Heart & Soul Still Owes Writers Thousands
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
More than a year after the National Writers Union and representatives of Heart & Soul magazine agreed that a dozen freelance writers and editors would collect more than $125,000 in unpaid fees, the health and wellness magazine has paid only about half of what it promised, according to the union.
"We are still fighting to get our second grievance resolved," Larry Goldbetter, union president, told Journal-isms by email on Wednesday. "So far we've collected over $60k for 12 writers, about half of what the settlement calls for. We have a third group waiting in the wings. Please send any interested folks my way."
Asked to explain the second grievance, Goldbetter wrote, "The second grievance is the group of 12 women we have been representing for about 2 years now. There is a third group that is not a part of this settlement, who we will pursue after we have made sure this settlement is honored."
Allegra Bennett, who describes herself as a contractor doing business as a writing and editing consultancy, told her Facebook friends Wednesday that she was so frustrated that she had to go public.
"Such a shame to say this but I must," Bennett wrote. "If Heart & Soul magazine contacts you to write for them be prepared not to get paid. Their business model appears to be theft of services. The CEO's way of addressing writers he owes money is to ignore them. This is a public service announcement."
Bennett told Journal-isms by email, "The owners appeared to have disappeared without paying their bills — or at least their bill to me which is over $1,200. CEO Clarence Brown contracted me to do a couple Q&A stories for the magazine earlier this year. I delivered, he used them and now won't respond to any of my emails and requests/demands for payment. Trying to avoid the next legal step and for this amount of money I can't possibly just let it go without doing something."
Neither Brown, president and CEO, nor Patrick H. Detry, executive vice president, advertising, responded to messages left Wednesday at the company's Silver Spring, Md., headquarters.
Heart & Soul has had a rocky time since journalist George Curry and his partners in Brown Curry Detry Taylor & Associates, LLC announced in January 2012 that they had bought the then-18-year-old health and wellness publication from Edwin V. Avent, a Baltimore-based businessman who now heads a nascent cable network, Soul of the South.
The new Heart & Soul owners promised to compensate a group of angry writers who said they were owed more than $200,000 in back pay. But after failure to satisfy the writers and other setbacks, Curry said in November 2012 that he had resigned as executive vice president/content and editorial director.
In a statement dated April 2, 2013, the union announced a settlement with the owners. Goldbetter wrote then, "This settlement goes far beyond a national magazine making the long overdue payment to our members for work they performed. It sends a signal to the growing number of freelance writers and the publishers that profit from our work, that — in this new economy of independent workers — we can effectively organize into unions. We can fight to protect our interests."
Allison Keyes, mid-Atlantic correspondent for NPR and a reporter at the network since 2002, has left the network as it eliminates 28 positions to address a budget deficit. NPR's response to the deficit includes cancellation of the multicultural midday magazine show "Tell Me More."
An automated message from Keyes tells correspondents to her NPR email address, "I am leaving NPR to pursue a freelance career as a journalist, public relations and communications specialist.
"If you have business with NPR, please contact National Desk Editor Vickie Walton-James.
"However, please update my contact information and e-mail and continue to pitch me stories as I will remain in DC and will still be covering everything from politics to music and civil rights.
"I'm looking forward to working with you in the future. . . ."
NPR is projecting a deficit of $6.1 million in its current fiscal year, or about 3 percent of its projected revenue of $178 million. It announced last month it is ending production of "Tell Me More," the multicultural daily magazine hosted by Michel Martin that began in 2007, effective Aug. 1. Kinsey Wilson, NPR's executive vice president and chief content officer, promised a wider role for Martin and said of the "Tell Me More" staff, "We'll do our utmost to place everyone on the show."
NPR spokeswoman Isabel Lara told Journal-isms by email Wednesday, "There were 28 positions eliminated on May 20th & 8 were unfilled, 9 from Tell Me More and 11 from the newsroom. Several new positions have been created and are posted on the NPR website and others are posted internally, they have not been filled yet. Some of the staff whose positions were eliminated have applied for these open positions. It is too early in the process to know how many of them will stay at NPR."
By the church's estimate, nearly 900 people attended services Tuesday for Raymond H. Boone, the old-school founder, editor and publisher of the weekly Richmond (Va.) Free Press who died June 3 at age 76. Many more were able to watch the tributes online.
