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John Dotson Jr. Dies at 76, Industry Leader, Diversity Champion

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Former Akron Publisher Co-Founded Maynard Institute

Food Network Drops Paula Deen Over N-Word

35-Plus in Newsroom Laid Off in Oregonian Transition 

25 Journalists Attacked or Detained in Brazil Protests

Heat-Spurs Finale Is Miami's Highest-Rated NBA Game Ever

Sree Sreenivasan Leaves Columbia U. for the Met

Pacifica's N.Y. Station WBAI to Lay Off Entire Staff

In Birmingham in '63, Civil Rights Wasn't Front Page

A Quiet Conversation About a Hat That Screams

Short Takes

Former Akron Publisher Co-Founded Maynard Institute

John Dotson Jr.

John Dotson Jr., a former publisher of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal and a leader in the newspaper industry at a time when few African Americans could claim to be, died Friday at 76, the Beacon Journal reported. He had mantle cell lymphoma, a rare, aggressive cancer, his wife, Peggy, told Journal-isms. 

Dotson was one of nine co-founders of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, a member of the Pulitzer Board, a board member of the Washington Post Co., an editor at Newsweek, publisher of the Daily Camera in Bouler, Colo., and a journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, the old Newark (N.J.) Evening News and the Detroit Free Press.

He was also on the Board of Visitors of the John S. Knight Fellowship Program, an ex officio member of the Newspaper Association of America and a member of its diversity subcommittee, and he was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame.

"Those who knew and worked with Mr. Dotson . . . say he was a man with a keen news judgment who cared about Akron and strove to make it better," Marilyn Miller and Stephanie Warsmith wrote in the Beacon Journal's obituary. "He was also a big supporter of diversity, helping to break many glass ceilings as the first African-American publisher at the Beacon Journal and serving at the newspaper's helm when it won a Pulitzer Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service for a series on race in 1994.

"The Beacon Journal's work on the racial relations project inspired President Bill Clinton to hold his first Town Meeting on Race in Akron in 1997.

" 'He was an outstanding person who cared about his community,' said retired Summit County Common Pleas Judge James R. Williams. 'The Beacon Journal's series on race relations, which brought President Clinton to Akron and resulted in a Pulitzer for the Beacon was an example of his outstanding leadership.' . . ."

When Newsweek folded its print edition in December, former editor Mark Whitaker recalled Dotson's influence on staffing.

John Dotson, top right, was a founder of the Institute for Journalism Education,"A lawsuit filed by female staffers unable to advance beyond secretarial and research jobs had exposed its inconsistent zeal for equal rights. But an African-American news editor, John Dotson, and his boss, Rod Gander, had finally gotten serious about integrating the magazine's ranks, and I was soon working with a rising generation of talented black journalists like Vern Smith, Sylvester Monroe, and Dennis Williams," Whitaker wrote for Newsweek/the Daily Beast.

"They schooled me in Newsweek's ways, but also warned about limits to advancement. After two successful summer stints, Dotson predicted that I might become a section head some day if I accepted a full-time job. 'What about editor?' I asked. 'Newsweek isn’t ready for a black editor,' he replied somberly. . . ."

Monroe recalled for Journal-isms by email, "it was John Dotson who helped me to understand that not only could I be a first rate journalist at a place like Newsweek, but that I had earned the right to be there and deserved to be. In those days there were very few role models at Newsweek for a young black reporter. John Dotson and Vern Smith, a correspondent in Detroit and later Atlanta bureau chief, provided the crucial support I needed to survive the constant dull pain of cultural isolation at Newsweek.

"Later, when I became an assistant managing editor at the San Jose Mercury News and having never managed at that level before, it was John who helped me through me through the rough spots and tough times. I will miss him." [Complete statement below.]

