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A-List Anchors Head to Quake Aftermath

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Asian American Journalists List Members Covering Story

Ken Strickland Named No. 2 in NBC's Washington Bureau

AOL Latino, Black Voices Spared as Company Cuts 900 Jobs

N.Y. Times Accused of Blaming Victim in Child's Gang Rape

Libya Frees Brazilian; British Journalist Still in Custody

Bev Smith Resists Jewish Pressure, Hosts Farrakhan

Little Coverage for Non-Muslim Terrorism Arrest

NABJ Fears CEO's Ouster at NPR Will Set Back Diversity

Short Takes 

CNN reporter Kyung Lah showed viewers the chaotic scene that the earthquake caused, even hundreds of miles from the epicenter. (Video)

Asian American Journalists List Members Covering Story

"Western television networks are playing catch-up in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan," Brian Stelter reported Friday for the New York Times.

"The networks are relatively short-staffed in Asia, so there were few reports from correspondents in the region on Friday. Instead, there were interviews via Skype with American workers and tourists in Tokyo.

"The story was largely told at first through stunning pictures, from Japanese broadcasters and from YouTube, of the shuddering ground and of the later surge of water. To a much greater degree than in previous disasters, the aftershocks and the tsunami impacts were shown live around the world.

"Recognizing the gravity of the event, networks based in the United States quickly made plans for A-list anchors to travel to Japan. NBC said it was sending Ann Curry and Lester Holt; ABC said it was sending Christiane Amanpour and David Muir; CBS said it was sending Harry Smith; CNN said it was sending Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Soledad O’Brien." [Anderson Cooper later announced he would report from Japan on Monday, check here for CNN deployment and coverage updates. ABC News announced on Saturday that Diane Sawyer would anchor Monday's "World News" from Japan.]

Bill Whitaker of CBS was also en route, Chris Ariens reported for TVNewser. CBS announced that Lucy Craft had the only live report from Japan on an American morning show, its "The Early Show."

The Asian American Journalists Association began posting a list of members who were covering the story, filing from Japan, Hawaii and China.

It also noted, "A group of distinguished Japanese Americans traveling in Tokyo witnessed the earthquake. The delegation includes members from Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Honolulu, Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Sacramento, Boston, Dallas, and Portland, OR. The delegates are available immediately for interviews with the media."

In addition, Sree Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs and digital media professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, has created a Facebook page, "#JAPANQUAKE: Collecting links, notes, reax"

Ken Strickland Named No. 2 in NBC's Washington Bureau

Ken Strickland, a veteran producer in NBC News’ Washington bureau, was named deputy bureau chief Friday by Antoine Sanfuentes, the recently named Washington bureau chief.

Ken StricklandThe appointment means a Hispanic journalist and a black one will remain in the top two spots in the bureau.

"He will work with me to manage the day-to-day operation of the bureau and oversee and drive all aspects of our coverage," Sanfuentes said in a memo.

"You all know Ken as the stately force on Capitol Hill, where he has been Senate Producer since 2003. In this role, he has reported on and off air on every major story that came through the United States Senate, including four Supreme Court confirmation battles, the bank bailouts, and health care reform. In 2008, he won an Emmy for breaking news coverage on the collapse of the bank bailout talks in Congress.

"Some of us have had the pleasure of working with Ken since he became a member of the NBC News team in April 1995, when he joined as an Associate Producer for 'Dateline NBC.' On his third day on the job, the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed and Ken was immediately dispatched to the scene to coordinate NBC’s coverage with the local affiliate.

"In June 1997, he joined me as a White House Producer — a position he held for six years, spanning the last three years of the Clinton administration and the first three years of the Bush administration. During this time, he produced coverage of President George W. Bush’s trip to Ground Zero in New York City in the days following the 9/11 attack. We travelled countless miles together witnessing Presidential history and I have always been grateful for that. I am really looking forward to our partnership."