The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church made a television feed available and at least two Richmond stations took advantage of it. Another 2,500 watched via the church's website, Joyce J. Jefferson, executive assistant to Bishop G.O. Glenn, told Journal-isms by telephone.
WTVR-TV, the CBS affiliate, still had video of the service on its website, and it will remain there "as long as there is demand," general manager Stephen Hayes told Journal-isms by telephone.
Samantha Willis, digital content manager of WRIC-TV, the ABC affiliate, said her station also livestreamed the occasion, and the streaming accompanied a story that called it "a tearful, yet celebratory service."
Among the speakers was Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who said he was missing five Senate votes because "without Ray Boone I may not have cast one vote in the U.S. Senate." Boone endorsed Kaine for mayor of Richmond when Kaine was a member of the City Council, setting him on a path to become governor and then U.S. senator. Kaine won the mayor's race by fewer than 100 votes, and he attributed the victory to Boone.
Kaine said black voters rightly questioned why they should vote for a white mayor of a city that by 1977 had become majority black. The question was justified because white voters "did not think it was OK to have an African American mayor" for 200 years, since Richmond's founding in 1780, Kaine said.
"Ray was a supporter, but he was not always a fan," said the senator. "There were times when he would look at me as if to say, 'What did I ever see in you?' "
Kaine also said, "Is there still a place for that lone voice in the wilderness? I think there is." He called Boone "fierce about fairness."
- Editorial, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch: Ray Boone — rest in peace (June 4)
- Chrystina Head, WWBT-TV, Richmond, Va.: Hundreds attend funeral held for Ray Boone (video)
- New Journal and Guide, Norfolk, Va.: Passes: Raymond H. Boone, Richmond Free Press Publisher (June 4)
"In a country of 300 million, 36,000 people may have just charted the direction of the Republican Party," Rick Sanchez wrote Wednesday for Fox News Latino. "And that direction appears to be steadfastly on the side of anti-immigration reform."
Sanchez was referring to the Republican primary defeat Tuesday of Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., by David Brat, an unflinching opponent of loosening immigration laws. Cantor is House majority leader, and no sitting majority leader had lost a primary since the office was created in 1899, Christopher Ingraham reported in the Washington Post.
"Conservatives will now be emboldened in their opposition to legislation to create a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, and party leaders who are more sympathetic to such legislation will likely be less willing to try," David Espo wrote for the Associated Press.
On The Root, Charles D. Ellison saw a different message for African Americans. "Black voters are the decisive key to a general election upset that's as tectonic-plate-shifting as Brat's primary sucker punch," he wrote. "At the moment, though, the Dems seem satisfied to gleefully stomp on Cantor's political grave. Stuck on conventional wisdom that's similar to those 'establishment' Republican rivals who got punked by Brat, Democratic strategists have already resigned Virginia's 7th to its red-state faithful.
"That would be a mistake, though, and a nasty face palm to a rather robust black Virginia electorate. While it's overwhelmingly white, Cantor's district is also nearly 20 percent black, according to Census Bureau data — in line with Virginia's overall population. The state's changing fast, and it's creating all sorts of creative voting blocs of color — a major reason President Barack Obama won it in 2008 and 2012. . . ."
- Ray Baker, Ebony: Where Do Blacks Fit in the Immigration Debate?
- Bill Carter, New York Times: CNN Covers Cantor, Shifts to Simpson
- Jordan Chariton, TVNewser: How Cable News Hosts Reacted to Eric Cantor Defeat
- Raoul Lowery Contreras, Fox News Latino: Immigration Is Today’s Slavery-Like Issue — Black And White With Little Grey. Ask Eric Cantor.
- Robert Creamer, Huffington Post: Why Cantor Defeat Means GOP Should Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now
- Erick Erickson, redstate.com: Why Eric Cantor Lost
- Merrill Knox, TVNewser: Ratings: Eric Cantor's Primary Defeat
- Michelle Leung, Media Matters for America: Conservative Media Decide Eric Cantor's Loss Is A "Referendum On Amnesty"
- James Warren, Daily News, New York: The Cantor stunner: the media activist who helped stir the pot
"Quartz announced this afternoon that Bobby Ghosh will join the digital news outlet as managing editor, Nick Massella reported Tuesday for FishbowlDC. "He joins the Atlantic Media global business news brand from Time International, where he served as editor, overseeing all of its editions and correspondents outside of the US."
