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Gumbel Doesn't Have Lung Cancer, Friend Says

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Big Difference" Between Condition, News Reports

Stephen A. Smith Reportedly Starting Fox Radio Show

3 of Color Among Buyouts at New York Times

Juju Chang Picked for "Good Morning America" Spot

Last Black Reporter Leaves McClatchy's Wichita Eagle

Obama Delivers on Open Government Directive

Tiger Woods Scandal Tests Mainstream Sportswriters

Bay Area Service Honors "Media Martyrs" in Philippines

Paper's Gift Guide for People of Color Is "Racist"

Bryant Gumbel told Kelly Ripa, "They opened up my chest, they took out a malignant tumor, they took out part of my lung and they took out some other goodies." (Video)

"Big Difference" Between Condition, News Reports

Bryant Gumbel does not have lung cancer, as has been widely reported on the Internet and even on the evening news at Gumbel's old network, NBC, a friend of Gumbel told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

"A tumor was removed from his chest cavity. It was malignant. It was adjacent to his lung. Lung cancer is much more aggressive than what Bryant had," said Sean Cassidy, a friend of Gumbel and president of DKC, a New York public relations firm.

"There's a very big difference between Bryant Gumbel's condition and what has been reported in the press."

Cassidy said he could not explain why part of Gumbel's lung had to be removed, saying he was not a doctor. 

The story broke on Tuesday, as David Bauder explained for the Associated Press:

"The former 'Today' show anchor, 61, said a malignant tumor and part of his lung were removed two months ago. He revealed his condition to Kelly Ripa while subbing for Regis Philbin on Tuesday's edition of 'Live With Regis and Kelly,'" Bauder wrote. "(Philbin recently had hip replacement surgery.)

"'It's nothing to hide from,' Gumbel said. 'They opened up my chest, they took out a malignant tumor, they took out part of my lung and they took out some other goodies.

" 'Even with the surgery, some aggressive cancer cells had escaped, 'so I went through some treatment and it's done now,' he said."

"Gumbel said he and his wife, Hilary Quinlan, had wanted to keep the news private. He said he had even kept his staff at the HBO sports newsmagazine 'Real Sports' in the dark. HBO said Gumbel didn't miss an episode, taping shows on both Sept. 15 and Oct. 27.

"'We hope,' he said. 'We HOPE, it's over.'"

Those words apparently fueled the speculation that the cancer, assumed to be in his lung, was still active.

But Cassidy said, "When you're diagnosed with cancer, it has to be monitored. His prognosis is very good." He said he was eager to set the record straight when he saw the news reports. Bauder later reported Cassidy's clarification.

Even the "NBC Nightly News," on the network where Gumbel was a fixture on "Today," reported that Gumbel had lung cancer.

"Bryant Gumbel, a veteran of the 'Today' show and a friend to many of us, surprised a national television audience today when he revealed on 'Live with Regis and Kelly' he is suffering from - recovering from surgery for lung cancer," Brian Williams told viewers on Tuesday.

"He said it was done two months ago. Doctors removed a malignant tumor and part of his lung and then some. Now that he's had some follow-up treatment he said he's feeling well. Our friend Bryant - a proud product of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine - is a youthful 61 years of age. And we wish him only the best."

Stephen A. Smith Reportedly Starting Fox Radio Show

Stephen A. SmithFox Sports Radio host Steve Czaban told listeners this week that his show is being canceled to make way for Stephen A. Smith, the Philadelphia Inquirer columnist whose paper refuses to publish him in a continuing dispute.

Czaban's posting follows a similar announcement Sunday by Geraldo Rivera, who hosted Smith on his Fox News show in a discussion of Tiger Woods' penchant for white women. Smith was introduced as "our newest soon-to-be host on Fox Sports Radio."

On the sports blog "The Big Lede" on Wednesday, editor Jason McIntyre quoted from Czaban's posting, which has been described as "somewhat unhinged" and has since been taken down: 

" 'My contract with Fox Sports Radio has not been renewed. The last day of the 'Steve Czaban Show' is scheduled for December 23rd,'" McIntyre quoted Czaban as saying. "In a blog post, Czabe gives some good behind-the-scenes details of what went on, and offers up news that may not go down easy to Fox Radio listeners – Stephen A. Smith is his replacement."

