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Garry D. Howard Out as Sporting News Editor

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Helped Publication Reinvent Itself as Web Property

Helped Publication Reinvent Itself as Web Property

Garry D. Howard, editor-in-chief of the Sporting News for nearly three years, has "parted ways" with the publication, Howard told Journal-isms on Tuesday.

Garry D. Howard "I'm no longer Editor in Chief of Sporting News Media," Howard, 54, messaged.

"Very proud of leading Sporting News in its transition from print to digital over the past three years. Believe we did an excellent job."

Juan Delgado, CEO of Sporting News Media, which owns the Sporting News, messaged Tuesday night, "As your article says, Garry was a key part of the Sporting News transition from a print to a digital publication, prior to our Joint Venture with ACBJ, and a valued part of the team," referring to American City Business Journals, the previous owner of the publication.

"Unfortunately we've parted ways based on the direction of the business and his career plans, but I am sure we'll cross paths in the future as he is a very influential and respected voice within the industry."

Howard's hiring from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in November 2010 marked the first time that an African American would lead a national general sports magazine's editorial staff, the Sporting News said at the time. He joined as the Charlotte, N.C.-based publication was reinventing itself as a Web property.

A week after Howard took the job in January 2011, Sporting News made a deal to license the AOL FanHouse name and take editorial control of its content, as Richard Sandomir reported at the time for the New York Times. However, some columnists of color were laid off with the absorption of the FanHouse franchise, despite Howard's commitment to diversity.

The man to whom Howard reported when he was hired, Sporting News President and Publisher Jeff Price, left the company in September. Ownership of the company changed as well.

The British-based Perform Group, which describes itself as "a leader in the commercialization of multimedia sports content across internet-enabled digital platforms," became the majority partner in the company that owns the publication, with the previous owner, American City Business Journals, a minority partner.

Price, a veteran media and marketing executive who previously held roles with Sports Illustrated, Millsport, Trakus and MasterCard, was credited with "leading the effort to shift the 127-year-old Sporting News from a print-based company to one highly active on the Web, on mobile devices and in social media," Eric Fisher wrote in September for Sports Business Journal.

"The new Sporting News Media now stands among the most highly trafficked entities in U.S. digital sports media, ranking seventh in the most recent reach rankings from measurement firm comScore," Fisher wrote.

Howard became one of the first African Americans to head the sports section of a mainstream daily — the only one at the time at a major paper — when he joined the old Milwaukee Journal as executive sports editor in 1994. He became sports editor of the merged Journal Sentinel in 1995 and assistant managing editor/sports in 2000.

Howard was the first African American president of the Associated Press Sports Editors, ending his year's term in June 2010. Active in the Sports Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists, he was awarded the task force's Sam Lacy Pioneer Award in 2009 for his lifetime commitment to sports journalism.

Caution Urged on Teen "Knockout" Story

December 2, 2013

Information Vacuum in "Trend" of Attacks by Young Blacks

Councilman Elected in Media Fail Held on DUI, Pot Charges

Daily Kos Rejects Obama Cartoon as Ape-Like, Racist

Would Greater Press-Box Diversity Help Kill the N-Word?

Almost 2/3 of Female Journalists Threatened in Their Work

"60 Minutes" Segment on Capitol Told Only Some of Story

Roland Martin Says Va. Digs Remind Him of Texas Home

Short Takes

For several days, Fox News hosts and contributors demanded that the Rev. Al Shar

Information Vacuum in "Trend" of Attacks by Young Blacks

"The woman is defenseless, strolling down the street with a pocketbook over her shoulder," Jesse Singal wrote last week for Columbia Journalism Review. "She has no idea that she's about to be brutally attacked. The man, who is black, runs up behind her, rears his right arm back and to the side, and strikes her viciously in the head. She falls to the ground, apparently out cold, while he runs away.

" 'New at 11 o'clock now, an alarming new wave of attacks across the nation has arrived here in our area,' reads Leon Harris, an anchor at WJLA in Washington, DC, as the footage plays during a broadcast earlier this month. Other grainy videos follow, all allegedly connected to a 'game' called 'Knockout,' 'Point 'em Out, Knock 'em Out,' or 'One Hitter Quitter.' The game is as simple as it is horrifying: Teenagers attack someone randomly in the hopes of knocking them out. They don't even take anything.

"It's a scary, eminently media-friendly story, based as it is in gruesome footage of innocent victims being attacked by out-of-control teens. But there are signs that this story is not being reported carefully and risks sparking unnecessary panic, some of it race-driven. Foremost among them is the fact that the footage of the man running up behind the woman, which is appearing just about everywhere, has nothing to do with Knockout.

