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Dennis Rodman Livens Up ABC's "This Week"

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

N. Korea Trip Burnishes "the Worm's" Reputation as Bizarre

"Being White in Philly" Called Example of the Problem

Assaults Changing How Oakland Journalists Report

Columnists Line Up to Support Voting Rights Act

Newsrooms Called Too Slow in Adapting to Mobile Devices

Reporter Says She Suffered Miscarriage After Beating

March 15 Application Deadline for Minority Writers Seminar

Short Takes

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, "He’s a good guy to me. He’s my friend. I don’t condone what he does, but as a person to person, he’s my friend.” (Video)

N. Korea Trip Burnishes "the Worm's" Reputation as Bizarre

"Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea wasn't an accident or an oddity, but the result of a gonzo media company facilitating a summit between a Basketball Hall of Famer and an oppressive dictator who grew up a Bulls fan. But making sense of it doesn't equip Rodman for the international politics he stumbled into," Matt Ufford wrote Monday for SB Nation.

"Vice has a reputation for stunt journalism," Brian Stelter wrote for the New York Times, referring to Vice Media, a Brooklyn, N.Y., media company that is producing "Vice," a newsmagazine that will have its premiere on HBO on April 5.

Rodman's trip made headlines and on Sunday landed him on ABC's political talk show "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, earning the ex-NBA star known as "the Worm" his share of ridicule as out of his depth.

"This is what we know," Ufford continued in SB Nation:

  • "Kim Jong Un's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il was an ardent fan of the NBA who, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, had regulation courts at most of his palaces and 'a video library of practically every game Michael Jordan ever played for the Bulls.'

  • "In 2000, attempting to warm U.S.-DPRK relations, Madeline Albright gave Kim Jong Il an NBA basketball signed by Jordan that is now on display in a Pyongyang museum. The dictator invited His Airness to North Korea the following year; Jordan declined.

  • "The basketball addiction was apparently passed on to Kim Jong Un. Kim attended a Swiss high school under an assumed identity, where he wore Air Jordans, displayed pictures of himself with Toni Kukoc and Kobe Bryant, played tenaciously on the court, and 'spent hours doing meticulous pencil drawings of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan.'

  • "Vice Media, which arranged the trip for a newsmagazine that will air on HBO, is no stranger to North Korea. Co-founder Shane Smith has visited the country twice before to make Vice documentaries, and information gathered then spurred the idea for a basketball exhibition starring Rodman and three Harlem Globetrotters. (Vice paid the players an undisclosed sum, according to the New York Times.) Though there was no promise of meeting Kim when the trip began, 'We knew he’d be tempted by basketball,' said a Vice spokesman.

"So it was that Dennis Rodman — late of Celebrity Mole, Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Rehab, and Dr. Drew's Sober House — became the first American to meet with Kim Jong Un, the master of a nuclear weapons platform that threatens the civilized world, since he assumed power after his father's death."

Rodman was said to know more about Kim now that the CIA does.

On "This Week," "Rodman was at turns incoherent and contradictory, with host George Stephanopoulos pushing him on why he would speak well of a man who presides over prison camps and stifles dissent," wrote Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post's "The Fix" political columnist. Cillizza posted a photo of Rodman and Stephanopoulos and conducted an online caption contest. The winning caption has Rodman saying, "Wait. You're saying there’s two Koreas?

Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith, appearing on MSNBC's "Hardball," evaluating Rodman's performance, said, "you realize how pathetic he can be."

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper interviewed Laura Ling, the journalist who was detained in North Korea with a colleague from Current TV in 2009. "I mean, Kim Jong-un is trying to portray himself as this more jovial leader, more in the vein of his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung," Ling said Monday on "Anderson Cooper 360°". "But we're sort of guilty of it when we shine a light on this whole Dennis Rodman visit, because that's the information that is disseminated, whereas we really should be focusing on the egregious human rights abuses that are taking place in that country.

She added, "But I do think that, you know, for people who don't know anything about North Korea, you know, here's a chance for us to talk about it, and to talk about the misinformation, and how ill-informed Dennis Rodman may have been and probably was at the true nature of what's going on inside that country."

