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Holt to Anchor NBC's Weekend News

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Station Escorts Teacher from the Building

Veteran to Wear Multiple Hats: Fill-In, Co-Anchor . . .

"Lester Holt will become anchor of the top-rated Saturday and Sunday editions of NBC 'Nightly News,' effective immediately, it was announced today by NBC News President Steve Capus," the network said on Wednesday.



The appointment puts Holt in the tradition of other journalists of color — from ABC's Elizabeth Vargas and Carole Simpson to CBS's Ed Bradley and Russ Mitchell — who have anchored the weekend evening news programs.

However, in a more recent tradition of having to do more with less, the network has assigned Holt multiple duties. "In addition to this new role, Holt will continue to co-anchor the weekend editions of 'Today.' He will also serve as a fill-in anchor and correspondent for 'NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams' and the weekday 'Today' program. Holt is also being asked to take on special assignments across the News division in addition to his contributions to MSNBC, NBC's 24 hour cable news network," the announcement said.

"I get to use all my news muscles," Holt, 48, told Journal-isms, speaking of the different approaches he will have to take to "Today" and to the "Nightly News," all in the same day. To present the news for an entire weekend, he said, "is a privilege and a little daunting."

Weekends are a special challenge, Holt said, noting that the capture of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the crash of the Columbia shuttle and last weekend's tornadoes in Kansas were all stories that broke on weekends.

"In making the announcement Capus said, 'Lester is not only well deserving of this assignment, he's the ideal choice to anchor the weekend editions of two of the network's most important franchises. He's a team player, a talented professional and seasoned journalist," the statement said.

"Recently, Holt has reported from many of the world's hot spots including last summer where he covered from the front lines in Lebanon, the war between Israel and Hezbollah. From London, he also reported on the terror threat to U.S. bound-airliners from the UK, and was on the ground for Hurricane Katrina covering events both in Louisiana and Mississippi, and later that fall covered Hurricane Rita in Texas.

"Said Holt, 'To anchor not one, but both of NBC's weekend broadcasts is beyond my wildest dreams. There is no question I am going to be one busy man, but I am tremendously excited about this opportunity to grow within NBC News, and am grateful to Steve Capus and his team for this strong vote of confidence.'"

Holt replaces John Seigenthaler on the weekend "Nightly News" shows. Seigenthaler's contract expired and was not renewed because of budget cuts, the Associated Press reported last month.

A member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Holt was one of the professionals who worked with students during the NABJ's Student Television Project at the association's 2005 convention in Atlanta.

"He spent about an hour with the students, one on one, telling them it was about the writing and not about just being on television. He was genuine, kind and very approachable to these kids," said Greg Morrison, who was assistant director of the television project that year.

"We all have to step up," Holt told Journal-isms, saying he also mentors others at "Weekend Today." "We have to keep the legacy going." He has a son who just finished his sophomore year as a broadcast student at Pepperdine University, Holt said, and he was recently there helping those students with their cable newscast.

At CBS, Mitchell has similar multiple roles. He joined "the Early Show" as news anchor in January, adding to his duties as anchor of the "CBS Evening News with Russ Mitchell" on Sunday nights, as one of the rotating anchors of the Saturday edition of the "CBS Evening News," a correspondent for "CBS News Sunday Morning" and a fill-in anchor for the weekday "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric."

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Spanish-Language DJ Suspended for Comments



Luis Jiménez, a popular and edgy Hispanic morning-radio host whose show airs in five markets, has been suspended for a month over homophobic comments, the first time a Spanish-language radio company has taken such action, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, known as GLAAD.

"Univision Radio has suspended Luis Jiménez for inappropriate comments made during a recent broadcast of his early-morning program," the network said in a statement quoted by David Hinckley Friday in the New York Daily News.

"While Univision Radio encourages innovative and fresh programming ideas, it takes seriously its responsibility to provide information and entertainment that adheres to the highest standards."

According to GLAAD, "On his May 1 radio program, JimÃ?©nez and his co-hosts performed 'Las Patas' (The Dykes), a song in which they used homophobic slurs and ridiculed lesbians. Later during that same program, the show introduced an offensive stereotypical gay character called 'Chef Pepín.' Jiménez then ridiculed and verbally abused Chef Pepín for being gay, saying, 'Cállate pato' (Shut up, faggot).

"When Christian Chávez of the Mexican pop group RBD "came out in early March, Jiménez mocked the singer's sexual orientation, saying, 'Habl­a salido del closet porque encontró que alguien se lo diera por el folli­n' (He had come out because he had found someone to give it to him from behind)."

"GLAAD was in constant communication with Univision Radio since they hired Luis Jiménez. We monitored the show on a daily basis and had set up a meeting with Luis, Univision Radio and GLAAD for May 17. We contacted Univision on May 1 to complain about these comments," Mónica Taher. GLADD's people of color media strategy director, told Journal-isms.

