Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Black Voices Site Not Closing, Tribune Co. Says

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Thursday, January 1, 2004

Black Voices Site Not Closing, Tribune Co. Says

The Web site, reported by the Chicago Tribune less than two weeks ago as "slated to be closed or sold in coming weeks," has received a vote of confidence from its owner, the Tribune Co.

"Black Voices will be up and running for the foreseeable future," the Tribune Co.'s Christine Hennessey, manager for group media relations, told Journal-isms today.

"We're looking to be successful. We've been very diligently looking for the right external partner. We're very hopeful that the right partner will surface soon."

The Dec. 20 Tribune story said that ", an 8-year-old Web site owned by Tribune Co., is slated to be closed or sold in coming weeks.

"The Web site, which has failed to turn a profit, and the two publications it generated focus primarily on African-American readers." The story noted that, "With roughly 883,000 registered users, BlackVoices emerged during the Internet boom as a popular general interest Web site for African-American adults."

However, on Dec. 23, the Tribune ran this correction:

"A story on the front page of the Business section Saturday regarding the future of the Web site Black attributed the possible shutdown of the Web site to Tribune Co. spokesman Gary Weitman. Weitman disputes that attribution and says he only said that the Web site was continuing to search for a strategic partner. However, several sources at Tribune Co. had confirmed the information in the story: A possible closing of the Web site remains an option if the search for a partner is unsuccessful."

Hennessey said that the Black Voices e-mail service, which had told subscribers it was closing effective Dec. 31, then removed the notice, continues.

Aspiring Journalist Killed By Alleged Drunken Driver

An aspiring journalist -- and the vice president of her student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists -- "was killed in a drunken driving crash on the south side Sunday morning," as Sharon Wright reported for Chicago's WMAQ-TV.

Ayesha Judkins, 20, was in Chicago on winter break from Southern Illinois University.

"She went out for a sorority step show, and they were just coming home and this drunk driver came out of nowhere," Ayesha's mother, Debbie McKenzie, said on WMAQ. "And he took my baby away from me."

"On top of a full load of classes, she was involved in putting out the school's first yearbook in 18 years and was vice president of the National Association of Black Journalists chapter at Southern Illinois University," as Carlos Sadovi noted in the Chicago Tribune in a story headlined, "Crash puts end to a life that was full of promise."

In the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Mary Mitchell recalled getting an e-mail from Judkins:

"Ever since I've been reading the Chicago Sun-Times, I have always flipped to the section that your editorial was featured. You are truly a big inspiration to me because not only are you a person who is getting paid to speak [or should I say write] your mind, you are an African-American woman . . .

"So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for giving a young, gifted and black girl like me inspiration."

"I dashed off an e-mail encouraging her and thanking her for being so kind," Mitchell wrote.

"A few days later, her cousin called.

"'I just thought you ought to know that the young woman who was killed by a drunken driver on Sunday talked a lot about you,' he said. 'She met you a few years ago and said you invited her down to the newspaper. She was happy about that. I thought you would want to know.'"

Journalism Schools React to Spanish Media Boom

"As the nation's Latino population continues to grow, media outlets geared toward Spanish-speaking audiences are growing rapidly. In response, an increasing number of the country's journalism departments are trying to attract Spanish-speaking students," was the tease for a story on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" today. Rachael Myrow of member station KPCC reported.

Audio of the story

Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2003

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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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