Ken Bunting Dies; Ex-Seattle P-I Editor Collapses at Tennis
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Light postings expected this week
Kenneth F. Bunting, for 12 years ranking editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before it ceased print publication in 2009, died Sunday in Columbia, Mo., as he was playing tennis with friends, his wife, Juli Bunting, told Journal-isms on Monday.
They had moved to Columbia when he became the first full-time executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonpartisan coalition of open-government groups and advocates, in 2010. He was 65.
"They were just ready to start another set" at the Rockbridge Tennis Club, Juli Bunting said by telephone. "He stretched out his hands and said 'Stop.' He dropped to the ground."
A doctor in the group administered CPR, but "she knew he was already gone," Juli Bunting said she was told. She added that her husband's history included Type 2 diabetes and weight issues, but that he had seen the doctor three weeks ago and his indicators were good. Bunting had recently lost 16 pounds.
The National Freedom of Information Coalition listed the cause of death as a heart attack. Bunting left the organization Jan. 1 after funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation ended and his position was eliminated, Juli Bunting said. But "even after he left, he continued to support NFOIC, helping to connect people looking for FOI help and reminding us of pending deadlines and First Amendment news stories of note," the coalition said in a statement.
According to Bunting's LinkedIn profile, "Before joining the NFOIC and the Missouri School of Journalism, he spent parts of four decades as a journalist, executive and newspaper industry leader."
He was also the highest-ranking African American editor at the Hearst Corp., which owned the P-I.
"When the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ceased print publication in 2009, Bunting was associate publisher. Previously, he had been executive editor and managing editor. During Bunting’s 12-year tenure as the ranking editor, the 'P-I' won more national and regional awards for journalistic excellence than at any other time in its 146-year history, including Pulitzer Prizes in 1999 and 2003.
"Bunting also worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he was senior editor, the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Cincinnati Post, San Antonio Express-News and Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
"In 2004, Bunting was among five inaugural inductees into the Journalism Hall of Excellence at Texas Christian University, his alma mater. He has contributed to two books: an anthology, The Passionate Editor, published in 2004, and a college media studies textbook, An Ethics Trajectory: Visions of Media Past, Present and Yet to Come, 2008. He was editor for the late Molly Ivins when her column was first nationally syndicated, and was the most successful column launch in newspaper syndication history at the time."
Elizabeth Zavala, digital news editor for mySA.com and the San Antonio Express-News, recalled Bunting's involvement with the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. "When Ken was a managing editor at the Star-Telegram in 1994, it was the site of the pilot program Maynard did called Total Community Coverage," Zavala said by email. That program was described as " a comprehensive set of services and advanced training designed to increase the diversity of voices and images in the newspaper."
"Ken helped to get me involved with that," Zavala continued, "and I went on to participate at the San Francisco Examiner's TCC program, and others as well, up until I left the Star-Telegram for The Dallas Morning News in 2000. . . ."
Former colleagues reacted on Bunting's Facebook page. "I'm always going to remember his big smile and constant support — and his singing at Sunset Bowl," a since-closed Seattle bowling alley, said one.
Another said, "Being the Star-Telegram Research director in marketing for 25 years, I was used to reporters and editors poo-pooing my efforts as they related to the newsroom. Not Ken Bunting. He was open-minded to comments and suggestions and friendly as all heck. He even bothered to ask questions. I was sad when he left the S-T because the paper had lost a REAL journalist when he left; and now the world has lost a TRUE man."
A third: "Favorite Kenneth Bunting memory: Hopelessly lost in Seattle at night trying to find Ken and Juli's house. On the cell phone with Ken while he talks me through the maze to their back alley....there in the headlights is Ken waving his arms wearing an 'Impeach Nixon' t shirt. I knew I had arrived."
A fourth wrote, "He was an AME. I was an intern. To this day, I often cite Ken as the manager who taught me the most about how to care for your staff. Rule #1 Never let them pick up the bill or tab. Rule #2 Make them believe in something better and make them better. Rule # 3 Never nickel and dime an edit. Take the time to do it justice with two passes."
And a fifth said, "As I moved into the editing ranks, he was a great source of advice and counsel who always gave it to me straight and often managed to get me to find some humor in even the most difficult of situations. After . . . we would run through our work issues on the phone, he would always talk sports. His two main topics: TCU football and tennis, so perhaps there's a bit of comfort in that he was playing until the end."
