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New Day for Latinos at PBS?

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

5 Hispanic Projects to Air Before Burns' "The War"

"Call it a guilt trip or a cultural awakening, but some Latino filmmakers feel that the controversy over Ken Burns' upcoming World War II documentary has unexpectedly opened doors for their work at PBS," according to David Bauder, writing this week for the Associated Press.

 

 

"The maker of 'Brown Is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream,' which airs Sept. 12, said he believed PBS was anxious to air his film before Burns' because 'they had egg on their face.'

"The Lopez film is one of five Latino projects that PBS is airing in the weeks before the start of Burns' 'The War' on Sept. 23. Advocates were angered that the Burns epic did not feature the contributions of Latino soldiers, and their protest this spring forced PBS' best-known documentarian to add such material to the film."

Latino Public Broadcasting, USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism, Public Television Viewers, PBS and Corporation for Public Broadcasting are sponsors of "Brown is the New Green," which "examines how corporate efforts to profit from the 'Latino market' are shaping America's perception of Latinos," according to the publicity material. "The program features the extraordinary insight and observations of Latino icon and advocate George Lopez through rare behind-the-scenes access to the actor/comedian's remarkable life and career."

". . . 'Now is the time,' said Hector Galan, a veteran filmmaker who earned the contract to produce new material for Burns' film. 'I think we should seize the moment when it is there. The timing is great,' " Bauder's piece continued.

"PBS spokeswoman Lea Sloan said it was unfair to credit the Burns controversy for all of this activity, and noted that PBS already airs more Latino-oriented programming than other mainstream networks. But she did note that the episode caused PBS to work harder to reach out to this rapidly growing part of the population.

" . . . To a certain degree, 'Brown Is the New Green' feels like a primer on Latino society for older white Americans —a big part of PBS' audience.

"The documentary was already in the works for PBS before issues were raised about The War, said Phillip Rodriguez, the filmmaker. Another one of his projects, about Latino influence on politics, was just green-lit by PBS and he's trying to get backing for two more."

". . . PBS is also close to hiring a diversity director, a position that was approved two years ago, who will highlight programming efforts of interest to different ethnic groups.

"Both Galan and filmmaker Paul Espinosa said it has often been a struggle in the past to get PBS' attention for films about their community. Espinosa has a 25-year relationship with PBS, for whom he made a series in the 1990s about the U.S.-Mexican War," Bauder wrote on Tuesday.

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Craig, Finances, Diversity Are Issues at Gay Meeting

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, meeting in San Diego for its annual convention, is wrestling with financial problems, informally discussing the men's-room scandal involving Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and struggling to meet its diversity goals.

 

 

Pre-registration neared 500, Deputy Executive Director Thomas Cashman Avila told Journal-isms. The convention newspaper reported registration down 38 percent.

"Reduced corporate sponsorships, stagnant membership numbers and fewer donations are among the challenges the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and its new executive director face," Kris Turner reported in the convention newspaper, Insight, adding, "The details of NLGJA's financial troubles were not made available to Insight."

The Associated Press reported Friday night that Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men's room, quoting Republican officials in Idaho and Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity. [Craig announced on Saturday he would resign effective Sept. 30.]

"What started out as a story owned by LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] media has been stolen and spun by mainstream media, said Eric Hegedus, president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association," Mashaun D. Simon reported for the convention newspaper.

"It is not just about a news conference where a public figure declares, 'I am not gay.' Let's talk about all of the different levels," Hegedus said in the story. "I would like to see more stories that educate about sexual orientation versus gender identity, and sexual identity versus sexual behavior. Let's talk about all of the issues."

On diversity, Casey D. Hall reported in Insight, "Although the NLGJA has come a long way toward its goal of being inclusive, some groups call for increased accessibility, particularly transgender journalists, journalists of color and disabled journalists."

Hassan L. Sudler, chair of the Diversity Oversight Committee, told Journal-isms that the face of diversity for the organization should not be limited to race, but include women, those with disabilities and older journalists. However, he said, the organization has been hampered by contractions in the news industry, with consolidations and layoffs and with news organizations not as willing to subsidize attendance at its conventions.

Sudler also noted that the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists now have their own gay and lesbian task forces.

The convention planned to feature Christine Daniels, a transgender columnist for the Los Angeles Times, at the Diversity Reception on Friday, Insight reported.

Michelle Johnson, who supervised online student convention publications at other gatherings, such as at the National Association of Black Journalists, did so at this convention, but remotely. "I couldn't get out there this year due to work obligations, so I set up a CMS on the server to produce the site and I've been working with the staff out there to update it every day," she told Journal-isms from Boston, referring to the "content management system" that codes the site content.

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New Orleans News Anchor Called Up for Iraq Service

News anchor Patrick Evans of WVUE-TV in New Orleans, a Navy reservist for about a dozen years, has been called to duty in Iraq, Dave Walker reported Thursday in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

 

 

"We all know of someone who's been impacted," Evans said in the story of his station colleagues. "Now they know someone."