McIntyre was right about the reaction. "The cancellation of the Steve Czaban show is a huge mistake! Then, to replace Czaban with Stephen A. Smith? Wow, talk about doubling down on stupidity," one reader wrote on Czaban's site. While the original posting by Czaban has been altered, the readers' comments remain.

Czaban, known also as "Czabe," airs weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday, and is transmitted in more than 110 markets, according to Czaban's Web site. "The show is also heard on XM Channel 142, and replayed from 12-3 p.m. EST to accommodate West Coast listeners who can't hear his show live."

If Smith starts the Fox Radio show, it could escalate differences between Smith and the Inquirer management, which reluctantly complied with an arbitrator's decision to reinstate him after firing him in 2007, but now won't publish his work.

"The employer complied with the award to reinstate Smith, but on his first day back, was told in order to publish his columns, Smith would have to pledge to agree to an Inquirer code of ethics, and wanted to prohibit Smith's outside work, " Bill Ross, executive director of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers Association of America Local 38010, told Journal-isms last month. The Guild has filed a grievance.

Fox Sports Radio could not find an appropriate spokesman Wednesday night, and Smith's lawyer, Johnine Barnes, said she would have a statement on Thursday.

3 of Color Among Buyouts at New York Times

Jennifer 8. LeeJennifer 8. Lee, Nicole Collins and Jonathan D. Glater are among the New York Times journalists of color who are leaving in response to the paper's request for 100 buyouts to avoid layoffs.

"More than 80 years of experience is leaving when we say goodbye to Ralph Blumenthal, Nicole Collins, Paul Nielsen, Tina Kelley and Jenny 8. Lee. Join us in a toast at 6 p.m. in the Page One conference room, Metro Editor Joe Sexton said in a memo Thursday published on the Gawker Web site.

He said Collins, an assistant metro editor, "had barely begun to taste the huge success she was so clearly destined for."

". . . Then there's Jenny 8. Lee, who has spent the last two years as one of the creative and daring and agile brains behind City Room, and her instincts and inventiveness have helped make it the second most popular blog in our empire."

Lee, 33, is also the author of "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food." Starting as a technology reporter at the Times nine years ago, spending two years in Washington and then working on the City Room blog, Lee developed a reputation as a trend spotter. She has also been a judge of the Knight News Challenge, "a competition [that] offers up to $5 million for innovative ideas using digital experiments to transform community news."

Sexton's reference to "80 years of experience" applied only to his Metro staff. Glater worked in the Business Day section.

Juju Chang Picked for "Good Morning America" Spot

Juju ChangABC correspondent Juju Chang will take Chris Cuomo's spot as news anchor on "Good Morning America" in a shuffle that sees George Stephanopoulos co-hosting the show starting Monday. He succeeds Diane Sawyer, who moves to "World News," Howard Kurtz reported Wednesday for the Washington Post.

Chang also writes a blog about balancing work and family, called "Juju Juggles," Kurtz noted.

"The co-host Robin Roberts and the weatherman Sam Champion are expected to keep their jobs on 'G.M.A.' The anchor changes — expected to be announced on Thursday — will restore a two-man, two-woman gender balance to the show," Brian Stelter and Bill Carter reported Wednesday in the New York Times.

"Chang, who joined ABC News in 1991, has been working on several projects for ABC News magazines, and has been filling in on 'Good Morning America Weekend, ' " Chris Ariens wrote Wednesday for MediaBistro.

"Insiders tell us Chang did not campaign for the job — she and her husband, former NBC News president Neal Shapiro, have three young sons — but rather that executives looked at a compilation of the work she'd been doing for the network, then brought her in for a test with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos last week.

"'They felt that she had a certain chemistry with George and Robin,' says an insider. 'In the end it basically came down to chemistry.'"

