Leadership Shakeup at Chicago Defender
Monday, May 26, 2014
N.Y. Times, MSNBC Knocked for Takes on Latinos and Race
"So Many of Our Members Know Personally Somebody Who Died Overseas"
N.Y. Post Has It Both Ways on Kanye-Kardashian Wedding
Biracial Background Compounded Mass Killer's Problems
Mark Cuban Remarks Prove Fodder for TV Food Fights
Advocate Takes "LinkedIn for Journalists" to 55,000
In a shakeup at the Chicago Defender, the onetime bulwark of the black press that has become a shell of its former self, an executive of the parent Real Times Media has been installed as its interim publisher and the executive editor, who had been serving as interim publisher, placed on "hiatus." Cheryl Mainor, the Real Times executive, told Journal-isms Monday that the company plans to restore the newspaper to a position of influence consistent with "our history here."
Once a daily, the Defender is a weekly with a circulation of about 16,000, Mainor said. According to the U.S. Census, there are about 1,299,693 African Americans in Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, and 893,187 in the city itself.
The shakeup comes as the Defender prepares to celebrate its 110th anniversary next year and the city girds for its 2015 mayoral election. Among other steps, the paper plans to restore editorials. "The Defender is going to have something to say," Mainor said.
Hiram E. Jackson, CEO of Real Times Media, based in Detroit, went to Chicago on Friday to inform staffers of the "reorganization." Ronald E. Childs, who had been executive editor and then took on the additional title of interim publisher and then publisher, is officially "on hiatus right now," Mainor said.
Childs, who describes himself as a "journalist who has worked in public relations," was asked whether he planned to return to his public relations firm or had anything to say about his tenure. He messaged on Sunday, "Will issue a public statement in a few weeks."
Janelle Frost remains managing editor and thus is the highest ranking editorial employee.
In addition to the Defender, Real Times properties include the Atlanta Daily World; Michigan Chronicle; FrontPage Detroit; The New Tri-State Defender, in Memphis, Tenn.; the New Pittsburgh Courier and RTM Digital Studios, an archival image licensing firm.
Mainor is Real Times' regional vice president of sales and marketing. She said she planned to be interim publisher "for the next 30 days or so" while she implements a reorganization. The Defender has 13 full-time business and editorial employees, she said, confirming that production for all Real Times publications is now performed in Detroit.
"We're trying to be a broad-based and progressive company," Mainor said, and Real Times is "making sure that the Defender is that as well." She noted that Real Times has "Who's Who" publications in 27 markets, an LBGT publication that is multicultural, and produces specialty tabloids.
In Chicago, there is "a vacuum in terms of the voice of the black press. We're ready to fill that vacuum. The Defender has been there," she said, but "the black press in general is not what it once was. There are so many places to get information now." Asked whether the Defender has the resources to restore the newspaper and its digital properties to their former position of influence, Mainor said, "I anticipate bringing on the people we need to bring in in order to implement the goals that we set. . . . We will be successful."
The Defender plans to "deliver content to people in the way that they want it," regardless of platform, Mainor added. Last year, the company hired Barry Cooper, digital media expert and the founder of the original BlackVoices.com, "to strategically transition its traditional print properties into a more robust digital platform," as the New Pittsburgh Courier reported then.
Mainor also pointed to partnerships between Real Times and the entertainment website EURweb.com and with Interactive One, and said the company was working on others.
Mainor said she recently learned that the late renowned singer-songwriter Oscar Brown Jr., a Chicagoan, had composed a song about the Defender.
