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Is Hollywood or Vanity Fair the Problem?

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

March Issue Features All-White Bevy of Starlets

C-Span Radio Turns Down TV One's "Washington Watch"

Candy Crowley to Anchor CNN's "State of the Union"

Obama Says He's "Big Believer" in Open Internet

Images From Haiti Continue to Stir Controversy

NABJ Decides to Pull out of Accreditation Council

Third Mexican Journalist Killed in a Month

New Miss America Wants to Be a Television Anchor

Short Takes

"Vanity Fair's Hollywood cover has always been a reflection of Hollywood and the industry," a spokeswoman said. A film critic says the cover influences Hollywood.

March Issue Features All-White Bevy of Starlets

Vanity Fair's February issue features Tiger Woods looking, some said, like a thug in prison.

The new March issue - the Hollywood issue - features a bevy of starlets, all of them white.

"Seriously folks," blogger Tambay Obenson wrote Monday on the Shadow & Act Web site, "as we've already discussed quite a bit on this blog, where are all the young non-white actresses (and actors) with star potential who should be on this cover? Black? Latino? Asian? Etc? Surely, they could have located even one woman of color for the issue. Did they even try? All rhetorical questions, but‚ I mean‚ really!"

Vanity Fair spokeswoman Beth Kseniak told Journal-isms:

"Vanity Fair's Hollywood cover has always been a reflection of Hollywood and the industry. Generally, as is the case this year, it's made up of young actresses who already have a few films to their credit and will be appearing in more movies in the coming months."

Zoe SaldanaGil Robertson IV, who founded the African American Film Critics Association, said via e-mail, "I really can't say that I'm shocked, but I am a little startled as to how VF couldn't include Zoe Saldana who had lead roles in 2 of the biggest films of the past year - 'Star Trek,' and 'Avatar'?

"There are certainly other African American actress like Paula Patton and Nicole Beharie, with current film profiles that equal many of the girls on this cover. It's another reflection of our culture's ongoing problem with race and racism. VF is supposed to be cutting-edge, but this cover shows no forward movement - it's sadly just more of the same."

Wilson Morales of Blackvoices, who left the African American Film Critics Association to form the Black Film Critics Circle, said Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, star of "Precious," Naturi Naughton of "Notorious," and Beharie all could have qualified. A black actress was last on the cover of the "Hollywood" issue in 2005 when Kerry Washington was featured, he said, although three Latinas were on the 2008 cover. Jennifer Hudson and Patton never made it, he said.

Morales said being on the cover of Vanity Fair "can do wonders for any new actress."

[Update: By 8:22 p.m. Tuesday, Entertainment Weekly had recorded 421 comments on the issue, and Yahoo! Shine took in 5,837. Some noted that Zoe Saldana had been on the last Hollywood cover in March 2008, but Blair Hickman, writing Wednesday for Mediaite, noted that Kristen Stewart and Amanda Seyfried, "were actually featured in 2008 as 'Hollywood's New Wave.' "]

C-Span Radio Turns Down "Washington Watch"

TV One's CEO Johnathan Rodgers started "Washington Watch with Roland Martin" in September because of his frustration with the paucity of blacks on the Sunday morning news shows, magnified by the election of the nation's first black president, Barack Obama. Studies such as "Sunday Morning Apartheid" by the National Urban League documented the lack of Roland Martindiversity on the mainstream talk shows.

Diverse or not, those talk shows have more than one shot at viewers: If you miss "Meet the Press" on NBC, "Face the Nation" on CBS, "This Week" on ABC, "Fox News Sunday" on Fox News Channel or "State of the Union" on CNN, you can catch them back to back and commercial-free on C-Span radio, transmitted over the air in the Washington area and online globally.

But "Washington Watch" won't be joining them anytime soon, a C-Span spokesman told Journal-isms on Monday.

"Sorry to say, but there's no plans to expand," Howard Mortman said via e-mail. "Reason: Since the launch of C-SPAN radio, we have aired the Five networks' Sunday talk programs because they regularly generate national news coverage and influence the policy debate in Washington."

