairman emeritus (Credit: Russell Hirshon/AOL)AOL CEO Tim Armstrong says that the company now employs 4,000 journalists, 3,500 of which are part-time or freelance. As of last October, the company employed roughly 3,000 journalists.
"That's pretty decent growth in a matter of six months. Of course, AOL has launched a number of content initiatives, including buying hyperlocal news site Patch and launching content machine Seed.com. Armstrong says that AOL is really 'taking local to a local level.' Patch is now in 53 markets in 5 states, including Connecticut and California. And it's been reported that AOL will pour $50 million into Patch this year and plans to roll out the model to 'hundreds' of communities in the future.
"We know that Armstrong is not only bullish on niche content but is also looking for AOL to become a content powerhouse. But Armstrong said today that he's not interested on creating a 'content farm.' He believes the future of AOL's content strategy is in quality news. Hyper local is clearly a part of this strategy."
AOL is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week with a celebration of commemoration activities that kicked off on May 20 with a global employee volunteer day across 18 cities.
An AOL spokeswoman was unable to say on Wednesday how many of the new journalists AOL has hired have been of color, but the diversity at AOL appears to be uneven.
The AOL News team started life last year as AOL Sphere, with 17 writers and editors, all white. Today it has 19 writers and editors who all appear to be white, but people of color are among the "contributors."
AOL Sports has, however, hired writers of color, such as Terence Moore, Calvin Watkins and Terrance Harris.
AOL was listed as one of the online companies that did not supply diversity figures this year to the American Society of News Editors for its annual diversity census.
- John C. Dvorak, PC Magazine: Happy 25th Birthday AOL
- Zennie62, City Brights blog, SFGate.com:¬†AOL Founder Steve Case would re-do AOL/TimeWarner Merger
- Washington Post: 25 years of AOL: A timeline
Twin Cities anchor Robyne Robinson of KMSP-TV begins to tear up Wednesday night in her final newscast. She was the first African American anchor in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
"Robyne said earlier this week that she's been asked to run on the gubernatorial ticket with Democrat Matt Entenza," Neal Justin wrote Wednesday in his Star Tribune blog. "She says she's seriously considering it. (Entenza's campaign says no one has been asked, a strange contradiction.)
"She and her station say there's no conflict of interest until she officially announces she's a candidate. Bull. The minute she said openly that she'd think about it should have been the minute Fox officials thanked her for her service and showed her the door."
Referring to Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, David Brauer wrote Monday on MinnPost.com:
"On a day when the Pioneer Press quoted [Jeff] Passolt's co-anchor Robyne Robinson saying she'd been offered the lieutenant governor's job on DFLer Matt Entenza's ticket, Fox9 chose to leave Robinson on the air but not tell viewers a thing about what was up.
"This despite Passolt narrating a story about Mark Dayton picking Robinson's potential adversary Yvonne Prettner Solon as his number two, then tossing to the woman who could be Prettner Solon's adversary. As MinnPost.com analyst Blois Olson tweeted, 'How do Passolt and Robinson not just start giggling?'
"Fox9 did publish a brief web story during the broadcast at 5:21 p.m. But geez, folks, you have the newsmaker on the set."
The Fox9 station manager referred questions to a Fox spokesman, who said, "There is a clear difference between being invited to be a candidate and announcing that you are a candidate," the Star Tribune reported.
"The candidate said he would announce his pick in the next few days on Twitter," KARE-TV reported.Janice Min has been named editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter, owner e5 Global Media announced Wednesday," Dylan Stableford and Sharon Waxman wrote Wednesday for the Hollywood website theWrap.
"Min was formerly the high-profile editor-in-chief of Us Weekly, where her contract negotiations with Jann Wenner were tabloid fodder in New York.
"Min, who took over the top job at Us in 2003 when Bonnie Fuller jumped to Star magazine, was making a reported $2 million a year ‚Äî a figure Wenner wasn't willing to pay again. Min left Us last July.
"The move by e5 has been awaited with expectation within Hollywood, which has observed the severe decline of the once-dominant trade [magazine].
"E5 bought The Hollywood Reporter last December along with Billboard and other Nielsen-owned trade publications.