Jimenez, whose show airs in Los Angeles; Chicago; Fresno, Calif.; San Francisco and Dallas, and is on hiatus in New York, "had the No. 1 morning show in the city at WSKQ (97.9 FM) when he left in December to sign with rival Univision," Hinckley wrote in New York.

"That signing raised some eyebrows because Univision is a conservative company and Jiménez has always pushed the envelope. He said earlier this year that Univision 'understands who it hired and what I do.'"

Spanish-language radio came under fire at the 2003 convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, when Latino media activists charged that radio jocks are getting away with graphic, indecent programming because a double standard exists in enforcing Federal Communications Commission indecency policies.

Meanwhile, GLAAD announced its first print and online advertising campaign to promote visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender African Americans and Latinos.

The Latino campaign will run the second and third week of May in Hoy, a Spanish-language newspaper with editions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The ads will also appear on's home page and Mujer (Woman) and Familia (Family) pages, which receive a combined 3.4 million visits per day, the organization said.

The African American ads will run for one week in the New York Amsterdam News, New York Beacon, Los Angeles Sentinel, Chicago Defender, Oakland Post, Atlanta Inquirer and Dallas Weekly — newspapers with a combined weekly circulation of more than 1 million, the group said. Online ads will also run for one month on and, which receive a combined 81 million page views each month, GLAAD said.

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Station Escorts Teacher from the Building



Earl Milloy, who runs a high school television and journalism program for the Chicago Public Schools, says his students learned a good lesson last Thursday: How to act when their instructor gets thrown out of a television station where he used to work.

On April 23, the Illinois Department of Human Rights reinstated Milloy's discrimination complaint against his former employer, Chicago's CBS-owned WBBM-TV. The dreadlocked Milloy, cousin of Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy and former Newsday reporter Marilyn Milloy, an editor of the AARP magazine, alleges he was fired from the station because of his race and gender. He was the station's recorded media manager, and had worked there since 2003.

"I went to WBBM because my students won a national Emmy and WBBM invited them to do 'Eye on Chicago' with Antonio Mora," Milloy, 51, told Journal-isms. The students were from the Chicago Vocational Career Academy, which, according to the Chicago Tribune, is "known more for its violence than its media program."

"The invitation came before the reversal of the case. The station manager (Fran Preston) knew I was running the high school TV and Graphics program for Chicago Public Schools," as part of the Education-to-Careers program, Milloy continued. "I went from the lobby to the green room and from the green room to the studio for the interview. I did not wander the halls. At least 15 or more people came by the green room to greet me. No problems. Everyone was very kind, gracious, and congratulatory about the job that I've done with the kids.

"When the interview was over and I was taking pictures of the students on set with Antonio, when Joe Ahern," the general manager, "asked me if he could speak with me. I said yes and walked to the back door of the studio. Outside the door was a security guard and Ahern asked me to leave the building under escort. My kids were still in the studio. Usually when young people come to the station, it's proper protocol to give them a tour of the facility. They were pretty much shown the door.

"They'd asked, 'Where is Mr. Milloy?' Well, Mr. Milloy was standing on the sidewalk. When asked what happened, I had to tell them the story. As a matter of fact, this was a good learning experience for them. I can teach them a lot of things about this business, but I can't teach them integrity, dignity, or perseverance. I have to show them those traits. They said, 'Mr. Milloy, you should have cursed them #%#&^ out.' I said, 'No that's what they want you and I to do.' So they can say, 'see how those N------ act.' I have not uttered one profane word since this thing started over two years ago.

"Joe Ahern is a man small in stature and equally as small in character. By the way, he pulled the interview from the show on Sunday. They said it would run sometime in the future, but I know it's because he's pissed. The producer of the show said it was going to run on Sunday. For it not to run this past Sunday was the wrong thing to do. The students were in both Chicago newspapers that week. Another station did a piece on them, and the regional Emmy award ceremony was that Friday night. It was timely and relevant."

Ahern told Journal-isms, "I wouldn't comment on anything pertaining to Earl Milloy. I would just leave it at that."

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Black Papers Claim Bullying by Tennessean

"A group of Nashville-area publishers on Tuesday took Nashville's largest daily newspaper, The Tennessean, to task for engaging in what they described as a bully campaign to strong-arm local weeklies out of business, and for 'being unfair to the black community,'" Jared Allen reported Wednesday in Nashville City Paper.

"In a hastily called press conference held Tuesday afternoon at the Jefferson Street offices of the Tennessee Tribune — Nashville's largest African-American weekly newspaper — four publishers of multiple Middle Tennessee weekly newspapers blasted the Gannett Corp. newspaper for trying to monopolize a print media market in which it already owns a majority market share.

