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L.A. Times Accused of Redlining

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Magazine Said to Exclude "Minority" Areas in Distribution

Ex-Weather Woman Admits Fabricating Attack by Hispanic

Moore, Marshall Win APME's McGruder Award for Diversity

Gruesome Warning to Mexican Social-Media Users

Univision Promotes Three, Readies News Channel 

Group Rejects CNN Defense of Tea Party Partnership

Short Takes

Magazine Said to Exclude "Minority" Areas in Distribution

Magazine's Sept. 4 issue"The former publisher of the Los Angeles Times Magazine claims The Tribune Co. fired and defamed him for objecting to the newspaper's decision to save money by stopping distribution of its Sunday magazine to low-income and minority neighborhoods, while charging them the same price as 'the white affluent subscribers,' Robert Kahn reported Friday for Courthouse News Service.

"Steven Gellman sued the Tribune Co., the Los Angeles Times and Scott Pompe, the Times' senior vice president for advertising and targeted media, alleging wrongful firing, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of business and professions codes. He demands at $3 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages, plus costs, in Los Angeles Superior Court."

Gary Weitman, senior vice president of corporate relations for the Tribune Co., told Journal-isms and other news outlets:

After reviewing the lawsuit just filed by Mr. Gellman, we believe the claims contained in it are without merit. As this is a matter of ongoing litigation, we will defer further comment.”

Kahn's account continued: "Gellman says he began working for the defendants in July 2009 as publisher of the Times Sunday Magazine.

" 'Shortly after plaintiff began working at the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he began receiving complaints from customers about defendants' discriminatory distribution of the LA Times Magazine,' according to the complaint. 'Defendants made the decision to eliminate distribution of the magazine in the Sunday paper to lower-income, and demographically minority neighborhoods, such as Highland Park and Compton. Although the minority subscribers in these ZIP codes were not receiving the Los Angeles Times magazine, they were still paying the same subscription price as the white affluent subscribers. Further, defendants continued to distribute the Los Angeles Times magazine in the Sunday paper in the white affluent neighborhoods.'

". . . Accusations of the Tribune Co. abandoning minority neighborhoods are not new. In Chicago, the Tribune has long been accused of ignoring downtown news, ceding that area to the Sun-Times, in pursuit of 'better demographics[ in the affluent suburbs."

Ex-Weather Woman Admits Fabricating Attack by Hispanic

'You guys ready for the arctic chill? 'then-WABC meteorologist Heidi  Jones posted on her Facebook page in December, when she was arrested, the New York Post reported.

"Fibbing former TV weather woman Heidi Jones pleaded guilty Wednesday to faking claims she was assaulted by a mystery man in Central Park," Melissa Grace and Corky Siemaszko reported for the New York Daily News.

". . . Jones got into trouble by claiming she was attacked by a 'Hispanic' man in the park and then outside her apartment last fall. She later admitted she made the whole thing up because she was under a lot of stress.

". . . Jones is expected to be sentenced to probation and ordered to perform 350 hours of community service — roughly the amount of time cops wasted investigating her bogus story.

"The ex-WABC forecaster was also ordered to get psychiatric counseling.

" 'Guilty, Jones answered when Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers asked how she was pleading.

"Outside the courthouse, her lawyer, Paul Callan, expressed 'her deepest regrets and apologies for any inconvenience that was caused.' "


Annette McGruder, center, wife of the late Robert G. McGruder, with Gregory Moore, left, editor of the Denver Post and Sherrie Marshall, editor of the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph Thursday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press Media Editors in Denver. (Credit: Ed Andrieski/Associated Press)

Moore, Marshall Win APME's McGruder Award for Diversity

"Gregory Moore, editor of The Denver Post, and Sherrie Marshall, editor of The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, are the recipients of the 10th annual Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership, sponsored by the Associated Press Media Editors," formerly Associated Press Managing Editors, the group announced on Thursday.

"The awards are given annually to individuals, newsrooms or teams of journalists who embody the spirit of McGruder, a former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, former managing editor of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer and a graduate of Kent State University. McGruder died of cancer in April 2002. A past president of APME and former member of ASNE’s Board of Directors, McGruder was a relentless diversity champion.

"This year, the 10th annual awards were sponsored by the Free Press, The Plain Dealer, Kent State University and the Freedom Forum.

"The winners were recognized Thursday at the annual APME conference in Denver. The honorees each received $2,500 and a leadership trophy."

