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Essence Plans to Spin Off Fashion, Beauty Magazine

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Essence Plans to Spin Off Fashion, Beauty Magazine

"Knowledgeable sources said that Essence Communications, which is 49-percent owned by Time Inc., is hard at work on a fashion and beauty magazine with the working title That," reports Keith J. Kelly in a New York Post column.

"It evolved from a never-launched project that was originally a teen title to be derived from the black women's lifestyle magazine Essence.

"Sources said the prototype is very high end, lavishly done with top photographers. The project is being overseen by Editorial Director Susan Taylor, who has hired Essence Arts and Entertainment Editor Elayne Fluker to be editor-in-chief of the project."

Sources told Journal-isms that the project was still in the research-and-development stage, that the target for publication was next year and that Fluker has already left Essence to work on the project, which would be aimed at the same 18-to-49 "and beyond" audience as Essence.

Essence successfully launched Latina magazine in May 1996 with bimonthly issues, but relinquished control of the publication after Time Warner took 49 percent control of Essence Communications in 2000.

Prof's Study Refutes Limbaugh on Quarterbacks

David Niven, a tenured political science professor at Florida Atlantic University, "studied about 10,000 articles in 25 newspapers around the country and found that the seven black National Football League starting quarterbacks who played enough during the 2002 season to be rated were criticized in 12.1 percent of the stories written about them and praised in 9.2 percent of the stories," writes Miami Herald columnist Robert L. Steinback.

Steinback reports that "Niven then compared seven white starting quarterbacks who collectively had an almost identical quarterback rating as the black quarterbacks, and found that they were criticized in 11.7 percent and praised in 9.1 percent, of the stories written about them -- not a statistically significant difference.

"Then he matched up the seven black quarterbacks head-to-head with white quarterbacks with nearly identical ratings -- [the Philadelphia Eagles' Donovan] McNabb's matchup was Jeff Garcia of the San Francisco 49ers -- and again found no statistically significant difference in the tone of coverage.

''Either way it works," Niven said in Steinback's column.

Limbaugh said on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" Sept. 28 that McNabb gets undeservedly favorable press coverage because ``the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.'' He resigned in the ensuing furor.

ESPN Said to Be Facing Fallout Among Employees

``The uproar outside (of ESPN['s] empire) may be over, but not inside. And it's going to be here for a while," Gregory Clay quotes a source telling him in his column for Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

``This is the worst week in the history of ESPN. We have never been ripped up and under the microscope like this,'' the source said.

"The remaining co-hosts of ESPN's `Sunday NFL Countdown' spent the first 15 minutes of Sunday's show explaining their thoughts, regrets and misgivings of their non-response to Limbaugh regarding the Sept. 28 show as well as the hows and whys in hindsight," Clay writes. Co-host Tom Jackson, "who obviously was plagued by an attack of a guilty conscience, spoke the longest.

``'There are people (at ESPN) who are still upset,' the source said. `They are black and white, but mostly black. Management people and regular employees. Many people are still wondering what took so long (for ESPN to respond to the controversy). To some people, it reeked of a cover-up,''' Clay writes.

"Could the Limbaugh controversy affect ESPN in other arenas, such as the hiring of people of color?

"It's no secret in the sports media world that ESPN has encountered trouble attracting black employees to its headquarters, mainly because of locale. The ESPN broadcast campus -- an impressive one at that -- is located in Bristol, Conn., a somewhat bucolic and isolated corner of the state," the column continues.

Financial Times Looks at Lack of Black Coaches

"While the number of black coaches in the National Basketball Association has risen sharply, progress in the NFL and Major League Baseball has been glacial -- and it has been non-existent in the executive suites, nearly all of which remain lily white (and heavy on the testosterone, too; very few women have crossed the glass goal-line)," Michael Steinberger writes in the Financial Times, in another piece inspired by the Limbaugh dust-up.

"It was only in 1989 that the league had its first black head coach, Art Shell of the Los Angeles Raiders, and since then there have been only five others, even though blacks now comprise 60 to 70 per cent of players. (Tellingly, while failed white coaches seem to have second, third, even fourth acts in the NFL, Shell, who was very successful with the Raiders, has not been offered another job since leaving the team in 1994.)

