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Michael Triplett, NLGJA President, Dies

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Quiet Demeanor Masked a Steely Resolve"

"Quiet Demeanor Masked a Steely Resolve"

Michael Triplett, assistant managing editor at Bloomberg-BNA and president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, died Thursday after battling cancer, NLGJA announced. He was 48.

Michael R. Triplett

NLGJA issued this statement:

"It is with great sadness that we inform you that our friend and leader, NLGJA President Michael Triplett, passed away today after a courageous battle with cancer.

"While Michael only served as president for a few short months, he has been a member of our leadership team for several years, first as a Washington, D.C. chapter board member and president and then as a national board member and vice president for print. His quiet demeanor masked a steely resolve and an uncanny ability to push our organization forward.

"Michael quickly became someone who could be relied on both to provide sage advice as well as the time and energy to help us accomplish our goals.

"Michael was the assistant managing editor at Bloomberg-BNA, where he used his legal background to develop and lead reports on tax and labor policy, as well as grooming journalists around the world. NLGJA members often called on Michael to provide a legal perspective to policy issues and governance, and he frequently sat on panels covering legal issues at NLGJA conventions.

"Michael played an enormous role in our joining UNITY: Journalists for Diversity in 2011 and was one of our first representatives to the UNITY board. There, he worked with members of our partner groups to fully incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity into UNITY's mission." Triplett joined the Unity coalition when it was known as Unity: Journalists of Color but urged the group to change its name. It did so and last month announced it would be called Unity: Journalists for Diversity.

"He also helped our organization connect with members as a principle contributor to the NLGJA RE:ACT blog.

"Michael was truly a joy for all of us to work with, and his loss will be felt among our organization for years to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with his partner, Jack, and his family in Alabama." Triplett's Facebook page lists his partner as John Squier.

"The NLGJA board will meet in the coming days to elect an interim president, as well as to determine the best way to honor Michael's memory. But for now, we pause to remember our friend and an enormous contributor to our recent growth and success."

2nd Amendment Was Worded to Protect Slavery

January 16, 2013

Author Says Southerners Wanted to Keep Slave Patrols

Violent Media Just Footnote in Obama Announcement

N.Y. Law Aims to Curb Disclosure of Permit Holders

Star-Ledger Eliminates Nearly 10% of Newsroom

Network Confirms Pulling "All My Babies' Mamas"

Rochester Paper Launches Community Race Project

Ad Sales Go Fast for Oprah's Armstrong Interview

African Media Quiet on French Intervention in Mali

Short Takes

In a reenactment at Colonial Williamsburg, Va., of a militia patrol in action, Ric

Author Says Southerners Wanted to Keep Slave Patrols

As Hollywood puts slavery back in the American consciousness and the reaction to the Newtown, Conn., shootings has the Second Amendment on the front burner, an author and talk-show host links the two in an intriguing way.

"The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery," reads the headline over a piece by Thom Hartmann posted Tuesday on Truthout, a site that "works to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis."

It begins, "The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says 'State' instead of 'Country' (the Framers knew the difference — see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia's vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.

"In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the 'slave patrols,' and they were regulated by the states.

"In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.

". . . So Madison, who had (at [Thomas] Jefferson's insistence) already begun to prepare proposed amendments to the Constitution, changed his first draft of one that addressed the militia issue to make sure it was unambiguous that the southern states could maintain their slave patrol militias.

"His first draft for what became the Second Amendment had said: 'The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country [emphasis mine]: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.'

"But Henry, Mason and others wanted southern states to preserve their slave-patrol militias independent of the federal government. So Madison changed the word 'country' to the word 'state,' and redrafted the Second Amendment into today's form:

" 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State [emphasis mine], the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' . . . "

Charles E. Cobb Jr.Journalist Charles E. Cobb Jr., former field secretary of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, is writing a book that argues that "without the armed protection given to civil rights workers by farmers and others, there would have been a lot more deaths" during the civil rights movement, he told Journal-isms by telephone Wednesday. Still, Cobb favors gun control, saying, "What I think is essential is registration."

Asked about the coverage of today's gun debate, Cobb said, "I wish there were more discussion about the culture of guns in the United States, in this kind of society. Guns are romanticized, and you don't hear anything about black resistance, like slave rebellions. . . . This is a frontier society, [and] in that it can't be compared to France or England or Germany," as is often done when gun violence is discussed.