Juli Bunting said that services would likely be in Seattle and that she would like to set up a scholarship for minority students at his alma mater, Texas Christian. A son, Maxwell Bunting, lives in Seattle.
- Panel discussion: "The Practice of Journalism: Privacy, security and the First Amendment" (2013) (video)
- seattlepi.com: Ken Bunting, former Post-Intelligencer top editor, dead at 65
When George Zimmerman was tried last year in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, descriptions of Zimmerman as a "white Hispanic" rankled some whites as well as a number of Hispanics.
"Whites think the media were intent on telling a tragic tale in terms of a white villain and a black victim, and so that's why they tacked on the modifier 'white' before 'Hispanic,' " syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote last July for the Washington Post Writers Group. ”Hispanics are just as cynical. They believe that a half-white, half-Hispanic person who wins the Nobel Peace Prize will likely be referred to as 'white' but one who kills an unarmed black youth and becomes a reviled member of society will always be called 'Hispanic.' . . . "
Hispanics can be of any race, and now an African American writer for Slate has stirred that pot again with an essay headlined, "Will Today’s Hispanics Be Tomorrow's Whites?" Jamelle Bouie's April 15 piece drew rebukes from at least two Latino writers.
Citing figures from the Pew Research Center, Bouie wrote, "Come 2050, only 47 percent of Americans will call themselves white, while the majority will belong to a minority group. Blacks will remain steady at 13 percent of the population, while Asians will grow to 8 percent. Hispanics, on the other hand, will explode to 28 percent of all U.S. population, up from 19 percent in 2010. Immigration is driving this 'demographic makeover,' specifically the '40 million immigrants who have arrived since 1965, about half of them Hispanics and nearly three-in-ten Asians.' "
Bouie added, "Will white Hispanics see themselves as part of a different race, or will they see themselves as just another kind of white? . . . now might be the last time we have a public debate over the whiteness of a figure like George Zimmerman. To Americans of 2050, the answer would be obvious: 'Of course he is.' "
Julio Ricardo Varela, founder of LatinoRebels.com, called Bouie's piece "perhaps the dumbest thing the magazine has ever published," and criticized Slate's lack of Latinos.
"Sure, there are some Latinos who will be 'tomorrow's whites,' Varela wrote Friday. ”However, from where I stand, that number is insignificant, just like other people of color striving for 'whiteness.'
"Hopefully Bouie and Slate do start listening more to what Latinos are saying, and even reading some of the comments being posted on the piece:
"My Hispanic colleague commented on this issue and said:
" 'How can we ever be white. Maybe a few of the light skin ones could "pass," but we [hispanics] suffer the same prejudice on our looks. We are short and brown. When I walk into a room full of Whites of European descent, I and everyone in there knows I am not one of them.'
" 'Everyone in there knows I am not one of them.'
"That's why 'tomorrow's whites' will never be 'tomorrow's whites.' They will be tomorrow’s Latinos."
Blanca E. Vega, who describes herself as "a Latina educator, specifically an Ecuadorian-American woman whose life's work revolves around racial justice," wrote Sunday that Bouie's piece represented yet another discussion of Latinos without Latino participation.
It also misunderstands the nature of white supremacy, Vega wrote on her website, "Race-work, Race-love."
"Bouie's analysis failed to provide insight on the idea that we have the ability to 'choose' race. It is a lie that the American Dream is built on: the lie that suggests that individuals can CHOOSE their identity. We are all born into a structure. At birth, our identity is chosen for us. How we manage that identity is then confronted by how society sees us. We can either choose to resist or accept the conditions around us. Thus, racial identity for Latinos (for everyone) is an interactional process between the individual and society that was overly simplified by Bouie's piece.
"Will Hispanics choose to be White? Or will White be chosen for us? These questions can only come out of discussions that don’t include racially and ethnically conscious Latinos. What people fail to realize is that Latino/Latin American voices have been contributing to this discussion for years now — so, for lack of a better way of saying it — y'all are just late to this party. . . ."
- Latino Rebels Radio: #AJAMBorderland (Pt 2) & Slate's Latinos Becoming the Next Whites Fail (audio)
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina plans a May 3 memorial service for Chuck Stone, the newspaper editor, professor, columnist, former Tuskegee Airman and founding president of the National Association of Black Journalists who died April 6 at 89.
