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Black Optimism Fades Since Obama '08

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Only 45% of Americans See "Substantial Progress" Since '63

Bradley Manning Sentenced, Asks Pardon From Obama

John X. Miller Gets Top Newsroom Job in Winston-Salem

Africa Price Resigns as Editor in Shreveport, La.

More Than 900 Registered for AAJA Convention in N.Y.

Al Jazeera America Sues AT&T After Opening-Day Dis

"Black in America" Returns With "Education Gap" Show

"Google Translate" Makes the Switch to "Undocumented"

The U.S. Census Bureau compared social indicators for African Americans in 1963 and 2013.

Only 45% of Americans See "Substantial Progress" Since '63

The Pew Research Center has found that "since 2009, there has been a fading of the heightened sense of progress that blacks felt immediately after [President] Obama's election in 2008," according to a survey released Thursday in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

"Today, only about one-in-four African Americans (26%) say the situation of black people in this country is better now than it was five years ago, down sharply from the 39% who said the same in a 2009 Pew Research Center survey.

From 2012 campaign. African Americans were Barack Obama's most loyal voting bloc, but a survey shows

"Among whites, the share that sees improvement in [the] situation of blacks also fell, from 49% to 35%, in the last four years. For both blacks and whites, the latest finding on this question is returning to the levels recorded in a Pew Research Center poll in 2007 on the eve of the Great Recession.

"In the latest survey, opinions about black progress vary considerably by educational attainment among blacks, a change from the 2009 survey when there was no gap by education among blacks. . . ."

Overall, since the 1963 march, "fewer than half (45%) of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality and about the same share (49%) say that 'a lot more' remains to be done.

"Blacks are much more downbeat than whites about the pace of progress toward a color-blind society. They are also more likely to say that blacks are treated less fairly than whites by police, the courts, public schools and other key community institutions.

"While these differences by race are large, significant minorities of whites agree that blacks receive unequal treatment when dealing with the criminal justice system. For example, seven-in-ten blacks and about a third of whites (37%) say blacks are treated less fairly in their dealings with the police.

"Similarly, about two-thirds of black respondents (68%) and a quarter of whites (27%) say blacks are not treated as fairly as whites in the courts.

"The survey also found that large majorities of blacks (73%) and whites (81%) say the two races generally get along either 'very well' or 'pretty well.'

"Similarly large majorities of Hispanics and whites say the same thing about relations between their groups (74% and 77%, respectively). A substantial majority of blacks (78%) and smaller share of Hispanics (61%) say their groups get along. . . ."

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau released a comparison of social indicators for African Americans in 1963 and 2013.

Blacks were 10.7 percent of the population in 1963, but 14.2 percent in 2012, for example. In 1963, the median family income for blacks was 55 percent of the median income for all American families, but rose to 66 percent in 2011. The poverty rate for blacks was 41.8 percent in 1966, but dropped to 27.6 percent in 2011.

In Washington, "A Saturday march tracing the historic 1963 route is one of the main events of a full week of activities commemorating the march, which drew 250,000 participants," Carol Morello reported Tuesday for the Washington Post. "For the anniversary march, the National Park Service has issued a permit for up to 150,000 people. A second, smaller march will be held on the anniversary itself, Aug. 28. . . ."

Local news outlets are joining in the media coverage. In 1963, "WGBH Radio was a part of a 5 radio station group — put together for this occasion — to cover the MOW," Callie Crossley of WGBH's "Boston Public Radio" told Journal-isms by email.

"The group known as the Educational Radio Network was the precursor to what is now NPR. ERN produced 15 hours of coverage, but the only station to have preserved that coverage is WGBH.

"So we've taken excerpts of the original coverage and done an hour special. 'Witness to History: WGBH Radio's Coverage of the 1963 March on Washington' features me and one of my colleagues Bob Seay as Hosts. We use selected pieces of the coverage — complete with references to Negroes and interviews with local clergy who attended the march, as well as a sampling of the other speeches — to tell the story of the March. Bob and I offer context and commentary as we tell the story leading up to a full play of MLK's entire speech.

"The hour special will air on August 28th from 2-3 PM on WGBH FM, 89.7 . . ."

