Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

"Native People Don't Get Cancer"

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

NAJA's Kara Briggs Chronicles Her Battle

"My columns . . . are talking openly about a disease that is relatively new to Native communities, and yet it is sweeping our communities in many cases at higher rates than America at large," Kara Briggs, a reporter for the Oregonian in Portland who is on leave as she battles breast cancer, tells Journal-isms. Briggs is a former president of the Native American Journalists Association and was president of the Unity coalition during the planning for Unity '99 in Seattle.

"Not knowing the numbers costs in terms of money from the government and other sources to treat and fight the disease," she continued via e-mail.

"I have broken stories about the lack of accurate statistics about cancer in Native communities. I have called cancer the new small pox, meaning our lack of knowledge of it could leave our communities prey to the disease."

The columns have been running since January in Indian Country Today.

"I have also written about my experience of chemo, which is mysterious to people who haven?t been there. I call it 'ingesting a little death' but also say that it calls on our humanity to survive. I also have written about the importance of reclaiming natural medicines from our tribal traditions, which I call our own designer drugs provided by the creator. But I?ve also written family stories, my own about my aunt who loses her prosthesis, which she calls her boob, in arm chairs; a man who showed his love for his wife who had breast cancer by hunting and gathering traditional foods to make her well; next week a woman who died of cancer on June 8 because the Indian Health Service ignored the signs for years.

". . . What I?m doing may be important, based on the volume of deeply personal e-mails that I get from Native cancer survivors and their families. There are fewer Native American cancer experts, be they doctors or nationally-prominent advocates, than you can count on two hands. There are three Native oncologists in the country. Medical schools and regular doctors offices are still saying, Native people don?t get cancer."

Briggs was in the final class of the Maynard Institute's Summer Program for Minority Journalists in 1989.

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Jesse Jackson Plans March While NABJ Convenes

Jesse Jackson today formally announced a "mobilization, march and rally" to push for extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, to take place Aug. 6 in Atlanta, coinciding with the convention in that city of the National Association of Black Journalists.

While he said the date was chosen because it is the 40th anniversary of the signing of the act by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Jackson said that "black journalists will be part of the march" and that he will conduct two workshops at the NABJ convention on voting rights.

Speaking at a news conference today at the National Press Club in Washington, Jackson also said that Georgia was selected because the state's General Assembly passed a law this year requiring voters to bring an approved photo ID to the polls.

"Jackson and other critics say the law will have an unfair impact on poor people, senior citizens and residents of rural Georgia," as Don Schanche Jr. wrote in Georgia's Macon Telegraph, reporting Monday on Jackson's plans.

Jackson was accompanied today by an array of activists who represented African American and Latino groups, as well as other organizations.

He said that major cities now have a majority of residents who are either African American and Latino, and that he has been urging "every young African American to learn to speak Spanish" and for "young Latinos to learn English."

The Voting Rights Act "applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on the literacy tests on a nationwide basis," as the Macon Telegraph explained this year.

"Among its other provisions, the Act contained special enforcement provisions targeted at those areas of the country where Congress believed the potential for discrimination to be the greatest. Under Section 5, jurisdictions covered by these special provisions could not implement any change affecting voting until the attorney general or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia determined that the change did not have a discriminatory purpose and would not have a discriminatory effect."

Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan signed extensions of the act, Jackson noted, but said voting irregularities in the 2000 and 2004 elections make it clear that another extension is warranted and that more states should be covered.

However, the Supreme Court has ruled that race-based solutions to problems of discrimination must meet tests of "strict scrutiny" -- that only by taking race into account can the problem be addressed -- which puts more of a burden on those advocating the act's renewal, Jackson said.

Asked how a mass march could help get the act renewed, Jackson said that "mass marches bring about mass education" and that those marching feel less remote from government actions in Washington. "Mass action matters," he said.

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Pierre Thomas Weighs Options After Court Ruling

ABC News reporter Pierre Thomas is weighing his options after a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that he and three other reporters must answer questions about their confidential sources on stories they produced about former nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, his lawyer told Journal-isms tonight.