Sanfuentes, already a vice president of NBC News, was named Washington bureau chief in January after Mark Whitaker jumped ship to CNN, assuming the newly created position there of executive vice president and managing editor. Having Whitaker and Sanfuentes also meant a black journalist and a Hispanic one were in the top two bureau positions. Strickland will not hold a vice president's title, however.

AOL Latino, Black Voices Spared as Company Cuts 900 Jobs

AOL Latino and AOL Black Voices were spared layoffs, an AOL spokesman told Journal-isms on Friday, as AOL slashed 900 jobs worldwide, or nearly 20 percent of its workforce.

The two sites were "not affected at all. If anything we will be ramping up our multicultural offerings with the addition of The Huffington Post," Graham James said. He said he could not disclose how many work at the two sites.

Others at AOL were not so fortunate.

"The layoffs include veteran journalists from AOL’s top news sites, including PoliticsDaily, DailyFinance (where this author worked before joining three months ago) and WalletPop," Sam Gustin reported for

" 'There was no contact at all from whomever was making decisions,' said one AOL editorial insider who was let go. 'Not a single person on our team was interviewed, and they didn’t even ask for resumes. It’s really a big mess.'

"The layoffs include PoliticsDaily‘s editor-in-chief Melinda Henneberger, a veteran political journalist who spent 10 years at The New York Times, according to FishbowlDC."

Talking Biz News added, "Two of the AOL Money & Finance sites — and — will be shut down as part of AOL’s merging its editorial operations with The Huffington Post, according to business journalists who work at AOL.

"Another AOL Money & Finance site,, has been gutted of virtually its entire salaried staff and is now being overseen by three contract editors."

Gustin's story continued, " 'I have just laid off dozens of the most talented journalists & product folks I know,' Jonathan Dube, AOL’s senior vice president of news, tweeted around noon. 'Need talent? Let me know!'

". . . The layoffs, which were expected, are part of a companywide reorganization following AOL’s $315 million purchase of Huffington Post."


Anita Ellis wipes away tears as she and Daphne Straughter listen to Houston activist Quanell X, who held a rally in Cleveland, Texas, where he requested funds for lawyers for suspects in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl. Ellis said her son, Timothy Ellis, was one of the first to turn himself in. (Credit: Michael Paulsen/Houston Chronicle)

N.Y. Times Accused of Blaming Victim in Child's Gang Rape

"The New York Times finds itself embroiled in controversy after publishing an article on a horrific gang rape that occurred in Cleveland, Texas. Citizens . . . are striking back, taking to to demand that the Times apologize and also deftly illustrating how advocacy can serve to illuminate bias in how stories are reported," Latoya Peterson wrote Friday for the Poynter Institute.

"The piece, written by James C. McKinley, Jr., came under fire for stacking the coverage so that the piece heavily quoted from those who blamed the victim for her predicament, mentioned precious little about the boys and men involved in the assault, and focused heavily on revealing class markers instead of illuminating the details of the case."

Peterson's piece mentioned class, not race, as an element in the coverage, but race was a factor in reaction to the incident.

"This old timber town of almost 8,000 in East Texas has become a tinderbox that some residents fear could be ignited now by recent charges of racism, political chicanery and child rape," Cindy Horswell wrote Friday in a story for the Houston Chronicle datelined Cleveland, Texas.

"Even before the alleged gang rape of an 11-year-old girl divided Cleveland, tensions were already simmering here. Accusations of racism had been flying over the looming recall election of three black City Council members. Those targeted for removal have expressed concerns that the election could be racially motivated, while their opponents accuse them of mismanagement and squandering tax dollars.

"Meanwhile, Houston community activist Quanell X rolled into town on Thursday evening and held a rally questioning the ongoing investigation that has resulted in 18 black men and boys in Cleveland being charged with sexually assaulting the 11-year-old Hispanic girl."

Arthur S. Brisbane, the Times' public editor, weighed in on Friday.

