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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

MSNBC Leading CNN Again, and Both Trail Fox News

Cain Cancels Private Dinner With N.Y. Media Elite

Tea Party Losing Support Even Where It Won Last Year

"Journalists" Confronting Cops Harm the Profession

 "Ask a Mexican" Columnist Named OC Weekly Editor

Jet's Clarence Waldron Leaves Magazine After 29 Years

L.A. Public Radio Station Plans National Latino Show

Marc Lacey Named a Deputy Foreign Editor at N.Y. Times

IRS Holding Up Plans for Nonprofit News Organizations

Short Takes



Al Sharpton, shown hosting his "PoliticsNation," has said, ". . If I was MSNBC’s president and I wanted a host for a show with an opinionated format then I would talk to someone who hosts a radio talk show, not someone who writes for a newspaper."

MSNBC Leading CNN Again, and Both Trail Fox News

"CNN's re-emergence as the top ratings competitor to the Fox News Channel seems to have been short-lived," Bill Carter reported for the New York Times in a story posted late Tuesday.

"The cable news ratings for November indicate MSNBC has come back to move ahead of CNN across the board, both in terms of total viewers and among those that the advertisers value the most.

"MSNBC beat CNN in just about every way for the month. It finished second to Fox in prime time, the evening and in the morning. The channel even had a somewhat rare margin over CNN in the category of total day ratings, with an average of 426,000 viewers to 407,000 for CNN, and 138,000 viewers to 121,000 in the 25- to 54-year-old age group that news advertisers seek.

"Neither network was close to Fox News, which averaged 258,000 viewers in the 25-54 category and 1.04 million total viewers for its full day's average."

The ratings seem to vindicate MSNBC's strategy of seeking opinion rather than straight journalism for its prime-time lineup, a strategy that became a topic of conversation last summer when MSNBC chose the Rev. Al Sharpton to host what became "PoliticsNation" at 6 p.m. Eastern after journalists of color had been agitating for journalists to fill prime-time slots on cable news.

Sharpton told at the time: "CNN actually does journalism in the evening. MSNBC does not have journalists hosting shows in the evening. FOX does not do journalism in the evening.

". . . If I was MSNBC’s president and I wanted a host for a show with an opinionated format then I would talk to someone who hosts a radio talk show, not someone who writes for a newspaper."

Sharpton's show gained audience from September to November, as did "Special Report with Bret Baier" on Fox News Channel, which led the time slot, according to figures supplied by Nielsen to Journal-isms. CNN's audience fell during that time.

During September, Monday to Friday 6 p.m. airings of "PoliticsNation" attracted 598,000 viewers who watched live or via DVR playback within the same day, Nielsen said. The figure rose to 767,000 in November. "Special Report with Bret Baier" on Fox went from 1,801,000 in September to 2,043,000 in November. On CNN, "The Situation Room" drew 590,000 in September, but "John King USA" attracted only 512,000 in the slot in November.

These figures are still below those of broadcast television. The syndicated "Wheel of Fortune," for example, drew 11,333,000 viewers nationally for the week of Oct. 31.

The ratings news is not likely to cheer Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. "At a hearing last November, he ripped Fox News and MSNBC and suggested he wouldn't mind if both went away," Joe Flint reported Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times.

" 'I hunger for quality news,' he said. 'I'm tired of the right and left.'

"At the end of Wednesday's two-hour confirmation hearing for Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Ajit Varadaraj Pai, who have been nominated to succeed Michael Copps and Meredith Baker as FCC commissioners, Rockefeller said the television news has been 'dumbed down,' and entertainment programming has become too 'obscene' and 'promiscuous' for his taste."

Herman Cain, shown at the National Press Club, canceled plans to attend a dinner where he could meet some of New York’s top journalists and politicians. (Video) (Credit: NY1)

Cain Cancels Private Dinner With N.Y. Media Elite

"As word comes that Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain is 'reassessing' his campaign, he has abruptly canceled a private dinner with New York's media elite planned for this Sunday," the cable station NY1 reported on Tuesday.