As reported on Friday, TV One canceled "Washington Watch's" 5 p.m. rerun, rebroadcasting it instead at 2 a.m. Eastern and 6 a.m. Eastern the next morning. Featuring black journalists, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other officials and pundits, it airs at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday.

Candy Crowley to Anchor CNN's "State of the Union"

Gwen Ifill, left, thinks Candy Crowley is 'terrific.'"Journalists around town are giddy about CNN's Candy Crowley, the newly announced host of the network's Sunday morning show, 'State of the Union,' Betsy Rothstein wrote Monday for MediaBistro. "She's the only woman in a Sunday morning anchor chair. She's the only woman to ever host the show."

Gwen Ifill of PBS' "The NewsHour" and "Washington Week," who was reported to be in contention for the job herself, told Journal-isms, "Candy Crowley is terrific - one of the best political reporters and writers in broadcast journalism. CNN made an inspired choice."

Crowley succeeds John King, who moves into the daily CNN slot vacated by Lou Dobbs. ABC's "This Week" has yet to name a successor to George Stephanopoulos, who moved to "Good Morning America," leaving open the possibility that a journalist of color may yet anchor one of the mainstream Sunday talk shows.

"We've [talked] to a lot of people but won't discuss any names," ABC spokesman Jeffrey W. Schneider told Journal-isms.

"Crowley told Mediaite's Steve Krakauer that she and current host John King are very different creatures," Rothstein wrote.

"'It's going to be organic and we're doing it on the fly, obviously because I'm going to be in the seat next Sunday. I think that our interview styles are different. I'm more of a laid-back sort of interviewer. . . . I'm more casual in some ways. Journalists go after news, what's important. I don't know how I would make that my own, but management made it really clear they don't want Candy to do John's show, they want Candy to do Candy's show. So we'll see. Hopefully it will include some writing, some journalism I did during the week. Because I will be keeping my day job.' "

Obama Says He's "Big Believer" in Open Internet

"On Monday, in an 'interview' conducted via YouTube as a follow-up to his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his strong commitment to maintaining an open and neutral Internet," Free Press, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the Net Neutrality concept, reported on Monday.

" 'I'm a big believer in Net Neutrality,' said President Obama, who has made the principle of Network Neutrality a centerpiece of his technology agenda. 'I campaigned on this. I continue to be a strong supporter of it. My FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has indicated that he shares the view that we've got to keep the Internet open, that we don't want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn't have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet.' "

The journalist organizations of color have favored the concept, but several civil rights groups have said implementation would "increase consumer costs, hinder new job creation, diminish service quality and reduce broadband adoption and use, particularly among the underserved," as John Eggerton has reported for Multichannel News.

In Haiti, doctors introduced Roseline Antoine to her newborn, Kimberly, on Thursday in a tent serving as a maternity ward outside General Hospital in Port-au-Prince. A reader wrote, "I've never seen a photo like this in a family newspaper." (Credit: Damon Winter/New York Times)

Images From Haiti Continue to Stir Controversy

"I'd like to draw your attention to a photo that ran with an NYT story from Haiti. In my opinion, it's a beautiful shot of a mother who's given birth," a reader wrote Journal-isms.

"But it's also remarkable because you'd never see its like from a place such as Austin or Des Moines or Boston if a white woman were on the table. This photo feeds the debate over whether major newspaper editors at the Times and the Washington Post are willing to publish pictures of death and nudity where black foreigners are involved.

"I've never seen a photo like this in a family newspaper. I'd be willing to bet that if this quake had hit Armenia, Bosnia or any predominantly white nation this picture would not have run. And it begs the question of whether there's a racial double standard at play here."

The question of the graphic images from Haiti continues to be controversial. In a Jan. 16 piece, the Washington Post's Philip Kennicott wrote, "with devastating hurricanes, a failed political system, corruption, coups and riots, Haiti became the very definition of a failed state. To be blunt: It came to seem as if the people of Haiti had no status.

