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HuffPost Picks Editors for Black, Latino Sites

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Updated June 30

Two to Be Integrated Into Huffington Post "Platform"

MSNBC Suspends Time's Halperin Over Obama Remark

AP Reaches Agreement for Bureau in North Korea

Asian Journalists Express Mixed Feelings on Vargas

Cuba's "Independent Journalists" Merit Support, Group Says

3 Freed After 18 Months as Hostages of the Taliban

NABJ's "Where Is the Diversity . . .?" Letter Gains Traction

Randy Falco Promoted to Univision President and CEO

Cable Networks Plug Into Essence Music Festival

Short Takes

The Black Voices site has been redesigned to be integrated into the Huffington Post.

Two to Be Integrated Into Huffington Post "Platform"

Miguel FerrerNew top editors have been named for Black Voices and AOL Latino, and the two sites — now under the direction of the Huffington Post — will migrate from AOL to the Huffington site, or "platform," according to Mario Ruiz, the Huffington Post's vice president for communications.

"Rebecca Carroll has been named managing editor of Black Voices, while Miguel Ferrer has been named Managing Editor of our Latino site. They're overseeing their sites' editorial departments, with Rebecca looking to hire a pop culture editor and a beauty & style editor," Ruiz said by email. "The migration of the sites to the HuffPost platform is expected to take place this summer."

Rebecca CarrollCarroll was named Black Voices culture editor in March. She "has held editor positions at Uptown and Paper magazines, as well as at Contentville.com and Africana.com, where she was the founding editor," Ruiz said. Henry Louis Gates' africana.com shut down in December 2004, and AOL merged it with Black Voices. Carroll is also a former producer for the Charlie Rose show on PBS. "She is the author of several nonfiction books about race in America, including 'Saving the Race' and 'Sugar in the Raw.' Her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, Essence and Elle, among other print and online publications," Ruiz said.

Tariq Muhammad, named director of AOL Black Voices in 2007, has been shifted again. In May, he was identified as general manager of BlackVoices, serving as the liaison between editorial and the business side. Now, Ruiz said, "Tariq has moved to the AOL Branded Experiences Group."

AOL Latino is being renamed Latino Voices. "Prior to becoming Managing Editor of HuffPost Latino Voices, Miguel Ferrer was Director of Programming for AOL Latino, where he was responsible for growing AOL Latino's audience and developing key media partnerships. Before joining AOL Latino, Ferrer was the business development manager for People en Español, where he created the family festival series FIESTA 2006," Ruiz said.

The two sites are "not currently seeking editors in chief," he said, contrary to previous declarations.

AOL Latino had 981,000 unique visitors in April, down from 1,279,000 in March, according to the comScore research service. Black Voices had 1,625,000, up from 1,316,000.

Changes there are part of a broader strategy. "The Huffington Post will be absorbing many of the former stand-alone AOL editorial sites, and in the process expanding from 28 sections to 36," Erick Schonfeld reported Tuesday for TechCrunch. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong "believes that simplifying AOL’s content portfolio will make it easier to sell ads and attract readers. Instead of '300 different things that sales people could sell, now they can focus their sales efforts against key categories.'

"AOL’s celebrity site PopEater, for instance, will become HuffPost Celebrity. AOL News is already consolidated into the Huffington Post and Politics Daily has been rolled into HuffPost Politics. Kitchen Daily will become HuffPost Kitchen, Parent Dish will become HuffPost Parents, AOL Black Voices will become HuffPost Black Voices, and so on. HuffPost Music, HuffPost Small Business, and HuffPost Kids will all be new."

Moving to the Huffington Post "platform" means more visibility for Black Voices and Latino Voices and more connection to other Huffington Post features, Ruiz said.

"We're excited to be moving both these sites to the Huffington Post platform, which, as Tim Armstrong put it in his email to AOLers this morning, means 'an editorial ecosystem with high-quality content, leading edge blogging, commenting, and social sharing capabilities.' The bottom line is that we expect HuffPost Black Voices and HuffPost Latino Voices to gain visibility, audience, and user engagement by being fully integrated into the HuffPost editorial structure."