"Cain had reached out to New York Post columnist Cindy Adams to host a gathering at her Park Avenue apartment so that he could meet some of New York’s top journalists and politicians.

"Among those on the guest list were Barbara Walters, Matt Lauer, Bill O'Reilly, Lesley Stahl, Senator Chuck Schumer and Greta Van Susteren who recently interviewed Cain and his family on Fox News.

"Van Susteren's husband, lawyer John Coale, is a friend of Cain’s and serves as an advisor to him.

"Adams told NY1 she received a call this morning from Coale after Cain asked him to cancel the dinner in case he drops out of the race.

". . . Despite the evidence that Cain's campaign could be falling apart, his Iowa campaign manager told the Associated Press that Cain does not plan to drop out of the race."

Huma Khan reported for ABC News, "Cain said Wednesday he will make a decision about whether to stay in the Republican presidential race in the next few days, and it would hinge on what his wife says."

Tea Party Losing Support Even Where It Won Last Year

"Since the 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party has not only lost support nationwide, but also in the congressional districts represented by members of the House Tea Party Caucus," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported on Tuesday. "And this year, the image of the Republican Party has declined even more sharply in these GOP-controlled districts than across the country at large.

"In the latest Pew Research Center survey, conducted Nov. 9-14, more Americans say they disagree (27%) than agree (20%) with the Tea Party movement. A year ago, in the wake of the sweeping GOP gains in the midterm elections, the balance of opinion was just the opposite: 27% agreed and 22% disagreed with the Tea Party. At both points, more than half offered no opinion."

"Journalists" Confronting Cops Harm the Profession

"A new YouTube video has surfaced. It is an interesting video with an interesting story," David Rosman wrote Wednesday in his weekly  column for the Columbia Missourian.

"It is also, to me, a bit misleading and an indication of the problems journalism is facing.

"The video is titled, 'AMAZING video of a journalist not taking crap from NYPD.' In the two-minute film, a man trying to tape an encounter between police and Occupy New York protesters repeatedly — and angrily — resists efforts to move him from the scene.

"Two problems here. First, the individual does not have a press pass. In fact, he admits he does not have a press pass. Second, he never identifies himself as a journalist, or whom he works for.

"This is a case where an individual who might be posing as a journalist is diminishing the credibility of the one group needed to maintain the honesty of the government and the freedom of the people — the professional press and journalists.

". . . I do not agree with the coming of Armageddon for the newspaper industry, but I do see a threat imposed by those who claim to be 'journalists' without regard for facts or credentials."

"Ask a Mexican" Columnist Named OC Weekly Editor

Gustavo Arellano will assume the editor's post at the alternative OC Weekly in Orange County, Calif., "effective 5:01 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 2," Gustavo Arellanodeparting editor Ted B. Kissell told the news staff, Matt Coker reported in the OC Weekly on Monday.

". . . Arellano, who grew up and went to high school in Anaheim, began freelancing at the Weekly in 2001 and became a staffer upon graduating from UCLA with a master's degree in Latin American studies in 2003.

"Having served as managing editor the past year and a half, Arellano will continue as editor to author his popular syndicated column, ¡Ask a Mexican!, which won the 2006 and 2008 Association of Alternative Weeklies (AAN) Award for Best Column. He'll also keep contributing to the Weekly's tasty food coverage. Indeed, he's rolled some of that knowledge into his forthcoming third book, 'Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.'

"A press release about Arellano assuming the editorship that [Village Voice Media] submitted to AAN today notes that OC Weekly's new editorial chief 'is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one of whom was illegal.' "

Arellano becomes one of the few Latinos editing a mainstream alternative weekly.

Jet's Clarence Waldron Leaves Magazine After 29 Years

Clarence Waldron, honored last year as "dean of arts and entertainment reporters" by the Arts and Entertainment Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists, has left the Jet magazine staff after 29 years.

Clarence WaldronWaldron, 54, told Journal-isms on Wednesday, "I decided it was time for me to make my change" and that he would continue to appear in the magazine from time to time as a contributing editor. "I'm at a very happy point now," he said by telephone.

