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Malcolm X Scholar Dies on Eve of Revelations

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Manning Marable's Column Was a Staple in the Black Press

"30 for 30," "Reel Injun," Spike Lee Among Peabody Winners

Coverage of Japanese "Stoicism" Seen Close to Stereotyping

Proctor to Retire as Editor of Richmond Times-Dispatch

Libya Rearrests 4 Journalists From Al Jazeera

More in Puerto Rico Identify as Black or American Indian

ImpreMedia Journalists to Produce More Video for Web

CPB Funds Helped Black Station Extend Its Reach

When a Journalist Should Become Part of the Story

Short Takes

Manning Marable's Column Was a Staple in the Black Press

Noted African American historian Manning Marable died in New York on Friday, three days before his long-awaited book containing revelations about Malcolm X is to be published, his publicist confirmed. He was 60.

Manning MarableA prolific writer, Marable directed the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University and for years wrote the column "Along the Color Line" in the black press.

"He had been hospitalized with pneumonia last month, and last summer had a double lung transplant meant to relieve him of sarcoidosis, a lung disease from which he had suffered for a quarter century," Larry Rohter wrote in the New York Times. ["Sarcoidosis can affect any organ in your body," according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.]

According to Viking Press, his publisher, Marable's "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention," is "filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the 'Autobiography.' " It "unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

"Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Marable has based his work on extensive interviews with Louis Farrakhan and other intimates, as well as previously unseen FBI files and archival information from the Nation of Islam’s own records."

Michael Eric Dyson, the author, professor and talk show host who with fellow scholars Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West wrote blurbs praising the book, told Journal-isms by email, "Yes there are newsworthy revelations for sure!"

The book, the product of 10 years, is expected to touch upon a subject the news media have been loathe to investigate: the true identity of Malcolm X's killer.

["Based on his new material, Mr. Marable concluded that only one of the three men convicted of killing Malcolm X was involved in the assassination, and that the other two were at home that day," Rohter wrote separately in the New York Times. "The real assassination squad, he writes, had four other members, with connections to the rival Nation of Islam’s Newark mosque — two of whom are still alive and have never been charged."]

Journal-isms wrote last year, "A handful of Malcolm X scholars say the 45-year-old mystery of who really pulled the trigger and killed the iconic black leader has been solved, and are wondering why the news media aren't giving it more attention.

"Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a historian who writes for the Woodson Review and other publications of the respected Association for the Study of African American Life and History, identified the trigger man on his blog . . . . as William Bradley, about 72 years old, and known today as Mustafa Shabazz" of Newark.

In 1993, historian and author David J. Garrow wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, "Does Anyone Care Who Killed Malcolm X?" [PDF]. Mike Wallace had explored the subject in 1982 on CBS-TV's "60 Minutes."

The 1965 assassination is not the only subject expected to produce revelations. In an interview in 2007 with Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!," Marable disparaged the theme of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," co-written with Alex Haley.

"The tendency from those especially close to those of orthodox Sunni Islam and the integrationist perspective of Alex Haley, who was the coauthor of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, is to frame Malcolm as a kind of evolving integrationist," Marable said. "Well, clearly, that’s just false. Malcolm was a committed internationalist at the end of his life, but he was also a black nationalist, in the sense that he fought for and died for the concept of self-determination for the people of African American descent in this continent and fought for the right of that population to determine for itself what it wished to become. But what I find in my own research is greater continuity than discontinuity.

". . . Haley had an entirely different agenda. He was a Republican. He despised Malcolm X’s black nationalist creed. But he was a journalist, and he understood the power of charisma."

"Along the Color Line" began in 1976. "You couldn't read a major black newspaper without seeing his column," Todd S. Burroughs, a black-press historian, told Journal-isms. It was published in newspapers and magazines in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, the Caribbean and India, according to the HistoryMakers.

"Marable considers all African American writing to be in part political," Colin Morris wrote in 2003 for the Columbia Record. "He was heavily influenced in this regard by C.L.R. James, a West Indian intellectual who advocated a broad view of how politics make up a significant amount of everyday life. James discussed with Marable his regret for not having expressed his beliefs in his earlier works in more approachable, overarching themes. Looking back, James believed his earlier work should have spoken to more of what men and women live by as opposed to a single set of argued beliefs in the text. Marable too wanted his selections to be accessible and to resonate with daily life."

