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Media Coverage of U.K. Riots Questioned

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hundreds Complain About Racial Remarks on BBC

NAHJ President Says She Has Assurances on Anchors

AAJA Votes Full Membership for Jobless Journalists

Michael Eric Dyson Might Be Next for MSNBC Nod

At Black Colleges, a Struggle to Maintain Papers

TV Photog Recovering From Spinal Injury After Accident

AP, Google Offer $20,000 Scholarships for Digital Students

Ron Stodghill Leaving Charlotte Paper for Academia

Short Takes

In a video by producer Karl Bostic of NBC News, a young Briton speculates on the reasons behind the riots. (Video) (Credit:

Hundreds Complain About Racial Remarks on BBC

"The BBC has received nearly 700 complaints about the historian and broadcaster David Starkey's claim that 'whites have become black' during a discussion about last week's riots on Newsnight," Lisa O'Carroll reported Monday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"Of those contacting the BBC, 696 were protesting about Starkey's comments, and 21 complained the debate was chaired poorly and he was treated 'unfairly.'

"The media regulator Ofcom also had complaints and an online campaign by an organisation called demanding that the BBC issue a public apology for 'unacceptable comments' had attracted more than 3,600 signatures by mid-afternoon.

". . . Most complainants said the BBC was wrong to allow Starkey to express such a view, should not have had him as a guest, or at the very least should have challenged him more robustly."

The Starkey incident was not the only one that led to questions about the cDaily Mail's story disputed.onduct of the news media.

The BBC radio show "World Have Your Say," a worldwide call-in show, asked, "Is there a problem with young black men?" and took responses to the question.

"I personally don't like that question, this shows exactly how blacks r hated in this world n they r trouble," a person identified as Obaloker Lomuda responded on the show's Facebook page. "But pliz don't judge a book by the cover. Instead ask what problems do blacks face. Coz now u considered black as a problem already. Everything happen for a reason."

In addition, the Guardian's Robert Booth reported Mondayt, "Details of an alleged rape by a 15-year-old boy of a 13-year old girl in south-east London last Tuesday were misleadingly splashed on the front page of Monday's Daily Mail as 'the most depraved incident to emerge from the riots'.

" . . . But in fact the alleged incident is not being treated by the police or prosecutors as in any way linked to last week's civil unrest. It did not happen during the riots in Woolwich on Monday night, but much later – at around 9.30pm on Tuesday when London was relatively calm with 16,000 police officers deployed on the streets. A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan police confirmed the police log showed no rioting or looting in the Woolwich area on Tuesday night."

NAHJ President Says She Has Assurances on Anchors

Craig Robinson, incoming chief diversity officer for NBCUniversal, assured the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists "that it is not his goal to be without Hispanic anchors, and he and station executives are continuing to recruit Hispanic anchors and on air talent," Michele Salcedo, NAHJ president, said Friday in a message on the NAHJ website.

"Mr. Robinson assured me that the anchor lineup six months from now is not going to look as it does today. We also discussed establishing a pipeline to groom Latino broadcast journalists to fill positions throughout the newsroom as well as executive offices," she said.

NBCUniversal spokesman Nate Kirtman said he was unable to reach Robinson on Monday for comment on Salcedo's statement. The NAHJ president said she met with Robinson for more than an hour last week at the Asian American Journalists Association convention in Detroit.

["We'll let the story stand as you have it written/posted," Kirtman messaged on Tuesday.]

AAJA Votes Full Membership for Jobless Journalists

The governing board of the Asian American Journalists Association, responding to the havoc wrought on journalists by the economic climate, voted unanimously in Detroit on Sunday to extend full-membership status to unemployed journalists who have been full members for five years or more.

Secretary Athima Chansanchai said that under the new definition:

"Full Membership is available to those who receive a majority of their income from or spend the majority of their work time involved in journalistic work — including freelance work — for newspapers, magazines, wire services, radio stations or networks, television stations or networks, cable outlets, news-oriented public affairs departments, online-related divisions of a news-oriented organization, online-only news organizations, other bona-fide news organizations or educational institutions.

"Accepted journalistic work includes reporting, writing, editing, photography, anchoring, producing, directing, research, design, teaching journalism and other functions that have direct impact on the gathering or presentation of the news. The membership status for those who work for non-news media online companies may be reviewed by the membership committee.

"Full membership is also available to those who have left journalism, but who were AAJA members and journalists (as defined above) for 5 or more consecutive years.

"Full membership is also available to journalists who are currently between jobs, including those who are freelancing. (Those who were already full members would continue in that status.) These temporarily unemployed journalists will be eligible for reduced dues for the first two years they are unemployed.

"Full membership is also available to executives involved in the hiring of journalists and to artists and technicians involved in the news gathering process."

Michael Eric Dyson Might Be Next for MSNBC Nod

Michael Eric Dyson"Despite the controversy already brewing over the lack of trained minority journalists in prime-time news, there’s now chatter that the Rev. Al Sharpton could very well get some company on the MSNBC network," Allison Samuels reported Friday for the Daily Beast.

"Last week Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson’s . . .  debut hosting 'The Ed Schultz Show' was a ratings winner, regularly beating shows in the same time slots on Fox and CNN. Like Sharpton, Dyson has been a political pundit and regular guest on MSNBC and other networks for years and, like Sharpton, was automatically considered the perfect guest host for prime-time duties while Schultz was on assignment.

". . . Sharpton and Dyson’s good fortune and success on air [have] sent a huge ripple through the world of journalism, particularly among black journalists hit hard by painful cuts in newsrooms around the country. Black journalists have struggled for years to get face time on major networks during prime-time hours, and now many feel the slant toward celebrity-hosted shows has made that goal even less likely. Most admit their anger is at the networks that do little to nurture upcoming minority talent.

