Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Black Paper to Outpay Dailies

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

2 From Miami Herald Take Over Broward Weekly

 

 

The former general counsel of the Miami Herald, its highest ranking African American, has bought a nearby black weekly newspaper and hired a former Herald assistant city editor as its executive editor.

And Robert G. Beatty, 55, formerly the Herald's vice president of public affairs as well as general counsel, says one difference between his paper and the dailies — the Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel— is this:

"I'm paying better."

Say what?

"It just is. It's just a fact," Beatty told Journal-isms on Friday. "The people who are here, they're making more than they made when they were there. My goal is to create an environment where journalism can be practiced as professionally as anywhere in America. That's my goal. It's a tall order, but I believe it's absolutely doable. It's just a matter of selecting the right people."

"Beatty's job at the Herald was eliminated in November, five months after the McClatchy Co. bought the Herald from Knight Ridder Inc., and decided the paper no longer needed an in-house lawyer," according to a story by Rashida Bartley of the University of Miami News Service, featured on the Broward Times Web site.

"From November 06 to January 07 I did nothing but think about what I want to do when I grow up," Beatty said in the story. He decided to make an offer to buy the Broward Times, which was accepted. The Miami Herald, in a story by Ina Paiva Cordle on Thursday, said Beatty paid more than $1 million. He did not dispute the figure.

 

 

"Readers of the black press have been underserved, said Beatty, who sees the NAACP's Crisis magazine, founded in 1910 by W. E. B. Du Bois, as a model for change," Bartley wrote.

As editor, Beatty picked Bradley C. Bennett, a member of the inaugural class of the Maynard Media Academy and former assistant city editor of the Herald's Broward Edition.

Bennett told Journal-isms he remembered how instructors pushed the idea of entrepreneurship during the academy's second session at Harvard University.

"At the time, I wondered why Maynard kept encouraging me and other members of the class to start our own businesses, especially since most of us already had jobs at prestigious, mainstream newspapers," Bennett said.

That lesson has more meaning now.

The 10,000-circulation Broward Times is one of two newspapers targeting African Americans in greater Fort Lauderdale. Plans are to increase the frequency to twice a week and to revamp the Web site.

"We need to encourage more black journalists who have honed their skills at mainstream papers to come back and elevate the level of the black press so it can be a beacon of light. Our communities around the country are in desperate need of forums that can help us develop the kind of thinking that will lift our people to the next level," Beatty said.

"There is a natural inclination on the part of people of color to want to do something positive for their people," he told Journal-isms. But the quality of most black newspapers has not been such that black journalists' "next employer would see the experience as a positive. As a result, real quality journalists have not given a second thought to working for black newspapers in South Florida," he said. "And South Florida is a microcosm of what is happening throughout the nation.

"It is fundamentally important to me that that scenario change," Beatty said.

"I would love to see the resumes of people who are available."

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Black Family Channel Could Move to Internet

 

 

Lawyer Willie Gary, who founded the Black Family Channel eight years ago, said Wednesday that he and other owners are finalizing a deal that will move the channel and its programming to broadband, where people will be able to watch shows on their own schedules, Eve Samples wrote Thursday in the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post.

"The exception: the channel's several gospel music programs will start airing on another cable network, the Atlanta-based Gospel Music Channel."

"It's the best strategy in these days and times," Gary said in the story. "I'm just convinced that pretty soon people are going to be watching television from a cellphone. That's just the way it's going to be. They're going to be watching what they want to watch, as opposed to what's forced on them."

Citing unnamed sources, R. Thomas Umstead reported Tuesday in Multichannel News that Black Family Channel was shutting down operations on April 30.

"Despite its star power and its unique positioning — along with BET and TV One — as a national network targeting African-American audiences, the network was unable to secure significant cable and satellite distribution to remain in business, according to sources," Umstead reported.

Black Family Channel spokeswoman Lisa Morgan told Journal-isms on Thursday, "Black Family Channel is not closing its doors. We are in conversations with Gospel Music Channel."

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Alison Stewart to Co-Host New NPR Show

 

 

Alison Stewart, who anchored the MSNBC daily news show "The Most," will co-host National Public Radio's alternative morning program aimed at 25- to 44-year-olds, NPR announced on Friday.

