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Joyner, Baisden Gone in N.Y. Radio Merger

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Civic-Minded Jocks Out as KISS Folds into WBLS

Stanford Fellowships Program Picks Majority-Minority Class

Indians Say Media Downplay Hate Crime by Hospital

Bolden Leaves, Haynes Moves Up at Washington Post

Good News for FAMU, N.C. A&T, but Not for Southern U.

Business Journalists to Renew Push on Diversity

Why Should HBO's "Girls" Be Any Different?

The Washington Post's Metro Seven (NABJ Journal, 2002)

Nominate a J-Educator Who Has Helped Diversity

Short Takes


WBLS-FM advertises its new lineup on its website.

Civic-Minded Jocks Out as KISS Folds into WBLS

The nation's largest radio market lost one of its two big black-music stations on Monday, and with it the nationally syndicated, civically aware voices of Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden.

Joyner said he was sad and urged New York listeners to keep in touch with his show via the Internet, but Baisden vowed to fight and launched a petition drive.

"It's the end of an era and a long-standing rivalry in New York City radio," Deepti Hajela reported Thursday for the Associated Press.

Michael Baisden"Urban adult contemporary station WRKS, or KISS-FM, will no longer be broadcasting at the 98.7 FM frequency after 30 years in operation. Emmis Communications, which owns the station, announced Thursday that the frequency would be leased to ESPN and turned into a sports talk format starting 12:01 a.m. Monday. ESPN has an AM frequency in New York City, but has been looking to shift to FM.

"The end of KISS-FM, a mainstay among African-American listeners in the area, leaves rival station WBLS at 107.5 FM as the only urban adult contemporary station in New York City.

" 'Recent changes in the way radio ratings are measured made it very difficult for us to find success with KISS FM,' Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a statement announcing the change. Some in the radio industry have complained that a new ratings system undercounts minority radio listeners, which in turn can affect advertising sales."

David Hinckley added in the Daily News:

"WBLS was recently acquired by YMF Partners after its parent company Inner City Broadcasting went into bankruptcy. This had led to considerable speculation whether YMF would sell WBLS or change its format.

"It was expected that any move to change the WBLS format to somethingTom Joyner other than urban, which launched in 1971, would have met strong community resistance.

"In several ways Thursday's move is a classic case of two companies in a shaky financial position deciding they would be stronger if they worked together as one.

"Still, the merger changes the landscape of urban radio dramatically, since adult urban listeners now have one station instead of two.

"Both WBLS and WRKS have been the top-rated station in the city at various times, and even in low periods they have routinely averaged well over a million listeners apiece per week.

"As for hosts, the merger will integrate them starting Monday.

"Steve Harvey's syndicated show, now heard on WBLS, will continue in the morning.

"Shaila from Kiss will do middays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Jeff Foxx from WBLS will do 3-7 p.m., and Lenny Green from Kiss will do 7 p.m.-midnight.

"That means Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden of WRKS, among other hosts, will be gone."

Baisden started a petition drive (there are several) and gave this statement to Journal-isms by email:

"I will defer to the people of New York to speak out and let station owners and program directors know if they want to be informed, educated and uplifted or simply entertained. The people must let executives know if they want to continue to have a vehicle to respond to injustices like what occurred with the Jena 6 or Trayvon Martin. My plans right now are to let the people of New York exercise their power and let the executives know that they will not allow a powerful voice in the community to be silenced. The only verdict that I will accept is from the people.

"In the meantime, you can listen to The Michael Baisden Show live by downloading the TuneIn Radio App and search Michael Baisden Show from 3-7pm EST. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BaisdenLive."

Joyner addressed the issue Monday on his blog.

". . . There was a time, after the movement, when [public] affairs programs that concentrated on community issues were mandated by the FCC," he wrote. "That meant that even mainstream radio and TV stations had to have some programming that represented the interests of minorities. Because of it, a lot of African-Americans and Latinos got jobs outside of black media. When the Fairness Doctrine was eliminated in 1987 under the Reagan administration, many of those programs and hosts went by the wayside.

"Once again, it was left up to black radio to carry the torch. And so it is today, with so many conservative programs tearing down all 'liberal' values and ideals, such as the desire for every American to vote and health care for all. The voices of Limbaugh, Hannity and their ilk are drowning out the voices of 'the people.'