Sheila C. Johnson, the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, had proposed a black-oriented Huffington Post site before Huffington was bought by AOL this year. Such a site was deemed redundant after HuffPost gained control Black Voices.

"Sheila's role as an advisor to AOL Huffington Post Media Group is unchanged," Ruiz said.

MSNBC Suspends Time's Halperin Over Obama Remark

"Mark Halperin, a Time magazine editor-at-large, a best-selling author and an MSNBC political analyst, apologized on that network's 'Morning Joe' program this morning after calling President Obama a vile name while assessing yesterday's White House news conference," David Jackson reported Thursday for USA Today.

"I thought he was kind of a d--- yesterday," Halperin said, apparently thinking the word would be bleeped out.

'It wasn't."

MSNBC issued this statement:

"Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst."

The MSNBC statement included this apology from Halperin:

"I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it."

Tim Mak of Politico added: "Time issued a statement later Thursday, calling Halperin’s comments 'inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time’s views.

"The magazine did not suspend Halperin but said, 'We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable' and noted that he had 'appropriately' apologized.

"White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday afternoon that he called Halperin’s bosses at MSNBC.

" 'The comment that was made was inappropriate,' Carney told reporters in his daily briefing. 'It would be inappropriate to say that about either president of either party.' " [June 30]

 

Kim Pyong Ho, president of Korean Central News Agency, right, exchanges an agreement during an official signing with Tom Curley, Associated Press president and CEO, on Tuesday in New York. One agreement provides for the opening of a comprehensive AP news bureau in Pyongyang. (Credit: Frank Franklin II/Associated Press)

AP Reaches Agreement for Bureau in North Korea

"The Associated Press and the North Korean state news agency have signed a series of agreements, including one for the opening of a comprehensive AP news bureau in Pyongyang, the organizations announced Wednesday," the AP reported.

"A memorandum of understanding agreed by the AP and the Korean Central News Agency would expand the AP's presence in North Korea to a level unmatched by any other Western news organization. It would build upon the AP's existing video news bureau, which opened in Pyongyang in 2006, by allowing AP text and photo journalists to work in North Korea as well.

"With the signing, the agencies agreed to begin work immediately on detailed planning needed to set up and operate the new bureau as quickly as possible. It would be the first permanent text and photo bureau operated by a Western news organization in the North Korean capital.

". . . Five years ago, AP Television News, headquartered in London, became the first Western news organization to establish an office in North Korea.

"The AP in recent years has been talking with North Korean officials on various topics including how to set up broader access for AP print and photo journalists to Pyongyang. As the contacts progressed," KCNA hosted Tom Curley, AP president and CEO, in Pyongyang in March.

"AP Seoul Bureau Chief Jean H. Lee and Chief Asia Photographer David Guttenfelder have made several extensive reporting trips to North Korea in the past several months as part of unprecedented coverage of the country and its people.

"A five-member KCNA delegation," led by Kim Pyong Ho, president of Korean Central News Agency, "arrived Saturday for talks with the AP at the AP's world headquarters in New York City."

Asian Journalists Express Mixed Feelings on Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas"We at AAJA read with amazement reporter Jose Antonio Vargas' first-person account as an 'undocumented immigrant living in the United States,' the Asian American Journalists Association said in a statement Monday.

"Long before Vargas' revelation, AAJA charted and celebrated his accomplishments in journalism, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize he and his Washington Post colleagues won for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting.

"To be clear, AAJA does not condone the actions that Vargas and his family took regarding his immigration status. The mission of journalism is the pursuit of truth, and the fact that Vargas was not fully honest with his employers, sources and readers troubles all of us at AAJA, as it should trouble all journalists.

'AAJA encourages and supports journalists who pursue career advancement in a fair and honest manner. That said, AAJA appreciates Vargas' unblinking, illuminating piece — because the mission of journalism is also about making sure that all voices across our communities are heard. In telling his story, Vargas raises difficult questions and offers a perspective rarely represented in America's divisive immigration debate. And he has done so in a way that humanizes the debate and adds nuance to it — rather than simply trying to shout down others who might disagree."

