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Malcolm X Daughter Walks Off NPR Show

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ilyasah Shabazz Irked by Questions About Marable Book

Four Black Editors to Leave ESPN: The Magazine

Two Photojournalists Killed in Libya Clashes

. . . Hit List of Journalists Reported in Ivory Coast

When the Story Is Over, Yes, Some Reporters Cry

Pride Taken in Pulitzer Winner's Undocumented Past

Betty Wong, Leaving Reuters, Plans Book on Mao Adversary

Sirius XM Leases Audio Channels for Diversity Programming

People en Español Scores High in Ad Pages Gained

Short Takes

Ilyasah Shabazz with an image of her father, Malcolm X. "My father was an open book," she said.

Ilyasah Shabazz Irked by Questions About Marable Book

Ilyasah Shabazz, third daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, walked out of an interview with NPR's Michel Martin on Wednesday after saying, "I'm a little annoyed by this discussion because this is not what I agreed to."

Martin, hosting "Tell Me More," had asked about the controvMichel Martin'ersial passages in Manning Marable's new biography "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention," dealing with alleged infidelity on the part of at least one parent and her father's encounter with an older white man during Malcolm's earlier days as a street hustler.

Shabazz, 48, denied the assertions, saying "my father was an open book" and that she had four unpublished chapters of his autobiography. "And, you know, he is very clear in his activities, which nothing included being gay." Nothing has surfaced among any of Malcolm's associates or in government surveillance to substantiate them, she said.

After Shabazz stated that she was annoyed by the discussion, Martin announced to the audience that her guest had "decided to end the interview," which was conducted with Martin in Washington and Shabazz in New York.

"When we contacted her made it very clear we wanted to talk about the Marable book and her life today," Martin told Journal-isms via email, "and I have to tell you for me anyway the second topic — her — was at least as interesting to me as the first." Referring to "Growing Up X," Martin said, "I had read her memoir soon after [it] came out in 2002 but I couldn't find my copy and didn't remember many details but I remember being fascinated by it so I thought others might be.

"And I have to tell you I honestly thought she might be more reluctant to talk about herself than her father because often that privacy is hard won.

"Anyway, she was clearly getting annoyed but I could not really tell you why. I am speculating here and only speculating that maybe she wasn't really ready to talk about all this and that only became clear as the interview went on. I have sympathy for this, I just did an interview on a subject that's sensitive to me and I barely got through it. and it just kind of hit me. So I understand what that feels like.

"The only point I really want to emphasize is that we made it absolutely clear we wanted to talk about the book as well as her life and her projects. And I still would like to. And we wish her well. And for what it's worth I thought the interview until it ended was pretty interesting."

Shabazz could not be reached for comment. Two days after the book's April 4 publication, she and her sister Malaak Shabazz told Nekesa Mumbi Moody of the Associated Press that although they had not read the book, they were unhappy with the reported allegations.

Meanwhile, Jared Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs, who teach at Morgan State University and discussed the book with this columnist two weeks ago on WPFW-FM in Washington, have since finished reading the book. Each this week published an assessment.

"Originally meant to be a work of scholarship, it devolved, for many reasons, into a work of entrepreneurship, peppered with some author hubris," Burroughs wrote on his blog.

"Malcolm X deserves better, a full, rich biography that brings his life and work further. This book carries some understanding of Malcolm X forward, but not definitively. It could have come close with much more time and primary source research, but time tragically ran out for its author. Ultimately he, like his subject, stood alone, facing the abyss with an almost-finished book and an unseen-but-hoped-for big mainstream payday."

Ball wrote for, "Throughout the book Malcolm’s constantly deepening and progressive struggle with armed resistance, white supremacy, socialism, pan-Africanism and even the power of the vote are softened by Marable in ways to support what has now become the only way to discuss radical ideas; riddled with scandal and distorted by selective emphasis."

