Media Coverage of U.K. Riots Questioned
Monday, August 15, 2011
In a video by producer Karl Bostic of NBC News, a young Briton speculates on the reasons behind the riots. (Video) (Credit: theGrio.com)
"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 gopetition.co.uk 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 conduct 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."
- Karl Bostic, theGrio.com: Controversial claim: UK rioters are 'black wannabes'
- Michael Eric Dyson, theRoot.com: Déjà Vu All Over Again in Britain
- Roy Greenslade blog, the Guardian, Britain: Riots: the Sunday papers tell us what is to be done
- Roy Greenslade blog, the Guardian, Britain: Riots coverage: papers express amazement at prime minister's row with police
- Bonnie Greer, theRoot.com: An American Expat's Take on the UK Riots
- Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: After London Police Killing, Media Focus on Problem of Police Restraint
- Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press: UK gangs thrive in August riots
- Jesse Washington, Associated Press: UK Violence Raises Questions About American Unrest
- Gary Younge, the Guardian, Britain: These riots were political. They were looting, not shoplifting
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.]
- Kevin Roderick, LAObserved: Second Latino journo group writes to KNBC
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."
- Frank Bi, AAJA Voices: So far, no takers to host 2013 convention
- Naomi R. Patton, Detroit Free Press: USA TODAY chief encourages Asian journalists group
"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 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. . . ."
"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? . . ."
"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, who joined the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer after stints at 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."
- Hugo Balta, managing editor at New York's WCBS-TV who lost by 13 votes to Michele Salcedo in the 2010 contest for president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, announced Sunday that he would run again in 2012. He said on his Facebook page, "it's time to end the infighting that has plagued our leadership. It's time to re-imagine NAHJ....who we are, who we stand for, how we conduct business and our proper place in the advancement of not only Latino journalists, but all communication professionals and the community at large."
- Sunday marked the centenary of the birth of Ethel Payne, "first lady of the black press." "But sadly, only 20 years after her death, she is little remembered, a victim of the very racism she fought as a journalist," James McGrath Morris wrote Sunday in the Washington Post. "Had Ethel Payne not been black," the Washington Post noted in an editorial on her passing in 1991, "she certainly would have been one of the most recognized journalists in American society."
- "Lionsgate is betting that Tyler Perry has the star power to carry an entire cable channel, Oprah Winfrey style," Brooks Barnes wrote last week in the New York Times. "That movie studio and Mr. Perry — whose flourishing African-American fan base consistently turns his plays, television shows and films into hits — are forming a new venture called Tyler TV, according to an industry official briefed on the matter who requested anonymity because the plans are private."
- "Miguel Helft has left his job as technology writer for the New York Times. He took a 6 week break before starting his new gig as senior writer for Fortune," Veronica Villafañe wrote last week for Media Moves.
- "BET Networks honors the legacy of the civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr., with a special day of programming on BET and CENTRIC in celebration of the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, August 28," BET announced on Monday. "BET News will premiere two new compelling half-hour specials during BET’s MLK lineup: ALPHA MAN: THE BROTHERHOOD OF MLK and MICHELLE OBAMA ON A MISSION: IMPACT AFRICA. ALPHA MAN: THE BROTHERHOOD OF MLK is a character driven television news special that traces the lineage of King’s role in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. during his time as a young graduate student in divinity school in Boston."
- "Retired anchor/reporter Art Norman will return to NBC O&O WMAQ Chicago on a part-time basis starting in September. Twice a month, he will return to the station’s 5 p.m. newscast to air his 'Art Norman’s Chicago' segments, which originally began in 2002 and over the years recognized many 'unsung' heroes,' " TVNewsCheck reported on Monday.
- "There's a growing list of top editors who've quietly fled the Huffington Post since the AOL takeover," Adam Clark Estes reported Friday for the Atlantic Wire. ". . . The Huffington Post's veteran scoop-machine Shahien Nasiripour is leaving the website after two years to be the Washington Correspondent for the Financial Times. Huffington consistently lauded Nasiripour's reporterly prowess as a sign of the site's contribution to journalism."
- "As producers of the top news shows on TV, they're the first people on the scene when wars erupt, earthquakes hit or a politico cheats. And they're busy trying to beat each other to big stories as we speak." With that introduction, Abigail Pesta of Marie Claire introduced five female television news producers: Subrata De of NBC, Santina Leuci of ABC, Kristin Whiting of CBS, Katie Nelson Thomson of CNN and Betsy Fischer of NBC.
- "In a live in-studio interview for Comcast Hometown Network — 104’s 'Upside', in line with the recent commemoration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, NAM News Anchor Odette Keeley spoke with representatives from a new Asian-American television and online network headquartered in Redwood City, California MYX TV," New America Media reported on Sunday. "The network defines itself as a [premier] music, entertainment and lifestyle channel for Asian Americans and airs all over the San Francisco Bay Area on COMCAST as well as nationwide on cable."
- How to sell a story to Essence magazine? “Maya Angelou, Terry McMillan, Alice Walker, a lot of them got their start, had their early careers in Essence and are now writers that we turn to," Constance C.R. White, editor in chief, told MediaBistro on Monday. "At the same time, we want the new Alice Walker. Who is the new Maya Angelou? They are in the pages of the magazine as well, and we’re looking for them.”
- "Twenty-five years of The Oprah Winfrey Show will be celebrated in a new coffee-table book this fall, featuring an impressive list of celebrity contributors," Jocelyn McClurg reported Thursday for USA Today.
- "Alarm continues to mount for the safety of Pakistani journalists with the assassination of a reporter on Sunday in restive Baluchistan, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Also, a senior reporter remains missing in Waziristan, after being abducted on August 11," the committee reported on Monday.
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