Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

An Election to Weigh In On

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Columnists Casting Opinions from Arizona to Mass.

"I'm an African-American. I will vote against Ken Blackwell," the black Republican running for governor of Ohio, columnist Sam Fulwood III wrote Thursday in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.



"Frankly, I don't see what one has to do with the other. But inquiring minds want to know: How could a self-respecting black man refuse to help elect the black Republican over the white Democrat?

"Or, stated in the confrontational vernacular of the anonymous middle-of-the-night callers: When are you people (blacks? liberals? Democrats? ) going to get off the plantation and vote Republican?"

Fulwood is one of many writing about high-profile state and local races this year of particular interest to people of color, in a year when control of Congress is at stake.

Some news organizations are looking at the larger picture, or delving more deeply into particular races. A number of organizations of journalists of color co-sponsored debates, as the Boston Association of Black Journalists did with a Sept. 6 gubernatorial event. Individual journalists, such as Russ Mitchell of CBS News at the Oct. 9 senatorial debate in Virginia, served as moderators.

Some election commentary from columnists of color:
























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Dean Baquet Urges Other Editors to Fight Cuts

"The editor of The Los Angeles Times, Dean Baquet, who publicly opposed staff cuts at his newspaper last month, encouraged other editors today to push back more against newspaper owners when they propose such cuts," Katherine Q. Seelye reported Friday in the New York Times.

"'Sometimes when I sit down with editors and managing editors, I find them all too willing to buy the argument for cuts,' he said. 'We need to be a feistier bunch.'

"'It is the job of the editor of the paper to put up a little more of a fight than we've been willing to put up in the past,' he said, because a public service is at stake. 'We understand the business model is changing and we have to do some cutting,' he said, 'but don't understand it too much.'

"Mr. Baquet was addressing more than 100 editors at the annual gathering of the Associated Press Managing Editors. He made headlines last month when he and his erstwhile publisher openly objected to cuts at The Los Angeles Times proposed by its owner, the Tribune Company of Chicago. He said he received support for speaking out from his staff and from many newspaper people from around the country, as well as from two publishers whom he did not name and even a Wall Street analyst," Seelye wrote.

Baquet said he had considered quitting and had a long talk with Jeffrey M. Johnson, the publisher who was ousted after protesting the cuts, about what to do, Seelye wrote. "For me, the paper came first; it even came before my relationship with him," Baquet was quoted as saying. He said he thought he could work with the new publisher, David Hiller, and finally decided "the best way to protect the paper was for me to stay."

Among black newspaper journalists, Baquet heads the largest newsroom. He "also urged newspapers to do a better job of embracing the web and improving diversity," Joe Strupp reported Thursday in Editor & Publisher. "We are still sort of stuck where we have been for the last decade," he said of the diversity situation, Strupp wrote.

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"Beat It": Michael Jackson Meets the Foley Scandal

It was perhaps inevitable. Editorial cartoonist Walt Handelsman of Newsday started creating animated cartoons for in February, and when it came time to comment on the congressional page scandal involving the disgraced Rep. Michael Foley, R- Fla., Michael Jackson and his signature tune "Beat It" came to mind.




The tune fit as the soundtrack, Handelsman told Journal-isms, because among other things, the selection had to be instantly recognizable. Yes, it did "cross my mind" that there was a double-entendre, considering the subject matter, but "none of the words had anything to do with that," he said of his cartoon. As everyone knows, Jackson was acquitted last year of child molestation charges.

Handelsman, 49, is one of fewer than a handful of cartoonists at daily newspapers working in animation. Each piece takes 30 to 70 hours, he said, which he does in addition to the four cartoons weekly for Newsday and for the Tribune Media Services syndicate. He said he had no idea it would be so time-consuming. He does one every couple of weeks.

The Pulitzer winner grew up a lover of animation, but he is also one who sings a lot and played music during the 14 years he was in New Orleans as cartoonist for the Times-Picayune. He said he thought doing an animated cartoon "would point me well for the future. Editorial cartooning is under quite a squeeze," he said.