"The journalists reported in 1999 that Lee, who had worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, was a suspect in the theft of nuclear secrets for China. Lee alleges he was the victim of illegal government leaks to the media and has filed a lawsuit saying his reputation was ruined by disclosures of the investigation," as Carol D. Leonnig reported today in the Washington Post.

"The reporters in the Lee case are H. Josef Hebert of the Associated Press, James Risen of the New York Times, Robert Drogin of the Los Angeles Times," and Thomas, formerly of CNN and now at ABC. "The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to hold in contempt a fifth journalist, New York Times reporter Jeff Gerth," she wrote. Fines of $500 a day are being suspended until after appeals have run their course.

Charles Tobin, lawyer for Thomas, the black journalist among the five, told Journal-isms:

"Pierre is continuing to weigh his options. He is very disappointed that he faces punishment for contempt for simply reporting on the weaknesses of the government's espionage case against Dr. Lee. It's hard to imagine how Dr. Lee could frame a privacy claim against the government based on Pierre's reporting about Lee's downloading of classified material, which is exactly what Lee pleaded guilty to."

Tobin explained last year that Thomas' case differed from the others in that he was the only one who reported information "that we know is true."

Thomas' report was that Lee had downloaded information from his agency's mainframe computer. Since Lee pleaded guilty to that charge, "that's the only thing we know is true. What he [Thomas] reported is indisputably the truth," Tobin said then.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said the reporters could either ask the full Court of Appeals to hear the case, or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The Associated Press said yesterday that it plans to ask the full 10-judge bench of the appeals court to take up the dispute," according to Josh Gerstein, writing today in the New York Sun.

"The decision came the day after the Supreme Court rejected appeals from two reporters in another case. Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time magazine face going to jail or revealing their sources to a special prosecutor," the Washington Post story noted.

"The back-to-back decisions against journalists' use of confidential sources have alarmed press advocates and First Amendment specialists."

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Edna C. McKenzie Dies, Wrote for Pittsburgh Courier

"Sixty years ago, journalist Edna Chappelle McKenzie went into the cities and dales of Western Pennsylvania to battle discrimination. She walked into hotels and sat at lunch counters where she was told she didn't belong. She braved violence and intimidation. Her weapons: a tough spirit, a smile and a pen," Ervin Dyer wrote Tuesday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"Mrs. McKenzie was known for never having a harsh word against anyone, but what she wrote for the Pittsburgh Courier won her honors and powered the collapse of restrictive covenants in housing, employment and public accommodations years before the rise of the civil rights movement in the South.

"Mrs. McKenzie, an accomplished pianist and the first black woman to earn a doctorate in history at the University of Pittsburgh, died of cancer Sunday at Canterbury Place in Lawrenceville. She was 81."

Mc Kenzie talked about her journalism experiences in the documentary, "The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords."

Services are planned for Friday at 11 a.m. at the St. James AME Church, 444 Lincoln Ave., Pittsburgh. (412) 441-9706.

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Approval Greets N.Y. Hoy's Gay-Pride Section

The New York edition of Hoy, the Tribune Co.'s Spanish-language newspaper published in three cities, produced an eight-page Gay Pride special section Sunday and received favorable comments from a community often said to be unsympathetic toward gays.

"The edit and advtg staffs were very excited about this, and we received favorable comments from our section advertisers as well," Javier Aldape, editor of the Hoy papers, told Journal-isms. "Some of the stories included a look at two lesbian mothers, gays who had fled oppression in LatAm and sought asylum in the States, as well as Latino organizations geared to the GLBT community," he said via e-mail, referring to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.

"We're assessing its success, and we'll see whether this can be expanded to our other mkts in 2006. Not sure, but i'd imagine it is one of the few, if not only, special sections devoted to Gay Pride among Spanish-language papers in the States."

"I have not seen anything like this," agreed Pamela Strother, executive director of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

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AAJA Calls Out Mailer on Kakutani Comments

The Asian American Journalists Association is calling out author Norman Mailer for comments in an upcoming edition of Rolling Stone magazine about New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani.

