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Did Jet Shoot Itself in the Foot?

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Magazine Stands Behind 10-Year-Old Cover Shot

AP Praised for Reversal on Gay Couple Terminology

Author Describes How Best-Seller Lists Are Manipulated

Women Have Yet to Reach Parity, Even in New Media

Obama Meets With Press Corps, Black Leaders

Obama Rebounds to 73% Approval With Hispanics

American Indians, Blacks Top Racial Groups in Poverty Count

Critic Calls "Django," "Amour" Best for Best Picture

Short Takes

Magazine Stands Behind 10-Year-Old Cover Shot

Relying on public relations photos for your cover shots can be messy, as Jet magazine is finding out.

Jet's Fantasia cover

Jet editor-in-chief Mitzi Miller on Friday issued a defense of the magazine's use of a 10-year-old photo of cover subject Fantasia.

"JET magazine is honored to have Fantasia grace the cover of its March issue," her statement began. "It is unfortunate that Fantasia is displeased with the cover selection, however JET stands by its decision," Miller wrote.

"As standard editorial practice, JET consulted with Fantasia's team, but reserves the right to select the image we deem as most appropriate for JET's brand and reflective of the cover story sentiment.

"JET continues to root for Fantasia's success and encourages her fans to pick up the new issue."

Clutch magazine wrote on Wednesday, "Fantasia has been the subject of harsh criticism in the public eye for everything from admitting her illiteracy to being involved with a married man who eventually betrayed her. When news hit that she had attempted suicide, many of us wondered if she'd ever be able to find peace. She also recently posted about gay marriage in a rant about being judged, that many took issue with.

"The American Idol winner recently sat down with Jet Magazine for an interview in which she muses about self-love and raising her children, and appears to be in a better place . . . ."

One of the rejected photos.

However, Clutch added, ". . . The singer erupted on Instagram, chastising the magazine for using an old photograph of her:

" 'This saddens Me!!! It is clear that this picture is 10 Years Old and JET Magazine puts it on the Cover!! After I send them the NEW LOOK AND DIRECTION. . SAD!!! I WANT A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM JET. Now im not sure if the interview is correct. SEE!! America they and use me as they crash Dummy BUT NO MORE. IF I DONT STAND FOR SOMETHING ILL FALL FOR ANYTHING.' "

While its full-size Ebony sibling shoots its own covers and was the only major black magazine to post an increase in advertising pages during 2012, Jet has lagged. Its frequency has been reduced from weekly to every two weeks, and although it now has editors from the hip-hop generation and has been redesigned, it saw a 16.1 percent drop in advertising pages last year. Ebony's rose 22.9 percent.

Still, Jet's reputation was partly built on photographs, such as those in 1955 of the mutilated body of the lynched 14-year-old Emmett Till, and years of Jet centerfold beauties.

So why wouldn't Jet want to shoot its own cover subjects?

"Cost cutting is the name of the game or so it seems," Samir Husni of the University of Mississippi, known as "Mr. Magazine," told Journal-isms by email. "Fewer magazines are taking their own photos, so this is more of the norm of small magazines rather than the exception." He added, ". . . times have changed and competition is now tougher even for the African American magazines..."

Miller told her Facebook friends she was exasperated. "The fact that I wasted an hour of my workday writing a press release to address an issue created by a person who cannot even read it is just... #whyiwannaBahousewife."

AP Praised for Reversal on Gay Couple Terminology

"The Associated Press did the right thing on Thursday. After a week in which gay reporters, LGBT blogs, gay advocacy organizations, and even AP reporters expressed dismay at a misguided memo that seemed to say the words 'husband' and 'wife' didn’t apply to legally married gay couples, the news organization corrected itself with a beautifully simple addition to its Stylebook," Jennifer Vanasco wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review.

"From now on, the Stylebook will say, 'Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. Spouse or partner may be used if requested.' . . . "

While most news organizations follow Associated Press style, not all do. The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times did not respond to an inquiry from Journal-isms about their own style or said they were looking into the issue. Joe Knowles, associate managing editor/editing and presentation at the Chicago Tribune, said by email, "In this case, we would follow AP style."

Author Describes How Best-Seller Lists Are Manipulated

The author of a book that made it to the Wall Street Journal's best-seller list and then quickly disappeared has described how best-seller lists can be manipulated by campaigns that he called "the unacknowledged pachyderm of the book business."

Such campaigns can especially hold back journalists of color who strive to make such lists.

". . . There’s good reason why most industry insiders would prefer that the wider book-buying public didn’t learn about these campaigns," Soren Kaplan, author of "Leapfrogging," wrote on the book's website.

