Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Jobless Critic Raises $4K to Stave Off Homelessness

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Craig Lindsey Appealed on Internet for $900 to Pay His Rent

Robin Roberts' Prominence Makes Coming Out Significant

NABJ Ends Year With $183,000 Surplus, Butler Says

Harris-Perry Sorry for Joke About Romney's Black Grandson

Egypt Detains Al Jazeera Journalists for 15 Days

Detroit Group Offers Free Houses for Writers
"Love Letter" to Newspapers Still Available Online

Short Takes

Craig D. Lindsey has had a rough time since his 2011 layoff from the News & Obse

Craig Lindsey Appealed on Internet for $900 to Pay His Rent

A staff writer for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., who was laid off in 2011 has been in such desperate straits that he issued a public appeal on New Year's Eve for funds to help him pay his rent. Craig D. Lindsey asked for at least $900, but by the end of New Year's Day, he had raised $4,255.

Lindsey, who covered pop culture, including film, said he was surprised by the response. "I honestly thought it would take four days for me to raise $900 online (which is not even the whole amount – I was going to make up the rest with whatever little I had)," he wrote on Wednesday.

He also said, "people, you can stop sending money. If you want to donate, that’s fine, but really — I’m straight. Not only do I have enough to pay off the two months' rent, but I can pay off the next two months. Honestly, I wish I could shut the thing down, but it’s apparently going to continue until it’s finally finished on Friday."

Lindsey concluded, "There are several things I’ve learned during this whole thing. For one, I’ve learned that people aren’t awful. (As I just recently told a mentor on the phone, 'People just gave me $3000 — I can't say the world sucks anymore.') Secondly, while no one wants to be seen as a pitiful charity case, sometimes you need help. And, if you can get past your ego and your pride and just ask, people are more than willing to come to your aid. Finally, it made me realize that I should be more giving and charitable as well. I often dream of having enough money and resources to help out those in need. This outpouring has showed me I don’t have to wait until then. . . ."

It was a marked change in tone from his initial appeal, when Lindsey wrote on

"This is my first time doing something like this, so I don't know how much this will impact you. Hopefully, it will impact me enough to not completely lose all hope. As I go into my fourth year of joblessness, with little to no prospects on the horizon, I've often felt I made a huge mistake choosing this line of work. I also feel I've made a bigger mistake moving to an area where there's not a lot of demand for my line of work. I don't have family here, so I don't even have that to fall back on. My friends try to help me out when they can, but they have their own troubles. I only ask if you can help me on this endeavor, and I will be eternally grateful."

When Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Wesley Morris left the Boston Globe a year ago for the Grantland website, the number of prominent film critics of color at daily newspapers dwindled to two, Lisa Kennedy of the Denver Post and Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald.

Lindsey continued to write about film, as in a review of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" for Nashville Scene in Tennessee.

"Oh sure, there were a few bright spots," Lindsey wrote Monday on "I won an award or two for my writing. But, being as I'm in my third year of joblessness (the unemployment dried up in January), awards weren't paying my rent. When a couple of outlets I write for cut my workload in half a few months ago, it was a very big blow. Now, I really can't pay my rent. (Seriously, I gotta go to court next week on back-rent issues if I don't figure out something THIS WEEK.)

"It would be fine if I had family in the area to stay with (a film-critic friend of mine had that to fall back on when he had to vacate his premises this year), but I don't. Hell, half my family is dead or I don't know where they are. I've already had friends and colleagues in my first year of unemployment tell me they couldn't (or wouldn't) put me up if things started getting hairy. So, 2014 may finally be the year I become homeless. . . ."

Lindsey's story was picked up Wednesday on Jim Romenesko's media blog. 

President Obama referenced his daughters in Wednesday's White House   interview wi

Robin Roberts' Prominence Makes Coming Out Significant

"When 'Good Morning America' co-anchor Robin Roberts took to her Facebook page to count her blessings, express gratitude for her recovery from a rare blood and bone marrow disease and thank her longtime girlfriend, Roberts didn't just come out," Patrick Kevin Day wrote Tuesday for the Los Angeles Times.

"As one of the most prominent personalities on TV, media watchers said, Roberts became an instant role model for young people who see few other openly gay people of color in the TV news business.

"In a year-end post that expressed thanks for her recovery from myelodysplastic syndrome, Roberts wrote Sunday: 'I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.'

"Coming out publicly is 'no longer a People magazine cover and a book deal,' said Omar Sharif Jr., a GLAAD spokesman and grandson of 'Lawrence of Arabia' star Omar Sharif. 'But it is significant for LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender] people of color, who lack significant representation on TV.' . . . "

"CNN anchor Don Lemon also noted the importance of Roberts' announcement, even in an era when more celebrities freely acknowledge that they are gay.

" 'I know plenty of people who still lead double lives,' said Lemon, who is black and came out in his 2011 memoir. 'It's important that someone like Robin comes out because stars are unattainable. How many people can be a movie star? But you have so many different journalists and TV news anchors and reporters who are in your home every single day, and in a way, we're more relatable. What we do is more attainable."