Four Black Editors to Leave ESPN: The Magazine

Roxanne JonesFour African American editors at ESPN: The Magazine will leave the publication rather than move with the editorial staff from New York to Bristol, Conn., in July, the editors told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

Leaving will be senior deputy editors David Cummings and Roxanne Jones, General Editor Ashley Williams and Senior Editor Andrew Simon.

Otto Strong, a senior editor, is moving to the Bristol campus.

"The decision to move to Bristol was announced last year; the opportunities it presents for the Mag to be under the same roof — for the first time since its founding — with the rest of the ESPN family provided a much greater upside for content integration across all the ESPN platforms. Ultimately, it will also help cultivate further content to serve the Mag's audience," Chris Brienza, a spokesman for the magazine, told Journal-isms.

"There will be roughly 35 open positions when they move to Bristol," an ESPN spokesman told the New York Post last week. The staff numbers close to 100.

"Last week, it was announced that senior deputy editor Chad Millman, who has been with the Mag since its first year, will become the editor-in-chief as of June 15, and current EIC Gary Belsky will remain with the Mag as editor-at-large through January 2012 and assist with the transition," Brienza said via email.

The editorial staff moves in July"Gary had expressed a desire to remain based in NYC for the long term, which was understood by ESPN leadership, and there are others who have the same desire and won't be making the move. As many of those decisions are still being made, there's not a number that can be attached right now, but in addition to the many staffers (from across all editorial levels) who are making the transition, there will be some positions that need to be replaced.'

Cummings, 44, joined the magazine in December 2000. He told Journal-isms by email, "My decision was tough. As the senior ranking African-American at the magazine I was passionate about helping others with my background get opportunities within the company. I can honestly say in the 10 years with ESPN I had tremendous support in promoting diversity at the magazine and im glad to say my superiors were more than supportive.

"My decision was based on my personal life. I live in my hometown and with three children my wife and I have a tremendous support system with my family around. My dad takes my kids to school and picks them up. My wife has a very good job and I also have always had the bug to take my 20 years of experience as a sports writer and editor and start my own media consultant company. I believe a lot of young athletes are missing out on opportunities simply by not understanding the importance of working with the media. I also believe there are some other opportunities that I am pursuing that will make my decision a good one."

Jones said, "After 12 great years at Espn (I'm one of the founding editors at the mag) I've decided to leave. I love media and it's time for my next chapter. Most likely, I'll move back to news or politics — my first loves. I'm considering a few opportunities now. Exciting times! Also working on my second book," she said in an email.

Williams and Simon could not be reached for comment.

Strong, who is moving to Bristol, said, "I've been in the business for 19 years. I've served as a reporter, assignment editor, copy editor and section editor, and the last five years have been, by far, the most rewarding and stimulating period in my career. . . .

"The transition of The Mag's move to Bristol will likely be the greatest challenge of our careers. And with all of the job postings, this period is one of the greatest growth opportunities The Mag has ever seen.

"I wish more of them [my soon to be former colleagues] would stay, but moves of this nature are very personal. Who are any of us to judge such decisions?

"One of The Mag's strengths during its tenure in New York was its ability to attract a diverse group of journalists — and I'm talking about diversity by virtually any measure. Our commitment to that standard will remain long after we've turned off the lights on 34th Street."

Those who decided not to move to Bristol received severance packages. Also said to be leaving are Ed Mann, an art designer, and Darrick Harris, photo editor.

Two Photojournalists Killed in Libya Clashes

"Tim Hetherington, a conflict photographer who was a director and producer of the Afghan war documentary 'Restrepo,' was killed in the besieged city of Misurata, Libya, on Wednesday, and three photographers working beside him were wounded, one fatally, when they came under fire at the city’s front lines,' C.J. Chivers reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

"Chris Hondros of the Getty Images photo agency died later of devastating brain trauma. Guy Martin, who was filing photographs to the Panos agency, suffered a severe pelvic wound, said Andre Liohn, a colleague who was at the triage center where the photographers were rushed by rebels after they were struck."