Austin Long-Scott recalled for a Maynard Institute history project what it was like for black journalists of Dotson's generation. "I like to say that people like Bob Maynard, Earl Caldwell, Dorothy Gilliam, me, Wally Terry, Tom Johnson, Paul Delaney, John Dotson, Claude Lewis and a number of others were the first generation of black reporters in mainstream media who had substantial support from other black reporters," Long-Scott said. "There were a very few black reporters in mainstream media before us, people like Ted Poston, but not in the numbers required to build an effective support network.

"And most of us knew that we needed each other's support. Being black in the white media made it hard to stay sane, because the cultural assumptions that our view of events depended upon, cultural assumptions that were an integral part of life in black communities all over the nation, were constantly being openly challenged by white editors and reporters who refused to accept our perceptions. . . ."

The Beacon Journal told of how Dotson brought his cultural knowledge to bear during the race series. "James Crutchfield, who succeeded Mr. Dotson as Beacon Journal publisher and who was the newspaper’s second black publisher, was managing editor during the race series.

"He said editors at the time knew the project was traversing new ground in how a newspaper covered its community. They were concerned, however, that the project might have been pressing the emotions of readers too hard, making some people uneasy.

"Mr. Dotson disagreed, Crutchfield said, saying: 'Are you sure it's big enough? I don’t think it's big enough.'

" 'And that's when it became even bigger,' Crutchfield said. 'You see, I felt we were pushing the envelope by what we were presenting to him and we ended up pushing it even further than I even pushed it because of John.' . . ."

John Dotson Jr. (center in dark suit) in 1974 at Columbia University at a prograDotson was the second chair of the board of directors of the Institute for Journalism Education, following Maynard in the role. He had become involved in 1974 as a member of the multicultural print faculty of the Michele Clark Fellowship Program at Columbia University. The program was created by Fred W. Friendly, former CBS News president, to train and place people of color in U.S. newsrooms, according to a history by fellow faculty member Frank O. Sotomayor, then an editor at the Los Angeles Times.

The broadcast program began in 1968, with print following in 1969. Dotson was then Los Angeles bureau chief for Newsweek.

The others on the print faculty were Maynard and Leroy F. Aarons of the Washington Post, Earl Caldwell of the New York Times and Walter Stovall of the Associated Press. Friendly was ready to end the program in 1974, but faculty members rallied to save it and it evolved into the Maynard Institute. Dotson remained on the board for many years. [Steve Montiel statement below.]

Dotson was publisher of the Beacon Journal from June 1992 to June 2001, the paper noted. He was one of only two black publishers in the then-Knight Ridder newspaper chain of 29 daily papers in the late 1980s and early 1990s and one of only a handful in the country. He and his wife, Peggy, lived in Boulder, Colo. They had a winter home on Marco Island in Florida. Peggy Dotson said the family had not determined when or where funeral or memorial services would be held.

When the last count of African American publishers at mainstream newspapers took place, at NABJ's convention last year, the number stood at seven, down from nine the year before. They were Rufus Friday, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader; Susan Leath, Centre Daily Times, State College, Pa.; Rodney Mahone, Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, Ga.; Orage Quarles III, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.; Samuel Martin, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser; Alberta Saffell Bell, owner, publisher, the Gardner (Mass.) News; and Charles Pittman, senior vice president-publishing, Schurz Communications, Mishawaka, Ind. Martin has since left.

Food Network Drops Paula Deen Over N-Word

June 21, 2013

Paula Deen admitted she had used racial epithets, tolerated racist jokes and c

Food Network Drops Paula Deen Over N-Word

"Paula Deen, the self-proclaimed queen of Southern cooking and a sugary mainstay of the Food Network, was dropped by the network on Friday, after a bewildering day in which she failed to show up for an interview on the 'Today' show and then in two online videos begged her family and audience to forgive her for using racist language," Julia Moskin reported for the New York Times.

