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"An Awful Truth to See"

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sports Illustrated Hires Two Black Senior Writers

Paper Posts Video of Inmate's Fatal Beating

"The Sun Herald on Tuesday made public the videotaped beating of a Harrison County jail inmate whose death 18 months ago spawned a federal investigation and a growing list of civil lawsuits," Robin Fitzgerald reported Wednesday in the Sun-Herald of Biloxi, Miss.

 

 

"Until the recent trial of two former jailers, the graphic images of what happened under color of law to Jessie Lee Williams Jr. have been kept secret, sealed by federal court orders. U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. made the video available in response to the Sun Herald's public-records requests and a resulting lawsuit that asked for the documents to be unsealed and returned to the public domain.

"The public's first access to the video of Williams' beating was at sunherald.com, where it was posted Tuesday afternoon."

In an accompanying editorial , the newspaper said, "We received the evidence on Tuesday. You may choose to view it or not. It is there to see if you wish to do so. The tape is graphic, disturbing and represents the worst instincts of humankind.

 

 

 

"So while it is an awful truth to see, this visual evidence of the madness that reigned in our jail is almost necessary to view to fully comprehend how completely order had been replaced by an out-of-control rogue force of jailers whose conduct has been more criminal than many of the inmates under their command and control."

As reported here in June, the Sun Herald, which shared in a Pulitzer prize for its reporting on Hurricane Katrina, which devastated its circulation area, disclosed the autopsy report that implicated the jailers in Williams' death, produced a three-part series on conditions at the jail and demanded that a videotape of the beating be made public.

"Filmed by booking-room surveillance cameras, the tape has no sound, but shows pictures snapped every two or three seconds from the time Williams was brought in to the booking room at 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2006 until an ambulance crew picked him up around midnight," Fitzgerald wrote in Wednesday's story.

"Jurors in a nine-day trial ending Aug. 17 found former jailer Ryan Teel guilty of conspiring to deprive inmates' rights, using unnecessary, excessive force in Williams' fatal beating and obstructing justice by writing a false report. Williams, 40, of Gulfport, died of brain trauma. Co-defendant Rick Gaston was acquitted of a conspiracy charge and other assaults that didn't involve Williams.

"Nine former jailers await sentencing in the federal investigation, which, according to prosecutors, proves a culture of violence existed at the Harrison County jail and may produce another indictment." Although Williams is African American, Fitzgerald told Journal-isms earlier, "It appears it was not a racial issue but an abuse-of-power issue." White, black and Hispanic inmates are all said to have been beaten, and the accused guards are both black and white.

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NABJ Urges That Louisiana's "Jena 6" Story Be Told

In her first exhortation as president of the National Association of Black Journalists, Norfolk, Va., broadcaster Barbara Ciara urged the news media to pay attention to the so-called "Jena 6" case unfolding in Louisiana, the subject of growing attention among African Americans on the Internet and elsewhere.

"The court's decision in the 'Jena 6' case has the potential to be ground-breaking and shift attitudes about race and justice in the United States. It is critical that news organizations cover this court proceeding with the same dedication and persistence that is given to stories such as the upcoming presidential elections and the recent trouble surrounding the Atlanta [Falcons'] Michael Vick," NABJ said Wednesday in a news release.

"In December 2006, six black students at Jena High School were charged with attempted second-degree murder for allegedly assaulting a white student who taunted them with racial slurs. In a previous incident, three nooses were found hung on school property. On June 28, one of the black students was convicted of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery. He now faces a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison. Five other defendants were indicted in the case and will go to trial later this month.

"There is always a story behind the story," Ciara said in the release. "It's our charge, as journalists, to give a voice to the voiceless. The first reports are seldom a full account of what happened and why it came to be. Real journalism involves getting beneath the surface, examining the roots, and creating a compelling story no one can ignore. That's the challenge and opportunity for stories like the one in Jena, Louisiana."

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David Garcia, Pioneer TV Journalist, Dies at 63

"David Garcia, one of the first Hispanic network news correspondents and a former ABC News White House correspondent, has died in Palm Springs, Calif.," Gil Gross reported Wednesday for ABC News. He was 63.

 

 

 

"If his surname was a novelty in the business back in the early 1970s, his talent and doggedness as a reporter quickly made that an afterthought to those of us who were his colleagues.