Bradley Manning Sentenced, Asks Pardon From Obama

"Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's attorney has called on President Obama to pardon his client," Tim Molloy wrote Wednesday for the Wrap.

"What's at stake here is how do we as a public want to be informed about what our government does," attorney David Coombs said in a news conference [on] Wednesday, soon after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

"The request is a [long shot], to say the least: Manning is asking for a pardon from the same government that is prosecuting him. Obama said flatly that Manning 'broke the law' even two years before his conviction.

"Manning has been convicted of multiple charges, including violations of the Espionage Act. He copied the documents while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. . . ."

On Thursday, Manning said he intends to live out the remainder of his life as a woman.

"I am Chelsea Manning. I am female," the Army private wrote in a statement read by Coombs on NBC's "Today" show.  "Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition."

"Coombs said he doesn't fear for Manning's safety in prison, and that Manning will not ask to live in a female prison," the "Today" show's Scott Stump reported.

Manning invoked people of color in the statement read by Coombs after Wednesday's sentencing. "Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy — the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps — to name a few," he said. "I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light."

Jack Mirkinson wrote Tuesday in the Huffington Post, "Manning's sentencing on Wednesday received about as much attention from the cable news networks that every other phase of his trial did — that is to say, not a whole lot.

"As they did when he was declared guilty, networks briefly treated the story as a piece of major breaking news, and then moved away quickly. Though they have learned how to talk endlessly about stories with no new details, the networks clearly felt that Manning's sentencing to 35 years in prison was not worthy of that treatment."

As Charlie Savage and Emmarie Huetteman reported for the New York Times, "The materials that Private Manning gave to WikiLeaks included a video taken during an American helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007 in which civilians were killed, including two journalists. He also gave WikiLeaks some 250,000 diplomatic cables, dossiers of detainees being imprisoned without trial at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and hundreds of thousands of incident reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The damage done by Manning's disclosures has been characterized as inflicting mere "embarrassment" to the U.S. government to life-threatening.

Julian Assange, editor-in-chief and founder of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which published Manning's leaks, asserted, "The material that Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked has highlighted astonishing examples of U.S. subversion of the democratic process around the world."

P.J. Crowley, who served under Obama as the State Department's spokesman, resigned in 2011 after objecting to Manning's treatment while in custody.

Still, Crowley said on Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" on Friday, "having gone through the WikiLeaks event at the State Department . . . I can tell you that there was damage done to the national interest, and more importantly, there were real lives put at risk because of the release of these diplomatic cables.

"Since the entire archive is now in the public domain, you'll recall that there were a number of cases in these cables where diplomats somewhere around the world had talked to activists, and they had said, 'strictly protect the identity,' because, if revealed, their lives would be at risk. And I can just attest to you that there were people whose careers were ruined, who had been intimidated, jailed. Some who have been listed in those cables have been killed. I can't tell you it's because of the WikiLeaks revelations. But for those who say that Bradley Manning did no real damage to the national interest, I can tell you earnestly that that's not true. . . ."

John X. Miller Gets Top Newsroom Job in Winston-Salem

John X. Miller

John X. Miller, a veteran journalist who left the news business to become CEO of a Detroit nonprofit but returned to newspapering two years ago, has been named managing editor of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, the first African American to hold the top newsroom job.

"Miller, 57, begins his duties Aug. 26. He is serving as editor of the Hickory Daily Record, a sister publication of the Journal under BH Media Group ownership," Richard Craver reported last week for the Journal.

"Miller, who grew up in Winston-Salem, becomes the newspaper's first African-American managing editor. He replaces Carol Hanner, who was the Journal's first woman to serve as managing editor. Hanner stepped down in May after three years.

"While his career took him through several newspaper stops, including Roanoke, Va., Charlotte, USA Today, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Detroit, Miller said Winston-Salem remained a second home because of family."

"Becoming the managing editor of the Journal is a measure to the progress we've made in society and I hope to the recognition of the skills I bring to this job," Miller said in the story. "It is special to take this role in my hometown.

