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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Instant Book, Ad Mix-Up, LeBron Debate Follow Victory

Black Websites Growing Fast; Essence.com to Revamp

Radio One Flips Boston Programming From Black to Chinese

Manny Garcia of El Nuevo Herald Elected IRE President

Wanda Sykes Calls Roland Martin Off-Base on Tracy Morgan

The world according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, left, the Dallas Morning News and the Miami Herald.

Instant Book, Ad Mix-Up, LeBron Debate Follow Victory

The Dallas Morning News printed 70 percent more than its usual Monday single-copy run and then some; the Miami Herald ran an embarrassing full-page ad from Macy's congratulating the Miami Heat for a victory that never came; and LeBron James' comments after the Dallas Mavericks beat his team for the NBA championship provided plenty of day-after fodder for basketball fans.

"Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat earned a 15.0 overnight rating, the highest-rated Game 6 on ABC, according to Nielsen," Marcus Vanderberg reported for SportsNewser.

". . . Ratings were up 22 percent compared to Game 6 last year (12.3 overnight rating) and up 35 percent compared to Game 6 of the 2006 Finals (11.1 overnight rating), when these same two teams met.

"Locally, Game 7 was the highest-rated metered market rating ever for an NBA game in both Dallas (39.8) and Miami (36.2)."

Bob Mong, the Dallas Morning News editor, said by email: "Single copy sales have been brisk: we overprinted 70% more than our usual Monday single copy run; then added 10,000 more at midnight, then another 15,000 at 9 a.m.

Macy's ad in Monday's Miami Herald."We're printing a commemorative section in Tuesday's paper and expect it to sell well.

"We're completing an instant book that should be ready next week.

"Web traffic has been up." The instant book will be assembled by the News sports department with help from the photo department, Mong said. The publisher is Pediment Press.

In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jeff Schultz called attention to the Herald's embarrassing gaffe. "And now, from the, 'Dewey Defeats Truman' file, we give you: 'Congratulations Miami!'

"In the mother — or maybe that should be 'King James' — of all mistakes, the Miami Herald ran a near-full page Macy’s ad in Monday’s newspaper, announcing that Heat 'championship' T-shirts and hats were going on sale," Schultz wrote.

"This represents the closest LeBron James and the Heat actually will get to the title this season."

Sportswriters zeroed in not only on the Mavs' win, but also on the Heat's loss, and continued to debate whether James should have left the Cleveland Cavaliers last year for a chance at a championship with the Heat.

James added fuel to the fire, saying after Sunday night’s 105-95 loss:

“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point."

Tracee Hamilton, a columnist for the Washington Post who is white, quoted those words and wrote, "Had James been gracious in defeat, it would have gone a long way to calming even the most rabid of the haters."

But some black Cleveland journalists noted a racial divide in the James-hating. One recalled a study of Q ratings cited by Vincent Thomas in an ESPN column in September, two months after James' now-famous "The Decision" program on ESPN announcing his move to Miami.

"The general, expressed sentiment of African-Americans has been, 'I may not have agreed with how LeBron carried the whole free-agency thing, but I'm not gonna hate the man.' The more America shuns LeBron, the more Black America retreats to his corner. In fact, as America hates LeBron more and more, Black America's collective hug embraces LeBron tighter and tighter. It's called black protectionism," Thomas wrote.

Addressing a different side of the race issue, the New York Times' William C. Rhoden warned on May 31 against comparisons between the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, the championship series' Most Valuable Player, with Hall of Famer Larry Bird. Both are white.

"I'm wondering who will be the first to inject Larry Bird into their coverage," Rhoden said in a video on the Times site.

"Mainstream sports journalism has been distinguished — and crippled, I might add — by a conscious and unconscious longing for a white hope.

". . . There are so many other things to write about and so many other story lines to explore. There really is no need to make Dirk any more than he is, which is a great ball player. Nowitzki can stand on his own — he doesn't need Larry Bird to prop him up."

However, a Google search shows the comparisons had already started before Rhoden made his video.

Hellobeautiful.com outdrew Essence.com in May. It is part of a network of websites built around BlackPlanet.com, which is owned by Radio One.

Black Websites Growing Fast; Essence.com to Revamp

"The black online-media segment . . . has been growing so fast it can be hard to keep track of the front-runners," Matthew Flamm reported Sunday for Crain's New York Business. "The challenge now is persuading advertisers to step up investment in these targeted sites instead of favoring the bigger, general-market properties on the Web that attract audiences of all ethnicities.