As related by the Brown family to Myiti Sengstacke Rice for her 2012 book, "Images of America: Chicago Defender," the lyrics are:
"Colored boys in Chicago, Illinois/Used to serenade the neighbors/As they peddled their papers/ To a tune heard on Friday afternoon/ In a section known as Bronzeville/ recollection's grown so fond still/ Chicago Defender, Chicago Defender paper/ Chicago Defender, Chicago Defender pap'/ In those days when your address told your race/ Bronzeville was the South side section/ With the brown skin complexion/ Where the cries of street peddlers used to rise/ It would wake our Bronzeville spirits/ Once a week when we would hear this:/ Chicago Defender, Chicago Defender pap'/ Through the slums as every Friday comes/ Black Dispatches they'd be sellin'/ "Get the news" they'd be yellin' . . . / Chicago Defender, Chicago Defender paper."
- Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times: Poll: Rahm re-election on ropes; voters say no better than Daley (May 10)
"A relatively obscure and very preliminary study of the migration of preferences between the 2000 and 2010 Census race and Hispanic questions has generated a sometimes heated, but not very illuminating debate about the possibly changing nature of Latino/Hispanic racial identity," Angelo Falcón, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, wrote for the institute.
"The researchers involved and the initial reporting of their findings by one of those Pew data regurgitators were responsible in their characterization of these preliminary findings. But then enter this Nate Cohn character writing for something called The Upshot in the New York Times. He does so with the intellectual subtlety of a jackhammer, made some unbelievable leaps of illogic along the lines of the New York Post's recent calling of NYC Mayor [Bill] de Blasio's wife a bad mother because she was real in an interview. This Cohn guy declares, based on the scantiest of evidence (and, obviously, thought) that Latinos were inexorably evolving into a racially White identity. Presumably, now real Whites would have nothing to fear in 2042 when the Census Bureau projected them to become a minority of the population. Whew, what a relief!
"Or is it? Well, our good friend [Julio Ricardo] Varela of that mighty band of disruptors, Latino Rebels, along with Baruch College professor Hector [Cordero-Guzman], took Cohn on, questioning the basis of his dramatic conclusions. It turns out that Cohn hadn't even spoken to the authors of this unpublished and very preliminary research nor even bothered to cite anyone who knew much about the subject. Then Roque Planas in The Huntington Post wrote a thoughtful piece (as did Mary Sanchez in The Kansas City Star), which framed the issues in more reasoned and appropriate ways, also looking at a similar Cohn-head like piece by Jamelle Bouie that appeared in Slate.
"In between all this there was also much silliness. The usually thoughtful Chris Hayes, on his 'All In' show on MSNBC took on the subject under the title 'Changing Your Race' and led one of the most ridiculous discussions on Latino racial identity I have ever heard. . . ."
Tracie Powell, writing for alldigitocray.org, added, "Hayes asked [Jose] Diaz-Balart, MSBNC’s newest host, about the messiness of the 'Hispanic Latino category.' Diaz-Balart responded that for Hispanics, race isn't that 'big a deal.' "
Powell also wrote, "Not knocking Diaz-Balart, but he was an odd choice to be booked on the panel, said Yvonne Latty, an Afro-Latina and journalism professor at New York University.
" 'It would have been fascinating to hear from an Afro-Latino in this case, who could have added a different perspective,' Latty said. 'I have nothing against (Diaz-Balart) and I don't want to bash him or his positive perspective, even though it has not been my reality at all.'
"Latty was also critical of [Cohn’s] piece in the Times, which left out a discussion of black Hispanics altogether. . . . "
Powell concluded, "The lesson learned from the current 'white Latino' debacle? When talking about complicated issues like racial identity, news organizations should have a few of those identities on hand to inform the conversation. . . ."
- Jerry Large, Seattle Times: We tend to discriminate by favoring familiar
- Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Are Hispanics in danger of becoming white?
- Julio Ricardo Varela, Latino Rebels: Can This NYTimes White Latino Debacle Get Any Worse? Yes, It Can
- Millions Changed Race or Ethnicity in Census (May 5)
For Memorial Day, Isaac Cubillos, editor of Military Media Group and board member of Military Reporters and Editors, posted an essay he wrote in 2011, headlined, "Memorial Day is a day newspapers can best tell the story."
