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Thursday, April 29, 2010

NAHJ, NABJ Cry Foul Over Boston Herald's Images

White House Arranges Access for Black, Hispanic Media

NBC News Wins NABJ's "Best Practices Award"

AP Objected to Making Paterson E-Mails Public

Hispanic Journalists to Honor Suarez, Campos

Chicago Magazine Profiles "Always On" Roland Martin

Gates Piece on Reparations Stirs Hornet's Nest

Black Blog Sites "Educate While They Gossip"

Short Takes

(Credit: Mike Luckovich/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

NAHJ, NABJ Cry Foul Over Boston Herald's Images

Editor Kevin R. Convey said he saw nothing wrong.Arizona's new law targeting immigrants who are in the state illegally drew protests and other outcries this week - including calls for a boycott of the state - but it was a Boston Herald front page on the immigration issue that alarmed the national associations of Hispanic and black journalists.

The tabloid ran a front page Tuesday with the headline, "Mass. Cracks Down on Illegals," with a photo showing "No Tuition" stamped on the head of an apparent Hispanic man, "No Medicaid" on an Asian man and "No Welfare" on a black woman.

"Not only do such depictions unfairly single out minorities as recipients of such services, but it also gives the impression that only people of color are undocumented immigrants," the National Association of Hispanic Journalists said in a statement.

"We disagree with the Herald's assertion that the photo illustration and accompanying package has no racial or anti-immigration undertones. While a sidebar did focus on the struggles of a single undocumented immigrant, we find the overall racially-charged imagery and language tied to this package unacceptable."

The assertion that the illustration and package had no such undertones came from the paper's editor in chief, Kevin R. Convey, according to NAHJ board member Maria Burns Ortiz, a soccer columnist for She told Journal-isms that she spoke to Convey on Tuesday and "he didn't see anything wrong with it. . . . It just seemed like a lot of insensitivity there." Convey did not return a telephone call Friday from Journal-isms.

Kathy Times, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said she protested to Convey as well and followed up with letters to Convey and his publisher.

The NAHJ statement continued, "Federally restricted from receiving Medicaid or welfare and not afforded in-state tuition in Massachusetts, undocumented immigrants are not receiving any of these government benefits as it is. We are concerned that such images and headlines send false messages to the public and contribute to the heated rhetoric that encourages people to use Latino and immigrant communities as scapegoats for the many economic challenges the country faces.

"Our objections with the depiction of immigrants did not stop with the Herald's cover. To justify a headline on the inside pages touting 'No habla ingles? No welfare' and the use of terms like 'anchor babies' as simply reflecting the views of a columnist does not change the fact that it is racially derogatory language." The columnist was Howie Carr.

"We appreciate the Herald responding to our inquiry on this issue and invite Herald management to sit down with representatives from both our national board and our local NAHJ New England chapter to further discuss how to accurately depict Latinos and people of color in the media. We believe instances like this one highlight the importance of diversity within newsrooms."

The Boston Herald did not participate in the American Society of News Editors' annual diversity survey, but Burns told Journal-isms that Convey said a page designer of Venezuelan background helped create the package.

"That does not change our position on this issue," NAHJ replied. "The fact that others involved in the newspaper's editorial process did not perceive how offensive and unfair the cover would be for many surely points to a lack of diversity of backgrounds and perspectives among the publication's decision makers."

Meanwhile, the Arizona law gathered protests and commentary.

"Civil rights leaders are urging organizations to cancel their conventions in Arizona. Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks are encountering protesters on the road. And the AriZona iced tea company wants everyone to know that its drinks are made in New York," Bob Christie reported Friday for the Associated Press.

"Arizona is facing a backlash over its new law cracking down on illegal immigrants, with opponents pushing for a tourism boycott like the one that was used to punish the state 20 years ago over its refusal to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a holiday."

