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"I Told Them on the Air . . . Got to Go"

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Cleveland Anchor Leaves Show to Meet Freed Victim

Columnist Clem Richardson Laid Off at N.Y. Daily News

Essence Talks to Lesbian-Turned-Wife-of Mayoral-Candidate

Eritrean's Imprisonment Tied to WikiLeaks Revelation

69% of Hispanic High School Class of '12 Went to College

Author of Heritage Foundation Immigration Report Resigns

Writer: Too Many Whitewash Chris Brown-Rihanna Abuse

Redskins Owner: "We'll NEVER Change the Name"

Advice for Mother's Day

Short Takes

Lydia Esparra, reporter at Cleveland's WOIO-TV, tells viewers about becoming the only journalist to visit the freed Gina DeJesus. "She was awesome, she was kind, she was friendly, she was happy," Esparra said. (Video)

Cleveland Anchor Leaves Show to Meet Freed Victim

Lydia Esparra, a weekend anchor at Cleveland's WOIO-TV, became the  only journalist to talk with freed kidnapping victim Gina DeJesus Thursday when DeJesus' family interrupted Esparra on the air and said DeJesus wanted to see her.

Meanwhile, news outlets differed over the propriety of reporting on prior convictions of Charles Ramsey, the Internet sensation credited with helping to free DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight, who were imprisoned for a decade.

WEWS-TV apologized for its report on Ramsey's domestic violence convictions, and Mark Naymik, writing in the Plain Dealer, said his newspaper "learned Tuesday night about some aspects of Ramsey's troubled past. The paper left it out of its news stories.


"Ramsey's action to help Berry stood alone. His past, even it contained bad deeds, had nothing to do with his act of heroism Monday."

Esparra described her meeting with DeJesus, a fellow Puerto Rican, on her own station [video] and with CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin Thursday on that network.

From the CNN transcript:

BALDWIN: And I talked with a family friend and a journalist here in the Cleveland area. She's a weekend anchor at WOIO. Her name is Lydia Esparra. She visited Gina today and she told me about that visit.


LYDIA ESPARRA, WOIO ANCHOR: They have waited nine long years. And, of course, I have been covering the story.

BALDWIN: From the beginning.

ESPARRA: From the beginning, from the very beginning.

And Nancy and her husband, Felix, never gave up hope, never gave up hope. They said, my daughter's alive. Even when I doubted her, she said, Lydia, my daughter's alive. So...

BALDWIN: You were on the air, and they said get off the air.

ESPARRA: I was on the air.

Yes, once they came through — and that was Gina's sister in orange. That was her sister Mayra protecting her.

BALDWIN: With her arm.

ESPARRA: Right. They are very protective of her because they haven't had her for nine years.

So, yes, so I'm live on the air, and then one of her relatives comes over and says, Nancy wants you to come to the house.


ESPARRA: So, I said, OK, and I told them on the air, said, got to go, Nancy's calling.

So, I go inside the house and I have my moment with Nancy and we're crying and — with Felix and we're crying, because I haven't spent any time with them, and I'm friends besides being a journalist. It's just such a tough line trying to be a friend and do your job.


ESPARRA: But first I'm a human being, so that's the attitude I took.


ESPARRA: So, I went and I cried with them, because that's what I do, and I cried.

And then I was like, am I going to be able to see Gina? And she — the niece says, yes. And Gina wants to see you.


ESPARRA: And I said, really? And she — yes, mom asked her. And she goes, Lydia's out there. Do you want to see Lydia?

BALDWIN: And you never met Gina before?

ESPARRA: I have never met — never.

BALDWIN: You got to know her through missing posters and talking to the family.

ESPARRA: Everything, missing posters, talking to the family.

I used to keep her pictures on my desk. Any time I covered a vigil, I would keep everything on my desk of her to remind me that she was missing. I would talk to Nancy. She would tell me stories. She was shy. She'd never get in a car with anybody, a stranger.


BALDWIN: How is she? How was Gina?

ESPARRA: She's doing fabulous. It was unbelievable.

My hands were sweating because here's someone I never imagined would come back to us. And so when I went inside, I embraced her and she embraced me reluctantly, because she's, obviously, been locked in a basement for nine years, and we talked.