"Put bluntly, they allow people with enough money, contacts, and know-how to buy their way onto bestseller lists. And they benefit all the key players of the book world. Publishers profit on them. Authors gain credibility from bestseller status, which can launch consulting or speaking careers and give a big boost to keynote presentation fees. And the marketing firms that run the campaigns don't do so bad either. . . ."

Natalie Hopkinson

Kaplan named one such company, ResultSource, and added, "I learned that this niche marketing firm had apparently cracked the code on how the sales of books are calculated by companies like Nielsen that produce bestseller data — the very data that major trade publications, newspapers, and journals rely on to populate their bestseller lists, just like The Wall Street Journal. I learned that bestselling authors like Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness, and Chip and Dan Heath, co-authors of Switch and professors at Stanford University and Duke University, and numerous other bestselling authors had employed its proven methodology.

"I too contracted with ResultSource. . . ."

Angela P. DodsonAngela P. Dodson, a freelance writer, editor and consultant who works with authors and formerly edited Black Issues Book Review, said by email after reading Kaplan's piece, "I have never seen it explained in such detail, but it is the sort of thing that people kind of know about. It's one of the reasons black authors have such difficulty meeting the thresholds for best seller status, especially early on. They usually can't afford this kind of help, and many sources told us over the years that black book consumers tend to buy by word-of-mouth, thus the whole process is delayed.

"By the time black books begin to sell, they have often been remaindered and the publisher has pulled the plug on publicity. It takes time for one person to read it, tell their book club and have the members read it and tell someone else. Books that become 'bestsellers' months after publication don't make the lists usually."

Journalists-turned-authors expressed surprise.

Natalie Hopkinson, whose "Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City" was released last year, said by email, "I had no idea, and Go-Go Live is my second book!

"But I also was the sucker who took the SAT without paying for a prep course as apparently everyone else was doing. I hustled my books the old fashioned way: readings, events, social media, celebrity blurbs, reviews, etc. But think it's sad that this pay-to-play culture is compromising the integrity of newspapers' bestseller lists. The lists are influential because readers assume it is a fair system. This is just another practice that is putting publishing out of reach for writers who lack money and connections."

Leonard Pitts Jr., the syndicated Miami Herald columnist, released the novel "Freeman" last year. "I'd never heard of such a thing," he told Journal-isms by email. Pitts said he was leaving for dinner, "so I haven't time to absorb the whole thing, but I can tell you that my initial response is that it blows my mind."

Women Have Yet to Reach Parity, Even in New Media

Just as new media have demonstrated the same problems with racial diversity as the old, "Newer, online-only news sites have fallen into the same rut as legacy media [PDF]," according to a report Friday from the Women's Media Center. "Male bylines outnumbered female bylines at four of six sites reviewed."

Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said in a statement, "The report shows that while media is the most powerful economic and cultural force today, it still falls far too short in its representation of women. Who tells the story, what the story is about, and who is quoted in the story are core to the work of The Women's Media Center, and the numbers demonstrate that the glass ceiling extends across all media platforms. We can do better — we must do better. Women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population yet we're still not seeing equal participation. That means we are only using half our talent and usually hearing half of the story."

The report, by Diana Mitsu Klos, included these other findings:

  • "By a nearly 3 to 1 [ratio], male front-page bylines at top newspapers outnumbered female bylines in coverage of the 2012 presidential election. Men were also far more likely to be quoted than women in newspapers, television and public radio.

  • "On Sunday TV talk shows, women [made up] only 14 percent of those interviewed and 29 percent of roundtable guests.

  • "Talk radio and sports talk radio hosts are overwhelmingly male.

  • "As newspaper employment continues to tumble, so does the number of women in key jobs.

  • "The percentage of women who are television news directors edged up, reaching 30 percent for the first time. Overall employment of women in TV news remains flat.

  • "Obituaries about men far outnumber those of women in top national and regional newspapers.

  • "Women [made up] just 9 percent of the directors of the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2012.

  • "Women [made up] 39 percent of documentary directors whose work appeared at major festivals in 2011-12.

  • "Across all behind-the-camera positions, females were most likely to be producers. However, as the prestige of the producing post increased, the percentage of female participation decreased."

Ralph Everett of the Joint Center for Political and Economic and Political Studi

Obama Meets With Press Corps, Black Leaders

President Obama met Thursday with two groups that have complained that they deserve more of his attention: White House reporters and African American leaders.

"President Barack Obama held an off-the-record meeting with top White House reporters on Thursday afternoon, POLITICO has learned," Dylan Byers reported Friday for Politico.

"The meeting, with reporters from major print and television outlets, comes days after the White House Correspondents Association complained publicly about their lack of access to the president during a golf outing in Palm Beach, Fla., and one day after Obama met with local television reporters.

