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NAHJ Reps Recommend Unity Pullout

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Monday, October 7, 2013

"Virtual Town Hall" Meeting Scheduled Next Week

Fox Followed Advice to Use Loaded Health-Care Phrases

Plans for Local Versions of NPR's "Code Switch" on Hold

NAHJ Reintroducing Ñ Awards at Chicago Conference

Editors' Intervention Kept Story of "The Butler" Alive

Sports Columnist Monte Poole Joins Comcast Network

Four Selected for Sports Department Management Training

Followers Tweet Back, "What the Hell Is Wrong With You?"

Short Takes

"Virtual Town Hall" Meeting Scheduled Next Week

Hugo Balta, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said

Leaders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists recommended Monday that the association leave the Unity: Journalists for Diversity coalition, an action that would leave the onetime Unity: Journalists of Color with two of the original four journalist-of-color associations and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.

In a message to members posted on the NAHJ Web site, the four NAHJ representatives on the Unity board, including President Hugo Balta and Mekahlo Medina, vice president, broadcast, said, "UNITY's financial disorganization continues to be a frustration."

They cited what they called a lack of transparency and a revenue-sharing formula that "doesn't seem fair. UNITY should not be taking the largest share of the net income" when proceeds are split from the Unity convention.

"The current formula is not working for NAHJ," the statement said.

"We brought in 41% of the registrations and our total share was not at par [with] the percentage of attendees."

NAHJ is hosting a "virtual town hall meeting" on the Unity issue on Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

The statement comes less than a week after Unity board members elected David Steinberg of the NLGJA as president on a 6-4 vote. NAHJ's four board representatives sat out the election.

Regarding NAHJ's complaint about the revenue split, Steinberg told Journal-isms, "The entire UNITY board, including representatives from NAHJ, approved the financial structure for the 2012 convention, which earmarked money for UNITY's operational costs. I intend to immediately address UNITY's operating budget and anticipate we will find cost savings that will allow for additional funding to flow to member organizations in the future."

Separately, Steinberg issued his own statement earlier Monday listing "immediate steps I plan to take to reform UNITY to make it more efficient, cost effective, and responsive to its alliance members and partners.

"First, UNITY must show greater financial accountability. We can reduce costs and staffing needs by focusing the staff on planning the joint convention and garnering funding for UNITY and the alliance organizations' work. I believe UNITY can fulfill its advocacy role primarily by supporting — rather than duplicating — the work of the individual alliances."

He also said, "We need to change how board members are appointed and officers elected," and that he supports "creating an advisory board made up of representatives of other journalism organizations who share UNITY's mission and can help us promote media diversity.

"This would be a way to engage and coordinate with groups such as NABJ and SAJA, whose focus is on race, ethnicity and diversity in journalism, and encourage diversity efforts by broader journalism groups as SPJ, ASNE and RTDNA." The acronyms refer to the National Association of Black Journalists, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of News Editors and the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Steinberg did not specify how he would change the appointment and election of board members, but responded when asked to clarify, "UNITY needs to be more responsive to its alliance members. The board worked this summer on proposals for reforming UNITY's structure and governance, and my proposal for change will be based on these recommendations."

However, he disagreed with Balta on the fundamental issue of whether each organization should have the same number of votes. "I believe UNITY must maintain its commitment to equal representation among all groups on its board. This structure encourages collaboration and compromise, and it ensures all of UNITY is focused on the greater good," he said.

Tracie Powell wrote in a piece posted Monday in Columbia Journalism Review, " 'While we understand that in its genesis the forming of UNITY was to have an equal number of representatives regardless as to how many members you represent, our industry has changed. The economy has changed,' said NAHJ President Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer at ESPN. 'In order to have true representation and influence on the board, representation should be based on the individual association’s membership size. You can't effect change if you're always deadlocked.' "

Monday's NAHJ statement also said, "Philosophically UNITY makes sense but structurally the organization is not working to further our mission when it comes to increasing the pipeline of Latino journalists in the industry or being an advocate of journalists of color.

"UNITY doesn't have the resources to be an advocate for our organization and it usually is the last organization to issue statements on issues affecting the industry."

The statement listed the current revenue split as follows:

"20% — Net income allocated to UNITY

"40% — net income is divided evenly among the 4 alliance partners (10% to each organization.

"40%— The remainder of the net income is allocated by the percentage of paid registrations each organization brings in."

Unity has said it needs money to run its own office and for deposits and other preparations for the next convention.