Marshall was nominated by Jeanne Fox-Alston, vice president of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation & Diversity, and Reginald Stuart, corporate recruiter for the McClatchy Co.

Mark Russell, editor of the Orlando Sentinel, who worked for Moore at the Globe, and Adrian Walker, a Boston Globe metro columnist who was Moore’s second hire as Metro editor there in 1989, were quoted praising Moore. Moore was managing editor of the Globe for nearly eight years before joining the Denver Post.

The APME award is one of two named for McGruder. The other is awarded by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State. He was the first black editor of the Daily Kent Stater.

Moore won Kent State's McGruder award in 2003. This year's winner was Caesar Andrews, ethics and diversity faculty member at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. There has been talk of combining the APME and Kent State awards.

Rafael Romo warns CNN viewers that his story about the killing of Mexican social-media users contains graphic content. (Video)

Gruesome Warning to Mexican Social-Media Users

"Social media users who denounce drug cartel activities along the Mexican border received a brutal warning this week: Two mangled bodies hanging like cuts of meat from a pedestrian bridge," Mariano Castillo reported Thursday for CNN.

"After more than four years of being passive spectators as government forces have battled the drug cartels, Mexicans are using social media to take back their nation’s civil society," Louis Nevaer reported Friday for New America Media,.

"The so-called passive nature of the Mexican character has long been cited as the primary reason for the slow nature of progress in this nation of 110 million people, which ranks as the 14th largest economy in the world."

According to the CNN report, "A woman was hogtied and disemboweled, her intestines protruding from three deep cuts on her abdomen. Attackers left her topless, dangling by her feet and hands from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. A bloodied man next to her was hanging by his hands, his right shoulder severed so deeply the bone was visible.

"Signs left near the bodies declared the pair, both apparently in their early 20s, were killed for posting denouncements of drug cartel activities on a social network.

" 'This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet,' one sign said. 'You better (expletive) pay attention. I'm about to get you.'

"The gruesome scene sent a chilling message at a time when online posts have become some of the loudest voices reporting violence in Mexico. In some parts of the country, threats from cartels have silenced traditional media. Sometimes even local authorities fear speaking out."

Univision Promotes Three, Readies News Channel

Univision Communications Inc. Thursday announced the promotion of three members of its news team: Lourdes Torres was named director of special projects for Univision News; Jairo Marin becomes executive producer of the newsmagazine "Aquí y Ahora" ("Here and Now"); and Maria Martinez-Henao was promoted to managing editor of Network News.

Separately, "Univision is aiming to launch a 'TV Everywhere' service next year with the debut of three Hispanic cable networks geared around telenovelas, sports and news, according to president of distribution, sales and marketing Tania O'Connor," Todd Spangler reported Wednesday for Multichannel News.

The news channel is still unnamed.

In another development, Willie Lora, Washington bureau chief of CNN en Español, told members of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists that CNN en Español will soon hire producers and social media producers, Jackie B Diaz reported on the chapter's website.

Group Rejects CNN Defense of Tea Party Partnership

"CNN has responded to criticism from FAIR activists of its debate partnership with the Tea Party Express, rejecting the idea that there was anything questionable about its cooperation with the far-right racist organization," Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting wrote on Friday.

"Asked by media columnist Richard Prince (Journal-isms, 9/12/11) to respond to FAIR's September 12 Action Alert, a CNN spokesperson replied:

" 'During the primary debate season it's not unusual for news organizations to partner with groups who are part of the coalition of that party.... CNN has partnered in the past with the Florida GOP (2007) and the Nevada Democratic Party (2008). CNN has also partnered with the Congressional Black Caucus, SCLC [the Southern Christian Leadership Conference] as well as BIPEC [the South Carolina Business and Industry Political Education Committee].'

"The problem with CNN's Tea Party debate was not that it had a co-sponsor; anyone who has watched a presidential debate knows that this is often the case.

"The issue is what sort of group a journalistic outlet pairs itself with, and what that relationship involves. As FAIR documented in the alert, CNN was not merely allowing another group to endorse its debate, which is generally what co-sponsorship entails. The Tea Party Express was essentially a co-producer — helping to frame the issues, select the audience members and pose questions directly to the candidates via the Tea Party viewing parties CNN facilitated around the country.

"That level of coordination does not exist at other presidential debates. The Congressional Black Caucus debate between Democratic candidates (1/21/08) mentioned by CNN, for instance, was a fairly typical example of how this works. The event was held on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, something the candidates mentioned. But the event itself was not especially geared toward concerns of the black community. In fact, Wolf Blitzer announced at the top of the event that the campaign was 'a historic Democratic contest that has confronted issues of race and transcended them.'