Craver added, "Miller took a step away from journalism when he served for nearly two years as chief executive of a Detroit nonprofit agency, The Heat and Warmth Fund, with a $14 million budget.

"He came to that role after working as public editor of The Detroit Free Press from 1999 to 2006 and as director of community affairs of Detroit Media Partnership LP for 15 months before taking a buyout from the company. Miller said connections he made in the community affairs job led to the nonprofit post.

"Miller's time with the nonprofit ended in November 2009 when he was ousted by its board of directors. The Detroit News reported at that time that the agency had conducted an internal investigation into fiscal improprieties, and the board of directors voted unanimously on the decision.

"Miller said he was not involved in any fiscal improprieties at the agency. He said his departure was prompted in part because he did not follow new procedures on immediately filing expense reimbursements.

" 'It was something I should have paid attention to, but I didn't because I was managing a nonprofit,' Miller said.

"Miller said his departure also was prompted by a significant changeover in the composition of the board and its executive committee, which wanted to go in a different direction in management.

"He said he has learned from the experience and still would be willing to work for a nonprofit because he believes in the mission of helping the unfortunate.

" 'Judge me on the work I did in Hickory and on the work I've done as a journalist,' he said. 'That's who I am.' . . . "

Africa Price Resigns as Editor in Shreveport, La.

"After four years as executive editor of The Times, Africa Price resigned her position effective Friday," Mary Nash-Wood reported Wednesday for the Gannett Co.-owned Shreveport, La., newspaper.

Africa Price

"She will stay in Shreveport and continue to be active in the community, but said her focus at this time is on her husband and 7-year-old daughter."

Price's departure leaves 11 African American top editors nationally, and just two left at Gannett, according to a tally by the National Association of Black Journalists. The two remaining at Gannett are Hollis Towns, editor and vice president at the Asbury Park Press in Neptune, N.J., and Jill Nevels-Haun, executive editor of the News-Messenger in Fremont, Ohio, and the News Herald in Port Clinton, Ohio.

"We're very sorry to see Africa go," Virgil Smith, vice president/talent acquisition and diversity at Gannett Co., Inc., told Journal-isms at the Asian American Journalists Association convention in New York. "She's a professional journalist who made significant contributions to the industry. Her departure makes it more important to increase efforts to be diverse journalism leaders and that is our goal, to find the next generation of talent."

" 'It's been my pleasure to serve as editor of The Times,' Price said in the Times story. "I grew up as a journalist on Lake Street. It was nice covering education and then coming back to lead a team in telling the stories of this community. It's been a good ride."

"Scott Ferrell, multimedia news editor, will serve as interim executive editor in Price's place while Gannett conducts a search for her replacement," the story continued.

" 'Africa has given her gifts and talents to our organization, staff and this community,' said Times president and publisher Judi Terzotis. 'We appreciate her years of service and wish her the best on the next chapter in her life. She leaves very big shoes to fill. We will conduct an exhaustive search to ensure we have the best possible person to lead this talented group of journalists.'

"Price's tenure as The Times' executive editor came as her second stint with the paper. A 22-year veteran journalist, she originally joined The Times in 1994 as an education reporter before becoming a team editor in 1997 and as assistant managing editor in 1999. She went on to serve as a managing editor at The Jackson Sun in Tennessee as well as the Tallahassee Democrat in Florida before returning back to her home state to run The Times. . . ."

Kollaboration New York performed at the opening reception of the Asian American Journal

More Than 900 Registered for AAJA Convention in N.Y.

Despite choosing one of the nation's most expensive cities for its annual convention, the Asian American Journalists Association opened its annual meeting in New York Wednesday with 913 registrants, according to Kathy Chow, AAJA's executive director.

The figure includes sponsors and does not include those who registered for offsite events, such as those at universities, Chow said. When those are counted, she said, more than 1,000 people are present.

Room rates at the host New York Hilton were going for $1,200 for a four-night stay, plus more for such amenities as Internet access in the rooms. Some AAJA members were staying in less expensive hostels, though Chow said the organization met its commitment to fill its quota of rooms at the Hilton.