"The revenue from the convention also is used to support UNITY's mission — advocating fair and accurate news coverage about diversity and challenging the news media industry to diversify their staffs at all levels, in addition to paying for deposits, staffing and other preparations for the next convention," Walt Swanston, interim executive director, told Journal-isms.

In an interview last week with Powell for, Steinberg confirmed that Unity was suspending its search for a new executive director. "One idea that has been offered is that we hire someone to run the day-to-day duties in the office — writing grants, reports, and conducting audits and maybe ramp it up two years into the four year cycle by bringing in a consultant or meeting planner to help put together the convention," he said.

NAHJ leaders' dissatisfaction with the Unity structure became public during the NAHJ convention in Anaheim, Calif., in August. For half an hour, the NAHJ membership meeting heard Balta speak and take questions about Unity as Mary Hudetz, president of the Native American Journalists Association, and Bob Butler, president of National Association of Black Journalists, watched, along with Doris Truong, then-acting president of the Unity coalition.

Balta and Butler separately disclosed that they had casually discussed the two groups meeting jointly in 2016, a presidential election year. "We need to be there in Washington, D.C.," Balta told Journal-isms. Unity is also considering meeting that year.

NABJ pulled out of the Unity coalition in 2011, also citing the revenue split and governance issues. Unity then invited NLGJA to join.

The NAHJ representatives signing the message to members were Balta, Yvonne Latty, Medina, Maria Burns Ortiz and Executive Director Anna Lopez Buck.

Unity held its first convention in 1994, when NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NAJA co-located their conventions in Atlanta. The coalition was then primarily a vehicle for the members of the four organizations to interact and demonstrate their joint support for their shared goals.

The coalition's beginnings date to the 1980s, when Juan González, an active member of the NAHJ, and Will Sutton Jr., an active member of NABJ, started comparing notes about their experiences as journalists of color. The two journalists, both in Philadelphia, met in 1986. Separately, in 1988, DeWayne Wickham, then NABJ president, convened the first joint meeting of the boards of NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NAJA.

In 1990, Unity was established as a nonprofit organization. In 1998, the name became Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc., which evolved last year to Unity: Journalists for Diversity after NABJ left and NLGJA joined.

When late-night ABC-TV host Jimmy Kimmel asked passers-by last week whether they preferred "Obamacare" or the "Affordable Care Act," most did not know they were the same. (video)

Fox Followed Advice to Use Loaded Health-Care Phrases

"In May of 2009, conservative pollster Frank Luntz released a memo, 'The Language of Healthcare 2009: The 10 Rules for Stopping the "Washington Takeover" of Healthcare'," Joe Strupp and Oliver Willis reported Monday for Media Matters for America. "In that memo, Luntz advised conservatives to use phrases like 'rationing,' 'Washington takeover,' 'government run,' 'government takeover,' and 'bailout' when addressing health care reform.

"In The 'Luntzification' of the U.S. Health Care Debate, Mark D. Harmon of the University of Tennessee's College of Communication and Information shows the extent to which Luntz's GOP-friendly language permeated news coverage of health care reform.

"Harmon reviewed transcripts from the six major cable and broadcast networks for uses of 'sixteen Luntz terms' — such as 'rationing,' 'bureaucrat,' 'Washington takeover,' 'government takeover' — and '16 more neutral terms describing' health care reform, including 'pre-existing conditions,' 'lifetime limits,' 'profits,' 'insurance exchange,' 'patient protection' and 'affordable care.' He found that Luntz terms outnumbered neutral terms on Fox News, and also made up 'a significant percentage' of the terms used on CNN, MSNBC and on the nightly news broadcasts on ABC, CBS and NBC.

"The research found that Luntz language was used 1,521 times on Fox while neutral language was used 1,122 times on the network. On the other networks, Luntz's language was used 4,022 times and neutral language invoked 6,323 times. . . . "

Anna Kooiman

Meanwhile, if one needed additional evidence that conservatives prefer "Obamacare" to "Affordable Care Act," Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, reported last week on the decision by NPR to limit use of the "Obamacare" term after this columnist contended that it could no longer be considered neutral. The center characterized the question as "pressure." Graham also reported that the Associated Press "is also bending under Prince's questioning," although the AP policy change was already posted when the inquiry was made.

"Other media outlets seemed to bend toward 'Obamacare' usage only when Obama decided to use it, which isn't exactly a formula for media independence," Graham wrote.

In another development, "A Fox News Channel anchor has apologized for falsely saying that President Barack Obama had offered to pay for the operation of a museum of Muslim culture 'out of his own pocket' during the government shutdown," the Associated Press reported.

