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Friday, August 6, 2010

Report Finds Asian Teams Secure the Most Funding

Movement Grows to Boost Minority Broadcast Ownership

3 of Color Among 58 Executives at Top Media Firms

After 38 Weeks, Inquirer Lets Go Artist Who Suffered Stroke

Poll Validates Hispanics' Desire to Live in Two Worlds

Obama Urges Young African Journalists to Seek a Free Press

Rep. Maxine Waters Takes Her Case to Black Radio

Mexican Police Arrest 3 in Kidnapping of Journalists

Asian Journalists Group May Be Back in the Black

Short Takes

Before presenting its charts, CB Insights reported, 'When we ask venture capitalists what gets them excited about the young, emerging and unproven companies in which they invest, we never hear about deals and dollars. Rather the first answer is frequently 'the team' or 'the founders.' '

Report Finds Asian Teams Secure the Most Funding

African Americans are dramatically underrepresented among the founders of Internet start-up companies, according to an analysis of the founders of private, early-stage Internet companies that raised their first round of institutional venture capital funding in the first six months of 2010.

The private investment research firm CB Insights found that whites were 77 percent of the population but 87 percent of the start-up founders; Asians were 4 percent of the population but 12 percent of the founders; and blacks were 11 percent of the population but 1 percent of the founders. Native Americans barely registered, and "other races" accounted for 7 percent of the population. Hispanics were not listed; they are not a race and thus were more difficult to isolate, CEO Anand Sanwal told Journal-isms.

Other findings of the first-ever Human Capital Venture Capital report, as summarized by Sherri L. Smith for BlackWeb2.0:

  • "The majority of the black founders were part of an all-black founding team. As far as mixed raced founding teams, New York led the pack with 14% with California and Massachusetts bringing up the rear with a close 13%.

  • "The median amount of funding secured by an all-black founding team was $1.3 million, compared to $2.2M for a racially mixed team, and $2.3M for an all-white team.

  • "Asian teams secured the most funding with a median range of $4 million."

The report said that "nationally, South Asian and East/South Asian founders are funded to a similar extent."

"So what does this mean for burgeoning black techpreneurs with the next great Web breakthrough?" Smith wrote. "If you're a younger company, New York's Silicon Alley might be the best place to start your business. With an increasing population of young start-ups setting up shop, NYC is the best place for a fresh-[faced] talent to catch the eye of a potential investor. Overall, African Americans are still underrepresented in both the tech and entrepreneurial sectors."

Raising venture capital for media start-ups was a focus of the Eighth Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference last month in Washington.

At a standing-room-only question-and-answer session at the conference, sponsored by the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, three members of the Federal Communications Commission said minority communications entrepreneurs should be focusing on opportunities in new media, according to a report from John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable.

"All three commissioners also said access to capital was the top barrier to boosting minority participation," Eggerton continued. "The other side of that equation is that the opportunities in traditional media are on the wane, they suggested."

The commissioners were Robert McDowell, Meredith Attwell Baker "and, via a sometimes hinky video link, Mignon Clyburn."

Movement Grows to Boost Minority Broadcast Ownership

Michael D. Berg"In the 17 years that the FCC's minority tax certificate policy was in effect — from 1978 to 1995 — the scant minority ownership of broadcast properties multiplied," Michael D. Berg, a veteran Washington communications lawyer, wrote Friday for TVNewsCheck, an online industry trade publication.

"The policy produced 364 tax certificates and 200 media transactions totaling more than $1 billion in value. That represented about two-thirds of all minority-owned stations.

"When the policy began, minorities owned about 40 of 8,500 broadcast stations. Over its lifetime, the policy helped raise that number to 333 — 290 radio stations and 43 TV stations. It also yielded 31 cable systems," wrote Berg, whose piece was titled, "Time to Revive Minority Tax Certificates."

"The policy encouraged the sale of broadcast and cable properties to minority-owned buyers by deferring sellers' capital gains taxes. Providers of capital to new minority companies also received tax incentives.

"But in 1995 Congress repealed the policy. . . . Since the repeal and passage the following year of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which paved the way for further consolidation of station ownership and narrowed opportunities for new entrants to the broadcast business, minority ownership has decreased by about 14%. That is despite the rapid growth in the percentage of minorities in the population. According to a Free Press study, in 2006 minorities composed a third of the population and owned less than 4% of TV stations and 7% of commercial radio stations.

"As a result of these developments, right now in Congress, the FCC and the broadcast and cable industries there is new movement toward creating an updated tax incentive policy. . . . Late last month at the annual conference of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) announced his intent to introduce new tax incentive legislation that addresses and remedies concerns about the earlier policy."

Berg is also the co-author of "FCC Lobbying: A Handbook of Insider Tips and Practical Advice."