Derek Lieu

The number of registrants tops the 606 AAJA attendees who were at the Unity: Journalists of Color convention last year in Las Vegas and the 658 reported in Detroit in 2011, but was below the 1,200 registered a decade ago, before cuts in the news business took their toll. The numbers include sponsors, speakers and exhibitors in addition to AAJA members.

At an opening reception that featured a performance by Kollaboration New York, "a non-profit organization that aims to improve and progress the Asian American entertainment and performing arts community," members said they detected an upbeat mood among convention attendees as the economy improves.

Some arrived early to participate in the Executive Leadership Program sessions. Others were planning to attend such workshops as "Kicking Ass In Your Early Career" or "Better Know a Developer: How Teaming Up With Tech Leads to Groundbreaking Journalism."

Ann Curry of NBC News is scheduled to headline at the scholarship and awards gala on Saturday night.

In a sign of cross-cultural influences, a Chinese-born journalist was sporting dreadlocks. Derek Lieu, a writer at the Washington-based Chronicle of Philanthropy, said he started wearing the Rastafarian-originated style seven years ago at the University of California at Los Angeles. Since there were so many other Asian Pacific students, Lieu told Journal-isms, the dreadlocks "were a way for me to stand out from the crowd."

The AAJA convention, which runs through Aug. 24, overlaps with the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association convention, meeting in Boston Aug. 22-25, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference, which will be part of the Excellence in Journalism convention in Anaheim, Calif., Aug. 24-26. NAHJ will continue to meet on Aug. 27.

Al Jazeera America Sues AT&T After Opening-Day Dis

"Al Jazeera America, the latest offshoot of the Middle Eastern media empire, launched Tuesday afternoon with a flurry of live news and pre-taped segments, even as it lost a sizable portion of the viewer reach it had been counting on from AT&T," Roger Yu reported for USA Today.

"The news network, whose launch had been anticipated since Al Jazeera bought an existing channel in January, went live at 3 p.m. ET. on the lineup of four major cable and satellite TV distributors.

"Several hours later, Al Jazeera America (AJAM) filed a lawsuit against another pay-TV provider, AT&T, after the telecom giant made an eleventh-hour decision Monday night to drop the channel from its U-Verse service by citing 'contractual disputes.' AT&T turned off the channel at 11:59 p.m. ET Monday, marring AJAM's programming and public relations campaign that had been in the works for months. . . ."

The channel featured diversity among its anchors. The first few minutes were hosted by anchors Richelle Carey and Antonio Mora, who introduced the channel, Alex Weprin reported for TVNewser. "At 4 PM, former CNN anchor Tony Harris opened the first hour of news for AJAM. Harris left CNN in 2010 and started anchoring for Al Jazeera English in 2011. The first correspondent to appear? AJAM White House correspondent and former NBC News reporter Mike Viqueira," Weprin reported.

"Black in America" Returns With "Education Gap" Show

"Soledad O'Brien has seen a great deal of success with her documentary series 'Black In America,'," HuffPost BlackVoices reported Wednesday. "The award-winning franchise has attracted national attention and sparked in-depth discussion about race in the United States. Now, O'Brien is taking the conversation a step further with the latest installment in the series exploring the country's education gap.

"The episode, titled 'Great Expectations,' aims to shed light on the ongoing discrepancy in America's public education system, specifically as it relates to young African American boys in a low income area of Minneapolis. The documentary also explores the controversial charter school system as O'Brien talks to experts who are both for and against the change in public education.

"The installment, which airs on CNN Friday, August 30th, is sure to get people talking as it digs deeper into the way in which young black males learn and explores differing methods of closing the race gap in education. It also revisits the ongoing charter school vs. public school debate which has caused controversy in cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. . . ."

(Credit: Jorge Rivas/Fusion)

"Google Translate" Makes the Switch to "Undocumented"

"Until Tuesday evening a free service provided by Google was incorrectly translating the Spanish term for 'undocumented' to 'illegal immigrant,' " Jorge Rivas reported last week for Fusion, the joint ABC News-Univision project.

"The internet giant's free translation service, called Google Translate, took neutral headlines with the word 'indocumentado' from Spanish-language news sites and compromised the accuracy and fairness of the stories by not translating to the correct term in English. . . . "


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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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