Cubillos wrote in that piece, "There is a photo that ran in the Denver Post in 1983 that I still can't get out of my head. It depicted a grieving woman clutching the headstone of her deceased husband. I will never forget the emotion I felt then and still today when I conjure the image up in my mind's eye. The photo, taken by Anthony Suau, won the Pulitzer Prize for photography the following year. It still remains one the few photos I can remember that needs no caption."
Memorial Day feels different to those who cover the military for a living.
"From what I gather from my members' feed. Some are working covering Memorial Day events. Many others are spending time with family, but all are mindful of what the day means to them professionally and personally," Cubillos messaged Journal-isms on Monday. "Some like Kelly Kennedy of USA Today covered Iraq, and saw many die while there. Greg Mathieson, a combat cameraman, also recorded death on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. So many, many of our members know personally somebody who died overseas. For us it truly is a time of reflection on the sacrifices made, and the human cost of war."
Kimberly Dozier, a former network news correspondent now with the Daily Beast, posted a different photo on social media with the caption, "A salute to U.S. Army Captain James Alex Funkhouser, his Iraqi translator 'Sam' and my CBS News colleagues James Brolan and Paul Douglas, all lost on Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq."
Cubillos said a significant number of the association's 169 active members are of color. "Moni Basu of CNN is probably our highest profile. Kristina Wong, a board member, recently came back from Afghanistan. She worked [at] the Washington Times as their national security reporter. Now works at The Hill covering Congress and the Pentagon."
- Tim Giago, Huffington Post: Holocaust Museum of the Indigenous People Should Be Built at Wounded Knee
- Paul Greenberg, townhall.com: The Forgotten Massacre
- Aysa Landry, Indian Country Today Media Network: Native History: It’s Memorial Day — In 1637, the Pequot Massacre Happened
- Olivia Marshall, Media Matters for America: FLASHBACK: Mainstream Media Largely Ignored GOP's Obstruction Of Veterans Health Bill
- Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: The Biggest Enemy for US Veterans: America
- Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Scapegoats won't cure VA's ills
- Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Supporting veterans takes more than words
- Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: No shortage of strong feelings about the Veterans Administration
- Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today Media Network: Memorial Day Tribute: American Indian Warriors Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice in War
The New York Post titled its 55-word article on the weekend Kanye West-Kim Kardashian wedding, “ALERT (yawn): Kimye weds," according to Melissa Siegel, writing Sunday for laughspin.com. She quoted the article:
“Two jackasses got married in Italy Saturday.
"Sex-tape star Kim Kardashian, 33, wed egotist Kanye West, 36, in a wedding opulent enough for Florence's Medici dynasty and tacky enough for reality TV.
"They were betrothed at Florence's 16th-century Fort di Belvedere castle. Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner walked Kim down the aisle.
"The republic still stands."
However, Siegel added, "while those at the print edition of the New York Post clearly wanted nothing to do with the Kimye wedding story, those working for the paper's website covered the event in more detail. Per Gothamist, the Post website featured three separate stories about the Kim Kardashian/Kanye West wedding in a 24-hour span. There was a general article about the wedding, a story about Jay Z and Beyonce skipping the nuptials, and the sad tale of Rob Kardashian leaving the event early after arguing about his weight with Kim."
Jim Romenesko added in a headline on his media blog, "THAT’S CUTE, NY POST, BUT YOU’VE DEVOTED A LOT OF SPACE TO THESE ‘JACKASSES’ OVER THE YEARS."
- Oretha Winston, Chicago Defender: The Ugly Truths About The Kimye Wedding We Can Learn From
"I truly didn't want to read Elliot Rodger's 'manifesto,' in which he told the story of his life and rationalized the horrific acts with which he allegedly ended it in excruciating detail," Jeff Yang wrote Monday for Quartz, referring to the shooting rampage Friday night that left seven people dead, including the gunman, near the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Yang also wrote, "But after seeing him consistently described as fitting the 'typical mass shooter profile' of a young, mentally disturbed white loner, I realized that both the conventional news and much of social media were making a profound and possibly important error. Because if you're Asian, a single look at his picture is all you need to realize that Rodger was not white.
