How Long Will Jason Collins Be a Story?
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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Writers Decry Sportswriter Sam Lacy's Omission From "42"
A Rule of Thumb for Writing Opinions About Politics
N.Y. Times Publishes Story in English, Spanish
|NBA player Jason Collins tells George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" Tuesday that he has received "incredible" support since announcing that he is gay. (Video)|
"The media world has utterly embraced Jason Collins for coming out as the first openly gay NBA player, practically giving him an ovation," according to Howard Kurtz, writing Monday for the Daily Beast. [Kurtz and the Daily Beast "parted company" on Thursday.]
But will the public follow? And how much longevity will the Jason Collins story have?
"People are sitting in the front office right now, trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing," William C. Rhoden of the New York Times said in a Times podcast. It would be a mistake to assume that the tolerance one finds in New York will be repeated around the country, Rhoden said. "Fans do care, trust me," Rhoden cautioned.
Collins is optimistic. "I think, I know, in my personal life, I'm ready, and I think the country is ready for supporting an openly gay basketball player," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos Tuesday on "Good Morning America."
For now, the media are on the Collins story as big news. The first interview with Collins and his twin brother, Jarron, is set to air Sunday on "Oprah's Next Chapter" on OWN, Patrick Kevin Day reported Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times.
The Sports Illustrated website, SI.com, drew 3.713 million unique visitors Monday, Sam Laird reported for Mashable. "Its previous high came on Feb. 9, 2010, when the site drew 3.663 million unique visitors for both its Winter-Olympics coverage and launch of its annual swimsuit issue."
Advertising experts told the Boston Herald that Collins "could reap huge rewards as the first U.S. pro player of a major sport to announce he's gay," the Herald's Marie Szaniszlo reported Tuesday.
Writing in the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday, sports columnist Mike Bianchi cautioned against making too much of the initial reaction, and pointed to the longevity of the Collins saga as the athlete makes his way around the NBA.
"Do not for a second believe that the uniform message of approval flooding in about Collins being the first openly gay active player in a major American team sport is the same sort of message being espoused in locker rooms around American sports," Bianchi wrote.
He continued, "Let's face it, sports locker rooms are the ultimate 'jock-o-cracy' where athletes are instructed to 'man-up' and gay slurs are part of the nomenclature.
"Why do you think it's taken so long for an active male athlete to acknowledge he's gay? And why do you think Collins, an aging free agent on the tail end of his career, waited until he was no longer on a roster?
"Here's all you need to know: Brittney Griner — the Baylor University star, No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft and perhaps the hottest name in women's sports — announced she was gay several days ago and it was barely a blip on the media radar. But Collins, an obscure NBA journeyman, comes out and overshadows even Tim Tebow being cut by the Jets. . . ."
The implication is that Chris Broussard, the senior writer for ESPN the Magazine, might have more support than many believe. Broussard said Monday on ESPN's "Outside The Lines" that homosexual acts, adultery and premarital sex were "walking in open rebellion to God."
Broussard issued a clarification Monday that maintained his basic position, but added, "As has been the case in the past, my beliefs have not and will not impact my ability to report on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA." Broussard told Journal-isms Wednesday he would have no further comment.
Writer-producer Rod McCullom, writing on Ebony.com, argued that Broussard's feelings are not those of most African Americans, regardless of the impression left by the news media.
"Despite evidence to the contrary — such as numerous surveys or voting patterns — the 'perception' of pervasive homophobia in the Black community and especially within professional sports has morphed into a media narrative. A number of Black professional athletes have spoken out for gay rights over the years — such as Charles Barkley, Michael Strahan and Will Demps publicly supported gay marriage as early as seven years ago — but the stubborn narrative remains."
McCullom added, " 'The media incorrectly assumed that "the first" player would be White and probably from hockey or baseball,' author and activist Darnell L. Moore told EBONY.com." Moore and former NFL player Wade Davis have co-founded You Belong, a sports leadership initiative for LGBT youth. "The majority of the NBA and the NFL's players are Black, so, to me it came as no surprise," Moore said in the piece.