The statement was signed by Kathy Chow, AAJA national office executive director, and included this caveat: "While the majority of the board agreed with this statement, AAJA National President Doris Truong voluntarily recused herself from this discussion because she is an employee of The Washington Post."

Vargas was born in the Philippines.

Cuba's "Independent Journalists" Merit Support, Group Says

Are Cuba's "independent journalists" — who some say are paid by the United States — bona fide professionals worthy of advocacy efforts by such press-Omar Rodríguez Saludesfreedom groups as the Committee to Protect Journalists?

Yes, a committee spokeswoman told Journal-isms. If the committee can advocate for journalists reporting for state-run media, then Cuba's "independent journalists" qualify, too.

The question arose again after the committee last week released a report on journalists who have been forced into exile. "Iran, which has waged a massive, two-year-long crackdown on the independent press, and Cuba, which freed journalists from prison only to force them to leave their homeland, each sent 18 journalists into exile," said the special report by Elisabeth Witchel.

The authenticity of the Cuban journalists was debated in the comments section of this column in 2006 by David Gonzalez, a New York Times reporter, and DeWayne Wickham, columnist for USA Today and Gannett News Service.

"How insane is it for Omar Rodríguez Saludes, an independent Cuban journalist to be tossed in jail for 27 years for crossing the Cuban State?" Gonzalez wrote. "He was among 75 people who were arrested, tried and quickly sentenced three years ago this month. The wave of arrests, by the way, earned Cuba the dubious distinction of being the world's second biggest jailer of journalists."

Rodriguez was released in December and now lives in Spain.

Wickham replied, "In all of my trips to Cuba I have met just two kinds of Cuban journalists: those who work for Cuban government owned media and those whose work is subsidized by the United States government.

"How, in a communist country in which the government controls all jobs, does Mr. Gonzalez think these 'independent journalists' make a living?

"I met with several of these 'independent [journalists]' during one of my visits to Cuba. When they complained about losing their jobs after they sent information to their U.S. contacts that was critical of the Castro government, (that's what their [journalism] amounts to: telephone calls, faxes and emails to people in the United States), I asked how they managed financially. One of the 'independent journalists' pointed to an American embassy official who had accompanied them to the meeting and said: 'We get help from our friends.' "

Referrring to that exchange, Journal-isms took the issue to Gypsy Guillén Kaiser, advocacy and communications director for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

"In Cuba, where domestic news outlets are state-owned and supervised by the Communist Party, journalists who do not work for such outlets are legally and by default considered dissidents by their government," she replied by email this week. "Although the Cuban government has labeled them 'mercenaries,' an analysis of trial documents shows that the journalists' work was within the parameters of the legitimate exercise of free expression established under international human rights standards. While you and others are certainly entitled to your own opinion on whether these journalists are 'authentic', their reporting, carried out independently of the Cuban state, is a fundamental right and one which CPJ proudly defends.

"Coincidentally, in July, we will issue a report covering press freedom conditions on the island following the 'Black Spring' crackdown in 2003 and the reforms currently taking place in the country. Most interestingly, Cuba is slated to launch a new fiber-optic cable next month which should, ostensibly, bring broader access to the general population. We hope that you'll find that report interesting and useful for your own discussions.

". . . The guidelines utilized are found here. CPJ defends journalists and we have taken action on behalf of journalists at state-owned media as needed (here is one example among many)."

3 Freed After 18 Months as Hostages of the Taliban

"Two French journalists who had been held hostage in Afghanistan for 18 months were released on Wednesday, according to the French government and the television channel that had sent them there," Katrin Bennhold wrote for the New York Times.

"France 3 television said the reporters, Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière, had been freed along with their interpreter, Reza Din. All three men appear to be in good health. The two journalists are expected to return to France shortly.

"After one of France’s longest hostage ordeals, President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a statement Wednesday afternoon thanking 'everyone who participated in freeing the hostages.' He also expressed gratitude to his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, for his help in the situation.

"Both seasoned war reporters, Mr. Ghesquière, 47, and Mr. Taponier, his 46-year-old cameraman, were kidnapped by Taliban militants on Dec. 30, 2009, while reporting on a story on reconstruction of a road east of Kabul. Their captors had apparently made several demands in exchange for their release, though it was unclear Wednesday what those demands had been and whether any of them had been met."

