Does Black or Latino Ownership Matter?
Sunday, March 6, 2011
"Now that AOL’s acquisition of Huffington Post has closed, Arianna Huffington will take control of AOL Latino, AOL Black Voices and other AOL sites as part of the $315 million deal that puts the Huffington Post under the AOL umbrella," Richard Prince wrote Monday for the Poynter Institute.
"Between now and July, HuffPost GlobalBlack, a new black-oriented Huffington Post project, expects to hire about eight staffers as it brings to life a brainstorm from Huffington and Sheila Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television.
"As Peter Steiner’s New Yorker cartoon famously pointed out, on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. But do people know whether you’re black or Latino? Or at least that you have those groups’ best interests at heart?
"Whether these ventures can show the love could be key to their success.
" 'The last decade is full of failed websites targeting Latinos,' notes Monica C. Lozano, chief executive officer of ImpreMedia, which calls itself the nation’s leading Hispanic news and information company. Its network includes nine print publications and 11 online properties, claiming a monthly reach of 7.7 million adults and monthly distribution of nearly 7 million. It is not Hispanic-owned.
". . . 'I want people to have a relationship with the communities they serve. … If you’re motivated not by serving your customers but by serving the advertisers, you end up making different choices. If it’s not core to what you do, it’s tangential … and when you don’t get the traffic on the Web,' you move on to something else."
Also quoted are Barry Cooper and Gary Dauphin, former leaders of Black Voices; Joel Dreyfuss of theRoot.com; Ruben Navarrette of the Washington Post Writers Group; and writer Frank McCoy, a former editor at Black Enterprise.
“In my experience the importance of black ownership waxes and wanes depending on two things: what a site is trying to achieve, and what kind of non-black people you’re working with," Dauphin said.
After AOL and the Huffington Post sealed the deal Monday in which AOL agreed to pay $315 million for the pioneering Web-only newspaper co-founded by Arianna Huffington, the new Huffington Post Media group announced the addition of six new hires to its reporting team, including Trymaine Lee, formerly of the New York Times.
"Yahoo's Michael Calderone has been named Senior Media Reporter, the New York Times' Trymaine Lee has been named Senior Reporter, the New York Daily News' Michael McAuliff has been named Senior Congressional Reporter, and The Daily's Jon Ward has been named Senior Political Reporter. Bonnie Kavoussi, about to graduate from Harvard, has been named Business Reporter, and Lucas Kavner, the founding editor of Unigo, which covered college life, has been named Entertainment Reporter," an announcement said.
". . . The young reporters are part of the Huffington Post’s Jefferson Program for Young Journalists, an initiative to nurture new journalistic talent by pairing them with seasoned editors, writers, and reporters. The program is named for the founding father who said that if he had to choose between government without a free press, or a press without a government, he'd readily pick the latter."
Lee, 32, left the Times in January. "I guess, simply put, we parted ways after the Times opted not to promote me from intermediate reporter status," Lee told Journal-isms.
"For four years I had the pleasure of working with some of the smartest reporters and editors in the business, and I am grateful for the experience. I am a better journalist for it.
"Now, I have the opportunity to do high impact journalism on exciting new platforms for a very dynamic, forward-thinking, smartly-run organization."
According to his Times bio, Lee covered Harlem for the Times Metro desk. "Prior to joining The Times in late 2006, he was a staff writer at the Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans, where he was part of a team that won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Hurricane Katrina coverage. He also contributed reporting to the Times's 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the Eliot Spitzer scandal and is a past recipient of the National Association of Black Journalists Emerging Journalist of the Year Award."
Peter S. Goodman, Huffington Post executive business editor, hired Janell Ross of the Tennessean in Nashville, another African American journalist, in January after a piece noted the site's refusal to release its diversity figures. Goodman passed the word that he was interested in hearing from more candidates of color.
- Nicholas Carlson, BusinessInsider.com: How AOL's Patch Can Win And Prove Us Wrong When We Say It's A Horrible, Doomed Idea
"One week after foreign journalists were physically harassed by security officers — and one videographer beaten so badly that he had to be hospitalized — China's foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, denied that the police took part in beating any reporters and said the government follows 'the rule of law,' Keith B. Richburg reported late Monday for the Washington Post.