"He covered the White House during the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations. To put that accomplishment in perspective, even by 1983, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists says there were still only three Hispanics in network journalism.

"Among the stories he covered were the Camp David Accords and the Salt II treaty.

"Later as Latin America bureau chief for ABC News, he covered the assassination of Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Garcia as well as the eventual Sandinista takeover.

"Garcia was honored with 14 Emmys and nominated for more than twice that number.

"He was also generous with colleagues and competitors, eager to talk over stories at the end of the day. He believed it helped the public if everyone covering a story was well-informed, and was confident enough in his own work to believe that even when he shared notes with competitors at the end of the day, he'd get ahead of them the next day."

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New Orleans Paper Urges Bush, "Treat Us Fairly"

 

 

The New Orleans Times-Picayune greeted President Bush in his visit to the city with a line above its nameplate reading, "Treat Us Fairly, Mr. President."

It referred readers to an editorial inside the paper that said:

"Despite massive destruction caused by the failure of the federal government's levees during Katrina, despite the torment caused by FEMA's slow response to the disaster, despite being hit by a second powerful hurricane less than a month later, Louisiana has had to plead to be treated fairly by our leaders in Washington. . . In reality, Mississippi has gotten a larger share of federal aid."

The main headline on the page was a big "Thank you" for "the kindness of strangers, whether in the first desperate days of exile, or even now in the slow slog of rebuilding."

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Suro Leaves Pew Hispanic Center for Annenberg

 

 

 

Roberto Suro, founding director of the Pew Hispanic Center, a leading research organization on Latino issues, has left the six-year-old organization for the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, where he started Monday as a professor of journalism.

Paul Taylor, like Suro a former Washington Post reporter, is serving as acting director and is heading up the search for a new permanent director of the Hispanic Center, according to the Center's Web site. He is executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, the parent organization of the Pew Hispanic Center and six other projects.

"Born in the United States of parents from Puerto Rico and Ecuador, Suro has more than 25 years of experience researching and writing about Latinos, most recently for The Washington Post. He also worked as a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine and The New York Times in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Suro is author of Strangers Among Us: Latino Lives in a Changing America," according to Suro's biography.

Gabriel Escobar, who became associate director for publications at the Center after leaving the Post, where he was city editor, became metropolitan editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer in June.

Suro could not be reached for comment, but an Annenberg spokesman said he had begun teaching.

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Sports Illustrated Hires Two Black Senior Writers

 

 

Sports Illustrated, which was down to one African American senior writer in April after the departure of Jeffri Chadiha for ESPN, has hired Jim Trotter of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Damon Hack of the New York Times, two black journalists, as senior writers.

 

 

Trotter, who covered the NFL and the San Diego Chargers for the Union-Tribune, will cover the NFL for the magazine, and Hack, a golf writer at the Times, will be covering the NFL and golf, Terry McDonell, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group, told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

Since Jan. 1, McDonell said, the publication has hired three white males, four Asians, two Hispanics, three African Americans and five women.

On that list are Jay Soysal, a designer, Helen Jung, an administrative assistant, Sarah Kwak, a reporter, and Pablo Torre, a reporter, all Asian; Fidencio Enriquez, a reporter, and Leon Avelino, an editorial operations manager, who are Hispanic; and Hack, Trotter and Tracy Mothershed, an editorial operations aide, who are African American.

Sports Illustrated has been facing tough competition for talent from ESPN, which offers multimedia platforms. Columnist J.A. Adande, who took a buyout at the Los Angeles Times, told the Web site the Big Lead in June, "I wouldn't say I 'turned down' Sports Illustrated because I'm not sure it ever came to a formal offer. Yes, Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Terry McDonell called me when he found out I was leaving the Times. I was flattered that SI would think of me, and McDonell had some intriguing ideas for what I could do for them. But I couldn't continue to appear on 'Around the Horn,'" an ESPN show, "in that scenario."

He went on to call Sports Illustrated "the greatest writing brand in the history of sports journalism."

McDonell said as much. "Some people recognize that SI is a better place for them to work," those who are more concerned with "the level and quality" of writing and are comfortable in the writing environment SI provides. "We do more literary journalism," he said.