"Rather, as one Reddit commenter pointed out, it's footage of a 35-year-old man attacking a woman in East London [England]. It was a random attack, yes, but quotes from the man suggest some combination of substance abuse and mental illness may have been to blame. He was not a teenager partaking in some viral trend in the US. Given the number of stations that have replayed this unrelated footage, it's worth asking whether those covering Knockout need to be engaging in a bit more discretion, especially to avoid contributing to an ongoing media narrative of young black men as dangerous.

"It's important to note that there is in fact evidence to support the existence of a teen activity called Knockout — it's not as though this is a media-manufactured hoax. Ralph Eric Santiago, a 46-year-old homeless man, was killed in a September 10 attack in Hoboken that police say was Knockout-related. A WILX segment on Knockout in Lansing, MI, included an interview with a kid who was shot by his would-be victim, and he explained that he had engaged in the activity a number of times previously.

"So yes, it exists. But is it a 'trend'? [Is it] on the rise? How many teens actually participate? We have no idea, no hard facts, and for now this vacuum of real information is being filled in by clip after scary clip played on repeat. On careful observation, many of the clips don’t even seem to reflect the game as it’s being described. . . ."

Some media outlets are hyping the attacks more than others. James E. Causey wrote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The website has a monthly 'fight compilation' that shows excerpts of hundreds of fights, from women being sucker-punched to brutal gang attacks. A majority of these acts involve people of color, and far too often there are more people recording the incidents than . . . offering assistance to the victims. These videos often earn thousands of views and 'likes' and 'recommendations' on Facebook, which turn the perpetrators into overnight sensations. . . ."

Causey also wrote, "While the knockout game has recently been the lead item for late night news and newspapers nationwide, here's a newsflash — this is not a new game. Counselors who work with troubled youth tell me that these crimes have been occurring for years; they weren't tagged with a headline-grabbing name like 'knockout game.' . . . "

There is more. A week ago, Oliver Willis of Media Matters for America reported, "Over a period of several days, Fox News hosts and contributors demanded that Rev. Al Sharpton condemn a series of 'knockout' attacks that have occurred in several cities. Sharpton condemned the attacks in a speech on Saturday, but Fox has so far failed to report on the condemnation. . . ."

Zerlina Maxwell of the Grio countered, "The focus on Reverend Sharpton is peculiar. Does a white representative have to put out a press release after every school shooting or random act of violence committed by young white males?. . . "

History argues that the hype is inevitable, according to Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing in his blog for the Atlantic: "Since the days of slavery, into the days of super-predators, and now the time of the Knockout Game, there has always been a strong need to believe that hordes of young black men will overrun the country in a fit of raping and pillaging. It's how we justify ourselves. Information can't compete with national myth."

Councilman Elected in Media Fail Held on DUI, Pot Charges

Eric MaysA city councilman elected last month in the journalism fail in Flint, Mich. — the felony on his record went unreported — was arrested on Saturday, according to local news accounts, accused of drunken driving and possession of marijuana.

Flint City Attorney Peter Bade said Monday he would appoint a special prosecutor in the case involving Councilman Eric Mays, who was jailed about 2:50 a.m. Saturday after police said they found him trying to change a tire on a car with four flats on Interstate 475, Dominic Adams reported for

"Bade said he wants to appoint a special prosecutor in the next few days because Mays is the sitting councilman in Flint's First Ward and Bade doesn't want even the appearance of a conflict of interest," Adams reported.

Mays was elected last month along with Wantwaz Davis, who served 19 years in prison for second-degree murder, and two women who filed for bankruptcy.

"It is possible that Flint voters would have elected Wantwaz Davis if they'd known he shot a man three times. Or that they'd elected Eric Mays if the paper told them he had pled guilty to felonious assault. But their newspaper never told them," Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s political analyst, wrote last month.

Marjory Raymer, editor of the Flint Journal, apologized to readers after the election.

Adams also reported, "Mays' days in that council seat could be coming to a close. Anita Brown, who lost to Mays by seven votes in the November general election, was granted a recount that will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

"Mays referred questions on the arrest to his attorney.

" 'This is something I worked for my whole life — my council seat,' Mays told The Flint Journal today, Dec. 2. 'I clearly got a vision and believe I can be used.' "

Although the Flint Journal did not report the felonies, many voters apparently knew the candidates' backgrounds. In the comments section under one of the news stories, a man identifying himself as Davis said, "They knew about my past at the flint public library form, they refused to give the information to the public, because they knew that I was already telling it to the public, which would not have given them the ratings that has been given them, but that is okay, because 455 voters knew about my past, and that's what matters."