"A little research exposed what should be obvious: Rodger is biracial — the son of British-born filmmaker, Peter Rodger, best known for assistant directing The Hunger Games, and Lichin 'Chin' Rodger, a Malaysian Chinese nurse for film productions who met and befriended Hollywood royalty like Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas (whom she briefly dated), and, of course, Rodger's father. And reading the 141-page screed shows that this identity played a deeper and darker role in Rodger's pathology than anyone has been discussing."
"In fact, based on the memoir-cum-confession that he left behind, Rodger's murderous rage was rooted in an obsessive self-hatred, born from his belief that he was entitled to, and thwarted from obtaining, a trifecta of privileges: Race, class, and gender. He saw himself as not quite white enough. Not quite rich enough. Not quite 'masculine' enough, in the toxic, testosterone-saturated way that that term is defined in our society.
Yang added, "Nothing can excuse Rodger's repulsive beliefs and actions, but digging deeper to understand them exposes the ways in which we, too, are complicit in the — as enablers of a culture where material wealth is a marker for success, whiteness is a badge of prestige, and sexual 'conquest' a measure of masculinity.
"And the ugly truth is that these are not rare phenomena in our American society — or in rapidly rising societies elsewhere in the world: After all, Chinese consumers now purchase 30% of the world's luxury goods. Skin-whitening products make up 30% of China’s cosmetics sales. And despite it being officially illegal within its boundaries, China now has the biggest pornography market in the world, with over $27 billion a year in sales (more than double that of the United States, where porn is legal.)
"So it's easy to dismiss Rodger, this alleged murderer and child of privilege, as a product of derelict parenting, of negligent gun laws, of untreated mental illness. It's harder to explore the degree to which he represents a terrible, twisted mirror of our global culture. . . ."
- Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: Blaming others for your misery, and when so called Christians do [unchristianlike] things.
- Philip W. Chung, You Offend Me You Offend My Family: What Role Did Elliot Rodger's 'Eurasian' Status Play in His Rampage?
- Megan Garvey, Los Angeles Times: Transcript of the disturbing video 'Elliot Rodger's Retribution'
- Emil Guillermo, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Elliot Rodger's manifesto shows self-hate fueled anti-Asian violence that kicked off Isla Vista rampage
- Matt Wilstein, Mediaite: Victim's Father Goes Off on 'Idiots' in Congress: 'Have We Learned Nothing' Since Newtown?
- Matt Wilstein, Mediaite: Rap Genius Co-Founder Forced Out Over Offensive Elliot Rodger Manifesto Commentary
"Two CNN panelists really went at each other on Friday night over Mark Cuban‘s comments about prejudice," Josh Feldman wrote for Mediaite, referring to the tech millionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
"Author Tim Wise duked it out with conservative commentator Crystal Wright over exactly what the crime rate is in the black community, with both of them yelling at each other for citing misleading statistics and scolding each other for lecturing. Wright said Cuban's comments — that everyone's a little bit prejudiced and we have to come to terms with that — are spot-on. And the use of 'hoodie' didn’t bother her as racial because, she argued, the hoodie is viewed as a 'costume of menace' and while people have the right to dress how they want, 'I have a right to protect myself.'. . . ”
Matt Wilstein of Mediaite wrote that on Thursday on "CNN’s OutFront," "Don Lemon and Marc Lamont Hill had very different reactions to Cuban saying he would cross the street to avoid a 'black kid in a hoodie' (as well as 'a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos') . . . ."