" 'At the same time, we hope that the foreign journalists will abide by the Chinese laws and regulations,' Yang said Monday at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the country's largely rubber-stamp parliament. 'There is no such issue as Chinese police officers beating foreign journalists.'
"The minister's denial, which was contradicted by witness and video accounts, came as [the] government announced new restrictions on foreign journalists working here — essentially repealing the loosened reporting policy put in place during the 2008 Beijing Olympics to showcase a more modern, less authoritarian China to the world.
"Under the new rules, announced over the weekend, foreign journalists must have government permission to interview anyone in a public area in China. Under the 2008 rules, reporters could interview any Chinese citizen who gave their consent."
- Committee to Protect Journalists: CPJ calls on China to stop inhibiting international press
- Sharon LaFraniere and Edward Wong, New York Times: China Tracks Foreign Journalists
"It was August of 2006 when Dalia Ziada, a young Egyptian writer, discovered her favorite comic-book action hero. He trumpeted justice. He preached of nonviolent pressure. And he had dreams of a promised land that protest might bring," Michael Cavna reported for the Comic Riffs section of the Washington Post website.
"Ziada had just heard the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
" 'It was amazing and really moved me,' says Ziada, now 29 and a Cairo-based activist. 'Since then, I decided to use MLK nonviolent strategies in everything in my life, starting from my personal life to major political participation and civil problems — and it worked perfectly.'
"Ziada tried out some of King's strategies that very August night, when she applied verbal 'pressure and negotiation' to win a battle with her uncle, who was planning to have Ziada's 8-year-old niece circumcised in the morning.
"And Ziada was also motivated politically, as she decided to translate a half-century-old American comic book about King into Arabic. 'The main motive [was] for me to have this book available for the young activists in the region,' says Ziada, noting that King was a young man 'when he launched his movement.'
" 'Since first publishing the book in 2008, Ziada and her group, the American Islamic Congress, say they have distributed thousands of Arabic-language issues of 'Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story' in the Middle East, including in Tahrir Square at the height of January's revolution.
" 'The book is testament not only to the power of King's message, Ziada tells Comic Riffs, but also to the popularity of cartooning in the Arab world, especially among the younger generation. And she is just one of many Arab comic publishers and cartoonists who believe passionately that their work can help inform, inflame and open the hearts and minds of their Mideast readers in the throes of revolution.' "
- Barbara Becker, Huffington Post: Near Forgotten MLK Comic Gains Fans in the Middle East
- Andrés Martinez, Los Angeles Times: Leftist leaders in Latin America should be ashamed of embracing [Moammar Gaddafi]
- Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: The Colonel [Gaddafi] I Know
- Alex Thurston blog, Christian Science Monitor: Who are Libya's sub-Saharan Africans?
- Marian Wang, ProPublica: U.S. Support for War Crimes Investigation of Libya Hinged on Exemption for Americans
An image from the video of the 1991 Rodney King beating, enhanced for the ensuing federal trial.
CNN showed the Don Lemon-hosted "Race and Rage," its 20-year retrospective on the March 3, 1991, beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police, six times on Friday and Saturday, a CNN spokeswoman said.
"King was tasered, kicked, and beaten by officers on the scene. He received more than 50 baton blows that crushed bones, shattered teeth, injured his kidneys, and fractured his skull," CNN recalled in its news release.
"King became a visual symbol of police brutality, but the officers were acquitted in the original trial. News of the acquittal ignited anger that erupted into riots in Los Angeles that lasted for days. Over 50 people were killed, businesses were looted and burned, and even cities as far away as Atlanta reported violence inspired by the news of the verdict."
Eric Deggans, commenting on the CNN site and on his own media blog for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, cited George Holliday, a nearby resident who grabbed his home video camera and filmed the incident, as one who "became the leading edge in a revolution of technology and social attitude that has made amateur reporters of us all." Holliday produced a national sensation and the cornerstone of an excessive force trial against the Los Angeles Police Department.
But another piece of footage grabbed this viewer's attention.