"The issue of coaching and race in the NFL is embodied in the long, frustrating career of Sherm Lewis. Lewis, an offensive co-ordinator, is among the shrewdest tacticians in gridiron. He has been part of five Super Bowl winning teams and is one of the godfathers of the so-called West Coast offense, a variegated attacking scheme popularised by the San Francisco 49ers during their heyday in the 1980s. But despite his lustrous record, Lewis has never been seriously considered for an NFL head coaching job, let alone offered one," the piece continues.

Radio's Rush really needs to give it a rest (Ruben Navarrette Jr., Dallas Morning News).

First Out of Box on Schwarzenegger Win

One of the first columnists of color to comment on soon-to-be governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory in California last night has to be Loretta Green of the San Jose Mercury News, who wrote a column for the Mercury News Web site today.

"On the matter of personal demeanor, your fans were quick to point out the transgressions of others, including the last U.S. president. Many of us had mothers who would never accept that as a defense for our own bad behavior," she wrote.

"In that regard, it is you who fought for this governorship and we deserve and expect a dignified standard of behavior. And as women, we do not intend to be victimized by disrespect or by backward legislation. We will be watching you.

"You will be governor of all of us -- the franchised and the disfranchised; the wealthy and the needy; the political and the non political; the powerful and the weak.

"You have made us promises and now you have a charge to keep.

"And don't forget, you have supported recall."

Later in the day, washingtonpost.com posted a column of political analysis by Terry M. Neal, "Impressions from an Angry State."

No sightings yet of commentary on the sound beating given Proposition 54, the Ward Connerly effort that would have restricted state agencies from collecting racial and ethnic data.

NAHJ Protests "Censoring" of Column by Castro

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is protesting " the recent action of Knight Paton Media in censoring an opinion column written for El Diario/La Prensa by Cuban President Fidel Castro -- a column that your own editor, Gerson Borrero, requested from the Cuban leader."

The decision to ditch Castro's column, written for the New York Spanish-language daily that recently changed ownership, led to Borrero's sudden resignation last week. as the New York Daily News reported then.

"Castro is no doubt viewed as a dictator by many in this country and by many of our own members in NAHJ. But it is our job as American journalists to defend the right of all individuals to speak freely, no matter how much we might disagree with their message," wrote NAHJ president Juan Gonzalez, a columnist at the Daily News.

"We are further angered by the fact that your act of censorship has led to the resignation of Gerson Borrero as editor. Mr. Borrero is a veteran journalist who has always been an outspoken advocate of giving voice to the voiceless sectors of our society, and of promoting the open debate of opposing views.

"For a company that has only recently taken over the reins of this city?s oldest Spanish-language newspaper, your killing of the Castro column sets a terrible precedent. Will the Diario soon become a paper where only opinions and news reports approved by its owners can be published? " Gonzalez asked in his letter.

Husband Grilled in Killing of Mercury News Photog

The husband of slain San Jose Mercury News photographer Luci Huston denied on the witness stand that he had killed his wife, shaking his head, his voice cracking, ``No, no, no. I loved my wife. I didn't kill her -- I loved her,'' Roxanne Stites reports in the Mercury News.

"In testimony that lasted an hour Monday and will continue," Raymond Houston "blamed many of their relationship problems on his wife, Luci Houston, a Mercury News photographer who was shot, killed and dumped in the back seat of a car. Her body was found in that car Nov. 25, 2001, abandoned on an Oakland street flanked by a cemetery.

"Raymond Houston said it was his wife who first had an affair and threw their relationship into turmoil. He also accused Luci Houston of being the one who was at times violent and out of control -- trashing their home, throwing her wedding dress on the floor, and kicking him in the head and stomach because he didn't want to discuss how they'd split the house," the story continued.