- J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: What Cuban is really talking about
- Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Rebutting Mark Cuban on Bigotry
- Ian Crouch, the New Yorker: Mark Cuban and the "Price" of Progress
- Michaela Angela Davis, CNN: Bias vs Bigot: Cuban is no Sterling
- Joshua DuBois, Daily Beast: Thank You, Mark Cuban, for Speaking Up
- Michael Eric Dyson, Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless and Cari Champion, ESPN: Discuss Mark Cuban comments on society's challenges with racism. (video)
- Phillip Morris, Plain Dealer, Cleveland: Mark Cuban's bigot confession is useful only if he is part of the solution
- Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times: Mark Cuban is honestly offensive in his words on black kids in hoodies
- James Ragland, Dallas Morning News: Mark Cuban’s message is raw, real and encouraging, not racist
- Lavanya Ramanathan, Washington Post: Is Mark Cuban right about the pervasiveness of prejudice?
"The classroom at the City University of New York sat attentively watching the browser on the large screen point to LinkedIn," Madison Gray wrote Monday for the Poynter Institute. "Everyone in the room was familiar with the social network, but they were journalists and had come to see how they could use it for their own specific purposes.
"While explaining how the audience could use LinkedIn, Corporate Communications Manager Yumi Wilson was also ushering them through a social media door, one she has unlocked for journalists in person or through online webinars over the past several months.
"It's all part of an expansion strategy for LinkedIn, which has seen membership grow exponentially from 32 million members in 2008 to 300 million in 2014. One part of that strategy is inviting journalists into a group called LinkedIn for Journalists, which boasts more than 55,000 members. Wilson said she wants journalists to use LinkedIn as a tool for research, as well as one for connecting with others and conducting job searches. She reaches out and spreads the gospel of LinkedIn wherever she finds people in the news business. . . ."
Wilson was an associate professor at San Francisco State University when she became involved with LinkedIn. She started working for the network full time in September 2013.
"If you are British and think that every British citizen enjoys the same rights, my story and those of thousands of others should convince you otherwise," Jamal Osman wrote Sunday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.
"I arrived in Britain in 1999 having fled the civil war in my home country, Somalia. My asylum application was approved a year later. During that time I was given accommodation and a weekly food voucher worth £35 [$59]. For this I will always be grateful.
"As soon as I was permitted to seek employment I started looking for a job. I worked in a laundry, a warehouse and as a taxi driver — simply to survive. Later I trained to become a journalist.
"I joined Channel 4 News as a reporter, largely covering Africa — a role that required frequent travelling. And that is when my nightmare at the hands of Britain's security services began. I have been detained, questioned and harassed almost every time I have passed through Heathrow airport. In 10 years, only one of my colleagues has been stopped.
"During the past five years I have also been repeatedly approached by security services trying to 'recruit' me. The incentives they offer range from a 'handsome salary' or a 'nice car' to a 'big house'. I have even been told that they 'could help me marry four wives'. I have declined all their offers. Their psychological tactics include telling me how easy it is for them to take away my British passport and destroy my career — and even my life. . . ."
- "A CNN team has been denied credentials to cover upcoming local elections in Venezuela," Claudia Dominguez reported Saturday for CNN. "A CNN en Español correspondent and producer appeared Friday at the Ministry of Communications in Caracas, and an official told them their credentials were denied. . . ."
- "The editor in chief of the Libyan weekly newspaper Burniq was murdered Monday in the eastern city of Benghazi, a source at the Al Yala Hospital told Efe," the Efe news service reported. "Moftah Abu Zeid, known for his criticism of Islamists, was shot to death by a group of attackers as he was driving in his vehicle. . . ."
- "As Soledad O’Brien's production company celebrates its first anniversary, the former CNN anchor is working on several documentaries that will air on cable news, including three for her former network," Merrill Knox reported Sunday for TVNewser. Knox also wrote, "For CNN, Starfish is producing specials on veterans struggling with PTSD, New York City's controversial 'stop and frisk' program and the Washington Corrections Center for Women, which allows incarcerated women to keep their children in prison until they are three. For Al Jazeera, O’Brien's group is producing two documentaries — a look at a new model of 'therapeutic justice' for teenagers in prison and a special on heroin use in America. . . ."