"Min's position is a new one, and will cover editorial leadership of various platforms.
". . . whatever her celebrity status on the New York media landscape, Min is an unknown entity within the clubby world of Hollywood, and does not come from the world of business reporting."
In an interview with TheWrap, e5 CEO Richard Beckman said this was not an issue, the story continued. "She understands the entertainment industry. She may not have run a business to business publication, but she truly understands the entertainment industry. I have 100% confidence in her ability to bring together strong team and strong vision," he said.
In a newscast on American Urban Radio Networks, which succeeded Sheridan, Ellison's son Michael said his father had pulmonary disease and a history of prostate cancer. "He was a former smoker. He did his best to quit," Michael said.
Ellison was most recently a senior vice president of Walls Communications, a Washington public relations firm. As White House correspondent, he covered the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations.
"Bob was a proud father and grandfather, a devoted journalist and a true friend," Wendell Goler, White House correspondent for Fox News, told Journal-isms via e-mail. "He took me under his wing when I arrived here at the White House in 1986 and was a source of support for many years after. Bob took the old Sheridan Broadcast network, now American Urban Radio, beyond advocacy journalism to the mainstream.
"His questions for the President and Vice President and their aides always went to the heart of the story. At the same time he never shortchanged his audience. He was accomplished at his craft and a source of pride as leader of the Correspondents Association. Under his guidance, the 1991 Correspondent's Association dinner focused less on the glamour of the evening and more on the scholarship provided to a local Washington, D.C. high school student. Bob and his wife Pam were gracious enough to attend most of the major events of the Goler household, from graduation parties to anniversary celebrations. My wife and I will miss him dearly."
"I will never forget him serving as emcee" of the 1991 correspondents' dinner, Jerry Lopes, AURN's president, program operations & affiliations, told Journal-isms via e-mail.
"As chair you emcee the dinner..you sit next to the President (George H. Bush), you host the pre dinner reception for the President and First Lady...you select the entertainment for the event (Sinbad) and the menu for the event. In honor of that historic occasion we had four tables and invited [the] entire civil rights leadership as our guest to witness the event....among those leaders who came ...John Jacob from the Urban League...Ben Hooks from the NAACP...Dorothy Height from the NCNW," the National Conference of Negro Women, "and Jesse Jackson from Operation Push.¬† Bob handled himself throughout that event with grace, humility and professionalism. We at Sheridan Broadcasting/AURN will never forget that. Oh did I mention he also did a bang up job as our correspondent covering the White House each day."
Lopes added, "I plucked Bob from WOOK-FM Radio in DC," a black-oriented music station.
According to Ellison's bio, "Before entering the public affairs and journalism fields, he designed and evaluated U.S. foreign assistance projects for the Agency for International Development while serving in Ethiopia, Thailand and Liberia."
Gwen Thompkins, East Africa correspondent for National Public Radio, and Deb Price, who started what is believed to be the first column on gay and lesbian issues to run in mainstream newspapers, are among the 11 American journalists selected for the 2011 class of Nieman fellows, the program announced on Wednesday.
Thompkins is the only African American in the class, in a year when black journalists have been underrepresented in fellowship selections. Only one other American black journalist was picked among the programs at Harvard, Stanford and the University of Michigan: James Thomas, a Web editor at the Detroit Free Press, who was awarded a Knight-Wallace fellowship at Michigan.
The Nieman fellows will spend an academic year at Harvard as a mid-career break from their daily work. "This year, a large number of them are freelancers and some have launched innovative journalism projects. They represent a new breed of pioneering journalists who will carry us, well informed, into the future,‚Äù curator Bob Giles said in the announcement.
Thompkins "plans to study the art of storytelling within a variety of disciplines, including music composition, filmmaking, epic poetry and the history of science," the announcement said.
Price, Washington correspondent for the Detroit News, "will study China‚Äôs explosive growth and the opportunities and challenges it presents Michigan. She is the Louis Stark Nieman Fellow. The fellowship honors the memory of the New York Times reporter who was a pioneer in the field of labor reporting." Price's column on gay and lesbian issues began in the Detroit News in 1992, and is now syndicated.