"Friday is Evans' last day at the station. In mid-September, he departs for Baghdad, where he expects his job will be public-affairs officer attached to the U.S. Joint Forces Command," the story said.

"A weekend anchor/weekday reporter for WVUE, Evans formerly worked at WWL-TV, and has served as a publicist for the failed Jazzland amusement park and as a media spokesman for New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. He also does morning newscasts for an array of New Orleans radio stations."

Evans learned of his possible deployment in June and prepared by spending time with his three children, the oldest of whom started college last weekend. After Friday, Evans said, he'll take weapons training and study code-of-conduct protocol in case of capture, according to the story.

"Evans' TV employment status upon his return is complicated by a couple of factors. One is WVUE's ownership situation, which is likely to change in the next few months. The other is his contract, which expires early next year."

He plans to maintain a blog, "52 Sundays."

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Critic Finds TV Katrina Coverage "Tissue Thin"

"I spent some time today trying to figure out why I don't give a crap about the loads of Katrina anniversary coverage TV has been pushing at us," media critic Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times wrote Thursday on his blog.

"I didn't write about it, because I'm getting sick of it. Not the post-Katrina story, mind you; but TV news' tissue-thin treatment of the subject.

"If you have watched any television news today, you've seen it. An earnest anchor stands in front of a still-devastated neighborhood, glowering with indignation and pity. They note the garbage which still lines the streets— Brian Williams picked up an old videotape he said he saw there last year — the desperate people still waiting for relief checks, the rising murder rate, the rampant homeless problem and something new, for good measure. On one station, the new thing was gangs of criminals targeting the illegal immigrant contractors who have flooded into New Orleans to do reconstruction cheap; the criminals call them 'walking ATMS' because they carry so much cash.

"But it's mostly an empty rehash of TV news' glory days two years ago, when just getting the human misery in New Orleans before a TV camera was enough. TV audiences have seen the occasional reports; they know it's not getting better nearly as fast as it should. And TV journalists are on the verge of losing the nation's attention, because they keep telling us what we already know.

"It's time to dig deep."

Meanwhile, the fall issue of Nieman Reports is http://74.208.15.217:8080/sites/mije/columns/dickprince/070831_prince/online in which "19 reporters, editors and photo-journalists describe what it has been like to work on this story of rebuilding and struggle day after day."

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Chauncey Bailey a Believer in Community Television

"Slain journalist Chauncey Bailey was a crusading reporter who lost his life for working on a story that would have exposed the shady business and criminal practices at Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland, California," Kristal Brent Zook writes in a "Web only special" of Columbia Journalism Review.

 

 

"Gunned down in the streets in broad daylight, by a killer who was not much older than his own thirteen-year-old son, Bailey has been remembered in eulogies in recent weeks for his dedication to the local black Bay Area community.

"But what is not as well-known is the fact that Bailey did not believe journalism was the terrain of the few, elite ranks. He believed in community access to media. And he believed in cable television as the means to achieve that end. And so, armed with letters of recommendation from the Oakland mayor and from members of the city council, he spent many months meeting with Comcast executives and with potential investors, arguing for the importance of local African-American programming in Oakland.

"The result of this work was OUR TV, or 'Opportunities in Urban Renaissance,' a small leased-access cable channel that Bailey launched, together with his partner and financier, Leonard Stephens, in December of 2004. Channel 78, which is on the air from 6 p.m. to midnight seven days a week, reaches over 150,000 homes in the predominantly black areas of Oakland, Piedmont, and Emeryville, and is growing."

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NFL Begins Ad Campaign to Burnish Its Image

"Concerned by growing uneasiness among fans and marketers about athletes gone wild, the league is embarking on an effort to burnish its brand image by accentuating the positive aspects of the on- and off-field lives of its players," Stuart Elliott reported Thursday in the New York Times.

 

 

 

"In a television and online campaign that is to begin today, the league and its advertising agency, BBDO Worldwide, are borrowing the playbook, so to speak, of industries like Big Oil and the big drug companies, which have relied on the magic of Madison Avenue to redeem their public images. The N.F.L.'s idea is to counter the outcry over the criminal behavior of some players â?? not by apologizing for the misdeeds of a few, but by shining a spotlight on what is presented as the good behavior of the many.

"The past year has brought plenty for the league to want to neutralize. The news coverage of professional football has read more like a police blotter. This week, Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge of conspiracy stemming from a dog-fighting kennel, while Lance Briggs of the Chicago Bears was charged with leaving the scene of an accident after crashing his Lamborghini sports car.

"The commercials feature five players— selected for their marquee names and clean-cut images — and are planned to run through the 2007-8 football season, appearing on television and on Web sites like nfl.com."

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Hispanics Faulted Gonzales Like Other Americans

"Alberto Gonzales' rags-to-riches personal story and his appointment as the nation's first Latino attorney general earned him a place in history and the respect of up-and-coming Hispanic leaders," Patty Reinert wrote Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle.