"The publishers also described a meeting they had last week with U.S. Department of Justice lawyers, who the publishers have asked to investigate possible anti-trust violations by The Tennessean.

". . . Tennessean Publisher Ellen Leifeld said she was unaware of the publishers' meeting with Justice Department officials, and said she was 'baffled' at the animosity shown toward her newspaper.

"Leifeld denied that The Tennessean was engaged in any kind of attempt to buy or push smaller publications out of business.

"'Obviously, we're trying to reach a lot of audiences in the community and a lot of readers. We always have and we always will,' Leifeld said. 'But we are not targeting any specific publications, as they are suggesting.'

". . . the fieriest rhetoric from the other publishers was reserved for The Tennessean's regional coverage and its coverage of the African-American community, which was described as slick, disinterested, disingenuous and slanderous."

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Gay Journalists Rejoin Accreditation Council

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association rejoined the major accrediting council for college journalism programs last weekend after two former presidents of the association challenged its decision to pull out over the council's $5,000-a-year dues.

At the meeting, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conferred full accreditation on journalism programs at two historically black institutions, Hampton and Savannah State universities. It was the first accreditation for the Savannah State program.

As reported in March, NLGJA, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association said they were leaving the accrediting group. AAJA, like the lesbian and gay journalists, said it could no longer afford the dues; NAHJ left "in protest over their failure to vigorously apply the standards that would have been required for significant diversity gains in the 10 years of our membership."



But Robert Dodge and Steven Petrow, former presidents of NLGJA, invoked the efforts of Leroy Aarons, founder of NLGJA and a co-founder of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

"During the final years of his life, Roy worked hard to obtain a seat for NLGJA alongside the other minority journalism organizations," the two wrote to "Board Members and NLGJA Friends." "If NLGJA is absent from the room, no one will be there to demand that the next generation of journalists is adequately prepared to cover the important issues facing the LGBT community."

The association president, Eric Hegedus, told Journal-isms on Wednesday, "As planned, we talked at our midyear meetings in San Francisco after Robert and Steven raised the issue. The board reconsidered the ACEJMC allocation as part of the 2007 budget and because they felt so strongly that NLGJA should be part of ACEJMC, the board agreed to fund the membership if they could raise half of the $5,000 fee. They agreed to, and we paid the membership fee upfront. NLGJA would allocate half ($2,500) of the membership fee from the 2007 budget if Robert and Steven will help raise the other half."

Jackie Jones, who represents the National Association of Black Journalists on the council, told Journal-isms that the council agreed to have incoming president Peter Bhatia, editor of the Oregonian in Portland, reach out to NAHJ and AAJA to try to get them back. The council also devoted time to discussing the dues structure, something NLGJA had sought.

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Writers Bash Press on 'Snitching,' Akon Video

Two writers argue that the news media are culturally clueless about the phenomenon known as "snitching," and about an incident captured on video in which rap star Akon appears to be simulating sex with a member of the audience in her early teens.

In a "60 Minutes" segment that aired on CBS on April 22, "law enforcement officials and community leaders talk about the serious and disturbing 'stop snitching' national trend, in which ordinary citizens adopt the ignorant and immoral code of common criminals and refuse to talk with police about even the worst criminal activity in their neighborhoods," as Errol Louis wrote at the time in the New York Daily News.

But Edrea Davis, author of "Snitchcraft," argues that "In the black community it is commonly understood that a snitch is a crafty criminal who negotiates a deal for himself by telling on others. Since the days of slavery, providing information to authorities to gain favor has been viewed negatively. Judas would be considered a snitch primarily because he was one of the disciples, one of the crew."

"If I was able to find the meaning of snitching in less than ten clicks of my mouse, I think it's safe to assume that 60 Minutes, a national news program with a budget and research staff, is aware of the nature and definition of snitching and had no interest in being fair and accurate."

In Trinidad, where the Akon dance took place, A. A. Hotep wrote on the Web site that "from the onset, and were dispelling the nonsense of the immorality/ illegality of the dance as this type of dancing is common during Carnival and in other fetes in Trinidad and Tobago. These websites presented some facts for people to consider: the fact that many are uncomfortable with sexuality; the issue of colourism/racism that was clear in the thrashing of Akon; ageism; and the ambiguity of the laws of the land.

"Some US media and White activists seemed to have been motivated by revenge for the position some Black activists took in calling for sponsors to distance themselves from Don Imus following his 'nappy-headed hos' comments. In retaliation, they were lobbying for sponsors to distance themselves from Akon over this incident."

The Akon video, which had been available on YouTube, has been pulled from the site. Verizon dropped its sponsorship of a tour in which Akon is the opening act.