And the first thing I said is, you look nothing like your composite. She's a tiny little thing. She's very small, short hair. She had longer hair when she disappeared. And her skin's a little pale from the lack of vitamin D from being outside. But she was just so kind and so happy.

And a relative came up to her and said — was talking in Spanish and she looks at her mom and says, mom, I don't remember my Spanish anymore.

BALDWIN: Really?


BALDWIN: She can't speak Spanish anymore?

ESPARRA: No. And then we had a couple of other words. I asked her about the house, and then I left. The family told me to stay, have food. We're Hispanic. We're very open with one another. Lydia, stay and have food. But I did not want to make her feel uncomfortable. I left. . . .

In other developments, Angel Cordero, who speaks only Spanish, told ABC affiliate WEWS-TV that he arrived at the scene first and he was the one to kick the door down, freeing Berry, who had been trapped inside for nearly 10 years. Also, the Call & Post, Cleveland's black weekly owned and published by boxing promoter Don King, had no coverage of the rescue events on its Web page, but reported on the saga in its print edition, a staffer told Journal-isms.

Clem Richardson on an interview in 2011. He wrote the weekly Great Peop

Columnist Clem Richardson Laid Off at N.Y. Daily News

Daily News columnist Clem Richardson was among the dozen or so journalists laid off from the New York tabloid, Richardson disclosed, telling Journal-isms that Friday was his last day.

Richardson, 58, has worked at the News since 1993. His disclosure came as the New York Post offered voluntary buyouts to newsroom employees, the top two editors at the New York-based Village Voice said they were leaving the weekly newspaper over staff cuts, and the editor of Columbia Journalism Review, Cyndi Stivers, also based in New York, left to become editor-in-chief of CJR's longtime executive editor, Mike Hoyt, was in the process of being laid off, according to Joe Pompeo of

[On Saturday, reporter Tanyanika Samuels, who is expecting a baby, told her Facebook followers that she, too, was laid off: 

"As some of you may know, I was among those laid off from the Daily News on Friday. I consider myself in good company. Thank you to those who reached out. Looking forward to the future, most notably on the imminent arrival of baby #2. Just three weeks to go...eeek!" Samuels previously worked at the Kansas City Star and the Philadelphia Inquirer, according to her LinkedIn profile.]

Richardson explained Friday by email, "I have been a columnist since shortly after returning from a six month International Center for Journalists fellowship teaching newspaper writing for the Independent Newspaper group in South Africa. When I officially left the company today I was writing the weekly Great People, City Beat, and Uptown Talks columns, the titles of each explain what they covered.

"What's next? Several friends in the business have graciously offered writing opportunities, and college teaching is a possibility should a position come up. All this time will allow me to finish the rewrite on my first novel, a Brooklyn-based fantasy, sometime this month, which a brilliant Brooklyn artist, Leokadia Cermakova has graciously consented to create the cover art and illustrate several scenes inside.

"Other than that I'm sitting here screaming at the ridiculous and unending one-on-one play that passes for the NBA playoffs nowadays and reflecting on how wonderful a life I have been blessed to live. I have heard from friends, colleagues and dozens of people I profiled, so I guess I got a few names right. . . ." [Updated May 11]

Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray on "Inside City Hall" with Errol Louis, via N

Essence Talks to Lesbian-Turned-Wife-of Mayoral-Candidate

Until an interview with Linda Villarosa in the June issue of Essence magazine took the story national, the saga of the black lesbian who married a white man who is now a candidate for New York City mayor was largely a local story.

Kat Stoeffel, writing Thursday in New York magazine, described it this way:

'What the New York Post did was just really nasty. It was racist, ignorant and crude.' Chirlane McCray said. (Credit: Sean Delonis)

"Before she was married to New York City public advocate and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, Chirlane McCray was a lesbian. She wrote an essay about it for Essence in 1979, which the New York Observer dug up last year. Considering McCray's husband's opponents include a current lesbian and a reformed sender-of-crotch-shots — and considering this is New York City, where no one cares how you get your rocks off — it should have been no big deal. But a skeezy New York Post cartoon hinting that De Blasio had won McCray's vote, so to speak, briefly dragged out the non-story. Now McCray has returned to Essence to candidly explain the fluidity of sexuality and the vagaries of the heart, in case any of us perverts are still confused. . . ."

