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Ebony, Jet Reverse Circulation Declines

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Hispanic-Interest Magazines Among Fastest Growing

Talk of '82 Chin Killing Sparks References to Unity Dispute

Ex-Anchor Carter's Conviction Overturned on Appeal

Rep. Bobby Rush to Investigate WBBM Editing Incident

NAHJ President Weighs In on CNN's Latino-Free Lineup

Press Freedom Group Opposes U.K. Riot "Censorship"

Smiley Says He Hasn't Been Invited to White House

Hispanic-Interest Magazines Among Fastest Growing

Ebony and Jet magazines reversed circulation declines in the first half of 2011, according to new figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, on the heels of a redesign of Ebony and the outsourcing of circulation duties at Ebony and Jet.

Hispanic-interest titles also dominated the fastest-growing magazines, Lucia Moses reported for Adweek. "Poder Hispanic, which formed last year with the merger of Poder and Hispanic magazines, more than doubled its circulation, to 278,786. Also showing strong year-over-year growth were Vanidades, TV Y Novelas Estados Unidos and Siempre Mujer."

Ebony's circulation averaged 1,235,865 for the first six months of 2011, a 10.9 percent increase for the monthly. The weekly Jet's grew 7.6 percent, to 820,557.

"Ebony magazine missed its guarantee to advertisers again — a pattern that began back in the second half of 2009 — but benefited from the first cover-to-cover redesign since its introduction in 1945 and the work of circulation consultants brought in to turn things around," Nat Ives wrote Tuesday for adage.com. "Those consultants had diagnosed the title with insufficient direct-mail campaigns and prices that were sometimes more aggressive than other magazines."

Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet, told Journal-isms in July that circulation had been outsourced to the New York firm Shain & Oringer, which describes itself as a "full service marketing solution company." "They have really whipped our department into shape," Rogers said then.

She added that Ebony and Jet had achieved their "rate base," the circulation guaranteed advertisers. However, in Jet's case, the guarantee was lowered from 900,000 to 800,000.

Other winners in the first six months were the Spanish-language publications Vanidades, which rose 63.4 percent to 341,292; TV y Novelas Estados Unidos, up 25 percent to 284,739; Siempre Mujer, up 11.3 percent to 514,558; People en Español, up 2.4 percent to 569,081; and Poder Hispanic, up 63.6 percent to 278,786.

"The top gainer, Poder Hispanic magazine, expanded its overall paid and verified circulation 63.63% as Poder magazine took over the former subscribers to Hispanic magazine, which was shutting down," Ives wrote.

". . . The second-biggest gainer, Vanidades magazine, increased direct marketing and TV commercials while adding distribution in major general market retailers and fast-growing Hispanic markets."

Figures for other magazines targeting African Americans and Latinos (paid and verified circulation):

  • Black Enterprise, not available

  • Essence, down 1.5 percent to 1,050,013

  • Cosmopolitan en Español, up 1 percent to 105,328

  • Hype Hair, up 4 percent to 76,782

  • Latina, down 0.8 percent to 505,173

  • Sister 2 Sister, up 5.9 percent to 177,679

  • Uptown, up 143.4 percent to 79,932

  • XXL, down 21.8 percent to 147,538

"For the industry overall, newsstand [sales] declined 9.2 percent, Moses wrote in Adweek. "Subscriptions, which publishers have more control over, were down only slightly, which limited the decline in overall circulation to 1.4 percent."

Talk of '82 Chin Killing Sparks References to Unity Dispute

Vincent Chin film is shown periodically.The showing of a documentary that chronicles a 1982 killing credited with sparking the Asian American civil rights movement was peppered Thursday with passing references to a contemporary issue among today's journalists: the fractured Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. coalition.

The film was "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" and the setting was the convention of the Asian American Journalists Association in Detroit, the city where Chin, a Chinese American, was beaten to death.

"The murder generated public outrage over the lenient sentencing of the two men who killed him — Chrysler plant superintendent Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz," according to the program.

"Both were acquitted of all charges in the federal case and received only three years probation in the state trial. The murder took place during a climate of intense anti-Asian sentiment directed at the Japanese, who were blamed for taking jobs from American workers. Many of the layoffs in Detroit's auto industry, including Nitz's in 1979, had been due to the increasing market share of Japanese automakers, leading to allegations that Chin received racially charged comments before his death."