"Raymond Houston also said that one morning he came home unannounced and found his wife naked beside another man. He was one of at least two men that Houston said his wife had romantic relations with. He knew the second man by first name only, but described him almost exactly as a witness had earlier described the man whom she saw walking from the car that concealed Luci Houston's body."

In Tuesday testimony, Stites reported in the Mercury News today, "The prosecutor tried to show that the 41-year-old electrical lineman lied to lovers about his marital status and was lying on the witness stand when he denied bragging to a co-worker that he owned the same caliber gun that killed his wife.

"Raymond Houston is the last known person to see his wife alive in November 2001," she wrote.

Journalist Wrongly Listed as Candidate's Supporter

The campaign of Philadelphia's Republican mayoral candidate, Sam Katz, is in hot water with Denise Clay of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists for listing her as part of a "Multicultural Coalition for Katz" fund-raiser without her permission, Gar Joseph reports in the Philadelphia Daily News.

"'I wish they'd take my name off that thing' said Clay, a reporter for the Bucks County Courier-Times, 'because A, it's a violation of my newspaper's ethics policy and B, I didn't authorize it.'

"'There was some miscommunication among the organizers . . ." explained Katz spokeswoman Maureen Garrity. 'Their names won't be used again without permission'," Joseph's report continues.

The first 2003 Philadelphia mayoral debate between Democratic Mayor John F. Street and Katz takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, moderated by Arthur Fennell, a former president of the National Association of Black Journalists, who works for the station that will broadcast the event, Comcast's CN8. The debate is hosted by the local chapters of the journalist of color organizations and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Spike Lee Still Has "Ill Feeling" Over "Spike TV" Flap

Film director Spike Lee says he is doing a pilot for ESPN based on his 1998 movie, "He Got Game," and a two-hour pilot for Showtime titled "Sucker Free City," reports Cable World.

?'But as far as I'm concerned Sucker Free City is it as far as Viacom is concerned,' Lee says of the media conglomerate he knocked heads with this summer over its rebranding of TNN to Spike TV. He downplays reports of any lucrative development deal as part of that settlement.

?'Yes, there was a settlement, but luckily Viacom doesn't own everything in the world. The Showtime pilot was already a done deal way before this Spike TV thing. I still have a lot of ill feeling toward the people who tried to damage me. [Showtime chairman and CEO] Matt Blank and I are cool, but as for the rest of Viacom, I'm not feeling it.' So he hasn't watched Spike TV. 'I don't need to. The only good thing about the lawsuit is people know now it has nothing to do with me,'" the story continues.

"And don't expect him to work for BET either. 'They're going to continue with . . . the model that Bob Johnson made billions from, which is do not spend any money on original programming, and show music videos,' Lee says. 'I like hip-hop, but this hip-hop ghetto mentality and all that comes with that is really holding African-Americans back. If you look at the images of what they're selling and the lifestyle in these videos, that is detrimental to the growth of us as a people. And . . . at BET, that is all they do.'? Cable World reported.

Cleveland Exec Is Black Press "Publisher of Year"

Michael A. House, president and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Call and Post, was recognized as the 2003 Publisher of the Year by the National Newspaper Publishers Association during the recent Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference in Washington, NNPA reports.

The Call and Post is Ohio's largest and oldest African American newspaper.

Boxing promoter Don King, a native of Cleveland, bought the Call and Post Newspaper Group, which includes editions in Columbus and Cincinnati and a state edition serving Dayton, Youngstown and Akron, in June 1998. The following March 1, King announced that House had joined King Media as president and COO of the Call and Post Newspaper Group, according to the Sun-Reporter newspaper, which serves the black community in the San Francisco Bay area.

King was "fulfilling a lifelong dream to follow in the publishing footsteps of Frederick Douglass," who "founded America's fifth Black newspaper, 'The North Star,' and was the first Negro to own a printing press," the Sun-Reporter said at the time.

"Michael House, also a native Clevelander, left the city after graduating from high school. A resident of the Greater New York area, for the past 18 years, House most recently was employed as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Amalgamated Publishers, Inc. (API), the national sales and marketing representative for over 210 African American newspapers," the story continued.

The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information.

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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