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Julianne Malveaux to Lead College

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Columnist to Head School for Black Women

Julianne Malveaux, the politically progressive economist and commentator, on Monday was named president of Bennett College for Women, a small historically black school in Greensboro, N.C. It is a career move rarely seen, and Malveaux told Journal-isms she would work to improve student journalism at the campus, since the profession is one of the things "I'm passionate about."




Malveaux, 53, succeeds Johnnetta B. Cole, the widely admired former Spelman College president who joined the school in 2002. It was on probationary status for fiscal instability then, but the probation was lifted the next year.

"Well-known for appearances on national network programs, Dr. Malveaux is a charismatic and popular guest on a variety of shows. She appears regularly on CNN and BET," a Bennett news release said.

"She has also hosted talk radio programs in Washington, San Francisco, and New York. As a writer and syndicated columnist, her work appears regularly in USA Today, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Ms. Magazine, Essence and the Progressive. A committed activist and civic leader, Dr. Malveaux serves on the boards of the Economic Policy Institute, Women Building for the Future - Future PAC, The Recreation Wish List Committee of Washington, DC, and the Liberian Education Trust."

She also has a Ph.D. from MIT.

Malveaux said in the release, "I am honored to have been chosen to lead an institution that will continue to educate and celebrate African American women at our best. I have been blessed to develop a national platform as an activist and advocate for economic justice, access to education, and the rights of African American women, and it is from this platform that I am delighted to begin my time as Bennett College President."

Bennett has a Department of Journalism and Media Studies and a student newspaper, the Bennett Banner. But the paper is not online and is infrequently published. The economist said she hoped to establish a freshman research and writing seminar to stimulate student journalism.

"These have been the platforms on which I've built my career" — economics and journalism, she said. "I was born with a pen in my hand." But she said she would spend the first 100 days listening and learning.

Malveaux said she would continue to appear on such shows as National Public Radio's "News & Notes," where she appears weekly on the commentators' roundtable, "as long as they'll have me. It's good exposure for the college." She said she would also continue some column writing, "but in a more limited way than now." Her first responsibility will be the school, she said, though "It's not just about Bennett. I want America and black America to embrace the mission of this college."

Bennett, founded in 1873 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church, has an enrollment of 607. Former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, R-Kan., is leading a drive to raise $50 million for the college, and persuaded former president Bill Clinton, a Democrat, to join a black-tie benefit gala that raised $545,000 last September. Bennett trustee Maya Angelou, the iconic poet, helped the school lure billionaire entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey to headline a sold-out benefit gala the next month. Angelou praised Malveaux in the news release.

Malveaux said her fund-raising philosophy would be to propose Bennett as "a value proposition," saying that people give money when they see it going to a good cause. There's a lot of money out there. You say, 'you should give some money because this is what you get for it.'" Among her ideas, she said, is allowing people to give an annuity in the name of a woman they love, immortalizing that woman's legacy.

The new job, she said, is "a natural marriage of everything I've done and everything I can do." She starts June 1.

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Alberto Gonzales Defender Makes a Concession

Syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette of the San Diego Union-Tribune has been one of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' most loyal defenders. "As a Mexican-American who is thrilled at the sight of other Latinos achieving great heights, I am busting with pride over the incredible odyssey of Alberto Gonzales," he wrote when Gonzales was confirmed in 2005 as attorney general.

Last week on CNN, Navarrette said Gonzales "has been hoisted up as a political pinata.

"The nation's first Hispanic attorney general is being pressured to resign by — pick 'em — Democrats trying to make hay, an elite media that long opposed him, civil libertarians who condemn administration policy on detainees and wiretaps, conservatives who think Gonzales is too liberal, and liberals who think he's too conservative," he said.

"The list even includes a pair of immigrant-baiting members of Congress — Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. — who fell out with Gonzales over the prosecution of two ex-border patrol agents.

"Leading this lynch mob are white liberals who resent Gonzales because they can't claim the credit for his life's accomplishments and because they can't get him to curtsy. Why should he? Gonzales doesn't owe them a damn thing."

The commentator said just about the same in his newspaper column.

On Monday, Navarrette updated his CNN audience. "In response to the commentary, I was flooded with angry e-mail from condescending liberals. (I know. Is there any other kind?) You see, while those on the left say they want to give people like me every possible right, apparently this doesn't include the right to think for ourselves.

"Scores of readers claimed that I had written that the only reason Gonzales is in trouble is because he is Hispanic and that, for this reason alone, he should get a pass on any wrongdoing."

However, Navarrette acknowledged that, "Now, there is evidence that Gonzales and a handful of senior advisers discussed the plan to remove the U.S. attorneys at a meeting on November 27, 10 days before seven of the dismissals occurred.

"That appears to contradict what Gonzales said at the March 13 press conference . . .

Then he attempted to clarify his earlier comments: "The point of my earlier commentary is that, for reasons that go way back and have nothing to do with this controversy, the long knives are out for Alberto Gonzales. That's a fact. But it's no excuse for making the kind of mistakes that gives your enemies the chance to use them."