An additional issue for journalists will be separating Collins from what he represents.
"That's the challenge Collins — and the journalists covering him — now face; balancing the player as a symbol with the player as a person," Eric Deggans wrote for the National Sports Journalism Institute.
"With accolades flowing from President Obama, [Martina] Navratilova and many other celebrities, it will be easy to reduce Collins' life and career to this moment. But he is also a player who is about to become a free agent this summer; journalists will be challenged to recognize his groundbreaking status while also giving him the scrutiny as player any professional athlete demands. . . ." [Updated May 2]
- Michael Arceneaux, the Grio: 'Black and gay': How race plays a role in Jason Collins' coming out
- Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Playing Gay.
- Bryan Burwell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Collins' revelation more than a coming out
- Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: The gloriously unremarkable coming out of Jason Collins
- Jason Collins with Bill Simmons, Grantland: B.S. Report: Jason Collins (podcast)
- George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel: Orlando gay kicker wants to put boot to NFL stereotypes
- Sam Fulwood III, Center for American Progress: Jason Collins's Anticlimactic Announcement
- Arturo R. García, Racialicious: On ESPN's Burial Of The Jason Collins Story
- Keli Goff, the Root: Jason Collins Proves 'Outing' Isn't Needed
- Julie Hollar, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: When Bigotry Is 'Balance'
- Jeff Johnson, Black America Web: Embrace Our Gay Brothers & Sisters… Let God Be The Judge
- Carlos Maza, Media Matters for America: Fox News Downplays, Mocks First Openly Gay NBA Player Jason Collins
- Wesley Morris, Grantland: Brittney Griner and the Quiet Queering of Professional Sports (April 24)
- National Sports Journalism Center: Journalists, athletes react to Collins' announcement, media coverage of NBA's first openly gay player
- David Person, USA Today: Jason Collins walks in Robinson's path
- Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Jason Collins breaks barriers coming out with a boom!
- Adam Serwer, Mother Jones: Don't Use Jason Collins As an Excuse to Blame Homophobia on Black People
- Connor Simpson, the Atlantic: Howard Kurtz Is Too Bad at His Job to Effectively Shame Jason Collins
- Marie Szaniszlo, Boston Herald: Payoff likely big for first pro to come out, ad experts say
- Dan Treadway, Huffington Post: Despite Their Best Efforts, Monday Belonged to Jason Collins, Not the Worldwide Leader in Sports
- Jon Weisman and Brian Lowry, Variety: Media Coverage of NBA’s Jason Collins Varies Widely
- Paul Whitefield, Los Angeles Times: Kenny Smith schools Chris Broussard on inclusiveness
- Jason Whitlock, FoxSports.com: Beware: Critics to come for Collins
- Edward Wyckoff Williams, the Root: Jason Collins: Black, Gay and a Real Man
- Jonathan Zimmerman, Daily News, New York: The coming-out we all ignored
"The news of nomination of Tom Wheeler as FCC chair and the naming of Mignon Clyburn as interim chair was welcomed by the current commissioners on Wednesday," John Eggerton reported for Broadcasting & Cable.
With the appointment, Clyburn becomes the first woman and the first African American woman to head the FCC.
"Mignon is a strong, experienced, and thoughtful leader," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who announced that he will be leaving in mid-May now that a successor has been named. "She has distinguished herself through her work to modernize universal service and promote competition, and as a champion for closing America's digital divide. . . . " Clyburn has also been a supporter of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Wheeler is an investor in telecommunications start-ups who a decade or more ago served as the chief lobbyist for two industry trade groups, Edward Wyatt wrote in the New York Times. Clyburn, daughter of Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., has been an FCC commissioner since 2009.
The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council praised the appointments.