Marable was M. Moran Weston and Black Alumni Council Professor of African American Studies and professor of history and public affairs at Columbia.

He wrote more than 200 articles in academic journals and edited volumes, and taught at Cornell, Fisk, Colgate and Ohio State universities and the University of Colorado at Boulder, most often founding or chairing the black studies program. In 1993, Marable became founding director of the Institute for the Research in African-American Studies at Columbia.

He was working on the Ford Foundation-supported "Amistad Project," a multimedia resource project at Columbia designed to enhance the teaching of African American history in public schools, according to his Columbia University biography.

The Marable family is planning to hold a public memorial service on May 27, the NAACP said in a tribute.

In October 2007, Marion Jones admits what many had long suspected — that she had indeed used steroids. Director John Singleton told her story in a "30 for 30" episode. "Now a free woman, Jones is running in a new direction in life and taking time to reflect," he said.

"30 for 30," "Reel Injun," Spike Lee Among Peabody Winners

A record 39 recipients of the 70th Annual Peabody Awards were announced Thursday, including ESPN's "30 for 30" series of 30 documentaries celebrating the Disney-owned sports network's 30th anniversary, and an Independent Lens documentary, "Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian," "that entertained even as it set the cinematic record straight."

"The latest Peabody winners reflect diversity in content, genre and sources Keith Clinkscalesof origination," said an announcement from the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Among the documentary winners was "If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise," Peabody winner Spike Lee's survey of New Orleans' ongoing recovery, five years after Hurricane Katrina.

Radio winners included "Lucia's Letter," a cautionary composite of several Guatemalan girls' accounts of abuse at the hands of "coyotes" hired to sneak them into the United States, the school said.

On the "30 for 30" website, writer Bill Sammon describes how he came up with the idea for the series in 2007.

From there, the project was supervised by Keith Clinkscales, ESPN's senior vice president for content development and enterprise. Six filmmakers of color participated: Kirk Fraser, who directed "Without Bias"; Ice Cube, "Straight Outta L.A."; John Singleton, "Marion Jones: Press Pause"; Morgan Freeman, "The 16th Man"; Reggie Rock Bythewood, "One Night in Vegas"; and Cruz Angeles, "Fernando Nation."

ESPN followed "30 for 30" with the creation of ESPN films and "The Fab Five" this year which became the highest ranked ESPN show. The "30 for 30" series "helped us to expand the power of storytelling and show how that works," Clinkscales told Journal-isms.

It also became a marketing success, with the shows packaged as boxed sets in various formats that will be repackaged again for Father's Day. The Peabody is Clinkscales' second; he won in 2009 for the two-part, four-hour ESPN film, "Black Magic," a look at teams and coaches at historically black colleges and universities. It was directed by filmmaker Dan Klores and co-produced by Klores and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, the basketball legend.

In "Reel Injun," "Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes a look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema. Traveling through the heartland of America, and into the Canadian North, Diamond looks at how the myth of "the Injun" has influenced the world's understanding — and misunderstanding — of Natives," according to the "Reel Injun" Web page.

Coverage of Japanese "Stoicism" Seen Close to Stereotyping

Tom Huang"A master narrative has developed around the media’s coverage of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, leading us to believe that there are cultural roots in the Japanese citizens’ stoic response to all the horrors of the past few weeks," Tom Huang, Sunday and enterprise editor at the Dallas Morning News, wrote Friday for the Poynter Institute.

". . . But: I’m worried that the portrayal of the Japanese as a stoic people is too much of a shorthand, if not a stereotype, as positive a stereotype as it may be.

"The problem with what I call 'reporting in shorthand' is that it allows journalists to cover people at a superficial level — especially those from a less than familiar culture — and not probe any deeper.

" . . . Let’s push for more precise, shoe-leather reporting like that of Martin Fackler of The New York Times, who in recent days has traveled to destroyed hamlets and cut-off community centers.

"Fackler describes how those 'in the shelters try to maintain the orderly routines of normal Japanese life, seen in the tidy rows of shoes and muddy boots at the doorway to the shelters, where everyone is in socks. But there are also stressful differences: the lack of privacy, the growing odors of hundreds of unwashed bodies and the cries of fear every night during the countless aftershocks.'

"The fact is that not all Japanese people are stoic, just as not all Japanese people are militaristic like the soldiers in all those old war movies."