Charles Sumner Stone Jr. , Stone's given name, was a popular member of the faculty and its Walter Spearman Professor from 1991 to 2005.
The memorial is being planned with Stone's children, Krishna, Allegra and Charles III, on the Chapel Hill campus, school spokesman Kyle York told Journal-isms. He said such details as who would speak had not been determined.
The memorial begins at 1 p.m. in Carroll Hall on the UNC campus. A reception with light refreshments is to follow.
Seating is limited, so attendees are asked to register here, York said. The hall seats about 400. "We want folks to register so we can determine if we need to move to a smaller (or larger) venue," he added.
The black press, the Hispanic press and other ethnic weeklies are welcome to join the Newseum's daily roundup of front pages, displayed electronically and along the building's exterior on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Newseum spokesman Jonathan Thompson told Journal-isms by telephone on Monday.
The Newseum altered its policy featuring only daily newspapers last week after protests from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors, as Barbara Selvin reported Friday for the Poynter Institute.
" 'The Newseum is supposed to be a museum about news, not about metropolitan news, not about daily news specifically,' said Dan Robrish, a former Associated Press journalist who started The Elizabethtown (Pa.) Advocate in 2010 after Journal-Register Co. closed the Elizabethtown Chronicle. 'It seems like a ridiculous distinction to make.'
"Especially, perhaps, since the Newseum had allowed newspapers that reduced their print publication schedules to three days a week to continue contributing to the exhibit."
The question of whether ethnic weeklies would qualify arose when Selvin wrote that "Any general interest newspaper" could email frontpages (at) newseum.org for instructions on how to participate.
"Every morning, more than 800 newspapers from around the world submit their front pages to the Newseum via the Internet to be part of Today's Front Pages," the news museum says on its website.
"It gets complicated when people ask Annu Palakunnathu Matthew where she's from," David Gonzalez wrote Monday for Lens, the photojournalism blog of the New York Times. "Born in London, raised in India and now living in the United States, her journey is twisty, her accent a hard-to-place blend.
" 'When I say I'm from Rhode Island, people don't want to believe me,' she said. 'Then when I say I’m Indian, I have to clarify that, because people think I’m Native American. I quickly have to say I’m an Indian from India.'
"The confusion is expected and goes back more than 500 years.
" 'It's all because Christopher Columbus went looking for the Indies and found North America instead,' said Ms. Matthew, professor of photography at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. 'Then he named the people here Indians.'
"That confusion, as well as what it says about colonial history, race relations and stereotypes, inspired her to do 'An Indian From India,' a series of diptychs in which she pairs classic 19th century images of Native Americans with portraits of herself in the same pose and background. The idea, though humorous at first glance, is actually a challenging mediation on the legacies of colonial pasts that were marked by painful attempts to 'civilize' native people — if not reduce them to nameless types — while idealizing white colonizers. . . .'
The first piece from the Heartland Project, described as "an initiative to broaden news coverage of Nebraska's communities of color, as well as gay, lesbian and transgender issues," is about prom night, and it appeared Saturday.
"Prom in Lincoln, in 2014, looks different from the ones of generations ago," Bobby Caina Calvan, lead reporter for the project, wrote in the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star.
"Today's high school prom is a microcosm of the changing faces of communities across America, including Lincoln, where an influx of immigrants and refugees has transformed neighborhoods and schools.
"About a third of the 38,000 students in Lincoln Public Schools are now from communities of color. About 15 years ago, nearly nine in every 10 students were of European stock.
"Nebraska's overall population remains mostly white, with communities of color accounting for less than a fifth of the state's 1.8 million residents.
"But look deeper, and you'll find that Nebraska has among the country's most dramatic surges in minority population. In fact, the Hispanic population — now numbering about 180,000 — has nearly doubled since the 2000 U.S. Census.
"Residents tracing their heritage to Asia and the Pacific Islands increased by more than 70 percent, while the black population increased by 30 percent. Native Americans grew by more than half. As a whole, the state's population grew by 8.4 percent since 2000, with the number of whites growing just by 1 percent.