White House Arranges Access for Black, Hispanic Media

Cynthia Gordy, left, Michael H. Cottman and April RyanMembers of the White House press corps do in fact complain about access and the thin-skinned nature of some White House aides, as Politico reported last week, but to a small group of journalists of color, there is at least one saving grace: For the last year, the White House has arranged on-the-record sessions for them to talk with key administration figures.

The sessions are arranged by media aides Corey A. Ealons, director of African American media, and Luis Miranda, director of Hispanic media.

"The black press doesn't always get the access that we have asked for," April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks told Journal-isms. "It's a good way to help balance the situation."

Ryan is quick to point out that mainstream network correspondents and anchors have far greater access — "a lot of network people have cell phone numbers and home numbers" of key administration figures; "it's not fair and it's not balanced."

But because of what she learned in the meetings, Ryan said, she was able to follow up on a complaint by John Boyd, head of the National Black Farmers Association, that the administration had not earmarked money to pay a $1.25 billion discrimination settlement with the farmers. On Wednesday, she took the question to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and advanced the story: "There’s legislative and there’s financing decisions that are being looked through," Gibbs said, as Ryan wrote on her blog.

On Thursday, Michael H. Cottman of wrote a column based on a session with Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, in which she "suggested that the president is indeed pressing ahead with a broad agenda for black Americans — but is simply not blowing his own horn."

"The White House sessions with President Obama's Cabinet Members and senior advisors, like Valerie Jarrett, have given us a glimpse into the president's thinking when it comes to lobbying for legislation and creating policies designed to improve the quality of life for black Americans," Cottman told Journal-isms via e-mail. He said he had attended every session. "We ask the hard questions, and, for the most part, we get straightforward answers. I think it's critical for African American journalists to have access to White House advisors so we can raise issues that black folks in the community are raising with us."

The black group also includes Cynthia Gordy of Essence magazine and James White of the weekly Washington Informer. "We extend invitations to the African American journalists in the area who cover the White House including NNPA, BET, and The, among others," Ealons said. Miranda declined to discuss the Hispanic group.

Gordy agreed with Cottman. "The roundtables have been a great opportunity for having extended conversations about the challenges facing many African-Americans, and what the administration is doing to address them. Having access to Cabinet-level officials, to talk about the Black community and the thinking that goes into their policy decisions, is invaluable," she said in an e-mail.

"That said, Black reporters still have to be tenacious, along with the rest of the press corps, for access to the President and other exclusives. It’s still very competitive. But about once a month, there’s a block of time to discuss issues specific to the communities on which we report — the education achievement gap, employment disparities, health disparities, the Black farmers settlement — and that’s been really helpful."

Ealons said, "We'll keep working to open doors and increase access for all members of the media."

NBC News Wins NABJ's "Best Practices Award"

Paula Madison and Steve Capus NBC News and its local stations have been selected for the annual Best Practices Award of the National Association of Black Journalists, and Paula Madison, NBC Universal executive vice president, will receive its Legacy Award, the association announced on Thursday.

"NBC News and its owned and operated stations nationwide have done tremendous work promoting diversity in its management positions as well as in its coverage. NABJ has championed such issues in news for 35 years," NABJ President Kathy Times said in an announcement.

The award comes as good news for a network whose parent company, NBC Universal, is seeking approval for a merger with Comcast ‚Äî one that has been opposed by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and sharply questioned by some members of Congress, in part because they said both companies had insufficient diversity in programming and personnel.

However, Bob Butler, NABJ vice president/broadcast, said in the release, "According to NABJ's annual survey of broadcast news management, NBC Universal contains the most African-American Vice Presidents, General Managers, News Directors, Senior and Executive Producers in its Network News Division and in its owned-and-operated stations than any broadcast or cable network in the country."

Madison, a longtime NABJ member and a board member of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, "was also the first person to hold the position of executive vice president of diversity at NBC Universal and is a member of its board of directors," NABJ noted.

"Throughout her career Madison has promoted the fair inclusion and representation of minorities in the media. She has built a reputation as a strong leader who is committed to quality journalism and community involvement."