View the animation

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Reporter Said to Be Suspended for TV Appearance

"Lola Ogunnaike—Daily News decamper and current New York Times culture reporter—had a smashing performance last Monday," Oct. 16, "on The View, where she appeared as a special guest co-host. Word has it View producers were enamored. Ogunnaike, a pretty young thing who is generally well liked in this town . . . is said to have sent producers a tape back in July, perhaps auditioning for the vacating Star Jones slot," according to the Web site.




"The only problem? Ogunnaike, we hear, didn't tell anyone at the Times about her View gig. She didn't ask permission, didn't alert superiors to her spot. As one might imagine, this might present a wee bit of a conflict of interest for a Times culture type—especially given that she's been regularly writing about the ABC network, which carries The View," the site reported Thursday.

"The New York Times thought so too—which is why, we hear, they've suspended her."

The Times would not confirm the report—"We do not comment on such matters," spokeswoman Catherine Mathis told Journal-isms, and Ogunnaike, whom Culture editor Sam Sifton enthusiastically described as "a star" on loan to another department, was not at her desk on Friday.

A follow-up item said, "Friends, colleagues, ex-friends, ex-colleagues—all their notes are pouring in. Some to confirm our story, others to counter it."

In her "View" appearance, "She came across as remarkably poised and telegenic, especially for someone who works at a newspaper, where reporters are not generally renowned for their charming and personable natures," Scott Collins wrote Saturday in the Los Angeles Times.

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NAHJ Details Opposition to Telemundo Cuts

"Late last week, NAHJ wrote to executives at NBC regarding the network's plans for Telemundo. Much has been reported about the restructuring and layoffs at NBC. The plans for Telemundo have received very little media attention," the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said in a statement on Monday.


Credit: La Voz

"To us, the most disturbing action NBC will take is to eliminate local newscasts at six Telemundo stations and replace them with a 'hubbed' newscast out of Fort Worth, Texas. The half-hour newscast will include reports from the cities where the news departments are being eliminated."

"It's also estimated that 68 Telemundo employees are being cut in Puerto Rico, where Telemundo was founded. This could only have a negative effect on the network's ability to cover the Spanish-speaking population of the island.

"The cities where the local newscasts are being axed ranked among the top 10 Hispanic markets: Houston (4), Dallas (6), San Antonio (7), San Jose (8) and Phoenix (9), according to 2006-07 Nielsen Media Research. They are significant markets.

"NBC is not doing away with local newscasts at any of its English-language stations—only with its Telemundo properties. This leads us to question the company's commitment to the Latino community. To the point: if regionalized newscasts are good for journalism and not just a way to save money while giving the appearance of meeting the network's public interest obligations, why are regional newscasts only being planned for the Spanish-speaking audience? Doesn't the English-language audience deserve this level of service?"

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Taking Sides on Madonna's Plans to Adopt

"I love a good Madonna-bashing as much as anyone. Next time she wears a bra that could put somebody's eye out, count me in. But on this, I give her a pass," Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote Friday in the Miami Herald.

Pitts was the latest to comment on plans of the singer and her husband, Guy Ritchie, to adopt a toddler from Malawi, in southern Africa, named David Banda.