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Half of Blacks Polled Think Vick Was Over-covered

Blacks are paying closer attention to the Michael Vick story than are whites, and about half think the media have over-covered the story, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

"Vick's legal troubles attracted a large news audience last week, ranking as the public's most closely followed news story along with the devastating floods in the Midwest and the situation in Iraq," the Center reported on Tuesday.

"One-in-four Americans said that they followed the Vick story very closely and 18% said it was the single news story they followed more closely than any other last week. The media, however, devoted far less coverage to the Vick story than to news about Iraq, the 2008 presidential campaign and weather-related stories.

"Overall, the public believes Vick, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, has been treated fairly by the press, but there is a sharp racial divide on this issue. While 69% of whites say the press has been fair in the way it has covered this story, only 38% of blacks agree. A narrow majority of blacks (51%) say Vick has been treated unfairly by the media.

"In spite of these differences, blacks and whites agree that the Vick story has been over-covered. Roughly half of whites (49%) and 56% of blacks say news organizations are giving too much coverage to this story. Very few whites or blacks say the story has received too little coverage (5% and 13%). Nearly four-in-ten whites (38%) and 28% of blacks say the Vick story has received about the right amount of coverage.

"Blacks have paid closer attention than whites to this story as it has evolved over the past month. In late July, 32% of blacks vs. 20% of whites followed allegations that Vick had been involved in illegal dog fighting very closely. Similarly, this past week, as Vick agreed to plead guilty to the federal charges leveled against him, 32% of blacks paid very close attention compared to 22% of whites. Fully 37% of blacks listed Vick's legal troubles as their most closely followed news story last week, making it by far the top news story of the week among blacks. For whites, the most closely followed stories were the floods in the Midwest and the situation in Iraq."

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Short Takes

  • A 26-minute documentary, "Below the Fold: The Pulitzer that Defined Latino Journalism," tells the story of how a group of young Latino journalists shocked the newspaper industry when they won a Pulitzer for their L.A. Times series called "Southern California's Latino Community." They became the first Latinos ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. Prize winners George Ramos, Nancy Rivera Brooks, Louis Sahagun and Frank Sotomayor were to be present for the premiere Tuesday at the University of Arizona.
  • "The first attempt to bring a presidential debate to Indian Country was more whimper than bang last week, as only three Democratic candidates for president showed up at the Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation in Southern California for a scheduled debate, and none were named Hillary or Barack, the Sioux Falls (S.D.) News Argus editorialized on Wednesday. But "a lack of first-hand access to presidential candidates" should not "trick us into thinking our votes don't count."
  • Sonja Steptoe, Time's senior correspondent in its Los Angeles bureau, which has undergone cutbacks, next week joins the Los Angeles office of the law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP. A spokeswoman for the firm declined to say in what capacity.
  • Leo Garza, a conservative cartoonist who did the local "Nacho Guarache" cartoon for the San Antonio Express-News for 20 years, has been laid off, public editor Bob Richter wrote on Aug. 19. "I can't think of another paper in America that has two cartoonists (we did), and Leo was simply a victim of the numbers," Richter wrote.
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  • Sibila Vargas, a CNN entertainment reporter and anchor, will become an anchor of the morning show on Houston's Channel 26 on Oct. 1, Mike McDaniel reported Tuesday in the Houston Chronicle.
  • Commentator Andy Rooney vented his ire on Thursday about baseball in his syndicated column, the New York Times reported. "I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today's baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me," Rooney wrote. "Yeah, I probably shouldn't have said it," Rooney, 88, told the Times. "I certainly didn't think of it in any derogatory sense." He added, "That's what I do for a living, I write columns and have opinions, and some of them are pretty stupid."
  • "How often is it that a reporter gets the chance to do a story on a town bearing the same name as his? Well, that's just what happened to NBC's Ron Mott, who received an invitation to cover the second annual Tractor Fest in Mott, North Dakota," TV Newser reported on Wednesday.
  • On Monday, Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" reported on the funeral of trailblazing jazz drummer Max Roach, on Friday, attended by 2,000 people in New York's Riverside Church. The show played excerpts of tributes from Bill Cosby and Maya Angelou and interviewed Amiri Baraka, Roach's biographer, and Phil Schaap, award-winning jazz historian, both friends of Roach.
  • "Reporters Without Borders is stunned by the four death sentences imposed yesterday by a military court in the eastern city of Bukavu" in the Congo, "for the murder of UN radio journalist Serge Maheshe at the end of a trial riddled with absurdities. Two of the four people sentenced to death were close friends of Maheshe who were with him when he was gunned down on a Bukavu street on 13 June," the organization said on Wednesday.
  • A court in Cameroon's northwestern town of Kumbo has sentenced in absentia Wirkwa Eric Tayu, the publisher of a small English-language newspaper, to a year in prison, according to the national secretary of the Cameroon Journalists' Trade Union. The Committee to Protect Journalists said on Tuesday, "The sentence was related to alleged press offenses by the newspaper, which published a series of stories claiming corruption in the local government this year."

