Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Beating the Big Boys on the Vick Story

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summit on Diversity Tries to Redefine Its Meaning

WTKR-TV's Barbara Ciara breaks the news that Michael Vick has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. (Credit: Patrick Rockey) 

Va. Station Claims Scoop on Signing With Eagles

WTKR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Norfolk, Va., home territory of newly unshackled NFL quarterback Michael Vick, was telling viewers on Friday that it "broke the story worldwide" that Vick had signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. And two powerhouse networks who were also players in the signing-scoop sweepstakes Thursday night - ESPN and Fox - conceded that a local station could have beaten them.

In '60 Minutes' interview with James Brown, Michael Vick vows to help end dogfighting."It started with a text message tip to Jummy and me a little after 7pm and I was able to confirm it with my NFL sources and get it on the air at 7:28pm one full hour before any networks - national or cable aired the story," Barbara Ciara, anchor and managing editor at the station, told Journal-isms via e-mail. The reference was to her reporting colleague Jummy Olabanji.

"What makes me especially proud is that two NABJ members were fully engaged and made it happen first and accurately," continued the immediate past president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

It was about 8:20 p.m. Eastern time Thursday when ESPN's senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen reported that Vick had signed with the Eagles, spokesman Josh Krulewitz said. Mortensen attributed the news to Vick's agent, Joel Segal.

"Whatever time he confirmed with them, we were the first to report it and we sourced it with people in the Vick camp - not his agent," Ciara said.

"I know some people find it hard to believe that local news can scoop networks with great resources, but it's just another example of good old fashioned journalism which requires reporters to develop reliable sources."

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer weighed in at 8:39, spokesman Bob Broderick said, then followed up at 8:41 p.m. with the dollar amounts: a one-year deal for $1.6 million with an option for a second year at $5.2 million, attributed to a source. Krulewitz said ESPN credited that information to Fox. The Associated Press moved its first story at 8:45 p.m.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel and Gregg Rosenthal of credited Dan Sileo of WDAE in Tampa with breaking the story, but Jerry Petuck of the station said that Sileo's report, quoting Vick's trainer, Tom Shaw, came at 7:58 or 7:59 p.m.

"It's not really a shock that the 'big boys' got scooped on this one," Mike Florio, editor of, told Journal-isms via e-mail. "the sources the prominent NFL reporters use were on complete lock down.  and so it leaked via lower level sources who don't have relationships with the mortensen's and glazer's of the world.

"even after i heard sileo's report, i tried my own usual sources and people still weren't talking." 

The signing news sent reporters scrambling. "By halftime, the Linc was buzzing: Michael Vick was an Eagle," Rob Maaddi wrote from Philadelphia for the Associated Press. "Suddenly, no one seemed to care much about the preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday night. All that mattered to most fans was that the disgraced quarterback had joined their team."

News outlets sought fan - and dog lovers' - reactions and set up Web-site vehicles for feedback.

At 7:53 p.m. Central time, the Dallas Morning News' Jean-Jacques Taylor became one of the first to blog about it: "Mike Vick's signing is bad news for Cowboys," the headline read.

By way of background, the Philadelphia Daily News offers this: "The flashy lefthanded quarterback has not played in the NFL since the 2006 season. He served 18 months of a 23-month sentence in federal prison on dogfighting charges. Vick was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 and played six seasons. He led the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game in the 2004 season. Atlanta lost [to] the Eagles at the Linc in that game, 27-10.

"Vick, 29, was released from federal prison on May 20 and was released from federal custody on July 20. On July 27, he was conditionally reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell."

There was one more scoop to be had, Fox's Broderick said. At 9:30 a.m. Friday, Glazer answered what had been the subject of intense speculation: Which other teams, if any, had bid for Vick's services? Glazer reported that the Cincinnati Bengals offered Vick a two-year deal for $2.3 million, but said Vick turned it down.

. . . Team Presents "a Defense Coordinator's Nightmare"

CBS Sports Anchor James Brown interviewed Michael Vick for Sunday's "60 Minutes," and went on CBS News' "The Early Show" on Friday to promote the upcoming program.

Co-host Harry Smith said to Brown, "take off the reporter's hat, just the sports hat now. He signs with Philadelphia. How big a story is that?"