"Last week, MMTC and 49 other organizations, including the NAACP, League of United Latin American Citizens, and the Alliance for Women in Media, wrote to the President to encourage him to nominate FCC Commissioners that would prioritize minority and women's issues," it said in a statement. Unity: Journalists for Diversity was among the 50 groups. "The letter cited the disproportionately low representation of women and minorities in media and telecom ownership, procurement, employment, and entrepreneurship."
MMTC President David Honig said in the statement, "With Tom Wheeler as Chair and Mignon Clyburn as [interim chair,] both of whom bring many years of practical business experience in media and telecom and who are known for their integrity and fair-mindedness. They will ensure that diversity, equal opportunity and inclusion will be top priorities at the FCC."
- Tracie Powell, Columbia Journalism Review: Next FCC chairman will impact journalism (April 4)
"The Los Angeles Times has announced new guidelines for covering immigration," Deirdre Edgar reported Wednesday for the Times.
"The goal is to 'provide relevance and context and to avoid labels.'
"That means stories will no longer refer to individuals as 'illegal immigrants' or 'undocumented immigrants,' but instead will describe a person's circumstances.
"A memo from The Times' Standards and Practices Committee announcing the change explains the move away from labels:
" ' "Illegal immigrants" is overly broad and does not accurately apply in every situation. The alternative suggested by the 1995 guidelines, "undocumented immigrants," similarly falls short of our goal of precision. It is also untrue in many cases, as with immigrants who possess passports or other documentation but lack valid visas.'
"Though this is a change in written guidelines, the philosophy is already in practice in The Times. . . . "
The Times noted, "The Associated Press, whose stylebook is followed by most newspapers and is the basis for much of L.A. Times style, announced April 2 that it would move away from labels and no longer use the term 'illegal immigrant.' "
- Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: New immigrant talent will be a big part of Cleveland's ultimate solution
- National Association of Hispanic Journalists: NAHJ Commends The Los Angeles Times For Dropping the "i" Word
- Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: The Red Card Solution
- Pew Research Center: Division, Uncertainty over New Immigration Bill
"During a speech today denouncing legislation that would create an inspector general for the NYPD and allow people to sue for racial profiling arising from stop-and-frisk stops, Mayor Bloomberg briefly veered into the realm of media criticism," Dan Amira reported Tuesday for New York magazine. "Though the Times accuses Bloomberg of racist policing tactics, the paper doesn't seem to care when black kids are murdered, Bloomberg alleged with evident disdain:
" 'Last week Bronx resident Alphonza Bryant was shot and killed while standing with friends near his home. He was 17. Like most murder victims in our city, he was a minority .... Alphonza was a person — he had a loving mother, family, friends. It does not appear that he was even the intended target of the shooters. He was just a victim of too many guns on our streets. But after his murder there was no outrage from the Center for Constitutional Rights or the NYCLU. There was not even a mention of his murder in our paper of record, the New York Times. 'All the news that's fit to print' did not include the murder of 17-year-old Alphonza Bryant. Do you think that if a white, 17-year-old prep student from Manhattan had been murdered, the Times would have ignored it? Me neither. I believe that the life of every 17-year-old and every child and every adult is precious. . . . ."
The Times responded:
"Mayor Bloomberg is trying to deflect criticism of the City’s stop-and-frisk practice by accusing The New York Times of bias. Among those critical of the practice is The New York Times editorial board, which is separate from the news side of the newspaper. The Times aggressively covers violence in the city's neighborhoods, and to select one murder as evidence to the contrary is disingenuous. His claim of racial bias is absurd."
