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Bill Whitaker to Join "60 Minutes"

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Friday, March 7, 2014

30-Year Correspondent Follows Ed Bradley, Byron Pitts

Guatemalan Says He Was Mislabeled as Immigration Agent

CNN Gives Don Lemon 5-Week Run in Prime Time

Digital Divide Aided by Lack of Parental Savvy

Dallas Anchor Signs Off Before National Audience

RTDNA Director, NABJ Leader Differ on "Shared Services"

"12 Years a Slave," N-Word Continue to Feed Commentary

Oregonian Editor Peter Bhatia Leaving to Teach in Arizona

Short Takes

Bill Whitaker interviewed former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor last year on

30-Year Correspondent Follows Ed Bradley, Byron Pitts

Bill Whitaker will join CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" as a correspondent, the network announced on Thursday, placing a black journalist in a regular spot on the program for the first time since Byron Pitts left for ABC-TV a year ago.

"Bill Whitaker is a tremendous journalist who has been able to cover major stories from the [O.J. Simpson] trial, to presidential campaigns, the war in Afghanistan, and one of the current domestic top stories, immigration, on an ongoing basis," Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said in a statement. "I most recently worked alongside Bill at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in Johannesburg.

"Bill's 30 years of experience at CBS has long prepared him for the opportunity to be a signature reporter on '60 Minutes.' Much like his fellow Philadelphian the late great '60 Minutes' correspondent Ed Bradley, Bill is an innate storyteller, a determined journalist, and a consummate professional. This is a well-deserved opportunity and viewers of America's most-watched news program will be well-served.

"We applaud CBS News for recognizing the need to have a talented and diverse group of journalists on all of its programs. Each of the African-American journalists who have reported for CBS '60 Minutes,' Ed Bradley, Byron Pitts and now Bill Whitaker, has further advanced the program and the network's goal of incisive and compelling original reporting."

The CBS statement said, Whitaker, 62, "an Emmy-winner, has covered virtually all of the major news stories in the West since he was posted to Los Angeles in 1992, reporting regularly for the CBS Evening News and other CBS News broadcasts. He also has worked for Sunday Morning, turning out feature stories and thoughtful profiles, including on Barbra Streisand, Norman Lear and Gladys Knight. One of his most memorable Sunday Morning profiles was of ex-boxer Mike Tyson. He has interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

"This season, he appeared on 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime, profiling April Vokey, the Northwest's famous fly-fishing guide who has changed the face of the sport. "Whitaker is a seasoned foreign correspondent and frequently reports from overseas, recently covering the funeral of Nelson Mandela from South Africa. He also did pieces from Japan on the Fukushima nuclear disaster and from Haiti after the tragic earthquake there. He reported from Kabul during the early stages of the War in Afghanistan."

Jeff Fager, executive producer of "60 Minutes" and chairman of CBS News, said in the statement, "Bill Whitaker is one of the great veterans of CBS News. He has had a distinguished career covering just about every kind of story all over the world. Bill is a natural fit at 60 MINUTES and it's exciting that he has agreed to join us."

Guatemalan Says He Was Mislabeled as Immigration Agent

Jorge Ramos"A Guatemalan man claims in a lawsuit that popular Univision news host Jorge Ramos wrongly identified him as a U.S. immigration agent in a 2005 book about a fatal migrant smuggling venture, leading to death threats and eventually forcing the man and his family to leave Guatemala," Curt Anderson reported Friday for the Associated Press.

"The lawsuit, filed late last month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, seeks unspecified damages from Ramos and HarperCollins Publishers, which published the Ramos book 'Dying To Cross.' The book examines the deaths of 19 migrants packed in a truck that crossed the U.S. border in Texas in 2003.

"In the book, Byron Lemus is identified as a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent involved in the apprehension of a smuggler leader, Karla Chavez, according to the lawsuit. The pages including Lemus' name were included with the lawsuit as exhibits.

"Lemus, an attorney, has never worked for ICE or any part of the U.S. government, according to the lawsuit filed by his attorney, Carl Palomino. He did work on matters such as adoption and asylum in the U.S. embassy in Guatemala City, Palomino said Thursday, and was asked to drive Chavez after she was captured from the Honduras border to Guatemala City. But Lemus didn't know who she was, according to Palomino.

" 'He was never a government agent or an employee of the government,' the attorney said.