Cobb said that when the Constitution was written, there were two major strands of concern: African slave rebellions and Indian attacks. "The larger question is who gets away with killing people," he added. "Blacks never get away with it. Minorities never get away with it." Cobb's book, "This Nonviolent Stuff Will Get You Killed," is due from Basic Books next year.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday showed that the number of whites wanting stricter gun laws increased from 23 percent a year ago to 34 percent this month, but rose more sharply — from 32 percent to 49 percent — among nonwhites.

President Obama is joined Wednesday by four children who had written him letters

Violent Media Just Footnote in Obama Announcement

"Hollywood and the video game industry received scant attention Wednesday when President Barack Obama unveiled sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence [video] in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting," Jake Coyle reported Wednesday for the Associated Press.

"The White House pressed most forcefully for a reluctant Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

"No connection was suggested between bloody entertainment fictions and real-life violence. Instead, the White House is calling on research on the effect of media and video games on gun violence.

"Among the 23 executive measures signed Wednesday by Obama is a directive to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and scientific agencies to conduct research into the causes and prevention of gun violence. The order specifically cited 'investigating the relationship between video games, media images and violence.'

"The measure meant that media would not be exempt from conversations about violence, but it also suggested the White House would not make Hollywood, television networks and video game makers a central part of the discussion. It's a relative footnote in the White House's broad, multi-point plan, and Obama did not mention violence in media in his remarks Wednesday. . . . "

N.Y. Law Aims to Curb Disclosure of Permit Holders

"The Radio-Television Digital News Association is calling on New York lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore automatic public access to the state's gun permit records," the association said on Wednesday.

Portions of New York's new gun control law (Senate Bill 2230/Assembly Bill 2388), adopted by the legislature and signed by Cuomo this week, will require journalists and other citizens to seek special permission from either local public officials or the courts in order to access the records, which until now had been available without such restrictions.

"The provisions were included in the legislation after a suburban New York City newspaper and its website, as part of its coverage in the aftermath of the December 14 school shooting in nearby Newtown, Connecticut, published the names and addresses of gun permit holders in two Lower Hudson Valley counties. The publication of the names and addresses provoked the ire of some New York state lawmakers who believed it violated gun permit owners’ rights to privacy and security.

" 'This is clearly a wild overreaction to the decision to publish the names,' said Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director. 'Closing off public records is an excessive and inappropriate response, and we respectfully urge Governor Cuomo and New York legislators to restore the public’s access to this information.'

"That stated, RTDNA believes the controversy could be used as a catalyst for dialog to determine ways to balance the rights of people to access important public information and the obligation of journalists to report on stories of vital interest in a responsible way. . . ."

The Journal News, the newspaper that published the names and addresses of the permit holders, quoted Janet Hasson, president and publisher of the Journal News Media Group. "We are disappointed with the broad nature of several exemptions in the law and lack of opportunity for any reasonable period for public comment or discussion," she said, referring to the provisions that would shield information about gun-permit holders. "We are reviewing the law and the impact it might have on publication of permit data in the future."

Star-Ledger Eliminates Nearly 10% of Newsroom

"The jobs of 34 Star-Ledger employees — including nearly 10 percent of the newsroom — are being eliminated in the first large-scale layoffs in the history of the state's largest daily newspaper, publisher Richard Vezza said this morning," Ted Sherman and Kelly Heyboer reported Wednesday for the Star-Ledger in Newark.

"Eighteen part- and full-time staffers in The Star-Ledger's newsroom of 195 employees are expected to be laid off today, along with 16 positions in other departments. The totals include 19 full-time employees and 15 part-time positions. . . ." It could not be confirmed that journalists of color were among those laid off.

Meanwhile, "A slow economic recovery coupled with industry challenges led to the elimination of 11 jobs at South Jersey Times," like the Star-Ledger owned by Advance Publications, the Times announced Wednesday. The newspaper serves readers in Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland and parts of Camden counties.

In New York, "Digital First Media, which operates MediaNews Group, Journal Register Company and Digital First Ventures, today announced The Oneida Daily Dispatch is launching a new digitally focused publishing schedule that includes expanded online, mobile and electronic offerings and a change to a three-day print schedule," the Oneida paper reported.

Network Confirms Pulling "All My Babies' Mamas"

Shawty Lo (Credit: MTV News)Oxygen Media confirmed that it has pulled the plug on "All My Babies' Mamas," a reality special the network was developing about a musician who has fathered 11 children with 10 different mothers, Frazier Moore reported Tuesday for the Associated Press.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Oxygen said that, "as part of our development process, we have reviewed casting and decided not to move forward with the special." Allison Samuels of the Daily Beast reported the cancellation on Monday, citing "my sources."