" 'The growth of the segment is really what's important,' said Interactive One President Tom Newman, pointing out that there used to be Essence.com and BET.com and little else for blacks on the Web. 'If we can go to marketers and say, "This is a validation of the segment," that's good news for all of us.'

"The rapid growth is partly due to the closing of a longstanding digital divide between white and black users: the African-American Internet audience has increased by 30%, to 23 million, over the past three years, compared to an 8% rise in the white audience, according to comScore.

"An increasing number of new sites is also driving this expansion, sometimes at the expense of older ones. Stalwarts BET.com and AOL's Black Voices were both down by double-digits in May compared to a year earlier. Onetime women's category leader Essence.com grew just 6% last month, to 806,000 unique visitors — putting it behind Moguldom's year-old Madame Noire, which had 910,000 visitors, and Interactive One's Hello Beautiful, which had 1.1 million.

"Essence, however, isn't sitting still. The Time Inc. title will unveil a relaunch of its site on June 15 that will include new traffic partnerships and social media contests. The magazine will be revamped next month with an eye toward sending more readers to the Web.

". . . But for all the growth, ad spending on African-American websites remains a drop in the bucket — about $50 million to $75 million, by Mr. Newman's estimate, versus nearly $10 billion for display-related advertising in the general market in 2010, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau.

"The numbers reflect an age-old struggle to persuade general-market advertisers that black properties are the best places to win over black people. So far the argument is having limited success."

Here are the May figures for the unique visitors to selected African American-oriented websites provided to Journal-isms by the ComScore research company:

MediaTakeOut, 2,938,000; Black Voices 1,883,000; the Root, 1,652,000; Bossip, 1,570,000; BET.com, 1,365,000; the Grio, 1,276,000; Hello Beautiful, 1,138,000; Black Planet, 1,014,000; Essence.com, 806,000; Madame Noire, 910,000.

Radio One Flips Boston Programming From Black to Chinese

Catherine L. Hughes"Check out the Facebook page for WILD-AM and the images of talk show hosts Al Sharpton and Tom Joyner as well as Radio One President Cathy Hughes appear with text about the station’s African American talk format," Yawu Miller wrote for the June 9 issue of Boston's weekly Bay State Banner.

"Tune into the station and you’re likely to be greeted with in-depth discussions about aspects of modern Chinese life interspersed with musical selections by contemporary Chinese and U.S. pop stars.

"In the words of Dr. Funkenstein, aka George Clinton, 'Do not attempt to adjust your dial.'

"Radio One, the Washington, D.C.-based corporate owner of WILD, has leased 1090 AM to China Radio International, a Beijing-based Chinese government-sponsored media aimed at fostering better understanding between the people of China and the rest of the world.

"Radio One’s Washington, D.C. office did not return phone calls for this story.

"If community reaction to the format change is any indication, Roxbury-Beijing relations may have just taken a hit.

" 'It’s a sad day in the city of Boston,' says lifelong Roxbury resident Kim Janey. 'Ever since I can remember, it’s been a staple in our lives in the black community. A way to get information, news and music.'

"WILD was a local, black-owned station from 1973, when it was acquired by the late Kendall Nash, until 1999, when his widow Bernadine Nash sold the station to Radio One. Ask any Roxbury native who grew up in the '70s, '80s or '90s, and you’ll get an earful about what for many was the prime source for R&B.

"The station’s sale to Radio One was the beginning of an 11-year decline in programming that has culminated with the end of the station’s identity as an outlet for African American listeners. That it comes at the hands of a black-owned corporation that brands itself as 'The urban media specialist' is particularly troubling to Boston-based media critic Ty Depass. . ."

Hughes, founder, chairperson of the board and secretary of Radio One, did not respond to an inquiry Monday from Journal-isms.

Manny Garcia of El Nuevo Herald Elected IRE President

"Manny Garcia, executive editor and general manager of El Nuevo Herald, was named president of the prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors organization during its Orlando convention this weekend," the Herald reported.

Manny Garcia"One of journalism’s most respected organizations, IRE was created in 1975 as the brain child of a small group of reporters from around the country who wanted to share tips on hard-hitting reporting and writing.

"Garcia becomes the first Hispanic president elected by the IRE Board of directors.