"A network spokeswoman said it would not renew Ms. Deen's contract when it expired at the end of June. Ms. Deen has faced a volley of criticism this week over her remarks in a deposition for a discrimination lawsuit by a former employee. In the document, she admitted she had used racial epithets, tolerated racist jokes and condoned pornography in the workplace.

"The Food Network statement did not elaborate on its reasons for dropping her, but a person close to the network said its shows featuring her sons, Jamie and Bobby, would not be affected. Ms. Deen currently has three regular programs on the network, including 'Paula's Best Dishes. . . .' "

NPR added, "Deen's admission that she used the epithet came during a deposition in a sexual and racial harassment lawsuit filed against her and her brother by a former employee. Trying to contain the controversy, Paula Deen Enterprises issued a statement Thursday that suggested Deen's use of the N-word occurred long ago — after all, she was born in Georgia in 1947, at a time when segregation was still the law of the land in the South. . . ."

The Deen story was a hot topic among African Americans on social media. TV One host Roland Martin, the National Association of Black Journalists' Journalist of the Year, said he detected hypocrisy.

"Paula Deen made some stupid, racist comments. But if I'm mad at her using the N-word, I'm mad at you too," Martin tweeted.

Web sites such as Bossip interpreted Martin's remarks with headlines such as, "Roland Martin Says He Approves Of Butter-Ball Chef Paula Deen Using The N-Word[. If] 'Black Folks Can Say It Then She Can Too!' "

Martin replied, "To the ignorant folks, I never said it was OK for Paula Deen to use the N-word. But cut the pathetic hypocrisy and fake outrage." He said in another tweet Thursday, "My logic is real clear: ZERO TOLERANCE for the N-word. Black folks can say brother, sister or friend."

Meanwhile, media critic Eric Deggans wrote in the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, "This is wrapped up in a syndrome I’ve talked about before here; it's tough to admit when you indulge stereotypes and prejudice, particularly when you see yourself as a good person, you're in the middle of a lawsuit and certainly when a multi-million dollar celebrity brand is on the line.

"But history teaches us the only way out of such messes. You admit what you did, apologize and vow to do better, making sure you live up to that claim. . . ."

35-Plus in Newsroom Laid Off in Oregonian Transition

"Newsroom layoffs at The Oregonian have topped 35 reporters, editors and photographers today as the paper reduces home-delivery days and cuts staff," Aaron Mesh reported Friday for Willamette Week, an alternative paper in Portland, Ore.

Editor Peter Bhatia, asked how the reductions affected newsroom diversity, replied by email, "It's a little premature to be specific because there's still some flux in who is going and staying, but I'll let you know."

The Oregonian reported 16.4 percent journalists of color in last year's American Society of News Editors newsroom census: 0.6 percent American Indian, 8.8 percent Asian American, 2.9 percent black, 3.5 percent Hispanic and 0.6 percent multiracial. Bhatia is of South Asian background.

The Willamette Week story continued, "Staffers gathered last night at Higgins Restaurant, where they spent the entirety of a $3,500 bar tab donated by citizens who called the restaurant, including Mayor Charlie Hales, who personally chipped in $50. (More money has been donated today.) During the evening, reporters huddled over a bar table to read a hand-written list of colleagues who had been fired.

"The Oregonian and its New Jersey-based owners, Advance Publications Inc., revealed Thursday morning that the paper will be reducing home delivery to four days a week — Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday — and offering subscribers a web version of the newspaper called 'MyDigitalO.' (That name will be abandoned, the paper's publisher told Oregon Public Broadcasting today.). . . "

About 200,000 protesters took to the streets on Monday in Rio de Janeiro and São

25 Journalists Attacked or Detained in Brazil Protests

"At least 25 journalists have reported being attacked or detained amid protests that have swept Brazil over the past two weeks, growing from discontent in São Paulo over public transportation fare hikes to wider nationwide demonstrations against government policies," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Friday.