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Short Takes

  • "Despite some advances by women and minority writers, white male scribes disproportionately dominate film and TV jobs in Hollywood, according to a study released Tuesday by the Writers Guild of America, West," Richard Verrier reported Wednesday in the Los Angeles Times. Next year's numbers are likely to be worse because of the merger of the UPN and WB networks into the new CW, which resulted in the cancellation of several minority-themed shows, said the report's author, UCLA sociology professor Darnell Hunt.
  • The kickoff of Morehouse College's new sports journalism program "turned out to be a spicy, nearly three-hour conversation about media's depictions of Black athletes, and what responsibility each of the parties bears in shaping those perceptions, among other things," Add Seymour Jr. wrote Wednesday in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. A panel put together by filmmaker Spike Lee included actor and activist Jim Brown, Rutgers University women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer, Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning, and Kansas City Star and AOL Black Voices sports columnist Jason Whitlock.



  • Professor Neil Henry, an author and former Washington Post reporter, "garnered substantial support from the alumni board and a somewhat worn-down faculty" in the contest for dean of the University of California-Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, but Cal Provost George Breslauer is now wooing Dianne Lynch, who withdrew her candidacy in mid-March, for the job, Lauren Gard wrote Friday for the East Bay Express.
  • Jerrel Jones, the owner of Milwaukee radio station WNOV-AM. has barred talk show host Michael McGee from the air indefinitely because of the "disgusting" remarks McGee made Thursday morning about the death of Katherine Sykes, Tom Held reported Friday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. McGee said Sykes, the mother of conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes, deserved her tragic fate and suggested that her son was responsible.
  • George E. Curry, the editor of the late Emerge magazine who will always be remembered for the 1993 cover showing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt Jemima-style handkerchief, wrote a column April 30 about a new biography of Thomas, "Supreme Discomfort" by Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher of the Washington Post. "After reading the book, I have one regret about that famous Emerge cover," Curry wrote. "If I had an opportunity to do it over, I would tie the Aunt Jemima knot tighter."
  • Real Times, Inc., a holding company for the Michigan Chronicle, Front Page, New Pittsburgh Courier and Chicago Defender, presented a proposal to the City of Detroit Retirement System. The proposal, presented by Real Times CEO Hiram Jackson, CFO Britton Cox and Treasurer Gordon Follmer, outlined a plan asking the pension fund to back a $7.5 million loan for the media company," Allison Jones reported in the Michigan Citizen. "Charles Simmons, a journalism professor from Eastern Michigan University, said there are possible ethical concerns in a deal where a public body is the primary financial backer to a media company."
  • Victoria Infante, editor of La Vibra, the weekly arts magazine for Los Angeles' Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion, and Esther Iverem, founder of, are among eight arts journalists selected as 2007 Fellows of the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program, the school announced on Tuesday.
  • The New York Times Student Journalism Institute on Tuesday announced the 30 participants admitted into its annual program for aspiring journalists, to be held May 13 to 26 at Dillard University in New Orleans. The students are selected from historically black colleges and universities.
  • "A giant of intellectual inquiry, political opinion and musical talent, Judy Dothard Simmons leaves behind a loving and admiring network of friends in a town where her primary family was her mother," Bill Edwards wrote Tuesday in the Anniston (Ala.) Star. As reported Monday, a friend said Simmons died Sunday of heart complications.


Cheryl "C.J." Johnson

  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune on Monday announced a plan to cut 145 employees through buyouts or, if enough people don't volunteer, layoffs, and popular gossip columnist Cheryl "C.J." Johnson was listed as one of four local columnists who could be reassigned. "They'll make a decision whether I'm valuable in a couple of weeks," Johnson told WCCO-TV.
  • Ronnie Agnew, executive editor of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., won his second President's Ring from the Gannett Co.
  • Natalie Moore. co-author of "Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation," has joined Chicago Public Radio to cover the South Side of the city, it was announced on Tuesday. She was a city hall reporter with the Detroit News.
  • Beginning July 30, Los Angeles Hispanic network Azteca America will be transmitted on KWVT, channel 52, currently an independent television station in Salem, Ore., the Portland Business Journal reported on Tuesday.
  • "Families are so hooked on television and videos that 40 percent of 3-month-olds and 90 percent of 2-year-olds are regular watchers, according to a new, wide-ranging survey by Seattle researchers," Warren King wrote Tuesday in the Seattle Times. "The survey reinforces many other studies indicating that young children spend too much time with the tube. Now research should focus more on what viewing is best, the scientists said."
  • "Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is entering the Indian newspaper space in association with Chennai-based Kalanithi Maran, owner of the Sun group," Kausik Datta and Rajesh Abraham reported from Mumbai on Wednesday for the Business Standard, which calls itself India's leading business daily. "The Sun, the flagship publication of Murdoch's News Corporation, is in talks with Maran's Sun group to launch an English tabloid in the country."

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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