"Calling out Norman Mailer as a racist, after he described Michiko Kakutani as a 'kamikaze,' would be easy. But that's not why we're writing," Esther Wu, AAJA national president, and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, AAJA national media watch representative," wrote in a letter to Jann S. Wenner, Rolling Stone editor and publisher.

"We take greater offense at his reference to her as a 'two-fer' and a 'token' because she's 'Asiatic, feminist,' which essentially diminishes the accomplishments of all women and journalists of color. It insinuates that media companies keep people like Ms. Kakutani on staff simply because they are women and minorities -- a dangerous, dismissive and, certainly, misguided notion. (Mr. Mailer must be aware that Ms. Kakutani won the Pulitzer prize for criticism in 1998.)

"On a side note, with Mr. Mailer's firm grasp of the English language, we're sure he knows that 'Asiatic'--like 'Oriental'--has long been considered an offensive word to describe Asians or in the case of Ms. Kakutani, a Connecticut native, Asian Americans."

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Draft Pick's Mom Helped Get NABJ to Phoenix

The New York Knicks used their first-round pick in last night's NBA draft to select the son of a former black journalist and member of the National Association of Black Journalists, according to NABJ president Herbert Lowe. He is Channing Frye, 6-foot-11 inch, 250-pound center from Arizona. His mother is Karen Mulzac-Frye, founder of the Arizona Association of Black Journalists and co-chairwoman of the local committee that organized the 2000 NABJ convention in Phoenix. She was once community affairs director for Phoenix's KPNX-TV.

"Here's what ESPN's draft-coverage host said of Channing just before NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that he was the Knicks' selection," Lowe reports: "He's a humble, classy kid, he's media savvy, he'll be ready for New York. His mom was a television reporter in Phoenix, so he knows what dealing with the media is all about. Deals with his mom all the time."

"Replays showed that Channing, born in White Plains, N.Y., and his mom were holding hands when Stern made the announcement and that both rose and raised their fists in jubilation," Lowe continued. "She in particular was pumping her fist. Moments later, as ESPN's Stuart Scott was interviewing Channing live, his mom was seen grinning ear to ear on the screen on television and in the Madison Square Garden Theater."

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Bob Johnson's Team Shuts Down Sports Network

"The Charlotte Bobcats have decided to shut down regional sports network C-SET after less than a year on the air -- an acknowledgment of the network's futile battles to win an audience and cable distribution," Erik Spanberg reported Tuesday in the Charlotte (N.C.) Business Journal, writing about the team owned by Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson.

As recently as April, the News & Observer in Raleigh was writing that, "The Bobcats eventually hope to reach out into North Carolina and South Carolina for fans. It is no coincidence that the Bobcats play on a network called Carolinas Sports Entertainment Television. Johnson cites the Redskins, who draw fans throughout Virginia and Maryland, and believes the same thing will happen for the Bobcats through their exposure on C-SET."

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New Network: WWWA (Where the White Women At)

"In a surprise move expected to send shock waves through the world of TV journalism, CNN, the original cable news network, and NBC, which owns cable channels MSNBC and CNBC, announced a deal to consolidate their news divisions into a single giant network. The new network, to be called Where the White Women At or WWWA, is set to debut this week. CNN spokesman Jack Little explained the deal at a press conference Monday," intoned an announcer on National Public Radio's "On the Media" over the weekend.

"The new network will include 'WWWA Headline News,' which will deliver key missing-white-women developments every half-hour. Most of the network's time will be devoted to covering current missing white women, but there will also be talk shows where groups of white men get together to discuss the significance of past missing white women, imperiled white women and white women in persistent vegetative states. WWWA debuts in most markets on Monday.

"Coming up, missing white boy scout found in Utah," the announcer continued.

Co-host Brooke Gladstone then told listeners, "We stole that gag from the Poor Man, with his permission, or rather from his Web site, thepoorman.net."

