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Grambling Shows Deterioration to Media

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Institution Lost 56.3% of Its State Funding in Past Six Years

. . . NABJ Plans Council to Examine College Student Media

Atlanta Paper Sorry for "40 Acres and a Whole Lotta Mules"


In Poll, Latinos Say Their Community Needs National Leader


Condé Nast Ending Internship Program


Press Group Condemns Violations in Latin America, U.S.

AAJA President Asks for Feedback on Unity


Short Takes

Institution Lost 56.3% of Its State Funding in Past Six Years

A portion of the floor in Grambling's weight room as seen on Tuesday. (Credit:

"With the national spotlight on Grambling’' poor facilities, most notably a deplorable weight room, school officials aren't shying away from the attention,"  Sean Isabella reported Tuesday for the News-Star in Monroe, La., near Grambling State University.

"The weight room was opened to all media Tuesday morning following new interim coach Dennis 'Dirt' Winston's press conference, giving those in attendance a close-up view of what exactly Grambling is dealing with.

"This came a day after Grambling president Frank Pogue said improving the weight room was a top priority.

" 'If there is one very good outcome of receiving national attention and focused on Grambling is that it has given us an opportunity to talk about our financial plight, that fact that we have lost 57 percent of our state funding in the past six years,' Pogue said. . . ."

Writing Tuesday on ESPN.com, Samuel G. Freedman said race could not be divorced from the Grambling State situation.

"Race, at least on the surface, is not the issue now," Freedman wrote. "The drop in state aid to Grambling from $31.6 million in 2007-8 to $13.8 million this academic year resulted from legislative budget decisions that affect both historically black institutions like Grambling and originally all-white ones like LSU.

"Yet it would be a terrible mistake to think race does not flow like an underground river beneath this whole situation. The comparatively feeble support for public education in Southern states cannot be separated from the history of segregation and then of white flight from public schools. To this day, Louisiana ranks in the bottom five states nationally in higher-education appropriations per student, according to a recent report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers. The level dropped by 25 percent just from 2011 to 2012.

"Every state in the nation, of course, was afflicted by the recession. But Louisiana was the first state to reject money available under President Obama's stimulus package. [Gov.] Bobby Jindal did so even as the state was facing a $2 billion budget shortfall. For 31 other states, the stimulus money helped offset budget cuts to their universities and colleges. . . ."

. . . NABJ Plans Council to Examine College Student Media

Errin Haines Whack

The National Association of Black Journalists said Tuesday that in light of the Grambling State University conflict with the Grambinlite, the student newspaper, it would convene a Student Media Council to "further examine the relationship between student journalists and administrators, explore how to increase independence and improve the state of student media and continue to raise awareness on these issues."

NABJ issued this statement:

"The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is troubled by the adversarial pattern that persists between administrators and student media at historically black colleges and universities. NABJ continues to stand in support of a free and fair student press as an important voice that should not be censored.

Bob Butler

"At the same time, NABJ believes student journalists should be unbiased and conduct themselves at all times by the same high ethical standards expected of all journalists. NABJ is aware that the online editor at Grambling University's The Gramblinite was purportedly fired for allegedly using the student newspaper to report statements from anonymous sources, and to post photos of some of the University's failing facilities.

"Another student journalist was subsequently suspended following her participation in a student protest, sparked by complaints about dilapidated campus buildings, and also the University's student-teacher ratio. While both students have since been reinstated to their duties, there remains a larger issue around the vulnerability of the student press at [HBCUs] that must be addressed.

" 'These incidents involving The Gramblinite should have been used as opportunities for teachable moments — especially in a learning environment — on the issues of unbiased reporting, press freedoms and journalistic integrity in the Digital Age, but instead have unfolded as another series of unfortunate events between an HBCU administration and its newspaper,' said Errin Haines Whack, NABJ Vice President-Print.

"With an eye [toward] ending this pattern, NABJ will convene a Student Media Council to further examine the relationship between student journalists and administrators, explore how to increase independence and improve the state of student media and continue to raise awareness on these issues.

"Also of grave concern in the Gramblinite matter is the online editor's use of anonymous sources in Twitter posts that was deemed inappropriate by individuals close to the situation. The online editor stated those criticisms are efforts to censors his/the Gramblinite's reporting.

"Admittedly there are concerns on both sides of this issue. We are very disturbed that a fellow journalist, current or former, would attack or question the validity or integrity of the student's reporting. As such, we find it imperative that we not only support and lift up the inherent value of the student press, but that we help ensure student reporters enjoy the same freedoms, protections and considerations as all journalists, even while adhering to the same principles,' said Bob Butler, NABJ President.

" 'We will not support the attempt to muffle authentic journalism on any level — that does not edify what we represent,' Butler said. . . ."

Atlanta Paper Sorry for “40 Acres and a Whole Lotta Mules”

"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has apologized for a tweet that linked to its story about lottery winner Willie Lynch — saying the money could buy '40 acres and a whole lotta mules,' Sara Morrison reported Wednesday for the Wrap.

 'The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sincerely regrets an earlier Twitter message that contained an inappropriate statement,' editor Kevin Riley said in a statement. 'We took immediate action to apologize via social media and on our website and will issue an apology in Thursday morning's print edition.'

"Riley added that AJC did not approve of the tweet and that the people responsible for it would be punished: 'We do not condone such offensive messages and are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again. Additionally, we are taking the appropriate disciplinary action with the individuals involved.'

"Former slaves were once promised 40 acres and a mule after the Civil War as a form of reparations. What possessed an unknown AJC staffer to make the association in the tweet is not known. . . ."