It was President George H.W. Bush, who watched the tape like other Americans and declared, "It was sickening to see the beating that was rendered. There's no way in my view to explain that away. It's outrageous." News reports at the time focused on Bush's continued defense of Police Chief Daryl Gates, a longtime political supporter, not on his reaction to the video.
The reaction by pundits and the public was in marked contrast to what greeted President Obama after he was asked at a news conference in 2009 about the police arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., a fellow African American, at his own Cambridge, Mass., home.
Obama said, "I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry. No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And, No. 3, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans' and Latinos' being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact.''
The uproar was immediate. "President Obama had no business stepping into what started out as a relatively minor local squabble, let alone passing judgment on an incident with which he was unfamiliar," columnist Robert Z. Nemeth of the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette wrote in a widely articulated view.
Obama was forced to eat his words. "I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up," the president said in an appearance in the White House briefing room, the New York Times reported.
''I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically, and I could have calibrated those words differently.'' His reference was to Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, who later participated in a White House "beer summit" with Gates, Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.
Young people can't grow up to be journalists if they're not literate, and this week's "Fox News Sunday" called attention to a blow to literacy efforts in its "Power Player of the Week" feature.
"As we've said, Congress passed and President Obama signed a two-week extension the other day to keep the government running, while also cutting $4 billion from the budget. We wanted to find out what that means to a program," host Chris Wallace said.
From the transcript:
"Carol Rasco is head of the Reading Is Fundamental child literacy program. . . . she would learn federal funding for RIF, $24.5 million a year, has been eliminated.
"It now gives away 15 million books a year to more than four million children at 17,000 sites across the country.
"RASCO: I don't go anywhere to talk about RIF that I don't have people come up to me and say, 'I want to show you the first RIF book I ever got. And I want to tell you what it meant in my life.'
". . . WALLACE: But the Obama administration decided RIF should be lumped in with other literacy programs. And now House Republicans have ended federal support.
"What about the argument, look, maybe RIF is a perfectly fine program, but the government is broke and something has to go?
"RASCO: It does not seem to make sense to cut out that early undergirding of building strong literacy skills.
"UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many of you like to read?
"WALLACE: RIF gets 75 percent of its funding from the government. Now Rasco says she'll have to push private donors even harder to make up the difference.
"Would you still be able to hand out 15 million books each year?
"RASCO: Not initially, no. You don't replace 24.5 million overnight. I'm going to become an even louder advocate for kids and reading."
- TaRessa Stovall, theDefendersonline: Readin,’ Writin’ & Race: Education Snapshots in Black and White
"Executive editors David Shipley and Jamie Rubin have begun hiring staff at Bloomberg View, the new opinion arm of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg L.P.," Zeke Turner reported Friday for Women's Wear Daily.
"The pair have hired five editors so far, including Frank Wilkinson, an executive editor at The Week; Tim Lavin, a senior editor at The Atlantic, and Stuart Seldowitz, a three-decade veteran of the State Department. Seldowitz was the acting director for South Asia at the National Security Council through the beginning of this year, and he worked as an adviser to the U.S. ambassador to NATO during the Bush administration."
"Shipley, who left his post as op-ed editor at The New York Times to launch the Bloomberg opinion outfit, has brought on his deputy of five years at the paper, Mary Duenwald, and Toby Harshaw, a career Timesman and former op-ed staff editor. Rubin, a former assistant secretary at the State Department himself, has a Times connection too. His sister Elizabeth Rubin writes for the Times Magazine, most recently about Afghanistan."
Shipley did not respond to an inquiry about whether he had hired anyone of color.
- Jodi Enda, American Journalism Review: The Bloomberg Juggernaut
- "To mark International Women’s Day today, Reporters Without Borders is releasing a report on the problems of women who work as journalists," the press freedom organization said on Monday. "More and more women have been joining the ranks of journalists in the past 20 years but they still tend to occupy the lowliest jobs within the profession, with executive and editorial positions usually continuing to be the preserve of men. This clearly has an effect on the vision of the world reflected by the media. It is still a largely male world, one from which women are excluded, a world of men made by men."