3 of Color Among 58 Executives at Top Media Firms

Robert MenendezSen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., "has released a 'Corporate Diversity Report' with the results of a survey of 537 companies that appeared in the Fortune 500 in 2009 and 2010. At the five media/entertainment/marketing companies that responded, says the report, 13 of the 59 board seats are held by women and 11 by minorities. On those companies' executive teams, 11 of 58 positions are held by women and three by minorities," Radio Ink reported on Thursday.

"Menendez said the purpose of the survey, which also looked at, among other industries, energy, financial services, telecommunications, and technology, 'is very straightforward — to gain a better understanding of what minority and female representation looks like on corporate boards, in senior leadership and in the procurement of goods and services."

After 38 Weeks, Inquirer Lets Go Artist Who Suffered Stroke

Keita SullivanWhen news artist Keita Sullivan collapsed at his desk at the Philadelphia Inquirer in November, a stroke victim at age 39, he passed word that he did not want any reporting of his situation because he did not want to endanger his marketability as an employee. He said on Friday that the Newspaper Guild assured him, "Don't worry about it" when he asked whether his job was safe.

On Friday, the other shoe dropped. Sullivan received a "Dear Keita" letter from Christine M. Bonanducci, senior director of human resources for the Inquirer and the Daily News.

"This letter is being written to inform you that your employment with Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC (PNL) is being terminated effective Wednesday, August 11, 2010," it began.

"According to the revised sick policy under the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Guild, PNL can now terminate employment after 38 weeks of continuous absence. According to our records, you originally went out ill on November 17, 2009."

Sullivan says he is "the last African American male working in newsroom under 40 or 50." He has five children and has worked at the Inquirer since 2004. (Sullivan had worked for the Inquirer's previous owner, the defunct Knight Ridder Corp., since 1997.) He has won five gold medals at the Pan Am Jiu-Jitsu championships, and as a Muslim who does not eat pork, picks his food carefully. Still, he had one other stroke about five years ago.

Since the November attack, he has been spending two days a week in rehab. He says the Human Resources department asked for the medical records for the first part of his sick leave and a progress report from his doctor. He said the doctor said he would be better by July. Apparently, he wasn't better enough by then. This week's letter followed.

"Under the current Collective bargaining agreement negotiated in 2006 the sick time clause allows the employer to terminate an employee continually absent for 38 weeks. It is not grievable," Bill Ross, executive director of Local 38010 of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America, told Journal-isms in an e-mail.

"The Guild has been a strong advocate for Mr. Sullivan since his terrible tragedy. Without disclosing personal medical information, if Mr. Sullivan recovers and is cleared by his Dr. To return to work, we will do everything in our power to try and get him reinstated. The employer has also been very cooperative and helpful through this very sad time."

It was unclear who will pay for Sullivan's rehab expenses if he is terminated. Sullivan said he expects to find that out next week. In addition, being terminated does not necessarily mean Sullivan will stop being paid at least a portion of his salary.

For now, "I'm trying to get through the weekend," he said, and is collecting telephone numbers of attorneys who can take his case.

If necessary, he said he would return to work even while in rehab. "I'd rather pay my bills. I'm a hard worker. I've always worked really hard," Sullivan said.

Poll Validates Hispanics' Desire to Live in Two Worlds

A Univision-Associated Press poll on Hispanic identity shows that Latinos overwhelmingly believe it is important to retain their identity even as they work to blend into American society, Univision reported on Tuesday.

"According to the poll:

"Two-thirds of all Hispanics surveyed say it is important to maintain their distinct cultures. At the same time, 54 percent say it is important to assimilate into American society.

"Young Hispanics are less likely to say that it is important to change and blend in: 43 percent of 18-29 year olds say it is important to assimilate whereas 67 percent of those 65 and older find assimilation important.

"Among U.S. born Hispanics, 65 percent believe it is very important to retain their Hispanic culture and 41 percent believe it is also important to blend into American society.

"Among foreign born Hispanics, 70 percent said it is important to retain their Hispanic culture and 65 percent said it was important to blend into American society.

" 'The Univision-AP Poll findings related to Hispanic Identity validate what we have known for many years, that Hispanics in America — foreign and U.S. born — live in two worlds,' said Ceril Shagrin, EVP, Audience Measurement Innovation and Analytics for Univision Communications Inc. 'While it is important to blend into American culture, the vast majority of Hispanics believe it is important to retain their "Hispanicity."

"The Univision-AP Poll is being released via a series of articles based on the findings. The series began with a story examining the diversity, views and experiences of Hispanics, followed by a story on the Economy, Politics, Higher Education and today’s piece on Hispanic Identity."

In Washington, President Obama told young African leaders such as this one, 'young people are more prone to ask questions, why shouldn’t we have a free press?' (Video)

Obama Urges Young African Journalists to Seek a Free Press

"One out of 10 delegates participating this week in U.S. President Barack Obama's Young African Leaders Forum was a journalist," Mohamed Keita, Africa advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, wrote Friday.

