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NAHJ Projects $240,000 Deficit for the Year

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Board of Journalist Group Is Warned Against Leaking to Media

Stephen A. Smith Gives Up Fox Sports Radio Show

Exits of Washington Post Stars Point to Diversity "Priority"

Reports From Freedom Forum Show "Extraordinary Spending"

Did a Victorious Obama Send a Signal on Immigration?

Obama Promises Pro-Gay Administrative Actions

The "Story" on Net Neutrality Decision Varies by Outlet

Three Former Interns Press AP on Minority Recruitment

Right-Wing Media Said to Rush to Barbour's Defense

So You Want to Be a Journalist?

Vegas TV Critic Decries "Hispanic-Free" Anchor Teams

Board of Journalist Group Warned Against Leaking to Media

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is projecting a $240,000 deficit for the year and its current cash flow is "at dangerously low levels," Michele Salcedo, the NAHJ president, said in an announcement on the association website.

Salcedo made the revelation in the seventh paragraph of a "Season's Greetings" message from the organization. Posted on Tuesday and e-mailed Wednesday, the opening paragraph was, "The holidays are hard upon us. Many of us are rushing around buying last minute gifts, sending out holiday cards to those we hold dear but don’t see as often as we’d like, getting ready for feasts and fiestas."

In the sixth paragraph, the message said that "The board approved in a conference call on Dec. 18 another bridge loan to be taken from the stock fund, this one for $25,000. The same terms apply as the one taken in August: It is to be repaid by June 1 at 3 percent simple interest. The vote was 8-4."

In August, the board authorized borrowing up to $50,000 from an investment fund, but Salcedo wrote then, "Fortunately, a sponsor payment arrived in the office on Friday making it unnecessary to activate the bridge loan. Stocks have not been sold or money withdrawn."

In the latest message, Salcedo disclosed:

The "challenges to raise revenue to meet expenses continue, and the NAHJ board of directors and staff have implemented a number of austerity measures. We’ve made some $270,000 in cuts in overall expenses — including personnel and benefits, a one-week furlough for staff, accounting services, audiovisual costs and printing. And we’re not done. To ensure accountability, we will do a financial audit. Still, we are forecasting that NAHJ will end the year with around a $240,000 deficit.

"At the October board meeting in Atlanta, we set a goal for the board to raise $36,000 by the end of the year. We are nowhere near meeting that goal. That shortfall, coupled with outstanding pledges, corporate contributions, and sponsorships, has put NAHJ’s current cash flow at dangerously low levels."

Word of the NAHJ board's conference-call vote reached Journal-isms on Monday, but NAHJ officers declined to confirm on the record that such a vote was taken.

Board members then received a strongly worded message from an NAHJ officer that " 'leaking' info about NAHJ isn't being noble. It's pathetic. This ain't wikileaking inform about the war in Iraq. . . . We're not trying to hide anything. . . . where I come from, snitches get stitches."

The "Season's Greetings" notice is apparently the first to members of Saturday's decision. Salcedo continued in her message, "Obviously, we cannot continue with this route. More accurate budgeting practices are being put in place and we’ll have a detailed fundraising plan, with monthly goals not only for member donations, but also grants and sponsor donations, early next year.

"But for NAHJ to meet the financial challenges, we will continue to need the support of members. I am giving NAHJ $5,000 and challenge you to join me."

One of the four to vote against the bridge loan was Jessica Durkin, who represents the mid-Atlantic area on the board.

Durkin wrote her constituents:

"This is a fiscal crisis that simply cannot be tolerated, and in my opinion, fundamental changes to the organization are not only needed, but long overdue. That's why I voted against another loan — a band-aid — to continue with the status quo."

She added:

"For the record, I voted against the $1.6 million budget for 2010, and if a similar number is presented for 2011 with an unchanged expense structure, I will not support it."

NAHJ has taken other steps to resolve its financial issues.