Alex Weprin reported on TVNewser that "Rodman apparently had a number of other media appearances lined up. The key word there is had, because he seems to have been canceling them."

"Being White in Philly" Called Example of the Problem

"Philadelphia Magazine just published an article by Robert Huber titled 'Being white in Philly: In a city that is largely poor and segregated white people have become afraid to say anything at all about race. Here's what's not being said,' " Daniel Denvir wrote Saturday for the Philadelphia City Paper.

March issue cover story called off-base

"No, it is not an Onion-esque parody of Philadelphia's most white-bread journalistic institution, a magazine that seemingly hired Gene Marks just because he wrote the jaw-droppingly offensive article 'If I Were a Poor Black Kid' for Forbes.

"But before I continue, I must first disable the story's booby trap, a defense built into its very DNA: the idea that 'in so many quarters, simply discussing race is seen as racist.'

"Huber is not a brave man, and his premise is totally false. People will only think . . . 'simply discussing race' is racist if you, like Huber, treat black people like inscrutable extraterrestrials whose moral shortcomings might be responsible for their own poverty.

"The reality is that many black people frequently talk about race and racism. And really, white people do too — sometimes intelligently, sometimes not so much. To the extent that whites do not discuss race more it is because they do not want to address important pieces of context like, say, history (see Louis CK).

"Indeed, I'm a white guy who writes about race and frequently talk to black Philadelphians — and often, gasp, about race. Black sources have never protested frank questions about race for articles I write about poverty and educational inequity, police brutality and mass incarceration, or neighborhood segregation and (yes, largely black) gun violence. . . ."

Assaults Changing How Oakland Journalists Report

"In recent months, journalists covering crime and other stories here have themselves become victims of crime, robbed of expensive cameras, sometimes at gunpoint," Carol Pogash wrote Saturday from Oakland for the New York Times.

"In less than a year, every major television news station in the Bay Area has been a victim, some more than once. One experienced newspaper photographer has lost five cameras.

"In the most brazen episode, a group of men punched a KPIX-TV cameraman last November while he was filming at midday in front of an Oakland high school. The robbers fled with his camera while it was still recording. Viewers saw the reporter sign off and then an inexplicably wobbly image.

"Robberies and assaults are changing the way journalists report in Oakland. Armed, plainclothes security guards sometimes accompany news crews on pieces, even mundane ones. Some camera crew members are refusing to take assignments in Oakland at night. And while crime provides the daily drama for much of the local television news, reporters are spending less time on the street and more time at the Oakland police department. Once the police leave a crime scene, television crews depart as well. . . . "

Columnists Line Up to Support Voting Rights Act

"There is a telling paragraph in the U.S. District Court opinion last year that found Texas deliberately discriminated against minorities in redistricting," O. Ricardo Pimentel wrote Saturday for the San Antonio Express-News.

O. Ricardo Pimentel" 'In the last four decades, Texas has found itself in court every redistricting cycle, and each time it has lost.'

"Such serial stubbornness is a sign of many things, but not redemption. Texas is not reformed of its discriminatory past. It has merely rebranded — in Coca-Cola Classic fashion. Funny, tastes just like the old discrimination.

"Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case whose outcome will have a profound effect on whether Texas and other states and political jurisdictions with histories of voter discrimination get away with this flim-flam.

". . . Texas, in urging the high court to eliminate Section 5, is essentially saying that it would prefer no one looking when it does anew what it has a sordid history of doing."

The Chicago Tribune differed. It said in an editorial Monday, "Like the rest of the nation, the South is far from immune to racial conflict and prejudice. But it has changed beyond recognition, and it's about time for the law to change as well."

Newsrooms Called Too Slow in Adapting to Mobile Devices

Raju Narisetti, newly named senior vice president and deputy head of strategy for the New News Corporation, is currently head of editorial teams and content strategy for the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, and had a similar role as a managing editor at the Washington Post. He told Justin Ellis of Nieman Journalism Lab Monday that most news organizations have not caught up with the impact that mobile devices are having on journalism.