Elizabeth Jensen reported in the New York Times in March, "In many cities nationwide more than one public radio station carries 'Morning Edition,' and some are eager to find an alternative. Some smaller public radio stations don't carry 'Morning Edition' because of the hefty fees that NPR charges; others are adding programs on their digital signals."

The new show will "make its premiere on all media platforms in September 2007. The centerpiece of the new 24-hour service, announced in January 2007, will be a daily two-hour morning drive time news magazine" hosted by Stewart and NPR reporter Luke Burbank, "and available through terrestrial, HD digital and satellite radio; free streaming online audio through station websites; a podcast, and by mobile on-demand," NPR said.

"The program will be produced at NPR New York. Sample segments and show ideas are already available for listener feedback through www.NPR.org under its working title, 'The Bryant Park Project.'"

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Jeffri Chadiha Leaving Sports Illustrated for ESPN

Jeffri Chadiha, a black journalist who has covered the NFL for seven years at Sports Illustrated, is moving to a multimedia job at ESPN, Chadiha told Journal-isms on Friday.

 

 

Terry McDonell, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group, said Chadiha's departure, which leaves only one African American senior writer among 25 at the magazine, "renews my determination that we have to do better recruiting in the minority communities." Senior editor Christian Stone is Chinese-American. The highest ranking journalist of color is Japanese-born Karl Taro Greenfeld, editor at large, who is on book leave.

"I've been having trouble getting over it," McDonell said of Chadiha's impending exit. But "it was just such a remarkable opportunity for him."

Chadiha, 36, said his new contract was not finalized, but he expected to be writing a column twice a week for ESPN.com, doing podcasts, communicating in chat rooms, and appearing 15 weeks a year on the "First and 10" show with Skip Bayless and others, as well as having a presence on other ESPN shows, such as "SportsCenter."

"If this was 2000 or 1999, I probably wouldn't have left," Chadiha said. But, he said of ESPN, "They give me a chance to be more versatile. . . . A lot of younger minorities are looking more to digital opportunities, Web sites and TV. That makes it tough to attract people in general" to magazines such as SI.

McDonell said diversity numbers had improved under his watch, which began in 2002. Of an editorial staff of 151, he said, 121 are white, 13 are black, 11 are Hispanic and eight are Asian.

"We just need more diversity on this staff. I thought I could make it change very quickly. It's harder than I thought," McDonell said.

"Minorities are sought after and so attractive," he said. "You get a really good diversity writer, reporter, journalist" who would make a good columnist, and "they get snapped up. Every sports editor wants a black columnist." Moreover, as other professions, such as banking, realize the importance of diversity, their recruiting reduces the number of potential journalists, McDonell said.

Why is diversity important? "All you gotta do is look at the ratio of who's playing what sports," he said. "It just doesn't feel right. . . . you want to get into the culture and what that means. It's a different experience being black and from Mobile," he said, speaking of a potential story subject. A good reporter can do the job accurately, but "I would sure like to have the opportunity to throw a black guy from New Orleans at that. We want to reflect what's going on in the country and what's going on in sports."

The Latino edition of Sports Illustrated, published in Spanish six times a year, illustrates how having a staff closer to the culture pays off in greater sensitivities. He gave the example of a joke on the NASCAR circuit about leaving a BMW in the South Bronx. A non-Latino might not pick up on the insult, he said.

The Associated Press Sports Editors last year commissioned a report on newspaper newsrooms that concluded, "When 94.7 percent of the sports editors, 86.7 percent of the assistant sports editors, 89.9 percent of our columnists, 87.4 percent of our reporters and 89.7 percent of our copy editors/designers are white, and those same positions are 95, 87, 93, 90 and 87 percent male, we clearly do not have a group that reflects America's workforce.

"And in the world of sports, they are covering a disproportionate number of athletes in basketball, football and baseball who are African-American or Latino."

McDonnell said Chadiha's departure creates an opening for a young talent with "a little bit of experience" to cover the NFL.

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Halberstam Death Recalls Newsroom Struggles

As noted on Monday, the career of David Halberstam, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist who died in a car crash at age 73, was molded as a young reporter in Nashville covering the civil rights movement for the Tennessean.

But as Halberstam contemporary Paul Delaney, a black journalist, recalled in an e-mail to Journal-isms, "David came out of tradition of white reporters given big break at nashville, atlanta, anniston, st pete, delta democrat-times, etc, breaks we were never given."

