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McClatchy Retirees Lose Health Care Benefit

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

30-Paper Chain Directs Ex-Workers to New Exchanges

Militia in Mall Attack Has Terrorized, Killed Journalists

Arnold García Retiring as Opinion Editor in Austin

AAJA's Paul Cheung to Lead AP Digital News Production

Muslim Producer for "On the Media" Detained at Border

Reports on Racist Tweets Called Lazy Journalism

Advertisers Spend Only 3 Percent on Black Media

CNBC Host Apologizes for Quip About Indian Americans

NAHJ Puts Fox on Blast Over Chris Wallace Segment

Short Takes


30-Paper Chain Directs Ex-Workers to New Exchanges

"McClatchy Co. (MNI), owner of 30 daily U.S. newspapers, plans to end its health-care plan for retirees at the end of next year, joining a wave of companies reassessing their coverage as the new Affordable Care Act goes into effect," Edmund Lee reported Tuesday for Bloomberg News.

"As the company's coverage ends, retirees will have to choose between purchasing insurance from exchanges, which are being set up as part of President Barack Obama's health-care legislation, or pay a $95 tax penalty for failing to buy a health plan. . . ."

The action will affect only 51 employees, according to Dale Kasler, writing Tuesday in McClatchy's Sacramento Bee, but the Bloomberg  headline, "McClatchy to Shut Down Retirees' Health-Care Plan by End of 2014," fed into the negative perception of the Affordable Care Act trumpeted by critics. Moreover, McClatchy isn't the only business that has decided that creation of health care exchanges, which begin Oct. 1, means that company-offered retiree health plans are unnecessary.

"Sacramento-based McClatchy said the decision will affect a total of 51 employees," Kasler wrote. "Almost all of those retirees worked for the former Knight Ridder Inc. newspapers and had subsidized coverage 'grandfathered' in after McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder in 2006, said McClatchy spokesman Peter Tira.

"The vast majority of McClatchy's retirees don't get subsidized health care, the company said. . . ."

The story continued, " 'We think the health care exchange is really a better program,' said Nancy Williams, McClatchy's employee benefits director. 'You're probably going to get better coverage and a better rate.'

"Other companies that have announced recently they are ending retiree health plans and steering employees to the exchanges are Time Warner Inc. and General Electric Co."

One of the health-care law's critics is Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who delivered a 21-hour speech decrying the health-care law on the Senate floor.

Cruz wasn't done when the speech ended, Michael A. Memoli reported Wednesday for the Tribune Washington Bureau. "Within the hour, he was on Rush Limbaugh's afternoon radio talk show.

"And when Limbaugh asked if he would stay for another segment, Cruz replied: 'I'm here as long as you like.' "

Despite the attention-getting ploy, the progressive website reported that major newspapers across the country downplayed Cruz's speech, according to a survey of front pages, "and just half of newspapers in Texas led with the junior senator's effort. . . . ," Igor Volsky wrote.

Meanwhile, responding to surveys showing confusion about the new law among the general population, many news outlets made efforts to explain the law's provisions.

"In less than a week, health insurance market exchanges will open across the nation and more than 40 million Americans, including 7 million uninsured Blacks, who were previously shut out of the health care system, will finally get access to the care they need," Freddie Allen wrote for the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, which serves the black press.

Some journalists, such as Michel Martin of NPR and Ray Suarez of the  "PBS NewsHour," referred to the law by its proper name, the Affordable Care Act, rather than by the "Obamacare" label popularized by the law's detractors, then adopted by Obama himself and by many other journalists.

The administration, in its own media offensive, released a state-by-state breakdown of the law's effects, "scoring front page stories in newspapers in Miami, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, and other cities," David Jackson reported Wednesday in USA Today.

"The report also made the front pages in Dallas and Houston, the biggest cities in Texas. That's the home state of Republican senator Ted Cruz, who waged a form of filibuster these past two days against 'Obamacare.' . . ."