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Short Takes

  • The June 15-18 convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists drew 1,569 registrants to Fort Worth, Texas, the organization said today. Among the largely overlooked news from the convention was that, "The board passed a resolution opposing further deregulation of our nation?s broadcast ownership rules because it was concerned that the number of minorities owning broadcast outlets has declined as a result of consolidation. Minorities own less than 4 percent of all full-power broadcast outlets," as a June 16 press release noted. NAHJ had previously called only for more public debate, although former president Juan Gonzalez was outspoken in his opposition to consolidation, NAHJ vice president/print Rafael Olmeda said.
  • "Starting Oct. 9, Spanish-language newspaper publisher ImpreMedia will begin distributing free tabloid-sized papers to 650,000 Hispanic households nationwide," Nancy Ayala reported Tuesday in Editor & Publisher. "Billed as 'the largest Hispanic print network in the nation,' Domingo (Sunday) will have an 80% or more Hispanic density reach with its new weeklies, according to Robert Armband, publisher of the ImpreMedia-owned La Raza."
  • The Asian American Journalists Association Monday announced the 42 high school students selected for "J Camp," a free six-day intensive journalism training program designed for young people of color. J Camp will be held Aug. 12-17 the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The camp is coordinated by Josh Freedom du Lac, pop music critic for the Washington Post, and Neal Justin, television critic for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.
  • "Carol Watson, one of the most successful women executives in publishing, resigned from her position as publisher of Vibe magazine two weeks ago. Watson's surprise departure comes as Len Burnett returns to the magazine to assume the title of group publisher for both Vibe and Vibe Vixen magazine," Target Market News reported on Monday.
  • In China, "more than 2,000 journalists have signed an open letter to the Guangdong High People's Court appealing for the release of imprisoned Nanfang Dushi Bao employees Yu Huafeng and Li Minying," the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Tuesday. "Analysts have described the number of signatories as unprecedented. Yu and Li have been jailed since January 2004."
  • "Western media is painting Africa with a brush of doom, charged Dr Kenneth Kaunda," according to the Post in Lusaka, Zambia, on Friday. "Speaking during the official launch of the African Union (AU) Magazine in Abuja, Nigeria, Dr Kaunda said a deliberate campaign had been orchestrated by those who controlled the media in the West to paint all African countries with the same brush." Kaunda is the founding president of Zambia.
  • Keith Richburg, named in April as foreign editor of the Washington Post, said in an online chat today that if he could add foreign bureaus, "I'd love to have one more bureau to cover Central America, especially given the large Central American community right here in the Washington area. And I'd love to have an extra person in Africa, so we could get to areas of the continent that we now don't often get to. . . .We now have two correspondents in Africa -- one based in Kenya, the other in South Africa. I'd love to add a third some day."
  • "Juan Arango has been named editor of Mundo Hispánico, Georgia's largest Spanish-language newspaper," Editor & Publisher reported today. "Arango joins Mundo Hispánico from Hoy, where he served as executive editor/senior vice president."
  • Reporters Gary Fields and Laurie P. Cohen won for the Wall Street Journal a Crystal Gavel Award "for outstanding reporting on the justice system, the legal profession and the courts." The award is given by the New York State Bar Association jointly with the New York Press Club. The two did a 10-part series on federal sentencing guidelines. "Two of the more striking discrepancies the authors describe are: heavier sentences based on criteria for which no evidence is presented to the convicting jury, and lighter sentences for defendants who have information which prosecutors themselves - not the courts - deem valuable," the bar association said.
  • "The Newspaper Association of America and the American Society of Newspaper Editors have joined together to form the Audience Development Initiative," Editor & Publisher reported Tuesday. "The project, which will span several years, brings the newsroom and the business side of the house together in an effort to aggressively grow readership of print and online products."

Gilbert Bailon, publisher and editor of Al Día in Dallas and ASNE board member, co-chairs the project's steering committee with Susan Clark-Johnson, publisher and CEO of the Arizona Republic and NAA board member.

  • "Our newspaper is hosting two journalism students as part of our summer minority internship program," editor Jeannine Guttman wrote Sunday in the Portland Press-Telegram in Maine. She devoted her column to introducing Benjamin Watanabe, a Temple University student working as a sports reporter, and Pouya Dianat of the University of Maryland, a photojournalist.

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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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