". . . Whatever the pros and cons, most see the addition on television of more African-Americans with little journalism experience but major names continuing as we get closer to Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign."

"Can you imagine Reverend Al and Dyson on air with their own shows during that time?" said James Peterson, director of Africana studies at Lehigh University. "Black folk will love that!"

At Black Colleges, a Struggle to Maintain Papers

At many historically black colleges and universities, Pearl Stewart writes in the annual journalism edition of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, some students "have invested time and energy into keeping their online and print publications afloat or reviving them from dormancy." In some cases, the efforts paid off, "but at other schools the results are often less fruitful.

"The Meter at Tennessee State was an award-winning weekly just three years ago with a website that was updated frequently for breaking news. This year the print editions were monthly, and the website was down.

". . . At Langston University in Oklahoma, lack of interest also was a factor in The Gazette’s transition from a weekly to a once-a-semester publication and the demise of the online edition last year.

"Former Gazette adviser and journalism professor Chaz Kyser says she required all students in her news writing class to work on the paper, even if they were broadcast majors. 'Most of the students said they didn’t want to write — the broadcast students didn’t even want to write scripts — but we always managed to find enough students for the paper.'

". . .One of the reasons for the lack of interest in school papers is the perception by some students that the papers are controlled by the administration, the editors say.

"At Hampton University, where an infamous showdown between The Script staff and the administration took place in fall 2003, the weekly paper is now produced by an energetic staff without interference — with one exception. They are not allowed to have an online edition. . . ."

TV Photog Recovering from Spinal Injury After Accident

A former colleague said of Jimmy Moore, 'He's a truly hilarious guy, with a heart of gold!'"One week after crashing his station news cruiser into an I-85 concrete barrier to avoid a spare tire that had fallen off a pickup truck, Jimmy Moore, a veteran news photog for Media General's WSPA-7-CBS in Spartanburg, S.C. (Market #36) remains in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center," Mike James wrote Monday on his subscription-only NewsBlues site.

A Caring Bridge site set up for friends and colleagues says, "He suffered a significant spinal cord injury resulting in nerve damage, and a loss of feeling in the lower half of his body. He also had a serious head laceration, but luckily not a brain injury.

"His recovery will be a slow one, but a sure one."

The site had recorded 1,858 visits from family and friends as of Monday.

"Moore's medical predicament reminds us of how poorly most local news stations handle breaking news involving one of their own," James wrote. "A handsome young family man struck down in the prime of his life by a bizarre accident, clinging to life, facing paralysis. It's the sort of gut-wrenching tale that could capture viewers and spin off in so many directions. Where's the interview with the pick-up driver? Where's the investigation into accidents caused by improperly secured cargo? . . ."

AP, Google Offer $20,000 Scholarships for Digital Students

"The Associated Press and Google announce a new national scholarship program intended to foster digital and new media skills in student journalists. The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, will administer the program," the organizations announced on Monday.

"The AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship program will provide $20,000 scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year to six promising undergraduate or graduate students pursuing or planning to pursue degrees at the intersection of journalism, computer science and new media. The program is targeted to individual students creating innovative projects that further the ideals of digital journalism. A key goal is to promote geographic, gender and ethnic diversity, with an emphasis on rural and urban areas."

Ron Stodghill Leaving Charlotte Paper for Academia

Ron Stodghill, who joined the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer after stints at Ron Stodghill the New York Times and as editor of the old Savoy magazine, is "leaving the Observer to become the director of an Applied Research Center at Johnson C. Smith University, focusing on small business and workforce development," Observer business editor John Arwood and managing editor Cheryl Carpenter told staffers on Friday, Talking Biz News reported Monday.

"Still love the business, but it was simply time for a change. I've got a great opportunity to move in a fresh, new direction," Stodghill told Journal-isms by email.

His editors wrote, "In his columns for the Observer, Ron has often introduced us to individuals in Charlotte who have decided to reinvent themselves, to engage, to try something new. Ron sees this new chapter in his life in much the same way: In his new role, he will be helping entrepreneurs follow their dreams and energize the small-business sector in Charlotte.

"As Ron’s readers know, this is what he believes deeply: When creative entrepreneurs thrive, so will Charlotte. This new role gives Ron a chance to help make that a reality.

"When Ron joined the Observer in early 2008, he brought considerable gifts as a writer and as a leader. He became editorial director of the magazine division, helping our magazines transform their journalism. He led that division to more significant collaboration with the newsroom. All that would lead to the magazine division’s first SND award," referring to the Society of News Design.

"In 2009 Ron joined the Business news staff as a columnist. He wrote provocative columns about an array of business figures, from CEOs to young creative types. He told us what Alan Simonini learned from running a Dairy Queen, what Ron Carter learned in South Africa, and how one man went from crashing into a tree to shaking hands with the mayor. He wrote about the unlikely rise of twin black barbershop owners Damian and Jermaine Johnson to become powerful advocates for economic inclusion. His columns often brought edge to our pages, especially when he introduced us to business people frustrated with what they see as Charlotte’s reluctance to embrace creative entrepreneurs."

When Stodghill joined the Times in 2006, Sunday Business editor Tim O'Brien added this biographical information: "Ron, a graduate of the University of Missouri and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, began his journalism career in 1986 covering cops for the Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich. He then moved on to business and public affairs reporting at the Charlotte Observer, Business Week, the Detroit Free Press, and Time. Prior to joining Fortune Small Business in 2004, Ron was the editor-in-chief of Savoy magazine."

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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