"Whether it's turning to black radio to mourn the death of Whitney Houston or to mobilize a Trayvon Martin rally, we do it better together."

Deon Levingston, vice president and general manager at WBLS, did not respond to questions sent by Journal-isms through his assistant, but he told the AP it was difficult to see KISS go.

"It is a sad day for urban listeners in New York," he said.

"Unfortunately this is a model that we've seen happen time and time again," he said. "It's become very hard for multiple urban stations to be successful."

Erik Sass wrote for MediaPost: ". . . While both stations are trying to put a positive spin on the merger, most of the buzz about the demise of KISS FM is negative.

"A number of African-American bloggers who follow the radio business have portrayed the end of the iconic R&B station as another step in what they describe as the decline of black radio, resulting from excessive commercialization and consolidation, bland and homogenous music formats, and the deleterious effect of the new ratings produced under the Arbitron PPM measurement regime."

Stanford Fellowships Program Picks Majority-Minority Class

Previewing what demographers say will be a United States approaching majority-minority status, the John S. Knight Fellowships program at Stanford University chose a fellowship class more than half journalists of color, the program announced on Monday.

By contrast, the 2011-12 U.S. class of 12 — there is also an international class— includes two Latinos, a journalist of Indian decent and no African Americans. For 2012-13, there will be three African Americans, two Latinos and two Asian Americans.

The seven of color are:

  • Barbara Allen, producer/engineer, WTTW-TV, PBS, Chicago. Allen plans to develop a trans-media platform allowing audiences to virtually experience historical events.

  • Mary Aviles, editor, EFE News Services, San Jose, Calif., who is to work on a content sharing platform for independent Hispanic media to enable them to build larger audiences.

  • Melissa Chan, China correspondent, Al Jazeera English, who is to work on an online toolkit for journalists to protect their computers against hackers and safeguard communications with sources. Latoya Peterson, Samaruddin Stewart and Mary Aviles

  • Wilson Liévano, editions coordinator, multimedia, the Wall Street Journal Americas, who plans to build a contextual, multimedia wire service for Spanish-language publications.

  • Latoya Peterson, editor and owner,, District of Columbia, whose goal is to democratize communication and societal participation through the multimedia and text capabilities of mobile technology.

  • Samaruddin Stewart, media consultant, Budapest, Hungary, who is to research the use of image forensic tools to identify manipulation in potential news photographs.

  • Kevin Weston, new media entrepreneur, Oakland, Calif., who proposes to establish a sustainable, replicable, nonprofit business model for community-based media, with a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area.

During their stay at Stanford, the Knight Fellows pursue independent courses of study and participate in special seminars.

James Bettinger, director of the Knight Fellowships, told Journal-isms by email that the program received 134 applications for the U.S. fellowships, and by its count 46 were journalists of color. They included 17 African Americans, 14 Latinos, 14 Asian Americans and one Native American.

That contrasts with 104 applications last year,  including 10 African Americans, nine Asian Americans, seven Latinos and one Native American.

The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that 42 percent of the U.S. population will be a member of a minority group by 2050 [PDF], with "minority" defined as people who are races other than white alone or Hispanic.

Vernon Traversie said he did not know he had been mutilated at Rapid City Regional Hospital until a hospital employee advised him to have pictures taken of his chest and abdomen as soon as he got home. (Video)

Indians Say Media Downplay Hate Crime by Hospital

Parts of Indian Country are abuzz about a story they describe as a hate crime that deserves attention from the mainstream media:

"A member and resident of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota came home from a 14-day stay in the hospital to find he had been horribly mutilated. Three Ks can be easily seen carved or burned into his abdomen in the shocking photograph taken the day after he came home," Evelyn Red Lodge wrote from Rapid City, S.D., Wednesday in Last Real Indians.

"Vernon Traversie, who is completely blind, said his nightmare began when he had a heart attack while at the Heart Doctors office in Rapid City last August. He said they immediately sent him a few blocks away to Rapid City Regional Hospital for emergency surgery.

"Traversie is a 68-year-old Lakota elder who told Last Real Indians, 'I was supposed to have emergency surgery on my heart, but they (hospital) had scheduling problems. Every night they would prep me for surgery which went on for four or five days. Every night they would shave my chest and stomach and wouldn’t feed me.'