"Born in Havana, Garcia grew up in Miami and began his journalism career in The Miami Herald in 1990 as a Neighbors reporter covering cops. He eventually covered criminal courts, Miami City Hall and reported for the investigative team.'

Latinos have complained that they have not been part of investigative teams and that news organizations are missing stories as a result.

Garcia was one who said as much when Javier C. Hernandez wrote about the problem five years ago in Latino Reporter Digital, the convention newspaper of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

"When Miami Herald metro editor Manny Garcia joined the investigative reporting team seven years ago, he was the only Latino in the group," the story said. "Even today, Garcia says the Herald's investigative team does not have a Spanish-speaker. Investigative teams nationwide are at a loss without Latino voices, he said.

" 'There's no doubt stories are being missed,' said Garcia, who is running for a seat on the board of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE)."

Andrew Donohue of voiceofsandiego.org was elected IRE’s vice president; David Cay Johnston, an author who contributes from time to time to the "Journal-isms: comments section, is the new treasurer and Sarah Cohen, a former Washington Post reporter and database editor now at Duke University, is the new secretary.

Wanda Sykes Calls Roland Martin Off-Base on Tracy Morgan

"Wanda Sykes, the 47-year old African-American, comedian, and lesbian Friday night expressed her views against Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay, violence-laced homophobic rant," David Badash wrote Saturday for thenewcivilrightsmovement.com. "When she was done, she then took on fellow African-Americans Chris Rock — also a popular comedian — and Roland Martin, a CNN journalist, both of whom came out in strong support of what they see as Morgan’s right to say what he wants, without criticism."

Martin wrote in his column for Creators Syndicate:

"Why is comedian and '30 Rock' star Tracy Morgan issuing a mea culpa for saying nasty, vicious and vile things during a stand-up routine? Isn't that par for the course of a comedian?

"Oh, I can't wait to see the hate mail pile into my box for supposedly defending Morgan, who ripped into gays and lesbians during a stand-up act last week in Tennessee, even suggesting in his bit 'how he'd stab his son to death if he said he was gay.'

"The moment the saw crossed the wires, I naturally cringed. Who in their right mind would say such a thing about his gay son? No person in his or her right mind! Except for a comedian who is accustomed to saying shocking things on stage to get a laugh."

Badash wrote, "Martin’s column essentially supports Tracy Morgan’s statements as being acceptable, evidently, because other comedians have made similar or worse comments (all the way back to George Carlin,) and because the audience laughed. Martin’s inability to judge right from wrong, see cause and effect, recognize the fact we now live in a 'cult of personality' world fueled by the Internet, and his inability to see the tragic fact that LGBT kids are attempting and completing suicide at drastically higher rates that their heterosexual peers, makes his self-congratulatory 1416 word research paper offensive. (If I were CNN, I’d take away his press pass.)

"But Sykes handled Martin with grace and dignity.

" 'Ro, I love and respect you, so I feel that I can tell you that your column is some bullshit. We can do better.' "

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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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Comments

Lebron James: America's Overkill Haterade

I expected the MSM to engage in the demonization of LeBon James given they reflect the pathological themes of our nation's racist contempt for Black folks, especially Black Americans who dominate a field and excel in a profession or occupation.

What saddens me is to observe Black pundits and others in the Black community partner with those who are demonizing LeBron. I knew degrees of low Black self-esteem were present in our nation, I miscalculated the depth and scope of it. This treatment of a Black sports personality in this manner in 2011 during the Obama era with the legacy of Ali in the rear view mirror is revealing yet tragic as well..

Grownup media

Richard, thanks for juxtaposing the dichotomous paths in Black media: playtime versus grownup decisions. In this particular case, its the same Black media: Radio One.

HelloBeautiful.com may pull the eyeballs in like manner to many other salacious entertainment sites targeting Black audiences, but the strength of such audiences aren't convincing to advertisers who prioritize metrics like conversion rates.

Stepping off that stone into the next level of media market competition, Radio One is making a bold move by leasing a station for the purpose of targeting a growing Chinese market. In the grownup world of media business, that looks like a win to me (despite lamenting by the station's former listeners).

Perhaps that's a signal that Radio One is spreading its wings beyond the Black social community framework upon which it built a solid foundation. It's exciting to see Black media owners move toward competing in the bigger market place. I wish Radio One the best in its endeavors and hope others follow in the path of success it will undoutedly lay. 

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