"Ramos is co-host, with Maria Elena Salinas, of the nightly newscast on Univision, the biggest Spanish-speaking network in the U.S. He also hosts a Sunday political talk show, Al Punto, and frequently gives speeches around the country including one Wednesday about the Venezuelan crisis at Harvard University. In 2007 he and Salinas hosted the first U.S. presidential debate on Univision involving the Democratic primary candidates.

"Court records did not indicate a lawyer for Ramos in the lawsuit and Ramos did not immediately reply to a direct email seeing comment. A spokeswoman for HarperCollins declined comment and officials at Univision, which is not named in the suit, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. An ICE spokeswoman also did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. . . ."

CNN Gives Don Lemon 5-Week Run in Prime Time

Don Lemon

"Don Lemon will get a new weekly half-hour show at 10 p.m. ET on CNN, starting March 10," James Crugnale reported Wednesday for the Wrap. " 'The Don Lemon Show' will take over the former time slot of 'AC360 Later' and air tentatively for about five weeks.

"Lemon's show will be the lead-in for 'Making The Case' — CNN's new legal show with Sunny Hostin and Mark Geragos, which will air at 10:30 p.m. ET. 'AC360,' which normally gets the 10 spot will now re-air at 11pm ET.

"Lemon, whose iconoclastic commentary has been praised by Fox News's The Five, previously hosted the late night news show 'The 11th Hour' at 11 p.m. late last fall.

"CNN's President Jeff Zucker said the network will be experimenting with a bunch of different programs throughout the coming weeks."

CNN spokeswoman Christal Jones told Journal-isms she did not have the specific topics that will be covered on the first show.

Digital Divide Aided by Lack of Parental Savvy

"It turns out that the digital divide persists in at least one form: digital media literacy," Ben Adler wrote Thursday for Columbia Journalism Review.

"Students from families with a lower socioeconomic status tend to be less confident and capable in navigating the Web to find credible information. According to news literacy experts and educators there are two main reasons: the persistent disparities in high-speed internet access at home, and the knowledge transmitted, or not, by parents.

"Eszter Hargittai, a professor of communications at Northwestern, has studied what she calls the 'internet skills' of 18 and 19 year olds, which she measures using their familiarity with key internet terms and concepts such as 'wiki' or a 'bookmark.' She has found a direct correlation between parental education level and a young adult's level of skill online. Following the same cohort over time, she has also found it to be persistent.

" 'It’s amazingly constant,' says Hargittai. 'Everybody improves a little bit, but at equal rates so the gap remains the same.' One simple reason is that it turns out giving everyone access to a school computer lab does not mean their access to the internet is equal; Pew has found dramatic economic and educational disparities in home broadband access —and having high-speed access on a home computer leads to greater comfort and skill. A 2012 Pew report, said, 'Looking at the groups with the lowest levels of home broadband access, we see adoption levels of 22% for adults who have not completed high school… and 41% for those who live in households making less than $30,000 per year. This is compared with 85% of college graduates… and 89% of those making at least $75,000 per year.' . . ."

Gloria Campos of WFAA-TV in Dallas, who retired Friday, is surprised by a visit from one of the estimated 350 children in foster care whose stories she brought to viewers. Diane Sawyer told Campos' story Thursday on ABC-TV's "World News" (video)

Dallas Anchor Signs Off Before National Audience

"Every week, Gloria Campos of our Dallas affiliate WFAA made it her mission to find families for hundreds of children in foster care. She retires tomorrow after 30 years," anchor Diane Sawyer said Thursday on ABC-TV's "World News."

"And last night, on live TV, a surprise and tearful thank you. ABC's John Donvan and the woman who is 'America strong.' "

Donvan said, "Gloria Campos became a Dallas institution the only way it can be done, by treating her job as more than just a job..

" For more than 20 years, starting in 1989, she had the 'Wednesday's Child' beat, in which each week bringing viewers the story of another kid in foster care, which makes for a lot of weeks. A lot of kids.

"350 it is estimated, 75 percent of whom found adoptive families because of her reporting. . . . And we know Gloria Campos has made a difference.

"As part of an in-studio tribute this week, they told the story of one particular Wednesday's child.

"He was 8 years old when she featured him, a boy named Ke'onte, a well-spoken kid."

Ke'onte told Campos in their original interview: "I do good in school." 

Campos: "Right, and how about, are you friendly or are you shy?

Ke'onte: "Yes, I'm friendly. I'm friendly.