In November, Salcedo announced that the organization had decided "to nullify chapters that have been inactive for more than a year and reclaim their share of membership dues," and, as an emergency measure for 2011, to claim all incoming dues, funds that had been split 50-50 with local chapters."

The annual conference is the major source of revenue for most of the journalist of color organizations. Attendance at this year's NAHJ conference in Denver was about 700, "a slight drop from the 800 people who attended last year's event in San Juan, Puerto Rico," which itself represented a drop in attendance, the NAHJ convention newspaper reported.

In October 2009, then-president O. Ricardo Pimentel warned members that "cuts in funding from sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers as well as registration at our annual convention have left NAHJ with a $300,000 budget shortfall. . . . if we do not raise more funds now, NAHJ will have to cease operations and stop all programs for the rest of the year."

The organization was able to weather that storm and continued its advocacy, its skills training for its members — and its fundraising.

Stephen A. Smith Gives Up Fox Sports Radio Show

Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith is leaving the Fox Sports Radio morning show he has hosted for nearly a year to "play the new role of roving 'NBA expert,' " Radio-Info.com reported Wednesday, quoting Kurt Kretzschmar of Fox Sports Radio.

Stephen A. Smith

"The veteran sportswriter and commentator says 'I am very excited about my future endeavors' and 'Bring on 2011,' " the website said.

"In January Fox stations will carry the 'Zakk and Jack Show' with Dominic Zaccagnini and former Colts QB Jack Trudeau."

John Kiesewetter added in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

"The Larry Brown Sports website says Smith is going voluntarily, so he can work as a NBA analyst for Fox without 3:30 a.m. wake-up calls."

Smith started his show on Jan. 4 in the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. slot, Eastern time, airing on 207 stations and on Sirius XM satellite radio. "They just came to me and said, 'We want you ,' " Smith told Journal-isms then. "I said, 'Sure.' "

At the time, Smith was still with the Philadelphia Inquirer, which was refusing to publish his work during a two-year dispute with then-editor William R. Marimow. Smith left the paper in June, and this week the Inquirer named interim editor Stan Wischnowski to the editor's job on a permanent basis.

Exits of Washington Post Stars Point to Diversity "Priority"

When Gone: Robin Givhan and Michael Wilbonthe Washington Post announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan was leaving its Style section for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, a Twitter follower messaged Journal-isms, "Who's replacing her? Wiltz is gone, Robin is leaving...what fabulous Black girl writers are left in Style?"

The reference was to Teresa Wiltz, one in a line of long-form writers who have worked in the paper's storied features section. Wiltz took a buyout and went to theRoot.com, a Washington Post Co. property that focuses on African Americans.

One message from Givhan's departure and that of sports columnist Michael Wilbon — black journalists with large followings — is that "we very much need to have more columnists who represent different communities," the Post's executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, told Journal-isms on Wednesday.

"We absolutely consider that a priority."

Wilbon co-hosts ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" and left the Post this month after 31 years to expand his role at the sports network, online and on the air.

"His departure leaves us with four columnists: two women, two men, all white. And we will be filling the position," Sports Editor Matt Vita told Journal-isms when Wilbon left.

Brauchli, who has presided over a shrinkage of the news staff since he arrived in 2008, said, "I worry that we do have some diminishing of diversity. Every manager in this building knows that that's important."

When a section editor recently displayed an all-white array of political prognosticators on his Sunday section front, the editor heard about it the next day, Brauchli said. "We don't do everything as well as we should," he conceded, but noted that news managers of color were in the chain of command when such omissions have occurred.

The departure of Givhan, who had been at the Post for 15 years, leaves the paper's daily Style section with one African American reporter, veteran Jacqueline Trescott, who writes on a contract basis after having taken a buyout in 2006. Wil Haygood went to the paper's national news staff, and over the years such other African American writers as Joel Dreyfuss, Dorothy Gilliam, Lynne Duke, Karen DeWitt, Angela Terrell, Carla Hall, Mary Ann French, the late David Mills, Hollie I. West, Kevin Merida, Natalie Hopkinson, Esther Iverem, Lonnae O'Neal Parker and DeNeen L. Brown have worked in Style.