Brown replied, "Significant. All 32 teams prior to it said they didn't want anything to do with him. But I'm sure they were having internal discussions to talk about how it was going to impact the team. As a player, Harry, with the sports reporter's hat on, the guy is phenomenal. If he can reclaim any of what he had before, it is a defensive coordinator's nightmare to have both Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick in the backfield."

Joy Bennett, Daughter of Lerone Bennett, Out at Ebony

Joy Bennett Joy Bennett, a longtime editor at Ebony magazine and daughter of its venerated executive editor emeritus, Lerone Bennett Jr., vanished from the publication this week, marking the first time in decades that neither father nor daughter was on the staff.

"We appreciate the contributions of former senior editor Joy Bennett to Ebony magazine and wish her well in the future," Wendy E. Parks, Johnson Publishing Co. spokeswoman, told Journal-isms Friday in response to a question. "We've filled several of our senior-level roles, and we will continue to assess candidates for the remaining open positions."

In awarding her its By-line Award in April, Marquette University's J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication said of Bennett:

"With more than 27 years of newspaper and magazine journalism experience, Joy has covered everything from education to health care to politics to entertainment. She has raised awareness about breast cancer and other serious diseases through her reporting and used articles to bring attention to the inadequacy of relief for Hurricane Katrina victims. Her elucidating profiles have shed new light on veteran newsmakers as well as up-and-comers."

Bennett, a mother of three, received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Marquette University in Milwaukee, which she attended from 1975 to 1979, and a master's degree in business journalism from Michigan State University. She joined Ebony, where her father was executive editor, after working for newspapers in Michigan.

As a senior editor, she participated in the magazine's much-touted interview with Michael Jackson for Ebony's December 2007 issue.

Her father, also a writer and social historian, worked in a variety of positions at Ebony for 52 years before retiring at age 78 in 2005. He is still on the masthead as editor emeritus.

Johnson Publishing Co. has undergone numerous staff changes in the past year and is attempting to weather rough financial times. The Publishers Reference Bureau reported this month that Ebony's advertising revenue for the first six months of the year declined 31.8 percent, and advertising pages by 34.7 percent.

Summit on Diversity Tries to Redefine Its Meaning

In response to economic turmoil in the news industry and declining attention to diversity, some 25 to 30 industry leaders Friday decided that the diversity discussion must be moved away from newsrooms to the broader issue of the "accuracy of the report" via whatever messenger the consumer receives it.

That includes startup online ventures, ethnic media and other news-delivery organizations, and "figuring out how to affect the broader universe of products beyond the mainstream," Keith Woods, the dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute who facilitated the discussion, told Journal-isms.

"My goal was . . . a conversation that went beyond the latest numbers from RTNDA and ASNE," Woods said, speaking of the American Society of News Editors and the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

The meeting, convened by Unity: Journalists of Color, took place in Boston at the Asian American Journalists Association convention. Present were representatives of the national associations of black, Hispanic and Asian American journalists, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Newspaper Guild, ASNE, CBS, the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, the Gannett Co., the McClatchy Co., the McCormick Foundation, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, among others.

It arose out of frustration with declining or stalled newsroom diversity numbers.

Woods said "three hours is not a lot of time" to redefine what diversity looks like, and that it was too soon to tell where the conversation would lead.

More Pull Spots From Glenn Beck's Fox Show

"More advertisers are pulling their spots from Glenn Beck's Fox News program in the wake of the host's accusations that President Obama is 'a racist' with a 'deep-seated hatred for white people,'" Marisa Guthrie reported Thursday for Broadcasting & Cable.

"ConAgra (maker of Healthy Choice products), Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, and RadioShack have all signaled their intention to move advertising from Beck's 5 p.m. show.

"A network spokeswoman explained that the defecting advertisers 'have redistributed to other programming on the network, so there has been no revenue lost.'

"Non-profit African American political organization Color of Change spearheaded an e-mail campaign targeting the show's advertisers."

Color of Change quoted e-mails it received from sympathetic companies:

“'Upon review of this particular program, we have discontinued our advertising for all ConAgra Foods products during its airing,' said Stephanie Childs, spokesperson for ConAgra Foods, in an email to 'We share your commitment to diversity in all areas of life and appreciate you sharing your concerns with us.'”

Ad Age reported Friday, "To be sure, some advertisers have yanked their spots — including Walmart, Geico and Men's Wearhouse — who acknowledged in statements that they did so in the wake of Mr. Beck having called President Barack Obama a racist during a July 28 appearance on another Fox News Channel show."