As part of the outreach to journalists, the White House is hosting a membership meeting of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists on Oct. 24. "Senior Obama Administration officials will brief us on the President’s priorities for the Latino Community including the Affordable Healthcare Act and Immigration Reform," the chapter announced.

Militia in Mall Attack Has Terrorized, Killed Journalists

BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski set off a wave of Twitter ridicule aimed at MSNBC's

"The bloody attack against the Westgate mall in Kenya on 21 September 2013 has brought to the international community's attention the cowardly and [terrorizing] methods used by the Somali militia Al-Shabaab, a long-standing '[Enemy] of freedom of information,' " Reporters Without Borders said on Wednesday.

"Since relinquishing control of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011 and suffering other military setbacks, Al-Shabaab, an enemy of information but apparently a Twitter aficionado, has fallen back on terrorist methods, including bombings and summary executions in which journalists and other news and information providers are too often the victims.

"Reporters Without Borders has counted more than 45 journalists murdered in Somalia since 2007, with most of these killings attributed to Al-Shabaab. So far, 2012 has been the worst year, with a total of 18 journalists slain. It left Somalia as runner-up to Syria for the title of the world's deadliest country for news providers. Somalia is ranked 170th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

The press-freedom group also said, "At this time, Kenya is host to thousands of Somali refugees, including dozens of journalists in exile who have fled the dictatorial regime imposed up until 2011 by Al-Shabaab, and the dangerous situation that the militia continues to maintain in many parts of Somalia."

Meanwhile, Daily Nation, one of the biggest newspapers in Kenya, on Monday apologized to the Chinese victim of an attack on the Nairobi mall. The newspaper published a face shot photo of the Chinese victim on the front page on Sunday, "which is be seen to be disrespectful to the victim and causes discomfort to the readers," the Beijing-based Forum on China-Africa Cooperation reported.

However, the Media Council of Kenya applauded the local media overall for covering the Westgate incident in a sensitive manner, Nairobi-based Capital FM reported Tuesday. "The council's Chief Executive Officer Harun Mwangi said the media has come of age in reporting such matters, saying it had successfully rallied the nation to unity.

" 'Because of your responsible reporting, Kenyans have remained united in mourning and condemning the attack,' Mwangi said. 'This is not a common occurrence and there are challenges when it comes to reporting.' " Mwangi said the council intends to organize counseling sessions for journalists who covered the incident.

Arnold García Retiring as Opinion Editor in Austin

Arnold García

Arnold García, believed to be one of only five Latino editorial page editors at mainstream newspapers in the country and the only Hispanic holding the position in Texas, is retiring after 38 years at the Austin American-Statesman. For 22 of those years, García led the editorial pages, the paper reported over the weekend.

The others are John Diaz of the San Francisco Chronicle, Mariel Garza of the Los Angeles Daily News, Brian Calle of the Orange County Register and Myriam Marquez of the Miami Herald. The list was slightly longer just a few years ago, but has diminished with changes of assignment.

"Those 22 years have made him the longest-serving editorial page editor among the state's metro papers," Debbie Hiott, editor of the paper, wrote on Saturday.

"It has been a distinguished tenure, and it would be difficult to overstate the impact that García, 65, has had on this paper and the community it covers.

"On these pages in recent years, García and his staff have led the campaign for affordability in Central Texas government, pushing for elected officials to be more accountable not only to their agencies but also to the taxpayers and renters who pay for the operation of those agencies. He also introduced weekly Two Views columns on local issues, which allowed more people to join the debate on the editorial pages.

"But García’s leadership at the Statesman extends far beyond the opinion section.

"His efforts to shape the quality of coverage in the paper over the past couple of decades didn't occur through news assignments, as he understands and believes in the separation between news content and opinions. But he has been an eager mentor to many reporters and editors in the newsroom.

"García has also been an honest critic regarding mistakes we've made or coverage we've missed, all in the spirit of pushing the paper to become better. I hope that continues when he's a reader and no longer an editor.