Just five years ago, the Style department was headed by two black journalists, Eugene Robinson, now a Pulitzer Prize-winning op-ed columnist, and his deputy, Deborah Heard, who succeeded him as top Style editor, then took a buyout.

Brauchli said the Style section had been reconfigured and that Brown and Parker, who have been reassigned to the Washington Post Magazine, should be considered part of the mix.

Still, Brauchli said those who know of good candidates for the section should come forward.

Annual spending by the Freedom Forum and the Newseum has skyrocketed, Jim Hopkins writes, "contributing to $224 million in foundation overspending during 2007-2009 alone . . . "

Reports From Freedom Forum: "Extraordinary Spending"

"This is a story about what happened to a glittering fortune — one amassed by generations of Gannett employees, only to be drained from the company's charitable arm, the original Gannett Foundation," Jim Hopkins, publisher and editor of the Gannett Blog, wrote on Tuesday.

"Freedom Forum tax documents and annual reports reveal extraordinary spending on construction, interest payments, salaries and bonuses. Coupled with bruising stock market declines, the endowment's non-real estate assets plunged to $400 million in 2009 from $900 million in 2000, when the Newseum expansion started.

"Meanwhile, as museum staff got laid off, top executives received six-figure bonuses in 2008 for completing the museum, even though it opened years later than first forecast. Overby, for one, got a $375,000 cash bonus, bringing his total pay that year to $991,044 in wages, benefits and expenses," Hopkins wrote, referring to Chairman and CEO Charles Overby. "Including expenses over the past decade, Freedom Forum has now paid him $7 million."

The Freedom Forum considers itself a champion of diversity efforts, with its Freedom Forum Diversity Institute maintaining four initiatives, including the Chips Quinn Scholars program, the American Indian Journalism Institute, the Multimedia Scholars Program and the Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop. The Freedom Forum is based in Washington, where the Newseum is located. The Diversity Institute is in Nashville, Tenn., with programs also at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

Hopkins continued, "These details emerge in nearly 10,000 pages of IRS reports Freedom Forum and the Newseum filed in 2000-2009. The 2009 report was filed Oct. 29. I obtained copies of the documents under federal open records laws. They're the only comprehensive source of financial information such non-profits are required to make public.

"To be sure, Freedom Forum and the Newseum may have other financial resources to tap, including potentially millions in outstanding donations, plus a smaller endowment held by the museum itself worth $27 million at the end of 2009. Still, barring an exceptional reversal in fortunes this year and in the immediate years ahead, it's unclear how much longer the two institutions can be sustained.

"I asked Freedom Forum officials about the financial condition of the foundation and the museum, in e-mails last Wednesday and on Dec. 8. They declined to comment, other than to acknowledge receiving my requests."

Did a Victorious Obama Send a Signal on Immigration?

Juan Carlos López"In a year-end news conference before heading to Hawaii for a vacation, Obama hailed the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress as the 'most productive post-election period in decades,' " William Douglas reported Friday for McClatchy Newspapers.

" 'And it comes on the heels of the most productive two years that we've had in generations,' the president said.

"Obama's assessment came on a day of major accomplishments that began with his signing the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' and was followed by the Senate's ratification of the administration's nuclear arms treaty with Russia and its approval of $4.2 billion to pay for health care for firefighters, police and other first responders who contracted ailments after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on New York's World Trade Center.

" 'One thing I hope people have seen during this lame duck, I am persistent,' he said. 'If I believe in something strongly, I stay on it.'

"But the president also expressed disappointment over what he didn't accomplish: getting Congress to pass the DREAM Act, a measure that would've allowed a conditional path to citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, and securing long-term funding of the federal government."