- Jarvis DeBerry, NOLA.com | the Times-Picayune: How does the press cover the big crime stories? Chat with Jarvis DeBerry Monday at noon. (April 28)
- Jennifer Fermino, Daily News, New York: Mayor Bloomberg slams opposition to stop and frisk after silence over murder of Bronx teen
- Jamilah King, the American Prospect: Black, Brown, and Blue
- Mia McKenzie, the Guardian, Britain: America only gets outraged about gun violence in white neighbourhoods
- Adam Serwer, Mother Jones: How Michael Bloomberg Is Like Kanye West
- Aviva Shen, Think Progress: Mayor Bloomberg Equates Civil Rights Group Fighting Stop-And-Frisk With Gun Lobby 'Extremists'
- Joan Walsh, Salon: Mike Bloomberg’s ugly "stop and frisk" freakout
"Beyoncé's photo ban on her Mrs Carter Show tour has backfired as fans flooded Twitter with their own snaps," the Belfast Telegraph in Northern Ireland reported on Tuesday.
"The Halo singer put strict restrictions on any unapproved photographers sending out photos from the show, but didn't count on her fans tweeting their images of the gig.
"She has her own photographer on the tour with her and sends out three to five carefully chosen photos after each show — however, the plan went out the window after her first night at London's O2.
"Fans of the 31-year-old star took to Twitter to share their snaps, creating an amateur's eye full round up of the concert. . . . "
As reported Friday, Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association, is urging the news media to refuse to run the official publicity photos that the entertainer is posting in lieu of allowing photographers at the events.
- Alicia Adejobi, entertainmentwise.com, London: 'Don't Become Famous': Beyonce Fans React To Photo Ban Pre-Approved Snaps From O2 Arena Show Are Released
"Ask Jake Oliver about Jackie Robinson and the talk turns quickly to Sam Lacy," DeWayne Wickham wrote for Tuesday's editions of USA Today. "History, prodded most recently by the movie 42, remembers Robinson as the black man who broke Major League Baseball's color line in 1947.
"Lacy, a sportswriter and editor at the Afro-American newspaper chain for six decades, played a big role in knocking down that racial barrier. But there's no mention of this black newspaperman in the movie that's billed as 'The True Story of An American Legend.'
"This oversight upsets Oliver, the Afro publisher and great-grandson of John H. Murphy Sr., a former slave who founded the Baltimore-based newspaper chain in 1892. 'I want history to tell the story of Sam's battle to get Jackie Robinson into Major League Baseball. I want history to tell the story of Sam's closeness to Jackie,' Oliver told me.
"Oliver wants the movie to get it right. What the movie doesn't tell us — but should have — is that in 1945, Lacy persuaded the baseball owners to create a committee to consider integrating the sport, which was then the national pastime. The white men who controlled Major League Baseball did just that. They named Brooklyn Dodgers' owner Branch Rickey, Yankees' executive Larry MacPhail, Philadelphia magistrate Joseph Rainey and Lacy to the four-member panel. . . ."
Lacy's was not the only omission, Howard Bryant wrote last week for espn.com.
"Branch Rickey was given credit for integration of the game as his idea solely, when as early as 1943, the integration forces in government and the press (notably Lester Rodney of the Communist Party newspaper Daily Worker, Wendell Smith and Sam Lacy) had pressured baseball and other industries, such as the military, to integrate," Bryant wrote.
- James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Jackie Robinson story still resonates
- Kevin Cowherd, Baltimore Sun: Sam Lacy's son upset by snub of dad in new movie '42' (April 15)
- Jim Henneman, Press Box: Omission Of Sam Lacy Stuns, But '42' Still Worth Watching
- John Jeansonne, Newsday: '42' gives nod to Wendell Smith, journalism
- Tim Lacy, Afro-American Newspapers: Why Was Sam Lacy Left Out of '42?
- Charlie Vascellaro, Baltimore Sun: How Sam Lacy helped integrate Major League Baseball
In a blog posting for the Atlantic Wednesday, "How to Be a Political-Opinion Journalist," Ta-Nehisi Coates passes along "pretty good rules" from Jonathan Chait:
"Don't debate straw men. If you're arguing against an idea, you need to accurately describe the people who hold them. If at all possible, link to them and quote their argument. This is a discipline that forces opinion writers to prove that they're debating an idea somebody actually holds. And quoting the subject forces them to show that somebody influential holds it — if the best example of the opposing view is a random blog comment, then you're exposing the fact that you're arguing against an idea nobody of any stature shares. This ought to be an easy and universal guideline, but in reality, it's mostly flouted."