"Being blind, Traversie said he didn't even know what was done to him until a RCRH employee came into his room and advised him to have pictures taken of his chest and abdomen as soon as he got home. He says she told him that she could not testify for him, but that her conscience got the better of her and she didn't agree with what they did to him."

Indian Country Today followed up with a story by Heather Steinberger on Thursday headlined, "Was Lakota Man Victim of a Hate Crime in South Dakota Hospital? The Troubling Story of Vern Traversie."

". . . he finally has gone public. In just two days, his YouTube video has been seen by 17,222 people, and a 'Justice for Vern Traversie' Facebook page had 2,348 members at the time of publishing."

In comments beneath the web versions of these articles, readers accuse the news media of burying the story.

Patrick Butler, managing editor of the Rapid City Journal, told Journal-isms by email Monday: "We wrote about this last week. It appeared in our Thursday paper and was posted on our website as well."

He added, "We have reached out to the family and they have declined to talk to us so far. The hospital won't say anymore, citing [HIPAA] regulations," a reference to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which contains privacy provisions.

But Traversie told Journal-isms by telephone Monday that there is no family and he lives alone. "The newspapers in Rapid City and the television stations and the radio stations have blocked out all requests for my story. It's local people passing it on to friends and relatives," he said. "I'm the only one who has the story. I didn't authorize anyone to speak for me."

Why would the local media not want his story told? "They're prejudiced against Native Americans, and they're trying to protect that hospital," Traversie told Journal-isms. "It employs 80 percent of the Rapid City population."

However, he said, on Monday night he was interviewed for two hours by a reporter from the Aberdeen bureau of KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Bolden Leaves, Haynes Moves Up at Washington Post

Michael D. Bolden, a local desk editor at the Washington Post, took a buyout and left the paper on Friday, an editor confirmed Monday, while V. Dion Haynes, managing editor of the Post's separately sold Capital Business tabloid, was promoted to real estate editor. He succeeds Sara Goo, an Asian American, part-Hawaiian journalist who took the buyout.

V. Dion Haynes and Michael D. BoldenBolden and Haynes are black journalists. Discussing the buyouts two weeks ago, the Newspaper Guild expressed concern "that a high number of the participants are Asian, African-American or Latino. By our count, more than a dozen of these Guild-covered employees are minorities, most of whom are black."

Meanwhile, reporter Theola Labbé-DeBose, another black journalist  taking the buyout, has accepted a job as director of communications for the D.C. Public Charter School Board, the independent entity that oversees the city's 53 public charter schools, Local Editor Vernon Loeb announced to the staff.

Another African American leaving the news staff is Shauné Hayes, who has been with the News Information Technology department since 2008. She had been at the Post, off and on, since 1996, starting as a copy aide, then layout editor and assistant news editor, a supervisor wrote to the staff.

Fredrick Kunkle, co-chair, News, of the Post's Guild, said in a note Thursday, "it now appears that 28 Guild-covered employees have decided to take the company's buyout offer. Four people have changed their minds and rescinded their acceptance of the buyout offer."

Others of color who have confirmed taking the offer are Joanna Hernandez, a multiplatform editor who is president of Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc.; news aide Stephen A. Crockett Jr., assigned to the Universal Desk, and Kerry Flagg, sports editorial aide; photographer Mark Gail; Tony P. Knott, an assistant news editor; and Lisa Frazier Page, social issues editor on the Local staff. Page and Hayes are not covered by the Guild.

Dan Beyers, editor of Capital Business, wrote of Haynes in a memo, "Dion played a critical role in the launch of Capital Business, serving as the paper's very first managing editor.

"He took on anything and everything that came his way with grace and good cheer, whether it meant writing and editing stories, crafting headlines or talking up the new paper at countless business gatherings. A former Metro and Financial reporter, Dion oversaw the successful start of our On Small Business Web channel and he has worked tirelessly recruiting a diverse collection of voices for the Capital Business opinion page." Haynes also wrote part of the "Being a Black Man" series in 2006.

Bolden was the Post's development & transportation group editor, according to a bio. "He has been an editor with the Post's Magazine and Style sections and with The Miami Herald. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Online News Association and the National Press Club," it says. 