"And comparing any of these groups to the Tea Party Express is problematic. The Express has, as FAIR pointed out, amassed a remarkably racist track record in a short amount of time — so much so that it was kicked out of the Tea Party Federation, the main Tea Party umbrella group.

"The network might want to argue that this debate was like any other, but most people who watched it could appreciate the difference. Sarah Palin, for one, praised CNN during an interview on Fox News Channel (TVNewser, 9/14/11):

"The hook-up with a major news network, CNN — and more power to CNN for allowing that validation of this grassroots Tea Party movement, participants from all over the nation being able, as a voice of 'we the people,' asking questions of these potential presidents. Very, very wonderful debate in terms of the whole forum and the venue that was chosen. The winner in this really, I believe, was the Tea Party movement, and validation of what it is that we've been talking about for two years now.'

"If CNN's intent was to validate the Tea Party movement, it succeeded. If it was hoping to serve as an independent journalistic moderator of an election event, however, it failed."

Short Takes

  • "According to many of those who responded to my recent column on [Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback] Cam Newton — in which I point out that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson did Newton a favor by discouraging him from getting any tattoos or earrings — bringing race into the Newton discussion was unwarranted and further proof that I'm obsessed with race," columnist Jemele Hill wrote Thursday. ". . . All of us have been influenced by race. It doesn't make us bad people," Hill wrote. In fact, she added, ".. . . If you peruse my archive, you'll find that I've written about race only four times in the past eight months."

  • Mario Armstrong, who describes himself as "a Digital Lifestyle Expert, talk show host, media personality, social entrepreneur, public speaker and co-founder of an educational youth initiative:," has been hired as a contributor to NBC's "Today" show," an NBC spokeswoman confirmed on Friday.

  • Natalie Morales"Earlier this week, NBC’s Natalie Morales was in Sao Paolo, Brazil hosting the Miss Universe pageant," Chris Ariens wrote Friday for TVNewser. "This weekend the 'Today' show newsreader and 9am anchor branches out again for the NBCU cause hosting an 'Access Hollywood' / Latina Magazine special called '15 Latinas We Love.' The hour long special spotlights 15 of the most influential Latina celebrities today and coincides with Latina‘s 15th anniversary edition."

  • The Arizona Daily Star in Tucsconm El Diario de Juárez (Mexico), Riodoce (Mexico), Carlos Dada (El Salvador) and Jean-Michel Leprince (Canada) are the 2011 winners of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean [PDF], the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism announced on Thursday. "More than anything, this year's Cabot Prizes celebrate journalists on the front lines -- two small but courageous papers braving drug criminals in Mexico; a breakthrough digital newspaper blazing an independent and ethical trail in Central America; a Canadian broadcast journalist showing us scenes and stories of real life that too often do not appear on U.S. TV; and a medium-sized, regional U.S. paper straining its resources to give its readers deep and nuanced coverage of the U.S-Mexico border," Columbia Journalism School Dean Nicholas Lemann said.

  • "Soledad O'Brien may be returning to CNN's 'American Morning' in the latest shake-up on the morning program," the Huffington Post reported. "The New York Post and TVNewser report that the network is planning to replace the show's current three-hour format with two shows, one from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and the other from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m."

  • "The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the growing censorship of newspapers in Sudan. In the past two weeks alone, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) halted the distribution of four different opposition newspapers without cause," the press freedom group said on Thursday.

  • In Peru, "José Oquendo Reyes, an investigative TV reporter who covered local corruption, was gunned down as he was about to enter his home in Chincha, in the southern region of Ica, on 14 September, becoming the second Peruvian TV journalist to be murdered in the space of a week," Reporters Without Borders said Friday.

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    Magazine Said to Exclude "Minority" Areas in Distribution

    Question: is Steve Gellman a scapegoat? The way the story is shaped, the decision to exclude distribution of the mag to minorities was already in place when he took the job. However, as publisher, he should have been aware of the decision during his 9-month tenure if his claim is that he started receiving complaints. 

    Group Rejects CNN Defense of Tea Party Partnership

    CNN has broken the code of ethics. In the past, news organizations partnered with non-partisan groups like the League of Women Voters. Real journalists never allow partners to "stack the deck"--craft questions, cherry-pick the audience. CNN is the winner in the  race to the bottom for ratings. What will it do next--hookup with the Ayran Nation or the KKK? 

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