Halberstam was "arguably, the best journalist of our generation," said Delaney, a former senior editor at the New York Times and a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists.

"David was also a good guy with great instincts of '50s & '60s white liberal. the movement had profound impact on him & lotsa white journalists, who otherwise did not lift a finger in promoting our cause. ie, had good white colleagues at atlanta papers, but when i applied in early '60s, these pals cud do nothing, or did nothing & i was not hired." And blacks who were hired there and elsewhere, Delaney said, "did not recv same support as the whites."

Reginald Stuart, journalist and corporate recruiter for the McClatchy Co., recalled for Journal-isms that the first full-time black journalist at the Tennessean did not arrive until 1968, eight years after Halberstam left for the New York Times.

"As far as I can tell, William A. Reed Jr., was the first black writer for The Tennessean," Stuart said. "When I arrived there in June, 1968, he was a part-timer who came in three days a week, maybe two, to write a religion column. He had been there for several years by the time I got there but was part time.

"As far as I know, I was the first black person hired as a full time news reporter for the paper. Again, that was June, 1968. The first black hired by either daily (the other was The Nashville Banner) was Bob Churchwell. He was hired as an education reporter by the Banner in 1953.

"The first year he was on the job, he was not allowed to come into the newsroom. He had to drop his stories off. TV in Nashville had no black reporters. It was a tie between me and a former radio reporter. I think I got hired first (Oct. `69) and Bill Perkins was hired as sports reporter at a competing station sometime that fall or early `70. Soon, there were bunches of us."

Delaney, e-mailing from Spain, where he was attending a conference, said Halberstam and other Times reporters, past and present, were on a panel called "Covering Race Then and Now: The Press and Public Policy" at the University of Michigan in 2001, presented shortly after the New York Times' award-winning series, "How Race Is Lived in America."

"We were in agreement on just about every single issue. but nobody cud explain the dearth of blacks in the newsrooms at the time, tho none defended the racism," Delaney wrote.

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Rapper Apologizes for "60 Minutes" Statement

 

 

 

CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" provoked such outrage with its piece Sunday reporting that many in "inner city neighborhoods" refuse to "snitch" on criminals, including murder suspects, that rapper Cam'ron, one of those cited, issued a statement of apology on Thursday.

"In 2005, I was a victim of a violent crime," the rapper, whose full name is Cameron Giles, said through the 5W Public Relations agency. "I was shot multiple times without provocation by two armed men who attempted to carjack my vehicle. Although I was a crime victim, I didn't feel like I could cooperate with the police investigation. Where I come from, once word gets out that you've cooperated with the police that only makes you a bigger target of criminal violence. That is a dark reality in so many neighborhoods like mine across America. I'm not saying [it's] right, but [it's] reality. And it's not unfounded. There's a harsh reality around violence and criminal justice in our inner cities.

"But my experience in no way justifies what I said. Looking back now, I can see how those comments could be viewed as offensive, especially to those who have suffered their own personal tragedies or to those who put their lives on the line to protect our citizens from crime. Please understand that I was expressing my own personal frustration at my own personal circumstances. I in no way was intending to be malicious or harmful. I apologize deeply for this error in judgment."

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Andrea Wong Named to Head Lifetime Channel

 

 

"The Lifetime Channel, which has struggled with its ratings, announced its second new chief executive in two years yesterday with the appointment of a longtime ABC network executive, Andrea Wong," Bill Carter reported Friday in the New York Times.

"Ms. Wong succeeds Betty Cohen, who announced her resignation Tuesday night, just hours after Lifetime had presented a new lineup of programs to advertisers.

"Lifetime, which brands itself as the cable network for women, was the top-rated channel in the cable industry five years ago. It has slipped to sixth place, with ratings having fallen about 7 percent from last year. The falloff was even sharper in previous years.

"Ms. Wong had . . . long been considered a possible successor to Ms. Cohen mainly because of her success in overseeing reality programming for the ABC network. . . . Ms. Wong, as an executive vice president of ABC Entertainment, was in charge of late-night entertainment programming and prime-time specials."