"Lincoln Public Schools has reflected the boom in the state's Latino population, and it has absorbed a rising tide of those seeking refuge from the turmoil overseas, including significant numbers of Iraqis, Sudanese, Vietnamese and Burmese. . . . "
As an explanatory box beside the article tells readers, "The project is funded by the Ford Foundation and is a collaboration among the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications, the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian [&] Gay Journalists Association."
- Have you heard about the 190 Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted last week and remain missing? The girls' head teacher reported the 190 figure to the BBC, the news organization said Monday. "Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the kidnapping but has not issued any statement." For American news consumers, the saga of the abducted schoolgirls joins the ranks of the underreported stories taking place elsewhere in the world.
- "Japanese American Lives," a limited series produced by the Center for Asian American Media in San Francisco, is being made available this month to public television stations by the National Educational Telecommunications Association. Its subjects range "from a 99-year-old judo master, to questioned loyalties during World War II, to founders of the Asian American jazz movement, and finally, Japanese Americans helping to rebuild Japan after the devastating tsunami. . . ."
- As the 60th anniversary of the landmark 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education school desgregation decision approaches on May 17, Jelani Cobb writes of a difference between "desegregation" and "diversity." "To the extent that the word 'desegregation' remains in our vocabulary, it describes an antique principle, not a current priority," Cobb contended Thursday in the New Yorker. "Today, we are more likely to talk of diversity — but diversification and desegregation are not the same undertaking. To speak of diversity, in light of this country’s history of racial recidivism, is to focus on bringing ethnic variety to largely white institutions, rather than dismantling the structures that made them so white to begin with. . . ." On ProPublica, Nikole Hannah-Jones writes about school resegregation.
- "It's the $200,000 job no one wants," Tara Palmeri reported Thursday for the New York Post. "Despite dangling a lofty salary that nearly matches his own, Mayor Bill de Blasio hasn't been able to find anyone to become his communications director. Sources said at least three candidates who were interviewed said thanks, but no thanks. . . ."
- "Keith Crain is the chairman of the board of Crain Communications, the Detroit-based trade publications company home to Advertising Age, Automotive News and numerous trade and city-based publications," Ashley Woods reported Monday for HuffPost BlackVoices. "On Sunday, Crain's Detroit News published an editorial by Crain with a headline — since changed — calling for a 'permanent overseer' to run Detroit. . . . The online backlash was immediate."
- "Last week, the most comprehensive look to date at the flawed investigation into a rape accusation against Jameis Winston, Florida State University's star quarterback, was published," Susannah Nesmith reported Monday in Columbia Journalism Review. "The allegation, stemming from an encounter in December 2012, rocked the college football world — and Tallahassee, FL, home to Florida State — when it became public in November 2013, in the midst of the college's push for a national football championship. But last week's story didn't appear in the Tallahassee paper, or any other Florida paper. It ran in The New York Times. . . ."
- "A boom in hyperlocal websites is underway, fueled largely by the legions of staffers let go from Patch," Diana Marszalek reported Monday for NetNewsCheck. "Well-versed in the hyperlocal space — as well as the communities they cover — former Patch staffers are launching their own news sites around the country, saying they plan to further the Patch model by doing it better through honing content and with more aggressive money-making strategies from offering sponsorships to creating a paid subscription wire service. . . ."
- In Pakistan, senior Geo News anchor Hamid Mir was shot six times during an attack on his life in Karachi on Saturday evening, the News in Pakistan reported Sunday. "Three bullets were removed during the surgery while three still remain in Hamid Mir's body." Referring to Inter-Services Intelligence, one of Pakistan's intelligence services, the report also said, "Senior journalist Amir Mir the brother of Hamid Mir said the Geo News senior anchor had said that if he was attacked [by] some ISI officials and the intelligence agencies chief Lt. General Zaheerul Islam would be responsible. . . ."
- "A veteran black journalist has accused the BBC of failing to respect or value its ethnic minority staff," Hannah Summers reported Sunday for the Times of London. "Until last week Kurt Barling was one of the longest-serving ethnic-minority journalists working for the corporation. He was made redundant after almost 25 years with the BBC as part of cuts to save £700m a year. In an article for The Sunday Times, published online, Barling writes: 'I have seen many talented people, black and white, leave the BBC because they weren't nurtured, respected or valued ... I'm not surprised many [black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME)] are not being replaced. Managers still recruit and promote in their own image. . . .”
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