Donvan: "And an adoption resulted. But as sometimes happens, it did not work out. At 10 he told Gloria —

Ke'onte: "I've been moved through different homes. And the adoption didn't go very well.

Donvan: "But this second appearance led to a second adoption and this one took. Here is Keonte with his parents.

"He is 14 now. . . . "

The segment ended with Keonte surprising Campos on the set.

"Thanks for believing in me," Keonte said.

Campos: "I'm happy that you're happy. You are, right?" 

Ke'onte: "Yeah. I'm happy."

Campos: "And you love your family?"

Ke'onte: "Yes."

RTDNA Director, NABJ Leader Differ on "Shared Services" 

Bob Butler

"FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler today came out against further consolidation in the broadcast industry and made it clear he would like to cut back on the so-called 'shared services' agreements or 'SSA’s,' " Bob Butler, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, wrote on his blog Thursday.

"SSA's allow a station owned by one company to provide news for a competing company in the same market. . . ."

Butler and Mike Cavender, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, differed on whether Wheeler's move would help or harm the cause of broadcast diversity. Cavendish wrote Friday on the topic.

Butler told his readers, "This will no doubt be applauded by those journalists who were laid off when their newsroom shut down so the news could be provided by the competition. I know at least a half-dozen people this happened to. Sometimes they get hired by the new station, sometimes they must move for a new opportunity and sometimes they remain unemployed for a length of time. There are many more people who have been affected but they won't talk about it publicly because they could get in trouble, especially if they currently work in the industry.

"When there are fewer newsrooms, jobs are cut, normally leaving fewer opportunities for all journalists to find work. Viewers for the different stations get the same news delivered by the same people, limiting the opportunity to hear different viewpoints. For those who work in these newly 'shared' newsrooms, there is more work and less time for in-depth or investigative reporting. . . ."

But Cavender contended, "Group news chiefs have told us these joint agreements have, in some cases, allowed smaller, less-profitable stations to actually continue providing local news and programming because they now have access to the greater resources of a bigger group. Indeed, our own RTDNA annual news surveys have shown no significant reductions in news staffs and programming among stations which operate under joint agreements.

"However, effectively doing away with them through this proposal may ultimately change that equation. And in a time when the [Federal Communications] Commission is concerned about minority ownership and increasing competition, this proposal may well serve to deal a blow to both. If some stations can't stand alone because of these restrictions, jobs may well be lost and news programming may well be diminished or even eliminated in some markets.

"A better idea, we believe, would be to eliminate the TV duopoly rule altogether. That would significantly reduce the need for JSAs and SSAs (Shared Services Agreements) and the other kinds of financial arrangements that have developed in response to the current rules. . . ."

"12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen leaps into the air as he celebrates wi

"12 Years a Slave," N-Word Continue to Feed Commentary

The success of "12 Years a Slave" at the Academy Awards Sunday night — picking up three major Oscars, including Best Picture — has prompted commentary ranging from beauty standards to the appropriateness of a 2006 essay by John Ridley, winner of best original screenplay for the film. In the essay, he labeled some black people with the N-word.

Ridley did not respond to a request by Journal-isms to clarify his current views on his essay.

Others continued to debate use of the N-word in connection with the NFL's proposal to penalize players who use it on the field.

Editor Peter Bhatia announced Thursday he is leaving The Oregonian to teach at A

Oregonian Editor Peter Bhatia Leaving to Teach in Arizona

"Peter Bhatia, the top editor at The Oregonian, is leaving the state's largest newspaper for a one-year teaching job at Arizona State University," Aaron Mesh reported Thursday for Willamette Week, a Portland weekly.

"Bhatia announced his departure to his staff this afternoon at 3 pm, leading to a flurry of Twitter posts before official confirmation on

"Oregonian Media Group, the new company formed by owners Advance Publications Inc. last year, will conduct a national search for his replacement. . . ."

Bhatia, whose roots are in India, is among the highest-ranking Asian Americans in the news business and is a former president of the American Society of News Editors.

"Arizona State released an announcement this afternoon that Bhatia will join the Cronkite School as the next Edith Kinney Gaylord Visiting Professor," Willamette Week continued.

"Bhatia will start the yearlong appointment this summer, the university said in a press release, 'working with more than two dozen students from across the country in the Carnegie-Knight News21 initiative, an in-depth multimedia journalism experience based at Cronkite. In the fall semester, he will teach Journalism Ethics and Diversity. . . ."

Short Takes

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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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