The White House specifically sought out Roberts in May 2012 when President Obama wanted to declare his support for same-sex marriage.

Roberts was not available to Journal-isms then to discuss the personal significance of the president's declaration, but when her interview with Obama was replayed on "Good Morning America," Roberts said, "I'm getting chills again."

First lady Michelle Obama tweeted on Monday, "I am so happy for you and Amber! You continue to make us all proud. -mo"

NABJ Ends Year With $183,000 Surplus, Butler Says

The National Association of Black Journalists will end 2013 with a budget surplus of $183,000, nearly $150,000 above projections, NABJ President Bob Butler announced on Christmas.

"The surplus is the result of cost controls enacted by NABJ," Butler said in an emailed message, "led especially by Executive Director Maurice Foster, and revenues generated by the successful regional conferences and media institute programming produced by board members and other hardworking NABJ members.

"I congratulate and thank Executive Director Foster, the national staff and the board for their sound fiscal management. NABJ enters 2014 on a firm financial footing that enables us to deliver increased training and career development, as well as stronger support for our chapters."

Butler did not detail the cost controls.

Mitt and Ann Romney with their grandchildren. Sitting on Romney's knee was an Af

Harris-Perry Sorry for Joke About Romney's Black Grandson

"MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry apologized this morning via Twitter for her show poking fun at a Romney family photo that included his recently adopted African-American grandchild," Jordan Chariton wrote Tuesday for TVNewser.

"She's also written a more formal apology on

"The offensive comments came on her show Sunday when Harris-Perry and her panel played a caption contest with a Romney family photo. One panelist pointed out the Romney’s African-American grandchild Kieran standing out among a majority of white grandchildren by singing lines from the Sesame Street song: 'One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others.'

"Harris-Perry added to the joke by teasing about a potential wedding between Kieran Romney and North West, the daughter of Kayne West and Kim Kardashian. . . ."

Egypt Detains Al Jazeera Journalists for 15 Days

"Egypt's government has detained four journalists working for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera English news channel, arresting them during raids on a five-star hotel and at least one private residence Sunday night," Erin Cunningham reported Monday for the Washington Post. "The journalists, including an Australian national, are accused of 'harming national security' through links to the recently banned Muslim Brotherhood organization, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

"The arrests are the latest development in a rapidly escalating crackdown on the Brotherhood, an Islamist group that the government last week declared a 'terrorist organization.' . . . "

The story also said, "Egypt's military-backed government has long accused Al Jazeera, whose Qatari patrons are allies of the Brotherhood, of being a mouthpiece for the organization. . . ."  

The Detroit group Write-A-House has purchased three homes in the Hamtramck neigh

Detroit Group Offers Free Houses for Writers

"Good news for struggling writers: the key to sustaining your lifestyle is to go to a city that’s struggling more," Rod Bastanmehr wrote Dec. 26 for AlterNet.

"A new nonprofit organization called Write-A-House, located in Detroit, Michigan (which, earlier this year, became the largest city in the United States to file for and enter bankruptcy) has found something creative to do with the city's seemingly endless blocks of vacant homes — gut them from the inside-out, fix them up, and give them to writers. . . ."

Bastanmehr also wrote, "Low-income writers apply to Write-A-House each Spring by sending writing samples and a letter of intent. The judges choosing writers based on their application include National Poet Laureate Billy Collins, writer and filmmaker Dream Hampton, poet Major Jackson, and more. The process would guarantee housing for at least two years, with writers leasing the homes from the non-profit directly. If the writers stay for a minimum of two years, they are awarded the deed to the home, and the city will have received a new resident, another step towards recovery. . . ."

Michael Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, celebrates a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 with reporters Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, who are featured prominently in the documentary. (video)

"Love Letter" to Newspapers Still Available Online

"If you love journalism, love newspapers, you'll find this film, which is making its TV debut in the PBS December lineup, well worth your while," Robin J Phillips wrote Dec. 5 for the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. Phillips was describing "Black & White & Dead All Over," which premiered Dec. 18 but can still be viewed online at:

"I can't say you'll enjoy it, but it is well worth the 83 minutes it will take to watch," Phillips wrote. "One warning: It may renew your sense of pride and dash it at the same time.

"Black & White and Dead All Over is a documentary film that takes an in-depth look at the newspaper industry as it struggles to remain financially viable. The film features journalists including Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and David Carr of the New York Times to explain the financial death spiral for print news.

"But the most elegant and compelling story comes from Philadelphia Daily News reporters Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman who took on a dangerous and corrupt narcotics squad in Philadelphia, a story that earned them a Pulitzer Prize.

"The film is about more than newspapers, it's about journalism and the ability to find compelling news and right wrongs. . . ."

Michael Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, and Vernon Clark, reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, are among the journalists of color featured.

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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