Aparisim 'Bobby' Ghosh, who was born and raised in India, is the highest-ranking journalist of color at Time and the person most often cited when Time was asked about its commitment to diversity.
Massella continued, "Quartz’s president and editor-in-chief Kevin J. Delaney wrote in a memo to staff, 'Bobby brings a sophisticated curiosity about the world, an obsessive news focus, and a strong identification with Quartz’s mission to cover the new global economy’s most important and interesting facets.' . . ."
- Ben Davis, Econsultancy: Quartz: what's so great about it?
In a 60-second spot from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, an announcer recites various names American Indians call themselves. (video)
"Miami stumbled in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, but a Native American tribe turned up the heat," David Gianatasio wrote Wednesday for adweek.com. "The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of California ran a 60-second spot protesting the Washington Redskins nickname during Tuesday's game — a cutdown of the two-minute version . . . which broke online just before the Super Bowl.
"In the spot, 'Proud to Be,' a narrator lists many of the ways Native Americans describe themselves. These include 'proud,' 'forgotten,' 'Indian,' 'indomitable,' 'survivor' and 'patriot.' In the end, we're told, 'Native Americans call themselves many things. The one thing they don't …' and a shot of the Redskins helmet fills the screen.
"The commercial, produced by goodness Mfg., aired Tuesday in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sacramento, Calif., and, of course, Washington, D.C. The tribe ran the same spot in Miami during Game 2 on Sunday.
"Last year, the Oneida Nation produced a series of pointed, high-profile radio ads on the subject, and the timing of the Yocha Dehe Wintun TV buy, against the backdrop of the Donald Sterling racism scandal, adds significant fuel to the fire.
"You know what else Native Americans are? Media savvy, and skillful at playing the PR game. Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who famously told USA Today he'd never change the name — 'NEVER. You can use caps' — looks more tone-deaf, mean-spirited and, in the eyes of some, flat-out racist the longer he holds the line. . . ."
"And that's how I fell out with Jason Whitlock, the most prominent black sportswriter in the country," Greg Howard wrote Tuesday in an 11,000-word piece for Deadspin.
"It was a classic Whitlock encounter, hitting all the themes of betrayal that figure prominently not only in his life and work but in the many criticisms of both. Betrayal is what led to his defenestration from ESPN the last time around. Betrayal is why his best piece of writing never found the audience it deserved. And betrayal is at the heart of why the most prominent black sportswriter around is also the most hated sportswriter in the black community, and why, 10 months after Whitlock first announced his new endeavor, a black sports and culture site that he'll run under the aegis of his old enemy ESPN, the project is still struggling to get off the ground.
"I spoke with dozens of his black colleagues over the past few months, and what struck me was how many of them outright referred to Whitlock as an 'Uncle Tom,' accusing him of attacking black culture generally and young black men and women specifically for personal profit and career advancement. Uncle Tom. The second-worst thing you could call a black man. How many times did I hear it? I stopped counting around 15. . . ."
Howard concluded, "Yes, Whitlock plays both sides of the racial street. I've talked about this before with some black writer friends who are peeved at him for this. All I'll say is, one also has to ask why any Whitlock pieces that defend black culture tend to get little attention/links, and any Whitlock pieces that trash black culture tend to get plenty of links.
"Think audience, it's easy enough to see that Whitlock is interpreted by mostly white peers to their satisfaction, and would be buried on some back-page blogspot if he only defended black culture. Then white blog bosses could continue whining that they just can't find black talent while he'd run whitlockwhitehot.blogspot.com."
"How about some good news for a change?" Leonard Pitts Jr. wrote Tuesday in the Miami Herald.
"Last month, I wrote about the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls by a band of putative men who style themselves Boko Haram — 'Western Education is Forbidden.' Taken in concert with the 2012 shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan and the 2008 acid attack on Shamsia Husseini in Afghanistan, this latest outrage cements an impression that Islamic extremists are petrified of girls and what they might become with a little education.
"It is a frustrating, anger-making thing. 'Make me wanna holler,' as Marvin Gaye once sang.
"But this time for some reason, I needed to do more than holler. I needed to take action. It seemed to me the best way to fight against people seeking to interdict the education of Nigerian girls was to help ensure that still more Nigerian girls go to school.