. . . Hit List of Journalists Reported in Ivory Coast

"Reporters Without Borders warned today against 'unacceptable and disgraceful' attempts by supporters of new President Alassane Ouattara to take physical revenge on several journalists who were close to ousted President Laurent Gbagbo and have been forced to go into hiding," the press freedom organization said on Tuesday.

" 'We are very concerned that the new government may not be able to control their supporters and we urge Mr. Ouattara to publicly urge them to desist and to respect people with different views,' the media freedom organisation's secretary-general, Jean-François Julliard, said. 'He will be held responsible for their actions.'

"Journalists from all sides in the country's four-month civil war have been threatened, harassed and prevented from doing their job, but for the past week Ouattara supporters have been hunting down pro-Gbagbo journalists.

"Reporters Without Borders learns that a hit-list of eight journalists to be killed is circulating in Abidjan, including staff of the government daily Fraternité Matin, Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI) and the pro-Gbagbo media. Some members of the pro-Gbagbo National Press Council (CNP) have also gone underground."

U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meets with family members who lost a loved one during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, during a remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2007. (Credit: Cherie A. Thurlby/Defense Department)

When the Story Is Over, Yes, Some Reporters Cry

"About midnight on the evening of September 11th, 2001, I walked through my door after spending the day at the Pentagon," Lynne Adrine, then a producer for ABC News, recalled Wednesday. "I hugged my kids and let them see I was ok and put them to bed. Then I went into my room, took off my clothes that were saturated with the smell of the acrid jet fuel smoke (we'd been taken inside the building as it burned to cover [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld's news conference), got into the shower and cried for about a half hour.

Adrine was responding to a question from Journal-isms to the listserve of the National Association of Black Journalists asking whether stories have driven members to tears as they did their reporting. John W. Fountain, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, had written, "Over the years, as a reporter, I have cried after witnessing human loss and suffering. I’ve shed tears more times than I can count as I have experienced the triumphs and also sufferings that accompany this thing called life."

Adrine is now director of the Washington Program for Broadcast and Digital Journalism for the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

She continued: "I remember when we were in the microwave truck, set up on the I-395 overpass, looking down onto the triage area in front of the Pentagon and the hole where the jet entered the building. That was in the early part of the day, before they moved us all around to the front of the impact site. It seemed like we were looking down at an array of little rectangles. Until you realized each of those rectangles was a person, and a lot of them were dead. That's the image that was in my mind in the shower. That's what broke me."

Other journalists' responses related to funerals.

"I interviewed a Cincinnati mother who took time out of planning for her son's funeral (after being killed by a police officer) to talk to me when she had refused all other media outlets," Shauna Rhone, now living in Nashville, said. "I cried with her before the interview and after and then cried on the plane the next day on the way to cover a home furnishings show in North Carolina.

"I also cried as a mother chronicled the days leading up to her son's suicide after a weekend of bullying. I'm not a softy (really, I'm not) but 'grace of God' situations allowed me the added layer of making the reader care about the story by the way I wrote it.

"I never let my emotions get in the story but the reward of the craft was receiving first-place awards for both stories which meant I had given a voice to the voiceless effectively."

For Bob Butler of the Chauncey Bailey Project, it was the kidnapping, murder and molestation of young Xiana La-Shay Fairchild, in 1999. "I broke down at the funeral," he said. Kathy Chaney of Chicago mentioned the killing of a 9-year-old. "The funeral tore me (and other reporters there covering) apart; we simply couldn't hold back the tears."

Greg Morrison, now at CNN, recalled the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Ala.

"There is no shame in feeling the pain or the joy of people's stories," Morrison said. "If it moves you then you can move the viewer, listener or reader. Despite deadlines, space and time limits, outside pressures many of us do this to be a voice for the voiceless and sometimes those voices are choked with emotion."

Ademah Hackshaw of Atlanta, who said she was "married" to a black CBS News cameraman "who considered me his soundman," thought of Hurricane Katrina.