The story continued, "At least 15 journalists reported being attacked on June 13 as military police cracked down on protesters in São Paulo, according to the local association of investigative reporters ABRAJI. Two reported being hit in the eye with rubber bullets fired by police. News accounts said that both Giuliana Vallone, a reporter for Folha de S. Paulo, and Sérgio Andrade da Silva, a photographer for Futura Press agency, were hospitalized for their eye injuries.

"Pedro Vedova, a reporter for GloboNews, said he had been hit in the head by a rubber bullet fired by police while covering protests in the city of Rio de Janeiro on June 20, according to news reports. He sought treatment at a local hospital for a forehead wound, the reports said. A security officer on June 19 punched and kicked Vladimir Platonow, a reporter for Agência Brasil, at a bus terminal in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro state, where he was documenting protesters fleeing from police, according to news reports. Platonow was not hospitalized for any injuries. A spokesman for the bus terminal said the assailant was not affiliated with the company.

"Military police also detained at least five journalists covering the protests. . . ."

Heat-Spurs Finale Is Miami's Highest-Rated NBA Game Ever

"The Miami Heat's win against the San Antonio Spurs in game 7 of the NBA finals delivered a 17.7 overnight rating, the second-highest rated NBA game in ABC history, " Merrill Knox reported for TVSpy. "The ratings peaked at 22.6 from 11:30 – 11:45pm ET, during the game's last five minutes.

"With a 44.2 metered market rating on WPLG, the game was the highest-rated NBA game ever in Miami. In San Antonio, KSAT's coverage of the game delivered a 46.4 metered market rating. . . ."

Meanwhile, some Cleveland Cavaliers fans were still hatin' on ex-Cav LeBron James, who claimed his second consecutive NBA title Thursday.

Chief meteorologist Mark Johnson of Cleveland's WEWS-TV excised the word "heat" from Thursday night's postgame late local news forecast, Timothy Burke reported for Deadspin.

"Johnson — who's been at the Cleveland ABC affiliate since 1993 — eventually ran out of adjectives, relying at the end on 'Ninja Turtles' as a substitute for describing what is most certainly hot North Coast weather. . . ."

Sree Sreenivasan Leaves Columbia U. for the Met

Sree Sreenivasan"Sree Sreenivasan, a longtime presence at Columbia University — first at its Graduate School of Journalism, and then more recently as its first chief digital officer — will be leaving the university in August to take a position with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York," Arik Hesseldahl reported Thursday for All Things D.

"The hyper-connected Sreenivasan, who often for the sake of simplicity goes by just his first name, will become the Met's first chief digital officer, starting Aug. 12. In the new role, he'll lead the museum's Digital Media department into some new initiatives, especially in the areas of documentation and interpretive materials on the museum's collection. He confirmed the move to AllThingsD after Capital New York reported on it this morning."

Sreenivasan, who is also a founder of the South Asian Journalists Association, "said he wasn't looking for a new job, but when the museum came calling, it was hard to resist. 'I loved what I was doing at Columbia, but when you've been in love with something like the Met Museum for 30 years as I have, it's very hard to say no. . . ."

Pacifica's N.Y. Station WBAI to Lay Off Entire Staff

"The saga of Pacifica's 99.5 WBAI New York has taken another twist as the station has begun issuing notice to its entire staff and management that they'll be out of work come July 15," Lance Venta reported Thursday for Radio Insight.

"The station has been having problems coming up with money to meet payroll and pay rent on its studios and Empire State Building transmitter site. The announcement comes a day after word that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is withholding funding to Pacifica's five stations for insufficient accounting practices, misreported revenues and failure to comply with CPB rules on open meetings and financial transparency. One of the WBAI hosts claims that the layoffs have come about because 'The Labor Department got wind that they were refusing to pay us.' "

Pacifica Foundation Radio operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, and syndicates content to more than 100 affiliates. "It invented listener-supported radio," the foundation's website says.