Coates adds, "You'd be shocked how many professional writers don't do this. Much like a boxer who wants to fight the best in the world, you want to take on the best of your opposition, and their most credible arguments. . . . "
- Association of Opinion Journalists: Beyond Argument: A Handbook for Opinion Writers and Editors
- Suzette Martinez Standring: The Art of Column Writing
The New York Times published an investigative project in both English and Spanish," Veronica Villafañe reported Tuesday for her Media Moves site.
" 'A Drug War Informer in No Man's Land,' about a former Mexican police chief turned DEA informant abandoned by the U.S. government after he provided information that linked Mexico’s military to drug cartels, ran in yesterday's print and online editions.
" 'Un Informante de la Guerra Contra el Narcotráfico en Tierra de Nadie,' only ran online.
" 'Ginger Thompson's stories on Latin America often are translated and run on the front pages of papers there. So we thought, why not provide a Spanish-language version of her story and drive readers to our own site instead. We are interested to see how much traffic the Spanish version gets.' . . ."
Media Moves quoted Investigations Editor Christine Kay saying the bilingual story was a first for the Times, and this item originally reflected that. However, Stephanie Yera, manager of corporate communications for the New York Times Co, messaged the following on Thursday:
"The New York Times has published stories in Spanish on NYTimes.com for some time, either in conjunction with special projects or because it has simply made sense editorially. Stories are published in the Spanish language via The New York Times News Service & Syndicate or translated into Spanish, and translators are credited at the end of our articles. This practice is not experimental, and it's something we've also done in Portuguese and Chinese.
"Here are some examples of other stories that have been published in Spanish on NYTimes.com:
"Another story by Ginger Thompson, also with Randal Archibold and Eric Schmitt (our translators are named at the bottom of the article), on U.S. involvement in hindering the rise of Mexican General Moisés García Ochoa, from Feb. 2013: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/world/americas/mano-de-estados-unidos-frena-promocion-de-general-en-mexico.html?pagewanted=all
"A July 2012 story on marijuana trafficking in Uruguay by Damien Cave: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/world/americas/para-frenar-a-traficantes-de-marihuana-uruguay-considera-aduearse-de-su-negocio.html
"A 2011 series on immigration by Damien Cave: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/07/world/americas/immigration-en-espanol.html ." [Updated May 2]
- "El Houssein Barhoum is the father of one of the young men depicted on the April 18 cover of the New York Post," Erik Wemple wrote Tuesday for the Washington Post. " 'Bag Men,' read the headline, with this explanation: 'Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon.' 'These two' had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombings, but they made the Post cover in any case. As a result, Barhoum is talking to lawyers about his options. . . ."
- May 1 marked the 10th anniversary of Jayson Blair's resignation from the New York Times over plagiarism and fabrication issues. "In a lot of ways I've matured, I've grown up," Blair told Andrew Metcalf of Patch in Ellicott City, Md. Blair now has gray hair. "The one thing that I go back to over and over again, if you look at all the factors, the age, the pressure, the youth, all the things people find attributed to me, even the mental illness," said Blair. "All those things do not matter compared to character."
- "The estimated $1 trillion in student loan debt affects individuals from all walks of life. However, according to two studies, women and minorities are two groups experiencing some of the greatest repercussions of student debt," the nonprofit Equal Justice Works organization reported Wednesday for U.S. News. It added, "More black students who left school without finishing a degree cited student debt as the reason than their white peers — 69 percent versus 43 percent — and 74 percent of Latinos who opted out of attending college cited finances as the reason," according to figures from a 2012 report.