Proctor to Retire as Editor of Richmond Times-Dispatch

Glenn Proctor"Glenn Proctor, vice president for news and executive editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, today announced that he will retire June 1," the Times-Dispatch reported on Friday.

While the Times-Dispatch did not mention it, Proctor, a board member of the Maynard Institute, is the first African American to lead the dominant newspaper in the capital of the old Confederacy.

"Under his leadership at The Times-Dispatch, the newspaper won the 2008 National Headliner Award for Breaking News for its coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre, as well as Virginia’s top journalism award for public service and freedom of information," the Times-Dispatch noted.

"For 40 years, I have been part of the craft of journalism," Proctor said in the story. "Now it’s time to make way for other deserving editors to experience the pleasure, pressure and pride of the editor’s chair."

"Proctor said he plans to pursue teaching, coaching and writing in retirement."

A profile of Proctor by Lori Robertson in the December 2006/January 2007 issue of American Journalism Review said this:

"Proctor is a self-professed hard-ass, a man who makes no apologies for his tough-guy style and compares himself to the famed and infamous basketball coach Bobby Knight — he's about winning, not making anyone happy. And he was not about to conform to the genteel ways of Richmond when he marched into the Times-Dispatch newsroom and staked his claim. 'This is my newsroom,' he told staffers."

In 2007, Proctor was awarded the Legacy Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. It goes to "a pioneer black (journalist) of extraordinary accomplishment who has broken barriers and blazed trails."

"Proctor joined The Times-Dispatch in November 2005. He had previously spent 10 years at The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., as city editor, assistant managing editor for local news and associate editor. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal for coverage of the Goodyear takeover, and he has served five times as a Pulitzer juror," the Times-Dispatch said.

"A search for Proctor’s replacement has begun."

Libya Rearrests 4 Journalists From Al Jazeera

"Al-Jazeera said today that Libyan authorities have re-arrested four of its journalists hours after they were released. At least seven local journalists who spoke critically of government policies remain missing amid wide speculation that they are in the custody of forces loyal to [Gaddafi]. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ongoing attacks on the press in Libya, and calls on authorities to immediately release all journalists in custody," the committee reported on Friday.

"Al-Jazeera told CPJ that they received a phone call on Thursday morning from Mohamed al-Lami, a member of the executive office at the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) informing them that correspondents Ahmed Vall Ould Addin and Lotfi al-Messaoudi, and cameramen Kamel Atalua and Ammar al-Hamdan had been released from custody. In a telephone interview with Tunisian radio station Jawhara FM, al-Messaoudi confirmed the news of the release and stated that the journalists were safe and have been treated well while in detention.

"Ould Addin, a Mauritanian national, al-[Messaouadi], a Tunisian national, and al-Hamdan, a Norwegian national of Palestinian [descent,] met with their respective ambassadors in Tripoli to discuss their situation and their departure for Tunisia the following day, officials at Al-Jazeera told CPJ. Later on Thursday, however, Al-Jazeera received news from IFJ that all four journalists had been re-arrested by Libya authorities. Authorities did not provide an explanation or say where the journalists are being held."

More in Puerto Rico Identify as Black or American Indian

"The number of Puerto Ricans identifying themselves solely as black or American Indian jumped about 50 percent in the last decade, according to new census figures that have surprised experts and islanders alike," Danica Coto wrote Thursday for the Associated Press.

"The increase suggests a sense of racial identity may be growing among the various ethnic groups that have long been viewed as a blurred racial mosaic on the U.S. territory, although experts say it is too soon to say what caused the shift.

" 'It truly breaks with a historic pattern,' said Jorge Duany, an anthropology professor at the University of Puerto Rico."

ImpreMedia Journalists to Produce More Video for Web

" The country's largest Hispanic newspaper publisher, impreMedia, has tapped Critical Media's Syndicaster real-time broadcast-to-Web video platform to expand the video offerings on impreMedia's widely-read web sites," George Winslow reported Friday for Broadcasting & Cable.

"The two companies are billing the partnership as the largest ever commitment by a media company to delivering Web video news to the Latino community. It will affect the 7.7 million adults who consume news and information across impreMedia's offerings, creating new competition for the already extensive online efforts by Hispanic broadcasters Univision and Telemundo, and it illustrates the growing interest in targeting the rapidly expanding online Hispanic population.