"Anchor Anna Kooiman made the remark Saturday on 'Fox & Friends' during a discussion about closed facilities. She didn't cite a source, but a satirical news site called 'National Report' had posted a story headlined: 'Obama Uses Own Money to Open Muslim Museum Amid Government Shutdown.'

"The fake story said that Obama had 'held a press conference' to announce he would use his own money to reopen the International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson, Miss.

"Kooiman said Saturday she didn't think it was fair that World War II veterans faced a closed Washington monument honoring people killed during that conflict. . . ."

Plans for Local Versions of NPR's "Code Switch" on Hold

"Plans to expand NPR's Code Switch to a local and regional level are on hold as network President Gary Knell departs for his new job," Mike Janssen reported Monday for

"A CPB draft business plan for 2014, released last month, said that the corporation 'is considering building on the success of the NPR Code Switch initiative by extending it to local stations as a regional initiative.'

"The cross-platform production aims to examine issues of race, culture and ethnicity, and spark discussion on social media platforms and NPR's website. It launched in May with a $1.5 million, two-year grant from CPB.

"Plans to expand beyond its current operations are now in a holding pattern, however, as NPR looks for a new chief executive. 'We've been talking to NPR and PBS about a national-down-to-local diversity initiative,' said Michael Levy, executive v.p. of corporate and public affairs at CPB. 'Given that Gary is leaving NPR, we're still committed to the idea . . . but we’re not sure what form it's going to take. We're going to continue to talk with NPR and PBS.' . . ."

From left: Herman Ulloa, Joe Vazquez, Nicole Chavez, Felciano Garcia and Frances Robles

NAHJ Reintroducing Ñ Awards at Chicago Conference

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists plans to honor its 2013 NAHJ Ñ Award winners this weekend at its Region 6 conference in Chicago.

The winners are:

  • Joe Vazquez, reporter and anchor at KPIX-TV in San Francisco, Broadcast Journalist of the Year.

  • Feliciano Garcia, coordinating producer for NBC's "Today Show," Online Journalist of the Year. Garcia is also creator, producer and host of NBC Latino’s "Cafecito."

  • Frances Robles, correspondent for the New York Times, Frank Del Olmo Print Journalist of the Year.

  • Herman Ulloa, photographer and editor at Univision in Miami, Photojournalist of the Year.

  • Nicole Chavez, University of Texas at El Paso, Student of the Year.

Asked why the awards were being presented at a regional, rather than national conference, NAHJ President Hugo Balta messaged, "we r reintroducing the awards and for this year we felt combining the Ñ Awards n scholarship presentations would attract more attendees to the conference (an experiment)." NAHJ canceled its annual awards banquet in 2009, when it faced a $300,000 budget shortfall.

Lead producer Pamela Oas Williams praises the narrative writing in the story of

Editors' Intervention Kept Story of "The Butler" Alive

The hit movie "Lee Daniels' The Butler" might not have been made had two Washington Post editors not talked a downhearted Wil Haygood into going ahead with the story on which the movie would be based, Haygood said Saturday at a reception in his honor at the Washington home of Washington Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth.

Lead producer Pamela Oas Williams flew in from Los Angeles as a surprise, and one of the newspaper story's editors, Steve Reiss, came in from Chicago. The other editor, Deborah Heard, was also present. Both have since left the Post. They joined about 100 other guests who arrived to valet parking, a red-carpeted front walk, books ready to be autographed and even napkins inscribed with the title of Haygood's best-selling book, "The Butler."

As he has on other occasions, Haygood described how he tracked down Eugene Allen, who worked for eight presidents in his 34 years at the White House, starting in 1952 as a dishwasher and retiring as maitre d’ in 1986. Anticipating the possible election of Barack Obama, Haygood "began searching for a former White House employee who had worked there in the era of segregation —someone who probably couldn't have imagined the outcome of the 2008 election," in the words of Amy Saunders, writing last December in Haygood's hometown newspaper, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.

"Hours into the interview, Allen's wife, Helene, apparently decided that the reporter had earned her trust and deserved to know more," Saunders recounted. But Helene Allen died in her sleep not long after Haygood had won their confidence and received the material for his story. He was so downcast, Haygood told the crowd, that he did not want to write it.

Reiss and Heard told him that seeing the story through would be the best tribute to Helene Allen, the model for the Oprah Winfrey character in the movie.