Goo left to become a senior digital editor at the Pew Research Center. "I'm sure Dion will be great as RE editor and I'm sure he will have as much fun as I did with the section and the online content," she told Journal-isms by email.

Good News for FAMU, N.C. A&T, but Not for Southern U.

Florida A&M University and North Carolina A&T State University received good news Saturday from accreditation officials, but a third historically black institution, Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., won only provisional reaccreditation and saw its graduate program denied reaccreditation.

The North Carolina A&T Department of Journalism and Mass Communication was removed from provisional reaccreditation and received full reaccreditation.

"With the help of a great faculty and the tireless support of my assistant chair, I did the job I was asked to do," DeWayne Wickham, the USA Dorothy Bland and DeWayne WickhamToday columnist who has been interim chair, told Journal-isms in an email. "Soon, the university will hire a new chair for the Department of Journalism & Mass Communication and I will have time to figure out what I'm going to do next."

The undergraduate program in FAMU's Division of Journalism received reaccreditation.

The accrediting team report said Dorothy Bland, the FAMU journalism division director, has "strong leadership and management skills and a huge appetite for hard work," according to a FAMU news release. "The team report also gave the division high praise for 'strong relationships with local media and mass communication professionals,' " the release said.

Dr. Mahmoud Braima, chairman of Southern University's Department of Mass Communication, could not be reached for comment.

The accrediting council said the undergraduate program at Southern was out of compliance with the following standards:

  • Standard 4: Full-time and part-time faculty

  • Standard 5: Scholarship: Research, creative and professional activity

The graduate program was out of compliance with these standards:

  • Standard 4: Full-time and part-time faculty

  • Standard 5: Scholarship: Research, creative and professional activity

  • Standard 9: Assessment of learning outcomes

Business Journalists to Renew Push on Diversity

"The Society of American Business Editors and Writers is renewing a push to broaden its diversity efforts in 2012 ahead of its 50th anniversary in Washington and the Unity conference in Las Vegas in August," Talking Biz News reported on Monday.

"The business journalism organization held a committee meeting last week to go over initiatives that include recruiting minority candidates to join SABEW, ensuring that SABEW's board reflects the diversity of our readership and newsrooms, and raising funds for its Five for 50 campaign for five students of color to attend SABEW conferences for the next five years, starting with its 50th anniversary conference in Washington next year.

"The organization is also creating five $10,000 business journalism scholarships exclusively for students who have shown a strong commitment to business journalism, tying each scholarship to a paid summer internship. SABEW is asking major media companies such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, Dow Jones and newspapers to respond to these challenges.

" 'There's a yawning gap between many companies' diversity goals, and the reality you see in most newsrooms,' said Walden Siew, a New York-based editor for Reuters and chair of SABEW's diversity committee. 'SABEW too must do a better job to promote a board and membership that reflects our audience and industry.' "

It's not on the screen, but in the network executive suites where diversity stan

Why Should HBO's "Girls" Be Any Different?

"Those looking for hints of racial tone-deafness on the second episode of 'Girls,' last Sunday on HBO, wouldn’t have been let down," Jon Caramanica wrote Sunday in the New York Times. "In an early scene Hannah, played by the show’s creator, Lena Dunham, and her nonboyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) have sex; as they're finishing, Adam promises to make the 'continent of Africa on' Hannah’s arm, a vexing intersection of eroticism and geography. Later Jessa (Jemima Kirke), nervously facing down an abortion, insists, 'I want to have children with many different men, of different races,' as if they were trinkets to be collected, like key chains or snow globes.

". . . Television is nowhere near diverse enough — not in its actors, its writers or its show runners. The problems identified by critics of 'Girls' are systemic, traceable to network executives who greenlight shows and shoot down plenty of others. It's at that level that diversity stands or falls.

"And 'Girls' is hardly alone in its whiteness. Far more popular shows like 'Two and a Half Men' or 'How I Met Your Mother' blithely exist in a world that rarely considers race. They’re less scrutinized, because unlike the Brooklyn-bohemian demimonde of 'Girls,' the worlds of those shows are ones that writers and critics — the sort who both adore and have taken offense at 'Girls' — have little desire to be a part of. White-dominant television has almost always been the norm. Why would 'Girls' be any different?"

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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