". . . WHCA president and Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the meeting. . . ."

The White House identified participants in the meeting with African Americans as Melanie Campbell, president, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; Ralph Everett, president and CEO, Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies; Wade Henderson, president, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Ben Jealous, president, NAACP; Avis Jones-DeWeever, executive director, National Council of Negro Women; Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, executive director and CEO, National Black Justice Coalition; Al Sharpton, founder and president of National Action Network; the Rev. Derrick Harkins, pastor, 19th Street Baptist Church in Washington; and Judith Browne Dianis, co-director, Advancement Project.

Everett said in a statement, "The meeting was a positive, constructive exchange of views. The President fully understands the concerns of the African American community and has set forth a sensible plan to continue America's economic recovery. We look forward to working with him to strengthen the economy for the middle class and continue to build more ladders of opportunity for those trying to get there."

Obama Rebounds to 73% Approval With Hispanics

"President Obama's push to overhaul immigration laws this year hasn't produced a bill yet, but it already has restored his standing among Hispanics," Susan Page reported Thursday for USA Today.

"In the heady days when he took office in 2009, Obama's approval among Latinos was 78%, according to the Pew Research Center. It had sunk to 48% by the last quarter of 2011, when it became clear he wouldn't deliver on his campaign promise for an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

"In a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll, the president's approval rating among Hispanics has rebounded to 73%. The survey of 1,504 adults was taken Feb. 13-18. (Data on approval was combined with other surveys on a quarterly basis to increase the sample size of Hispanics.). . ."

Meanwhile, Sasha Chavkin wrote Wednesday in Columbia Journalism Review that ". . . little scrutiny has been directed at a multi-billion dollar industry with a lot riding on the future of immigration policy: the private companies that operate federal prisons and detention facilities.

"For-profit prison management has become a booming business in recent years. Much of that growth is driven by the government's ramped-up immigration enforcement, which have boosted demand for privately-run prison facilities to detain suspected illegal immigrants until deportation hearings, and to incarcerate immigrants who have been convicted of crimes. . . ."

American Indians, Blacks Top Racial Groups in Poverty Count

By race, the highest national poverty rates are for American Indians and Alaska Natives (27.0 percent), and for blacks or African Americans (25.8 percent) [PDF], according to a U.S. Census Bureau report issued this week.

The bureau's American Community Survey, covering 2007 to 2011, found that 42.7 million people, or 14.3 percent of the U.S. population, had income below the poverty level.

Among its findings:

  • "Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders had a national poverty rate of 17.6 percent.

  • "For the Asian population, poverty rates were higher for Vietnamese (14.7 percent) and Koreans (15.0 percent), and lower for Filipinos (5.8 percent).

  • "Among Hispanics, national poverty rates ranged from a low of 16.2 percent for Cubans to a high of 26.3 percent for Dominicans.

  • "Nine states had poverty rates of about 30 percent or more for American Indians and Alaska Natives (Arizona, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah).

  • "For Asians, nine states had poverty rates of about 10 percent or less (Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia, and South Carolina).

  • "The 2007–2011 national poverty rate for Whites was 11.6 percent, and most states (43) as well as the District of Columbia had poverty rates lower than 14.0 percent for this group."

Critic Calls "Django," "Amour" Best for Best Picture

Wesley Morris, who won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism last year as a film critic for the Boston Globe, wrote Friday of the Academy Award nominees up for honors Sunday night, ". . . This is the best collection of movies since the field expanded four years ago."

The nominees are "Amour," "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "DjangoWesley Morris Unchained," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Les Misérables," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

Morris, who now writes for the Grantland web site, continued, "The gamut they run is wide, but their quality is high, too.

"The two best of the nine are Django Unchained and Amour. One is a historical epic that was made by someone who doesn't care for the retrospective neatness of history, but it's shocking how Quentin Tarantino mastered schlock that doesn't tip into abject tastelessness. It's easy to assume that Amour is here because so much of the voting membership is older than 60. But this is the most unflinching movie ever made about accepting the return on several decades of marital investment. . . . "

Morris concludes: "Your Winner: Argo."

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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Cross-postings from the Root

Janyce Lovello




Jet could have absolutely changed the photo and Miller owes not only Fantasia an apology but she owes her readers an apology for her comments about Fantasias illiteracy. Her comment--( "The fact that I wasted an hour of my workday writing a press release to address an issue created by a person who cannot even read it is just... whyiwannaBahouse....") was some rude ish!! Im am totally disappointed by her lack of professionalism.


Jet could have easily sent a freelancer to shoot Fantasia relatively inexpensively if they wanted a head shot. cookie75 likes this.


i have to say, she is one amazing woman.


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