Raju Narisetti

And Narisetti named some of his favorite emerging technologies: Android, Spreeecast, Google Glass, Tout and Storyful. He also praised Twitter, which he said "actually brought serendipity back into my life in a major way."

In a Q-and-A, Ellis asked, "You gave a talk recently and mentioned that a little over 30 percent of traffic to the Journal comes through mobile. That number doesn't seem that far from the rate at other media companies, but people were still surprised by the way mobile is growing. Do you think there's an understanding of how big an impact mobile is going to have on journalism?"

Narisetti replied, "I don’t think we are there yet in most newsrooms. The reason I went public with that number was that I think people need to understand the profound changes that our audiences are going through. A year ago, I suspect if I went back and looked when I rejoined the Journal, I bet that number was in the low 20s, if that. A year from now that number, I guarantee that number is going to be in the high 40s.

"What has happened, I think, is that most newsrooms have created mobile teams to embrace apps and embrace Apple and, now, Android devices. But they've seen it as a small team building a product and then not worry about it. Others, like the Journal, who have been more self-aware, have responded in the last few months and last year by creating more responsive design where the content adjusts to the container. But my view is that with so much of your audience consuming your content and your journalism through anywhere between a 3- to 7-inch device, you have to start pivoting from creating just content to creating a great experience and creating different experiences on different devices. And it's hard.

"There’s probably no newsroom in the world — and I probably am not wrong in saying this — there's probably no newsroom in the world where the mobile team is more than a single-digit team. Maybe occasionally somebody hits like 10 people. That is where I'm very worried — we've gone from print-first for centuries, if you will, to (somewhat kicking and screaming) to web-first, and we're not entirely there yet.

"But what we really need to be is increasingly saying: What does it mean to be mobile-first? . . . "

Reporter Says She Suffered Miscarriage After Beating

In Indonesia, "A television reporter in East Kalimantan says she suffered a miscarriage after being beaten by a village chief and more than a dozen other men while covering a land dispute on Saturday," Tunggadewa Mattangkilang reported Monday for the Jakarta Globe.

"Normila Sari Wahyuni, 23, a reporter from Paser TV, which airs locally in the district of Paser, was interviewing one victim of a bitter land dispute in Rantau Panjang village when she was allegedly stopped by a number of men, including the village chief, Ilyas. She said the men tried to confiscate her camera before attacking her.

"Normila, who was on Sunday seeking treatment at Panglima Sebaya Hospital in the town of Tanah Grogot, said she was beaten, had her clothes ripped off and her camera taken from her."

The story continued, "Nurdin, chairman of the Paser chapter of the Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI), condemned the attack, saying that the perpetrators must also be charged with violating the Law on the Press.

"The law stipulates that anyone trying to stop or threatening to stop journalists from doing their work could face up to two years in prison."

March 15 Application Deadline for Minority Writers Seminar

"March 15 is the deadline to apply for the 18th annual Minority Writers Seminar to be held May 2-5, 2013, at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee," the Association of Opinion Journalists announces. "The institute is a partner with the AOJ Foundation of the annual workshop.

"Enrollment is limited to 12, and minority journalists who have been writing opinion less than two years may apply. AOJ Foundation pays for lodging and food at the Seminar and reimburses up to $200 each for transportation to and from Nashville."

AOJ said the Minority Writers Seminar has enabled dozens of journalists of color to write opinion pieces and manage editorial pages.

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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I have watched this TV show.

I have watched this TV show. I was really surprised that Kim and Dennis are friends. Never heard of this. And this advice regarding starting conversation with Obama with baseball. It's funny in some way, but maybe it will help to prevent possible catastrophe. Dennis is a kind of dove of peace.

The manipulation of Rodman

Underlying the ridicule of Rodman 's visit to NKorea is the arrogant narrative that common citizens even celebrities have no clue nor value in area of foreign affairs. Besides the racial angle where it is rare even in the political sphere for Black people of any stature in and outside of government to weigh in on foreign affairs Rodman's venture into NKorea has lots of value.

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