"That led me to the Peace Corps Nigeria Alumni Foundation (PCNAF.org), a small group of Peace Corps vets in greater Washington, D.C., that exists for the specific purpose of providing scholarships for Nigerian girls. I spoke to their president, Albert Hannans, verified their link to the Peace Corps, searched Lexis-Nexis for red flags. Finding none, I sent a small donation to PCNAF c/o P.O. Box 65530, Washington, D.C., 20035 and wrote about it in this space. I figured a few of you might do the same.
"I was wrong. It wasn’t a few of you. It was a whole bunch of you. So many that Hannans tells me the little group's treasurer is overwhelmed, and it's become a welcome hardship just running back and forth to the bank. The present tally: $35,000 and climbing, a huge amount given that $500 represents a year's tuition. . . ."
- Dele Agekameh, Premium Times, Nigeria: A Military in Tatters and the Senseless Onslaught Against the Media
- Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: Nigeria's ban on 'Bring Back Our Girls' calls for a listen to Fela (June 3)
- Wole Mosadomi and Victor Ahiuma-Young, Vanguard, Nigeria: Newspapers Return to Newsstands As Military Ends Clampdown
- Reporters Without Borders: Army Seizes Newspaper Issues Day After Day on "Security" Grounds
"The men and women of the upcoming comedy 'Think Like A Man Too' are featured on dueling covers of the July double issue of Essence magazine — but hold up — some very important cast members are missing!" Sarah Huggins wrote on June 5 for zap2it.com.
"The men's cover features African American actors Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, Kevin Hart and Terrence Jenkins accompanied by producer Will Packer, decked out for summer in their best blues.
"However, fans everywhere noticed a giant hole in the cover photo — white main cast members Jerry Ferrara and Gary Owen as well as supporting actor Adam Brody are not only not on the cover, but not even pictured in the article.
"Outraged readers of the . . . publication, [which] promotes equality amongst races, are taking to Instagram to voice their disapproval. . . ."
Coincidentally, Essence co-founder Edward Lewis was on NPR's "Tell Me More" Wednesday to promote his new memoir, "The Man From Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women," with co-author Audrey Edwards.
Asked about the backlash to the 2005 sale of the formerly black-owned magazine to Time Inc., Lewis replied, "I've often said that when you see white women on the cover or white women in the magazine of Essence, then black women should stop buying the magazine."
An Essence spokeswoman declined to comment.
"What do you call a couple who espouse an extremist, anti-government ideology and kill two policemen and a bystander while draping one of their victims in a flag associated with a political movement?" Paul Farhi asked Tuesday for the Washington Post.
"After Sunday's shooting spree perpetrated by just such a couple in Las Vegas, many in the media declined to use one potential label: terrorists.
"Jerad and Amanda Miller, the young Nevada couple who fatally shot three people before killing themselves, were enamored of a right-wing, conspiratorial view of federal authority, according to law enforcement officials. They killed two police officers, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, as the two men quietly ate lunch, and covered one of the bodies with a Nazi swastika and the Revolutionary War-era 'Don't Tread on Me' flag, a symbol of the Tea Party movement. The pair shouted about 'revolution' as they moved to a nearby Wal-Mart, where Amanda Miller shot a customer, Joseph Wilcox, who tried to stop them.
"That shorthand description would seem to qualify the Millers as terrorists. Although the term's strict definition has been a subject of debate within national security circles for years, there has been some consensus around Georgetown professor Bruce R. Hoffman's five-part test: an act of violence that was politically motivated, perpetrated to influence a broader audience, involved an organized group, targeted civilians and was carried out by a person outside the government.
"Yet few media accounts have described the Millers as terrorists or their actions as terrorism. . . ."
Friends of Elaine Rivera, a teacher of journalism at Lehman College in New York and a veteran of several news outlets, marched in New York's Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday in her honor with posters designed by cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. Rivera died in October at 54. (Credit: Lee Llambelis)
- "Dozens of veteran journalists have applied for voluntary buyouts at the Orange County Register, and those who haven't are bracing for layoffs in the latest sign that the daily paper's expansion is faltering," Stuart Pfeifer reported Tuesday for the Los Angeles Times.