A demonstrator is led away by police during anti-segregation protests in Birming

In Birmingham in '63, Civil Rights Wasn't Front Page

NPR's Audie Cornish traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to revisit some of the stories that shaped that city and the nation in the summer of 1963. On Tuesday, she spoke with Hank Klibanoff, co-author with Gene Roberts of "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation," which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for history for its story of  how newspapers covered the civil rights struggle 50 years ago.

Cornish asked Klibanoff, a native of Alabama, what stood out for him as he looked at a Birmingham News from June 1963.

"What stands out for me now is something that stood out for me — but I'd have to say less dramatically — in 1963, as a 14-year-old looking at those newspapers every day," Klibanoff replied. "And that is a newspaper that was either afraid of the Civil Rights story or sort of paralyzed by it. You had a temptation that they succumbed to, to put the news stories on the inside — the most dramatic news stories about the Civil Rights on the inside of the paper. "So that in May of 1963, when Police Commissioner Bull Connor has pulled out the dogs and the hoses against the Children's Crusade and Dr. [Martin Luther] King's and Reverend [Fred] Shuttleworth's teams of demonstrators — the Birmingham Post-Herald and the Birmingham News both committed not to put in those stories on Page One. . . ."

Credit: Big League Stew

A Quiet Conversation About a Hat That Screams

Simon Moya-SmithOn Wednesday, Simon Moya-Smith described for readers of Indian Country Today Media Network a New York subway ride in which he encountered a passenger wearing a since-discontinued "screaming savage" Atlanta Braves baseball hat.

Moya-Smith, Oglala Lakota, a master of arts graduate from Columbia University School of Journalism, carried a tape recorder with him.

An excerpt:

" 'Hey, you know,' I shouted over the groan of the zipping train, '… I actually do know what your hat means. I was just wondering if you did.'

" 'Oh yeah? I thought it was just a [dope] hat.'

" 'Well it's actually a batting practice cap that was discontinued. It's called the "Screaming Savage;" it's an Atlanta Braves hat.'

" 'No shit? … I didn’t know that.'

" 'Where'd you get it from?' I asked.

" 'I don't know … somewhere here on the Upper West Side … at some shop.'

" 'I see,' I said. '… You know — I didn't know this coming out here — but there are actually a lot of Native Americans who live in New York City.'

" 'I didn't know that,' he said as he eyed me, probably wondering where I, the stranger, was headed with this random chat.

" 'I’m one of 'em,' I said. 'Well, sort of. I'm also Mexican.'

" 'Well, Mexicans are Indians in a way too, right?' he said.

" 'Damn right, man!' I bellowed with an obvious tincture of Brown pride.


" 'So I guess my hat offends you then, huh?' he said as a funnel of railriders loaded onto the railcar. One man had on a crisp, blue, fitted suit and was scanning a wet Wall Street Journal; another had somehow managed to position a muddy mountain bike next to him.

" 'Why do you ask?' I responded.

" 'Because you brought it up,' he shouted.

" 'It offends me, right, but I know why you’re wearing it. . . '

" 'Yeah? Why?

" 'Because you were taught by someone somewhere that it was OK to wear things like that,' I said. . . ."

Short Takes

  • African media will be among the concerns of President Obama on his trip next week to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, told reporters on a conference call Friday. Obama's visit to the University of Johannesburg in Soweto is to include a town hall that continues his Young African Leaders Initiative. "You may recall that the President launched this initiative when he hosted African leaders from across the continent at his town hall meeting at the White House, with the idea being that we need to reach the next generation of African leaders in civil society, in entrepreneurship, in journalism," Rhodes said. Grant Harris, senior director for African affairs, added, "We are engaged in building capacity for effective and responsive governance, for supporting civil society, independent media, and all the different institutions that it takes for a democracy to flourish. . . ."