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Short Takes

  • "Though poor and minority neighborhoods suffered the brunt of Katrina's fury, residents living in white neighborhoods have been three times as likely as homeowners in black neighborhoods to seek state help in resolving insurance disputes, according to an Associated Press computer analysis," Rukmini Callimachi wrote Tuesday for the Associated Press. Callimachi told Journal-isms Friday that the numbers were crunched by her Washington colleague Frank Bass, and that when she interviewed New Orleans residents, she found African Americans less likely to know they could appeal insurance decisions. They were also more likely to want to "get on with their lives and skeptical about whether the system would really work," Callimachi said.
  • "When two major earthquakes rocked Hawaii on Oct. 15, broadcasters scrambled to get the news out," Allison Romano reported Monday in Broadcasting & Cable. "With cleanup under way across Hawaii, Honolulu stations are reevaluating disaster plans. Although some of the lessons learned are specific to the tropical-island setting, many will resonate with broadcasters in any environment." Having a generator and coordinating with the parent company were key, Romano wrote.
  • "The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs has received a $200,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to fund Prime Movers, a unique program in which veteran journalists from major news organizations leave their newsrooms to spend four weeks mentoring minority high school students to revitalize student-run news media and create interest in journalism careers," the university announced on Wednesday. "Dorothy Gilliam, GW's director of the Prime Movers program, and former Washington Post columnist, will continue to serve as director of Prime Movers and lead the effort to expand the program into the Philadelphia area."
  • "There are few issues in American education as widely discussed as the achievement gap, the racial divide that separates the academic performance of white and minority students," Letitia Stein wrote Tuesday in the St. Petersburg Times. "But not at Hillsborough High School, where the principal pulled an article detailing the school's achievement gap from the student newspaper. Principal William Orr called the content inappropriate, even though it focused on data the federal government publicizes under the No Child Left Behind Act."
  • "As we've previously noted, the oft-used term 'gay marriage' is both inaccurate and misleading," the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association said in an "open letter to the news industry" on Wednesday. "More appropriate terminology in discussing such legislation would be 'marriage rights for same-sex couples.' Or, in those instances where a briefer description is necessary, 'same-sex marriage' as 'same-sex' is a more accurate and inclusive description than 'gay.'" The letter also addressed other terminology.
  • "Local 6 anchor Mark McEwen, still recovering from a massive stroke nearly a year ago, made his first public speaking appearance on Thursday. WKMG has video of the speech. Local 6 and McEwen have said he will spend a great deal of his time focusing raising awareness about strokes," Roger Simmons reported Friday on his Orlando TV news Web site.
  • "WABC/Ch. 7 veteran Joe Torres is the station's new weekend evening and late-night anchor, joining Sandra Bookman," Richard Huff reported Thursday in the New York Daily News. "Torres gets the job immediately, filling a slot left open when Charles Perez departed last month for a job in Miami."
  • "Snowbound" by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post Magazine won the "multicultural" award in the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards. "When he decided to visit Savoonga, Alaska, because it is remote and because the name sounds funny . . Weingarten found universality. . . . The story is about the villagers, to be sure. But the real theme is loneliness and its consequences. The reporting is sensitive and otherwise superb. The writing is compelling," the judges said.
  • The four-part series "Diary of a Sex Slave," by Meredith May and Deanne Fitzmaurice, published two weeks ago in the San Francisco Chronicle, chronicles the life and experiences of a South Korean woman who was lured and forced into prostitution in San Francisco by sex traffickers. According to the Asian American Journalists Association, members of the Bay Area's Korean American community said the article "gave disproportionate emphasis to a small immigrant segment of the overall Korean American population in San Francisco and California, the vast majority of whom are well-educated professionals and hardworking families."
  • "In the wake of the Source trial, hip-hop staffers ponder their contribution to the culture," reads the headline on a story this week by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond in the Village Voice. "An ex-editor of hip-hop bible The Source hasn't finished dishing the dirt on her raunchy co-workers," Adam Nichols added on Wednesday in the New York Daily News. "Kimberly Osorio is mulling a tell-all memoir about her time at the top of the magazine where she claims women were called 'b-----s' and employee awards included 'the most slept on.'"
  • "Hundreds of diverse journalists, students and media commitee members converged in the downtown Toronto Marriot Hotel to attend CBC's fifth annual Innoversity summit," Simona Siad wrote in the York University Excalibur Wednesday. "For many who made the long trip from across Canada and the United States, it was a chance to meet with others from similar backgrounds and challenge ideologies and stereotypes that continually exist in the profession."


  • "Metro Eireann is Ireland's first and only monthly multicultural newspaper set up by two Nigerian journalists, Chinedu Onyejelem and Abel Ugba in April 2000, according to the Community Exchange, an Irish Web site.

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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