In 2007, Steve Capus, president of NBC News, won the Ida B. Wells Award  from NABJ and the National Conference of Editorial Writers, in part for his actions after radio host Don Imus described the Rutgers women's basketball team in racist and sexist terms. Capus ended MSNBC's simulcasting of the Imus show from CBS-owned WFAN radio in New York. CBS pulled the plug on Imus the next day.

AP Objected to Making Paterson E-Mails Public

"The Associated Press, normally a vigorous defender of sunshine laws, appears to have lobbied behind the scenes to quash the release of e-mails that circulated among its reporters and press aides for New York Gov. David Paterson under New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)," John Cook, senior national reporter/blogger for Yahoo! News, wrote on Friday.

"I reported yesterday that Hearst Corporation, which owns the Albany Times-Union, was threatening to object to a FOIL request I filed earlier this year seeking e-mails among Paterson's former communications director Peter Kauffmann, his former press secretary Marissa Shorenstein, and representatives of a variety of news organizations. The Hearst Corporation's justification for that stance was that the identities of confidential sources could have been revealed in the e-mails — a highly unusual position for a news organization that usually fights on the other side of freedom-of-information disputes.

"Late yesterday, the governor's office denied my request (and a similar one filed by the Columbia Journalism Review), on the grounds that New York's shield law for journalists prevented the e-mails' release. Since then, I've learned that in recent weeks the governor's office alerted all the news organizations whose reporters' e-mails would have been released under my request and gave them an opportunity to object. Among the outlets raising such objections was the AP — and the wire service also refuses to deny a report that it took the extra measure of bringing in an outside attorney to shut down my request."

Hispanic Journalists to Honor Suarez, Campos

Winners: Ray Suarez, Gloria Campos "Veteran journalists Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for PBS’ 'The NewsHour,' and Gloria Campos, anchorwoman for WFAA-TV, Dallas’ ABC affiliate, have been selected for induction into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists," NAHJ announced on Friday.

". . . A seasoned newsman with more than 35 years in the business, Suarez joined 'The NewsHour' in 1999 following a six-year stint as host of National Public Radio’s nationwide call-in news program, 'Talk of the Nation.' He also hosts 'Destination Casa Blanca,' the weekly program on Latino politics, for HITN-TV.

" . . . After earning a degree in journalism from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Gloria Campos landed a job at KGBT-TV in her hometown of Harlingen, Texas. She joined WFAA in 1984, where she became Dallas’ first Latino anchor.

"Campos also hosts and serves as co-producer of 'Wednesday’s Child,' an adoption feature segment, which helps find permanent homes for Texas’ foster children.

Chicago Magazine Profiles "Always On" Roland Martin

Roland MartinRoland Martin "has some choice words for major media players," according to a profile of the multiplatform journalist by Cate Plys in the April 29–May 5 issue of Time Out Chicago. "They all go to the same parties, they all talk to each other . . . so what happens is they now decide that ‘Oh no, this is what’s important.’”

The profile of the CNN, "Tom Joyner Morning Show," Creators Syndicate and TV One contributor also quotes Chicago columnist Laura Washington saying of Martin's time as editor of the Chicago Defender, “He was astute in using [the Defender] to raise his own profile.”

The piece also includes this anecdote about an interview Martin gave to Diann Burns for Burns’ website,

"After about 90 minutes of softball questions, Burns gets to the meat of the interview: She wants Martin’s take on the floundering Chicago-based Ebony/Jet publishing empire. They spar for nearly a half hour, somehow agreeing and disagreeing simultaneously, until Martin finally says Ebony/Jet gave its competition a ten-year head start because now-deceased founder John Johnson wasn’t interested in the Web.

"Bingo. Burns instantly wraps the interview in her signature low, silky broadcast voice, then yells, 'I just want everybody to sign a piece of paper that says it took me three hours for him to say in one long sentence what I was trying to get him to say two hours ago!'

"Peace is made before he exits. 'I gotta mess with her!' he chuckles."