"If you believe that, then it is impossible to violate their privacy."

The Times and the chairman of the Visual Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists defended the photo, however.

"There was some discussion about running these pictures and ultimately we were very comfortable with the choice," Times spokeswoman Diane C. McNulty told Journal-isms. "We have run similar photos of women from various ethnic backgrounds in the past; race did not enter into it."

Boyzell Hosey, director of photography at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, who heads the NABJ Visual Task Force, told Journal-isms via e-mail, "the image is an obvious joyous moment for the medical personnel attending to the mother and child. It's also photographed in a way that preserves the dignity of the mother. In fact, I was curious to see how the photographer handled other images of women giving birth in Haiti and was pleased to see that even though there was plenty of anguish to be seen, I didn't see one image that appeared to disrespect the subject matter.

"Deciding on what image to publish is selective according to any organization's values," Hosey continued. "For instance, we here at the St. Petersburg Times don't have any hard [and] fast rules on what we will and will not publish. We're probably more apt to run a dead body or other difficult image from outside our coverage area and certainly from another part of the world whereas we would give serious pause if it were someone from our own community." He added, "if you don't have culturally divergent voices at the table you're more at risk of letting old notions creep back into important decisions unchecked, allowing for a double standard."

NABJ Decides to Pull Out of Accreditation Council

The board of the National Association of Black Journalists voted over the weekend to pull out of the major accrediting council for college journalism, a decision that leaves none of the journalist of color organizations on the body.

"We did not include the ACEJMC membership dues in the 2010 budget," NABJ President Kathy Y. Times told Journal-isms, referring to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. "I plan to reactivate the journalism education committee. We will have a constant force working to advocate for and strengthen our HBCU journalism programs," a reference to historically black colleges and universities.

"The goal is to help our student members and chapters and journalism educators across the country. As a graduate of an HBCU, I certainly understand their challenges and strengths."

Times said last month, "We are taking a second look at any expense that is not an essential service," noting the $4,000 cost of the ACEJMC membership.

Treasurer Gregory Lee said the board passed a budget of $2,242,227.

"NABJ's success in 2010 will depend on the combination of the Board following the plan it adopted over the weekend and for the membership to attend the 35th anniversary convention in San Diego through registrations and reserving hotel rooms," Lee told Journal-isms via e-mail. "Last year, the association was not successful in either. We need the membership now more than ever to make sure that NABJ will be around another 35 years."

In other business, Times said the organization plans to move this month into a new building at the University of Maryland in College Park; will require board members to pay their own expenses to the April board meeting, and implemented a payment plan to make it easier for members to attend the summer convention in San Diego, site of the weekend board meeting. Times said the board also scheduled four Media Institute programs to train members, as well as several "Webinars," Web seminars.

Third Mexican Journalist Killed in a Month

"A newspaper editor’s murder has brought the total of journalists killed in Mexico in the space of a month to three," Reporters Without Borders reported on Monday. Jorge Ochoa Martinez, the editor of the local daily El sol de la Costa and the weekly El Oportuno, was shot dead in Ayutla de los Libres, in the southern state of Guerrero, on 29 January. He was 55.

"According to the police, Ochoa was shot several times with 38 calibre firearm. The authorities have not so far suggested any motive but his family told Reporters Without Borders they did not rule out the possibility that he was killed in connection with his work. The press freedom organisation therefore urges the authority to actively explore this hypothesis."

New Miss America Wants to Be a Television Anchor

Miss Virginia, Caressa Cameron, a communications major at Virginia Commonwealth University, was crowned Miss America on Saturday night. She lists her career ambition as, "To work as an anchor for a television news station" and her scholastic ambition, "To obtain a Master's degree in Mass Communications."