"One of a handful of Latino editorial page editors in the country, García has been at the forefront of efforts in the newsroom to try [to] make sure coverage of Austin truly reflects the diversity of the community in which we live. He was at the table for the creation of our Spanish language paper, ahora sí, and he has been involved more recently as we have discussed strategies to better reach Central Texas' fastest growing demographic, Hispanic residents. . . ."

Hiott also said, "García has given us time to search for a replacement and help with the transition."

Asked Wednesday about his plans, Garcia told Journal-isms by email, "I haven't really explored much in the way of possibilities because I didn't want to risk word getting around that I was using my present position to leverage something else. As you well know, minorities have to be acutely sensitive to anything that resembles a conflict of interest, so I just avoided discussing anything with anyone.

"Now that the word is out, I'm being just as careful because I'm staying through the transition. I've enjoyed doing this, am grateful for the opportunity to tell a few stories that otherwise would not have been told."

AAJA's Paul Cheung to Lead AP Digital News Production

Paul Cheung

"I'm pleased to announce that Paul Cheung is now AP's director of interactive and digital news production," Lou Ferrara, director of interactive and digital news production at the Associated Press, wrote to AP staffers on Tuesday.

"Paul joined the AP newsroom in 2010 after roles at the Miami Herald and the Wall Street Journal. Most recently, he's been serving as the president of the Asian American Journalists Association, where [he] has received rave reviews from colleagues throughout the industry for his leadership and approach in building the organization.

"Paul has been in the interim director role at the AP for the past several months, leading the team responsible for some of the company's key products and innovation areas: interactives, data analysis and visualization, video explainers, mapping, GraphicsBank, news research, AP Overview and print graphics. The team — which includes staff at several AP offices around the world — also has been instrumental in the launch of the online products known as the digital news experiences, as well as parts of AP Mobile.

In this new role, Paul will oversee more of the production of those digital products . . ."

Muslim Producer for "On the Media" Detained at Border

Sarah Abdurrahman"On The Media producer Sarah Abdurrahman learned the dark side of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when her family and two other cars full of Muslim-Americans were detained at length for no apparent reason other than their religion," Harrison Jacobs reported Tuesday for Business Insider.

"Officials at Niagara Falls allegedly harassed and searched Abdurrahman and her family, kept them in an uncomfortably cold room, and refused even basic information about their situation. Two other families driving home from the same wedding in Toronto reported similar treatment.

"In a segment for On The Media, Abdurrahman characterized the treatment from CBP as 'dehumanizing.'

" 'It was freezing. I felt like I had goose bumps the whole time I was there,' Abdulla Darrat, Abdurrahman's husband told On The Media, of the room they were held in. 'Everybody was like putting their arms in their shirt, and there's points where my teeth were chattering.'

"The families held at the Detroit border were allegedly told by CBP to leave their phones in the car but that they would not be searched. Shortly thereafter, the officers allegedly demanded that they unlock them so that they could search their contents. . . ."

"On the Media" airs on NPR and originates at WNYC-FM in New York.

Reports on Racist Tweets Called Lazy Journalism

"There are racists living in America," Lori Tharps wrote Wednesday for Columbia Journalism Review. "This is not news. And yet, when Nina Davuluri, an Indian American, was crowned Miss America on September 15, it sparked a flurry of angry tweets by unhappy racists, causing several reputable news outlets to take note.

Tharps also wrote, "Twenty years ago, the word we would be using would be sensationalism.

"The decision to reprint racist tweets is an easy way to draw readers to a news outlet. BuzzFeed's Miss America 'listicle' of racist tweets generated over 5 million views and 15,000 retweets. But still, that doesn't mean any actual news was shared. In fact, an opportunity to examine bias and discrimination was lost as most news outlets simply characterized the Miss America story as an example of good, old-fashioned American racism, when in fact it highlighted a growing trend of native born vs. immigrant conflict outpacing Black vs. White racism in this country.