Gates Piece on Reparations Stirs Hornet's Nest

If Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. intended to stir controversy with an op-ed piece on reparations and slavery, he did it with his April 23 piece in the New York Times, "Ending the Slavery Blame-Game."

Gates asserted that, "While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers like Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played."

He argued that "thanks to an unlikely confluence of history and genetics — the fact that he is African-American and president — Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to reshape the debate over one of the most contentious issues of America’s racial legacy: reparations, the idea that the descendants of American slaves should receive compensation for their ancestors’ unpaid labor and bondage."

Pan-Africanist columnist Ron Daniels said he was urging like-minded scholars to write about the Gates piece, and he did so himself in the strongest terms, citing those of similar philosophy as he attacked Gates in his "Talking Points" column:

"When leading scholars like Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. Charshee McIntyre, Dr. James Turner, Sonia Sanchez, Dr. [Molefi] Kete Asante, Dr. Maulana Karenga and a host of others were contending that the goal of Black Studies/Africana Studies must be 'education for liberation,' it was Professor Gates who sided with the academic establishment in castigating this approach. Indeed, he became the 'darling' of conservative White academia by denouncing African-centered Black Studies programs as 'separatist' enterprises, lacking in scholastic rigor and objectivity. It was also from this perspective that he advanced the notion of African culpability for enslavement in a television documentary."

Daniels told Journal-isms his Institute for the Black World 21st Century "is working with a group of scholar/activists who are preparing a major statement for release in next 10 days."

Black Blog Sites "Educate While They Gossip"

"While Sandra Bullock's post-Oscar split from husband Jesse James may be the biggest celebrity news in the last month (or two), it's probably not surprising it's the adopted brown baby that really got the African-American blog sites going." Allison Samuels wrote Friday in a Web story for Newsweek.

"The funny thing is, black Web sites such as, Bossip, and Young, Black and Fabulous have been following Bullock for years. Part of the reason is her connection to the black community. 'They know about her support for victims of Katrina and Haiti so they care about what happens to her, which we thought about when we gave her coverage,' says Fred Mwangaguhunga, owner of the black entertainment site But part of it is that black blogs look at the world differently than the often segregated mainstream. (How many black faces did you see on this year's Vanity Fair Oscar issue?) 'Sandra Bullock's story about her marriage got a lot of pickup from our readers,' said Mwangaguhunga, whose site gets 700,000 hits per day and nearly 6 million views per month. "Her story of [marital] betrayal hit a nerve with our female readers for sure. It wasn't a race thing because everyone can relate to that type of betrayal.

". . . Black blogs are, in many ways, more serious-minded than their mainstream counterparts. Sites such as care very much that its readers are primarily ages 18 to 34. The editors feel an obligation to educate while they gossip, running items on White House policies, the murder rate in Chicago — hardly news lite.

But, she adds, with understated justification, "Don't be fooled — it's not all high road for these sites."