In the interview, McCray says of a tabloid cartoon by Sean Delonas published in December, "What the New York Post did was just really nasty. It was racist, ignorant and crude."

As described by Dana Rubinstein in, Delonas "sketched the mayoral candidate in drag smoking a post-coital cigarette next to his wife, as she talks on the phone: 'I used to be a lesbian but my husband, Bill de Blasio, won me over,' she says." Among Delonas' previous cartoons is one comparing the author of President Obama's stimulus package to a dead chimpanzee.

Villarosa is a former executive editor at Essence "who wrote her own coming out story in 1991," Essence recalled, and "runs the journalism program at City College in Harlem."

Eritrean's Imprisonment Tied to WikiLeaks Revelation

The release of unredacted WikiLeaks cables no doubt led to the arrest of a prominent businessman in Eritrea who is one of "thousands of political prisoners, locked up without ever being charged with a crime, many of whom are never heard from again," Amnesty International said in a report on the country released Thursday.

"In October 2011 Senay Kifleyasus, a prominent businessman and the husband of the current Minister for Tourism Askalu Menkerios was arrested [PDF]. It is believed that his arrest was in relation to an un-redacted Wikileaks cable. In the cable Senay is not identified but is described as a 'businessman and the estranged husband of a cabinet minister' and describes a conversation in which he reportedly criticised President Isaias [Afwerki]'s 'disastrous governance of the country,' which among other things had 'drained the patience of the military,' the report says. "According to available information Senay has not been brought before a court or charged with a crime. It is not known where he is being detained."

The human rights group refers to a 2011 report published on, a U.S.-based website produced by Eritrean exiles.

"The US cables included instructions to protect or 'strictly protect' sources speaking in confidence," Gedab News reported on "When wikileaks first disclosed the cables in November of last year, it partnered with the media and human rights organizations who combed the data to ensure that the cables remained redacted. In September of this year, the British newspaper The Guardian and wikileaks began been blaming each other for losing the primary password, and tens of thousands of the cables have been released, disclosing the names of the sources.

"The arrest of Senay Kifleyesus is the only one we have been able to confirm, but there are likely to be many others including officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of the Eritrean Defense Forces and tortured-then-released members of Eritrea's banned churches. . . ."

Publication of WikiLeaks cables places some members of the news media in collusion with what could be ruled an illegal act. It makes some journalists uncomfortable.

The State Department would not detail the damage done by the released cables. A spokesman messaged Journal-isms in December, "The Department of State does not comment on materials, including classified documents, which may have been leaked. Any unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Wikileaks has harmful implications for the lives of identified individuals that are jeopardized, but also for global engagement among and between nations. Given its potential impact, we condemn such unauthorized disclosures and are taking every step to prevent future security breaches."

A military trial is underway at Fort Meade, Md., for Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and classified reports while working as an intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2009 and 2010.

"Frustrated by government restrictions surrounding the court martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has announced a crowdsourcing campaign to pay a professional court reporter to transcribe the trial," Tal Kopan reported Thursday for Politico.

69% of Hispanic High School Class of '12 Went to College

"A record seven-in-ten (69%) Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, two percentage points higher than the rate (67%) among their white counterparts, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau," Richard Fry and Paul Taylor reported Thursday for the center.

"This milestone is the result of a long-term increase in Hispanic college-going that accelerated with the onset of the recession in 2008 (Fry and Lopez, 2012). The rate among white high school graduates, by contrast, has declined slightly since 2008."

The authors noted, however, that young Hispanic college students are less likely than their white counterparts to enroll in a four-year college (56% versus 72%), and wrote, "It is possible that the rise in high school completion and college enrollment by Latino youths has been driven, at least in part, by their declining fortunes in the job market."

Separately, Taylor analyzed a report on the racial and ethnic breakdown of voters in 2012 released Wednesday by the Census Bureau and combined it with a December Census report projecting the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. population through 2060.