- "News organizations are approaching diversity from many angles — from increasing diversity in coverage and sourcing, to reaching out to new audiences on new platforms," Taylor Miller Thomas wrote Wednesday for the Poynter Institute. Among the collaborations, "The Center for Investigative Reporting and Univision have worked together since August of last year to produce reports for Univision’s audience. While the broadcast station has presented reports on television, Univision and CIR have also published standalone written pieces for the Web. . . ."
- "Months after cutting its print edition to three days a week, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans on Tuesday announced plans for a three-day-a-week tabloid called TPStreet available in stores and newsstands on days when the full paper isn't printed," Kevin McGill reported Wednesday for the Associated Press.
- Tamron Hall is "one of the most in-demand anchors on television," Kate Storey wrote in a profile for the New York Post. "At NBC, Hall hosts MSNBC’s 'NewsNation with Tamron Hall' and fills in for 'Today' co-hosts. She also helms 'Dateline' on Oprah Winfrey's OWN, and, this fall, you’ll be able to find her on 'Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall' on Investigation Discovery. . . ."
- "Rap Genius, the popular site that lets users explain rap lyrics by annotating specific words and lines with their own descriptions and links to supporting facts, is looking to expand its reach to cover more current events and breaking news," Carl Franzen wrote Wednesday for the Verge. "Enter 'News Genius.' Announced today by the founders of Rap Genius at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY conference, News Genius exists primarily as a Twitter account for now, which tweets out links to news audio clips and documents that have already been posted on Rap Genius. . . .'
- The application for the 2013 VOICES project, the student project at the annual Asian American Journalists Association convention, is now available. The deadline to submit applications and supporting materials has been extended to Friday, May 10.
- Filmmaker Rhonda Haynes is raising money on the indiegogo site to complete a documentary, "Let The Eagle Scream!: From the Lynching Tree To The Iron Bars," "a film documenting the history of lynching to the use of the penal system as an extension of the practice."
- "The masthead of Oprah's magazine is getting a makeover," Keith J. Kelly reported Monday for the New York Post. "Susan Casey, an ocean-adventure author who has held the top job for nearly four years, is leaving and will be replaced by her deputy," Lucy Kaylin.
- "All this week, Anderson Cooper will be pulling double-duty, not only hosting 'AC360°' at 8 PM, but new editions of 'AC360°' at 10 PM… with an entirely different format," Alex Weprin wrote Tuesday for TVNewser. "The 8 PM show stays the same, but the 10 PM editions of the show will utilize a panel format through Thursday night, with Cooper serving as the host. CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin will be guests all week, as will Amy Holmes from TheBlaze. . . ."
- The 17th annual Webby Awards, which celebrate Internet achievement, are to be officially announced Tuesday, Jake Coyle reported Tuesday for the Associated Press. He added, "The Webby person of the year is Frank Ocean, the R&B singer, whom the Webbys hailed 'for proving the power of the Web as a medium for cultural change when he announced his bisexuality to his Tumblr community. . . .' "
- "Aurelia Flores, founder of the Latina leadership site powerfullatinas.com and senior counsel at a Fortune 500 company, completed my trifecta of experts who suggested giving stereotype-laced comments the benefit of the doubt," Esther J. Cepeda wrote in her latest column for the Washington Post Writers Group. " 'Like it or not at that point, you're the representative Latino or Latina of their world and you don't want to leave them feeling like, "Not only do I not understand these people, but they're all so uppity — I was just trying to be nice," ' Flores said. 'While it's not fair to have to deal with other people's misperceptions, you have to be open to the possibility that they might actually be trying to relate to you on a personal level.' . . . ”
- Reporters Without Borders Tuesday condemned "the use of excessive violence by the Buenos Aires metropolitan police against journalists covering a demonstration by hospital employees on 26 April." The press freedom group added, "At least 50 people including many journalists were injured when the police fired on the crowd outside José T. Borda Hospital with rubber bullets. The police also charged reporters. . . ."
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 BugMeNot.com 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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