"The forum, a U.S. initiative meant to spark discussions on the future of Africa in a year when 17 countries on the continent are celebrating 50 years of nationhood, did not overlook freedom of the press, as I witnessed in its final event on Thursday at Washington's museum of news, the Newseum.

"The venue for Thursday’s event, a conference center named after the publisher John S. Knight, was perhaps fitting after the forum’s Tuesday town hall meeting at the White House featured significant references to press freedom. Addressing 115 of the brightest and most enterprising 20- to 30-something leaders in activism, business, health, innovation and media in Africa on Tuesday, Obama singled out, among others, a Botswana journalist (Itumeleng Ramsden) for inspiring young people with her popular radio show, and a journalist from Ivory Coast (Aminata Kane Epse Kone) for championing the cause of Muslim women on her radio station. In a Q&A session, the president mentioned press freedom while praising the ability of youth to challenge the status quo.

" 'In some of your countries, freedom of the press is still restricted,' Obama said. 'There’s no reason why that has to be the case. There’s nothing inevitable about that. And young people are more prone to ask questions, why shouldn’t we have a free press?' "

The group also visited U.S. lawmakers.

Meanwhile:

Rep. Maxine Waters Takes Her Case to Black Radio

"The national Democratic Party is spending $50 million this year to mobilize the so-called Obama surge voters of 2008 — which means, in part, turning out huge numbers of African-American voters in November," Peter Wallsten wrote Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal.

"The effort probably wasn’t helped today when U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters took to the airwaves of black radio stations across the country to say that the House ethics charges being brought against her are the unjust result of her advocacy for black Americans.

"Moreover, the California Democrat seemed to suggest that her ethics hearings, likely to come in September in the leadup to the elections, could turn on race.

"House investigators have accused her of seeking federal help for a bank where her husband served on the board. Waters says she was standing up for black-owned banks in general — and is now being attacked for it.

"Appearing on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s show, Keepin’ It Real, Waters said it was time 'to stand up and be proud of the fact that we’re representing our people, we’re representing our issues, and we’re not taking a back seat because somehow somebody believes that every time we move to be an advocate we’re doing something wrong.'

"She concluded: 'This is the time to take it on.' . . .

"Another guest on the show was David A. Wilson, managing editor of the black-oriented news site thegrio.com, which features a story headlined, 'Is the Congressional Black Caucus Being Racially Profiled?' "

Mexican Police Arrest 3 in Kidnapping of Journalists

"Three suspected drug-gang members who allegedly participated in the kidnapping of three television journalists last week were arrested in northern Mexico, federal police announced Thursday," E. Eduardo Castillo reported for the Associated Press.

"The goal of the kidnappings was to force news media outlets to air video segments implicating a rival gang in the corruption of local authorities, Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas told a news conference. The three men worked for the Sinaloa drug cartel, Rosas said.

"The three journalists kidnapped July 26 and a fourth reporter snatched elsewhere on the same day have all been freed.

"One of the suspects was wounded in a shootout with police at the time of his arrest Wednesday in the northern state of Durango, Rosas said.

"The suspects, ages 23, 25, and 33, allegedly worked for the cartel carrying out local drug sales, killings and kidnappings near the Durango city of Gomez Palacio."

Asian Journalists Group May Be Back in the Black

Neal Justin"AAJA’s budget may be back to black following a tough 2009," Elizabeth Gyori wrote Friday for AAJA Voices, the student-written convention publication of the Asian American Journalists Association.

"After closing with a $207,000 deficit, officials said, the governing board and the national AAJA office instituted aggressive measures – some unprecedented — to balance the budget.

" 'We are moving toward a brighter future,' said Executive Director Kathy Chow. 'This is a great sign that even in the end of deficit from last year, we were able to pay off our deficit with interest already.'

"Although national officials said Friday there is currently no deficit, the governing board refused to release how much AAJA has raised thus far until today’s National Advisory Board meeting.

Doris Truong"Last year, AAJA borrowed $154,000 from the endowment to cover the shortfall. The loan was paid back in full, with interest, said National Treasurer Candace Heckman, totaling $160,000."

Chow told Journal-isms Thursday that attendance at the Los Angeles convention was "somewhere in the 600-700 range" and that members were more upbeat this year than last, "very optimistic about the future." The convention's emphasis was on training, as at the other journalist of color meetings this summer.

Winners of the AAJA elections are to be announced Saturday night.

In the contested races, the candidates for national president are Neal Justin of the Minnnesota Chapter, a television and media critic for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, and Doris Truong, a multiplatform editor at the Washington Post and AAJA's national secretary.

Candidates for national treasurer are Rene Astudillo, a longtime past executive director of AAJA, and Heckman, the incumbent, who is an editor at Nyhus Communications in Seattle.

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 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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