"The program was initially slated for release this spring as a one hour reality special on Oxygen TV," Courtney Garcia and Chris Witherspoon reported Tuesday for the Grio. "The show would follow Shawty Lo and his 11 children by ten different mothers. According to Oxygen, 'Shawty Lo and his family were considered for the show, but other families were being considered as well.' "

MTV News reported Wednesday, "Now the 'Dey Know' rapper is saying that he understands the public concern, but the people have it all wrong.

" 'Yeah I really understand. They have the right to think that, but at least give the show a chance, to see what's goin' on,' L-O pleaded when he spoke with Emperor Searcy and Mz Shyneka from Hot 107.9 in Atlanta on Wednesday (January 16). 'They makin' their assumptions off a 13-minute trailer and this like the biggest news around the world right now and it's unbelievable. ' "

The rapper told MTV News earlier, "You can hate all you want to, I didn't ask for it. It just happened. Now that it happened, I'm supposed to turn my back against it," he said. "If I wasn't taking care of my kids then you would really dog me out, but I'm taking care of my kids, providing for my family. I don't know what else to say."

"I take care of all my kids. ... Outta all the 10 baby mamas, I just have problems outta one. That's it," he continued. "She has two kids by me, and she feel like I'm supposed to do more for her kids, and she don't wanna work. She just want me to straight take care of them, but it's all love. I handle it … It's a lot of fathers don't take care of one; I gotta deal with 11.”

Deborah Massey, left, Candice Lucas and other Rochester, N.Y., community members

Rochester Paper Launches Community Race Project

The Gannett-owned Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., unveiled "Unite Rochester," a new initiative "designed to promote awareness about racial issues and to find new, more inclusive ways to work together to solve community problems," in a column Sunday by Editor Karen Magnuson.

". . . There is no better time to conduct a communitywide conversation," Magnuson wrote. The Rochester Museum & Science Center is hosting a national touring exhibit [PDF] on the topic, and several local organizations are conducting community events to extend the dialogue.

"The Democrat and Chronicle will publish a series of special reports about race and racism during and after the exhibit. The first installment, to be published Jan. 20, will reveal the results of a poll about racial attitudes and race-related topics in Monroe County. We worked in collaboration with Act Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation to commission the poll by Siena College Research Institute and thank them for their contributions.

"Our Editorial Board also will weigh in regularly with editorials and publish letters and essays from citizens and community leaders.

"The most important contributor, however, is you. If we are going to be successful in conducting a community conversation, we all need to step outside of our comfort zones to share our experiences, ask good questions and provide respectful responses."

Magnuson co-chairs the Diversity Committee of the American Society of News Editors. She told Journal-isms by email that the Unite Rochester Facebook page has already notched more than 200 "likes" and is "building more momentum every day. We were invited by a competing TV news organization to talk about the project for a weekly program that focuses on the diversity of our community. It was taped earlier today and will air Sunday. . . .

"We launched with a simple splash page but [are] rolling out a full web section this weekend along with the results of a scientific poll about racial attitudes in Monroe County. . . ."

Magnuson said she was consulting with other editors of color and with community members.

Ad Sales Go Fast for Oprah's Armstrong Interview

"Oprah Winfrey's cable network OWN is close to selling out advertising time at premium prices for the highly anticipated televised doping confession by former cycling champion Lance Armstrong, a senior network executive said," Lisa Richwine and Liana B. Baker reported Tuesday for Reuters.

"The network, a joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc, expects to sell all of the remaining commercial time for the two-part version of 'Oprah's Next Chapter,' OWN President Erik Logan said in an interview late on Tuesday.

"Both current and new sponsors have been calling to secure ad time during the telecast, which airs in primetime on Thursday and Friday, Logan said. . . . "

African Media Quiet on French Intervention in Mali

"African media commentators have been generally muted about the French military intervention in Mali, where however, one paper hailed President Francois Hollande as a saviour," the BBC reported on Monday.

"In the wider world, support for France's actions is mixed, with some Chinese and Middle Eastern writers expressing suspicion about France's motives.

"And in France, some commentators warn that the involvement of troops from a former colonial power is fraught with dire consequences.

"The Russian press appears supportive of the offensive, intended to help the Malian government to free northern Mali from Islamist control, but Chinese pundits suspect the French president of using military action abroad to prop up his popularity at home. . . ."

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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