"Philip Corbett, standards editor for The Times, told me earlier today that the story focused on the reaction of community residents and that there was no intent to blame the victim," Brisbane wrote. "He added, 'I do think in retrospect we could have done more to provide more context to make that clear.'

"The Associated Press handled the story more deftly, I think. Its piece on the crime also noted the community view that the girl dressed provocatively and even the view of some that the girl may have been culpable somehow. But the AP also quoted someone in the community saying: 'She’s 11 years old. It shouldn’t have happened. That’s a child. Somebody should have said, "What we are doing is wrong." '

"The Times, I have been told, is working on a followup story. . . ."

Libya Frees Brazilian; British Journalist Still in Custody

"Brazil's Estado de S. Paulo newspaper says a correspondent who had been missing in Libya has left the country after being imprisoned," the Associated Press reported Friday from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"Executive Editor Luciana Constantino says Andrei Netto is headed to Paris, where he lives.

"Netto was released on Thursday after being held for several days. Libyan Ambassador Salem Omar Abdullah Al-Zubaidi says Netto was arrested because of mistakes he made in forms he filled out to enter Libya."

"We share the joy and relief of Netto’s family and friends, but the situation of journalists in Libya continues to be very worrying," Reporters Without Borders said. "Foreign journalists who enter the country without permits are treated by the Gaddafi regime as Al-Qaeda accomplices." The group said Netto had been held for eight days.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists called for the immediate release of Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, a correspondent for London's Guardian newspaper "whom Libyan officials now acknowledge holding in detention. CPJ also demands that authorities halt ongoing obstruction and intimidation of journalists. A number of foreign journalists invited to cover events in the capital were prevented today from reporting on anti-government protesters in a Tripoli neighborhood, according to news reports.

"After The Guardian this week issued a public plea for information on Abdul-Ahad's whereabouts, the Libyan Foreign Ministry in Tripoli acknowledged that the reporter was in state custody, the newspaper reported late Thursday. The basis of the detention was not disclosed. Abdul-Ahad, an award-winning war correspondent, had been reporting from an area near the coastal city of Zawiya, where there has been heavy fighting between rebels and forces loyal to [Moammar Gaddafi]. He had dropped from sight after contacting his paper through a third party on Sunday, according to The Guardian."

Bev Smith Resists Jewish Pressure, Hosts Farrakhan

Bev SmithWhen Bev Smith opens her radio show on Friday for a town hall meeting, Minister Louis Farrakhan will be on the panel of guests and that is stirring a controversy, Lynne Hayes-Freeland wrote Tuesday for Pittsburgh television station KDKA.

" 'My intent is to have a discussion with black people about their obligations, their responsibility to correct some of the ills within, internally,' said host Bev Smith of the American Urban Radio Networks."

But "as word spread quickly about the broadcast, so did opposition. The Jewish Chronicle newspaper printed a full editorial in protest to the appearance by Farrakhan."

" 'He is considered by many in this country to be an anti-Semite,' Rabbi Alvin Berkun said. 'He’s had opportunities to back off his position, he won’t and he doesn’t.'

A.M. Muhammad of the National Newspaper Publishers Association reported Wednesday in the New Pittsburgh Courier, "If they thought their threats would undermine support for the event, their efforts have backfired. It is being reported that there are no more tickets available to the event and, according to a spokesperson for the August Wilson Center, the nearly 500-seat auditorium will be filled with an overflow room set up in order to accommodate even more people interested in solutions to the problems plaguing Pittsburgh’s Black community.

"On March 4, Bev Smith, who is spearheading the town hall meeting themed 'The Disappearing Black Community' wrote an open letter responding to Jewish pressure for inviting Min. Farrakhan to the March 11 gathering. Her guests are Min. Farrakhan, Congressman James Clyburn and Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation."

The Post-Gazette reported Friday night that the event was "attended by more than 600 enthusiastic and vocal audience members."