"In 2012, Mitt Romney captured just 17% of the non-white vote overall, according to the national exit poll, including 6% of the black vote, 27% of the Hispanic vote and 26% of the Asian-American vote," Taylor wrote. "Unless future Republican presidential candidates do better with these groups, the electoral math will keep getting more difficult for the GOP."

Author of Heritage Foundation Immigration Report Resigns

"The co-author of a controversial immigration report issued this week by the Heritage Foundation has left the conservative think tank after his academic work on the subject came under intense scrutiny and criticism," Neil King Jr. and Sara Murray reported Friday for the Wall Street Journal. Opinion writers were among the critics.

"The resignation of Jason Richwine, who was a senior policy analyst at Heritage, caps a challenging week for the prominent conservative research outlet, which has sought to make its mark on the immigration debate under the fresh leadership of former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. Mr. DeMint, a Republican, formally took the helm of the think tank in April," the story continued.

"Mr. Richwine co-authored a report, released earlier this week, that tried to gauge the cost to taxpayers of legalizing 11 million immigrants in the U.S. unlawfully. He and the lead author, Heritage senior research fellow Robert Rector, pegged the cost at $6.3 trillion over 50 years. . . ."

A satirical story carried Chris Brown's abuse of Rihanna to a fatal conclusion.

Writer: Too Many Whitewash Chris Brown-Rihanna Abuse

A story in the satirical newspaper the Onion, in which a heartbroken Chris Brown tearfully told reporters that he always thought that Rihanna "was going to be the woman he'd beat to death one day" is "calling Chris Brown out in a way that very few media organizations have," Jennifer Vanasco wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review.

"It is saying that he abused Rihanna — he pleaded guilty in 2009 to one charge of felony assault — that this abuse would have likely led to her death had they continued in a relationship, and that, if he continues in the pattern of other domestic violence perpetrators, he will likely abuse the next woman he dates.

"The Onion was only giving us the ugly truth in a palatable way — through humor. Without that publication, we'd just have strangely whitewashed stories in the entertainment media about the couple's relationship, like the New York Post's piece about how Brown went to a boxing match and then partied with 45 pals after he and Rihanna split; or the Us magazine story saying Brown was 'putting himself out there in a big way' and that though he’d always love her, 'people have differences and people have different wants and needs.' Both read like they could be the 'boy loses girl' part of a rom com script. Neither story mentioned Brown's abusive history.

Vanasco continued, "According to American Bar Association statistics, African American women ages 20 to 24 experience significantly more violence from intimate partners than do other racial groups. Rihanna is currently 25, but she was 22 in 2009. Forty percent of male batterers assault their partner again within 30 months. I’ve quoted this statistic before, but the CDC has said that black women ages 25 to 29 are 11 times more likely to be killed than white women. In fact, the top killer of African American women ages 15 to 34 is murder by a current or former intimate partner. . . ."

Redskins Owner: "We'll NEVER Change the Name"

"Daniel Snyder is owner of the Washington pro football team he grew up adoring. Would he ever consider changing the team name that many American Indians and others believe is a racial slur?," Erik Brady asked Friday in USA Today.

" 'We will never change the name of the team,' Snyder told USA TODAY Sports this week. 'As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.'

"What if his football team loses an ongoing federal trademark lawsuit? Would he consider changing it then?

" 'We'll never change the name,' he said. 'It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.' . . ."

Advice for Mother's Day

For Mother's Day, the staff of NBCLatino shared "some of the best advice our [moms] passed down to us." Web producer Ignacio Torres, above with his mother, Marie E. Torres, said, "The advice she always gave me was 'respect yourself before you demand it from others.' "

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 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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Jewish Owner refuses to change team's name.

Here in the nation's capital where our country's ideals and values are articulate and marketed to the world the contempt for our country's indigenous people continues.

The owner of the nations' capital football is also a member of a collective in our nation that has confronted and been demonized for embracing thier religion yet with arrogance and bravado the team 's owner recently declared to the world he would never change the team's name.

All of the prominent Black leaders in the city have rejected the bigotry of the team's name . Hopefully the owner of the football team will take note of how to deal with bigotry.

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