For Many, Alarm Over Conduct Trumped Pride

The stories about Alberto Gonzales' resignation Monday as attorney general all noted that he was the first Hispanic in the job, and that distinction has complicated the reactions of Latino commentators to his tenure.

 

 

"My sense is that the majority of the editorial boards have been silent — probably out of deference to his being the first Hispanic person in the position," Tom Oliver, executive director and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Publishers Foundation, told Journal-isms. "There was a reluctance — one of giving the man the full opportunity to make his own choices."

However, three papers in the largest chain of Spanish-language newspapers, ImpreMedia — came out forcefully against the attorney general.

"Being Latin and the son of farmworkers does not guarantee that someone is a good person. Nor does it assure that someone will be a good United States Attorney General," the Chicago-based La Raza wrote on Aug. 3, in an editorial called "An Embarrassment Named Gonzales."

La Raza, the nation's largest Spanish-language weekly, was joined by Los Angeles-based La Opinión, the nation's largest Spanish-language daily, in calling for Gonzales' resignation.

"The firings of the U.S. attorneys is sufficient cause for doubting his capacity for distinguishing his loyalty to President George W. Bush from his duty to citizens. But the straw that broke the camel's back is the contradiction between his testimony that he was unaware of what his subordinates had done and his active participation in the meetings, as evidenced by the department's internal communications," a March 30 editorial said.

"We agree with the resignation and the need of a change," Jorge Mederos, executive editor of La Raza, told Journal-isms on Monday.

Henrik Rehbinder, editorial page editor of La Opinión, said his paper was one of the few Spanish-language papers to oppose Gonzales' nomination as attorney general. The stands Gonzales took as counselor to the president on torture and human rights were "the policy of Latin American dictators in the '70s," Rehbinder told Journal-isms.

A third ImpreMedia paper, El Diario/La Prensa in New York, called for Gonzales' resignation on April 21. An editorial for Tuesday's editions will say it was overdue, Erica González, opinion page editor, told Journal-isms.

The editorial says, "It was a sordid political scandal that was his undoing. He leaves during an ongoing investigation into his role in the alleged politically motivated firings of U.S. Attorneys. The allegations are tied to concerns that charges and prosecutions were designed to steer results of federal and state elections —in direct violation of the civil rights generations of Latinos fought, and sometimes died, to build and uphold."

However, Ruben Navarrette Jr. of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the most widely syndicated Hispanic columnist in the mainstream press, has steadfastly blasted Gonzales' critics.

 

 

Navarrette spoke with Gonzales for 15 minutes Monday afternoon.

The columnist told Journal-isms: "I'm sorry to see him go, and, like a lot of people, I was caught by surprise. I thought he'd stay to the end of the administration and I'm disappointed that he didn't, especially since Senate Democrats and his critics in the press never put together a very good case for why he should leave. In fact, as I've written, it was always frustrating for me to defend Gonzales because the indictment kept getting revised. He broke the law, and then he didn't. He is incompetent, but then he's also crafty enough to outsmart his critics in Congress. Geez. Who could keep up?

"No, my opinion hasn't changed. I don't buy this hooey about a 'fall from grace' that you hear from the liberal media. Where was the 'fall from grace' when Karl Rove or Donald Rumsfeld resigned? Why do we only hear that when a minority resigns? He's a good and smart guy who made mistakes. Chief among them was running the DOJ like a CEO and not being completely forthcoming with Congress. But he was also turned into a pinata by those who couldn't swallow the idea that a Republican president could break a barrier that a string of Democratic presidents refused to break by putting in a minority to head the AG's office. That's also part of his story."