In Poll, Latinos Say Their Community Needs National Leader

Most Hispanics Unable to Name A Hispanic Leader...But Most Say It Is Important for the Community to Have One

"Three-quarters of Latinos living in the U.S. say that their community needs a national leader, but about the same share either cannot name one or don't believe one exists, according to a new national survey of 5,103 Latino adults conducted by the Pew Research Center from May 24 to July 28, 2013," the center said on Wednesday.

"When asked in an open-ended question to name the person they consider 'the most important Hispanic leader in the country today,' 62% say they don't know and an additional 9% say 'no one.'

"In a follow-up question on how important it is for the U.S. Hispanic community to have a national leader advancing its concerns, three-quarters of Hispanic adults say it is 'extremely' (29%) or 'very' important (45%).

"U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were each cited by 5% of survey respondents as the most important Hispanic leader in the country today, followed by former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at 3% and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) at 2%. No one else was mentioned by more than 2% of respondents in the survey. . . ."

Condé Nast Ending Internship Program

"Condé Nast has decided to discontinue its internship program starting in 2014, WWD has learned," Erik Maza reported Wednesday for Women's Wear Daily, referring to the magazine chain. "The end of the program comes after the publisher was sued this summer by two former interns who claimed they were paid below the minimum wage during internships at W and The New Yorker.

"Condé is just one of several media companies facing similar litigation from summer interns. In February 2012, a former intern at Hearst's Harper's Bazaar sued, claiming the magazine violated minimum wage and overtime laws. A judge threw out the case, but the intern appealed and the suit remains unresolved. In another case that was settled in June, two interns who worked for Fox Searchlight successfully sued the studio for similar reasons.

"Several days after that case was settled, Lauren Ballinger, an intern at W in 2009, and Matthew Leib, who worked at The New Yorker in 2009 and 2010, filed their lawsuit, which is still pending. . . ."

Press Group Condemns Violations in Latin America, U.S.

A group representing journalists from across the Americas condemned violations of press freedoms in both Latin America and the United States on Tuesday, including the killings of 14 journalists, the secret seizure of Associated Press phone records and a new censorship law in Ecuador," Colleen Slevin reported Tuesday for the Associated Press.

"The Inter American Press Association also cited the large-scale government acquisition of media outlets in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina as well as advertising restrictions in Argentina aimed at hurting independent media outlets as among the worst problems of the last six months during the final day of its 69th general assembly in Denver.

"In addition to the 14 journalists killed in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Ecuador, Honduras and Paraguay, statutes of limitations for prosecuting the killers of 17 journalists in Colombia and Mexico in previous years is expiring this year, IAPA said in its annual declaration. . . ."

AAJA President Asks for Feedback on Unity

With the pullout of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists from the Unity: Journalists for Diversity coalition, Paul Cheung, national president of the Asian American Journalists Association, asked AAJA members for feedback before the next Unity board meeting in December.

"The UNITY we knew in 1994 is gone," Cheung wrote on Wednesday. "The newsroom you knew in 1994 is also gone. That's a fact. But the same battles remain, as long as the issue of diversity remains a problem in our industry.

"I personally don't believe retreating to silos will advance our cause for greater diversity. Since July, the alliance presidents have been working on several proposals to fundamentally restructure UNITY — so we can be more nimble, flexible and financially sound. AAJA has taken a key leadership role in coming up with solutions.

"In the coming weeks, we hope to address these critical issues — including revisiting UNITY's mission, finances and governance. . . . "

Short Takes

  • "The future just got a bit cloudier for the newspaper industry," Catherine Taibi reported Tuesday for the Huffington Post. "A recent news release by Gannett, which owns USA Today and 81 other community newspapers, suggests that the newspaper industry will lose more than $1 billion in advertising revenue this year. Poynter crunched the numbers on Tuesday, estimating that if advertising losses are already at 5.3 percent this year, the industry will ultimately bring in approximately $1.18 billion less in 2013 than it did in 2012. . . ." 

  • Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., "declined to jump on the Washington Redskins name change bandwagon" at a town hall meeting in Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks reported Tuesday for the Phoenix Business Journal. "McCain — a [longstanding] member on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs — said he understands why Native Americans would find the Redskins football team's nickname offensive. But McCain added he is not going to ask Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the team's name. The team faces political pressure and legal challenges to its trademarks and copyrights from critics including some Native Americans. . . ." 

  • "Reporters Without Borders condemns the violence and other forms of intimidation and censorship being used against a campaign of peaceful demonstrations, called a Minga, that indigenous groups are currently waging in many parts of Colombia to defend their rights," the press freedom group reported on Tuesday. "In one of the latest instances, the home of Daniel Maestre Villazón, a community journalist and Minga coordinator in the northern department of César, was burgled on 21 October and his laptops and computer hard disks were stolen. Three indigenous journalists were physically attacked by riot police in the southwestern department of Cauca on 17 October, while a paramilitary group called the 'Rastrojos' circulated a leaflet on 15 October threatening community leaders and journalists participating in the Minga. Whenever a Minga is staged, indigenous groups and their news media are the targets of intimidation and violence with the clear aim of censoring their message . . .,' Reporters Without Borders said. 

  • "Somali authorities must work quickly to identify the motive in today's murder attempt on a broadcast reporter and bring the perpetrators to justice," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday. "The journalist, Mohamed Mohamud, has been hospitalized with serious injuries. Unidentified gunmen in a car shot repeatedly at Mohamed's car as he was driving to work at about 7 a.m. in the Wadajir district of the capital, Mogadishu, according to local journalists. He sustained six bullet wounds in his neck, chest, and shoulder, news reports said. He has undergone surgery at a local hospital, but is still unconscious, local journalists said. . . ." 

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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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