  • "Leave it to Geraldo Rivera to put a contrarian's spin on things," Erik Wemple wrote Thursday for his Washington Post media blog. "Yesterday on Twitter, the Fox News personality wrote: 'Reporter Michael Hastings KI tragic car wreck Condolences to familyBut hard to forget he destroyed career of 1 of our best fighting generals.' " It was a reference to President Obama accepting the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal in 2010. McChrystal was then commanding U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the subject of an article by Hastings in Rolling Stone.

  • C-SPAN plans to air Wednesday's congressional ceremony dedicating the statue of Frederick Douglass in the U.S. Capitol Saturday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern time.

  • Media reporter and critic Howard Kurtz said Thursday he is pulling up stakes at CNN this month and taking his "independent brand of media criticism" to Fox News, Chris Ariens reported for TVNewser, linking to early reaction.

  • "Sean (Diddy) Combs' new network Revolt TV, has finalized a national carriage agreement with Time Warner Cable," Jon Lafayette reported Thursday for Broadcasting & Cable. However, Claire Atkinson reported in the New York Post Wednesday, "Revolt TV will have to pay for the cable carriage, in contrast to more established media players that get fees from pay-TV providers to offer their programming to subscribers, sources said."

  • In Atlanta, "Former Fox 5 anchor Amanda Davis was sued this week in Fulton County Superior Court by the driver she hit in a wrong-way accident last November," Rodney Ho reported Thursday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Davis at the time was arrested on charges of DUI, failure to maintain lane and reckless driving. . . ."

  • "The W. K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) with a $100,000 grant to fund six free media access trainings and an education forum on structural racism at the 2013 AAJA National Convention," Kathy Chow, AAJA executive director, reported on Friday.

  • "The Native American Journalists Association was informed that press junkets associated with the premiere of the movie 'The Lone Ranger' have been well attended by journalists but not by Native journalists," NAJA announced on Thursday. "While Disney has attempted to reach out to Native American audiences with the film, they have curiously forgotten to invite media from Indian Country to cover it." Sarah Gustavus, executive producer of national programs for "Native America Calling," told Journal-isms by email Friday that the show had reached out to several Disney publicity people, but that "I'm not willing to share names at this time. We continue to cover the release of 'The Lone Ranger' and are sending staff from Native America Calling and National Native News to the premiere. We received media credentials for the premiere yesterday," she said.

  • MSNBC will broadcast live from the 2013 Essence Festival in New Orleans July 4-7, the magazine announced last week. On July 5, "Now with Alex Wagner" will air at noon ET, followed by "Hardball" at 1 p.m. ET, "NewsNation" at 2 p.m. ET, "PoliticsNation" at 3 p.m. ET and "The Ed Show" at 4 p.m. ET. On July 6, "Melissa Harris-Perry" airs from 10 a.m. to noon ET, followed by "The Ed Show" at noon ET and "PoliticsNation" at 1 p.m. ET, and on July 7, "Melissa Harris-Perry" from 10 a.m. to noon ET, "The Ed Show" from noon to 1 p.m. ET and "PoliticsNation" from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET. More here.

  • Under Ecuador's new communications law, "journalists may have to pay far more attention to ribbon-cutting ceremonies and other government PR events," John Otis reported Friday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Article 18 of the law forbids the 'deliberate omission of ... topics of public interest.' But this wording is so vague that nearly any action by local, state, or national government official could be considered of public interest. . . ."

  • "Recent attacks against journalists in Zimbabwe could make it difficult for citizens there to receive relevant and timely information ahead of the country's July 31 parliamentary and presidential elections, according to International Press Institute Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie," the institute's Sasu Siegelbaum reported Friday.

