Comcast Said to Irk Black Media "Who's Who"
Monday, August 1, 2011
"When Comcast was angling to take over NBCU, the cable giant promised prominently to increase the profile of minorities at the company and launch eight independent cable networks, including four under African-American control," Johnnie L. Roberts reported Tuesday for theWrap.com.
"But a Who’s Who of African American media figures and civil rights leaders are frustrated that Comcast doesn't seem to be moving fast enough, if at all.
"That includes a recent disastrous meeting between Comcast executives and Oprah Winfrey, in which Comcast executives rebuffed the media queen's request for support for her OWN network.
"Leading entrepreneur Russell Simmons was rebuffed when he approached NBCU CEO Steve Burke about acquiring the Style network.
"The National Urban League, NAACP and Al Sharpton's National Action Network, major civil rights groups, see several trouble spots with their efforts to work with Comcast, TheWrap has learned.
"NBCU, for example, has yet to fill the post of chief diversity officer. It has been vacant since Paula Madison, executive vice president, retired in May.
"Additionally, according to two persons briefed on the matter, the civil rights groups were taken aback by a realignment of cable-programming management in July that diluted the power of Salaam Coleman Smith, an African-American woman who is president of NBCU-owned Style Network. As a result of the change, Coleman no longer reports directly to Lauren Zalaznick, chairman of NBCU Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media.
"Generally, Comcast and NBCU seem clueless of the sprawling cloud over their efforts, projecting instead a sense of progress."
" . . . Now there's scramble for control of the promised new channels," Roberts continued. "While it surely will produce winners, it also risks alienating losers among a galaxy of black stars.
"Known and rumored aspirants include entertainer Whoopi Goldberg, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, multifaceted impresario Sean 'Diddy' Combs, basketball great Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, BET co-founder Bob Johnson and hip-hop super-producer Pharrell Williams in association with upstart network Karmaloop TV.
". . . In seeding new channels targeting African-Americans, Comcast angered its most strategic partner on the diversity front — the pioneering African American broadcaster Cathy Hughes and her son Alfred Liggins, people familiar with the situation told TheWrap.
"The family, which founded and controls publicly traded Radio One, co-launched cable network TV One in 2004 with Comcast, aiming to compete against the long-established BET for a core African-American audience.
"Hughes and Liggins were irked that Comcast, its erstwhile partner, in effect, was now sponsoring competing networks, people close to the situation told TheWrap. Liggins, CEO of Radio One, didn’t respond to a request for comment."
August 3, 2011
"The New York Times ran a very graphic photo on its front page Tuesday. The photo, by staff photographer Tyler Hicks, shows a severely malnourished Somali child in a Mogadishu hospital," Michael Calderone reported Tuesday for the Huffington Post.
"While jarring, Times executive editor Bill Keller told The Huffington Post that the decision to publish was 'kind of a no-brainer.'
"During yesterday's 4 p.m. meeting, Keller said that top editors looked a half dozen of Hicks' photos, 'all of them arresting.' Director of photography Michele McNally selected the photo of the child and Keller said that pick was 'pretty much the consensus of the room.'
"While the U.S. media has focused extensively on the debt deal, Keller explained in an email why editors gave such prominent placement to the Somalia story and compelling photo.
" '... We realize, of course, that the story du jour is the debt vote — to which we devoted the lead story and upwards of four pages this morning — but there's no reason that has to eclipse a human catastrophe in Africa. Readers can follow more than one important story at a time.
" 'Jeffrey and Tyler went to great trouble and some risk to get as close as they could to the calamity in Somalia," Keller said, referring to Hicks and Jeffrey Gettleman, who wrote the accompanying story. "They sent us a harrowing story and vivid, arresting photographs. We put them before the attention of our readers. That's our job.' "
WBBM-TV, the CBS-owned station in Chicago that aired a video of a 4-year-old African American boy at a crime scene, and then took the boy’s statement out of context, says "we have followed up with our employees to make sure that that we all have learned from the mistakes that were made," Michael Malone reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.
"We accept responsibility for the mistakes that were made, both in the reporting and editing of the story," the station said in a statement. "The video of the child should not have aired. As soon as news management identified the problem, they took immediate steps to ensure that the video would not air in subsequent newscasts. . . .
In a July 20 column for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, Bob Butler reported that WBBM aired a video of the 4-year old saying he did not fear violence and wanted his own gun.
In a follow-up, Butler reported that WBBM had left out footage in which the boy added that he hoped to be a police officer, and presumably make the streets safer.
The story has since gone viral. Last week, Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute reviewed the ethical guidelines for interviewing juveniles and concluded, "The Golden Rule for Interviewing Children: Do unto other people’s kids as you would have them do unto your kids."
Howard Kurtz, left, with Myles Miller on CNN's "Reliable Sources" in 2009.
"Is Myles Miller about to become New York’s youngest editor?" Kat Stoeffel asked Tuesday in the New York Observer.
"The precocious politics beat reporter was recently named associate editor at the Huffington Post, to work on a not-yet-announced HuffPost vertical produced for and by high schoolers.
"(A demographic which has been asking Arianna Huffington for a platform.)