The question about the DREAM Act allowed Obama to sound "like a dad" and not professorial as he is sometimes viewed, commentators on CNN approvingly said afterward.

" 'Maybe my biggest disappointment was the DREAM Act vote,' Obama said," Douglas reported. "'I get letters from kids all across the country, came here when they were 5, came here when they were 8. Their parents were undocumented. . . . The kids don't know. The kids are going to school, like any other American kid.' "

Juan Carlos López, Washington correspondent for CNN en Español asked the question about the DREAM Act. That López was called on was seen as a sign that Obama wanted to emphasize the issue.

Lopez told Journal-isms, "I always expect to be called, like everyone else in the room, if not I wouldn't go. Good I got the chance today."

Asked what he thought about Obama's answer, he said by e-mail, "I found it interesting that he ties immigration reform to Dream Act, could it mean that's what the WH will fight for during the next two years?"

A second journalist of color, Dan Lothian of CNN, was recognized. Lothian asked Obama the status of the "car in the ditch" he often mentions in discussing the state of the economy as he found it. "The car is on level ground," Obama replied.

President Obama tells the Advocate's Kerry Eleveld that the Pentagon is "prepared to implement" repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and that it will take months, not years. (Credit: Pete Souza/White House)

Obama Promises Pro-Gay Administrative Actions

President Obama said he was "wrestling" with the issue of same-sex marriage at his news conference Wednesday, but Obama had already made the same revelation in an interview with the Advocate, a newspaper that targets gays and lesbians, published online Tuesday.

With the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" during the lame-duck session of Congress, Obama also was asked about his next priorities for gays and lesbians, a key part of his base.

Obama referred to the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

"Repealing DOMA, getting [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] done, those are things that should be done," he said. "I think those are natural next steps legislatively. I’ll be frank with you, I think that's not going to get done in two years. I think that's — we’re on a three- or four-year time frame unless there’s a real transformation of attitudes within the Republican caucus," Obama said in an interview with Kerry Eleveld, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association's LGBT journalist of the year.

Eleveld asked, "I know one of the things that people were interested [in] — especially gay and transgender Americans — was passing employment nondiscrimination protections. But looking forward, it looks like most legislation, pro-LGBT, will be stalled in Congress. . . .

Obama said, ". . . there are still a lot of things we can do administratively even if we don’t pass things legislatively. So my ability to make sure that the federal government is an employer that treats gays and lesbians fairly, that’s something I can do, and sets a model for folks across the board."

The "Story" on Net Neutrality Decision Varies by Outlet

"The Federal Communications Commission voted three to two on Tuesday afternoon to approve a new set of rules governing the practices of broadband Internet service providers. The new policy bans discrimination by Internet companies of any specific online service. But does not go so far as to bar those from charging more money for faster service, leaving open the potential for a 'tiered Internet' scenario," Lauren Kirchner wrote for Columbia Journalism Review.

"The rules differ for 'wired' and 'wireless' Internet providers, as well; wireless companies are allowed to block certain apps and services so long as they are not in direct competition with their own products. Chairman Julius Genachowski says this differentiation is intended to encourage innovation and growth of wireless services, but that the commission would leave open the possibility of additional regulation in the future.

"So is the new FCC policy good or bad for the American consumer? News readers will be forgiven if they frankly have no idea. The bombast and posturing surrounding the vote is so loud, and its details so foggy and arcane that it’s hard to make out what the 'story' of the story is." Kirchner went on to list the various angles news outlets used on the story.

Three Former Interns Press AP on Minority Recruitment

"Three graduates of the Associated Press’ internship program asked the company how it plans to recruit minorities as it puts the program on what the AP has described as a one-year hiatus," Martha Waggoner reported Tuesday for the News Media Guild.