NABJ's "Where Is the Diversity . . .?" Letter Gains Traction

Kathy Y. Times

"Where is the Diversity in Network News?," an open letter to network executives and editors posted a week ago by Kathy Y. Times, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, gained traction this week when at least three journalism websites — Romenesko's blog for the Poynter Institute, TVNewser and the subscription-only NewsBlues — reported on it.

"As Scott Pelley replaces Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News and Glenn Beck prepares to leave Fox News Channel, a question looms. Where is the diversity?" it began.

"People of color comprise more than a third of the U.S. population. The 2010 Census shows the minority population is growing from coast to coast, and the majority of children in the U.S. will be minorities by 2050. So, there's a strong case to be made that news media is running in the wrong direction of its audience.

"The Big 3 networks and cable news channels have undergone a series of rare changes behind the desk. While the replacements are all seasoned journalists, what is glaringly missing in the flurry of changes is the failure to elevate African Americans to any of these positions. . . . "

"On the print side, NABJ applauded The New York Times for its recent decision to promote an African American, Dean Baquet, to managing editor of news. Unfortunately, black editors are becoming an 'endangered species' in the midst of layoffs. For example, daily newspapers in Houston and Savannah have staffs that are disproportionately white. Yet, the communities they serve are overwhelmingly of color. The Houston Chronicle does not have a single black metro editor deciding what gets covered on a daily basis."

Randy Falco Promoted to Univision President and CEO

Randy Falco"Randy Falco, executive VP and COO at Univision Communications, has been named president and CEO of the Spanish-language giant, effective immediately. Falco will also become a member of the Univision board of directors and will continue to be based in New York," Michael Malone reported Wednesday for Broadcasting & Cable.

". . . Joe Uva stepped down as CEO in April.

". . . Falco assumed the role of executive VP and COO in early 2011, overseeing all revenue functions for Univision. Previously he held the position of chairman and CEO at AOL.

"Falco spent more than 30 years at NBC Universal, Inc., culminating as president and COO of NBC Universal Television Group."

Cable Networks Plug Into Essence Music Festival

"The 17th annual Essence Music Festival will have a decidedly cable flavor as several networks will look to build brand awareness among the more than 500,000 mostly African-American women expected to flock to New Orleans this weekend for the popular event," Thomas Umstead reported Wednesday for Multichannel News.

"Networks such as Black Entertainment Television, VH1, TV One, WE [tv], TNT and TBS will showcase their programming talent during the July 1-3 event, which will feature as its main attraction live musical performances from such top acts as Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, Kanye West, Jill Scott, Chaka [Khan], New Edition and Mary J. Blige.

"With African Americans watching more television than any other ethnic group and with African-American buying power expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2013, executives say the festival provides an opportunity to reach an important audience segment. Cable networks will give festival attendees a chance to meet and greet talent from their respective shows via booth visits and panel discussions."

In a news release, Essence also touted a three-day "ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, which is free and open to the public" in New Orleans.

". . . On Saturday (July 2nd), ESSENCE will be 'Transforming Your Community' through conversations with Rev. Al Sharpton, Soledad O'Brien and Terry McMillan, as well as a panel discussion entitled, 'America I Am' featuring: Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West, Iyanla Vanzant, Tom Burrell and Jeff Henderson. In addition, CNN will host a political panel featuring Valerie Jarrett, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Mayor Kasim Reed, moderated by CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux."

Short Takes

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site 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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Comments

2006 Exchange on Cuba Between David Gonzalez and DeWayne Wickham

Posted by David Gonzalez on March 18, 2006

"How insane is this?" asked DeWayne Wickham in his March 7 USA Today column. "Digna Castañeda, a frail and aging professor of Caribbean history and philosophy at the University of Havana, cannot go to Puerto Rico next week to attend the International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association."

Hmmm....lemme answer it with this: How insane is it for Omar Rodiguez Saludes, an independent Cuban journalist to be tossed in jail for 27 years for crossing the Cuban State? He was among 75 people who were arrested, tried and quickly sentenced three years ago this month. The wave of arrests, by the way, earned Cuba the dubious distinction of being the world's second biggest jailer of journalists.