However, Ad Age's Jack Neff and Andrew Hampp wrote, "Many, if not most, of the growing list of advertisers that Beck boycotters publicly count as bowing to their demands say they never intended to advertise on the show in the first place." They include Proctor & Gamble, SC Johnson and Progressive Insurance.

In a counter to the campaign, a "Support Glenn Beck" site has been set up asking fans "to show your support for Glenn Beck" by contacting the companies, Chris Ariens wrote Friday for Media Bistro.

Pre-Teen Interviews His New "Homeboy," the President

"He did it. He finally did it," Laura Green reported Thursday for the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post.

"Damon Weaver, Pahokee's tiny broadcaster, has become the youngest reporter ever to interview President Barack Obama.

"The 11-year-old interviewed Obama for about 10 minutes today in the White House Diplomatic Room. Damon asked 12 questions focusing primarily on education. The interview was filmed as part of an education program that will be broadcast to schools around the nation next month.

"Before the questions started firing, Obama greeted Damon and complimented him on his suit.

"Damon started the interview talking about some serious issues, such as educational funding and crime. He then switched to whether Obama can still dunk a basketball and or if he would play Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade in a pickup game.

"The president said he couldn't dunk the ball anymore and didn't address whether he'd go one-on-one with Wade.

"After the interview, Damon said to the camera, 'President Obama is now my homeboy,' a phrase he first used after an interview with vice president Joe Biden."

"It is important to note the irony that the people that were complaining about the U.S. interfering in Latin America are now complaining that we are not interfering enough," President Obama told Latino journalists. (Credit: Pete Souza/White House)

Latino Journalists Who Met With Obama Identified

The Latino journalists who met for a 35-minute "roundtable" with President Obama at the White House on Aug. 7 have been identified.

New America Media listed them for Journal-isms as Anthony Boadle, world desk editor at Reuters in Washington; Johnny A. Yataco, president of the Washington Hispanic newspaper; Isabel Morales of Hoy; Jos?© Delgado, Washington correspondent for El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico; Antonieta Cadiz of La Opini??n; Dr. Liffhitz Aliza of Vida y Salud and Univision; Maria Pena of the EFE news service; Ruben Barrera of Notimex, the Mexican news agency; Jos?© de la Isla, columnist for Hispanic Link news service; and Cristina Fernandez-Pereda of New America Media.

The Washington Hispanic report went online only on Friday; most of the others are in Spanish, but the Reuters and Hispanic Link pieces are in English. Obama discussed health care, immigration reform, economic recovery efforts, education, H1N1 flu and his trip to Mexico.

Boadle told Journal-isms that information from the session was used in stories in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Laid-Off Anchor Creates "Independent Newsroom"

Vicente Serrano, laid off in May as a Chicago-based anchor for Telemundo, is launching a daily TV news magazine that he claims is "the first time (at least in Spanish) that a group of journalists leave the networks to create an independent newsroom," Serrano told Journal-isms.

The show, "Sin Censura," is to air on Azteca Am?©rica's Chicago station. "Some of the names are: Enrique Garcia-Fuentes, Viviana Avila, Maria Elena Ponticiello, Esmeralda Medellin, Avril D'Amico, Paul Alvarez, Maria Morales-Salazar, Spiros Lambrinatos, Peter Lambrinatos," he said.

"Everyone has worked either on Telemundo or Univision or both.

"They are going to be salaried. In the midst of the economic crisis we are running with a budget of almost 3M a year. We raised the money with people I knew and were interested in funding a project in which I was involved."

Earlier, Veronica Villafane wrote, "Vicente tells me the hour long show will focus on one topic, with an investigative report followed by an on-set discussion. He's rounded up a team of 15 people who will be working full time to produce and sell the show. Mar??a Morales Salazar is the executive producer."

Entertainment journalist Patrick Riley, left, actress Nia Long and comic actor Chris Rock introduced "Good Hair" to the National Association of Black Journalists. 

Chris Rock's "Good Hair" to Open in 5 Cities in October

The reviews of Chris Rock's documentary "Good Hair," exploring the cultural reasons why many black women straighten their hair and the physical, psychological and economic implications, are beginning to appear — at least those resulting from a screening last Saturday at the National Association of Black Journalists' convention in Tampa, Fla.