Among other recipients, Tony Bartelme, projects reporter at the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., plans to "examine the human, social and environmental costs of coal-fired power generation with a special focus on how the United States exploits coal reserves in South America," and Tyler Bridges, an author and freelance journalist based in Lima, Peru, "will study the changes, challenges and opportunities for delivering news in the digital era, in both the United States and Latin America."
[Giles provided this breakdown of the applicant pool on Thursday:
["In the US applicant pool there were 16 African American (15 a year ago); 15 Hispanics (15 a year ago); 4 Asian Americans ( 10 a year ago) 2 Native Americans (1 a year ago).
["Among the US finalists interviewed, there were 3 African Americans (1 a year ago); 2 Hispanics (3 a year ago); 1 Asian American (3 a year ago).
[The total US pool was 137 compared with 164 a year ago. The international application pool numbered 161 this year and 150 a year ago.
[The new class has 7 journalists of color --- 6 internationals and 1 US.
[There are 6 print journalists in the US portion of the new class, compared with 3 a year ago. The trend of fewer print applicants continues."] [Updated May 27]
"This was not intended to define Hank Jones and his legacy," New York Times writer Corey Kilgannon protested, defending his description of the deceased musician's apartment.
"By the next day, NYT reporter Corey Kilgannon had talked his way into Jones's room in an Upper West Side apartment. On Tuesday, Kilgannon (sharing a byline with City Room editor Andy Newman) posted a piece on the City Room blog that portrayed Jones as a lonely old man in a messy studio ‚Äî setting off a firestorm of complaints from Jones's family and friends that he'd invaded Jones's privacy, and besmirched his legacy.
"We'd say the complainers are right on both counts. Intentionally or not, the City Room post reads like an attempt to make Jones's life look lonely and sad, made even worse by the reporter's brazen disregard for Jones's privacy by snapping ‚Äî and publishing ‚Äî a photo from inside his room."
Kilgannon replied on the same blog. "I found it touching that Mr. Jones chose such an isolated life, towards the end, and I probably could have been better at describing that it seemed by-choice, out of passion for his art, not out of depression or some sense of shame," he wrote.
"This was not intended to define Mr. Jones and his legacy by the condition of his room, but rather to attempt to glimpse him as a human, to add to the official and public image we already have of him. If he lived in a mansion, I would have been just as eager to visit and write about that."
- VeTalle Fusilier, ebonyjet.com: The Song is You: Hank Jones: An Appreciation
"Last week, the Federal Communications Commission sent questions to Comcast and NBC Universal as part of the regulatory agency's review of the merger between the nation's largest cable and broadband provider and the entertainment giant.
"The questions are, to put it mildly, very detailed and probing and no doubt will require both companies to reveal confidential information, much of it involving third parties. About the only thing the FCC doesn't want to know about Comcast and NBC is what's on the menu at their respective cafeterias."
Meanwhile, "a group advocating Black media ownership and a former Federal Communications Commission chairman are spearheading a crusade¬†against cable giant Comcast and their proposed merger with NBC/Universal over the cable operator's lack of African-American owned channels on its national platform," Pharoah Martin wrote Monday for the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
He was referring to a group called the National Coalition of African American Owned Media and former FCC chairman Kevin Martin.These troopers are my failing or mediocre journalism students at Howard University¬†in Washington. They don't know that mid-year elections come every two years, that 33 (or 34) U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs, that 'ensure' means something totally different than 'insure' ‚Äî and they don't care about their collective ignorance.
"They just want a passing grade, to get them to some unknown next level of stupid oblivion.
"I don't get it. I don't understand how we as Black Americans could have let this happen at Howard University, so called 'The Mecca' of black higher education. If this is the Mecca, then Mohammed must be in Acapulco."
Cunningham was describing his "Reporting and Writing" class, and his observations dovetailed with those of Jack White, who wrote on his own blog that he had failed half of his "Writing for the Media" class at Howard.
When White posted a link to Cunningham's blog post on his Facebook page this week, one of those who responded was Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women.
"It reminds me of the work that we have to do to reinforce standards for our young people," she wrote. "However, students with get-over (plead the case, be the exception, my dog died) mentalities are usually the offspring of get-over parents. Okay, I'm not supposed to say that! So I'll stop. In any case, I am grateful to all of you who embrace HBCUs, who work with us under less than ideal conditions, for a fraction of the pay you could command, and mostly because you care."