Waldron plans to continue teaching introductory journalism courses at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and at Columbia College of Chicago. "He was the go-to guy who landed exclusive interviews with celebs including Aretha Franklin, Maya Angelou and Whitney Houston," Stella Foster wrote in her Chicago Sun-Times column. Franklin called into his Northwestern class, Waldron told Journal-isms.

Johnson Publishing Co. prepared a video of tributes to Waldron from Franklin, Steve Harvey, Frankie Beverly, Al Sharpton, Nancy Wilson, Jesse Jackson, Dionne Warwick and others when he won the NABJ Arts and Entertainment Task Force's "Legacy Award" at NABJ's 2010 convention in San Diego.

L.A. Public Radio Station Plans National Latino Show

Madeleine Brand"KPCC's head office has wanted to do something with a Latino flavor for awhile," Kevin Roderick wrote Monday for LAObserved. "It seems they have found a vehicle, and it appears to signal changes coming in Madeleine Brand's 14-month-old morning show. From a job posting on the Southern California Public Radio site for a National News Magazine Show co-host:

"The Co-Host serves as one of two defining voices for a two-hour national news magazine that will evolve from The Madeleine Brand Show with a focus on the Latino and other ethnic communities/interests/issues. . . ."

Marc Lacey Named a Deputy Foreign Editor at N.Y. Times

Joe Kahn, New York Times foreign editor, and Michael Slackman, a deputy foreign editor, announced Wednesday that Marc Lacey would be joining them as deputy foreign editor.

Marc Lacey "We searched at home and abroad, the foreign desk and all its dominions, and found the next deputy foreign editor in: Phoenix, Arizona," they wrote to staffers. "Of course this is less of a surprise than it may seem. The Phoenix correspondent is Marc Lacey, a longtime and close colleague of many of us, veteran of Latin America, East Africa, and Washington before that. We are thrilled to lure him back to foreign.

"Whether following Somali refugees on the Arabian Sea, drug routes in Central America, gang violence in Mexico, or the ethnic complexities of Darfur, Marc found intrepid and deeply human ways to illustrate the news. You may recall his story about Benky’s grueling initiation ritual into a Guatemalan gang or the secret biological powers of Kenyan lakes. Marc managed to turn a trip to the Turks and Caicos into a frontpage story, a dateline that he can probably retire now.

"There were glimpses in all that travel of another side of Marc, of an almost impossibly patient and cooperative colleague who thrived as a player/coach. He helped draw together threads of the 2008 global food crisis into a compelling page one lede-all. He helped to shepherd our coverage of the Haiti earthquake and coordinate a team of reporters lacking food, water and power. He takes great pride in our foreign coverage, and we think you’ll enjoy working closely with him. . . . "

IRS Holding Up Plans for Nonprofit News Organizations

"The future of nonprofit news organizations has hit an unexpected roadblock in the agency that determines their tax-exempt status: The Internal Revenue Service," Ryan Chittum wrote Nov. 17 for Columbia Journalism Review.

"Nonprofit news organizations applying for tax-exempt status are running into long delays as the IRS bundles them together as 'precedential' and studies whether they qualify for the status under 501(c)(3). While animal protection and 'fostering national or international amateur sports competition' are tax-exempt activities listed in the 501(c)(3) statute, journalism is not, and the agency’s historical position has been that newspapers or similar publications are commercial enterprises.

"Consider the San Francisco Public Press.

The newspaper doesn’t accept advertising. It’s run by volunteers and has no salaried employees. It covers local public policy issues and eschews sports, entertainment news, and restaurant reviews. It loses money and is subsidized by donations and foundation grants.

"But the IRS got the paper’s application nearly two years ago and still hasn’t given it an answer.

". . . Journalism thinkers and doers have looked to nonprofits as a way to fill in the gaps left by dwindling newspaper staffs. If good journalism is going to lose money, the theory goes, then tax-deductible donations might make up the difference."

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 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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