"As of a month ago Mr. Miller, 17, was a metropolitan correspondent for the International Business Times. Prior to that, he was embedded at City Hall for Examiner.com. And before that he worked for the Daily News while attending the NYC Lab School. He’s covered two presidents for two different news organizations. He’s already mastered the New York media job hop!"
In June, Javier C. Hernandez wrote in the New York Times that securing press credentials was difficult for Miller since he did not hold a full-time job. "I’m looking forward to being 21 and sitting in pubs and telling old stories and feeling like a tenured journalist," Hernandez quoted Miller as saying.
NBCUniversal Wednesday named Craig Robinson, president and general manager of KNBC, the NBC-owned television station in Los Angeles, as executive vice president and chief diversity officer for the company.
Robinson succeeds Paula Madison, executive vice president, who retired in May. The appointment comes a day after a story by Johnnie L. Roberts in theWrap.com listed the unfilled position among complaints that Comcast, which acquired NBCUniversal, was not moving fast enough to increase the profile of people of color at the company. His story was headlined, "Comcast-NBCU Under Fire for Dragging Its Feet on Diversity."
Robinson begins his new role on Aug. 15 and will continue to serve as KNBC’s general manager until a replacement is named, the announcement said.
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said in a statement, "Diversity is one of our company’s biggest priorities, and I’m pleased that we could look within our own ranks and tap an accomplished leader like Craig to fill this important role. Craig has been actively involved in many of our diversity programs and his understanding of our company, its people and its culture will be invaluable as we continue our work to establish NBCUniversal as a leader in this area."
The announcement continued, "As Chief Diversity Officer, Robinson will help define, enable and foster a corporate culture that values diversity of talent, ideas, values and backgrounds across all parts of the company. He will act as the main liaison between NBCUniversal and key national and local figures and will oversee the company’s diversity commitments, working closely with senior executives to promote these efforts throughout the organization. Robinson will also be instrumental in guiding the company’s multiple internal affinity groups, and he will serve as a member of Comcast and NBCUniversal’s Joint Diversity Council."
"MSNBC senior political analyst Mark Halperin will be returning to the network this week, according to an MSNBC spokesperson, saying it had been a one-month suspension," John Eggerton reported Tuesday for Broadcasting & Cable.
"Halperin was suspended after he called President Obama a 'dick' on the 'Morning Joe' program June 30. He thought the remark was being bleeped out when he made it.
"Halperin made the comment in reference to Obama's demeanor in a news conference. Halperin apologized immediately, but was suspended [indefinitely] by the network, which turned out to be about a month. Halperin had called his suspension 'totally appropriate.' "
- Gil Noble, longtime producer and host of the African American public affairs program "Like It Is" on New York's WABC-TV, is hospitalized after suffering a stroke, a family spokesman has told acquaintances. Journalist Herb Boyd and Abdul Hafeez Muhammad, imam of Muhammad's Mosque No. 7 in Harlem, each told Journal-isms Wednesday they had been informed of the seriousness of Noble's condition by a family member. Noble is 79.
- "New African-American broadcast network Bounce TV has reached a deal to be carried on Gannett Broadcasting's WATL-TV in Atlanta, the second-largest African American television market in the U.S.," Jon Lafayette reported Tuesday for Broadcasting & Cable.
- "MegaTV owner Spanish Broadcasting System has closed on its acquisition of full power KTBU Houston from U.S. Farm and Ranch Supply Company for $16 million," Michael Malone reported Wednesday for Broadcasting & Cable. "KTBU becomes the third owned and/or operated MegaTV affiliate in the greater U.S., joining WSBS Miami and WMEI Puerto Rico."
- "The Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc. (HITN) announced a partnership with Comcast that will add four million new subscribers, increasing distribution to over 40 million households nationwide," Veronica Villafañe reported for her Media Moves site. "HITN’s expanded distribution includes seven new markets: Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Miami and Indianapolis."
- "Wall Street Journal international editor Rebecca Blumenstein sent out the following announcement on Friday afternoon: 'We’re looking for a deputy China Editor to help lead our joint WSJ/DJN bureau in mainland China,' " Talking Biz News reported on Saturday, referring to the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.
- Mark Trahant, board chair of the Maynard Institute and former editorial page editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, has been awarded a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy, next winter. "I'll work on my next book, 'Making the Case for a Government-Health Care System.' The residency lasts a month," he told Journal-isms.
- In the Dominican Republic, "The body of José Agustín Silvestre, a critical Dominican journalist who ran a magazine and hosted a television program, was found Tuesday morning shortly after he was seized by gunmen in the southeastern city of La Romana, according to local press reports," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported on Wednesday.
- "A South African newspaper columnist was fired Tuesday for writing that an editor at another publication was a 'black snake in the grass' working for white masters and probably would have been burned as punishment during the struggle against apartheid," Robyn Dixon wrote Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times. Eric Miyeni, a columnist at the Sowetan newspaper, wrote a piece viewed by many as scathing and darkly threatening, she reported.
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@JamilSmith The distorted #media depiction of African American men & boys has real life consequences, again. #mediadiversity #Tremaine