- "Univision Communications' flagship television station, KMEX-TV Channel 34, continued to reign supreme among Los Angeles television stations during the May sweeps," Meg James wrote Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times. "The Spanish-language station captured the ratings crown for prime-time viewership among 18- to 49-year-old viewers, powered by its popular soap operas, or telenovelas." Univision said that nationally, it is set to finish the sweeps as the No. 3 network in broadcast primetime, "beating CBS, NBC, CW and all cable networks, among all Adults 18-34 (1.1 million), not just Hispanics."
- The retooled "Michael Eric Dyson Show" started airing May 17 on a limited number of stations in preparation for a wider launch on June 7, LaFontaine Oliver, general manager of sponsoring station WEAA-FM in Baltimore, told Journal-isms. Oliver said he was looking for a fourth producer to join Steve Williams, who came from WAMU-FM in Washington; Teria Rogers, from Sirius/XM Radio, and Carla Wills, a print veteran. The show can be sampled online.
- " 'We're trying to get in. Some people don't want us in.' That's the message Willie Ratcliff took from the bullet that crashed through our bedroom window¬†at 1:45 a.m. on Thursday, May 13," Mary Ratcliff wrote May 16 for the San Francisco Bay View. "Ratcliff is publisher of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper and owner of Liberty Builders, a general contracting firm challenging the 12-year lockout of Blacks from construction in San Francisco. The second floor flat where we live and where both his businesses are headquartered overlooks the main intersection in Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco's Black heartland."
- "Following a two-day discussion of the problems faced by black students in public education, a group of 13 black leaders has issued an urgent call for a national meeting of 'black stakeholders' to design a rescue plan for the nation's troubled public schools," North Carolina A&T State University announced. The May 19-20 conference was convened by the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies, which works to increase the number of blacks employed in journalism and reports and researches issues affecting blacks. It is directed by DeWayne Wickham, USA Today and Gannett News Service columnist.
- " The dramatic account of a secret U.S. government mission to rescue Jews from Yemen, the ongoing story of Jewish life in Castro's Cuba and an interactive Web site on Chinese Jews took top honors in the third annual Be'chol Lashon Media Awards," the awards committee announced on Wednesday. The awards chairman is Robin Washington, editor of the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune and the award's initial recipient in 2008. "An initiative of the San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish & Community Research, Be chol Lashon (In Every Tongue) advocates for a global understanding of the Jewish people that reflects contemporary identity."
- Gannett Co. named Samuel Martin, most recently senior vice president/chief advertising officer for the Boston Globe, to be publisher of the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, the Advertiser reported. "He previously was senior vice president of sales at New Jersey Media Group. Before that assignment, he worked for Gannett as senior vice president of marketing at The Cincinnati Enquirer from 1999-2002 and director of advertising at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., from 1993-1999."
- Scott Wong, who worked for the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, and Simmi Aujla, who was editor-in-chief of the Brown Daily Herald at Brown University, started Tuesday as congressional correspondents for Politico, Wong wrote last month of his grandparents experience in a Japanese American internment camp, and Aujla is a graduate of the Freedom Forum's Chips Quinn program promoting journalism diversity.
- CNN's "Latino in America," CTV News from Prince George's Community Television; "Early Lessons" from American Public Media; "Matters of Race" from Alabama Public Radio and diversity coverage from WBEZ-FM in Chicago were winners of the annual National RTDNA/UNITY Awards, presented by the Radio-Digital News Association and Unity: Journalists of Color, the groups announced.
- Ann Curry of NBC-TV's "Today" show apologized for a gaffe in her commencement speech Saturday¬†at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. She named as graduates of the school attendees of a different Wheaton College, in Illinois.
- CNN's Kyra Phillips apologized Wednesday for airing a rap song that used the n-word. "Highlighting a piece about a 103-year-old Pennsylvania woman who's still out driving her Coupe deVille, CNN used Coolio's 'Fantastic Voyage' for a bumper into the break," TV Newser noted, crediting Rob Redding's Redding News Review for the tip.
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