"When I saw an older husband and wife couple in the New Orleans Dome in very bad shape after they had lost everything after Katrina, the wife asked the husband if he wanted some coffee because he was shivering and was very cold. He told her yes, but when she got up to go get the coffee, he told her no, if you must leave me I don't want it because she was all he had left. How can you not cry and appreciate your mother, father, family, children, husband, and wife even more?"

Pride Taken in Pulitzer Winner's Undocumented Past

Ruben Vives 'helped achieved what investigative reporters dream about.' (Credit: Boss Mezzy/Flickr) "There are a lot of local angles to tie in this week's Pulitzer Prize victory by Los Angeles Times reporters Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb for their coverage of the City of Bell Scandal," Gustavo Arellano wrote Wednesday in Orange County, Calif.'s OC Weekly.

"You have the man they took down, Robert Rizzo, being a resident of Huntington Beach, and that Gottlieb used to cover Orange County. Vives attended Cal State Fullerton before getting a job on Spring Street, and his mom used to be the nanny for Shawn Hubler, a former Times OC reporter who now pens a monthly column for Orange Coast.

"And that's where the story really gets interesting. Last month, Hubler wrote a blockbuster essay outing Vives as a former illegal immigrant.

"You can read the essay here, which is much more eloquent than I'm about to be (or ever can, for that matter).

"Let's be clear: Vives is a reporter, first and foremost. Not a Latino reporter, not a former illegal immigrant reporter, but a reporter. He helped achieved what investigative reporters dream about: boot out bastards, help the downtrodden, and win the nation's premier journalism at a young age.

"But I, along with the millions of Latinos who come from an undocumented pedigree, whether it be our parents (me), our cousins, uncles, friends, or ourselves (like all the Dreamers out there), can't help but gloat about Vives' background.

"What a wonderful chinga tu madre at the Know Nothings of the world who insist illegals can't make anything of themselves in this country! What a glorious toma, güey to those who say Latinos bring the corruption of their homelands to the United States and endorse it! What a beautiful arriba to those of us who know undocumented youngsters can and do make something of themselves in this country — if only they have a chance!"

Betty Wong, Leaving Reuters, Plans Book on Mao Adversary

Betty Wong"Thomson Reuters, which is trying to move beyond its roots as a news service, announced several strategic changes on Tuesday that will establish a new leadership structure as it seeks to broaden its reach among general news consumers," Jeremy W. Peters reported for the New York Times.

Reuters confirmed a Friday report from Talking Biz News, reporting that "Betty Wong, a 21-year veteran and global managing editor, will leave Thomson Reuters."

Asked what she'd like to do next, Wong told Journal-isms by email Wednesday, "For now I plan to take the summer off from full-time work and start job-hunting this fall. As I mentioned in a Facebook update, in June I will start working on a book on my maternal great grandfather who was a four star general in Chiang Kai-shek's army who was killed by Mao's people," referring to Mao Zedong, who led Chinese Communist Party to victory and created the People's Republic of China.

Peters reported in his Times story, "The changes were the first significant shifts by the Reuters News editor in chief, Steve Adler, who took the top job two months ago.

"Mr. Adler, the former editor of BusinessWeek and a longtime editor at The Wall Street Journal, said Tuesday that he was bringing in a cadre of editors from newspapers and magazines to help Reuters make the transition to a company more focused on consumer news."

Sirius XM Leases Audio Channels for Diversity Programming

"Sirius XM announced Monday it has leased 4 percent of its audio channels on both the Sirius and XM platforms to fulfill a merger condition from the Federal Communications Commission regarding diversity," Gautham Nagesh reported Monday for the Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper.

"Among the lessees are two stations from Howard University in Washington that provide music and talk programming for the African-American community, as well as stations serving the Mormon, Korean and Spanish-speaking communities."

Radio World gave these details:

"Washington, D.C.-based Howard University is the licensee of WHUR(FM), which transmits in both analog and HD Radio. It will program one channel each on Sirius and XM of music and talk for the African American community and another channel on each platform of music and talk programs from historically black colleges and universities.