A news director agreed. "Wantwaz Davis' history was talked about in great detail as the reason for why he was running. It was all part of his narrative," wrote a commenter identifying himself as Jason Cooper, news director and a show host for WFNT-AM.

Adams also reported, "This isn't Mays' first [run-in] with the law. The First Ward councilman pleaded guilty to felonious assault in 1987 and served a year of probation. Mays said the man had been threatening his life before Mays threatened him with a gun.

"He also was convicted of aggravated stalking in 2001 that involved a woman [whom] Mays worked with at a Delphi plant in Buena Vista Township. Mays was sentenced to five years probation following the felony conviction, according to Saginaw County Circuit Court records."

Mays and Davis are African American.

The Journal has 14 writers and a staff photographer, including three African American and one Hispanic reporter, according to an employee who asked not to be identified.

Daily Kos Calls Obama Cartoon Ape-Like, Racist

Cartoonist Ted Rall posted this message on his site Wednesday:

"A message has been issued from site admin . . .

" 'Your depiction of Barack Obama as ape-like is intolerable. Being critical of Obama, even ferociously, is not the problem. Through British and American history, blacks have been subjected to racist depictions of themselves as monkeys and apes. No excuse is acceptable for replicating that history no mater what your intent. If it happens again, your posting privileges will be suspended. ' "

Then he wrote:

"Daily Kos is a major liberal/Democratic Party blog. About a year ago, the blog began running cartoons. To their credit, they paid a modest fee for them. Many alternative political cartoonists were invited; I was not.

"At the time, the owner of the blog mentioned as an aside that I would be welcome, like anyone else, to post to Daily Kos. A few weeks ago, I decided to take him up on that.

"Why did I post there for free? To access readers, many of whom would enjoy my work if they saw it. It was an experiment.

"The experiment ended yesterday. When I went to log on, I received the above message. I clicked the acknowledgement.

"Which marks the end of my experiment posting to Daily Kos. I might consider altering the way I draw a political figure for a paying client. A very high-paying client. Someone who employed me full-time.

"I’m sure not going to alter my drawing style for $0.00 money. . . ."

Rall also wrote, "Anyone familiar with me and my work knows I’m not racist. My criticisms of the president are unrelated to his race, and to say otherwise in the absence of evidence is disgusting. . . ."

Despite Rall's complaint of "censorship," the offending cartoon remained on the Daily Kos site, with Rall's note generating 813 comments by Tuesday afternoon. [Updated Dec. 3].

Would Greater Press-Box Diversity Help Kill the N-Word?

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Would having more black journalists in sports media help kill use of the N-word among players? Dexter Rogers, identified as a Yahoo contributor and independent filmmaker, made that contention in an article Wednesday for the Huffington Post.

"Personally I've written extensively about the need to diversify sports media," Rogers said in an open letter to ESPN's Skip Bayless, a white writer who argued against use of the N-word. "As it stands today [it's a] lily-white institution where views are skewed and diverse vantage points are often discouraged.

"Somewhere along the line African-Americans who seek to bring light from a vantage that's lacking are often viewed as militant and divisive. Yet for you Skip you are viewed as noble, open and forthcoming for helping to ignite a discussion.

"As an African-American I've been fixed with an array of racial comments from readers over the years. In 2011 I wrote a commentary titled, In Response to a Racial Slur: I'm Nobody's Ni*g*r. I wrote about my personal experience in being called the N-Word and other expletives stemming from a piece I wrote.

"The outlet refused to publish my content yet those same editors allowed bigots to call me out my name. Had there been more diversity at the outlet constructive dialogue and resolution could have manifested. . . ."

Meanwhile, syndicated Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. was among those responding to defenses of the word by some black athletes and journalists.

"The mushrooming controversies prompt two African-American NBA analysts, Charles Barkley and Michael Wilbon, to defend their usage of the N-word," Pitts wrote Saturday.

And it's not just the jockocracy, either. Last week in The New York Times, celebrated social critic Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is African American, made the old 'context' argument; i.e., it's OK if we say it, but it's not OK if you say it. In defending the N-word as an 'in-word' Coates noted how some women will jokingly call other women by a misogynistic term or some gay people will laughingly use a homophobic slur in talking with or about one another.