"Basically, because we in the United States of America still don't know how to have an intelligent conversation about race, writing about it proves to be even harder. Couple that universal discomfort with homogenous newsrooms and the likelihood of covering diversity issues with sophistication and finesse shrinks even further. . . ."

Advertisers Spend Only 3 Percent on Black Media

"Although annual Black spending is projected to rise from its current $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion by 2017, advertisers allot only 3 percent of their $2.2 billion yearly budget to media aimed at Black audiences, a new Nielsen report has found," George E. Curry reported Wednesday for the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service.

"The study, 'Resilient, Receptive and Relevant: The African-American Consumer 2013 Report,' was released at a news conference Thursday at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). The findings were released by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice-president, public affairs and government relations for Nielsen, and Cloves Campbell, chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Arizona Informant.

" 'Advertising expenditures geared specifically toward Black audiences reflected only three percent of advertising dollars spent,' the report stated. 'Advertisers spent $75 billion on television, radio, internet, and magazine ads in 2012, with only $2.24 billion of that spent with media focused on Black audiences. . . .' ”

CNBC Host Apologizes for Quip About Indian Americans

"The host of CNBC's 'Squawk Box,' Joe Kernen, knew he was treading on dangerous territory during a conversation last Friday about India's currency," Bobby Caina Calvan wrote Wednesday for the Asian American Journalists Association, for which he is Media Watch chair. "Yet Mr. Kernen knowingly stepped in it when he used accented speech and ethnic stereotypes when talking about the rupee.

"The program's co-hosts, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin, knew better. Ms. Quick even admonished Mr. Kernen, telling him to stop. Yet Kernen proceeded. He spoke with a mocking accent when referring to [Mahatma] Gandhi. He also asked, presumably of Indians, 'Are they good at 7 -Eleven?'

"Ms. Quick rightly called the comment 'insulting.'

"While we are glad Mr. Kernen has issued a statement, we at the Asian American Journalists Association joined the Indian American community and others in expressing earlier concern. . . ."

Ryan Chittum added in Columbian Journalism Review, "the coup de grâce is that Kernen's boss — CNBC's editor in chief — is Nik Deogun, who hails from… Kolkata.

"For once, somebody making fun of Indian immigrants has to answer to an Indian immigrant. Kernen should call him 'sir.' "

NAHJ Puts Fox on Blast Over Chris Wallace Segment

"The National Association of Hispanic Journalists doesn’t think a recent Fox News segment was very fair and balanced," the Huffington Post reported Wednesday.

"NAHJ President Hugo Balta blasted the conservative news organization for mischaracterizing Latinos in a segment that referred to U.S. citizens with undocumented parents as 'children of the corn.'

"Chris Wallace guest-hosted the Sept. 19 edition of Fox News 'Special Report, according to Media Matters, where he covered a recent analysis by Los Angeles county that estimated undocumented parents would receive some $650 million in government benefits this year. But the segment did not clarify that the undocumented immigrants received the assistance to benefit their U.S. citizen children.

"As Wallace spoke, a graphic appeared in the upper right corner reading 'children of the corn,' the title of Stephen King horror story that has been adapted to film. It's not clear what the term meant, though presumably it refers to role of corn in the Mexican diet. . . ."

Balta wrote, "There have been many speculations as to what this meant – but one thing is certain it invoked a negative image. . . ." He added, "The economic impact of the Latino community is 55+ million strong. Many are immigrants who are pumping nearly $1 trillion dollar into the U.S. economy. . . ."

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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Never enough media coverage on racism in America

It must be nice being a sheltered academic not being concerned about racism in our nation. According to hollow wisdom of the elitist posturing of the learned professor excessive reporting of racism is never appropriate and has no value. In a nation where the legacy of racism altered present day reality for Black folks and others to read a backward and in some venues a destructive essay that indicts the reporting of racism is truly offensive . Must be nice being naive in America not being concerned at about the volume racism in our nation.

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