"Provo, Utah-based BYU Radio, licensee of KBYU(FM) and KBYU(TV), will program one music and talk channel on each service for the Mormon community in the Salt Lake City market. KBYU(FM) has transmitted an HD Radio signal along with its analog signal since 2006.

"Eventus/National Latino Broadcasting will program four channels: one on each platform of Spanish language talk and one on each platform of Spanish-language music.

"WorldBand Media, which leases HD2 channels from radio group owners in several markets, will program Spanish language talk on both the Sirius and XM platforms.

"KTV Radio will program Korean language music and talk on one XM channel."

People en Español Scores High in Ad Pages Gained

No. 3 in ad pages gainedPeople en Español ranked third among monthly magazines in the number of ad pages gained, Greer Jonas reported for, comparing figures for May issues.

"Standing out in the crowd with the month's largest page gains are three from Time Inc. — InStyle, People StyleWatch and People en Español — followed by Wired (Condé Nast) and Redbook (Hearst Magazines)," she wrote.

". . . New to our top 5 is People en Español, with +35.50 ad pages (+61.19%; +46.68% year-to-date). We tracked down outgoing publisher Lucia Ballas-Traynor to see what is happening at the 15-year-old People spinoff.

" 'Our success is the result of securing upfront commitments by providing advertising partners with exclusive, actionable and measurable consumer insights; enhancing and extending franchises like 50 Most Beautiful, Premios People en Español and Festival People en Español, and leveraging retail programs.'

"Ballas-Traynor will end her three-year stint at People en Español on April 29 to start a consultancy. No successor has been named."

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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Michel Martin's Ambush MSM Interview Style on Elitist NPR..

Much to often when I listen to MM on NPR I am often annoyed by her snarky hyper interviewing mannerisms ... It is apparent she enjoys this edge... I am pleased to read that a Black woman brought her back to earth even though after reading MM"s half hearted apology her retreat was not without a thread of arrogance and nastiness..

Of course I still admire MM's talents and skill set and I love the show..Just sayin...

Great Reporting

Great work in generating more interest about the late Malcolm X. I have enjoyed reading your posts. Please check out my blog at It focuses on young African-American aspiring journalists at Bowie State University who are making the transition from the classroom to the newsroom.


Karima A. Haynes

Bowie State University

How Malcolm used his penis is irrelevant to his legacy

Richard ,

I find this entire discussion of  Malcolm being gay - the typical kind of prurient "bullshit " the American media continually foist on the public in lieu of substantive issues that matter .

 Malcolm was a political activist and a public intellectual in the realm of politics and racial justice - all this unsubstantiated speculative clap-trap about his sex life amounts to a boring and meaningless tabloid excursion .  How Malcolm used his penis is irrelevant to his political and social justice legacy .  

Greg  Fuller  

Malcolm X thoughts

I don't know who is behind this nonsense, but it would have been known ages ago if he were gay.  As much as the "powers that be" snoop and dig up stuff, they would have tried to destroy his image and legacy years ago.  To me this is typical US garbage to destroy a historic ICON who should be praised for his efforts, insight and courage to stand while many are still cowards today and sit down while taking the bs.

"By any means necessary"  wake up black people

Malcolm X

This disrespectful american trash.  If she is so curious, then look into washington, Lincoln and many other american politicians that not only practice molestation and tape, but homosexuality.  Homosexuality goes back to before the Mason's.  When they would have meetings and groups of men would have in essence what is identified today as an orgy, then go home to their wives.

Or even when the colonist that were abolished as well as businessmen, would travel to Asia and sleep with geisha's.  Geisha's were originally young boys that were in a Brothel to be molested and raped by men.  This US attack is historic Big E. Because if they expose the truth, their people would turn on them. The US system as we know it would be over.  Once the resources that have been stolen from Africa will be cut off soon and the roosters WILL come home to roost.

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