It did not take long for the TMZ Web site to get ahold of a photo, above, left, of Cameron as a freshman at Massaponax High School in Fredericksburg, Va. The Web site ran it under the headline, "Miss America 2010 Wasn't All That in 2002." Cameron has not been enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth since spring, when she took an academic year off to pursue her Miss America dreams, a school spokeswoman said.

Short Takes

  • TheGrio, NBC's African American-oriented Web site, announced its "TheGrio's 100" list. Included are Fred Mwangaguhunga, creator of the black gossip site; Oprah Winfrey, "media queen"; Malcolm Gladwell, "author and pop-sociologist"; Roland Martin, "multi-media news maestro"; CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts, who went "from illiteracy to world-class journalist"; and NBC's Mara Schiavocampo, digital journalist. NBC News plans to "spotlight these 100 History Makers in the Making" on NBC News shows during Black History Month.
  • "When a white, Jewish intellectual named Melville Herskovits asserted in the 1940s that black culture was not pathological, but in fact grounded in deep African roots, he gave vital support to the civil rights movement and signaled the rise of identity politics. But what does it mean that his subjects had little or no say in the academic discourse about them?" reads a blurb for the "Independent Lens" production "Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness" debuting Tuesday on public television stations. Educator Johnetta Cole is among those testifying to the influence of Herskovits, best known for his 1941 work "The Myth of the Negro Past." More in Jewish Week.

    March issue of Ebony
  • The March issue of Ebony magazine includes a piece by Eugene Robinson, "The Deconstruction of Tiger Woods," which expands on his columns in the Washington Post on the troubled golf champion. "Dudley Brooks called and asked if I would do a piece. I'd never written for Ebony before so I thought it would be fun, and it was," Robinson, a 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner, told Journal-isms. Brooks, Ebony's director of photography, formerly worked with Robinson at the Post.
  • "Vincent Cordero has resigned after five years as vice president and general manager of Univision WGBO-Channel 66 and TeleFutura WXFT-Channel 60, the leading Spanish-language combo in the market," Chicago media writer Robert Feder wrote Monday on his blog. A 1999 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Cordero previously served as vice president of business development and labor affairs for Univision Communications. At the time of his appointment here, Cordero was 33 ' and one of the youngest general managers in the market's history. No replacement for him has been named."
  • "In a year with a record number of 44 entries, SAJA will award a total of $24,000 - with the help of generous financial support from the Mahadeva Family Foundation - to four projects for reporting in Pakistan, Nepal, India and Afghanistan," the South Asian Journalists Association said last week. "Two teams and two individuals comprise the winners. One team, Ria Misra and Alexis Matsui, will report on the impending water crisis in Pakistan. The other team, Jason Overdorf and Poh Si Teng, will report on gun control in India. Matt O'Brien will report on the Bhutanese Exodus and refugee experience, and Seamus Murphy will take an in-depth and historical look at Afghanistan."
  • WWOR-TV in Secaucus, N.J., plans to celebrate anchor Brenda Blackmon's 20th anniversary at the station with an on-air salute during Wednesday night's newscast, Virginia Rohan wrote Sunday in the Record, of Bergen County, N.J. Rohan profiled Blackmon, who arrived in the New York market from television stints in Nashville, Tenn., and, before that, her hometown, Columbus, Ga.
  • "Just days after suspending Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton for the season for bringing pistols into the Washington Wizards' locker room, the N.B.A. is facing the handgun issue again because of Nike," Richard Sandomir wrote Tuesday for the New York Times. "The new issues of Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine contain a two-page Nike ad¬†with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in dramatic black-and-white photos for the company's 'Prepare for Combat' campaign. 'I'll do whatever it takes to win games,' Bryant is portrayed as saying. 'I don't leave anything in the chamber.'
  • "Last Sunday, the lead story on the front page of The Plain Dealer gave readers a definitive look at the man who dominated news reports for much of the final two months of last year: Anthony Sowell, who is accused of raping and killing 11 women and hiding their bodies in and around his Imperial Avenue home in Cleveland," public editor Ted Diadiun wrote Sunday in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Some of you went berserk," saying Sowell did not deserve the attention. "I must confess that the outcry took me by surprise. This is what newspapers do, after all. If The Plain Dealer doesn't dig in and tell people the details behind the most monstrous crime in this city since the Torso Murders of the 1930s, who will?"
  • "Tens of thousands of Somalis escaped a brutal civil war, and now call Minnesota home. These are the stories of young Somalis confronting violence in their community, and struggling with the psychological scars that the bloodshed in their homeland left behind," reads the introduction to a series on Minnesota Public Radio, "Civil War Kids: Young Somalis in Minnesota."
  • David Ho, emerging technology editor for, explains to Joe Grimm, writing for the Poynter Institute, how he smoothly made the transition to Dow Jones after being laid off as a national correspondent for Cox newspapers in New York: "Friends in journalism, who gave advice, contacts and reassurance while patiently enduring my endless angst and reflection over losing a job I loved so much. I relied on my wife, who supported me despite her own fears about our family's future with our sole income in jeopardy."