Last Black Reporter Leaves McClatchy's Wichita Eagle

Jonathan Long, a high school sports reporter who was the last African American reporter at the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, left Kansas' largest newspaper on Monday, his editors told Journal-isms.

Long's departure follows that of columnist Mark McCormick, Christina M. Woods, a cultural affairs reporter, and Jeffrey H. Martin, who covered Kansas State University athletics, as reported in September.

Remaining is an African American Web producer, Eba Hamid, who started at the end of September. A Hampton University graduate, she arrived from the Sun-Herald in Biloxi, Miss.

NAACP's Kevin Myles"It's tragic," Kevin Myles, Wichita Branch NAACP president and president of the Kansas State Conference of NAACP Branches, told Journal-isms.

He said he was particularly struck when the Eagle ran a wire story about an elephant out of state but failed to cover the statewide NAACP conference held in Wichita for the first time in 76 years. "I thought that was so sad," he said.

Even sadder, he said, "The only time the community seems to be afforded coverage is when they have a black reporter to cover it."

In September, Sherry Chisenhall, editor of the McClatchy-owned paper, told Journal-isms that the paper will attempt "to start over and rebuild the diversity on our news staff. No one is nonchalant about the importance of that."

She said this week, "I have nothing to add beyond the comments I sent you in September. Jonathan Long's voluntary resignation does not change anything in what I've already said."

Long, 27, said he wanted to pursue sports management or sports marketing by going back to school in the Wichita area, and that this just seemed like a good time to do it. With the irregular hours of a high-school sports reporter, he said, it was difficult to schedule classes.

Speaking of McCormick, who had left, Long said in September that "It was a big deal to me when I got here that there was an African American metro columnist, somebody who was a hometown guy."

Steve Kroft, shown interviewing Barack Obama in November 2008 as president-elect, has snared Obama again for a "60 Minutes" telecast Sunday. Topics are Afghanistan, Pakistan, jobs and White House security. (Credit: Aaron Tomlinson for CBS News)

Obama Delivers on Open Government Directive

"Advocates for greater freedom of information are expressing approval of the Obama administration’s new ‘Open Government Directive’ — but some are sounding cautionary notes that executive agencies are still hiding behind 'national security' to conceal government misconduct," William Fisher wrote Thursday for Inter-Press Service.

"The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued its ‘Open Government Directive’ Tuesday, instructing government agencies and departments to take specific actions to increase 'transparency, participation and collaboration' in government, with the aim of creating 'an unprecedented and sustained level of openness and accountability in every agency.'

"The directive is intended to make good on the pledge of transparency President Barack Obama made during his first week in office. It establishes deadlines for action and imposes guidelines for publishing government information and improving the quality of that information. It also orders each agency to establish an ‘Open Government Plan’ that details how it will incorporate transparency, opportunities for public participation, and inter- agency collaboration into its core mission objectives."

Meanwhile, CBS-TV announced that Obama had given his first extensive interview since announcing his troop build-up in Afghanistan last week to Steve Kroft, who has interviewed Obama as candidate, president-elect and president. The interview is to be broadcast on "60 Minutes" on Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

"President Obama talks about his plans for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the economy and the creation of jobs and reacts to the breach in security at last week’s White House state dinner," the network said.

Tiger Woods Scandal Tests Mainstream Sportswriters

"If superstar golfer Tiger Woods hoped time and lying low would stay the onslaught of tabloid coverage, he appears to have badly misread the green that's associated with a big-time scandal," Eric Deggans wrote Tuesday in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

"A growing list of women purporting to have had relationships with Woods has kept media outlets such as the New York Post, and the National Enquirer chasing the story for nearly two weeks. It's a frenzied battle for more readers, and the ad dollars that come with them.

"And as the possible tally grows to nine women associated with the man once known as the most disciplined athlete in sports, even mainstream sports journalists find themselves pulled into covering a personal scandal they may not want to touch at all.