The Unity references came as panelists explained that while the case spawned a civil rights movement among Asian Americans, African Americans played roles as well.

Helen Zia, an activist and journalist who took up Chin's case and appears in the 1987 film, said the Chin case was "a huge news story" locally but that "people didn't get" the significance. "It was just another killing — so what?" Zia said she was told.

But when Zia mentioned the case to Judith Cummings, an African American reporter at the New York Times, "she got it — it made so much of a difference because she saw a question of race. Why do we need diversity in the newsroom? Why do we need people with a different understanding than the master narrative?" Zia asked rhetorically.

Calvin Sims, a program officer at the Ford Foundation and an African American, helped introduce the film. A former reporter for the New York Times, Sims said the foundation sponsored the showing because it "believes in the power of media for social change" and that seeing the movie "inspired me to be a documentary filmmaker." At the Times, Sims produced films for the Discovery Times Channel, a partnership between Discovery Channel and the newspaper.

Christine Choy, the director, said that when she sought funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, she was asked whether she could be objective because she was Asian. "What would be your constituency?" she said she was asked. Choy said she added a white journalist from WGBH in Boston as story consultant, and they didn't always see eye to eye. When he objected to the music used in the film, "I just locked him out of the editing room."

Ti-Hua Chang, a veteran journalist now a general assignment and investigative reporter at WNYW-TV in New York, said "awareness of the Vincent Chin case has changed the status of Asian Americans permanently."

"There was a lot of black support here," he said of Detroit. "Without that, I don't think it would have succeeded as well. I apply it to NABJ leaving Unity," he said, speaking of the National Association of Black Journalists. "Think of that." He added for Journal-isms later, "That's why the loss of NABJ is so bad, because our strength is in our unity."

NABJ members voted a week ago at their Philadelphia convention to "seek reunification with Unity: Journalists of Color as soon as is feasible," but "based on conditions involving the financial and governance structure of Unity that do not conflict with the best interests of NABJ."

Gregory Lee Jr., the new president of NABJ, said at AAJA's membership meeting Friday that he was ready to begin those talks. Also present was Joanna Hernandez, Unity president.

Antonio M. Salas, AAJA's membership and chapter development manager, said 658 people were in attendance as of Friday, including 382 AAJA members and 456 full registrants. The student newspaper, Voices, called the figures "lackluster." The association has 1,433 members.

At a panel on "The 10th Anniversary of 9/11: The Aftermath in the Arab American Community," Ritu Sehgal, deputy managing editor/news and features at the Detroit Free Press, said that in planning for the anniversary, the paper was trying to figure out "how do we move beyond this conversation — how do we enlighten people about what this community is about, beyond constantly being seen through the lens of 9/11?"

Stephen Clark, an anchor at WXYZ-TV, agreed. "We like to put people into little cubby holes," he said. "That's the only coverage the Arab Americans get from us, and it shouldn't be that way."

Jeff Karoub, a reporter for the Associated Press and an Arab American, said, "The death of Osama Bin Laden for many Arabs and Muslims was not a defining moment — it was the uprising in many Arab countries" known as the Arab Spring.

Dominic Carter in his anchor days. His lawyer says, "He is looking forward to resuming his career."

Ex-Anchor Carter's Conviction Overturned on Appeal

"Scandal-scarred former NY1 anchor Dominic Carter's 2009 conviction for attempted assault on his battered wife was overturned by a state appeals court," Richard Huff reported Wednesday in the New York Daily news.

"Carter spent 19 days of a 30-day sentence in jail before his February 2010 release — but the court ruled his case should never have gone to trial.

" 'Dominic is elated that justice has finally been done and his name cleared,' his lawyer, Julia Kuan, said Wednesday. 'He is looking forward to resuming his career in journalism.'

"Carter cut a deal with the Rockland County District Attorney that was improperly pulled off the table, the appeals court ruled.

"He was arrested in October 2008 after his bruised wife accused the TV newsman of kicking, punching and choking her during a heated fight at their home.

". . . The scandal cost Carter his job at NY1, but not his marriage: The couple celebrated their 25th anniversary last month.

"He's now working on rebuilding his career. Last month [he] returned to TV as guest on 'The Richard French Show,' a nightly program on RNN-TV, a regional news operation that serves the metropolitan area."