Or...how insane is this? While Mr. Wickham and company were touring Havana, Guillermo Farinas — another independent journalist — was on a hunger strike to demand internet access. Seems the Cuban government cut off his access to the internet after he was quoted criticizing the government in the Miami Herald.

Or, how insane is this: In a country where the majority of the population is dark-skinned, a white cupola still rules.

I could go on, but I think you get my drift. Whatever we can say about the embargo and US policy ... a lot more can be said about how Cubans are denied the basic rights we take for granted here: like the right to travel overseas, to freely express yourself, to criticize your government, etc. I suggest folks look at a recent Gary Marx piece in the Chicago Tribune which eloquently lays out the upswing in "actos de repudio" and other officially approved tactics to silence critics.

For the record, I am not Cuban, but a Nuyorican born and raised in the South Bronx. I was the NY Times Caribbean Buro Chief from 99 to 2003 and visited Cuba 10 times during that period. If you spend any amount of time on your own, talking to people in their homes and getting to know them, I think you will begin to understand what it truly insane about Cuba.

DeWayne Wickham response

Richard,

In all of my trips to Cuba I have met just two kinds of Cuban journalists: those who work for Cuban government owned media and those whose work is subsidized by the United States government.

How, in a communist country in which the government controls all jobs, does Mr. Gonzalez think these "independent journalists" make a living?

I met with several of these "independent journalists" during one of my visits to Cuba. When they complained about losing their jobs after they sent information to their U.S. contacts that was critical of the Castro government, (that's what their journalism amounts to: telephone calls, faxes and emails to people in the United States), I asked how they managed financially. One of the "independent journalists" pointed to an American embassy official who had accompanied them to the meeting and said: "We get help from our friends."

One more thing: I think it is disingenuous for the opponents of Castro's government's to complain about the lack of political power among Cuba's black majority. While blacks certainly are underrepresented in the Castro government, they hold substantially more positions of power than they did under the previous government - the one that was widely supported by the aging anti-Castro Cuban American Cold Warriors in South Florida.

Why doesn't Mr. Gonzalez mention the dearth of black Cubans who are members of the leadership of the anti-Castro groups in the United States — groups that are champing at the bit to gain control of Cuba after Castro dies? Does race only matter when he looks at the Castro government —- and not those who hope to dictate what kind of government will follow Castro's demise?

HP's Black Voices: The Model that Threatens Black Opinions

Black Activists need not apply.....

 

 

Halperin, MSNBC and that vile word

This latest dustup alternates between amusing and sad. That bad word should be a badge of honor for President Obama, sort of like FDR telling the bankers "I embrace your hatred of me." Being commander in chief means having to act like an aggressive organ sometimes for the right reasons. Halperin thought he was truth telling off the record, but the mic was hot. His faux pas was mild compared to Jesse Jackson's about candidate Obama 'round Fathers Day 2008. Remember the priceless AJC political cartoon: A squirrel saw Rev. Jackson approaching and the critter warned his furry friends, "He's coming, hide your nuts!"

Editor's note: http://www.maynardije.org/richardprince/uproar-over-new-yorker-cover (second item)

NABJ President's 'Where is the Diversity?' Letter

"... an open letter to network executives and editors posted a week ago by Kathy Y. Times, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, gained traction this week when at least three journalism websites — Romenesko's blog for the Poynter Institute,TVNewser and the subscription-only NewsBlues — reported on it."

NABJ's open declaration of the serious lack of diversity in one of the most powerful and influential industries in the nation gained traction due to three White-owned websites. I wonder why this letter and this issue hasn't been covered by every Black-owned media company and White-owned media targing diverse audiences? 

In related news, no less than three major reports have recently exposed the lack of value that diversity has among corporate CEOs. Virtually no media are reporting on those studies, the latest conducted by Harvard University. That includes Black-owned media.

I keep shaking my head wondering why Black folks seek to persuade White folks to value diversity more than we do. If we don't care about the issue, why should others who are less affected by its negative impact? 

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