". . . In the same way high profile affairs by politicians such as Bill Clinton have made infidelity stories more routine for political reporters, now mainstream sports journalists may have to spend more time dissecting rumors of catting around by the athletes on their beat. That, or risk losing audience and bragging rights to the TMZs of the media world."

Meanwhile, the Associated Press' Jesse Washington, who said he drew a 60-40 negative reaction for a piece that said reported that "little attention has been given to the race of the women linked with the world's greatest golfer," found some support in a column by the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson.

"Woods's self-esteem was apparently only boosted by bedding the kind of woman he thought other men lusted after — the 'Playmate of the Month' type that Hugh Hefner turned into the American gold standard," Robinson wrote.

"But the world is full of beautiful women of all colors, shapes and sizes — some with short hair or almond eyes, some with broad noses, some with yellow or brown skin. Woods appears to have bought into an 'official' standard of beauty that is so conventional as to be almost oppressive."

Bay Area Service Honors "Media Martyrs" in Philippines

"When the news broke out that 31 journalists had been murdered in the Philippines, media practitioners around the world — including those in the San Francisco Bay Area — have been enraged by the heinous tragedy," Marconi Calindas of GMANews.TV wrote on Friday.

"The San Francisco Bay Area-based Philippine American Press Club immediately organized its members to honor and assist the families of the journalists that were brutally killed.

". . . The US-based Fil-Am Press Club held a memorial mass for the 'media martyrs' on Wednesday night at the St. Patrick’s Church in downtown San Francisco. It was celebrated by Rev. Alex Pablo.

"Inquirer.Net and Philippine News columnist Emil Guillermo served as the master of ceremonies.

"Guillermo introduced other speakers including Filipinas Magazine publisher and columnist Greg Macabenta, Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Marciano Paynor, Jr., California Senator Leland Yee, Asian American Journalists Association’s Annabelle A. Udo-O’Malley and New America Media chief of staff, news anchor and producer Odette Keeley.

Guillermo wrote on his blog, "From afar, the mass. . . was a good first response.

"Phil Bronstein, the editor-at-large of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Bay Area’s premier newspaper was among the speakers. Phil’s work made him a finalist for the [Pulitzer]. He said Maguindanao reminded him of the danger while covering Marcos," refererences to the province where the massacres took place and former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos.

" 'I had a few people threaten me so I felt briefly that discomforting sometimes scary sense of mortality and vulnerability,' Bronstein told the audience. 'But I could also leave anytime I want and come home.' It was his way of describing the difference between the American on assignment and the native journalist, whose daily work is an act of courage and freedom.

" 'This many journalists killed is an estimable [loss],' Bronstein said. 'The work of these slain journalist[s] is a vital part of the frabirc of any democracy.'

"Bronstein suggested that we 'do anything to press Philippine authorities to justice in this case.'”

Paper's Gift Guide for People of Color Is "Racist"

A Web site that monitors the New York Times has found fault with a Times gift guide that targets people of color.

"Somali fashion, do-it-yourself henna kits, children's books that draw inspiration from the lives of Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor: it's not hard to find gifts created for and by people of color this holiday season. Here are some possibilities," begins the listing by Simone S. Oliver, a black journalist.

"We don't like to throw around words like 'racist' in the same sentence as the NYT's name, but there's no other word we can think of to describe this page in the NYT's annual Holiday Gift Guide — called 'Of Color/Stylish Gifts' and aimed exclusively at the paper's non-white readers," the author of an item on the Nytpicker site wrote on Tuesday.

"Or, as the NYT describes it, 'gifts created for and by people of color.'

"Found in the 'Style & Travel' section of the Gift Guide, it stands alongside sections called 'Frugal Travel,' 'Chic and Cheerful,' and 'Cosmetic Enhancements.'

"But this page is the only one aimed squarely at readers whose skin isn't white in color — and it's the first time we can remember a gift guide, anywhere, openly defining its offerings by their appeal to a specific racial group.

"Can you imagine the NYT designating a section of its Holiday Gift Guide to presents made 'for and by white people'? Or Jews? Or Chinese? Of course you can't. . . ."

The Times did not respond to requests for comment.

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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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