As Mark Fitzgerald wrote in Editor & Publisher on April 6, "Gonzales in past years had been a source of pride for some Spanish-language papers and Hispanic commentators writing in English because of his personal achievements in becoming the first Hispanic counsel to the president, and then the first to become attorney general.

"In a Spanish-language column headlined 'Pride and Deception,' published in the Chicago edition of Tribune Co.-owned Hoy, Sergio Muñoz said two years ago Gonzales was 'the pride and hope of the Latino community.'

"Gonzales' ascent was 'a double triumph,' Muñoz wrote: 'Not only was he was the first Latino attorney general, but he was the first Latino to occupy one of the four most important seats in the presidential cabinet.'

"But with many in Congress calling for his resignation as a result of the U.S. attorney firings, the columnist added, 'Latino leadership needs to join in that demand. Gonzales not only has let down the community — he's let down the nation,' Muñoz, an editorial writer with the Los Angeles Times, wrote."

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Abducted Iraqi Translator for CBS News Found Dead

"Anwar Abbas Lafta, a translator working for CBS News for the past 10 months, was abducted last Monday, Aug. 20, from his home in Baghdad at approximately 8:30 PM local time. He had left the CBS News bureau in Baghdad at about 5:00 PM that evening," CBS said in a statement Monday afternoon.

"Approximately 8-10 armed men, some wearing body armor, entered Mr. Abbas' home and fought with him and his brother, who was also at home. Mr. Abbas' brother was beaten, his sister was shot in the arm, and Mr. Abbas himself was taken by the men. During the week, two ransom calls were received by Mr. Abbas' family. On Saturday, Aug. 25, a cousin, who, along with Mr. Abbas' brother, had been searching police stations and morgues for the body, received a call from the local police saying they had found a body on the north side of Sadr City. The cousin identified the body that evening.

"Mr. Abbas was in his early 50s and was not married. He had worked as a translator for the U.S. military in Iraq for approximately three years before joining CBS News.

"He was buried today (27) in Najaf.

"'Our deepest sympathies go to Mr. Abbas' family and friends,' said Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports. 'This is not the first time the CBS News family has suffered the worst loss possible —the life of a colleague. We certainly hope it is the last, but the pain and sorrow will be with us and his family for a very long time.'"

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Anniversary Week Takes Stock of Katrina

On the second anniversary of the week that Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the two newspapers that won Pulitzer Prizes for public service for their coverage of the aftermath are memorializing the continuing ordeal with days-long series.

The Sunday edition of the New Orleans Times-Picayune had stories ranging from reviews of books about the tragedy to profiles of those who stayed to neighborhood-by-neighborhood progress reports. They came complete with swipes at out-of-town media whose stories had shown their ignorance of city.

"We're trying to take stock of as many aspects of the continuing recovery as we can find people to write about them and space to put them in the newspaper," Managing Editor Peter Kovacs told Journal-isms. Did the stories break news? "If you arrived in New Orleans from out of town, it would seem there was more news in the paper than if you read it every day," he said.

In Monday's paper was a chart, "Recovery by the Numbers," that showed changes in public schools, hotels, airport volume, restaurants and other indicators. "Each of those things was news," Kovacs said.

The anniversary coverage continues for two more days.

The Sun Herald of Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss., in the often-forgotten area of devastation outside New Orleans, ran a banner across its Sunday paper asking: "WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?"

"'Where did all the money go' is a Sun Herald series taking a look at the accounting of federal and charitable dollars spent toward South Mississippi's recovery from Hurricane Katrina," the newspaper told readers.

"Today

"Where did all the money go — Closely monitoring Katrina spending would be akin to closely monitoring the number of grains of sand on the Coast's beach.

"Katrina fraud— The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates FEMA lost $1 of every $6 to 'fraud, waste and abuse' for the first $6 billion it spent after Katrina.

"Katrina grants — At the two-year mark, some say the program is missing the mark in helping people of low-to-moderate incomes enough.

"[Geoff] Pender column — The title of this package of stories, 'Where did all the money go?' requires this mea culpa: We don't know. Nobody does.