Post reporter Keith L. Alexander, one of the reception organizers, said Haygood became teary-eyed when he saw that Williams was present. "She spoke of how when she read the story she was 'blown away' by the narrative. She said she loved the reporting and the information, but she was also blown away by Wil's writing style. She and her production partner said they immediately knew the story would be an incredible movie and they reached out to Wil," Alexander recounted.

"Sadly, that kind of narrative writing is rare to see these days in journalism, she said later."

Williams said the film "is the only movie of 2013 to be No. 1 three weeks in a row at the box office and has grossed $120 million. That's a $90 million profit." At least one boldface name, Vernon Jordan, the lawyer and onetime National Urban League president, was among the guests, as were Charles Allen, Eugene Allen's son, current and former Post journalists and others.

Sports Columnist Monte Poole Joins Comcast Network

Monte Poole

"Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (@CSNAuthentic), part of the NBC Sports Group and the online and on-air home of 'Authentic Bay Area Sports,' today named veteran sports journalist Monte Poole (@MontePooleCSN) the network's Warriors Insider," Comcast announced on Monday.

"In his new role, Poole will provide coverage of the Golden State Warriors across the network's growing list of multiplatform outlets, including’s 'WarriorsTalk' section and on-air for SportsNet Central, Yahoo! SportsTalk Live, Warriors Pregame Live, Warriors Postgame Live and other NBA related programming. He will make his debut during tonight's Warriors-Kings preseason game on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area at 7:30 p.m. PDT. The announcement was made by Nancy Gay, Digital Managing Editor for and

"Said Gay: 'Monte Poole is among the most respected, influential and accomplished sports journalists anywhere, on any platform. He is a tremendous storyteller, and credibility and passion are hallmarks of his work. Monte brings a broad, deeply rooted knowledge of the Golden State Warriors and we are thrilled to have him as part of our talented CSN Insider team.'

The release also said, "Poole, a native of Oakland, Calif., is one of the nation’s premier sports journalists, has been a fixture in Bay Area sports media for over two decades and is the foremost authority on the Oakland sports scene. He comes to the network from the Oakland Tribune/Bay Area News Group, where he began his career in 1985 covering high school sports; in 1991, he was promoted to sports columnist. He spent the next 22 years as an award-winning columnist covering a wide variety of events, including multiple Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Finals and championship fights. . . ."

Four Selected for Sports Department Management Training

Four sports journalists have been selected as Associated Press Sports Editors diversity fellows in a nine-month program to train mid-career women and journalists of color for sports department leadership positions now in its third year, APSE announced on Monday.

Selected were Emily Horos, sports editor for the Cherokee Tribune (Canton, Ga.); Johanna Huybers, sports editor at the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal; Erik Horne, sports web editor at the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City; and Marcus Vanderberg, sports content editor at Yahoo.

Jorge Rojas, sports editor of the Miami Herald and chairman of the APSE Diversity Committee, told Journal-isms that the organization received "a disappointing 10" applications this year, although more than 20 had expressed their intention to apply. "It's a good group nevertheless," he said.

The diversity fellows program is one APSE response to the lack of diversity in sports departments.

The fourth biannual edition of the Associated Press Sports Editors Racial and Gender Report Card [PDF], evaluating diversity at more than 150 newspapers and websites, reported in March, "For 2012, the grade for racial hiring practices for APSE newspapers and websites remained at a C+, the same grade issued in the 2010 Study. The grade issued for gender hiring practices remained constant as well, recording the third consecutive F for gender hiring practices. The APSE newspapers have received a failing grade for gender since TIDES began issuing grades in the 2008 Report Card. . . . The combined grade for 2012 was a D+."

TIDES is The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

Followers Tweet Back, "What the Hell Is Wrong With You?"

Joyce Evans

A Philadelphia reporter Sunday joined the ranks  of those who've tweeted something that couldn't be retracted quickly enough.

"Thought 'Breaking Bad' was hot last Sunday? @FOX29philly See who's breakin' bad in SW Philly leavin' 6 people SHOT - Tonite at Ten!," Joyce Evans, reporter and weekend anchor at WTXF-TV, Evans tweeted at 7:56 p.m.

"this tweet sounds like it was written by a sociopath," one Twitter follower quickly replied.

"I'll say this much. You're a lot more famous now than you were eight minutes ago," another said.

A third wrote simply, "what the hell is wrong with you?"

At 8:11 p.m., Evans sent out another tweet: "Last tweet NOT [AT] ALL A JOKE. Very real life drama was the point as oppose to one that end on tv. That was my point"

It was not enough to save her. At last count, Evans' original message had been retweeted 4,758 times.

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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