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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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"Is Hollywood or Vanity Fair the problem?"

"Is Hollywood or Vanity Fair the problem?" I say Vanity Fair is the problem. I've noticed over the years that these kinds of covers, in which part of the image appears on a gatefold, are often structured so that if a Black person or persons is in the picture, they're on the fold. Not always, but frequently enough that it's less than an accident and more than coincidence. Look here at this gallery of Annie Liebovitz Hollywood Issue covers: 1995 has Angela Bassett on the outer third of the fold; 1996 has Will Smith on the outer third of the fold; 1997 has Jada Pinkett on the middle third of the fold; 1998 has Djimon Hounsou on the actual cover; 1999 has Thandie Newton on the cover and Omar Epps on the outer third of the fold; 2000 has no Black people in the photo; 2001 has no Black people in the photo; 2002 has Rosario Dawson on the outer third of the fold; 2003 has Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle on the middle third of the fold; 2004 has no Black people in the photo; 2005 has Rosario Dawson on the middle third of the fold and Kerry Washington on the outer third of the fold; 2006 has no Black people in the photo; 2007 has Chris Rock on the cover; 2008 has Zoe Saldana on the middle third of the fold; 2009 has no Black people in the photo. Kelvin Childs

A lack of 'colored' talent

A lack of 'colored' talent is the problem. Tyler Perry in drag is the greatest black thespian of our generation. Denzel is always Denzel regardless of role. Halle was rewarded with an Oscar for getting really, really naked. Salma Hayek (half Lebanese, half Spanish, so technically she's one of those awful white people) may one day learn Engwish. 'They thinks we ugly.' Perhaps. But Meryl Streep isn't a great actor because of her beauty. Imagination, intelligence, creativity, charisma. In contrast blacks and non-whites who aspire to be black are just stupid, loud and lazy.

The exclusion of people of color is not what's wrong!!

The focal point of the controversy of the Vanity Fair cover seems to be the exclusion of any diversity. However, the controversy should be over the tagline of the Photo Cover: New Hollywood. It looks like old Hollywood to me. The country is becoming more diverse. The explosion of Latino and Bi-racial babies assures us that America will have a different face in the years to come. Is this Cover an attempt to hold on to the past? It's sad on so many levels. This cover will come on the heels of the Tiger Cover that showed an abundance of black skin. Maybe they wanted to go in a different direction. I brought the Tiger cover, but I won't be buying this Cover. I wonder if Vanity Fair will release which cover sold more copies, the Tiger Cover or the New Hollywood Cover? I think I know the answer to that one!!!

Any objections to a photo of

Any objections to a photo of 'Hispanic' actors that included the following; Cameron Diaz, Alexis Bledel, Hector Elizondo, Frankie Muniz, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Joaquin Phoenix, Lynda Carter, etc.? Isn't it interesting the most successful 'Hispanics' outside of baseball are white? They're not 'people of color' in any sense. Or maybe they're people of color in the same way Chuck Norris is a Native American.

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