- "The Courier-Journal has eliminated seven editor positions in a realignment of newsroom resources," Carolyn Tribble Greer wrote Tuesday for Louisville Business First in Kentucky. "Nancy Jo Trafton, marketing director for The Courier-Journal, declined to identify any of the editors who were laid off. But metro editor Mike Trautmann indicated on his Twitter account that he was one of the seven. . . . "
- "Broadcast executives may have to wait for a few more years to win any meaningful further relaxation of the agency's media ownership rules, because much of the news and other information programming that the public relies on continues to come from and TV stations and newspapers, said Bill Lake, chief of the FCC Media Bureau, on Wednesday," Doug Halonen reported Wednesday for TVNewsCheck. "Lake also told federal lawmakers that a recent 'tentative' conclusion by the FCC that media ownership regulations continue to be necessary was based on the fact that about 30% of the public continues to lack access to broadband services. . . ."
- The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council approves of Nexstar Broadcasting Group's decision to sell three Fox affiliates to black entrepreneur Pluria Marshall Jr.'s Marshall Broadcasting Group. MMTC President David Honig said Tuesday, "This transaction could be a promising development for minority ownership in media, an issue MMTC has long supported. Marshall Broadcasting Group will have full control of the programming on the stations, which brings with it the possibility of expanding the diversity of information available to the public.”
- Television and radio host Tavis Smiley has written "Death of a King: The Real Story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year," scheduled for release in September by Little, Brown and Co. "It will explore, as Tavis has said, 'the real Martin, a man hounded and set upon by all comers in the 12 months before he died,' " Smiley spokeswoman Paula Thornton-Greear messaged Journal-isms. C-SPAN's Book TV plans to air an interview with Smiley about his project Saturday at noon Eastern and Sunday at 3 p.m. He was interviewed at New York's Book Expo America, held May 28-31. Smiley, 49, was 3 years old when King was killed.
- The Native American Journalists Association said Tuesday it "is pleased President Barack Obama will visit Cannonball, N.D., on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation on Friday, June 13. . . . NAJA urges the administration to allow journalists working at Native media outlets to have access to Obama during this rare visit by a sitting president to Indian Country. Tribal reporters know their communities and can provide insight and perspective to his visit and efforts to promote tribal sovereignty. . . ." Obama wrote about his upcoming trip June 5 for the Indian Country Today Media Network.
- "Telemundo announced today the addition of the acclaimed Hispanic journalist, Neida Sandoval," the Spanish-language network said on Wednesday. "The Emmy award-winning Honduran journalist will join the Noticias Telemundo team and present the news on 'Un Nuevo Día' starting Monday, June 16 at 7am/6 c. . . ."
- John Head, author of "Standing in the Shadows: Understanding and Overcoming Depression in Black Men" and former staff writer at USA Today and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has joined the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington as communications director, the center announced on Tuesday.
- In Orlando, "WKMG-Channel 6 has hired a morning anchor from Kansas City, Mo.," Hal Boedeker reported Tuesday for the Orlando Sentinel. David Hall will join the CBS affiliate on June 23 and start co-anchoring with Bridgett Ellison from 5 to 7 a.m. weekdays after June 30. . . ."
- On Tuesday, Michael Schneider of TV Guide listed five reasons why CBS Television Distribution canceled the "Arsenio Hall Show": "Arsenio was losing its time slots," "The audience just wasn't there," "It needed a new showrunner," "It was struggling creatively" and "Failure is the nature of syndication."
- "Every news network likes to claim the mantle of 'the most trusted name in news,' and a new Brookings and Public Religion Research Institute poll seeks to demonstrate who actually does and does not deserve that claim," Andrew Kirell wrote Tuesday for mediaite.com. "Among many insights we can take from the survey, perhaps the most interesting is that, among all TV news sources, MSNBC is identified as 'most trusted' by the fewest people. . . ."
- "Drug Wars" is one of three original series announced Wednesday by Fusion, the millennial network launched by Disney/ABC and Univision last fall. "The fast-paced, seven-part series takes viewers on a journey through air, sea, and land, following counter-narcotics operations that resulted in the confiscation of more than 125 metric tons of cocaine in 2013 alone," a news release said. "Traveling through Colombia, Panama, and the Caribbean, Fusion cameras got exclusive access to follow units of the US Coast Guard, US Navy, US Customs and Border Protection, DEA, as well as the Colombian Armada and Coast Guard, and the Policia Nacional of Panama. . . ." The show is to air Thursdays at 10 p.m., ET on Fusion and will premiere July 17. (video)
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