Short Takes

  • "Twenty two ABC News employees were laid off in a round of involuntary cuts yesterday," Chris Ariens wrote Wednesday for TV Newser. "Those layoffs came after more than 300 staffers, many more than had been anticipated, agreed to take a voluntary buyout. In February, ABC News president David Westin announced a massive reorganization which meant staff cuts between 300-400. The actual number, between 350-400, is right in line with that expectation. In addition, TVNewser has learned, 39 staffers were promoted to positions being vacated by those taking a buyout."
  • Aretha Marshall, managing editor of "Dateline NBC," has agreed to participate in a Detroit town hall from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on the recent "Dateline NBC" report that drew complaints from some Detroit residents, the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists announced. "Confirmed panelists are: Ben Burns, Wayne State University; Darrell Dawsey, Detroit blogger for Time Inc.; Luther Keith, Executive Director of Arise! Detroit; Darci McConnell, McConnell Communications; Rev. Horace Sheffield, DABO; and the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit branch of the NAACP."
  • A memorial service for Evelyn Cunningham, "the grande dame of African-American journalism," is scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. at St. Philip‚Äôs Episcopal Church, 204 West 134th St., in Manhattan. Cunningham, who died Wednesday at 94, "was ubiquitous, covering nearly every major national event from 1940 to 1962, including the Civil Rights Movement, for the Pittsburgh Courier," Herb Boyd wrote in the New York Amsterdam News. She was part of the National Visionary Leadership Project, providing an audio and videotaped interview.
  • "Lancaster (Pa.) Newspapers pulled the plug on its online TalkBack public forum Thursday morning, blaming the 'blatant misuse' of the forum by anonymous posters of racist material," Editor & Publisher reported on Thursday.
  • "The brave new world for the Daily News, Inquirer and under new ownership quickly got newer and braver last night as Internet and mobile-phone journalism pioneer Greg Osberg was announced as the new publisher and chief executive," Will Bunch wrote Friday for the Philadelphia Daily News. "Osberg's hiring is a dramatic signal that the new entity ‚Äî which doesn't yet have a name ‚Äî aims to steer the company toward a heavy emphasis on digital content that will be delivered on devices like cell phones or Apple's new iPad." 
  • V. Dion HaynesThe Washington Post on Monday launched a weekly business tabloid, Capital Business, with V. Dion Haynes as managing editor. "He came to The Post in 2005 from the Chicago Tribune's Los Angeles bureau and initially covered the D.C. public schools. He wrote for the award-winning 'Being a Black Man' series in 2006. He spent a year with the investigative/special projects team in 2007 and wrote for another award-winning series, 'Fixing D.C.‚Äôs Schools.' He joined the Financial news section in 2008, the editors said.
  • "Tonight marks the airing of the last edition of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS stations nationwide," the editors of Columbia Journalism Review wrote on Friday. "An online tribute page prepared by Thirteen/WNET features thoughts on Moyers‚Äôs legacy from Dan Rather, Tavis Smiley, Stephen Colbert, and others, and allows viewers to add their own comments. It‚Äôs a fond gesture to mark the departure of the iconic journalist from his regularly scheduled weekly television show."
  • "The Obama administration is seeking to compel a writer to testify about his confidential sources for a 2006 book about the Central Intelligence Agency, a rare step that was authorized by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.," Charlie Savage wrote Wednesday in the New York Times, referencing Times reporter James Riser.
  • The Trotter Group of African American columnists Friday posted video, a slideshow and columns from its annual meeting, held this year in Louisville, Ky. The slideshow includes a tour of the Muhammad Ali Center.
  • "Two Mexican journalists who had been missing since an armed ambush on the humanitarian convoy they were accompanying in the southern state of Oaxaca on 27 April were located yesterday," Reporters Without Borders reported on Friday. "Although two people were killed and at least 15 others were wounded when gunmen fired on the convoy, Ericka Ram??rez and David Cilia of the weekly Contral??nea managed to avoid being hit and fled into the surrounding mountains. Ram??rez was weak and dehydrated when found, while Cilia sustained injuries to a foot and one side of his body in the course of their flight."
  • In honor of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the International Press Institute has asked reporters from two of the most dangerous countries in the world to keep a journal of their daily activities and reflections for five days. The ‚ÄúDay in the Life‚Äù series of reporter snapshots from Somalia and Sri Lanka will be showcased on the IPI web site starting on May 3. The entries can be viewed at IPI‚Äôs website at, the Vienna-based organization said.
  • "The European Commission presented awards, on 29 April, to three European journalists (a German, a Hungarian and a Finnish) for their articles on discrimination, in the framework of its "For Diversity. Against Discrimination" competition," Sophie Petitjean reported for the Europolitics website. "First prize went to German journalist Kathrin L??ther, specialised in social affairs and health, for her work creating awareness of discrimination. Second prize went to Hungarian journalist Istv?°n Balla and a special prize (created in connection with 2010 European Year against Poverty) was awarded to Finnish journalist Hanna Nikkanen for her article linking poverty and discrimination."

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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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