". . . The Syndicaster technology will allow impreMedia's journalists to manage the video they collect in the field and to edit, publish, syndicate and distribute Web video news assets across impreMedia's various operations, which include El Diario La Prensa, El Mensajero, La Opinión, La Opinión Contigo, La Prensa, La Rasa, La Vibra and RUMBO Houston."

CPB Funds Helped Black Station Extend Its Reach

"Earlier this week, I noted KMOJ-FM's sudden rise in the ratings," David Brauer wrote Thursday for MinnPost.com in a piece headlined, "How the Corporation for Public Broadcasting helped KMOJ." "The African American community station jumped from about 0.7 percent of the local listening audience to 1.5 percent in February. That may not seem like a lot, but in the crowded radio world, it matters.

"Astute St. Paul listeners quickly informed me that one reason the station spiked was that it just boosted its 745-watt signal many times over. The Minneapolis-based station that once struggled to reach the St. Paul African American community (and fellow travelers) no longer struggled.

". . . The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which gets around $400 million in taxpayer funding annually, kicked in $103,000 for the antenna upgrade. The Minneapolis Foundation kicked in $83,000, and KMOJ raised the other $89,000.

"The antenna is currently blasting out 5,400 watts," and KMOJ general manager Kelvin Quarles "says when the upgrade is complete, full power will be 6,200 watts. That's still a pittance compared to the 100,000 watts a station like WLTE can crank, but it's enough to reach KMOJ's genuine audience.

"To be sure, foes of taxpayer funding can say such spending isn't essential. But while not everyone who listens to KMOJ is black, and not everyone who's black is poor, the recent data says the Twin Cities has an African American unemployment rate second only to Detroit. . . . There are more sobering stats from our own Doug Grow here. As underserved communities go, it seems deserving of this sort of subsidy."

When a Journalist Should Become Part of the Story

"Nick Kristof recently participated in an online workshop aimed at helping educators who wanted to teach the documentary 'Reporter' in the classroom. The film, which follows Kristof through the Congo, details the techniques used by the columnist to get people to care about his reporting," Chris O'Shea wrote Thursday for FishbowlNY.

". . . On not letting passion interfere with fact:

" 'The challenge is to feel passion and outrage without losing your skepticism. Over the years, for example, I’ve learned that victims of human rights abuses lie and exaggerate as much as perpetrators do. It’s very easy if you’re passionate and outraged to listen to victims and not double-check and triple-check and listen to the other side — or to get defensive when you’ve taken the victims’ side and not investigate charges that you’ve gone too far.'

". . . On the line between being a journalist and helping those in need:

"My own answer, and I think that of most journalists, is that there’s no special journalistic principle involved. You’re a human first, a journalist after. In the case of the Buddhist monk [that set himself on fire in protest], the reporter knew that this was a calculated, well-thought out protest, not an impulsive act, and he thought it would be patronizing to intervene. I think maybe I buy that. But in other circumstances, I would reach for the fire extinguisher rather than my camera. As for the starving child [the Pulitzer-winning photograph of an Ethiopian child shadowed by a vulture], the photographer said that he had indeed taken the child into a feeding center after snapping the photo. And in Libya, some journalists were busy snapping photos but others did intervene and one was expelled from Libya for doing so."

Short Takes

  • "How and what Americans watch on TV varies to some degree based on their ethnicity according to a Nielsen report of TV viewing and usage trends in 2010," the Nielsen Co. reported this week. "In November 2010, African-Americans used their TVs an average of 7 hours 12 minutes each day — far above the total U.S. average of 5 hours 11 minutes. Asians used their TVs the least, just 3 hours and 14 minutes on average. African-Americans also used DVD players and video game consoles more than average."

  • "Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen has been named the 2011 recipient of the 'Award for News Leadership' presented by the American Society of News Editors," Jack Broom reported for the Seattle Times. "Blethen's commitment to community service, investigative journalism and newsroom diversity were among the factors cited by the organization, which announced the award Wednesday." Blethen is a board member of the Maynard Institute. 

  • Andrea Parquet-Taylor"Andrea Parquet-Taylor has been named director of content for WNCN-TV, Media General’s NBC affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., effective May 2," Media General announced on Friday. "Ms. Parquet-Taylor was most recently assistant news director for KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas. Previously, she was news director for WXYZ-TV in Detroit. Before that, she was news director for WRAL-TV in Raleigh. She is the recipient of numerous industry honors, including multiple Emmy and AP awards." 