Little Coverage for Non-Muslim Terrorism Arrest

"Today the New York Times reports that an arrest has been made in connection with an attempted bombing at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Washington. As we pointed out here, the case has generated relatively little media coverage — in contrast to attempted domestic terrorism attacks (or even alleged plots) connected to Muslims," Peter Hart wrote Thursday for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

"The suspect is Kevin Harpham — as the Times points out, he is linked to a white supremacist group: Law enforcement officials would not say whether Mr. Harpham had links to extremist groups. But the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups, said that its research showed that Mr. Harpham was a member of the National Alliance as recently as 2004.

"The Times story appears on page A20."

NABJ Fears CEO's Ouster at NPR Will Set Back Diversity

"The National Association of Black Journalists is very concerned about NPR's commitment to diversity in the wake of Vivian Schiller's resignation as President and CEO and Cheryl Hampton's departure as Director of News Staff Development," the association said Thursday in a statement. "When Schiller arrived at NPR in 2009, she inherited a culture that was dismissive of diversity. NPR Senior Vice President of Communications Dana Davis Rehm said Schiller identified transforming NPR's diversity as a top priority.

"Following several critical letters from NABJ, Schiller met with NABJ's president and vice-president of broadcast in 2009. She committed to creating a more diverse work force. Within days of the meeting, Schiller announced the hiring of Keith Woods as Vice President of Diversity, News. Over the next few months, Jeff Perkins was hired as Vice President of Human Resources and Chief People Officer, and former Radio One executive Deborah Cowan was hired as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Under Schiller's direction, NPR created two new positions related to diversity: a senior editor to diversify the voices heard on NPR and the sources used by NPR and a diversity correspondent to cover race, ethnicity, community, and culture. . . .

"Debra Delman, NPR's Senior Vice President for Strategic Operations and Finance, said the commitment to diversity will not end with Schiller's departure.

" 'Our priorities in diversity and in digital media will not stop,' she told NABJ on Wednesday. 'I am personally committed to our diversity goals as are my colleagues on the executive team.'

"Delman's words are encouraging, but they are not consistent with the company's actions in changing the reporting structure — and thereby the priority and prominence — of the journalism recruiting role in a company where half the employees are journalists. NABJ is greatly concerned that this change, combined with the expertise lost with Hampton's departure on Friday, will prove a setback to NPR's progress.

"NABJ challenges NPR to go beyond the relationship we had with Schiller and make a commitment to diversity at the highest level."

Short Takes

  • Michael Eric Dyson, the professor and social critic who Michael Eric Dysonis a consistent critic of President Obama, explained in a commentary Friday that he was an early supporter of the president and felt he had a responsibility to criticize him. He aired the commentary on public radio's "The Michael Eric Dyson Show." (video)

  • "The newspaper business, drained of readers and revenue and hounded by new online media in much of North America and Europe, is thriving in Latin America," the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, which is holding a regional conference in Bogotá, Colombia, said on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported. "Overall circulation has increased 5,1%, from 13-million to 14,1-million readers between 2005 and 2009, while in Europe it has dropped 7,9%," according to the association.

  • Dambisa MoyoThe reshowing of the one-hour special, "Restoring the American Dream: Getting Back to #1," reported by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in conjunction with corporate sibling Time magazine, has been postponed because of the Japanese earthquke, a CNN spokeswoman said on Saturday. It was to repeat Saturday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern time and at 2 a.m. on Sunday. Among those participating are economist Dambisa Moyo, a native of Zambia. Zakaria's primetime special scheduled for Sunday has also been pre-empted. [Updated March 12]

  • "UNITY Journalists of Color, Inc., has received a renewal grant from The Ford Foundation to continue implementing the New U: News Entrepreneurs Working through UNITY (New U) project," the group announced on Wednesday. "The foundation has made a two-year commitment to the project at $100,000 per year. This will enable the New U project to support the creative ideas of journalists of color who will participate in the 2.5-day 'boot camp' scheduled for October 2011 in Las Vegas, Nev. In addition to offering training and one-on-one mentoring, the 2011 program will again include a competition for start-up funding to assist news entrepreneurs in realizing their ideas."