"And his long, hard fall, culminating in his resignation Monday, brought disappointment, resentment and embarrassment to some Hispanics.

"In the end, though, Hispanics who found fault with Gonzales did so for the same reasons other Americans did."

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Basil O. Phillips, Johnson Photo Editor, Dies at 77

Basil O. Phillips, a longtime photo editor at Ebony and Jet magazines who headed a staff that cataloged and managed more than 1 million photographs, drawings, and color transparencies in the world's largest collection on the black experience in America, died Monday at 77 after

 

 

suffering complications of diabetes, Norman Parish reported Thursday in the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The former board member of the National Association of Black Journalists-Chicago Chapter was known for his keen ability to locate photographs and identify sources," Parish wrote.

"Mr. Phillips, who was always impeccably dressed, loved art and books. He served as Johnson Publishing's unofficial arbiter during company functions such as luncheons and receptions for visiting dignitaries. He also donated a large book collection to the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, and helped the local black journalists group raise more than $150,000 for scholarships."

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NABJ Plans Little Rock Anniversary Remembrance

The National Association of Black Journalists is planning a media symposium, "Little Rock Nine Remembered," in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 23 in conjunction with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock's Central High School, the association announced on Friday.

"Panelists include: award-winning journalist and former NABJ president, Dorothy Butler Gilliam, a reporter during 1957 in Little Rock who covered the integration of Central High School; Andrew Withers, the son of noted photojournalist Ernest C. Withers who captured the day Central High School was integrated and who chronicled highlights of the civil rights movement; Arkansas attorney Christopher Columbus Mercer, Jr., an adviser to Daisy Bates during the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School and field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and Debrah Mitchell, the Editorial Director/co-owner of Stand! News — an African American monthly newspaper in Central Arkansas. Katherine Mitchell, Ph.D., president of the Little Rock School Board has been invited. The moderator for the panel will be Kim Betton, anchor/reporter of KARK-TV, Little Rock's NBC affiliate."

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Short Takes

  • "The Plain Dealer is under fire from black journalists after adding another white guy to its roster of sports columnists, a team that now has the diversity and sex appeal of a Golden Girls shower scene," the Cleveland Scene newspaper wrote on Wednesday. "In a letter last week, Roxanne Jones, an ESPN V.P. and member of the National Association of Black Journalists, criticized the hiring of former Akron Beacon Journal columnist Terry Pluto. He is white, male, and the love child of a Whose Line Is It Anyway? skit gone bad. Editor Susan Goldberg, formerly of the more diverse San Jose Mercury News, admits her paper is whiter than a Shelley Long movie marathon."
  • "The number of Hispanic TV households increased 4.4 percent to 12.1 million, easily outpacing the 1.3 percent growth of all TV households, according to The Nielsen Company's ethnic universe estimates released Thursday. Asians, the second-fastest growing segment, increased 3.9 percent to 4.5 million, while African-American TV households grew 1.5 percent to 13.6 million," Katy Bachman reported Thursday in MediaWeek.

 

 

  • A memorial service for Eddie Pinder, a producer at ABC News who died in July at age 36 after complications he suffered while recovering from heart bypass surgery, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, at New York's Riverside Church. "Young men and women, Ed Bradley was Eddie's role model," retired ABC News anchor Carole Simpson wrote July 13 in this space. "You might consider making Eddie yours."
  • "Simmering racial tensions boiled over on the Telegraph Herald Web site Sunday morning after the stabbing death of Nicholas Blackburn, a white man, allegedly at the hands of Kenyatta Harlston Sr., a black man," Eileen Mozinski reported Tuesday in the Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald. "A photo of a lynched black man was posted on the Web site in the comments section where online readers usually share their thoughts about specific articles." The color photo was posted to the site 73 times between 10:30 and 10:37 a.m., and although the majority of the images were caught by a system filter, at least 10 made it through, the story said.
  • Richard Chacón, who left the Boston Globe to work as Deval Patrick's press secretary during his campaign for Massachusetts governor and then joined his administration, was named executive director of the state's Office of Refugees and Immigrants, starting Sept. 10. Chacón was Patrick's director of policy, overseeing initiatives that included immigration, education and transportation. From 1994 to 2006, Chacón was the Globe's ombudsman. Before that he was deputy foreign editor.
  • Less than a month after the much-publicized launch of the Caribbean-American Journalists Association, five of the "founding" members have jumped ship, according to Hardbeatnews.com, which specializes in news of the Caribbean diaspora.
  • The death this week of Anwar Abbas Lafta, an Iraqi translator and interpreter employed by the CBS News, brings the number of journalists and media workers killed in Iraq since the start of the US-led invasion in March 2003 to 200, Reporters Without Borders said on Thursday. "No war has ever been as deadly for the press. Whether foreigners or Iraqis, journalists are seen as a key targets. Seventy-three per cent of the journalists killed in Iraq have been directly targeted. This is much higher than in previous wars, in which journalists were above all the victims of collateral damage and stray bullets," the group said.

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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