  • Isabel Wilkerson won the Mark Lynton History Prize ($10,000) for her "The Warmth of Other Suns" book about black migration, and Alex Tizon won the $30,000 Work in Progress Award for "Big Little Man: The Asian Male at the Dawn of the Asian Century," the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University announced Thursday. The two institutions administer the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards. The Lynton prize is "awarded to a work of history on any subject that best combines intellectual distinction with felicity of expression." The Lukas prize, awarded to Tizon, a former Los Angeles Times reporter, is "given to aid the completion of a significant work of nonfiction on a topic of American political or social concern." The awards are to be presented May 3. 

  • For a series that began Sunday, the Philadelphia Inquirer "spent a year looking into violence in Philadelphia public schools," the newspaper said. It "also commissioned an extensive, independently administered survey by Temple University that sampled the opinions of more than 750 teachers and aides — 6 percent of the 13,000 the district employs. More than two-thirds of those who responded to the survey reported that the violence and disruption in their building hindered their students' ability to learn. And more than half said violence had worsened during the last three years."

  • Jasmine Chang is joining Good Housekeeping magazine as fashion director, effective April 11, Good Housekeeping announced on Thursday. "Chang spent the previous eight years as Executive Fashion Editor at O, The Oprah Magazine. She also served as Senior Fashion Editor at Family Circle and Fashion Editor at Self magazine," Ujala Sehgal reported for Fishbowl NY. 

  • "Asian-themed entertainment network Mnet has reached a carriage deal with Comcast that will give the upstart channel digital basic carriage in several major Comcast systems," R. Thomas Umstead reported Wednesday for Multichannel News. "The move is the first for Comcast as part of its mandate to launch several minority-targeted networks related to its merger deal with NBC Universal." 

  • "ESPN is pulling Jalen Rose off the air after a report found the NBA basketball analyst waited almost three weeks to tell his employers about his arrest in Michigan on suspicion of drunk driving," Michael McCarthy reported Friday for USA Today. "ESPN got beat on its own in-house story this week when a Detroit television station broke the news that basketball analyst Jalen Rose was recently cited for DUI," Kelly McBride and Regina McCombs wrote Thursday for the ESPN Poynter Review Project, ESPN's ombudsman.

  • Lewis Kelley and Tanu Henry, childhood friends and Tanu HenryMaryland-based Liberian immigrants, have founded the African Immigrant Journal (www.theaijournal.com). "Launching April 18, The AIJ is the first website dedicated to exploring the experience of millions of African-born immigrants and first and second generation Americans of African descent in the United States," their announcement says. Henry, who will be executive editor, was editor of BET.com's news channel. J. Lorand Matory, director of the African and African American Studies Department at Duke University, and Retha Hill, director of the New Media Innovation Lab at Arizona State University, are on the editorial advisory board. 

  • "Golf Digest's decision to put Tiger Woods on the cover of our April issue, especially after officially ending our playing-editor relationship with Woods, drew notice and criticism from a number of readers," editor Bob Carney wrote on Sunday. Carney outlined why he believes Woods deserves the cover. 

  • "The Dow Jones News Fund will train and send 81 undergraduate and graduate students to work as news and sports copy editors, multimedia editors and business reporters at news organizations across the country this summer. The students were selected from among 600 applicants for the prestigious paid internships," the fund announced on Friday. 

  • "Sandie Viquez Pedlow is the new Executive Director of Latino Public Broadcasting. She takes over her new role on July 6, 2011. She replaces Patricia Boero, whose resignation was effective March 8," Veronica Villafañe reported Friday for Media Moves.

  • The family of Aloyce Beth DuVal Deare, the former producer (1978-1988) of "Say Brother" (now "Basic Black") and numerous documentaries at WGBH-TV in Boston, has created a scholarship fund in her behalf. "The scholarships we plan to offer will help students capture and share their own visions with the intention of inspiring others to do the same. How they share would be of their own choosing, through such mediums as television and film, written and spoken word, music and dance, art and design," her sister, Lynn DuVal Luse, said. Deare died Feb. 21 in a fire at her home in Newton, Mass. The address of the fund is: Sovereign Bank, Beth DuVal Deare Memorial Fund, 3060 Washington St., Roxbury, MA 02119.

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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 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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