"Suzanne Gamboa of Washington, Russell Contreras of Boston and Deepti Hajela of New York City came to the bargaining table to tell the AP about their experiences with the intern program and to question the AP about its efforts to hire more minorities. Of the 1,030 Class A jobs within the company, 49, or 4.75 percent are held by Asians. Blacks hold 54 jobs, or 5 percent, and Hispanics hold 50, or 4.9 percent, said Gamboa, chair of the News Media Guild’s human rights committee.

" 'As a member of a minority, I tell you these numbers don’t lie,' Contreras said. 'These numbers are a legacy.'

"The minority internship program arose from settlement among the AP, the Guild and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the early 1980s. The settlement required the AP to keep the minority internship program for five years, from 1983 to 1988.

"The internship program 'has long been the crack in the door, particularly for journalists of color,' Gamboa said. 'Most management is white, and they don’t move in the same circles. The window is open and is being slammed shut.'

"The AP said the program costs $600,000 annually and is being suspended for one year to save money. It defended its record on hiring minorities, saying diversity is essential to the company’s success.

“As a person of color, I would say you’re not committed," Contreras said.' "

Right-Wing Media Said to Rush to Barbour's Defense

"In a recent profile in the Weekly Standard, Mississippi Gov. [Haley] Barbour (R) heaped praise on the white supremacist Citizens Councils for [their] role in barring KKK activity in his hometown of Yazoo City. After significant criticism, Barbour later stated that 'the 'Citizens Council,' is totally indefensible, as is segregation,' " according to Mike Burns, writing Tuesday for Media Matters.

"However, following the Weekly Standard piece, right-wing media rushed to Barbour's defense, dismissing his remarks as innocent nostalgia and decrying a left-wing smear campaign. For instance, Hot Air's AllahPundit asserted that 'maybe [Barbour] was simply naïve about' the Citizens Councils' purpose.

"In addition, linking to a National Review Online post defending Barbour, Fox Nation posted the headline 'Haley Barbour Fends off Left-Wing Racial Smears with Ease.' "

Barbour issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the Citizens Council, Molly Parker reported for the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger.

So You Want to Be a Journalist?

The video "So You Want to Be a Journalist" (video) is making the rounds in cyberspace, along with a companion, "So You Want to Be in Television News." When a link to the latter was posted Wednesday on the e-mail list of the National Association of Black Journalists, members who counsel students said the unrealistic expectations sounded familiar. Both videos are posted on xtranormal.com.

Vegas TV Critic Decries "Hispanic-Free" Anchor Teams

"Just spitballing here, but stats seem to scream for an all-Hispanic anchor team on one of our major affiliate newscasts," Steve Bornfeld, television writer at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, wrote last week.

"Projections by demographers peg the United States Hispanic/Latino population at 25 percent by 2050. Census Bureau figures have Nevada topping that 41 years early, at 26.5 percent last year. (African-Americans comprise 8.3 percent, and Asian-Americans, 6.6. percent).

"That math — and America becoming a 'minority-majority nation' — argue for a bold media move in a state at the vanguard of a coming cultural shift. News departments and the consultants they pay to tell them what they probably already know, probably already know it.

"Local stations hire Hispanic journalists in solid numbers, mostly as reporters, but some serve as anchors in nighttime (Fox-5's [Olivia] Fierro), midday/late-day (Denise Valdez of KLAS-TV, Channel 8, Marie Mortera of KSNV-TV, Channel 3) and weekend/fill-in (Chris Saldana of Channel 8), among others.

"Yet the marquee anchor ranks here — Nina Radetich, Steve Wolford, Paula Francis, Gary Waddell, Dave Courvoisier, Casey Smith, Lisa Remillard, Jim Snyder, Sue Manteris, the Wagners — are Hispanic-free."

". . . perhaps unduly idealistic as it seems, a more integrated community begins with venturing outside your cultural cocoon. That invitation is easier to accept when those from your own community hold the door open to that other world."

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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 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.

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