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Chicago Columnist Starts an "Obama Watch"

Monroe Anderson, a veteran Chicago journalist who writes a weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times, has started an "Obama Watch" blog on the Ebony/Jet magazine Web site.


"A: This is important to Africa America. As an ethnic group, we've got one of our own who is a serious contender for president and we need a blog that counteracts the reactionary right-wing blogs who are going to savage him at every turn. On the other hand, we need someone who will keep him honest as he takes these historical steps," Anderson told Journal-isms.

"B: As an old-line, traditional journalist, I realize that blogging is part of the new frontier and I wanted to explore it."

The latest entry is on a Los Angeles Times column, "The Magic Negro," by David Ehrenstein, an African American writer on Hollywood and politics who defines a "Magic Negro" as one who is "there to assuage white "guilt." Anderson said talk-show host Rush Limbaugh picked up the term.

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Curry Says Nagin Should Stand Behind His Words

"New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has made some bold statements about race in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Whenever subsequently pressed about such statements, however, Nagin keeps wimping out," writes George E. Curry, columnist for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, host of the March 15 event where Nagin made his remarks.

". . . Here's the statement that drew so much criticism back in New Orleans:

'' 'Because ladies and gentlemen what happened in New Orleans could happen anywhere. They are studying this model, this model of a natural disaster dispersing a community and changing the electoral process in that community. We need to really understand what's going on. When I stood up and spoke out and they started to vilify, I knew there was going to be a reaction. It's a law of physics. For every action there's a reaction. I knew it was going to happen, but I didn't realize how strong it was going to happen . . .'

"And apparently Nagin doesn't realize that he can't run from his words. If he believes what he says, then he should have the courage to stand behind his words and stop blaming the messenger for accurately reporting his message," Curry wrote.

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More Hispanic Media Controlled by Hispanics

"It's gotten nowhere the attention of the breakup of Tribune Co., or for that matter all the talk about The New York Times Co. shedding the Boston Globe," Lisa Snedeker wrote March 21 for MediaLife magazine.



"Yet in some ways the recent sale of New York's Hoy to ImpreMedia, a company many in media never heard of, is more significant.

"That's so for two reasons, and one is what it says about the growth and consolidation of Hispanic newspapers. It's already an incredibly vital area of publishing and growing as more and more Spanish-language papers pop up around the country.

"But the Hoy sale is also significant as a transfer of power of sorts, one of no little symbolic value. Hoy was a property of Tribune Co., led by middle-aged white males. ImpreMedia is a Hispanic company. As Hispanic media grows with the Hispanic population, there's an inevitable shift toward control by Hispanics. That's now taking place."

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Gannett Co. Reorganizes Its Diversity Efforts

George Benge, the Gannett Co. Inc. news executive with diversity responsibilities, may not be replaced, according to Tara Connell, Gannett Co. spokeswoman.

"Because Virgil Smith has taken over the Leadership and Diversity portfolio in Human Resources, there may not be a replacement for George in the Corporate News group. We are working hard here to be one corporation and not many corporations," Connell told Journal-isms on Monday.

Likewise, Smith, former publisher of the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times, will be assuming the duties of Jose Berrios, Gannett vice president/leadership development and diversity, who retired on March 1.

Gannett CEO Craig Dubow told employees on Feb. 1 that its "Leadership and Diversity initiative is perhaps the most critical step of Gannett's transformation." It calls for executing "diversity strategies that ensure our workforce will reflect our communities. My goal is to instill in everyone a new fervor and sense of purpose. I want anyone who values diversity to know Gannett is the place to be. I want all of the best people to work here. . . . Among the Leadership and Development programs designed to do this are: a [re-energized] college recruiting program that will include an innovative Entry Level Intern Program; diversity recruiting at schools, conferences and associations; Internet recruiting with a new careers page at linked to CareerBuilder; in-house training and leadership development programs; and new succession planning tools."

Dubow also announced a new Leadership and Diversity Council with members from each division and area, led by Smith.

Benge said last week he would retire April 1 and "live and work at my home near beautiful Asheville, NC, in the heart of the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Cherokee people."

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Miss USA, an African American, a Journalism Major



The new Miss USA is African American and she majored in journalism.

Rachel Smith, 21, ultimately bested 50 other aspiring beauty queens to win the title of Miss USA on Friday night, Alex Veiga reported Sunday for the Associated Press.

"The 5-foot, 11-inch-tall brunette is a graduate of Belmont University and a former intern for the production company behind 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.'" She "is highly involved in community volunteering for numerous organizations and has traveled to South Africa to assist young women from less advantaged backgrounds," according to the Miss USA Web site.