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Jack Valenti Aided Black Producers in Hollywood

Jack Valenti, the longtime head of the Motion Picture Association of America who died Thursday at 85, played a role in boosting African American producers, according to Dwight M. Ellis, a consultant who was formerly a vice president of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Ellis, then president of the Capital Press Club, formed in 1944 when the National Press Club did not admit African Americans, recalled inviting Valenti to keynote the organization's 1981 annual banquet.

"At that time, Black film producers Topper Carew and Suzanne de Passe (then president of the new Motown production company) were struggling to have productions 'green-lighted' in Hollywood. Topper, one of my best friends, had been shopping his first feature film, 'DC Cab' to the major studios with little response." After a briefing from Ellis, Valenti mentioned Carew and de Passe in his speech, which was reported in Daily Variety.

Carew told him that the day of the Variety report, Sid Sheinberg, then president of Universal Studios, had called requesting a meeting to discuss 'DC Cab.' "According to Topper, when he entered Sid's office, Sid stood to greet him and said, 'So you're Topper Carew, Jack said to give you some business.' Consequently, Topper was given an office on the Universal lot, resulting in the making of 'DC Cab' and other film and television projects."

Similarly, Ellis said, when the TV networks were pitted against the Hollywood studios for a greater share in the revenue and ownership of television programs, Valenti asked Ellis for help in identifying black independent producers who could benefit from the studios' retaining ownership. In the end, because of Valenti's help, "several Black independent producers gained greater leverage for acceptance of their projects in the film and network television industries," Ellis said.

The rules giving Hollywood studios control over the selling of television shows were adopted in 1970, when the networks commanded virtually the entire prime-time TV audience, to prevent the networks from holding too much power over the creation and distribution of entertainment shows, as Paul Farhi explained at the time in the Washington Post.

"The rules had kept the Big Three from producing, owning or reselling their own programs — in effect forcing the networks to 'rent' shows such as 'Cosby' and 'Cheers' from companies such as Paramount Communications Inc., Walt Disney Co., Time Warner Inc. and MCA Inc. The studios then had the right to resell the shows to independent stations and cable outlets after the networks had aired them," Farhi explained.

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Journal-isms to Be Honored at Columbia J-School

"Richard Prince's Journal-isms" is to be awarded a "citation of excellence" next week at the Let's Do It Better! Competition and Workshop on Journalism, Race and Ethnicity at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

"The column is being honored because it keeps a credible eye on the important role journalists of color and issues of diversity perform in the industry. Richard Prince reports on the issues, points his audiences to information they might not see in any other media column and helps the news media understand the social obligation of creating an inclusive report," said Arlene Morgan, the school's associate dean who directs the competition and workshop.

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Bryant Gumbel's "REALsports" program lead the roster of honorees; Gates as author of the PBS documentary, "Oprah's Roots: An African American Lives Special." Gumbel, host and chief correspondent of "REALSports" on HBO, is to receive the Broadcast Lifetime Achievement Award. His program is being cited for "outstanding journalism and leadership" in the area of inclusive reporting.

The Let's Do It Better! Workshop was established in 1999 through a Ford Foundation grant to foster coherent, complete and courageous coverage of race and ethnicity in America as "an urgent journalistic duty," Morgan said.

The awards are to be presented at a luncheon on Thursday, May 3, the leadoff event in a three-day workshop designed to showcase exemplary performance on leading and covering issues of race, ethnicity and demographic change.

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Short Takes:

  • The National Association of African Journalists is urging protests on May 18 to call attention to the ongoing persecution of journalists in some African countries. Since 1992, about 186 journalists have been killed in Africa for exposing or trying to expose government corruption and human rights abuse, the group said Wednesday night. "We urge all our members and fellow journalists in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to march to the embassies of Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Gambia to protest these barbaric acts," the group's statement said.
  • Still online is a special series in the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of several commemorations around the country of the day 60 years ago — on April 15, 1947 —that Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.
  • This weekend, 16 middle-class black women ranging from 90 to 104 will be honored as the matriarchs of West Medford, Mass., Christine McConville wrote Thursday in the Boston Globe. "Born in the shadow of World War I and raised during the Great Depression, they married men who fought in World War II. When the war ended, they ran their households, their churches, and their neighborhood with steely determination." On Boston.com, the story is accompanied by an audio slideshow in which some of the women discuss their lives, accompanied by a period soundtrack.
  • Amid heightened awareness of the inappropriate language used by some rap artists, "Ebony Magazine pulled back next month's cover, which initially featured a rapper," Ernie Suggs reported Friday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The rapper was not named. Suggs cited the action in reporting that Jesse Jackson called for television and radio networks to hire more black and Latino on-air personalities.
  • The editorial pages of the Indianapolis Star this week ran a series on chronic truancy, showing that "the state of Indiana, along with Indianapolis, its capital and the nation's 12th-largest city, is the shining example of what isn't being done about the problem." Editorial writer RiShawn Biddle told Journal-isms, "of the five districts with chronic truancy rates greater than 10 percent, two of them -- Indianapolis Public Schools and Pike Township -- are mostly Black, two are mostly White and one, Wayne Township, is largely White, but Blacks make up 30 percent of the population while Latinos make up 11 percent."
  • "What does surprise me" about radio talker Rush Limbaugh's racially offensive "Barack, the Magic Negro" routine "is that Vice President Dick Cheney among other major conservatives is still a regular guest on Limbaugh's show," Adam Howard wrote Wednesday in the Nation magazine. He added, "I don't anticipate the kind of repudiations that Don Imus received over his transgression from him or anyone else on the right with regards to Limbaugh."
  • In another reference to the deposed radio host, columnist Suzan Shown Harjo wrote Friday in Indian Country Today, "I remember Imus using disparaging terms for Native people; claiming Navajo men prefer men and sheep to Navajo women; questioning Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's Indianness; alleging that Taos Pueblo's legal rights are bogus; and characterizing tribal casinos as illegitimate. . . . After the Mohegan Sun Casino entered into a business arrangement with Imus, I never heard the Imus crew make any other crude remarks about Native peoples. The Mohegan Sun was not among the advertising heavy-hitters that expressed their disapproval of the Imus slurs by withdrawing sponsorship from the program."
  • Praising the Freedom Forum and the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota for hosting a newspaper career conference for Native Americans, the Missoulian's Jodi Rave said in an April 21 column that she had spoken with one the committee members, "and he had a grievance. He wished more experienced Native journalists were on hand to mentor students. The same can be said of the American Indian Journalism Institute, where most of the time, a cadre of non-Natives is leading the teaching sessions."
  • In front of a room filled with students and media representatives, Professor John Miller of Canada's Ryerson University "said multicultural communities are the fastest growing communities in the country but their numbers are not reflected in newspaper newsrooms. Unlike TV and radio broadcasters, newspapers don't have to make public their newsroom makeups," Anthony Bonaparte reported Wednesday in the Suburban newspaper in Quebec. "Miller said racial minorities are slightly more present in newspaper newsrooms than in the past, but their gains did not keep pace with their growing proportion in the population and the gap has widened during the last 10 years. Cultural groups, as a result, feel coverage of their communities is often unfair and filled with stereotypes."
  • In an interview with host Farai Chideya that aired Wednesday on National Public Radio's "News & Notes," first lady Laura Bush urged American families to donate $10 to MalariaNoMore.org for life-saving bed nets to join the fight against malaria.
  • In Venezuela, "The threat of losing access to the airwaves hangs over dozens of . . . television and radio stations whose concessions have . . . come up for renewal, prompting some news outlets to pull back on critical programming," the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Tuesday in a special report, "Static in Venezuela."
  • "Guatemalan television journalist Rudy Toledo was shot and wounded, and three other local reporters were attacked Wednesday while covering a mob's fatal attack on a purported gang member in the northeastern province of Quiché," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Thursday.
  • "Saúl Noé Martínez Ortega, a Mexican crime reporter who had been abducted a week ago, was found dead yesterday morning in the northern state of Chihuahua," the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Tuesday. The group said it was investigating possible links between Martínez's murder and his professional work.
  • Programming notes: On Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern time, CNN plans to look at 75 civil rights cases that will be reopened by the FBI, all involving African Americans who were killed during the 1950s and 1960s, and whose cases were never resolved, according to CNN spokeswoman Jennifer Dargan. On Sunday at 10 p.m. Eastern, anchor Rick Sanchez and Lou Dobbs "will debate their very different views on immigration," she said. She said immigration rallies are expected next Tuesday, on May Day and Dobbs is to host two live town hall meetings on the subject in Hazelton, Pa.

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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