"Some of us would say that's not such a good look, either. Some of us think there is cause for dismay when women, gay people or any put-upon people adopt the terminology of their oppressors as self-definition.

"But the larger point is this: so what? Like it or not, the N-word is not like the words used to denigrate women and gay people or, for that matter, Italian, Irish or Jewish people, simply because the experiences those peoples endured in this country do not compare with those of African Americans.

"The N-word is unique. It was present at the act of mass kidnap that created 'black America,' it drove the ship to get here, signed the contracts at flesh auctions on Southern ports as mother was torn from child, love from love and self from self. It had a front row center seat for the acts of blood, rape, castration, exclusion and psychological destruction by which the created people was kept down and in its place. The whole weight of our history dictates that word cannot be used except as an expression of contempt for African Americans. The only difference when a Matt Barnes or Ta-Nehisi Coates uses it is that the contempt is black on black.

" 'Context?' That argument grows more threadbare every time it's made. It may also be growing less effective in cowing white people of good will. As reporter Richard Prince recently noted in his online ['Journal-isms'] column, a number of white journalists have refused to be silenced on this. That includes Mike Wise of the Washington Post who wrote a brave piece confronting those who would deny him the right to be concerned because of his race. . . ."

Almost 500 women responded to the question asking if they had experienced sexual

Almost 2/3 of Female Journalists Threatened in Their Work

"Almost two-thirds of women journalists have experienced intimidation, threats or abuse in relation to their work, according to the findings of the first global survey into violence and threats against women working in the news media," the International News Safety Institute reported Monday.

"The survey by the International News Safety Institute and the International Women's Media Foundation was released to coincide with the UN's Global Forum on Media and Gender.

"It found that the majority of those threats, intimidation and abuse directed towards female media workers occurred in the work place and were committed by male bosses, supervisors and co-workers.

"The survey also found that the majority of women who are harassed do not report what has happened to them, despite the fact that more than half of them confirmed that the 'experience had a psychological impact on them.' . . ."

"60 Minutes" Segment on Capitol Told Only Some of Story

The Statue of Freedom, which sits atop the U.S. Capitol, was cast by the enslaveMonday marked the 150th anniversary of the completion of the dome atop the U.S. Capitol, and CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" Sunday took viewers into the dome, 288 feet above ground level.

The report, narrated by Scott Pelley and produced by Nicole Young, was careful to note the contribution of the enslaved Philip Reid, who cast the Statue of Freedom atop the dome, but there was much more to the participation of African Americans in building the Capitol.

"Blacks were not just brute labor at the Capitol. They also brought highly specialized expertise in carpentry, bricklaying, ironworking, and other skilled trades," Jesse J. Holland, an Associated Press reporter, wrote in "Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History In and Around Washington, D.C.," published in 2007.

Holland also wrote, "More than four hundred slaves, or more than half of the documented workforce that constructed the Capitol, cleared trees from Jenkins Hill and dug up stumps for the wide avenues that radiate out into the city, according to research first publicized by NBC reporter Edward Hotaling in 2000. We now know that slaves baked the bricks used for the building's foundation, worked the Virginia quarries where the sandstone was cut, and laid the stones that hold up the Capitol to this day. . . . "

In the "60 Minutes" segment, historian Lonnie Bunch described the statue: "Well, she is this beautiful woman who has some Native American features [and] is capped by this beautiful headdress as reminder that this is a country that was different because it was built first and foremost around the issue of freedom. . . ."

”We’re going to keep the pool open [during the winter] because I do like the ide

Roland Martin Says Va. Digs Remind Him of Texas Home

Roland Martin's new home in the Washington, D.C., suburbs was the cover story of the Washington Post Real Estate section on Saturday. "A bit of Texas in Virginia," it read. "At home with Roland Martin/ Political analyst's 8,400-square-foot dwelling reflects his home state and need for plenty of space."

"In June, the Martins bought an 8,400-square-foot dwelling on 4½ acres in the Beacon Hill community of Leesburg," according to the story by Kathy Orton.

" 'Let's be clear: I live here, but I'm from Houston,' Martin said. 'This is the closest I feel to being back home in Texas.' " He added, "Being born and raised in Texas, I value space. I absolutely value space."

The spacious new digs are not exactly like the Texas where Martin, host of the daily radio show "News One Now," was raised.

As Martin wrote in his syndicated column in 2002, "I grew up in a black neighborhood and attended mostly all-black primary and secondary schools."

Martin clarified for Journal-isms. "No, I didn't grow up in such a house.

"I'm speaking of living out here is like living in Texas," he said by email.

Short Takes

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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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