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Short Takes

  • A story about Jacksonville Jaguars NFL players who have been arrested in the last 15 months drew sharp criticism after it was the centerpiece and lead story on Tuesday, reader advocate Wayne Ezell wrote Sunday in the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. "'A little bit racist,' is how Brenda Bellard-Harris," a reader, "described the package, which was dominated by color photos of five black Jaguars on the front page. A small photo of a white former Jaguar was inside. . . .Perhaps more important is why the way the story was presented drew such reactions. Those reactions suggest the newsroom may be ill-equipped, in my view, to deftly handle such matters in a community that is more than 25 percent black."
  • "I never expected a mainstream TV anchor to regularly tackle race, religion and sexual orientation — subjects cable TV news' traditionally older and more conservative audience can't find particularly comfortable," Eric Deggans wrote Monday in the St. Petersburg Times, discussing CNN's Paula Zahn. "Hard as it may be to believe, Zahn may have Michael Richards to thank for her new attitude. The former Seinfeld co-star may have seen his own career flame out after launching the n-word at a group of black comedy club patrons in November. But CNN's quick effort — a producer working weekends broke the story by discovering a black patron who had actually seen the rant — led Zahn to think about ways of extending the debate on race."
  • Gannett Co. announced the appointment of two African American women to top editor jobs: Jill Nevels-Haun, managing editor of the Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, W.Va., has been named executive editor at The News-Messenger in Fremont, Ohio, and the News Herald in Port Clinton, Ohio, and Sebreana Domingue, assistant city editor at the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La., has been named managing editor of the Daily World in nearby Opelousas. Managing editor is the top newsroom position.
  • Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told media executives that her government has no intention to censor the press, despite her government ordering the closing of a newspaper for a year for publishing what it called a "porno photo" in violation of the Liberian constitution, according to the Analyst newspaper, reporting Friday from Monrovia.
  • Commenting about Zimbabwe, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday it was "alarmed by a government press release issued on Thursday threatening foreign correspondents with unspecified government reprisal in the capital Harare over alleged biased reporting. Prominent correspondents Jan Raath of the The Times of London and Peta Thornycroft of Britain's Daily Telegraph and US-based broadcaster Voice of America were singled out among foreign media reporters accused of reporting 'fabricated stories,' according to a statement by the Information and Publicity Ministry," the Committee said.
  • "Although the station's 11,000-watt over-the-air signal barely reaches all of Toledo, Channel 48 has been at the center of a whirlwind of legal and governmental disputes involving . . . dozens of lawyers, one county court and two federal courts, a debt estimated at over $1.5 million, and allegations of death threats," David Yonke reported Sunday in the Toledo Blade. "Standing at the center of this vortex are Lamaree 'Marty' Miller and his wife, Linda, a Toledo couple who bought the station a decade ago for $160,000. . . . the Millers were proud to say it was the first and only minority-owned television station based in Toledo."
  • Veteran newspaper correspondent Ken Moritsugu will become the Associated Press enterprise editor for the Asia-Pacific region, the AP reported on March 19.
  • Jon Funabiki, formerly of the Ford Foundation and now back at San Francisco State University, "is charged with creating a new center or institute in the Journalism Department that will focus on the community-building potential of ethnic and other community media," Matt Itelson reported March 23 for the university.
  • When René Syler had her breasts removed as a preventive measure on Jan. 9, "She allowed producers and camera crews from 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' to follow her for a month before the surgery and through her time in the operating room . . . She also kept her own digital video diary. Her journey will be presented on the March 29 edition of Oprah's show," Stephen Battaglio reported March 21 in TV Guide. Over the next couple of months, Syler, who spent four years on CBS' 'Early Show' anchor team, "will be promoting her book, which describes her roll-with-the-punches approach toward motherhood. There will be a pit stop on April 17 as a guest cohost on ABC's 'The View.' Is that a job she'd be interested in full time? 'I would love it,' she says."


Michelle Relerford

  • "Just in from WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Michelle Relerford turned up this week as a reporter on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32" in Chicago, Robert Feder reported Friday in the Chicago Sun-Times. "According to press reports in Cleveland, she left the station there after two years to pursue anchor ambitions."
  • The reason a smaller percentage of Latinos go online than any other ethnic group is that "there are many more Latinos than whites or blacks who have not completed high school, so in this case, the disparity lies in the composition of the population, not necessarily 'Latino-ness,'" according to Susannah Fox, associate director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, interviewed by Diego Vasquez for MediaLife magazine.
  • "Just a week after pitching her network's growth story and new programming to press and advertisers in New York, National Geographic [Channel] President Laureen Ong said she is leaving the network she founded to be COO of STAR, News Corp.'s Asian media company," Anne Becker reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.
  • "African Americans Doug Alligood and Erika Emeruwa are a study in similarities and contrasts," Lisa Sanders reported on March 18 for AdAge. "Erika Emeruwa, 27, joined BBDO six months ago; Doug Alligood, 73, first joined the agency in 1963. The nearly four decades' difference in experience factors into their differing perspectives on diversity in the ad business, and influences the personal philosophy each has crafted over the years about how to succeed." Sanders interviewed both people.
  • "Mexico — where seven journalists have been killed over the last six months — is the deadliest place in the Americas to be a reporter, the Inter American Press Association said" on March 19, Reuters reported.

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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