  • "As Vietnam prepares to celebrate its journalists on Friday, many of the country's most well-known political bloggers are living under constant fear of arrest," Marianne Brown and Pham Bac wrote Friday for Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the German news agency. " 'It will be my turn, whether I post anything online or not,' said Nguyen Huu Vinh, who writes a popular political blog under his own name. 'When they do not like us, anything can happen.'. . . "

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Sylvester Monroe statement on John Dotson

As a young correspondent right out of college, I wasn't really sure that I could cut it. I did not go to journalism school and never had a writing course after the required freshman expository writing course at Harvard. I was trained on the job in two Newsweek summer internships by legendary Chicago bureau chiefs Don Holt and Frank Maier. That training continued in my first job as a correspondent in the Boston bureau under Bernice Buresh, Newsweek's first female bureau chief, and Tony Fuller who succeeded her.

While these extraordinary journalists helped me hone my craft, it was John Dotson who helped me to understand that not only could I be a first rate journalist at a place like Newsweek, but that I had earned the right to be there and deserved to be. In those days there were very few role models at Newsweek for a young black reporter. John Dotson and Vern Smith, a correspondent in Detroit and later Atlanta bureau chief, provided the crucial support I needed to survive the constant dull pain of cultural isolation at Newsweek. Later, when I became an assistant managing editor at the San Jose Mercury News and having never managed at that level before, it was John who helped me through me through the rough spots and tough times. I will miss him.

Steve Montiel statement on John Dotson

(Also, fyi, see: and

John Dotson personified integrity in every sense of the word. He managed always to put family and friendship first while excelling as a journalist, executive and news industry leader who championed diversity in both the newsroom and boardroom.

He was among a group of journalists who launched groundbreaking efforts in the 1970s to integrate U.S. newsrooms that were almost entirely white so that the news might reflect the total community. Then, even in retirement, he agreed to serve as a founding board member of the Institute for Justice and Journalism four years ago because he believed so strongly in the responsibility of news media to serve as instruments of social justice and community understanding. His wisdom, values and sense of justice were central to our development as an independent entity after IJJ left the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, where it was first created in 2000.

Our hearts and thoughts are very much with his family. While we mourn his passing as friends and colleagues, we always will remember the difference he made in so many ways for so many lives as a man of humane integrity.

Steve Montiel, president of the Institute for Justice and Journalism (IJJ) board of directors, and a founding member of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE) board

Sidmel Estes on John Dotson

John Dotson was a class act. He was so helpful to be before and during my presidency of the National Association of Black Journalists. He is one of those people who opened so many doors, but has never received his just due.

John Dotson

John Dotson was generous with his time and his wisdom. I relied on his good counsel from the beginning of my career as a reporter in Rochester until the end of my time as a working journalist as the managing editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. When I called John to tell him about something dumb I'd done, or about a scheme that had gone terribly awry, he'd say "Phillip, [long pause]  what were you thinking?"  Then, we'd talk it out. We'd figure out how I could recover and review the lesson I had learned.

John schooled me about professionalism and grace under extreme pressure when he was training to be a publisher by working through a series of tough managment jobs in Philadelphia.  Our conversations during walks through Center City or over drinks at the Second Office were as valuable as anything I learned at Wharton or at Kellogg.

Great man. Great Journalist. Great Leader.

John Dotson

John was a member of my family growing up in Detroit. He and Peggy were best of friends with my aunt and uncle. He was the only journalist I knew personally and I marveled at the stories he told. When I moved from Detroit to Los Angeles to finish college, he was there working for Newsweek and he was always there if I called and asked for his help as a speaker or resource for my activities at the not-at-all diverse USC school of journalism in the 1970s. When I moved to Newsday, John and Peggy were again there as professional and family support away from home. It was John's involvement in and commitment to the Institute for Journalism Education that led me to provide jump in and serve the organization once the program moved to Berkeley and for scores of years thereafter -- even after leaving the business.

It was a common cause, a cause that was nurtured and defined during those listening years around family gatherings when I was young. He was family and my family always appreciated his presence, his caring, his loyalty, his integrity and personal honesty. Always focused, he was powerful but not taken with his status. These are the things that will always keep Uncle John close to my heart. Kearney

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