'Monday

"Charity relief— Thousands of people still struggle to recover from Katrina. And many will tell you the kindness of strangers has kept them afloat.

"Affordable housing — South Mississippi residents who had limited resources and lived in rentals before Katrina, are in many cases sinking, mentally at least, from the pressure of just trying to survive.

"[Anita] Lee column — Keeping it simple in trying to compile numbers on charitable spending after Hurricane Katrina is not an easy process."

Among noteworthy anniversary coverage from national media is a package from Sports Illustrated, "Two Years After Katrina." "Sports played a special role in the early stages of the New Orleans recovery, but beyond the Superdome, in battered, depopulated areas such as the Lower Ninth Ward, there is a great need to get the city's at-risk youth back in play," it said.

Broadcast networks' plans for Katrina coverage is in this separate column.

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Opinion Writers Debate "Don't Snitch" Cartoon

 

 

A debate among editorial writers around the country exposed a divide between blacks and some whites last week as they discussed a cartoon by a white artist in the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville that attacked the "no-snitching" culture among some members of the hip-hop generation.

At least two columnists wrote about the debate over the weekend. This columnist, who also chairs the Diversity Committee of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, admits to igniting the debate in that forum with an "FYI" about the cartoon on the association's e-mail list. Although the cartoonist's use of the word "ho" was the initial lightning rod, eventually, critics questioned the entire cartoon.

"'So many things to find disgusting about the cartoon,' said Lynne Varner, a columnist and editorial writer at the Seattle Times. She criticized the 'stereotype of African-Americans using poor grammar' and the cartoon's reliance on rappers as thugs and criminals when in reality the vast majority are not," as Wayne Ezell, reader advocate for the Florida Times-Union, reported on Sunday.

"A successful cartoon could have challenged the pervasive lawlessness seen in some cities without employing stereotypes, which because they're so widely accepted, didn't raise eyebrows at the cartoonist's paper," said Varner.

Eric Deggans, media critic for the St. Petersburg Times, is not a member of the editorial writers group but sent along his views to be posted:

"No one knows better than a person of color who works in media how the power of a stereotypical image can have real consequences in the lives of minorities. Because so many people in this country who make important choices — about school busing programs, funding for social services, the existence of affirmative action programs and the election of public officials who happen to be people of color — have limited personal experience with minorities themselves," Deggans wrote.

Many of those who defended the cartoon vigorously did seem to be from editorial boards without people of color, as is the Florida Times Union, where the editorial page editor acknowledged it was bad judgment to allow the word "ho" to be used.

"Has anyone out there run a better cartoon on the Don't Snitch subculture?" asked Dennis Mangan, editorial editor of The Vindicator in Youngstown, Ohio, one of several who praised the cartoon.

"My guess: No. The cartoon captured the ugliness of Don't Snitch today and the danger it represents to the next generation," Mangan said. "You can't ask for more."

The number of African American editorial cartoonists at daily newspapers continues to be less than a handful. The field itself is shrinking and talented African Americans have gravitated to comic strips, the Internet or other vehicles of expression.

In the end, praise went to the editorialists' ability to have a civil discussion, in an era when many cable viewers might think "discuss" means verbal food fights and shouting matches.

"The civility and thoughtfulness on all sides of this ongoing discussion have, indeed, been a joy to follow. I have seen things in ways I might never have," said John Taylor, retired editorial page editor of the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal and a former president of the organization.

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Vick Formally Enters Guilty Plea on Dogfights

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick arrived at the federal courthouse in Richmond, Va., at 10:19 a.m. Monday, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and yellow tie. He was joined by lead attorney Billy Martin. He formally entered his guilty plea on charges related to dogfighting in federal court Monday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Vick was greeted by cheers and jeers from the many spectators outside the courthouse. Reporters said there were more media representatives than at his arraignment, but a smaller crowed overall.

The sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 10 at 10 a.m., D. Orlando Ledbetter and Jeremy Redmon wrote.

[Vick did not appear on the syndicated Tom Joyner radio show as scheduled, Joyner announced on the air, "on the advice of his advisers." Joyner said the visit had been "postponed."]

Columnists continued to weigh in on the significance of the plea from the NFL quarterback and offered advice on his future.

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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