- "Next month, supporters of Ecuador's Organic Communications Law will mark the first anniversary of its passage, but many journalists say that there will be little to celebrate because the law has hindered press freedom on numerous occasions," Vanessa I. Garnica wrote Thursday for the International Press Institute. As of March, the government's new Communication and Information Superintendence Office had received 93 complaints against journalists and publications. Of the 93, 14 news outlets and reporters have been sanctioned with fines, retractions and apologies, according to its website. . . ."
- "Egypt’s new president should hit the reset button on press freedom by immediately dropping charges against 16 journalists accused of sedition," the International Press Institute said on Monday.
- The Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board opposes proposed changes in the tribe's Freedom of Information Act, the board wrote on May 20, calling them "the first regrettable step toward limiting governmental transparency in the Cherokee Nation. . . ."
- "The Fall 2015 issue of American Periodicals will be devoted to texts exploring the field of Black periodical studies and/or exploring issues in/of Black periodicals across the centuries, from Freedom’s Journal to Vibe and beyond," according to the Caribbean Commons blog, which published a call for papers for an Aug. 30 deadline.
- "Following a nationwide search, Salma Ghanem has been selected as the new dean of the College of Communication at DePaul University, Jasmine Armand reported for the student newspaper, the DePaulia, on Sunday. "Ghanem taught at study abroad programs in Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Austria and Germany and is fluent in English, French, Arabic, with a working knowledge of Spanish. She credits her propensity to diversity to being born into an Egyptian and Swedish household then attending Sacré Coeur Catholic School in Cairo, Egypt. . . ."
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 BugMeNot.com 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.
Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince.
To be notified of new columns, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us who you are.
- Richard Prince with Charlayne Hunter-Gault, "PBS NewsHour," "What stagnant diversity means for America’s newsrooms" (Dec. 15, 2015)
- Journalists Follow Their Passions
- Journalists Who Rocked Their World
- Hands Up! Read This!
- New Cosby Bio Looks Like a Best-Seller
- "Love, Peace and Soul!" And More
- Journo-diversity advocate turns attention to Ezra Klein project
(Erik Wemple, Washington Post, March 5, 2014)
- "Love, Peace and Soul!" And More
- Book Notes: Soothing the Senses, Shocking the Conscience
- Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2015
- Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2014
- Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2013
- Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2012
- Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2011
- Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2010
- Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2009
- Diversity's Greatest Hits, 2008
- Books to Ring In the New Year
- In-Your-Face Holiday Reads
- Fishbowl Interview With the Fresh Prince of D.C. (Oct. 26, 2012)
- NABJ to Honor Columnist Richard Prince With Ida B. Wells Award (Oct. 11, 2012)
- So What Do You Do, Richard Prince, Columnist for the Maynard Institute? (Richard Horgan, FishbowlLA Aug. 22, 2012)
- Who Am I? What's Race Got to Do With It?: Journalists Explore Identity
- Catching Up With Books for the Fall
- Richard Prince Helps Journalists Set High Bar (Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com, 2011)
- 10 Ways to Turn Pages This Summer
- 7 for Serious Spring Reading
- 7 Candidates for the Journalist's Library
- 9 That Add Heft to the Bookshelf
- Five Minutes With Richard Prince (Newspaper Association of America, 2005)
- 'Journal-isms' That Engage and Inform Diverse Audiences (Q&A with Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter Institute, 2008)
Your tax-deductible contribution will help us carry out Dori's vision of fair, accurate and equitable media for all segments of society.
"No graduate school of journalism, no graduate school of business, no program anywhere, contributed to the news industry what the Maynard programs did." - Donald E. Graham
Donald E. Graham, Chairman Graham Holdings Co.,