Rep. Bobby Rush to Investigate WBBM Editing Incident

"Pressure continues to mount on a Chicago television station that aired edited video that made it seem like a 4-year-old boy aspired to a life of crime," Bob Butler wrote Friday for the Maynard Institute.

Boy was interviewed at crime scene.

"Professional journalism groups and the NAACP have criticized CBS station WBBM for violating one of the basic tenets of journalism ethics. Now, U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., whose district includes part of Chicago, has directed his staff to investigate the incident so he can decide whether to take action.

"WBBM aired a story June 30 about a shooting that wounded two teenagers. It included video of the 4-year-old saying he wanted his own gun. The station edited out the rest of the boy’s statement that he wanted the gun because he wanted to be a police officer.

"Through communications director Shawnelle Richie, WBBM management admitted that employees made one mistake airing the video and compounded the error by editing the clip to take the boy’s comments out of context.

"Rush 'is very, very disturbed about it,' said Renee Ferguson, his communications director and former NBC Chicago television investigative journalist. 'I know he feels it’s not enough to say it was just a mistake because there’s no such thing as just a mistake when you impact the life of a young child.'

"Ferguson said Rush has directed her to contact the station and determine what happened and why. Depending on what she learns, she said, Rush may take action that could include calling for a congressional hearing."

NAHJ President Weighs In on Latino-Free CNN Lineup

"While reading CNN's new lineup it was pretty apparent what was missing: a Latino anchor. Well, more like any minority anchor," according to a posting Wednesday on the HuffPost LatinoVoices site. "The United States is becoming a 'minority-majority' nation with the highest minority population being Latinos.

". . . The National Association of Hispanic Journalists President Michele Salcedo, had some opinions of her own on the matter.

" 'I think CNN is missing an opportunity in their new evening lineup. It doesn't reflect the increasing numbers of Latinos that are in their potential audience. There's a reason that Spanish language newscasts are consistently No. 1 in major markets throughout the country — they're providing news of interest to Latinos, regardless of whether those viewers are Spanish-language dominant or English-language dominant.'

"The CNN lineup doesn't reflect the nation's changing demographics of the United States. As long as Latinos are not represented on television and cable networks their views won't be a part of the American dialogue."

Press Freedom Group Opposes U.K. Riot "Censorship"

"The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's statement calling for broadcasters to immediately provide unedited footage and for measures restricting social networking as a means to stem ongoing riots in the country.

"Broadcasters must not be obliged to provide authorities with raw footage in the absence of any legal due process. Such demands directly endanger journalists and compromise their ability to report the news," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Similarly, the possible blockage of social networking services currently under discussion would be a misguided and extreme measure. While it is the prime minister's duty to ensure citizen safety, he must not subscribe to the idea that censorship is an effective deterrent to social unrest. Freedom of expression and information is a fundamental democratic principle, and we expect the U.K. to uphold these values in all instances."

Cornel West, left, and Tavis Smiley, co-hosts of the "Smiley and West" radio program, with host Greta Wodele Brawner on C-SPAN Wednesday. (Video)

Smiley Says He Hasn't Been Invited to White House

In response to a question on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” Wednesday about President Obama, activist and media personality Tavis Smiley said, "He has not at this point come on my TV or radio programs one time since he’s been in this White House. This is the first president in my professional career that hasn't invited me to the White House."

Smiley said Obama did make appearances before he became president — and before Smiley's frequent criticisms of him. He said he wasn't complaining, just responding to the question.

Meanwhile, Trymaine Lee wrote Friday on HuffPost BlackVoices, "There's been a lot of controversy over the last few weeks surrounding the Poverty Tour organized by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. The pair has used the nine-state, 18-city event to both highlight the struggle of the nation's poor as well as to criticize President Obama for what they say is a laissez-faire attitude toward economically marginalized Americans.

"But in response, they have been labeled as self-promoting, self-serving Obama haters. They have become pariahs in some circles. The blowback has even become personal and nasty, with the comedian Steve Harvey recently calling the duo 'Uncle Toms' and the Rev. Al Sharpton and radio personality Tom Joyner taking various shots at them.

"But as Smiley sat on the Poverty Tour bus on Friday headed to Memphis, Tenn., the final stop on their trip, he said the tour had gone exactly the way he and West had planned.

" 'I am very clear on who I am and who I am not, what I can do and what I can not,' he said during a phone interview. 'I have a platform that I can use to bring awareness, to draw attention and create a conversation.'"

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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 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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