- "A six-month Sports Illustrated/CBS News investigation into the criminal backgrounds of 2,837 student-athletes who comprised the rosters of SI’s 2010 preseason top 25 revealed that 7% (1 in every 14) have police records and nearly 40% of the alleged offenses were serious incidents," the two media organizations reported last week. "Equally as eye-opening, just two of the 25 schools conducted any type of regular criminal background checks of potential high school recruits, while none of the schools searched juvenile records."
- Since August, "when he summoned more than 100,000 followers to the Washington mall for the 'Restoring Honor' rally," Glenn Beck "has lost over a third of his audience on Fox — a greater percentage drop than other hosts at Fox," David Carr reported Monday in the New York Times. ". . . He still has numbers that just about any cable news host would envy and, with about two million viewers a night, outdraws all his competition combined. But the erosion is significant enough that Fox News officials are willing to say — anonymously, of course; they don’t want to be identified as criticizing the talent — that they are looking at the end of his contract in December and contemplating life without Mr. Beck."
- The back story behind a stained glass window in Birmingham, Ala.'s 16th Street Baptist Church "involves a white craftsman, a black Jesus, a campaigning editor and two Klansmen. It's a saga that starts with the murder of four black girls and ends with a little piece of Wales embedded in the heart of one of the most iconic venues of the American South," Gary Younge wrote Sunday for Britain's the Guardian newspaper. The editor was David Cole of the Western Mail in Wales, who died in 2003 at 74.
- Deron Snyder, formerly with the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press and more recently a freelancer, will contribute a couple of columns a week to the revived sports section of the Washington Times, sports editor Mike Harris wrote Saturday in the Times. "Deron is another strong voice who can get his point across without beating you over the head with a stick. While he was in Fort Myers, Fla., I wanted to hire him in Richmond and the position never came available."
- As a fundraiser, the Asian American Journalists Association is compiling a "2012 AAJA Men of Broadcast calendar." "You can vote for as many men as many times as you want. Top 12 vote getters will appear in each of the 12 months. All of the money raised from your votes and upcoming calendar purchases will fund AAJA programs," it says. Each vote costs the voter $1. So far, the top vote-getter is Toan Lam, founder/host of GoInspireGo.com, San Francisco. Voting ends April 10.
- Vivian Schiller, CEO of NPR, told a questioner at the National Press Club Monday that diversity is "a very, very big priority for us" and that NPR had "a number of different initiatives" to broaden the diversity of its audience, staff and content. Schiller said she agreed with an October column by Kathy Y. Times, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, "NABJ to NPR: Diversity is Better but Not Enough!"
- "The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Cuban independent journalist Pedro Argüelles Morán on Friday, and calls on Cuban authorities to eliminate all conditions on his freedom. Argüelles Morán . . . was the last of 29 reporters arrested during a 2003 massive government crackdown on dissent to be allowed to leave jail, on parole," the committee said on Monday.
- Larry Wilmore, the "senior black correspondent" on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," has been chosen to emcee the Congressional Correspondents’ Dinner on March 30 at the Washington Convention Center, Alec Jacobs reported Monday for FishbowlDC.
- "Journalists interested in taking college courses in religion or spirituality may apply for a scholarship program offered by the Religion Newswriters Association," the association announced. "Journalists will receive scholarships for up to $5,000 each to study religion at any accredited college, university or seminary." The application deadline is April 1.
- "Who's to blame for 2 dead children found in canal?" asks a headline over a piece about Delray Beach, Fla., by Yvette Miley, vice president and executive editor at MSNBC, for theGrio.com. Among her answers: "I blame those of us in the media, simply because it is easy. Who wouldn't prefer talking about Charlie Sheen and his goddesses over dead children in a canal?"
- Ilia Calderón has been named anchor for "Noticiero Univision’s" late evening edition, which is now called "Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna," Univision announced on Monday. "Calderón will continue in her role as co-anchor of Univision’s daily news magazine program, 'Primer Impacto' (First Impact), one of the highest-rated news shows in the United States, and in 12 Latin American countries."
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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@JamilSmith The distorted #media depiction of African American men & boys has real life consequences, again. #mediadiversity #Tremaine