  • "Who knew? There’s apparently no rule requiring network newscasts be based in New York," Mark Joyella wrote Thursday for Mediaite. "Take, for instance, Bloomberg TV’s recently-launched Bloomberg West, a nightly show covering technology and the tech companies – Apple, Google, Facebook – that have transformed our lives. With each of those companies based in Silicon Valley, Bloomberg West headed, well, west. 'We’re the only network news show based in San Francisco,' said Emily Chang, co-host of Bloomberg West and a former Beijing-based correspondent for CNN.' "

  • The first issue of the new Newsweek magazine, under the leadership of Tina Brown, featured a story inside headlined "Rebel Yell." The story was about Libya, not the Confederacy. Go figure.

  • After five years at Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Editor Toni Coleman told Journal-isms on Friday, "I'm leaving on March 18 for an exciting new opportunity at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. I'll be a senior editor at the association's CURRENTS magazine. I'll be the editor for the college/university advancement and fundraising beat."

  • Spain's "El País is set to broaden its horizons and boost its presence across the Atlantic," the newspaper reported on Monday. "The global newspaper in Spanish, published by Grupo PRISA, will be sold in the U.S. starting tomorrow along with the Miami daily [El] Nuevo Herald. The joint edition will reach most subscribers to the U.S. newspaper and will also be available at key newsstands in the city of Miami. With this deal El País is expanding its distribution base in the Americas, where it already has forged partnerships with newspapers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and the Dominican Republic."

  • "Early results of a new Horowitz Associates study show that almost a third of urban consumers (31%) watch TV content via PCs, mobile, over the top devices or other alternative platforms each week and that Hispanic, Black and Asian urban consumers are particularly heavy users of these platforms," George Winslow reported Friday for Broadcasting & Cable.

  • Janet Rollé"Janet Rollé, who has led marketing strategy and execution for leading media brands BET, MTV Networks and HBO, will join CNN Worldwide as executive vice president and chief marketing officer, it was announced today by Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide," CNN said on Friday. "Rollé is joining CNN from BET Networks, where as executive vice president and chief marketing officer she led brand strategy and marketing efforts, including on-air promotions, off-channel and digital marketing, affiliate and trade marketing." Rollé has also been vice president and general manager of AOL Black Voices.

  • In a letter to NAACP officials, Eric Chambers, host of "Jazzspel," a Hollywood-based entertainment show on the Word Television Network, said his black media outlet and others feel they were slighted by not being invited to cover the NAACP Image Awards or were denied press credentials altogether, reported.

  • Columnist Armstrong Williams is debuting on Monday, a site that "will be host to over 30 bloggers, including: Dr Ben Carson, the #1 neurosurgeon in the world; Rev. Al Sharpton, noted political activist; James Brown of CBS Sports, C Boyden [Gray], the former counsel to President George HW Bush, Terry Giles, Logan Delaney, Francesca Bastarache, David Modell, and more," an announcement said.

  • "No newspapers were distributed today in Côte d’Ivoire, where the protracted political impasse is creating an extremely grave if not impossible situation for journalists and news media," Reporters Without Borders said on Friday. "As the country seems to head steadily towards civil war, with casualties every day, journalists are being exposed to threats, arrests and reprisals, and often have to risk lives to report in some neighbourhoods."

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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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nyt rape story

Thanks for reporting on this. I had it on my FB page. The Times' statement would not indicate they "get it;" the ombudsman came a little closer. I was not aware of either development.

No doubt the fact that 42,000 people have sent the Times hit petition has had an impact. Can't wait to see the folo.

For those who want to keep the pressure on:

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