"Without giving away too much of the plot, all I’ll say is that it’s ingenious in how it uses humor to force us to confront some unsettling realities," Tonyaa Weathersbee wrote Wednesday on

"Like the fact that Koreans are enriching themselves off struggling black women who spend thousands on weaves that they somehow believe will help them channel the straight-hair, shoulder-length glamour of actresses, supermodels and video vixens.

"Or the fact that black girls as young as four are now having their hair relaxed — or rather, being turned on to the 'creamy crack' — before their scalps are mature enough to handle it.

"Or the fact that some of us are so obsessed with preserving our hair in its weaved and straightened state that we miss out on too many other adventures that life has to offer."

HBO Films has sold the documentary to Roadside Attractions, a film distribution company planning an Oct 9 release in five markets, with national expansion through October, Veronica Bufalini of Roadside told Journal-isms.

However, Bufalini was unable to identify the five markets or say whether the films will be shown in art houses, multiplexes or more traditional theaters.

Coincidentally, the extravagant Bronner Brothers International Hair Show, featured in the film, takes place this weekend in Atlanta. Some 60,000 hairstylists, exhibitors, distributors and cosmetology students are expected, its promoters say, along with Rock, actress Nia Long and the Rev. Al Sharpton, all featured in the film.

In the meantime, those awaiting the film might prepare by viewing online a 2006 documentary by Aron Ranen that discusses Korean domination of the wholesale black hair-care industry.

Short Takes

  • U.S. immigration officials have detained Pakistani journalist Rahman Bunairee, 33, employed by the U.S.-sponsored Voice of America news service, N.C. Aizenman reported Friday in the Washington Post. Bunairee was hoping to find refuge in the United States after Islamic militants in Pakistan destroyed his house and threatened his life. It is not clear why Bunairee was detained.

  • "The Obama administration is enforcing visa requirements for foreign journalists in connection with a two-day economic summit in Pittsburgh next month, even though those rules were blasted by reporters‚Äô advocates during the Bush administration," Josh Gerstein reported Tuesday for Politico. In 2003, journalists‚Äô groups worldwide loudly protested the requirements, with the American Society of Newspaper Editors calling the visa policy ‚Äúanathema.‚Äù The practice was also denounced by the Society of Professional Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, among others, Gerstein wrote.
  • Thanh TruongThanh Truong has been named an NBC News correspondent, NBC announced¬†on Tuesday, and is to be based in Atlanta. Most recently, Truong was a general assignment reporter with KUSA in Denver. "Truong was born in Can Tho in southern Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. His family escaped the communist country on a boat to a refugee camp in Thailand."

  • "After a short hiatus as a print publication, East West magazine is back, and it wants you to create its cover art," Amanda Ernst wrote for FishBowl NY. "The magazine, which boasts that it is the 'only lifestyle magazine with a pan-Asian American focus' is asking for submissions of original artwork that answer the questions: 'What is your interpretation of East West today? What does the merging of cultures look like to you?' East West launched in 2003, but the bimonthly national magazine stopped publishing its print edition last year, 'to retool operations.'"
  • "Latina magazine and its editor-in-chief Mimi Valdez-Ryan want to take back 'Wise Latina,'" Amanda Ernst wrote¬†Friday for FishBowl NY. "Valdez-Ryan came up with the idea for the magazine's Wise Latina t-shirts after Latina's creative director Florian Bachleda voiced outrage over the use of term during the confirmation hearings" for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was ultimately confirmed for the Supreme Court.
  • "David Novarro, whose days at Chicago's WFLD-Ch. 32 seemed numbered just a month ago, has been named its new morning co-anchor, effective immediately, the Fox-owned station confirmed," Phil Rosenthal wrote¬†Monday for the Chicago Tribune.
  • "Esther J. Cepeda, is rejoining the paper today, in the commentary section, as a regular columnist," Neil Steinberg wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times. "It takes a lot of personality, curiosity, spunk and confidence to fill an empty space, and Esther has got it, big time, and is an expert in an area that is only going to grow in importance. Welcome back."
  • In Gambia, West Africa, five of the six journalists who were jailed for two years on Aug. 6 on charges of defaming the government were transferred from the capital‚Äôs Mile Two prison to Old Jeshwang prison in the north of the country on Aug. 10, Reporters Without Borders said¬†on Thursday. The sixth journalist, Sarrata Jabbi-Didda has a 7-month-old baby she is breastfeeding, but had the baby taken from her. She has not seen the infant since Aug. 8.

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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